Last week I heard “therapy” mentioned on Zoom meetings, but not for the usual life dilemmas.
The reason was generalized anxiety, a lack of inner peace. “I just need to learn new skills to live in this chaotic world now,” one friend said, citing despair and insomnia.
Inner peace. One of those things we took for granted until … it vanished.
And talking to a professional often can help. But so can peace-inspiring, creative pastimes.
In my book, I mention how our Creator gave us qualities to be creative. I hear from many students that making stuff brings personal peace. Some, though, dismiss the thought by explaining, “I’m just not creative.”
Oh, but if you once were, it’s still there.
Creating in art, whether in therapy or just to learn, appeals to many ages. In children’s grief classes, I assisted older youngsters who’d lost a parent or family member work through their fears and hopelessness. One project was painting papier Mache masks.
Making visible faces of grief allowed them to connect without speaking, if they didn’t want to. The most amazing thing is that the safe setting gave them permission to bond to each other by sharing their common life experience. From there, a spirit of acceptance and mutual understanding brought comfort and began the journey of healing.
In 1987, a fine artist and former professor of art, Laurie Zagon, founded the Art of Healing and Creative Expression. The nonprofit in Orange County, Calif., meets the needs of individuals, corporate groups, military, schools, hospitals, hospice and more by exploring art together.
Many have been helped through uncertain times by committing daily stretches, meditating to music and having a healthy diet. The benefit of self-care is that it’s a rewarding practice. Every day, be intentional to strengthen your body, mind and heart: see the dawn, sunlight, moonlight. Bring in those views and breathe.
Like creating, beauty feeds our senses — in nature, and in God’s word. The Alabaster Co. unites our identity, beauty and faith on the pages of their coffee table books.
The visual aspect of their publications brings pleasure in studying the message of the Bible. Co-founders Brian and Bryan Chung say: “Our vision is for all of humanity to experience God as beautiful. We believe beauty matters in our understanding of who God is. … We strive to make products that help bring forth beauty in the world.”
Check out the “Art as Worship” and Guided Christian Meditations from their publications.
While wrapping up our Zoom meeting, I encouraged my friend to consider creating as an opportunity to be renewed in who she is, to lay down her fears and trust the Creator would hear her and guide her. “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
In anticipation, let’s pick up a brush and let the Spirit guide us to paint a new world together.
Phawnda Moore is a Northern California artist and award-winning author of Lettering from A to Z: 12 Styles & Awesome Projects for a Creative Life. In living a creative life, she shares spiritual insights from traveling, gardening and cooking. Find her on Facebook at Calligraphy & Design by Phawnda and on Instagram at phawnda.moore.