It took a lot of years to be able to say “I am an artist”, even though I knew for an entire lifetime, in the depths of my soul, that’s what I am.
It took even longer to admit “I am a healer”.
Both sounded so … pretentious.
I know a thing or two about “alternative medicine”. I had to learn it in order to survive the hell of lupus. However, a great deal of the ability seemed to come from an innate sense of “knowing”. I naturally knew what I was doing.
As years passed and my spirit whispered to me more regularly “you are a healer”, I had to pay attention. I began to understand the healing of spirits as well as bodies.
Helping the body to be well is only one aspect of healing.
One of the many ways I have learned to heal spirits/emotions is through the use of creativity…. creativity in any and all forms.
I’ve spent a lifetime learning and engaging in seemingly random types of creativity.
And I spent years wondering why I needed to learn this or that, and how it could all possibly fit together.
I knew that I was an artist. I knew that I was a healer. I had all of this random creative ability. Only recently has it all started to make sense to me
In the year or so preceding my 50th birthday, I had a desire, not only to do something outrageous and healing for myself, but to share it with other women my age. I sincerely wanted to show them just how beautiful they still were, despite what the calendar indicated, or what society would have them believe.
At first it was only about photography (I am married to the outrageously talented photographer, Timothy Schildknecht)… I wanted to see photos of our authentically, crazy-beautiful selves. I wanted us to see ourselves as we truly are…raw, powerful, precious. I also realized that women of ALL ages needed this.
I called these photography sessions Chrysalis---Taking Flight.
Then this idea, as inspired ideas often do, began to evolve. As I watched women’s reactions to their gorgeous, authentic selves, I realized there was a great deal of healing that needed to be done. In the beginning, I felt that some coaching, done before the photo shoot as well as after, would be enough to help with the body-image issues, the shame, all the negatives that were still coming up.
However, over the next year, I realized there were many women who needed so much more healing, way deep down in their souls…more than could be accomplished in a few coaching sessions. It was time to call on the creativity gods!
So many times lost in a creative project, I’ve noticed the aches and pains have diminished. Once finished with a lengthy project, I’ve found the pain to be gone…energy increased… attitude adjusted….. Balance achieved, as well as, dare I say…Happiness?
I know I’m only one of many who’ve experienced healing upon surrendering to a creative process. I’ve watched friends go through serious illness, hair-raising family issues, dissolving of their marriages---and survive, and then thrive by embracing their creative nature.
My artist friend Kim suddenly ended her marriage of 30 years recently, leaving her life and moving halfway across the country with little more than the clothes on her back.
In talking with her recently, I discovered that our creative lives have run parallel to each other---going from being a free spirited artist-type to more of the Martha Stewart-type after having our families, then delving back into the artist in order to survive once our children had their own lives and our marriages disintegrated.
Kim tells me of her breakup, “After 30 years, some folks would stick a gun in their mouth”. Not Kim; she submersed herself deeper and deeper into her creativity, first to survive, then to heal and evolve and grow into her new life. I asked her what she believed the secret of this healing/creativity connection might be.
“To heal,” Kim says, “you MUST get out of YOURSELF! Reaching out to others, staying connected to others is healing to us. Talking to strangers, making them feel you’re interested in their stories---it’s healing for them, but portraying their stories (through your art) as you understand them is healing for YOU”.
|Standing in the Rain. By Jennifer's friend, Kim.|
You can see more of Kim's art at: www.KJParr.com
If I, as physically and emotionally depleted as I had been, could heal through creativity, shouldn’t it work for others? If I had personally healed through these experiences, shouldn’t I be able to lead others on that same path? Was it not my responsibility?
I believe that it IS my responsibility…indeed, it is my CALLING.
And so the rest of this process (at least for now; I’m open to more possibilities!) came forth as Chrysalis…Awakening.
The Awakening part of this project is a series of creative workshops, in a community setting, leading women along the path of deep healing, preparing them to actually see, recognize, trust and own their authentic beauty.
Not only has sharing this path with other women been helpful to them, and for which I am deeply grateful, I have experienced even more healing and growth in myself, as I accept my own purpose and calling.
I am an artist.
I am a healer.
And I happily no longer see a distinction between the two.
Jennifer Schildknecht, aka Moon Mama, is doing her best to practice what she preaches, creating magic at her studio in downtown Athens, GA. She’s a painter, a writer, a creative coach, a Reiki master and, of course, a mama and a lover.
What’s going on with Moon Mama?
Find out at www.MamaInTheMoon.blogspot.com
More info on the Chrysalis Project can be found here
Jennifer’s art and such is at WhitherThouGoest.Etsy.com