As the pandemic continues to rage, we experience losses that may include a person’s health, job, relationship, pet, or loved one. Some of us are unable to describe the roller coaster of emotions we experience, yet we do know that we are not ourselves. When we feel out of sorts, sensations surface such as low self-esteem, illness, depression, and confusion, which can manifest into thoughts that our feelings are out of our control and as a result, this experience may be difficult to process or verbalize.
Art has long been a way to channel feelings and bring about emotional healing. History shows us how many artists have found that a time of stress and grief was their most productive time creatively. They were able to turn disturbing images of war, starvation, illness, and trauma into poignant and even beautiful paintings that resonate in the soul for a lifetime.
The Arts encourages movement of the imagination that we may struggle with during our grieving process. Our art influences how we look at, unblock, wrestle with, and shed light on the need to distance and detach from our pain. When we dodge grief to avoid, deny, or block the inevitable pain, the arts invite the imagination of these stuck places to come to the surface in images, movement, color, and sound. When we create, we give ourselves permission to examine all that is happening within our grieving bodies.
I recently watched this lovely animated short film on Netflix that is about reconnecting with art after having experienced loss. It is a beautiful and touching representation of how art can help in healing and reconnecting with life. It also captures the moment of how difficult it can be to pick up a paint brush and put it to canvas and how it is okay to need a little help to get started.
I do hope that some of you will enjoy it and benefit from it. As the world-renowned Vietnamese Buddhist Monk “Thich Nhat Hanh,” said,
“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural –you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow”.