Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Are You a Home Run Hitter?

One of the great things about being an artist is meeting other artists.  One of the great artists I know, Kyle Bannister, had a birthday yesterday.  Kyle’s art is devoted to baseball.  Baseball is his passion and his work of baseball players and everything else baseball is incredible.  When I wished him Happy Birthday I told him that I hope the day hit it out of the park; trying to use sports metaphor (I’m not very sports inclined) to punctuate the day.

Later that day on Facebook, Kyle had responded back to me, “I always aim for the fence”.  I got to thinking about his philosophy and his action plans for his special day and his life.  Do you aim for the fence every time you get up to bat?  You’re in the batter’s box everyday.  When you step up to the plate what are you thinking?  Do you strive to hit a home run everyday or do you set your sights lower?

You may think about everything related to sports as physical, but the truth is every sport has a huge psychological component.  Many athletes engage the services of sports psychologists to get past the blocks (like an artist) that prevent them from playing their best.  There are times when unbeknownst to us, we hold back.  Do you hold back from fear of how powerful you might be or that you won’t measure up to your own expectations of the expectations of others?

If you were going to be a starting athlete in your own life, what kind of training do you need?  Do you need to journal, speak with a coach, a therapist, or a spiritual director?  What will make you stronger emotionally?  Should you look into support groups or engage in expressive arts like dance or theater?

My hope is that every day when you step in the batter’s box you, like Kyle, aim for the fence.  Having the vision and the belief in the possibility of a home run is critical on your journey to health and healing.  You’re the star of your team…hit that home run!

Posted in art and healing, creativity and health

What if you couldn’t speak?

Welcome to Art and Healing Wednesday!!

What if you didn’t have the ability to speak, how would you communicate?  Even when you do speak do you really feel like your point-of-view is understood by everyone?  Are there things you’d like to say that you either don’t have the words for, or  you don’t feel comfortable saying out loud?  This is where alternative methods of communication are crucial to your health and healing.

When you’re diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness it’s easy to jump right into your head and think logically about everything you need to do.  The medical community will join you in this fantasy that the logical is the only thing to consider when it comes to treatment.  What happens if you have doubts or questions that aren’t ready to be verbalized?

There are lots of ways to express yourself without having to speak.  One of my friends, Kim Rosen,, wrote an amazing book titled, Saved by a Poem.  Following my workshop with Kim I not only thought differently about poetry as an art form, but as a way of expressing my authentic self.  It gave me the courage, even when I recite the poems of others, to express myself from my highest self, my deepest truth, and with elegance and grace.  It makes me feel heard.

In many of my workshops I have participants draw some aspect of a current health challenge.  This particular experience is particularly good for those feeling pain because different colors often signify different levels of pain depending on the participants threshold.  I’ve been in a workshop the past two days where we are using collage and creative journal expression to seek answers to questions (in our case it’s about our dissertations), but the process would be exactly the same for those looking for answers about their journey to wellness.

There are so many creative ways of expressing oneself that to feel locked in to speaking is a shame.  If we can’t find ways of expressing ourselves our level of suffering and frustration increases.  Utilizing creative strategies releases tension, engages the body, mind, and spirit, and provides an avenue for sharing your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self with the world.