Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Finding My Way



Illustrate a time when you felt trapped…this was another healing art directive at last month’s CHOMP retreat.  I’ve shared the demands of my former career in previous posts, and it was that crazy time in my life to which my mind traveled as I thought about feeling trapped, trying to liberate myself from the confines of pressure and stress.  I eventually escaped (having been nudged out by my layoff) and ever since, I’ve been finding my way, following my instincts and my passions, experimenting, exploring, taking baby steps, taking leaps!  It’s liberating and exhilarating to live life guided by your heart, sometimes riskier and scarier, too, especially when your inner naysayer or critic surfaces or you’re inevitably faced with rejection or challenges.  Despite the unavoidable bumps and potholes in the road, I much prefer entering new territory and traversing a land of possibilities to remaining stagnant and trapped.
Toward the end of each retreat, we share our artwork with the group, and others’ observations often add to the insight we gain from our work.  With “Finding My Way,” I placed a mouse image I found in National Geographic within a box or exit from a maze, then added an escape route greeted by bright green leaves around the exterior, a metaphor for possibility and growth.  I chose yellow foam tiles for the pathway, focusing on my single word visualization and intention for that day – shine.  As I shared this piece, Mary, our facilitator, commented how she liked the trail of cheese I created for the mouse.  It hadn’t dawned on me until Mary’s comment that the tiles did indeed look like cheese!  I chuckled, then thought about how I am finding my way by following my “cheese,” what’s “tasty” to me, appealing and fulfilling.  Hmmm...from funny to insightful!  Mary also noted how the mouse has played such a significant and interesting role in my cancer experience.  It’s always enlightening how a seemingly childlike piece of artwork can convey such depth and clarity, such a strong message from one’s subconscious.  At times when my inner critic is bashing a piece I’ve created, I try to be mindful of the valuable insight I am gaining from this work regardless of its artistic value (or lack of!)  As I wrote in a past post, it’s about insight more than aesthetic, and it’s about healing art helping me find my way.

Wishing to inspire others to tap into the amazing power of creativity in general and healing art in particular is the reason behind me sharing my personal work (despite its sometimes questionable aesthetic!)  How has creativity, perhaps healing art, contributed to your own self-reflection, growth and well-being?