Healing Grief & Trauma with Soul Arts (Part I)
Not only does this article topic reflect the core transformational approaches and methods I use in private retreat intensives and counsel, but it reflects what I have found after a lifetime of sacred inquiry and psychological study to be the amazing “seed power” for growing life crisis, searching confusion, and spiritual angst into true inner clarity, healing wisdom, and life transformation!
By use of the word creativity here, I am not speaking of doing art projects or some leisurely act of aesthetic expression. I’m talking about creation itself; how we create, change, transform, manifest, work with the materials of our lives in a way that is consciously alive and vibrantly empowered to heal, transform, and enliven.
Creativity (when you really look into it) is actually who and what we are at our very core! We are constantly creating – either consciously (with awareness of what we are creating), or on autopilot (where we simply create from old repeated habits and pre-conditioning).
And herein is the secret Power of Creativity:
If we want to live fulfilled lives, ones that are blessed with an inner contentment, peace and authenticity — well then, we have to learn how to become conscious of what we are creating by way of our beliefs, our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
When we become consciously creative in our beliefs, our thoughts and our actions, then we naturally become Self-Full-Filled (whole, healed) by reclaiming our power and birthright as master artists of our lives.
To heal, to reclaim our power, and to discover our wholeness, requires breaking free of our own areas of “darkness”; it requires breaking free of the unconscious blind spots that keep us repeating old patterns that no longer serve Life’s bigger urge for freedom and authenticity.
Things change, they evolve. We’re meant to too!
Look at life itself. Life itself is above all else, movement.
Movement requires the ability to change, grow, adapt. The ability to change, grow and adapt demands a breaking free of the bonds of static conditions.
In our own lives, this breaking free can occur through learning how to become consciously creative with the circumstances of our lives as they naturally evolve and shift… or, if we don’t learn the skills of conscious creativity, this need to break free will (and must) eventually occur by crisis.
Either way, live must move — and we as forms of life must move too.
When life needs to grow and change – when it is ready to become bigger and more whole – the old ways begin to cause discomfort and confusion. These are growing pains.
As long as we remain willingly or unknowingly stuck and attached to the old ways of seeing and responding that stand in the way of our next level of growth and the new wholeness seeking to show itself in our lives, we suffer.
To make our lives more conscious, brings us out of the darkness of these inner blind spots and the sufferings they cause. Creative living brings us into the light of being present for what is trying to emerge. It brings us into the now…the only place where life is really happening and where we have any power whatsoever to creatively participate and effect positive change!
Art and healing only ever happen in the NOW.
Think about it: Whenever we believe, think or do something automatically, where is the aliveness? There isn’t any because we aren’t engaged directly and spontaneously (creatively) with the ever-newness of the moment! How can we heal anything if we’re operating from someplace that is not actually alive itself? We cannot.
It takes real aliveness to heal. It takes conscious creative living.
The struggles and confusions in our lives come from not knowing how to be artists and instead trying to sort things out from a position of “un-alive”. It’s really that simple! And that’s precisely why, when we’re operating from unconscious pre-programmed habits, we feel so disenfranchised, confused and unable to find answers and life directions!
The very reason there are questions and struggles is because something new is trying to get through the old; something new is trying to be seen and creatively met as a new possibility of wholeness… your Self is trying to grow to a new level of wisdom, clarity and potential.
Questions and struggles are a big “red flag” that says:
“hello, something’s no longer working here…there’s something new to see and enter into…there’s a new way that holds the key to your peace and joy”.
Struggles are the growing pains of an inner wisdom seeking to emerge! Our life struggles carry potent transformation potential! This is why I always say to my clients that there is a gift hidden within their wounds and their struggles. This is what we find and free in our work together.
To find this new possibility, the gift waiting within the struggle, one has to muster the willing courage to give up the old automatic thoughts and beliefs and ways, in order to discover a deeper more vibrant truth. The doorway for entering this deeper more vibrant and healing truth is learning how to access and live from one’s inherent creative aliveness.
To end the search, to find clarity, to invoke self healing and transformation …and to live in wholeness and self-contentment, requires a fundamental shift in consciousness to one of creative aliveness. It requires stepping out of the conditioned mind-set, and into the moving current of the heart and soul of you.
The process that I have discovered and have come to help others find within themselves is simply this: I have found a way for stepping away from the circular confusions of the limited intelligence of the conditioned mind, and into the freely moving and vast intelligence of that in you which is truly alive: the creative essence of you!
When we talk about the healing power of creativity, we are really talking about accessing our original birthright: the creative spirit of aliveness itself! God.
When we learn how to access the wellspring of our innate creativity, we are reunited to our true Self, our Essence, our Divinity.
When we access this inner creative presence, we have learned the secret of how to step out of the quagmire of darkness and into the current of a living lightness of being…
To fully participate in life by making our lives truly conscious ones, is the ultimate creative act. It is actually what we’re here to do and be. The rest (our job, relationships, health etc.) is just the canvas on which we play out these acts of learning how to become more alive, present to our Soul’s truth and evolving purpose.
Our lives are meant to be a great artistry – a continual expression of making art from the changing circumstances of our lives… and the ever-growing wisdom of being consciously involved in such a creative process. Our lives are meant to be a dynamic dance of aliveness – of spirit engaging form in ever-new reflections of artistry.
Here all things become possible according to natural law. Here too, our lives are freed to move and reflect their natural potential. This is called peace by some; self-realization or enlightenment by others. It is what I call “Re-membering who you really are”…an artist of Soul painting your unique masterpiece across the canvas of time and space…
The Four Steps for Invoking the Healing Power of Creativity:
The key steps for finding your true Self and entering into the healing power of creativity for reclaimed aliveness are these:
1) Find your heart’s deepest longing, question, or desire.
What at the very very core of your being is most important to you? What do you most deeply long to experience within yourself?
2) Consciously let drop away the thinking mind, and learn to listen to that which arises from within stillness:
“Be still and know…”
This is the most difficult barrier and the hardest to learn to move beyond. It is accomplished first through a willing leap of faith to let go of thought as your “master problem-solver”, and then to access a subtler language of knowing and wisdom that simply arises when the mind is stilled. (Easier said than done! This is the primary breakthrough I offer in our private retreats: a process for releasing the grips of thought through invoking something deeper, wiser, and more truly YOU…)
3) Engage in the symbolic language of Soul.
All of the arts, when done in the spirit of open-attentive play (rather than as a practice of technique) are good for developing this attunement. However, for an engagement of the arts to be effective as a way of transformation, it must be entered into from a state of conscious intention and invocation.
You will see two specific examples of this type of engaging, first in the personal story I share of a process I invoked to heal (reclaim) a new wholeness after the sudden death of my ex-husband, and then in the Feature Story by Sharon, who used a process of the arts to reclaim her life from the devastation of early childhood abuse. Much more detail on this transformational process can be found in my Guidebook: The Art of Living Your Destiny! (available in paperback, kindle, and eBook PDF)
4) Give in-sights arising from the engagement of symbol an actual physical action of honoring recognition.
i.e. Ritualize (reflect back) an acknowledgement of what you are seeing/sensing/realizing by giving it a creative action of some physical form. You will see two creative examples of doing this in this issue.
Following these four steps as a lifestyle is how transformation occurs! It is through this process: shining the light of consciousness on your deep desire; dropping the mind to find your inner stillness; attuning to the language of soul and paying attention to what arises; and giving what is seen and sensed a conscious act of honoring recognition.
NOTE: The final step, conscious action, is essential to healing transformation and positive life change. Seeing without action has little power to “make real” – it takes conscious creation; it takes the power of creativity.
Whatever conscious honoring act you create, becomes the next process of symbolic listening attention and creative engagement. So step 4 leads back to a deeper layer of steps 1, 2, and 3 – and so on, the process continues to unfold as you learn to ask from the heart; drop the mind; step into inner stillness; attune to the subtle language of soul; and create honoring actions based on what you sense, notice, realize along the way. It is an evolutionary emergence in which you engage in creativity.
This cycle becomes your romantic adventure with becoming ever more alive and free and true throughout your days. It is the pathway to self acceptance, self love, and peace. It is also the pathway to living your unique genius in the world!
When this transformational process of spiritual alchemy becomes your lifestyle, then your life’s circumstances and messages become an adventurous curiosity …and you become increasingly empowered and whole through the act of giving yourself to Life.
When you learn to step consciously into an active engagement in these four steps as a conscious adventurer, then you have tapped into the radically transforming and awesome healing power of creativity…because that creative power is what you really are!