For the ones who know me, you know how important creativity is for me.
And how much I have battled shame and trauma in my life.
Most of the people, clients especially, are not aware that we, therapists, keep on going to therapy, work on ourselves; and this journey and work never end. Clients and acquaintances think “we are fixed”. Being fixed would mean that we are stuck, rigid, not malleable, adapting, growing. This is why self-reflection and self-development are paramount in our profession.
This is the reason why in September of last year I have chosen to go back to College: to challenge myself, to express, to grow, to learn, to follow a calling it was always in me. To fight Shame (how wrong was I!); to be a living experience that Creativity is the only way up, the only way to grow. In order to grow, we have to create. We have been created and our First (and only?) mission in Life is to create: make babies, or houses, or gardens, or paintings, or books, or jobs, or wells, or bridges, or money, or shelters, or even more jobs, or dinner later tonight… we all have the instinct, within ourselves, to create.
I have chosen Art. So, I bought myself a new set of pencils and I went back to College. It has been so challenging, it’s unbelievable. I felt I needed validation, that I didn’t know what to do, what to say, where to stand, how to make things, how to paint, how to draw, … I felt old, out of place, neglected, boring, very invisible, very different, not supported. Very lonely.
But something broke, within me. And it has been an ongoing process ever since. What I destroyed of my old self on one side, it took time to be re-assembled and re-shaped, at times violently, into this ever-evolving raw new me.
The process helped to address a past traumatic experience I never dealt with, and out of this journey, a whole installation was created: CONSERVATION, and the details can be found here. The experience itself asked to be addressed. It was a sort of unconscious impulsive decision and I heard myself uttering words such as: I have to do it, Now is the time to do it, I cannot stop the process, I dedicate myself to this past hurt.
College and this new challenge also reinforced what I always knew but needed time to take a definite shape within me. Now, it has a form, a name, and a conviction: I need Art. Therapy needs Art. My kind of Therapy needs Art. There is no such thing as a me-therapist separated from the me-writer or the me-artist or the me-creator.
So, after the installation has been dismantled, I have started doing the 84 days of The Artist Way again (as per Julia Cameron). I write extensively, I keep myself safe, I expand knowledge, and this time it feels as every pore of my skin is breathing. I feel connected, grounded, hopeful. More determined. More creative. This does not come without a pain of some sort: some old parts of me are dying: all hail the new ones being created!
This evolution has been mirrored also by the typology of clients I am working with since October last year: artists, writers, people who feel stuck, the ones who believe there is more to Life than what they are living (and, gosh, there is!), people who feel so ashamed of admitting they need to create, they want space and time and solitude to make stuff, do stuff, destroy and then build things, read more, write more, paint more. They feel unfulfilled and guilty for not following now their personal Callings, petrified that it could be too late.
For the Law of Life is always right: you get what you need: I needed those clients as much as they needed me.
Whether The Resting Tree will keep on working as it did, I am not so sure. I am The Resting Tree and as much as I change and grow, so does the Tree. There has been pruning, but new shoots, and sprouts, and suckers are already looking for the sun.
I don’t know what is going to happen, nor where this journey is going to take me, but I am ok. I want the ones who are scared to take the first step, to know that it is ok, it is always ok. Everything really works out as it should.
And to all the people who out there feel shame, and are scared to try, and would like to try, and would love to try, and their skin is itching to try: maybe the 84 days of TAW could be a good starting point. It worked for me.
I really hope it works for you, too.