Our Creative Arts Therapy Groups (CAT Groups) serve adults with disabilities. Intellectual disabilities are common in these groups, and our therapists work to build social skills and awareness of time. One of my favorite things about our Creative Arts Therapy Group is the way our therapists work to acquaint their clients to time and season. Sometimes, this means reminding them about the upcoming holiday and helping them to be excited and to celebrate that holiday through song and artwork. So, they sing Christmas Songs or make Valentine’s Day cards. At other times, this means helping them think about the upcoming season so they can dress appropriately for the weather: jackets and coats in the winter for starters. All of this promotes mindfulness, so their clients can approach each day with more purpose and intention than they might otherwise.
I think this type of mindfulness is something everyone can benefit from. What are the ways I can leverage art and music to better acquaint myself to time and season? Your goals and my goals are likely different than those of our CAT groups, but the same strategies can often help us better pay attention to time and season so we approach our lives with more intentionality than we did before.
With spring just around the corner, this is a great time to practice mindfulness. Flowers will bloom and birds will sing. Our world that has been cold (well, sort of) and dark for the last several months will revive in color and smell and warmth. Think about one way you can take advantage of this spring to mark a new beginning in your life. Find (or create!) a piece of art that demonstrates visually the type of transformation you’d like to see in your life. Listen to music that embodies spring, like this playlist! Start with spring, but also consider how movements in your life can find a parallel or a motivator in the heat of summer or the harvest in the fall.
Two pieces Janie Giles Carp created in springtime sessions with her clients
I started to think about mindfulness because today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent on the church calendar. This season can be a really valuable time of reflection and discipline. You have probably heard of people giving something up for Lent, or of focusing more on prayer, fasting, or almsgiving (acts of charity). But maybe you didn’t know that the 40 days of Lent are modeled after Jesus’ 40 days spent fasting in the desert. And this is where mindfulness comes in. For a people who seek to synchronize their lives with the life of Jesus, Lent can be a season of growth and change. And for a really long time, the church has used art and music to get here. There are some great resources available, whether through Biola’s Lent Devotional, which might be easier if you come from a Protestant background, or through Loyola Press’s Arts and Faith for Lent.
Whatever calendar you find yourself on, try to take some time to better acquaint yourself to time and season, so that you can approach each day with a little more focus and intention. If you want to learn more about our Creative Arts Therapies, email our Therapy Department!