Lately, I've been finding myself getting scared of thinking certain thoughts.
I'm trying to be careful of the things I say to myself and what I choose to believe that I catch myself going, "Is this a negative thought? Is it gonna attract more negative thoughts?? Ahh go away before something bad happens!" lol And while I believe in the power of positive thinking, I know this isn't the way to go about it!
Instead of trying to avoid those negative thoughts altogether, I really felt like I needed to acknowledge them and then/in order to let them go.
I decided to make a mixed media piece in my sketchbook using this as inspiration. The main idea was to write down and face these negative thoughts/beliefs then replace them with positive ones to move forward with.
I wanted to share the process in case it's something you may want to try. You can also learn more about the elements in my piece below.
If your next thought is “I'm not an artist” and “I'm not creative”: 1) We all have creativity inside us and unique ways of expressing them 2) If you can write you can do this. 3) You don't need any special supplies, a pencil, pen, and paper is enough! 4) This project really is for anyone and everyone!
- A piece of paper/scratch paper/a blank page in your sketchbook or journal
- 2 types or colors of writing tools: pencil, pen, marker, sharpie, etc.
- Optional: Any other materials you may want to use (acrylic paint, scrapbook paper, magazines or catalogs for collage pieces, stickers, washi tape, stamps, fabric scraps,embroidery thread and needle)
For my piece above, I used a pen, gold marker, gold and white acrylic paint, deli paper, gold scrapbook paper, gold embroidery thread and needle.
- Write down all the negative thoughts and beliefs you have that you want to let go of. Use your first writing tool (I recommend using the lighter of the two such as the pencil or the lighter colored marker). Jot down whatever comes to mind--they can be words, sentences, part of a phrase. Don't worry about it making sense. Your handwriting can be messy. It doesn't even have to be legible. It's just to get all of these things out of our minds and onto our paper!
- Write over all those negative thoughts and beliefs with positive ones. They can be affirmations, the opposite of what you just wrote, etc. Use your second writing tool for this.
- Add more layers and elements to your piece. (This step is optional.) Use markers and add more phrases on top. Layer different colors of paint. Add collage elements like pieces of paper, washi tape, and/or stickers. Stamp, sew, color--there are so many possibilities! Try the things that speak to you and that you find meaning in.
- To do what feels good for you.
- To go at your own pace--this can be a quick exercise or you can take your time.
- This isn't about making a beautiful or perfect piece--please don't feel any stress or pressure about that!
- This IS about you and the process.
- Feel free to take this process and adapt/adjust it so that it works for you.
A FEW MORE DETAILS ABOUT MY PIECE:
- My negative beliefs are about the relationship between artists and money (starving artist trope, it's hard to make money as an artist, etc.)
- In gold marker, I went over what I wrote with positive versions of those beliefs (artists can be successful, I can support myself with art, etc.)
- I added gold paint and paper to represent the positive aspects of money (help more people, support non-profits, etc.)
- The white paint symbolizes a clean slate, moving forward without these thoughts.
- The “I am enough” collage element was created with a gold marker on deli paper. I wrote this as a reminder to myself that I am enough and can change my mindset.
- The last element is the gold thread. I chose this shape because it looks like rays of sunlight and reminds me to focus on the positive. I only covered half the page to represent moving forward and all the possibilities the future holds.
I’m at a transitional point in my life and before I step into the next chapter, I want to shed beliefs that have held me back and move forward with a better mindset and excitement for all that the future holds!
While this project doesn't mean I've gotten rid of all the negative stuff forever--I know there will always be ups and downs and it's an on-going process--it did help me sort through my thoughts. Getting everything out of my mind felt very freeing! Somehow, seeing the things I fear as words made them less scary and all the positive beliefs reminded me of what's possible and out there waiting for us.
Here's to making small steps to shift our mindset and remembering all that we are capable of being, doing, and having!
PS: If you try this process and project and wouldn't mind sharing, I'd love to see how yours turned out and what it means to you! Feel free to send me an email with a pic, firstname.lastname@example.org!