We all have a story. We all have a voice. Art is where I found mine.
For the majority of my life my voice was lost. Like the wind, my voice may have been present, but rarely ever heard. Though my body was planted on earth, and I was breathing, I did not feel alive. Often seeking safety from my parents’ violent relationship, I would erupt with a scream that went unheard. With much care, I often sent this question into the universe: Where is my voice?
As a child, I often held on tight riding destructive waves of chaos. Abuse. Physical and mental were my companions. Living in a violent household I suffered painful beatings and often. Fear became my best friend. During my teenage years I was abandoned by both my parents, which invited perpetual stress and anxiety to join my active committee. My imagination and color is what saved me. I often sought comfort through nature. Surrounded by neon yellow autumn leaves, electric red poinsettias of winter, the end less vivid colors of spring flowers, and the majestic green beauty of a summer time forest, I inherently found happiness and safety from mother natures’ gifts. It was fascinating to discover how healing color could be. Through every season at every moment I found peace and shelter from the storm.
I survived many storms from a very young age, giving birth to my first child at 18 years old. I built a strong, sturdy ship for myself, but in doing so my voice became more lost to me than ever.
Fast-forward a few decades. After a successful creative career in the sportswear industry and surviving life thus far as a young single mother, enter a loving husband, two more beautiful children, and a new country to live in. Spending over a decade living in France was a magical time filled with joy, and immense beauty, but shadowed by painful memories. I finally decided to embrace my fears and explore the deeper meaning of my painful childhood. Doing so led me into the deep shadowy waters of my pain and suffering. Through the healing presence of an enlightened witness as well as cherished friends, I eventually became a heroine. Eager to receive and surrender, I was thrust wide open and vulnerable. I came to understand that my symptoms (suffering) were messages from my unconscious, something bigger than I was seeking to come into being. I was set free to understand that once captured and revealed, emotional suffering has a purpose.
This new state of vulnerability presented many challenges and painful casualties. My eyes were wide open to personal relationships that were causing much destruction in my life. It’s as if the fog was lifted. I could see clearly. Through wholeheartedness and vulnerability I found the courage to end unhealthy friendships that no longer served a purpose in my life. As painful as it was, this also included peacefully ending connections to some of my family. I continued to gain strength and began to find the courage to share my story. The universe was holding my hand. I was closer to finding my voice.
During my travels in Europe I discovered I was not alone when I shared my story. I met countless amazing women, who like me were on the same journey. I discovered regardless of ones culture, language, religion or demographic, one common denominator that exists for women (people) is suffering. I found myself drawn to helping others creatively process their stories.
Eleven years later, with new hopes, dreams and a wealth of experience, I once again packed my bags, (leaving the emotional baggage behind!). Next adventure, moving back to America.
Art soon arrived at my door. I discovered I was an Artist. I realized this by making a choice to build a career out of helping others through Art. Becoming an Art4Healing® facilitator felt like coming home. Not only did I discover that I was an Artist but, that we are all Artists, and that what I am truly passionate about is serving others through art and storytelling. With abstract painting, collage and other mediums, I was able to creatively explore my soul and understand the organic approach to support emotional healing and genuine freedom of expression. I learned that like fingerprints each of us possess a “signature” stroke.
Graciously presented with freedom to unlock my creative talents, I began to speak using the language of color. I was able to lovingly guide myself to see the “darkness” of humanity, in turn allowing healing light to shine through. I gained a true understanding of empathy vs sympathy. I cultivated healing connections with women and together with much courage we shared our inspiring and at times painful stories. Through Art, our voices were welcomed with open arms and safely heard.
I now work with teens exiting foster care, homeless families, battered women, Wounded Warriors, and schools for children of the deployed. Art can provide much comfort, encouragement, and emotional support for grief, illness, stress and abuse. Dark places hidden within the heart can safely be uncovered. Closed doors of the mind peacefully opened. Without words spoken, pain and suffering is given a voice.
Through Art and creativity I realized my life was always in good hands. I discovered that Art is one of many gifts from God and where healing lives. Through Art, without speaking, I finally found my voice.
Image credit: creativemarket.com