As I prepare for my next Create to Heal class, I turn to my quiet page, a large 12 x 18 inch piece of white construction paper and place the following words in the middle of the page: Next I put at the top right hand corner, Compassion. Top left is Grace. Bottom left is Forgiveness. Bottom right is Gratitude.
I look at the configuration of words before me and begin to see the pattern in the context of cancer and all that I have learned from patients and their families …
Forgiveness – I forgive my body for betraying me … this body with cancer. AND I will embrace and fight this thing with all I’ve got.
Forgiveness leads to Gratitude - A tear of Joy of understanding for … cancer is an awakening ... it is an opportunity for me to know myself better, to re-examine my faith, my relationships with family and friends and community.
A participant in the Create to Heal class, a two-time survivor of cancer, a thriver of life, picked "reverence" as her word in the moment. From this word in the moment, came a message in the moment and a creative insight.
To further describe reverence, she used many like words: respect, honor, kindness, attentive, special, caring, love, honor, awe. In the midst of these lovely "good" words came - pathetic - a little shock to the listening system. How brilliant!
In a recent Create to Heal class, we discovered the joys of Poetry.
According to Robert Frost, Poetry is “when an emotion has found it’s thought and the thought has found words.”
Poetry is an invitation to feel, to “wallow in the swamp of your experiences” without drowning. It’s heart, rhythm, the beat of the day. Poetry is life itself, packing all that you see and feel into a few lines … the essence, the core of things.
You are panning for gold, looking for insight and the blessings of human emotion.
The exercise for today: pick a word, any word that captures how you are feeling in this moment …
I recently discovered a wonderful source for research on healing and the arts: The American Journal of Public Health. Several years ago, they published a piece titled "The Connection Between Art, Healing and Public Health. In this review, researchers analyzed more than 100 studies about the impact of art on health and the ability to heal. The studies included everything from music, the visual arts, expressive writing and dance.
Highlights from researchers describing the impact the arts had on patients include: