Over the last year, I have had to overcome many parts of myself, yet it wasn’t until watching my grandmother discover her creativity that I was able to understand how our greatest trials are where our greatest lessons and victories will be revealed.
It all started back in June when my great-grandmother, who I call Grannie Annie, began her three-month stay at various hospitals between South and North Carolina. As they monitored Grannie Annie, I monitored my grandmother and watched how her joy and P.U.S.H (Praying Until Something Happened) transformed into something I never knew. She came alive in ways I believed were foreign to her.
The need for healing and understanding unearth my grandmother’s creativity.
Her spirituality became a need to produce more than greens with neck-bones and prayers for the women she watches like runaway daughters at her job. She became a woman tapped into powers she probably never knew she possessed.
She became an artist detailing the relationship between mother and daughter. Writing a complex and beautiful history, my grandmother began her healing when she began producing a mini-memoir of my great-grandmother’s life.
As simply as I try to perceive things, I know that the complexity of life is made beautiful by our efforts to let go and let God.
The very act of surrendering can be daunting. It pushes us into the present moment and forces us to deal with what is. Our only job is to find the peace to overcome every moment. We can do this by tapping and tuning into our magic to create something that heals us and others. The healing that we do is selfish and necessary for us to obtain those “good” feelings that come with the release, but when we decide to be creative and tap into what, Audre Lorde calls our eroticism. We then give something to others that can potentially illuminate their lives.
In times of heartache and uncertainty, we all must go to a place where magic is continually birth. This place, for many, is creativity. The euphoric feeling of pure energy that resides in our creative centers is where our healing is. Understanding what unleashed our dormant magic is where we face true vulnerability and the opportunity to heal ourselves of any pain.
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The American Journal of Public Health published a review in 2010 titled, The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health. In this review they noted several benefits that artistic activity proved to have in 100 studies:
“Art filled occupational voids, distracted thoughts of illness”
“Improved well-being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones”
“Improved medical outcomes, trends toward reduced depression”
“Reductions in stress and anxiety; increases in positive emotions”
“Reductions in distress and negative emotions”
“Improvements in flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks”
As someone who has battled with mental illness, writing saved my life when it was time to deal with my own mess and take back my life. Journaling allowed me to tap into parts unknown and work through problems that I had ignored for so long. Back in college, I even took up painting for awhile because there was something so calming about slapping paint against a canvas.
Creativity is something that we are all born with. We aren’t built to be dormant beings. We are built to create. The way we create is constantly changing because our worlds are constantly changing. When you understand that your power to control your feelings drives your ability to heal, you begin to tap into worlds unknown because you have creative control over your life.
My grandmother reminded me that we are all artists looking to heal ourselves and those around us, so we must learn the many languages of ourselves and decide what direction we will express our healing.
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Here is everything my grandma taught me about healing:
1.Dreams Aren’t Silent. We can tell the story of how our dreams became reality by believing in our agency to overcome our fears and take inspired action now. It isn’t enough for us to go through the storm, but we have to believe that there is healing in the trials and make the effort to take care of ourselves and give ourselves what we need. By doing so, we make room for the old to be released and our vision to become reality.
2. Be Thankful For The Resistance. What our mother’s and grandmothers did not have, the ability to say no is where our healing will make way for our most authentic selves to shine through. There will always be resistance to healing because we weren’t taught to heal; our culture teaches us that we must remain strong and shed no tears, but there is so much power in our vulnerability. When we are open to diving deep into ourselves and overcoming the resistance, we take on new life and we begin to change our world.
3. Ask For Healing and You Attract A New Reality. Through the unearthing of your authentic self, you dig through fear, regret, insecurities, and programming that has made you vulnerable to change. Sorting through the mess of your mind will allow you to see and experience in a new life because you changed your mind to match the new feelings brought on by your new mindset.
4.Mindful Actions Create Intentional Change. Follow your heart and believe that your next step is divinely guided. In your healing, you may be afraid of what will happen next because you will be catapulted into a fight or flight state of mind because you must find a way to cope immediately. Trust that whatever step you need to take to heal is the best and most creative choice for you.
For some, your healing may be felt in the breeze beating at your face during a jog. Or you may be like me, talking to your friends on the phone laughing at the silliest things. Whatever you do, you are tapping into a sacred place that we all possess. From nothing, something beautiful is birthed.