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Exploring possibilities from the comfort of your chair

This week I wanted to talk about chairs but I resisted talking about chairs because they seemed to me like an odd-ball topic for symbolic examination.

Whilst busying myself trying to find something else to write about, I discovered these words I’d written in an art therapy assignment: “Experiential art therapy is not about solving problems but exploring possibilities.” The idea of exploring possibilities stood out for me as a message to remain open to whatever comes up, even if it’s a chair. So this post has become about exploring possibilities woven into the seat of a chair.

Exploring possibilities

There are endless possibilities. Within every moment of life, a million possibilities lie. Exploring possibility through art is a way of opening ourselves up to new patterns; patterns that already exist. Patterns just waiting to be discovered.

I read an article by Cathy Malchiodi in Psychology Today, which reminded me as a practitioner, of the value of being open to what comes up in the moment, when working with clients. Malchiodi rightly criticises the overly prescriptive approach when practicing art therapy ie. relying on art therapy recipes and ‘interventions’ to deal with a particular type of person or issue.

Even though Symbolica is not intended as a therapy site, I do use art making as a therapeutic tool wherever possible, for myself and to share with you here.

This leads me back to the subject of chairs and exploring their symbolic possibilities.

I am learning that once I open myself to whatever idea, symbol or image that does come, it becomesthe theme for my week and will pop up all over the place.

And maybe, just maybe,it might come to you at just the right time.

Is a chair just a chair?

So sit down on your favourite chair, and relax. You do have one don’t you? Or do you find yourself wriggling about, sitting on your foot, fighting to get comfortable. Unable to concentrate.

Shouldn’t everyone have a favourite chair? We spend enough time sitting on them. Different ones for every occasion. From throne, to stool. From diner to lounge. Outdoor, indoor, cane, wood, leather and plastic.

Sinking down. Sitting upright. Chairs to feed your babies in. Chairs to sit in whilst watching tv. Chairs for sitting on whilst meditating or making art. We’re usually doing something in them. Seldom nothing.

Simply relaxing

Why might you use a symbol of a chair? In what circumstance might it be of help?
Do you need to take time out? Rest up?
Do you need to allow yourself time to consolidate an idea?
Perhaps let others take control for a while. Like sitting in a plane for hours- relinquish control.

Feeling special

You are really special. You deserve it. You’re not a drone. You’re not hopeless. You are royalty!
Feel the lush velvet cushion under your bottom. Any moment now, someone will be in to give you a pedicure and a manicure.
Then they’ll raise you above their heads and carry you through the crowds, still poised regally on your golden throne.

Taking control

There are chairs you sit in when driving a vehicle. You are now in control. So if you feel out of control, or not in control at all, imagine sitting in a chair with a control panel in front. You are the captain. You can go wherever you want to go. You’re not walking because you’ll need your legs when you get there.



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