by Christine Sine
Last week, I taught a couple of workshops on awe and wonder in the healing of trauma. As part of the workshops, I took participants through an exercise in doodling. They loved it and so I thought I would invite you to enter into the exercise too.
The Power of Doodling
Doodling is a great problem solver and de-stresser. It can help us maintain our emotional balance and express our unconscious feelings. Evidently the repetitive and rhythmic motions of sketching can activate the relaxation response as a way to counter the body’s fight-or-flight intuition. Making art in any form has been shown to reduce cortisol, the “stress hormone.”
I am finding that it is also a simple way to introduce us to awe and wonder without even needing to go outside. There is a whole reservoir of awe and wonder experiences, memories hidden in our unconscious brain that we can easily tap into by simple experiments in doodling.
We all need a daily dose of awe and this is something that you might like to experiment with.
What gives you a sense of awe: Doodling is one of the exercises I experiment with in The Gift of Wonder and I increasingly appreciate what a powerful therapeutic tool it is in this time of stress and high anxiety.
So let’s give it a go.
This is not about art and no one else will see what you do. You don’t have to have a complicated template that someone else has created either to be able to doodle. In fact my experience is that we do our best doodles and find the greatest relief from stress and connection to awe and wonder when they are done spontaneously.
Yesterday one person commented “my doodle made me realize that God builds on the lines that seem to have no purpose.” Another said – because I used my non-dominant hand some lines were really thin and others thick – it made me realize that beauty is in both the deepness and the shallowness of my life and of the world around me.”
My own doodles are usually fairly simple like this one. Starting with a simple ink line, I filled in the shapes and sat in amazement when I realized how the chaotic lines I started with had been transformed into something beautiful.
This next image was done by Ashley Davis Gavila at one of the workshops. The green line she drew with her eyes closed and then added the rest as she sat and contemplated her image. She calls it “Reclining in the Storm.”
Having seen these, you can relax and enjoy yourself with no inhibitions. But be warned. This doodling exercise means that you need to be willing to let go of your control – of your anxieties, your fears and even the control of your life. It is an exercise that helps us connect our awe inspiring God, the creator of the universe who never leaves nor forsakes us.
Let’s Get Doodling
Pull out a blank sheet of paper.
Pick up a colored pen or pencil with your non dominant hand. Non dominant hand because that helps us connect to our creative self.
Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths in and out.
Doodle for 30 seconds – Reciting “I believe in an awe inspiring God” as you do so.
Open your eyes and contemplate what you have drawn. As a shape emerges in your mind add colour and design.
Prayerfully ask yourself “Where does this shape come from? What does it need to be complete?”
What do you sense of God in this image? What do you sense God is saying to you through this image?
Is there a further response God is prompting you to make? Perhaps you would like to write a poem, say a prayer or even create another doodle.
Sit in the presence of God when you are finished, allowing the healing One to bring you wholeness and peace in this challenging time.
For more creative doodling exercises download Colourful Me: Open Ended Art Exercises to Bring OuT Your Creativity
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