Intuitive art for self-discovery and transformation
When Rika Dehombreaux asked me to write a guest post for her intuitive art blog, Glowing Roots about what intuition means to me it set me on a course of examining just what it is that art does for me. Reading it back on Rika’s blog sparked the idea to write more deeply about how my life has been transformed by intuitive art.
It’s how I process my emotions
When I can’t find the words to express how I feel I paint it out.
These holds true for positive and negative emotions. Sometimes the other person just doesn’t want to hear what you are saying, how do you process that? If you don’t work through the difficult things you feel, you end up carrying them around with you forever, and they weigh you down.
Painting has become my way of processing events and emotions that I can’t “resolve” in other ways.
It’s how I express myself
In painting, I can express myself without fear. When I am creating intuitively and non-judgmentally, working in a place of creative flow, the expression that I produce is truth from my soul. It’s fearless expression.
Through my painting, I can express my feelings, fears, hopes and dreams. I no longer walk around feeling like I’m carrying the world on my shoulders. My cupboard has space in it for new things because I’ve cleared out the skeletons.
This has also helped me discover hidden parts of myself, things I haven’t wanted to acknowledge or face.
When I’ve come to my painting practice with an openness to learn about myself I’ve found plenty of hidden treasures. Sometimes they didn’t look like treasures at first, but once I’d wiped the dust off and held them up to the light, they’ve time and time again been the goods! This is where I’ve found my pain-points and stared them in the face until I understood them a little more, and a little more. Staying in the intuitive flow the answer or solution tends to always be there if I keep digging. This can take many paintings.
Laying out a plan
When I need a plan, painting can help me to find out more about what I want and helps me to act on my desires. I ask myself questions about what I want and then paint with abandon. Sometimes these paintings remind me of maps. They have a landscape and symbols and they take me on a journey along a path with a destination at the end of it.
Knowing myself better boosts my self-confidence
As I express what I most want in the tangible format of an artwork it becomes real and I can see it. I begin to know who I really am underneath all the social conditioning (people pleasing, being a ‘good’ girl, being seen but not heard) and to come to terms with that. It’s hard not to feel more confident once you are friends with yourself.
If I really, really want something but in my current view it’s out of reach, I paint it into existence. The metaphor of a witches spell comes to mind often when I think about this. With my body (the physical act of painting), mind (thinking about what I want to achieve) and soul (listening to prompts from my intuition) I set an intention with my painting. By the time I have finished the expression of what I desire on the canvas, every part of me (body, mind and soul), is ready to jump at the opportunity when it comes along. Before I began doing this, I was often not prepared for opportunities when they came along and turned them down from a place of fear and unpreparedness.
It’s how I tell my story
We benefit from telling our stories because it gives us space to express ourselves. It can also benefit others by bringing encouragement and relief to those who feel alone in their struggles. Telling our stories in words or in artworks is a way to reach out and show ourselves to the world. It’s how to find soul-sisters and -brothers and make connections. Hearing other’s stories gives us a point of reference, a common thread. When we identify with each other’s stories it makes us more empathic and compassionate to one another. This takes us into a mindset of cooperation rather than competition. We can all learn from each other and help each other grow.
Essentially, an intuitive art practice can open channels within you and allow self-discovery and healing to take place. It’s changed the way that I see the world and most definitely transformed me over the past seven years.
The top breakthrough moments on my journey so far:
Discovering that I am creative.
It was an epiphany to discover that there was this creative flow that was accessible to me and I could tap into it at any time. Up until then, I hadn’t thought of myself as creative (even though other people told me I was) because when I tried to be creative it was such an uphill struggle.
Discovering my creative voice
My ideas about what art is and what you have to achieve to be an artist were not realistic. I now know that anyone who wants to make art can, and that we all have a creative voice if we allow ourselves to create without judgement. Once I stopped trying to make art “as good as” other artists and comparing my work to theirs, I made art that was authentically mine and, surprise, surprise, it had something that my previous work didn’t have. An energy! A truth! I had my own style without trying.
Losing myself in the bliss of creative flow
This was a surprise after how gruelling I found art to be at first, but it shouldn’t really have come as such a surprise to me as it did. About a decade ago I spent every Sunday for three years meditating with a group of Zen Buddhists at Guildford University. I was accustomed to experiencing that blissful, peaceful space of nothing and everything. Painting or getting lost in other creative pursuits is also a meditation. I can achieve that same nothing and everything space through painting without thinking about painting.
Discovering the power of creativity
Realising that creativity is a tool for personal discovery and transformation was like an unearthing of magical powers to me. It empowers me to change what needs changing and to attract more of what I want into my life.
Creating intentionally and consciously daily
Making every choice count and carefully hand-crafting a life is how to make dreams come true. Discover what your priorities are. Find out what makes you tick and make your choices accordingly. Create boundaries for your creative work and allow yourself the time and space to make discoveries. Let creativity infuse every activity you participate in. Make every part of your life a work of art. That’s how you add purpose and meaning to a humdrum existence.
To conclude, I leave you with the visionary words of Dr Seuss: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”