Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Creativity, a Healing process

My father and mother when they were young and happy, never knowing what would happen in their senior years.

Today while exercising all alone in my "private pool" at Brasstown Resort, I thought about the lowest points in my life and how certain people appeared and showed me the way out of my despair. Both these people were creative women.

In 1975 my mother collapsed with a ruptured aneuryism that bled into her brain. Our family was decimated by this sudden event. After months in the hospital she recovered enough to come home. She knew none of us at first and thought my father was her Papa.
My family pulled together and worked out ways of sharing responsibility for the first six months. By then she had recovered but was left with no short term memory. My sisters had to go back to their families, my brothers had a business to run.
Over the next ten years I took care of her with the help of a good woman who came in half a day every day of the week. I deeply grieved for the mother who was gone, but loved the mother who was more like a daughter to me. That decade was exquisitely torturous. I adored the times I had with Mother telling me about her childhood, my father's young years, but I became depressed with all the responsibility and being on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I felt I'd had to give up my own life.
I was fortunate to find a wonderful art teacher who reached down and lifted me up from my despair. That was when I learned the healing power of creativity. In class I became absorbed in her teaching and my painting. Happiness settled over me like a warm and comforting blanket, and I left the studio every week smiling. Verna became a dear friend and shared her story of creativity healing.
When Verna's husband died, she was lost for a time, not knowing what she should do with her life. Trained as an artist, she decided to open an art studio for beginners, and through creating lesson plans and teaching others to paint, she became renewed. She healed herself. Her students adored her humor, her warmth and her caring way of teaching. I could never repay her for what she did for me.

My mother died in 1985 and once again I spiraled into despair. Verna had remarried and given up her studio. I seldom mustered the motivation to paint. I couldn't find anything I wanted to do that helped me with my grief. My husband saw my suffering and eventually he and my brother Hal made it possible for us to move to Clay County NC where Barry could continue with the company.
Once again a special person came into my life. Nancy Simpson, poet and teacher, called me one evening. Through her classes, I began writing on a regular basis and publishing my work. Because of her and Linda Smith, a fellow writer, I attended the Netwest critique groups, I signed up for writing classes at JCCFS and found that I loved learning in this non-threatening environment. Every chance I had I took a class, poetry, essay writing with Steve Harvey, memoir with Ruth Zefuss, classes with Carol Crawford, many poetry classes with Nancy Simpson and others. My creative juices poured out on the page and endorphins rushed to my brain and chased away the darkness.

Today I am happy although we have been fighting "The Beast" for months now. After a few months of losing the ability to focus on anything but my husband's illness, I am once again excited about creating poetry, essays, articles and now I'm learning photography.

I would advise anyone who is down in the dumps and can't seem to get back up, to take a class, learn something new, engage your passion in whatever you can do that is creative and will make the brain concentrate on building or making something new, something that is unique. Our self worth increases when we create anything that is of our on invention. People live longer who have hobbies or work that absorbs them in the process of doing. The hours fly by so fast you hardly know it when you get involved in a task or a project. Nothing makes me feel as good as a finished story or poem. Whether I mail it or put it away in a file, I am fulfilled.
Indulge your creativity and find a new life, a happy life and if you can share this with others, the joy grows more and more.

1 comment:

Kathryn Magendie said...

Beautiful, insightful, and powerful post...