Monday, November 22, 2010

Change in my pockets? (Part 5, Does Art Heal?)


The upward turn.  Single mom.  Sick kid on my hands.  THREE jobs to make ends meet.  Another sick kid living 3000 miles away.  I had to adjust to this new "life" of mine.  And I went there kicking and screaming every second of the way.  Literally!  But somehow I got there.  I read a lot.  I went to therapy.  I sought out other mom's who had it worse than me.  I joined groups at my son's school to force me to get involved again.  I got a great haircut. Somehow I knew what I had to do.  And I did it.  One step at a time.  I simply knew that I didn't want to stay where I was for an extended period of time.

That was way back before I knew a thing about stress, grief, the healing process...any of it. Did you know that acute stress can cause a disruption in the heart’s rhythms.  Shifting your focus away from the source of stress can undo that.  Feelings of love and appreciation can boost the immune system, regulate hormonal balance and create a sense of wellbeing.  (Time to get that “applause” journal out and read through it!)

For some reason, my life has been surrounded by amazing polymer clay artists.  I have told each one of them that I will NOT add clay as yet another medium to what I play with!!!  Peg Harper made this wonderful holiday ornament topped with clay roses that she painted with Vivid inks.  Sometimes, when you see something and you love it so much....it makes you want to change....and do the one thing you have avoided doing for so long.

As you start to adjust to life after the event, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized.  The heartache does lessen with time.  The depression shifts slightly. 

Things do change.  People can change.  But if you want change, you have to make it happen yourself.  No one else can change you.  If you want to stay depressed…you will.  If you want to move on, you will.  It really is up to you.

Peg....I "can" change!  I "can" work with polymer clay. I "can" make roses!  If you're reading this, I wonder if you've passed out by now???  LOL!!!

I used to tell my son that every single moment of life is a choice.  We chose to go right or left, straight or backwards.  And every choice is a moment in our life.  If we chose to go to church, then that’s an hour or so.  If we chose to go shopping, another hour or so.  If we chose to study scripture, another hour or so.  The bottom choice is that we are the only one who can decide what we do with each moment of our life.  And we are responsible for the choices that we make.  We are held accountable for the choices that we make. 

My variation on Peg's roses was to watercolor paint them with Luminarte paints and then dust them with Luminarte powders.  Oh!  How I love the end results!  You know I just added polymer clay to my ever-growing list of mediums to play with!  (Thanks Peg....NOT!)

As a manager, I tried to get across to my employees that when they were given responsibility for a task, they were held accountable for the outcome of their performance in that task.  It's the same way with the healing process.  I'm outlining the steps here.  The responsibility belongs to each one of us.  And we are the only ones who will be accountable for our own successful healing.

I bought some Makins air dry clay and made some of the tiniest roses (on the right) that my hands would allow. They match the flowers on the left.

In order to make the upward turn, we make a decision to move forward and leave our depression behind us.  

The journal opens up for writing on top of the pocket, as well as sticking something else inside the pocket 


Again, it might take an hour, it might take weeks or even months to do.  There is no right or wrong timeline.  That’s why I think it’s a good idea to give yourself a timeline for grief.  At least there’s a goal, a date to get back to living your life.

 These are tatted flowers. I took a vintage gin game tally card and turned it into a mini journal


One of the most wonderful expressions I heard came after the loss of a spouse.  The widow grieved for just a short time.  She explained that she had had the most wonderful marriage for so many years, why should she grieve her loss?  She decided she should simply celebrate all the great years they had had together.  And I think that's the "upward turn"....when you decide to put the emphasis on all the wonderful memories of your life before the event.

a close-up of the mini roses.  Less than 3/8" in diameter.  Peg...did I make you proud?  LOL!!!

It really is possible to change!  Look at me.  After 5 years of the best in the industry trying to convince me to play with polymer clay...I am!  What types of changes have you made in your life?  What would you write in today's pocket?  Finally, maybe this stage is a great time to look to your creative side - that might just be the change you make. Switching from the left side to the right side of the brain could be the stimulus to help you get to this stage of the healing process.  But still the question....is it "art" that heals?  Or is art just a possible part of the overall process of healing?  If you don't know what the process is....how can art heal?

Stay tuned....I know...you're starting to think this is the never-ending series!  LOL!!!

1 comment:

Peg said...

Jean Dear, I've always been proud to know you! Of all the things I've taught to people, this seems to make the biggest connection. Who knew? I love your flowers! After I finished making 136 firemen's helmets today I dipped a couple roses in the pretty rinse water. I think I'm on to something here. Love,Peg