Many times actual creative attempts can be not only fun and rewarding but also increase mental and emotional flexibility. Whether it is enjoying the arts or attempting something yourself, this is mind-expanding and enriching. Each of us has a predilection, whether it is writing, dance, visual arts, crafts, music, humor and so on.
I’ll give a little of my story. I have always loved writing and poetry in particular. Off and on, I have attempted poetry. Once I took a poetry-writing course and, unfortunately, had a professor who totally discouraged me. Now I am back at it. I am taking an online poetry-writing course given by the University of Iowa and am thoroughly enjoying it.
I also recently wrote a play, a loosely autobiographical story in which five generations of matriarchs from my family meet. At first they display and even inflict their conflicts on the others but then through a series of dream tellings, begin to understand each other and, in some cases, even forgive.
We had one performance in April 2015 and have another in July. Not only was this thrilling to perform, but I was very gratified that the audience in the “talk back” afterwards was so open. The visual above is from the original art in the play. Each of the eight dreams had art projected behind the character talking. The above image is from a dream of a character that gave birth to a child who, amazingly, could walk and talk at birth. It is meant to symbolize the emotional rebirth of some of the characters in the play. My daughter, also a character in the play, Rachel Paula Shapiro, created this piece.
I want to encourage my patients to develop flexibility and creativity so as to facilitate their greater adaptability, problem-solving skills and enjoyment of meaningful activities.