It’s no secret that 2017 has been an emotionally challenging year thus far. I have bathed in emotions I had no comprehension existed. No matter how hard I try to live my life in motion, the loss of my oldest child halts my momentum in a single heartbeat.

I am getting better at being kind to myself; nurturing the wounded heart. In the past, when life handed me a heavy fist, I bucked up, put on my big girl panties and forge onward. What does that mean? Bucked up? I can hear the voices of teenage peers saying, suck it up, Buttercup. I can still feel the frustration others had with me during my divorce as their energetic vibration exclaimed oh Lord, here we go again or get over it already. Does buck up mean to forget it ever happened, live life like the moment didn’t transpire or simply put toughen up, wuss! No matter. I am who I am. And I’m rambling.

Six or seven weeks ago a dear friend of mine invited me to join her in her art studio to paint. I asked what I needed to bring; she replied just you. She supplied the canvas, paints, brushes, tea and conversation. It was exactly what I needed to break through an array of emotional walls I’d built up when Jeremiah died. Actually, that’s not true. I had quit creating while I was employed at a toxic job. I internalized the harmful words directed at me to the rhythm of an erratic drum beat based on whether or not I was their target. To them I was insignificant, incapable and unlikable. I embraced their powerful words and let my loving voice wither into a fine mist that evaporated with the sunrise. Again, I am rambling. I promise there is a point to all of this.

Jenn, my sweet niece and dearest of friends, offered me a safe space to paint what my voice could not verbalize. The first painting took two sessions to evolve. I’m sure there’s an art critic with a psychology degree that’ll decipher what it all means, but I don’t care. The paint and canvas was at the mercy of the brush in my hand. And it felt damn good.

Our first evening at the table we spoke about a variety of family events, the weather and other on-the-surface-of-the-heart topics. It was during the second session I broke down. I dabbed paint, sipped tea and wiped tears. Jenn listened. I mean, wide-open-heart listened. You see, her nephew and my son have one thing in common that draws our family web a bit tighter – they both committed suicide. She may not comprehend the fullest extent of my emotions; she understands the trauma.

As my emotions layered the canvas, my heart opened and voice cracked. Without knowing it at the time, Jenn released creativity from its dark chamber under the powerful words of unworthiness and inferiority that spewed from lifetime of harvesting and shed light into the crevasses on the other side of my emotions.

Today is the six month mark of Jeremiah’s passing. My intent was to plow through this day just like any other day. I was going to complete the action steps of publishing UnLeash Your Story – A Journal Writer’s Guidebook, transform with a new layout, market 21-Day Live Life In Motion Alignment program and, and, and, and…  However, the tears have taken over today’s to-do list. Instead I have finished another painting this morning, emptied a tissue box and filled the trash can, and two minutes after I hit the publish button on the right hand side of the monitor I’m heading out the door to walk along the shores of Lake Michigan.

“Art is a constant agent of transformation and is indeed the soul’s drive to health.”

Creativity has a powerful affect on our mind, body and soul. I featured Jenn in the September 2016 issue of Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine (no charge for this issue, email required to access) for Making A Difference One Piece Of Art At A Time. In this article, Jenn shares her heart-centered story of how art transformed her life and the concepts of Art Therapy.

In the first chapter of UnLeash Your Story, I share how journaling saved my life when I was sixteen. Today my healing swords are the pen I journal with and the paint brush I slide across a canvas. Both forms of art are allowing me to express emotions that would have otherwise remained in the dark crevasses of my heart. Shine on, dear ones…

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