The creative process: A path to Transforming my Pain
Updated: Jan 25
Strategies to release My Pain
"Release the pain," they said.
...the meditators, the counsellors, the healers.
They all said to say affirmations of release. They said I was hanging on too tightly to my pain.
They said, "You're attached to your pain. Your decisions are being made from it.
It's leading the way. You must release it."
And they were not wrong.
They even showed me how. They had all kinds of strategies.
"Keep a gratitude journal," they said.
Focus on what you are grateful for.
"Practice visualizations and meditations for letting go," they said.
See it actually leaving your body.
"Keep busy doing things you love," they said.
It will bring joy to overcome the grief.
"Take part in a full moon releasing ritual," they said.
It will be more powerful with the rhythms of the moon .
I did all of them.
Consistently... inconsistently, believingly... and with doubt.
I engaged in them all.
And they worked... in small increments.
They chiseled away small pieces, shaved away thin slices of my pain.
But what I learned in my suffering was that releasing it wasn't enough.
Or, perhaps, it was that it could really only have an effect on a small part of the pain...
on particular nebulous and seemingly unidentifiable parts of it.
Exploring my pain through the creative process
But then I started exploring the pain in my art journals. I would ask the pages,
"How can I release my pain?"
"Will I ever feel happy again?"
"Is it even possible to feel joyful and bountiful energy ever again?"
I would push the paint around and pull images that called to me from magazines. I ripped and cut and coloured and crushed... page after page, journal after journal. The pages were beautiful, terrible, emotional, puzzling, enlightening, frightening....
But, over time, as I explored more and as I went back to reflect on previous pages,
I could see and feel something was happening.
And my intuitive creativity revealed something.
the truth about pain
I discovered the underlying undeniable truth about pain.
It wasn't an easy discovery to swallow.
But, then again, the truth never is.
The truth about pain is that it is MADE FROM US.
The nucleus of our pain cannot be destroyed, released, or cast off
because its very fabric is weaved from the fibres of WHO WE ARE.
If we pull on that last thread of pain (in trying to release it),
it will not only unravel the pain,
it will unravel the FABRIC OF OUR BEING.
And so, what I learned was, that instead of releasing my pain,
I had to EMBRACE it, hold on to it, and FEEL it.
Because, in doing so, I could allow it to breathe...
loosen the threads a little,
create some space around it
so that I could get a better look at it,
examine it from different angles;
And see my pain from various perspectives.
And, no, this was not easy. It was heart-squeezing, searing, hard-to-breathe kind of work.
But, damn, if it didn't help.
Transforming my pain
Because, in doing this, it allowed me to understand that
trying to leave my pain behind was actually hurting me more...
akin to trying to leave behind a chunk of flesh
(owing to the pain being made from the fabric of my being.)
I saw that I had to learn to adapt to this pain, this new piece of me...
And bring forward the important parts of it.
I was beginning to see what I could learn from it and how I could grow from it.
My real aha! moment, the one that made this new wisdom really hit home for me,
was when I found this quote which I cut out and glued into my art journal:
"Real development is not leaving things behind, as on a road, but drawing life from them, as from a root."
It hasn't been easy. Of course not.
I would go for periods of time where I would believe I was finally finished with it.
But, invariably, there would be days where I would be knocked off keel yet again.
... that pain reminding me, "Hey! Don't forget about me! I'm a part of you now.
Notice me. Acknowledge me."
It does feel smaller now. Although I believe it's because I have managed to assimilate it throughout my being. Kind of like when you mix Koolaid powder into water and after stirring for a while it eventually becomes completely dissolved in the water...
changing the water into something new.
The pain has changed me into something new.
Its assimilation has allowed me to grow and transform.
Pain. Me. Space. Perspective. Love. Growth. Transformation.
I am so grateful to the creative process and for my art journals... for opening this path for me to journey along and find a sense of wholeness again.
And for allowing me to share it with other sisters to help them explore themselves, too.
And on that note of gratitude, I will leave you with a warm and cozy soul heart's embrace.