Friday, March 18, 2016

Art of Self

Siri Apple: The All-knowing Being.

For most of my adult life I have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and clinical depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotropic medications alone were not enough to heal me. Therapy taught me that I had to figure out a way to love myself; even though I had so much guilt, pain, and discomfort from my past. Medications helped me to cope with the feelings of anxiety I felt in stressful situations. One wintry day in 2014, I had a flashback from my childhood that I believe provided the north star I needed to complete my healing. 
I do not remember how, exactly, I came across the 52-week course on creating and art  an art journal. Looking back, I am certain that serendipity, no doubt, was at play. This was a year-long course that took me two years to finish. The overall belief system included non-violent communication techniques, art making for healing, meditation and visualization. At the very beginning of the course, I tried a short meditation, which brought me back to my childhood. In the moment, I felt like there was something wrong with me; always, something wrong with me. I went with the feelings. I did not fight them. Eventually, I received clear pictures in my mind’s eye. They were remembrances of joyful experiences from my childhood. My first recollection was of me performing “The Eensy Weensy Spider," over and over again for my sisters and brother. Continuing on with the meditative process, I was filled with memories of taking dance lessons, creating mosaics from legumes, and creating macaroni art sprayed with sparkly gold paint. I still love glam to this day! For the coming weeks, I kept thinking about more and more instances where making art brought me joy as a child. I started to feel better. Later during the meditation, I remembered how I used writing as a cathartic exercise to make myself feel better in my teen years. I even remember a poem I wrote in high school that I had not thought of for years, yet it was permanently etched in my memory:
"My script is one of heavy lines and changing stages,
When the curtain is up,
The scene enlightens,
When the curtain is down,
The end of light frightens.
Inside the ego is lurking,
The spirit in my heart is working,
To be me,
To be Free,
From overburdening lines and staging changes."
This meditative experience brought me to a place where I believed that if I continued, and finished the course, I would heal. I did heal!
After two years of writing, drawing, and engaging in any expressive and intuitive artistic process that came my way, I woke up one day very recently with the knowledge that the hurt done to me no longer controlled me. It is my deepest desire to extend a hand of guidance in pursuing making art as a healing process. 
I truly believe that making art soothed, transformed and ultimately healed my soul.
I have experienced first hand the art of self healing.  


Fireblossom said...

Art can do that! So nice to hear from you; I think of you every time I hear "Feel" which gets heavy play on my iphone. I hope you enjoy the book. let me know what you think!

Susan English Mason said...

You are so sweet. Do you remember that I never had heard the song "Feel" until I heard it on your playlist. Do you still have that playlist? It had the best songs on it ever. I will let you know how I like the book. I will review it on Amazon too.