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I have to admit that this wasn’t an easy blog to write. I’ve been wanting to talk about my story in more detail for a long time but I knew that it would dig up some old memories and difficult emotions for me.
I actually went through a period of resistance as I contemplated how I got to where I am and some of the things I’d been through to get here.
It was tough, painful but I knew it needed to be done
I feel I need to start by telling you this because my creative journey had a purpose. It was to heal from some really big stuff and I think it’s important that I share how having a creative outlet can be transformative. And I’m proof of that.
A little bit of background about me…..
I thought creativity was for other people……you know……..the arty ones!
Now, I’m guessing some of you guys will have seen my artwork on social media, my website and my email newsletters and you’re probably thinking well…you are one of the arty ones.
Hmmm, well I certainly didn’t always feel that way. In fact, I’d not drawn anything for over 20 years and only started craving a way to be creative when my need to heal had become unavoidable.
For me, creativity, personal development, magick, spirituality, growth and success all come hand in hand, but I didn’t always know or appreciate how interconnected they were.
Before I started on my healing, spiritual & creative journey I had suffered from insomnia for around 8-10 years. Now this wasn’t just the odd bad nights sleep here and there but being unable to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time and maybe not even falling asleep at all some nights. My insomnia was an outside symptom of a whole host of other unresolved problems.
For most of my adult life (20’s to mid 30’s – I’m now 41) I was depressed, rung out and angry at the world. I’d still not properly grieved for the loss of my brother. I’d not dealt with the abuse from a long and violent relationship. I’d hidden my self-harm and self medicating from the world. And in fact I’d not processed any of the crappy stuff I’d experienced or caused to happen. But I had two options:
- 1. Continue on a path of self-destruction or
- 2. Get the *bleep* out of there.
For the first time in a long time, I made a good decision and choose option 2! Phew!
Colouring Myself Calm
I began with colouring books. These things become popular for adults at a time when I really needed a creative outlet to help me cope with stress and experience calm. Colouring helped to take myself out of my own head which was initially a big problem in my healing process.
I bought some cheap coloured pencils and a colouring book with lots of animals and flowers in and I just coloured. In the beginning, it looked like a child had filled in the pages but I didn’t care. No one was going to see it and I started to feel better.
In fact, after a stressful day I would look forward to getting my colouring kit out and relaxing for a few hours before bed.
After a while, I started to sleep better. I had less nightmares and I felt more refreshed in the mornings.
FYI : I don’t currently experience insomnia and haven’t done for almost two years. I would say that it took at least 18 months of ‘doing the work’ before my sleeping habits changed permanently. However I still class myself as an insomniac as not sleeping is my stress response to challenging situations.
Mindful Mandala Art
Colouring was great for a long time, and I still enjoy it now but I started to crave something else. I came across mandala art on Instagram and YouTube and wanted to have a go at drawing my own. I watched hours and hours of videos and read books about the psychological and health benefits………and started to draw.
At first my artwork was really bad but with practice I got better and found that creating my own artwork was opening up a whole new world for me.
I noticed that my mandalas would look different depending on my mood or energy levels. I also discovered how meditative creating mandala art was.
After drawing mandalas I was always able to think more clearly, problem solve better and process any emotional issues I was going through at the time. The amount of support this creative outlet gave me was incredible.
I eventually created an online course to show others how to start creating mandala art too and the results have been mind blowing with many of the course members going on to host mandala workshops and even sell their own mandala art.
Creating Art and Making it my Business
I didn’t expect that when I started out on this journey of healing through creativity that it would become my business. It has been incredible and I am grateful every day for having a platform where I can share my artwork and also inspire others to get creative too.
I was initially fearful that creating art for sale would take the magick away and it would start to feel like another ‘job’ but that’s not been the case.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have days when I don’t feel like drawing or painting and that’s okay. If I don’t feel it, I don’t do it. However, I am careful to make sure that I’m not making excuses to remain stuck.
I have to be honest about being creatively fatigued or blocked and understand that there is nothing wrong with taking plenty of breaks from my work as long as I come back to it when I can.
Creating art for business has been a steep learning curve but it’s all been part of the process and journey I was meant to lead.
I find it exciting for the most part and frustrating from time to time but it is always inspiring, supportive and educational.
How to make time for creativity
This isn’t always easy, is it? After all, this is a luxury right? Something which you do only after doing everything else in your life is dealt with and if you still have any time or energy left at that point.
If creativity supports your mental health and wellbeing then it’s important.
If colouring, painting, drawing, writing, cooking, gardening, sewing, knitting, scrapbooking or anything else you enjoy makes you feel happy, content, calm and relaxed then it MUST be a priority.
This is still hard for me to do too. So I schedule it into my day.
During my working day I schedule art for my business between other businessy stuff. Then in my free time I set time aside to journal, drawn, colour, paint or take a class to help me improve all of those things.
With practice, scheduling time for creativity gets easier. The trick is to start with what you can achieve. That might be half a day every month when you know the house is empty and you’ve got quiet time to yourself.
Perhaps you can make this once a week after the kids go to bed.
Or maybe you can sign up for a course or workshop and make your creative commitment that way.
Creativity is so important and often overlooked as a tool to promote our personal health and wellbeing. How amazing would it be to discover that making time to do something that you love could actually help you and those around you in so many ways.
Want to get creative but don’t know where to start?
Let me share some ways I can help you with this.