Posted in after the diagnosis, art and healing, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, creativity and health, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Did You Put Your Life Jacket on this Morning?

I love watching dancers dance; I think it’s magical.  “So You Think You Can Dance” is heading into its last few weeks and the competition is tough.  As part of the programming last night they did spotlight segments allowing the audience to get to know each dancer a bit better.

One of my favorite dancers, Will, who unfortunately was eliminated last night, had some amazing insights about his life.  He shared about how difficult his life had been growing up.  He felt a bit like an outsiders, wasn’t always doing great in school, and then at the age of 11 he started dancing.

He credits dancing with “saving his life”.  Once he started dancing he had found his place in the world.  He developed new levels of self-confidence.  His true personality, his soulful self was allowed to emerge.  He became the person he was meant to become.  When you watch Will dance you can see the joy, the essence of his being, and has the perseverance to move forward with his life and his career.

So what is it that will save your life?  After being diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness that question comes up all the time.  Let me be clear; I’m not discussing what will save your physical life, although I believe that’s an outcome of your emotional and spiritual life jacket.

We all need something that gives us meaning in our lives.  We need to know that we made an impact in this world.  Erik Erickson, noted developmental psychologist, one of the stages of adult development is generativity vs. despair.  Generativity is the idea that you’re life will have an impact on the future generations.  This is why people get buildings named after them, become benefactors, and start charities.

In my life, creativity is that life jacket.  As a textile artist I get to play with color and texture all the time.  I often follow the piece with writing about it as part of the multidimensional extension of the work.  It allows me to live my life in the mode of ultimate self-expression.

I connected deeply with Will when he talked about dancing saving his life.  I don’t know what my life would have been like without my creative outlets.  It’s truly an extension of me.  What’s your emotional and spiritual life jacket?  How does it impact your life?

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