Experiential Art Practice for Navigating Times of Uncertainty
Updated: Jun 13, 2022
Over the next few posts, I will be offering some experiential practices that might help you in navigating uncertainty. The practice for this post is related to finding a sense of hope in the present moment. As I mentioned in a previous post on ecological distress, finding a sense of hope in the present moment can inspire a sense of agency. Kaira Jewel Lingo says,
It is especially tempting in times of transition and challenge to worry about what will happen in the future. This is precisely the moment we need to return to the present moment . . . because the future is made of this moment. If we take good care of this moment, even if it is very difficult, we are taking good care of the future.
As well, emotions connected to uncertainty are either rooted in a past event (a loss) or the future (an anticipated loss/stress). By bringing oneself into the present moment, a person’s sense of hope can be nurtured. By anchoring ourselves in the present moment, we can look at the past and towards the future with fresh eyes.
★ Read through the following exercise carefully.
★ Take your time participating in this exercise and pay attention to what happens
within you as you engage.
○ Do you notice your muscles tense or relax as you do this?
○ How fast is your heart beating?
○ What are the feelings that emerge for you as you do these exercises?
○ Does your chest feel open and light or heavy and constricted?
★ After you have done this practice, take a moment before you move on to sit with the
experience of doing this practice - has anything changed? How might this help you going
Blind Contour Drawing
Take a blank piece of paper and a pencil and situate yourself in view of an object or view that
you would like to draw.
Set a timer for 5 minutes.
Then, without looking down at your drawing, try to draw the object. Focus on the primary contour lines of the drawing and not on the details or the shading. Big bold lines work better than overly detailed/precise.
After five minutes, once your timer has gone off, or you feel like you have drawn the basic outline of the object you are looking at, you can stop drawing and look down at what
you have created. Your page should have a bunch of intersecting lines and shapes.
Find a section of it that stands out to you and take watercolour paint or coloured markers and start to paint in the shapes and the lines that you see.
A few questions to ask yourself as you do this activity are:
“What can you make out of the process of not knowing, or not seeing, everything?”
How does your body feel as it engages in this process? How might this help you going forward?