Ssh! Here it is: I didn’t used to believe in healing art!
Surprised, shocked? Yes, I know! I used to scoff at the concept! I thought it was all made up, and just a way that some very enterprising artists had cooked up to sell their work!
That is, until I ***shock*** experienced it myself! I was truly skeptical of it, so when it snuck up on me, I was very surprised to feel how cathartic it was… and then even more surprised to see how other people were being affected by it! Read about my first experience here… how artwork went from my studio table to New York City! I was so shocked when I saw the reactions of these hard-boiled New Yorkers!
While the Muse Trilogy Part 1, 2 and 3 plunged me heart-first into healing art, it was by no means my last… rather, this Trilogy opened a locked door in my mind which allowed me to freely feel my way through many, many healing pieces.
Like many people, I had come from a difficult background; childhood abuse mixed in with damage done by cultish churches and a failed marriage… this meant I had a lot of baggage I hadn’t dealt with… and like most people, I did my best to read and learn how to heal. I thought that I had done an enormous amount of work on myself, digging deep to heal, learning new tools and struggling to put them into practice in my life, so when I was compelled to create the Trilogy, I was very surprised to experience the deep sense of cleansing and the peace I had felt.
That initial experience led me to explore more ways to use art as a healing mechanism, and since then I have heard of more people absolutely swearing by it.
My personal views of what comprises healing art has also grown from what I might create for my own benefit, to pieces that I create which help other people find strength, support, guidance, healing and positive energy to live their lives!
This growth in understanding of a lesser known side of art grew into giving workshops, which had profoundly impacted the participants! I took all this knowledge and experience and funneled it into creating the Art Journal Workbooks, a brand new way to approach companion workbooks! See the Sneak-peak here!
Over the years I have created tens of pieces of art which were so very cathartic in my healing journey. I used art… color, texture, materials, words… anything within reach sometimes, to work through something… it might have been a fight with my husband or other life event which triggered off deeper raw emotions.
I learned to look bravely at myself when those moments happened… many times the actual event was small compared to the intensity of emotion I was feeling: anger, frustration, feeling unheard, unappreciated or unimportant. Those were all things I was still hurting from and feeling raw.
The realization that the real issue was under the surface was the first step in being able to find a way to heal! I didn’t want to just react! I wanted to heal my past hurts so I could move forward in my life and feel peaceful…. not have a fake smile on my face so no one would know what I was really feeling! I wanted to genuinely be at peace!
The art I created during those moments weren’t classified as my “pretty pieces”! I think that a lot of those pieces were downright scary for anyone looking at them! (They may have seriously questioned my sanity during that time!) I also didn’t edit my feelings or worry about the outcome! I allowed it just to happen, knowing that I was pouring out things onto a piece of paper or canvas, which in turn couldn’t hurt anyone.
Here’s a little secret I learned during those very cathartic art making years: I didn’t have t keep the piece once I was done! Yes! I could burn it!!! **giddy laugh** The burning of the piece became almost as important in my healing as creating it! I usually took it out to a remote BBQ area in a state park, so I could deal with it privately… I really didn’t want people seeing my cry while I set fire to something in a BBQ pit and then ask me if everything were okay! Nope! I preferred to do it privately!
I found it super, super helpful to pray while I burned the artwork… I prayed to the Creator, asking that he take all the pain and suffering that I had poured out into the piece and remove it completely from my heart. I asked for the strength to forgive, so the wrongs wouldn’t continue to have any power over me. I prayed that all my thoughts and energies I had poured into the piece, but was unable to put into words be taken as my prayer. I cried. I poured my heart out to the Creator.
Slowly over time my anguish and the raw emotions became tamer. The hurt and incomprehension was replaced with understanding. My healing happened slowly, layer by layer. It took me many, many different times of repeating this process. It didn’t happen in one sitting, or even in one year! It was a long and difficult process, sometimes repeating steps over and over, because I pulled something deeper from it each time.
So when I wrote the book On Becoming a Lemonade Maker, I saw it as a reference… but I knew I wanted to develop more tools which would help people work out different issues. Since it had taken me many years, working on many layers, I didn’t see that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of workbook.
The Art Journal Workbooks are broken down into components to make this internal work more manageable. There’s an additional workbook which can be used if additional space is needed (not absolutely necessary, but it does carry over the same look and feel for continuity, if you need it), and a coloring book with the artwork and quotes from that section, so people can make sensational, frame-able pieces to remind themselves of the lessons they struggled so hard to learn!
Here’s the trilogy all together:
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