Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Work, work, work!(Part 6, Does Art Heal?)

Some people say this is part of the "upward turn" phase....but I needed to separate it out.  First, I needed to make the choice to change (part 5).  Next I needed to work through the process of making changes in my life.   I had to redesign who I was.  Now, for some people, that may be easy, but for me....it was WORK!

Work is a 4-letter word and you know what we say about them!

The 3 little munchkins are all working hard to ride their tricycles.  Well, when you are that age...it was work!  With art...sometimes...it CAN be "work" to design the shapes of all these tags and pockets (can you tell where the pocket is on this one?) or to redesign things and restructure them back into something just a little different (like the EK Success embellishment at the very top.)

At some point, you will realize that changes are happening....

You become more functional
Your mind starts working again
You seek realistic solutions to problems
You start to work on practical problems
You establish new relationships/friendships
You reconstruct yourself

And there are things you can do in this phase:

1.    Seek and accept support. From a trusted family member, close friend, church clergy, professional therapist. 
2.    Find role models.  You’re not the first to go through this. 
3.    Read books about your particular loss. 
4.    Find a support group.
5.    Get involved in something. 
6.    Start setting goals.

And this tag is just perfect..."Heal the past, Live the present, Dream the Future"....maybe the overall theme for this series?  But notice the tiny flowers in the center of the snowflakes.  Still the ongoing theme of chaos...which is much like life.

This is another good time to turn to your creative side.  In building a “new” life, perhaps there’s a place for some type of creativity.

Creativity is the ability to imagine or invent something new.  It’s the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing or reapplying existing ideas.  It’s both an attitude and a process.  

Think about it for a moment.  When you create something,
1.    you are playing with ideas and possibilities, coming up with something new to you. 
2.    Creativity can be a change of direction,
a.    an alternative insight,
                                              i.     a different way of looking at the same old thing. 
b.    You can express emotions (as in a painting or journaling). 
c.    You can express intense emotions in a safe manner (hiding things in pockets where no one will find them). 
d.    It can provide catharsis.
e.    It’s a means to honor the loss, or the one we lost
f.     It can be healing through action
                                              i.     Excellent for anyone who is not verbal
3.    Types of creativity include, but are not limited to:
a.    Drawing/painting
b.    Sculpture
c.    Poetry
d.    Dance
e.    Music
f.     Writing
g.    Scrapbooking/rubber stamping – paper arts
h.    Jewelry making
i.     Anything that expresses the creative side (right side) of the brain
4.    You can use ideas from
a.    Dreams
b.    Fantasies
c.    Active imagination
d.    Something you read or see
5.    How to find your creativity
a.    Classes – check your local craft stores
b.    Online tutorials – most tell you everything you need and what you need to do
c.    Weekend retreats – with complete strangers or with close friends
d.    Week long classes – a good way to get away from life for at least 40 hours
e.    Friends – often more creative than you know.  Just ask them
f.     Magazines – many offer tutorials
g.    Local colleges and universities – check their free university classes
h.    Local recreation centers, senior centers, clubs, groups
                                              i.     Most communities have a newsletter that lists upcoming classes/events
                                            ii.     Check here for needed volunteers – that’s a great way to get involved

And here you can see where the tag goes....the engineering and construction of tags and pockets, measurements that fit together, that don't hide the focal point (the kids) and gives an overall message (Heal the past),  the beauty of how art all works together to calm and sooth...and help heal.

I know a gal who owns a craft business called “It’s Cheaper than Therapy”.  And that could be a very true statement.  Being creative, no matter what the medium, could be cheaper than paying for therapy, and it could be more productive.  

An excellent therapist once told me to limit my sessions to 3 visits.  The first visit is a summary. In the second visit the therapist provides you with a plan, action steps, a "to-do" list.  And the 3rd visit checks on the status of your work.  At the end of 3 visits, there should either be enough progress that you don't need to come back. Or if there's not been progress, then you need to find a new therapist who can provide you with better ideas.

Now I also realized that was for short term needs.  Those minor events where you just need a nudge to get you over the hump in the road.  Many times, a person needs numerous therapy sessions.  But I still think her advice was good.  Set a goal to end therapy....because if the problem hasn't been resolved...it's time to seek a new way to handle it!

If you belong to my Moore family tree and you think you recognize these characters....you are right!  Anyone want to venture a guess?  Actually, they are in the Brandon Clan.  Borrowing my own relatives to create fun art....a great way to put my memories to "work"!

I know women who have turned their creativity into profitable businesses.   They have opened up craft stores, started their own line of products, turned themselves into amazing role models for the rest of us.  How many of them did this as the result of their own healing process?  I'm sure at least a few of them.

But does art heal?  

I also know other women who have sucked into the concept that art heals.  They go out and buy every single new product that comes to the market.  They spend thousands of dollars a year....and they are not getting healthier.  In fact, some are getting worse.  

One of these women has 2 ongoing diseases causing multiple disabilities.  As far as I can tell, she has never grieved the loss of her old, healthy self.  She takes every single class in the art world, buys everything that comes along....yet she is probably 5 times worse, both mentally and physically.  She is truly looking to "art" to heal, it's just not happeneing, and that tosses her right back into a deep depression.  When she makes the upward turn, she turns to art...and eventually falls back into her depression.  I have watched this "do-loop" process in her life for at least 3 years now.  Art is not healing her.  It's really hendering her. 

Those who promote the concept that "art heals" probably aren't really investigating the entire healing process.  "Art Heals" is a terrific marketing ploy.  But if you don't know how to heal the entire body, mental and physical, how on earth can "art" heal you?

Nevertheless - ya gotta love a great gimmick that will get you to go out and buy whatever it is they are promoting - with the thought that it just might help you "heal"!

In today's pockets, tuck a note about your own answer to the question, "Does art heal?"

1 comment:

Shoshi said...

Jen, I don't think I could do my Art if I hadn't come to terms with my disability. Because I've got peace in my heart I can move "outside" myself and get really excited about new ideas and can't wait to put them into practice! Since most things I make are for specific people, they fill my thoughts as I create for them.

Through this I feel I have turned my loss into gain.