We were stuck in Tokyo's airport on a three hour layover with not enough time to leave and explore the city, but just enough time to want to ram your head into a wall. Walking past the Guccis' and Fendis', stores I would never even step foot in, we came across a drawing station. For the next 55 minutes, we colored in traditional Japanese men and women, completely unaware of time passing.
Art does that to you. You become engrossed in creating, and forget about dead time passing.
My version of airport therapy is practically a joke, but real art therapy isn't. It helps us break through our repressions. One NGO in Nepal took art therapy to the former soldiers. These men and women were able to communicate through art, and have their stories of trauma and conflict remembered.
When I was a teenager, with raging hormones and bouts of depression, I'd lock myself in my closet (it was a very big closet) and spend the night sketching and painting in there. If my mother saw my bedroom light on, she would come in and tell me to go to bed. That closet's light could not be seen through the cracks of the door. It offered me hours of reprieve while I got lost in a meticulous world of imagination.
We sometimes forget about those benefits as adults, consumed with every other facet of life. We must remember to work, give time to our loved ones, exercise, and sometimes enjoy a nightcap. We work toward goals, trying to achieve a balance, but often forget what once brought us the most balance before.
Our Art Relief Program in Thailand does just that. As a volunteer, you work to bring art to many struggling groups across Chiang Mai. People from children with cerebral palsy to Burmese refugees are given the opportunity to express themselves through a variety of creative means, including visual, performing, and experimental arts. Perhaps its time we remember what art can do for us all.