Monday, August 9, 2010

Soul Painting

As a child, I was always so envious of the ones whose creative abilities seemed to come so effortlessly. There were always a select few in school who were known as the "artistic ones." I was not one of them. However, throughout my life it seems I've always been drawn to one creative endeavor or another. There was sewing for my children when they were young, latchhooking, cross-stitch, painting of birdhouses. I decorated birthday cakes. I took piano lessons, guitar lessons, a creative writing class. I just never seemed to stick with anything long enough to get good at it.

A couple of years ago in the midst of some struggles with an anxiety disorder, a friend invited me to something called a "soul painting" class at her church. I was desperate for something to help me deal with my anxiety and the opportunity to be creative again drew me in.

The class began with the lighting of candles and prayer. We were then asked to meditate and open our spirits up to God's creative powers. We were given an hour to go to one of several painting stations which consisted of a large sheet of paper attached to the wall. In the center of the room were buckets and buckets of all colors of paint, paintbrushes, aprons, palettes, water, everything we needed to create.

As I was meditating I had a vision in my mind of what I was to paint. It began with 4 mountain like structures, each one with a name: judgment, rejection, abandonment and failure. These were the fears in my life that seemed to be causing the anxiety I was dealing with. The mountains became more human-like in their form and I imagined myself walking among them, yet finally escaping along a path that led to an altar of peace. The painting is very simple and childlike, lacking in any detail or true talent. But the release I experienced from the painting of it was enormous.

This is what led me to begin to explore more about painting. That was just a little over 2 years ago. Locking myself away in my art room and spending hours creatining and painting has provided me with a safe haven, a place to express all those fears and emotions that have caused me anxiety and pain. I had no imposed expectations on being "good enough" to do this. It was simple play.

Now looking back over the things I have created over the past 2 years, I can see how much I have grown and evolved. I am no longer imprisoned by the fears I once had. I am accepting myself as the person I was created to be. I see growth in the way I create, too. It's a wonderful journey that will continue with no expectations on where it will lead.

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