I'd like you to meet S'Kelly, as we begin this daily spin and celebration of Arts & Health month here at Hali Karla Arts!
S'Kelly is sort of the ART HEALS mascot hanging in my studio, and she's the perfect welcome host for a launch that begins on Day of the Dead, as well. In fact, we're gonna go ahead and call this Art Heals Month for our purposes - it feels like that honors the process more than an idealized destination, in my book.
For the next 30 days, I'm going to be sharing inspiration, guest snippets, giveaways, and the like, based on why this ART + HEALING connection is so very important. I'm not just going to be talking fluff either - though sometimes I will probably get carried away with excitement.
We're actually going to get into the physiology of some of this, too. I want you to be convinced of how essential creative expression is to your overall holistic well-being and quality of life by the end of November. Or at least provoked into trying it out for yourself, or committing to a more frequent practice of your own.
In an ideal world, you would just make time for creative play because someone told you it was good for you, and you believed them (and if you truly believed them, it would be enough to begin to activate positive effect). But truth be told, there are a lot of us who need to know the WHY before we even consider making it a priority. So, I'm taking this opportunity to bridge my nurse-y knowledge and my experience (personal and witnessed), with what we know about the power of creativity.
We will only be able to begin to scratch the surface of this potential - and I can guarantee that a WHOLISTIC understanding of what is shared can only be found through experiencing it yourself - but let's shine some light and look for awhile - this is important stuff.
But first, I want to tell you just a bit about S'Kelly - because she is part of my personal WHY story.
S'Kelly was created in honor of my aunt - who chose to take her life several years ago. I know this sounds strange.
My aunt had an infectiously mischievous sense of humor (it runs in the family), and I sense there would be amusement around this little "mascot".
Her death (and the circumstances surrounding it) subtly and not-so-subtly changed every one of us. How she passed over is still an element that directs our awareness of LIFE and how we are showing up to it.
For me, I walked away knowing that my own well-being and healing had to be priority over everything else - because I could not be my best self in my relationships, service and life unless I chose to actively honor that priority and live from my heart's truth. Even if it meant some rather impractical decisions in order to live in alignment with my own spiritual growth. I had to make changes - like leaving my nursing job (and pay) and focusing on what my body was telling me, what my heart was aching for, what my relationships needed, and that I was always meant to take a road less traveled. Changes about choosing Life - thriving, not just surviving.
That's why I returned, albeit slowly, to my devotion of the creative process, and began to see that my years as a nurse were an integral part of how my truth as an artist would play out, and how my service in the world would evolve into something I had never imagined.
Death has a funny way of bringing us back, to surrender and mystery, spontaneity and commitment, to creating our own version of the best life we can imagine from one moment to the next, if we let it.
So, S'Kelly is here to remind us to Live Life Fully, Creatively, Courageously, no regrets - and how doing so can have positive impact upon our physical bodies, our perception of experience and the choices we make along the way.
Now, we could spend eons talking about just what Art is... but I'll let you decide for you. Just keep coming back to the understanding that it has something to do with being in the flow, or the zone, and something to do with a great sense of connection to All That Is, and a feeling of Timelessness and appreciation. Keep coming back to that thought, and decide for yourself what Art is to you... or keep looking until you find it.
HINT:: what you are looking for is not a destination, it's not a thing. Art is a verb - and you've got it in you right now - just aching for movement.
Trust that whatever it is, having more of this dynamic process in your life is not only GOOD for you, but fundamental to holistic wellbeing and healing.
Then, stick with me this month to learn why or validate what you already sense about this with story, fact and inspiration - fuel for the journey.
If you have a Creative Practice already or want to start one, consider joining Art Every Day Month, in conjunction with this Arts & Health Celebration. It couldn't be a better pairing, IMHO! I'll be taking part, too.
Today also marks a New Year for believers in the old pagan traditions. Yesterday was Samhain, and today is the beginning of a New Year. All I know is that this time of year has always felt potent in energy to me, down in my very cells, and much like beginnings of new cycles.
So to begin our celebration, I ask you simply to consider...
How can you creatively honor a loved one that has passed on, connecting with the natural forces of remembrance and grief-healing?
What beginnings are calling you forth in your life? What is asking to be laid down?
How can you begin or integrate a daily Creative Practice, in honor of your own healing experience and sense of well-being? (Stop back tomorrow for a Prayer Art prompt, if you'd like a little nudge)