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Oshilaja Hemsley Art Blog

Medicine Woman

by theartofoh , October 14, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: art and wellness, art that heals, contemporary art, energy, expressionism, flow, healing, making art, spiritual art, works on paper

She emerged whilst I was exploring acrylics which is a new medium for me.

These are exciting times for those of us in the arts and healing business.

At last after so much talk about arts and health, there are now practical demonstrations of the important role creativity plays in our wellbeing. Up and down the country there are special programmes that have expanded the range of venues for the arts. Programmes and projects that take various forms of the arts into hospitals, clinics, retreats, and businesses ranging from medium sized companies to huge corporations. There are also innovative GP/Artist referral programmes happening in cities like Bristol, London, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

For the most part, we are each becoming more aware of our own responsibility for our health and beginning to take more holistic approaches towards our own wellbeing.

As an intuitive artist and energy practitioner, I am finding that I no longer have to "translate" what I do and people have stopped rolling their eyes when I speak about how creativity is such a vital aspect of our being (as they did twenty years ago when I started). Combining esoteric practices with the creative, I show people how they can tap into their own "wells of soul" to paint their own emotional landscapes and get to the root of niggling emotional issues, and take an active role in their own healing.

I use the process of intuitive painting which is a process of "painting from the belly" instead of the mental or mind plane which can be full of debilitating judgments that prevent us from expressing our true Selves and living authentic lives. Painting in this way is not about being a wannabe Picasso. It's purely about self expression which is an inherent need in all of us. It is about being creative, not artistic... two very different energy fields.

So what has all this to do with wellbeing? Our verbal language can be rather inadequate in expressing our emotions, and we sometimes find ourselves trapped in memories for good or for bad. When we are caught up in either our own dramas or those of other people, perspectives need to be shifted or we remain ___stuck___. As multidimensional beings of energy, every hurt or slight we feel leaves an imprint in our emotional bodies. Unresolved issues build up into trapped thought forms and energetic patterns. Our bodies hold on to these memories or imprints unless we release them. Our bodies do tell us a great deal about the state of our minds.

Through the creative process of intuitive painting, we learn just how limited our vocabulary can be. Intuitive painting uses the language of colour, shape, form and symbols (and symbolic sight) to express those emotions that haven't yet formed verbally. It reminds us that verbal codes are not the only language we have. It makes us mindful of our breathing and taps into all our senses, not just the familiar five. It takes us (as adults) to that sacred place we once knew as children, that place of awe and magic and deep knowing where we can operate without fear to express our inner most truths. Through the practice, our perceptions are heightened. Our observations become keener. We feel a deep sense of calm and serenity, yet we remain fully alive. It's a great tool for reducing stress.

Through the process, all those "masks" that we have put on over the years in order to survive our (usually dysfunctional) upbringing, are peeled away. The results are quite remarkable. People who have never painted before are often astonished by the awakened powers that have lain deeply buried for so long they had forgotten how to use them. We all have this wonderful creative energy inside us, if only we'd get out of our own way. When we paint our emotional landscapes we get a glimpse of what's really going on in our bodies, our lives, our emotions, our patterns of behaviour. In expressing our emotions on canvas or paper, we can recognise our thought forms and our own dramatic emotional dances. Putting form to these emotions helps us see where we are stuck. If we don't like what we see, we can change it as the insights into our patterns of behaviour come fast and furious.

I'll end on a wonderful paragraph from Carolyn Myss - Anatomy of Spirit: "Creative energy breaks us out of habitual patterns of behaviour, thoughts, and relationships. Habit is a hell to which people cling in an attempt to stop the flow of change".

When we get to the root cause of our angst and illness, we're halfway home to recovery.



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