|"Creating Magic" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.|
Gretchen Miller challenged me to participate in an art chain, to post art every day for five days over on FaceBook. Well, I've been doing that for a couple of years now, but I thought why not go through my archives and see what resonates the most right now. So what I discovered is that creating art every day as part of my daily practice, has made me happier, braver, and more resilient. Each day along with the art there will be a little text of encouragement, a reminder to engage in creative and meditative practices, to remember that we can imagine new, richer possibilities, to bring more color into the world, and to allow the daily practice to be a door that opens on to all sorts of possibilities.
With my fairly comprehensive background in art therapy, masters and doctorate in the discipline, I keep coming back to the simple idea that by making art, and doing our very best, we learn to feel deeply happy, to pay attention to our life and the things that matter, we actually learn to love who we are a little more every day.
A daily art practice can create a restorative, kind, and creative environment for ourselves and we can then create a restorative environment for those around us.
Ysaye Barnwell tells two related stories about her song, “No mirrors in my Nana’s house.” She had a friend who lived with her grandmother. There were no mirrors in her grandmother’s house. "How did you know how you looked in the morning," Ysaye asked. Her friend told her, "I looked into my Nana's eyes and I knew I look just fine, the beauty that I saw in everything was in her eyes. I never knew from her that my skin was too black, or my nose was too flat, or that my clothes didn't fit." The second story was about a distraught child who went to her grandmother after being teased in the school yard. “Someone called me such and such” the little girl said. The grandmother responded, “If you want to know who you are you look into my eyes.” Ysaye suggests we should get our perceptions of ourselves from people who love us, by looking into their eyes, by listening to them describe us.
I would take that a step further and suggest that we get our perceptions from our internalized Nana's, from that kindly part of the self that can comfort and reflect back to us that we are really alright just the way we are. In her song "Wanting Memories" the voice is of a young adult reflecting on her childhood and the values learned from her Nana. After her Nana's passing she wants to be able to see the world with the same love that she saw in her Nana's eyes. She wants to access that love and wisdom that she has learned from her Nana.
I think all of us want to access that love and wisdom that we learned from those who loved us unconditionally. It's what helps us grow more resilient every day. Love who you are, it's a great place to start.