The healing power of creativity
By Adie McDermott
The benefits of creativity go way beyond producing something pretty to look at. Creative time can reduce self-doubt, stress, anxiety and depression. Increase our ability to feel joy and aliveness in life, express ourselves and connect authentically with others.
I want to take some time today to talk to you how I work and chat about how the creative philosophies I use that allow me and others I have taught them to recognise the truth and see the beauty that is within them; be more self-accepting and self-loving, more courageous, more joyful, more alive and to live more authentically. Reading this blog is the best way to get the most out of this information. Clicking on the video link will enable you to see my process in action. You can go directly to check out my courses here.
BUT FIRST, why do I even think being more self-accepting and self-loving, more courageous and more authentic is necessary? I am on a mission to teach everyone that our differences make us beautiful not flawed, that authenticity is true beauty and that self-acceptance is the key to connection, joy and meaning in life.
I want people everywhere, in particular women, to feel good about themselves no matter their upbringing, ability or culture!
I personally have spent most of my life living as a version of myself that pleased others or made other people happy. I want to shout out to everyone in the world… If you are not happy, or fulfilled, you don’t have to be like this. You don’t have to live like you do, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!! and most importantly you don’t have to PLEASE everybody else.. Really, happiness, deeper connections and joy start when you decided to be YOU!
But it is even bigger than that….everything is connected….if people start to accept themselves, to feel good about themselves and live true to themselves, it creates a ripple effect. When people accept and love themselves, they 1/ become more accepting of others around them and 2/ they want to also share their joy, make a difference and create their own form of change in the world.
What does self-acceptance have to do with creating art?
AN ART PRACTICE REFLECTS LIFE! There is a very strong connection between creativity (creating something complete new) and your sense of self (how you see and trust yourself), therefore the creative wellness philosophies I use in my process parallel life.
For example: My intuitive painting process takes: Courage, vulnerability, self-expression, letting go of control and listening to yourself
These things require self-trust, self-confidence and self-acceptance. But don’t worry, you don’t have to have this before you begin! As you move through my courses or do it more and more, step-by-step, you get more confident and really gently heal what is standing in the way of these things.
Other Creative philosophies in my intuitive painting process that parallel life are:
• Control and surrender
• Letting go of control, perfection, comparison, expectations
• Letting go and trusting the process
• Sitting with discomfort
• Joy and mindfulness of being in the present moment
• The importance of play and tapping into your childlike joy and wonder
• Fear of failure
• Trusting your intuition instead of perfecting everything
• Listening and saying yes to YOU!
• Filling your cup so you have more to give to others
Free your creativity, recreate your life
When I started trying to free my creativity and create in a unique, authentic way to me, I learnt very quickly that stuckness in life is reflected in the creative process! And that it is not that easy to become more self-expressive and create authentically when everything you have learnt, all your old patterns/beliefs etc say it is not ok (or not safe) to let go of control, be brave, take risks and trust yourself, express yourself, be seen, or be yourself…whoever the heck that may be!
As I made the conscious effort to pay more attention to what was going on, I discovered a clear connection between creativity, (the act of making something completely new) and our sense of self, how we see and treat ourselves.
Over and over again that the practice of creativity mirrored my life in soooo many ways, and therefore can, not only be used as a tool to make pretty pictures to hang on your wall……it can be used as a tool for self-awareness, personal and life transformation and to being more joy, meaning and aliveness back into your life.
First, I developed ways to trick my self-doubt and my perfectionist brain into letting go, taking risks and getting things wrong so I could play and explore and find my missing self. My authentic self that always just wanted to be seen/heard and to be free to be herself
Then I developed a whole new artistic approach! An intuitive approach that allows true creativity to come out, allows people that try it to feel freedom and joy in the spontaneous and playful process and where the most beautiful, unique, authentic and meaningful art is made. Within its philosophies SO MUCH HEALING CAN BE FOUND!
Creative Synthesis, bringing everything together in a creative way
I call my process ‘Creative Synthesis’, it is form of combinational creativity. I combine things I love, mixed media art techniques, things that I have learnt, things that I see every day, my unique skill and intuition with my unique experiences and story to make something super unique to me. Something that no-one else in the world could come up with. These things sound easy, but as I mentioned above, they are not. You need self-trust, self-confidence and racial self-acceptance to do these things.
You might be thinking, but I don’t have know any techniques or have any skill? And I certainly don’t have self-trust and self-confidence? That is why I combine technique and skill development and creative philosophies, when I teach anyone to work in this way. Be it through art classes, workshops or online courses. And as I mentioned before, the actual process itself, gently allows us to learn to be more confident, and gently heal what stands in the way of your greatest self-expression n self-acceptance.
My process. How do I do it?
1/ My process starts even before I put paint or pencil to my page. I Collect ideas and experiences! WANDER AND WONDER. I Walk through life (with my eyes wide open), as an eternal student and as a collector. Filling my mind with ideas, different experiences and beautiful things, so I have many things to draw on when I create. I am constantly learning, looking and exploring and collecting ideas and experiences, so I have many ideas to tap into. Note: You don’t get this watching TV or sitting in your room all day!
You can do this by: Being mindful to the beauty that is always around you, every minute of the day. Take the time to listen to yourself, listen when your heart tells you that something might make your heart sing, take yourself on artist dates (eg doing things you love), try new things out all the time and discovering what lights you up, follow artists you like and take courses and classes in anything that interests you, not just art.
2/ I don’t start with a plan or an idea in mind, I start with a blank page and a few of my favourite materials. I play, I make marks and I have fun with my materials and I build my artwork into something. In the first layers I use my inner voice, my intuition to guide me.
These things sound and look simple and perhaps even a bit childish, but I haven’t taught an adult yet that agrees they are actually easy to do. This is where the hidden benefits begin. You see….working intuitively, without an outcome in mind requires letting go of control and surrendering to whatever happens, it requires courage, vulnerability and self-expression. It requires letting go of perfection, comparison and expectations and it requires sitting with discomfort. And as I said earlier, these things ALL REQUIRE SELF-ACCETPANCE AND SELF TRUST!!
If you get the hang of this process and can work intuitively and mindfully in the present moment, you get into a creative flow. Here you can expect to feel joy, feel totally alive and free, and feel an inner peace, (perhaps an amazing emptiness) like in yoga or mediation, where you are so intensely focused on what you are doing NOW, that you are free from your thoughts, totally in the present moment, a place where you are your true, authentic inner nature, love and kindness.
I want to experience freedom and joy when I create and I want to create something new, something authentic and unique to me, so I have developed many tricks that allow me to shut down my inner critic and work past limiting beliefs I have about myself. I build my artwork in layers; I add things I love (or enjoy doing) to my page and I start with things that are easy for me to do. If I still get stuck, I use my neuroscience belief-clearing techniques to clear what is standing in my way. I share all these techniques and processes now in my online courses.
Soo 3/ I use layers (and layers) of my favourite materials and mediums, to build up a background. Doing a number of easy things, marks, shapes, scribble, stamping allows me to get into the creative flow, not only a blissful and mindful state as mentioned above, the natural state of creative thinking. In this more relaxed state neuroscience tells us that our brain waves actually slow down, our critical mind shuts down and our creative, imaginative and intuitive mind takes over. Bypassing the logical, critical mind, not over analysing each move and each idea, allows different (unexpected) combinations to occur and new ideas to be generated. True creativity!! and total, mindful, (in the moment) bliss!!
4/ I use critical thinking to bring it all together. I now use critical thinking to make my background into something. To me adding a character or some sort of feature image, (a flowers or a tree even) adds meaning, emotion and story. Other people leave theirs as an abstract and that is totally ok too.
5/ I Zhoosh, my artwork. Zhooshing is so super calming, mindful, non-thinking and relaxing! I add extra lines, dots and marks, neaten things up, add more colour and balance out my artwork.
What are some of the life benefits to working this way?
•It might look easy to make simple marks, and patterns, but it takes courage and trust to give up having a plan and trusting the outcome will be ok. You learn (in a safe place) to be more courageous, take risks and move out of your comfort zone, soo step by step you are gaining confidence in yourself and learning to trust yourself, to let go of your need to have a plan and control everything and instead be open to possibility, trust life more and go with the flow.
•The only certain thing about life, is that everything is uncertain and no matter how much we try, we cannot control everything that is happening around us. Here, you learn to let go of control and a plan, to go with flow and remain open to change and possibility.
•When you create from your heart, not your mind, you put yourself in a vulnerable situation. You learn to see that vulnerability is the key to the most beautiful outcomes and that it is vulnerability and imperfections that connect your work to others, not perfection. You learn to see (in a safe place), that being vulnerable and imperfect is safe, and that actually it is the key to connection, to truly being seen, valued and loved.
•You learn to be totally in the present moment, this, like mindful meditation, not only feels fantastic, it teaches you to see the wonder and joy that is all around you, every minute of every day.
•You learn to follow what you love, your own inner voice, desires and cravings. You gain confidence in yourself, are able to start setting boundaries and let go of your need to please everyone and to seek validation from others all the time.
•You learn to let go of expectations, validation dn comparison and trust the process.
•You learn what it feels like to feel ‘alive’ – to be totally present and free in the present moment.
•Wherever you are stuck in life appears also as a stuckness in this art practice. You learn to become more self-aware and self-accepting. If you follow my belief clearing techniques as well as make art, you also learn how to clear negative or limited beliefs you have about yourself. In this way, you become limitless.
• You, learn to use your creative thinking and intuition to adapt to the unexpected. You learn to hear, listen to and trust your inner voice, your intuition. Once she is freed you can use her as a guide in all aspects of your life.
•You learn that it is ok to express yourself uniquely, then in-turn that is ok to express your desires, whispers and cravings, your likes, dislikes and your needs.
• You learn to connect with yourself, so you can connect more authentically with others. More joy, more love, more meaning in life.
•You accept and love yourself more, which means you have more love to give.
•You rediscover who you are, what you love and what brings you joy and start to feel again after many years of being numb.
•Learn the absolute joy of spontaneity and freedom. At our very essence we are love, we are also joyful, spontaneous, courageous and free. These things are inside us and are readily available to us. In this way of working you connect to these things and take them into your life.
•Our inner child holds the key to our happiness and quality of life as an adult. When you let your inner child out to play, you unlock your natural childhood gifts: your inner joy, creativity, curiosity, wonder, optimism and…your limitless ability to love!
•Last, but certainly not least on this list….once you free your creativity, your life becomes limitless. You have the ability to create your own life. Live a life you love, a life that’s authentic and true to you. Use your imagination to dream big, problem solve and think outside the box, see opportunities you did not see before, push what’s conventionally believed and question any old beliefs that are holding you back.
Free your creativity and restore your whole wellbeing
So, as you can see, the question really is not what can it do, rather…. WHAT CAN’T THIS PROCESS DO!! And….in case you are wondering the project in this video is from my online course Wild and Free. It’s a really fun 5-week adventure into inks and watercolour. There are 4 core, Recreate Art Studio courses and they take you on a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance as well as a creative adventure through 10 different mediums and techniques and 40+ projects. If you do the extra work provided, they are capable of restoring self-worth, happiness, wholeness and wellbeing. Take them one at a time or save money by working through them in our Creative Wellness membership ‘Whole’. Check this out here.
To try creating something for yourself check out my classes, holistic online courses and creative wellness workshops Join my creative facebook community to connect with like mined others, try out my FREE mixed media ‘gratitude’ project or watch me make an artwork and learn more about the healing power of creativity here.
Did you enjoy this post? Please share the wisdom.