It has become clear to me that it is time for me to walk away from my training and focus on healing trauma and turn fully toward this creative process that inspires me so deeply. My work with people will still utilize all of the neuro-somatic based experience and training I have, but our entry into the healing & growth process will be through the door of uncensored creative expression.
My own path of healing was derailed so often by avoiding my greatest creative potential in order to not disturb my sleeping dragons that were chained safely in the catacombs of my unconscious mind. Yet their dungeon was my very own body and so it was impossible for me to heal my own symptoms without poking them inadvertently and waking them up. And so the years of self deconstruction began......and seemed to go on forever. Yet in time my somatic reactivity lessened as my creative doors opened wider and wider. As grateful as I am for the valuable trauma therapy modalities that helped me heal, I know that without kind counsel who was also willing to always allow my current artwork, journaling or creative experiments into the session, it would never have reached the source of what ailed me.
My current mixed-media pieces are a symbolic way of reconstructing myself in exploratory ways. I no longer have to rely on what I have been told is true about me or who I must be. I am free to explore and experiment to see what is true for me. And yes, perhaps the collar bone really is connected to the shin bone in some of us!
As the air picks up a chill and the Aspen leaves turn to fire, I feel an unusual reluctance to go back into my creative den. Usually I am more than ready to retreat from the busy outer world and take refuge in my inner world where the voice of Spirit is more clear. Yet this year my travels and activities have lit a bigger fire that wants to keep exploring the world.
Not until Bear Medicine literally walked across the road in front of my car, in broad daylight (something that rarely ever happens in this part of the valley), was I willing to honor the inner call tugging inside of me. For me Bear medicine is part of my maternal lineage from England and reminds me of the creative, feminine power that lies within us.
Many years ago now, Bear medicine first made her physical appearance walking across a trail I was hiking on with my husky. I was awakened in the middle of the following night by the call to write an entire story, which is something my mother used to do before her death decades ago. I knew she was helping me and my first, mythical story about my own healing journey poured forth all at once in an inspired rush. This is what happened to her all the time, but never had I experienced anything like it before.
Once again I allow this Divine, Creative, Feminine energy to flow through me unrestrained. Yet now it is in the form of images on my stacks of handmade paper from my past career as a papermaker. It is time to bring together all of the inspiration and experience of the last 2 decades into this Creative Awakening process. It is my way, my journey, and it is what I share with all of you who are fellow travelers on this inner exploration. I acquiesce to this powerful force within me and trust it is time for the next leg of the inner journey to begin.
I am so grateful for the amazing women that joined my first Creative Inquiry Group in January. I learned so much and was so inspired by their insights that I wanted to find a way to introduce this journaling process to others. So now you can start your own Creative Inquiry Journal in my new, FREE, online course at The School for Creative Awakening at Intro to Creative Inquiry. This is a 5 part, mini-course that shares the basic process with you for you to try. It uses intuitive creative expression, uncensored writing and somatic awareness to access your inner wisdom. So jump in and give it a try!
It is said that the first Thanksgiving was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. Today I pray for peace and unity among us all. Today we are faced with a nation that is being divided by fear. There are those who are fanning the flames of the belief in scarcity and the need to defend ourselves from others in order to secure what we think we need to survive and thrive. But we are also being called to evolve and rise above those beliefs and to see that we need not pit ourselves against one another.
Some of the most profound Spiritual teachings I have ever received in my life have come from the Native American people in New Mexico. It was there that I learned to pray out loud with honesty and sincerity in the presence of other people. I learned to trust total strangers with my deepest pleas and confessions. I learned the importance of feeling my connection with the Earth and all the Beings that dwell here. I felt the Presence of Divine Blessings in the form of Feminine wisdom, which so helped to heal my own torn heart.
So today I invite you, all of you, to take a few moments in your busy day to truly give thanks for the elements that this entire world is made of.....Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Recognize the interdependence of us all and how crucial it is for us to care for all of this and All the Beings who depend upon it. May we all be the protectors of life and liberty for ALL!
Yet here I am...perhaps as whole as I'll ever be. And maybe that's enough. No, maybe that is just perfect. For I have realized it is my ability to be with what feels broken or divided or lost or intolerable and not shy away from it, that has given me my greatest strength.
I'm a deep diver by nature. I bob up to the surface to say hi to folks I love from time to time, but then it's back down to the rich and mysterious depths again. This time of year invites deep diving for me. For years I have gone into a sort of creative hibernation, where the darkness is my friend and makes it safe enough for the timid and the sketchy parts of me to reveal themselves. However, this year feels different. I don't feel like I have that luxury. This year it feels like my whole cast of characters is being called up and out into relatively unfamiliar terrain.
Part of that will be starting to offer these creative processes to you, whoever you are. If part of you likes to go spelunking in the caves of your unconscious mind and soar to distant realms with your Higher Self as your guide, then we may make pretty good traveling companions.
Like so many other people, I too have tried many cocktails of pharmaceuticals in order to manage depression, anxiety and other symptoms that have accompanied me on my journey of awakening. But the benefits never outweighed the side effects for very long. Yes I agree they can help us get through a rough time and if we have children or circumstances that don't allow us to attend to the deeper issues, they can literally be a life saver. Yet eventually their effectiveness wears out and dosages must be increased to maintain any efficacy. So what then?
It took me decades to realize that I have a creative soul that already knows how to process and heal me, if only I would let it do its thing! But I was taught that my creative talents should fit into a standardized box of what is artistically acceptable and valuable. It wasn't okay to just let my soul have complete freedom to express itself. Instead I needed to learn how to make it conform to people's ideas of beauty or aesthetic ideals. So I left art behind and immersed myself in craft for decades. There I could expend much of this pent up creative energy without ever offending anyone and make a useful product at the same time. The only problem was that my soul was still knocking on my inner door wanting to be let out.
Finally, many years later, a good online friend sensed that I had anger bottled up inside me and suggested that I let myself express it artistically through painting. So cautious I picked up the brush again that had lain dormant for 33 years, and for the first time ever I just let her rip. What proceeded to come out floored me. It was as if I had never stopped painting at all, technically speaking. But now it was charged with the passion of my own personal content that had always been masked or silenced before. Over time I began to realize that this bottled up, passionate expression was indeed what was fueling both my depression and my anxiety. Now I'm not saying painting is a silver bullet that fixes everything, but I did learn that in conjunction with a good trauma therapist, uncensored artistic expression opened doors that nothing had been able to pry open before. And yes, there were demons in my dungeons, but the angels were locked up in there too. I discovered it was a package deal and that I couldn't access one without the other.
Fast forward to today......we are now living in a time of the birth of the Intuitive Creative Expression movement, which includes modalities like Process Painting, Narrative Therapy & Expressive Arts Therapy and many more. This is not about learning the color wheel and how to draw perspectives, which are still useful tools, don't get me wrong. But the point is that all of us enter this life with a creative urge of one form or another and few toddlers need much instruction on what to do with a crayon and paper. They just naturally explore what color and line does in their little hands. So I encourage you to give it a try and see what comes out when you loosen the grip of the censoring mind on your creative soul. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find!
You are welcome here, just as you are. You are beautiful to me, in form and Spirit. I am honored that you have come to visit me today.....on the pages of this journal that are a window to my Soul......
Then one day it happened, on an ordinary afternoon. She heard a tiny knock. Then another. She looked around, but could not find the source. Then it grew the tiniest bit louder and she jumped with a start. It was coming from inside of her! It was coming from her very own chest!
She looked down and there were two new little golden buttons on her favorite red velvet dress. How odd, they hadn’t been there before. So she reached up to feel them and they moved with a tiny click. Low and behold they were tiny doors and when she opened them the most luscious golden-orange light came flowing out like magic honey.
The waiting was over. Finally she knew what was inside of her all along. And this time she knew it would last.
Welcome to my journey of Creative Awakening. I invite you to join me as I embark on a 7 week process of intuitive painting. This is calling me out of my Spiritual/Creative Closet more than anything I have ever done....and I've done a lot! It is a passionate adventure in re-discovering why I am here and I know that by sharing the journey we will grow and learn together! ♡ Jeanette