by Pragati Chaudry
This exercise uses colors to alchemize gremlins by awakening a creative’s sensory, nonverbal intelligence. Breakthroughs in brain science are now confirming that the nonverbal portion of the brain plays a significant role in processing information. Creative alchemy exercises facilitate a re-connection with the inner healer inside of us and help creatives overcome unwanted beliefs and blocks.
A simple creative act, as simple as splashing color on paper, has given survivors of trauma a voice of release. In those situations, verbal coaching and therapy could not assist them because trauma survivors couldn’t use their words. Engaging the nonverbal portion of the brain allowed them to communicate and restore homeostasis.
Step 1. Preparation
1. Plan for a 35- to 40-minute period of uninterrupted time.
2. Bring some liquid acrylic colors, Q-tips and cardstock paper
3. Bring a timer
Step 2. Warm up
1. Seat yourself comfortably at a table and for a few minutes close your eyes and notice what comes up. Images will come up and words will come up; without judgement, write down the first three words. They don’t need to connect or to make sense together as these are warm-up words.
2. After you have written those three words, draw your attention to your first word and choose three colors. You don’t want to expand the palette of colors beyond three, because that will limit spontaneity and will bring attention to visual appeal. Clients use Q-tips for the same reason, that artist brushes or palette knives can limit the spontaneity of raw expression.
3. Then think of the second word you wrote, and see or sense in your mind’s eye what colors it brings up. There is usually a visual splash of colors that comes up, which equates to feelings brought up by the word in your brain. Without effort, your brain begins to work with accepting and acknowledging those feelings as you engage in the exercise. For instance, if the word is “stressed,” I notice that engaging with its colors immediately starts the release of that stress. It’s an allowance and acknowledgement of the stressful issue that allows its charge to dissipate.
4. For no longer than two minutes per word, express yourself with color and Q-tips on paper. After every word, take a fresh piece of paper and move on to the next word in your list. When you are done with the third warm-up word, please put your papers and Q-tips to the side.
Step 3. Diving into the issue
When you are ready, close your eyes and take a few breaths to connect with the issue that brought you to coaching. We will work with this issue now, in five sections, all of them on one sheet of paper.
Once you’ve connected with your issue, open your eyes, pick three colors, and respond to the following five prompts, spending no more than five minutes on each prompt and doing all of your work on a single sheet of paper:
1. What is this?
2. How is this affecting my life?
3. Is there a gift in this?
4. Imagine yourself on a conveyer belt, moving through and past this, and coming out to the other side. What do you see?
5. Where do I go from here?
Through this creative alchemy exercise, we can make contact with the infinite source of support and wellbeing that is available from within. We can discover our blocks without resistance or denial, experience extraordinary clarity, and release unwanted beliefs. This happened to Sonia, a client of mine.
Sonia enjoyed painting and loved to express her creativity but a tragedy changed the course of her life and her ability to express herself. It affected her in so many ways but losing contact with her creative impulse and abilities was a major blow. She went to therapy and self-help groups but found herself getting too comfortable with her familiar use of words: once she got comfortable in therapy, Sonia used her words to appease rather than release.
With Creative Alchemies, Sonia found herself unable to use her familiar words. She had to deal with her issue nonverbally and she experienced the energy of her issue as she dipped the Q-tips into paint and colored whatever came up. She took the opportunity to sink into all the unpleasantness and register the feelings that she had resisted before.
After finishing the exercise, Sonia revealed that she was a victim of cyber fraud and identity theft. Despite her legal efforts, she could not erase the effects of the fraud on her professional life. She felt like a victim whose voice wasn’t heard and, as one result, she stopped expressing herself through art.
Even though she had tried to come out the other side of this experience through therapy and self-help groups, Sonia hadn’t been able to. With the creative alchemy exercise, though, she was able to allow her nonverbal brain to bring her much-needed healing.
Sonia came to the second session with the report that she started painting! She was calm and really happy to return to art and to allow herself to be at ease again. During the second session, she saw herself getting off the conveyor belt and, as a result of that visualization, she allowed her “victim” identity to fully pass on. Engaging the nonverbal portion of brain allowed Sonia to reclaim her power.
About Pragati Chaudhry
Pragati holds a degree in Fine Arts (MFA), and in teaching Fine Arts (MST), and loves leading people to a space where they stop creating from struggle and start reclaiming their true power. She has had the privilege of working with extraordinary people from all around the world who have followed their calling to connect with their own creative alchemy. Trained as a creativity coach, and having studied trauma-informed expressive arts therapy, she offers coaching, and workshops for deep transformation through art and writing. She facilitates Creative Alchemies “Healing with Art” workshops online and in Atlanta, GA-