Written by Deryn Vandertang
Five Things Art Taught Me About Problem Solving
Have you ever experienced when something seemed to be going well and then suddenly out of the blue it all went pear-shaped? I am sure that this has happened to many of us at one time or another. Whenever I have been through emotional struggles with relationships or problems at work, I want to know what my part in the problem was, or if it had nothing to do with me at all. Although I am sure there is always a part, we play having been part of the relationship or work situation in the first place. My first port of call is not the Psychologist, but the Art Gallery.
Art bypasses the cognitive brain and your rational thinking, and works in the liminal space between the subconscious, where you are much more likely to access solutions from deep within and your soul and heart center. Here is my list of Five Things to do when visiting an Art Gallery to help you find solutions to problems.
CHOOSE WHICH TYPE OF ART GALLERY
We are all wired differently, so choose the Gallery you feel most likely will help you today. This may not be the gallery you choose on another day with a different set of problems. If you are not sure which Gallery, just choose any, but have an open mind as to what you may see and learn. I have been to the National Portrait Gallery and seen artwork portraying different famous or infamous people’s lives and have found solutions just by reading the story of the exhibition and their life. They too had problems and found solutions.
SIT QUITELY FOR A FEW MINUTES AND PRAY ASKING GOD TO HELP YOU FIND THE ANSWERS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
Open your heart space to be tuned into what ever God may turn your attention to. This is done by sitting quietly with centered breathing. It can be a silent prayer, or just a silent listening heart, but make sure it is opened to be ‘tuned in.’
WALK AROUND UNTIL SOMETHING ‘SPEAKS TO YOU’
Walk around the gallery slowly looking at each painting or sculpture, not in detail yet. If there is an exhibition read the notes on the artist, see if there is anything that strikes you. If not walk on. Keep walking until a painting or description ‘speaks to you.’ Once you are standing in front of this painting whatever it is stop. Don’t give up with the unexpected. Some of the best solutions I have found were in the Tate Modern. I entered an exhibition hall that was made up of installations from a builder’s rubbish skip. I was about to walk out muttering, ’What a load of rubbish’, when I was stopped in my tracks at the door, with the still small voice inside that said, ‘go back in there until you have found the solution.’ I was given such amazing insight into my problems at that time, through the discarded builders rubble! Don’t discount how God can break through to you in the most obscure of places.
STICK WITH IT
Stand or sit in front of this painting and just look at it with an open heart for ten to twenty minutes, asking what am I seeing? What is this trying to tell me? What wisdom is it sharing? What are the emotions I am feeling when I look at this? How does this painting address my problem? Parts of us have been suppressed deep in our souls, is there anything bubbling up that is an insight?
TAKE A NOTEBOOK AND JOURNAL OR SKETCH WHAT YOU ARE EXPERIENCING
Start writing or sketching what is coming up for you, sometimes the thoughts are so fleeing they need to be captured at once. Describe your feelings and what drew your attention. Are there any ideas that you are getting? Can you join the dots between two different thought or ideas? Once you have captured everything that has come up for you, go to the cafeteria or a quiet place and meditate on your sketches or writing and you will be surprised at how you will be most likely to have solved your problem or found a new perspective to look at it through.
If you can get out to an Art Gallery, take a browse through online artists, or visit my Amazing Gaze Gallery to find some inspiration.
Text © Deryn Vandertang
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