Finding My Voice: The Healing Power of Expressive Arts
Since January I have been participating in a Creative Depth Coaching Certification Program with Cat Caracelo and the Journey Path Institute. I will share more about this powerful work another time but this journey has helped me to put words and images together to express how I feel about art as a process for healing. We have studied expressive arts theory, narrative arts and other visual and written processes for bringing to light old stories that need healing or retelling.
Defining your Original Voice
As we near the end of our training, we were invited to consider the concept of Original Voice. What is our original voice? How do we want to express that voice as we take our work out into the world as Depth Coaches? Big questions to consider that flow from a deep inner well and get translated into a business brand. Using expressive arts to capture and document the journey is a powerful tool that helps me let go of the how and focus on who I am being.
Mermaids, Mary Oliver and Magic
As I contemplated the questions being asked, what came to mind was Mermaids, Mary Oliver and Magic.
I had a flash back to Disney’s The Little Mermaid singing her heart out beneath the sea and above, capturing the heart’s of any who hear her. I’ve been thinking a lot about voice lately, feeling the need to tell a story I don’t tell often. But I feel like it is one I will need to share as part of my original voice story.
I have a memory of Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house, many people gathered in her living room singing Christmas Carols and me singing loudly along with the rest. At one point during the song Silent Night, someone else told me to be quiet and sit down, that she was singing. I don’t remember the exact words but I do remember feeling embarrassed and ashamed as a young teen. The memory of this story inevitably led to the silencing of my voice, fear of visibility and of standing out too much or I might be publicly shamed.
I am sitting with the curious question, where am I still giving my voice away, like The Little Mermaid giving her voice to the evil queen Urusula? Where have these old memories kept me trapped and stopped me from showing up more fully in my business?
Giving my Voice to the Evil Queen Ursula
My love of words turned into writing and love of poetry, into being a teacher and educator. Now my voice is pouring out through my artwork. And fear sits in my throat as if the evil queen Ursula has trapped it in a box.
As I think about voicing my originality out into the world, I ask where am I playing small? Where do I need to speak up more?
Expressive Arts Painting
There are many ways that I have kept silent in my lifetime. In the painting above I gave voice to my anger, fear grief around the Kavanaugh/Ford trial. This painting was so healing and it felt good to share it publicly and to honor the feelings of many women. Another place where healing the voice is necessary and where expressive arts can support us on the journey.
There is magic in all of this as I work through the stepping stones of this amazing program. There is magic and healing in art and the more I am willing to lean into the expression of my original voice, the more the healing happens. I am excited to be able to share this work with other women as a Depth Coach, to help them ignite their creative fire, rewrite their stories and claim their original voice.
This was a fun painting to create and as I stepped more and more into the energy of freeing my voice, I felt the release of pent up emotions and a renewed sense of my own power. It takes courage to heal our stories so that we can share them from a place of both power and vulnerability.
Mary Oliver The Summer Day
Finally, I am reminded of the wonderful words of Mary Oliver in her famous poem The Summer Day as I step into completion of the Creative Depth Coaching program and consider my next steps:
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
To me, making art has magic and mystery in it, especially when I allow myself to just lean into color, voice, expression. The process of expressive arts isn’t about making something pretty but about capturing a feeling or activating our creative energy.
Would you like to explore your original voice and expand your creativity through expressive art making? I offer a complimentary 30 minute “Ignite Your Creative Fire” discovery session where we can take a look at where you might be feeling stuck and how to find your creative focus and connect to your creative voice. Send me a quick email and say “Yes, I want to express my original voice” and we will set up a time to connect.