Art has been used for therapy for centuries. Fine motor skills honed through painting, drawing, and sculpture. Dementia treated with music. A plethora of mental and emotional maladies made better through art, music, and dance. Art can move to tears and lift to joy. We are connected to it, it surrounds us. Even those who do not poses the drive to create appreciate it in some way.
I started my business, SecondHand Goddess at a time in my life when I needed healing and didn’t know how to find it any other way. I was trapped, scared, in pain everyday. I had not practiced any form of art in almost 5 years and it was killing me. The call became deafening. The universe stepped in and gave me what I needed to get started.
What I gained was was courage. In spite of the physical and emotional pain, it was all I could think about. All I wanted to do. The forces in my life that were keeping me down did not like what I was doing. They tried to get me to stop and I couldn’t. It was that drive, that call, that kept me going to the point that the person that was holding me back, let go of me. Completely. And even though it left me with two small children and no way to take care of myself or them, I still had my art. I still had that courage, that strength. It reminded me that I could do it. That I could survive. And I did. I was a long road to recovery. I struggled and cried and fought with all my heart. The mundane world and simple survival took all my energy for a while. But that drive to create never left me. I never turned my back on it and it never let me down.
Shortly after I gave birth to my first child I was diagnosed with Fibromyalsia. Acceptance of it was not very big in those days. Not much was known about it or how to live with it. My mother had it so I knew what it looked like. I knew how it destroyed her. Put her in bed for days. She was an artist too and I remember her struggling to get out of bed. Getting out to her studio in spite of her body fighting her. I understood very quickly that it was her art that kept her going. It was her art that gave her purpose when the fibro had taken everything else away. I have held onto that strength all my life. She used to say to me “Never let anyone break your spirit.” I did not always follow that. I allowed myself to be broken and I allowed others to be hurt because I was broken. But it was always the art that pulled me back.
A few years ago I was also diagnosed with Degenerative Disk Disease. I was told that nothing could be done until it got so bad that I would need surgery. I have lost jobs. I cannot work a normal job anymore. I am in constant pain. I cannot walk for stand for more than a minute or so. The call to create is stronger then it has ever been. As my body slowly fails I am left with pure raw desire to create. To take what was discarded and give it new life. Give it beauty. Just as I have been discarded and have found beauty in what I have become. Every set back in my life has opened a new door to creativity. Every time I embraces that drive I get stronger. I learn some new way to use the gift of creativity I have been given to keep going. A little at a time I am working towards a dream. I have found others along the way that believe in the dream as much as I do. And see the beauty in the broken. Broken does not mean ugly. Broken does not mean garbage. Broken means change, evolution, metamorphosis.
I have been broken in more ways than I can count. I am still hear and putting the pieces back together in whole new ways. My art is my therapy and my hope for the future.
So when the world breaks you, when the pain, weather physical or emotional gets to be so blinding that it feels impossible to bring anything else into focus. Remember that art can save you. Art can bring in the light or dim it when its too bright. Whether you are a creator or an appreciator it has power. Remember your favorite song. The one that makes you smile or cry or both. Watch your favorite movie. Walk out side and look at the sky and the trees and let the art of nature inspire you.
Draw, paint, crochet, sew, dance, sing! Art is everywhere if we just look. Let it be your therapy. Let it be your courage and your strength.