Today, I present myself as an artist and healer, recovering engineer. It’s only been in the recent years that I began to play with the idea that maybe, in some way, I am an artist. It took explorations and support from mentors, coaches and peers for this sensitive, vulnerable part of me to dare to claim her place in life.
When I’m asked if creativity, painting, drawing has always been with me, my first answer is “yes, but not really”. It wasn’t anything remarkable. It wasn’t valued.
It felt like it just were small things, nothing noticeable. I was “just playing”.
I certainly didn’t identify as an artist.
My cousin painted watercolor scenes when we were teens. She was an artist in my eyes.
My younger brother has been drawing since he could hold a pencil – my music schoolbook carries the trace of his 3-year olds first explorations to depict the fascinating tractors moving in our home village. He continuously developed his talent. He is an artist, (and a struggling one – but that’s another story).
My daughter draws amazingly since she’s about ten and I found tremendous pleasure to support her in her choice of art studies. She is an artist.
I’ve seen the artists all around me. But not in me.Olivia
Can you relate to that feeling, that these qualities or abilities that you admire are in others around you, that these people are that, but not you? Weather it is about being an artist or a healer or an entrepreneur – or fill in the blank with your own flavor 😉.
As I made a big shift in my life in my early forties, leading me to leave my mechanical engineering career to pursue more heart centered values through environmental and societal activism, at some point I needed support and worked with a therapist to help me.
It was 6 years ago and this was a turning point for me and my art expressions.
In one of our sessions, I was insisting that what I needed was to find a way to stand strong, big, tall and move more decisively. I was looping in that when my therapist asked me to pick a piece of paper in the size of my choice and some markers – I picked a big sheet of paper as I was convinced that what needed or wanted to be expressed was BIG. I grasped a black marker and began to draw a small round dot. I felt “there’s nothing more” and contemplated that little black dot, confounded after having argued that my need right now was to stand big and tall and outwardly expressive. … “there’s nothing else, no, there’s nothing else” I could hear in my head. I stoped for a few seconds, looked at this little black dot, feeling that there was nothing else than this little dark place I was so afraid to disappear into. I took it in, admitting that it was so.
And as I moved into acceptance of “that’s all there is right now”, something shifted in me and I felt: “and there is love out there”, tracing a little arc of red, “and warmth, and life” tracing two other arcs in red and green.
This very simple drawing experience brought me out of my conditioned mind, into the now and connected me with where I actually was and what I needed: to allow myself to rest, go and stay inward a little while and to realize that this little dark hole I feared so much to disappear into was safe and secure, surrounded by love, warmth and life taking care of me while I was in there.
Have you ever caught yourself believing that you should be doing or feeling a certain way while you really needed rest and nurturing?
That was a profound experience me. It showed me how I could access deeper parts of myself, have a new relationship to my needs and my inner world. So I enthusiastically bought my first set of oil pastels crayons and began to intuitively play with colors and shapes.
I played with the symbol of the dot and the colors emerging around it and it became a series of drawings I called “Me and the Universe”
My 10y old son commented one day in one of my drawing sessions in the living room, on the floor in front of the sofa:
“You are enjoying it so much (to draw) that it doesn’t matter how it looks like in the end.”My 10y-old son
I was so touched and proud of his sensitive insightfulness and felt so clearly seen.
That’s how drawing became an important source of connection to my inner world and joyful expression and exploration. A starting point of a rich journey with many twists and turns. More in coming posts 😊
What could you discover if you had a playful creative practice?
How could that support your wellbeing and balance your life?
Share in the comments!
And if you know that you want expand your creative powers in service of your joy and show up more fully in the world, book a Vision-Review call here.