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  • janetgoncalves

Healing Through Art

I’ve just come back from a recent overseas trip. While there, I visited as many museums, churches, historical sites, and art galleries as I could within walking distance of my hotel. I stopped and admired (and photographed) every piece of public art that I found.  I reflected on the healing experience over the past week and wanted to share my thoughts. Essentially it boils down to this. We need art. Our human brains need to create.


Like love, pain needs expression. Creative practices can also help you to deepen your connection with that which is lost. As the author Megan Devine says, “Death doesn’t end a relationship; it changes it. Writing, painting, and other creative processes allow the conversation that began in life BEFORE to continue in life AFTER. The stories we create are a continuation of love. And sometimes creation allows us to connect and relate to the world again, in our own new ways, in this whole new life.” (page 151)


Are you a writer?  Yes, you are.  You don’t have to be “good”, or “right” or any other pre-conditioned limit. Writers write everything twice. Once when it happens, and then again when they put it on the page. There’s a freedom in letting all your words out, in being heard. I’d like to think that on the page, everything is welcome, without censorship. Or maybe the process of found poetry works for you instead. Don’t be afraid to be as dark as you are feeling while experiencing the grief process.  Many grief rituals involve writing things on paper and then burning the page(s) as a form of release. (Please refer to my previous blogs on solstice/equinox grief rituals for more specifics.)


Are you a writer and a graphic artist? Yes, you are. Graphic novels are more than words alone. Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow and The End by Anders Nilsen, Tom Hart’s Rosalie Lightening: A Graphic Memoir, and Michael Rosen’s The Sad Book are some to explore.

Are you a sketcher or like creating collages? Yes, you are. Logic and reason do not suit deep grief, but these are the areas of the brain explored when sketching.


Are you a photographer, or a sculptor, or a builder, or like to cook or bake or knit or crochet or do macrame or weave or …..? Yes, you are.


Are you seeing my point that there are a million different ways to be creative in your grief process? I reiterate that there is no need to be perfect. Grief certainly isn’t perfect. It’s messy. Being creative is just one way to tell your grief story.


In conclusion, please remember that art can evoke powerful emotions. Please contact professional support systems if you need additional support.

 

Suggested reading

It’s OK That You’re Not Ok by Megan Devine

https://awbw.org/Art is a Foundational Pillar of Self-Care, by Angela Barrios-Lucero, LMFT, ATR


photo and its information excerpted from the online article Exploring Art for Healing

“Melancholy, a sculpture created by Albert Gyorgy, portrays the void that grief leaves us with. The sculpture depicts a figure made of copper sitting on a bench slumped over, with a giant hole in the center of it. This hole represents the massive void that we all feel when we lose someone dear to us, and many people have expressed their appreciation for this sculpture for it portraying the exact emotions they feel, but perhaps haven’t been able to quite put into words. Albert Gyorgy felt intense sadness and isolation with the loss of his wife and went on to create this beautiful piece of artwork as a way to cope.”



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