Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Art of Healing

Ballroom Dancer - Arnold
Sport Festival '10
I have an ongoing class with the most wonderful group of women in it.  They come and talk, laugh, sometimes cry and create art.  We call it art therapy.  Because, in a way, I think it has ministered to each of us at one time or another.  There is some great wisdom in a room full of women!  We have solved the worlds problems and helped each other with our own. Do we bare our souls each week?  No, but there is a time and a space if someone has a need.  
It is so much more than a teaching opportunity for me.  I have tried to create a place of encouragement and acceptance for their art.  Along the way it has become a place of encouragement and acceptance to our whole selves. 
I've written before about my mothers illness and her death.  She died the week before Christmas.  The following year we grieved each event as a first without her.  Its all part of the grieving process.  But I wasn't sure I would ever really find joy again and that Christmas I just could not celebrate with my usual enthusiasm.  It just fell flat. I remember telling my husband that I just didn't know if I'd ever feel the same about Christmas.  My class members were there for me through it all. 
Why be so public with my grief?  Everyone goes through it, don't they?  Yes, of course.  I'm not special.  Hardly.  One reason, I am not a with-holder.  Ask my husband!  I try, but I don't swallow things well at this age.  I'm not sure it's healthy to keep things in.  Its not healthy to let everything out either.  Again, balance! 
But it was interesting to me the first time I realized I felt a real sense of joy again.  A friend had recommended me for an art competition at the Arnold Sports Festival.  I was apprehensive, since I don't like competitions much.  But my friends would be there and I wanted to take a peek at the sports festival just once.  So I entered.
There were 40 artists from all over central Ohio.  Several fine artists I recognized.  I was in the company of some pretty exceptional artists.  We worked from live models the first day and took photos and worked from those the next.  The creative energy was palpable!  I remember being buzzed with the combined energy of all that talent in one space! 
On the second day, a surprise visit to the art area by Sylvester Stalone held another type of energy.  Not just the star power, though it was really cool!  Stalone is an artist and spoke to each artist about their work.  It was energizing.  That was the day I realized I could have a day where grief would not creep in.  I was enjoying myself in this amazing place with these amazing people! 
This November, again through an artist friend, I will participate in a charity event for the Columbus Fresh A.I.R. Gallery.  Fresh A.I.R. Gallery exhibits the works of individuals affected by mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. Through art, they educate the community and work to break down the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse by bringing focus to the artistic vision.  I will be painting from a live model with several other area artists.  We are part of the entertainment for the evening.  I hope I do well!  (for more information go to:  Invitation to Art of Recovery)
So I've used creative energy to nurture others to be creative and to heal and I've been nurtured by others and their creative energy and have been healed.  I know many of you have the same stories to share.  Let me know how using your talent has led to a better place!