This was unexpected and became deeply personal really fast. I did not expect to go on the emotional roller coaster that the prompt (be devoted) from The Creative Stretch Warmup took me on. I hadn’t even given “devoted” much credence when I first saw the word…it didn’t “appeal” to me as much as intentional and mindful, so I figured I’d do something quick around, you know, how I do my creative practice.
But when I sat down to write, I realized I don’t actually have a set ritual…I don’t burn incense or clean my table or even gather supplies or play music…I clear just enough work space any given day to create whatever my heart tells me to (or I need to for a project deadline) and work in that area.
Devotion, to me, seemed to relate to my role as a mother. So that’s what I wrote…and I took out a tag from a tea party picture that I’d saved from a while ago to make my centerpiece. It was going to be a symbolic image of my daughter.
And then I realized I also wanted to attach a recent gratitude note she had written me as a keepsake. But I struggled. Oh I struggled ever so much. 45 minutes in, I was bawling.
There were SO many emotions that started surfacing as I tried to make this page about my devotion to her well-being … all of those lonely years nursing a baby with a dozen severe allergies, all of those trips to the ER, all of that postpartum depression and all that resentment. The harder I tried to make this page uplifting and seem devotional (pure, happy, selfless), the more ugly it became. All of that darkness inside me that expressed itself on to this spread.
I covered up everything…I had started holding that fantasy of the tea party princess as precious. It had to go. The only thing I wanted to retain were some of the words that rang true for me and the note from my daughter.
It felt like this page was screaming and that it couldn’t be helped — much like I had felt in the first three years of being a mother … before Art rescued me.
My journey with art started with a finger painting of a flower that I did with my little one. So that’s what I made. A simple yellow flower.
And that became the turning point. I just started making flowers and more flowers…until I had covered the whole page. It made sense. Were it not for the depths of darkness I experienced, I wouldn’t have appreciated the light and life art brought me. Were it not for my daughter’s struggles as a newborn, I wouldn’t have become the fighter and optimist I am. Were it not for the lifeline she offered me, with her innocence, I wouldn’t devote my life to helping others discover the artist within them.
Devotion to me means unconditional love and never-ending enthusiasm. It’s automatic, like a knee-jerk reaction but it also takes a fair amount of commitment and resilience. And it’s beautiful. So very beautiful.
Devotion is: showing up every day.
This was a nonstop exercise for two hours — completely unintended and entirely intuitive. It’s uncomfortable, scary and hard to do this work … but it’s cathartic to get to the other side. I, honestly, never expected for this journey to be this excruciating or this rewarding.
Have you checked out the 10-day workshop yet?