Creativity transforms. I’m not just saying that. It has helped me through hundreds of mini and many large transitions. Creativity has been my medicine story since I was a little girl.
The first memory I have of creativity facilitating change for me was after the death of my father. I was ten. He and my mother were divorced. He lived in California, we lived in Michigan. One day, she returned home from work to tell my sister and I that my father was dead. He had died in prison from a heart attack. This was a huge shock. Not just the part about him being dead. But the part about prison too. They’d kept it secret from us to protect us. I was in shock. I didn’t want to talk or be held or cry. I went to the piano and played for hours. I played until my fingers hurt more than my heart and my body had merged with creativity. I was able to journey to a healing place through music that my mind couldn’t journey to alone. Not long after this, I received the part of Little Orphan Annie in the local amateur theater. I’d auditioned a couple weeks before Dad died. I spent months acting out a child’s longing to find her dead parents and her adoption by Daddy Warbucks on stage. Creativity was made mythic. By summer, I didn’t exactly forget that my dad was dead, but my heart was healed in non-verbal ways through the experience of performing a child’s mythic story on stage for weeks.
Fast forward to the future. Transitions aren’t always easy for me. Sometimes, during transitions I’m messy and feel young, scared and insecure. Sometimes I act out old stories unconsciously, especially with my partner, when we both go through a challenging transition. I act out my inner demons with him unconsciously and it is messy and harmful to us both. And then I remember. Write a poem. Paint a picture. Dance. Act out the beast consciously. So I go to the ocean and dance my grief, fear or anger. I go outside and stomp on the earth dancing a chaos dance. I write the words that I need to express, not in the ‘hear is the story of my stuckness and blah blah blah let’s talk talk talk our conflict out in circles’ but rather, I translate the feeling into a mythopoetic storypoem. Alone. So I can find myself and my center. And I get quiet. I listen to the story reverberate its medicine back at me. That’s when creativity is mythic and transformative in the same breath. When I cease being the creator and am witnessing the act of creation echoing its medicine and reflection back at me so that I can receive its wisdom through my feeling body.
I get out of my mind’s stuck perceptions and ways of seeing because of this. I change because of this. I can forgive, or move forward, or take courageous little actions because of this. I can see where I was, in a more transcendent, mythic map and get out of the small stuck story. It is dynamic, real, and the truest thing I have ever known. I make sure to keep it in my body –to embody it –because to simply fly with creativity isn’t always a medicinal thing; it can be an escape. But to place creativity in a somatic and expressive context… to dance the words until they rewire my cells… that’s a miracle. It’s magic.