For this activity, you will need a few supplies that you can pick up at your local all-in-one market or craft store. You will need:
- Yarn: red, yellow, blue, green, white, black, grey, purple, orange
- Small Styrofoam ball
- Strong glue
- Duct tape (optional)
- Paint (optional)
If you choose to use paint, you will need to paint the Styrofoam ball first and give it plenty of time to dry. Next, you will cut at least six feet of each color of yarn and glue one end to the Styrofoam ball once the paint dries. If the glue does not stick well to your ball and yarn, you can use strips of duct tape to secure the yarn to the Styrofoam ball.
If you choose not to paint your Styrofoam ball, you could select duct tape in a color that represents your most significant grief or traumatic event and use that to wrap the yarn around your Styrofoam ball. After the yarn is properly secured, wind your yarn around the Styrofoam ball until all the yarn is wrapped around the ball. Do NOT cut the ends to match up in length. Leave the ends however they end up.
Look at your ball of yarn. What do you notice?
Start with the longest piece of yarn and slowly begin unwrapping it. What color does it run into? Find the start of the second string and start unraveling it. What does that color run into? Find the start of the third string. What does it run into? Keep doing this until you have completely unraveled the ball of yarn.
Notice how all the colors run into each other as you unravel the ball of yarn.
What if I told you the
colors are as follows:
Red = anger
Yellow = joy
Blue = sadness
Green = growth
White = peace
Black = fear
Grey = frustration
Purple = anxiety
Orange = confusion
Now, what do you think of your ball of yarn?
As we deal with grief and other traumatic events, our emotional experience is much like this ball of yarn. We do not simply feel sad and depressed. We do not feel sad and depressed followed by unending joy. We vacillate between several positive and unpleasant emotions for quite some time before making peace with our traumatic circumstance.
Are you holding the ball in the middle of your yarn ball? That Styrofoam ball represents the incident that created such an emotional experience for you. Death of a loved one. Abuse. Car accident. Financial distress.
If you are untangling your ball of yarn and it gets knotted up, reach out for help. A caring professional is available to help you untangle your knotted ball of yarn. Some tasks, like untangling yarn, are better achieved with the help of others. The same is true for grief and trauma.
Written By: Jessica Vogler, MS, MAC, PLPC
Jessica has experience working with adult survivors of childhood abuse and trauma, elementary aged children in an intensive outpatient treatment setting, and women with a trauma history. She is trained in EMDR, SHARE bereavement practices, and Effective Trauma Care.
Jessica enjoys working with children and women of all ages to overcome grief, heal from traumatic experiences, and strengthen identity. Trauma work specialty areas include adult survivors of childhood abuse and pregnancy/infant loss. Jessica also has a special interest in working with parents of special needs children who need to strengthen their resilience or grieve the loss of ideals that may not come to pass.
Under the supervision of Sonya Paramore, License Number: 2007022552