I was an intensely creative child, teen and adult but I had some thoughts in my head (like so many of us do) from a pretty young age that really capped my self expression. I won't go into why or how these thoughts got internalized in me but I will say that they were quite mean and paralyzing when it came to creating, living and just being.
But I managed and moved through life and did the best I could like we all do.
About 9 years ago I was doing great and lots of things in my life were coming together. It was my first year living in Asheville. I had a good job and was excited to have changed careers and be entering massage school. I had overcome some chronic health and addiction issues and was feeling on top of my game.
Then half way through massage school I got very ill with a rare auto-immune disease. I had a total breakdown physically and mentally. I had to quit my job and school. I became even more sensitive than I already was. My body became allergic to the sun and my skin became extremely thin and would tear and break out in huge blisters. I became very light sensitive and had incredibly painful migraines. I could barely function and thought I might end up in a mental institution.
I had a great desire to end my suffering through leaving the planet. And would comfort myself by imagining dying. It was definitely a dark night of the soul experience.
During this time I started to imagine painting. I noticed that just imagining painting really comforted me and was a reprieve from my other less positive imaginings. I started to feel some hope and like I was being led to something that would help me. One thing led to another and I found my way to a three day process painting workshop from an organization called The Painting Experience where I received a full scholarship to go. It was there that I painted a painting that changed my life. This painting met me in my deep sorrow like nothing else had. I felt so relieved to find a way to move through what was going on inside of me.
This was the beginning of my love affair with process or intuitive painting. It unleashed such a creative force in me and gave me a place to meet all parts of myself not just the happy or socially acceptable ones. I started to integrate the polarities in myself and be with what had seemed unbearable before.
The intimacy that I could experience with myself and all of life through painting was amazing. I felt like I had come home to the deepest part of myself. Painting gave me an outlet to be with and explore what it is to be human in a safe and connected way. I felt held by something bigger when I would paint. And that something allowed me to meet myself instead of running away. And in the meeting came an incredible freedom and delight in creative exploration. This delight started to carry over into my life (the biggest painting of all) in a big way.
And this delight is still moving through me in all areas of life. Painting has given me this incredible curiosity and anticipation for stepping into the unknown of a blank canvas and the unknown of my every day life. The painting process has taught me how to say yes and keep opening even when I hit something in myself that is uncomfortable.
And here I am today helping others activate this delight by facilitating intuitive painting classes and workshops. I see this work/play as the sweetest path for coming home to self - home to love. It is my greatest gift to see others delight and transform as they meet themselves so fully. Engaging our inherent creativity opens up so much space and potentiality in our beings and in our lives. Give yourself the gift of creative exploration this week!