Echos of the Heart
Creative Meditations for the Developing Soul
Since I was a child, I have been keenly aware of my emotions and understanding others emotional experiences. I had an intuitive sense of others feelings, gauging how it affected the way that they related to me, others, and how they behave. As I have matured, I have found an interest expanding my ability to describe and visually depict emotions.
I believe that being able to recognize and define our emotional state, can assist with developing three of the five forms of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy. “Seth J. Gillihan, a clinical assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, states, ‘When we label an emotion, it might make it more manageable. It might not change the emotion, but it does allow us the possibility of choosing our response.’” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201601/odd-emotions)
Accepting the current reality of our emotional state is the first step in being able to know how to regulate our emotions. As I became interested in using words, colors and shapes to describe emotional experiences, I became fascinated in the symbolic language that we use communicate our feelings. Humans use symbolic language to describe our emotions, such as our “hearts dropping” or “jumping” and “stomachs twisting,” even though that is not what is physically happening. These symbolic phrases are commonly used in art forms, like songs and poetry, as well as our everyday conversations.
In most cases, our internal organs are not physically moving within us, but our bodies experience emotional stimulation, caused by chemical and electrical interactions within and between our cells. Within my art pieces, I have represented 5 Primary emotions, and how our organs may “feel” like they are moving, shifting, shrinking, expanding, (etc.) while we are experiencing emotional stimulation. I believe that becoming more aware of how our organs and body feel when we experience different emotions can be cues to help ourselves regulate and respond to our emotions in a healthy way.
I wanted to connect to others in my creative art process, so that I could understand how others may experience or relate to these same emotions. I interviewed over 20 people about how their bodies and organs feel when they experience these emotions. I asked them to associate colors, sensations and symbolic images to these feelings. These conversations served to be catalytic and enlightening for me to comprehend others emotional experiences, and the conversations were soothing for my interviewees, since we spent time identifying and accepting their emotional states. As an artist, my goals are to display what it means to be human, to cultivate self-awareness in those who experience my work, and ultimately provide cathartic healing or clarity.
Emotions are incredible cues that our body does use to communicate to us our cognitive, physical, spiritual and psychological reactions to sensory information. Acknowledging and accepting your emotions is a form of self-care. Personal emotional regulation can have a positive affect on other people, as you process what you are feeling and respond in a way that is appropriate in your relationships with others, and constructive for your personal development.