I stared down at my open package in absolute horror, and I was not alone.
Last weekend saw my company’s (virtual) national conference; two days of company updates, intensive training, networking and - the obligatory motivational session.
I’ve been with the company for 20 years and I’ve listened to a lot of motivational speakers. This time it was “Soulscaping”, an intriguing title that made me uneasy.
We had each received a parcel in the post. Our MD asked us not to open before the session.
It contained a set of paints, a brush, and a blank canvas: would we have to “Paint our soul?” I quailed at the thought.
As it turned out, the process was painless; even enjoyable, and illuminating.
The artist leading the session asked us to think of a time we had felt really alive. He asked us to dwell on the feelings that we had in that moment and then apply paint to canvas.
“There are no mistakes!” he said. “Every brush stroke, finger swipe, splatter, smear, blob, is meant.”
“Relax,” he said, “and let it happen.”
It was hard to relax at first: we wanted our paintings to be “right.” After a while, though, the judgemental part of our brains switched off and the creative side silently stepped in. We were enjoying ourselves, just as a child enjoys painting for the pleasure of painting itself.
At the end of the process, we all loved what we had created. And we felt at peace.
The next part of the process involved sharing it with three others. Each of us looked at the others’ paintings and said what we loved about them.
Everyone sees something different. No two people see the same painting, any more than they read the same poem or read the same book, because any work of “Art” (I use the term loosely) speaks to each person through their own personality, experience and world view.
Because everyone was positive, we saw things in our own paintings that we had not consciously intended. For some there was passion, for others quiet. Some of us had painted excitement and some connection. Some had painted of home and some of adventure. Some had painted from joy and others from pain. Some of us painted boldly and some with delicacy. All of us, had taken on the challenge and painted from the heart.
I’ve chosen to share my painting with you. A recent time I felt most alive was this summer, when a friend took me wild swimming. This came from that.
I’m sharing to encourage you all to put paint (or any colour medium) to paper and lose yourself in colour. Paint yourself; paint your soul. Even if you’re not creative try it anyway.
You don’t have to share it, but, if you do, ensure others say only what they like about it and how it speaks to them. This is not an art-review; this is discovering and painting your beautiful soul.
And through it, finding peace.
A Moodscope member.