I did not understand the importance of art journaling through my online class, "The Gifts Of Imperfection". I liked buying a little empty journal book and my first set of gouache paints but I didn't get it. Brené didn't get it either, at first, but surrounded herself with artist and writer friends who helped her see how to use creativity to integrate her emotions. Her research indicated that "The Wholehearted" people had creative outlets, all of them. So, how does writing down your story, painting a representation, or making up a song integrate the most beautiful and the most difficult parts of your life?
Recently, I listened to a podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert, who was interviewing a young woman song writer. She was grieving the loss of her sister to cancer. She told about her fear of writing music again because the loss was so fresh and making music brought up images that were very disturbing. Elizabeth suggested she let the music guide her to what was bubbling up into her heart. Later, in another call, Elizabeth asked how her creative juices were doing. A joyful song had emerged, quite to her surprise. The music had bridged the gap from pain to joy.
"It is about integrating our memories, emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviors so that we can have mental health. It frees up our ultra rigid thinking and behavior and allows it to be less chaotic."
The above quote is from my therapist friend, Sharie. She helped me bounce around these ideas so that they stick to my inners. Speaking of Sharie, for a decade she has requested that I try a creativity tool called "Interplay". This activity combines improvisational play with movement. She confirms that it has opened up her spiritual, emotional and physical life.
Whatever outlet we have serves to bring us more in tune with the stories in our heads. I have faith that through my spiritual leaning on Jesus Christ and his atoning power I will be able to come to him with a whole heart. Coming to him is not secondary, it is primary. Other tools offer insight and awareness which opens my heart to him, faster.
"And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."