Oh, how my life has changed since I picked up a pastel for the first time not very long ago.
Being bi polar had led to many life challenges and outside of good medical care, medication, and the alternative therapies and spiritual practices that I daily employ to stay as balanced as I can, but which remain challenging in one way or another every single day, I have never found anything that has created the miracle in my life that making art has. I have been a writer, seriously, since I was 9 years old with several hundred volumes of journals (That I destroyed over 3 years ago to have a fresh start in life not burdened by the past which pulled me down in so many ways since the journals had been, among many other things, the laboratory of my healing, full of stories of abuse, struggle, pain, times when suicide seemed an option, and more. To create a new life at mid-life I made the choice to let them go and begin again.), and having published professionally since I was 20, having had 3 small presses and written for countless magazines, newspapers, and more. It is the strongest most powerful identifier I have in my life, being a writer, but being bi polar among a handful of other mental health diagnoses, writing has, at times, put me too much in my head and created it's own kind of challenges.
I am a fiber artist and I love working with fiber, handspinning, weaving, crochet, knitting, doing free-form fiber art pieces, all of these things are very dear to me, and they helped a lot. As I've written not long ago moving out of my head into my hands is very important in keeping me balanced, and I always keep some kind of hand-work next to me when I write to move back and forth between the two. But nothing, no-thing, has changed my life like working with pastels has. Now I make art, and for some reason, in doing so, I am making myself whole in a way I never dreamed possible. I am still bi polar of course, but the two halves of my teeter totter brain have come into a kind of calm balance far more often since I have begun to draw than anything else in my life has ever achieved. It is a miracle to me. I am both startled by it and grateful beyond measure.
I find it interesting, also, that the more pieces I make the more I seem to come into my own, if you will, or better put after the first 3 pieces I now seem to create, without trying to or thinking much about it, what I fondly call my "Crazy Ladies," and I have been a little shocked by the move from madonna like images to so suddenly be creating wild-eyed looking women who are both funny, strange, crazy, and underneath it all touch me deeply because they are not "crazy" in the way that I call myself, gently, and with humor, when I think about being bi polar, they seem to want to express just living in this world with the craziness we all have like wondering if your glasses make you fat, as if they could make a difference one way or another, but these are the kinds of things we all wonder in some form or another in our fragile human minds. They seem to come to me as healers, with humor, and with a light touch stroke my troubled soul and ease my all too often fearful and pain-filled brain. On the brink of turning 59 I have found the missing link, the piece of the puzzle that was always missing, and it is a miracle to me, and I am beyond grateful, I am amazed, and joyful, and delighted, and energized, as I never have been before, to move ahead with gusto knowing that I can pull all of the facets of my life and work together to make a life that will sustain me mentally, emotionally, and financially for the rest of my days.
I feel like a miracle has occurred. I am grateful, I am filled with gratitude, awe, wonder, and the holiness, the sacred aspects, and the miracle of it all are not lost on me. I sing hosannas and hallelujahs in praise and thanksgiving. Art is healing me in ways nothing else ever has. There is a river of grace running through my life filled with so many miracles it is positively astounding.
I can only say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, bravo, and amen. It shall forever remain one of the great turning points in my life.
Art heals. If it calls to you, follow the call. If something else calls you so strongly it is singing arias down to your toes, follow that. I've listened to "that still small voice within" and will continue to as it is one of my deep, sweet, spiritual practices, but art came a-yodeling and I am yodeling back.
Hot diggity dog, Mama's on her way now!
Love, Love, Love to you all, oodles and noodles and bunches and bunches. I can't stop smiling. More than anything else I wish that for you...