I picked up new glasses last week. Not long ago my sister and I were laughing about the fact that quite often when we lived together, I would yell out for her to help me find my glasses or my contact lenses – she would ‘laugh’ and tell to me find them yourself. But the hilarious thing (now, not at the time) was that I couldn’t actually see to find my glasses – that’s how blind I am.
I will never forget that very first time that I put glasses on when I was about 13 years old. I actually felt sick because everything was so clear, magnified, bright and colourful. I wasn’t used to that, especially as I didn’t even realize that I had a problem with my eyes and I was used to seeing that way. Once I had those glasses on I could see differently, it was a new way of seeing and I could definitely see more clearly.
And that’s what happens in art therapy after being asked the golden question ‘what do you see?’ The art reflects meaning back to you. It can be seen from many different perspectives and when you see something or the unknown becomes known you then can’t un see it – it’s like the art has you putting on a new set of glasses and you see things differently.
Whether it’s bright or dark, cloudy or clear as day, the art reflects something about life and we work together to be able to see what needs to happen from there. Metaphorically you may need sunglasses to help with the blinding light, safety glasses to protect, reading glasses to see things up close, prescriptions for the distance, night goggles to navigate the darkness or rose coloured glasses for hope. We all need different lenses at different times and art therapy certainly helps to see more clearly. It reminds me of the line from Amazing Grace… ‘ I was blind but now I see’