As I have written about in previous posts, when you are getting ready to process a major life event, it is important to find your jump off point. The jump off point is some aspect of your experience that is easily accessible, like a gateway into your conscious experience that through art will lead you to the less conscious material that is ready to be released.
I have been working on an art therapy workbook for people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The exercise below is in it, to help get people prepared for the sensation of diving in. I’m sharing it today as a sneak peek at what is to come…
Try using this visualization to practice the art of jumping off:
- Before selecting a image or place to jump off from, think of how you want to feel as your jumping. Do you want to feel excited? Courageous? Playful? Willing? Worthy? A combination of feelings? I recommend thinking about an essence that feels inviting and inclusive.
- Next, think about the environment you would want to be jumping off in, you might have several that you ultimately practice in your mind. Do you wish to be indoors or outdoors? Do you wish to be jumping into water or something cozy? Are you by yourself or with others? What are you wearing or are you naked? Is there something wild you’d like to try as you jump? Or do you wish to feel deeply safe and secure? What does the air feel like around you? Do you notice any sights, sounds, or smells? Do you wish it to be otherworldly, not recognizable to your daily surroundings?
- Set aside 5-10 minutes a day to practice visualizing yourself jumping off, taking notice of how you feel about practicing it, seeing if over time if you become more detailed and more comfortable.
- Finally, as you practice this exercise, see what bubbles up as to what happens next- what do you do and how do you feel about it? This insight will likely support you in understanding your nature and needs moving forward!
I included this visualization exercise in the book because it can be rather intimidating to begin actively processing something like cancer. This exercise is similar to the process of dipping your toe into water, to help acclimate you to the temperature- or in this case, to help acclimate you to taking a leap of faith.
We can build courage for the next step in many different ways. For those of you who try out this visualization, I’d love to hear about your experience! Feel free to comment below or to send me a private email.
-Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, LCPC, is an art therapist and breast cancer survivor, and a former oncology counselor at the Dempsey Center. She began Creative Transformations to help others who are healing emotionally from cancer. Through Creative Transformations, she works with people in person and online to offer the self assessment tool, cancer coaching, an Art as Therapy program, virtual workshops, and this weekly blog. Sign up today so you never miss a blog and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.