We are all at different stages of our emotional journey:
1) Awareness of Emotions: Some of us repress our emotions, and need to tenderly turn towards them without trying to change them.
Healing Task: Breathe into your emotion without interpretation and say, "Hello! I see you, feel you and hear you!
Expressive Arts: Write "image poems" without interpretation.
2. Emotional Expression and Release: Emotions need to be "energy in motion." When we repress our emotions, our body will hurt from the tension. When we hold our emotions in for too long we get sick.
Healing Task: Express and accept what feels unacceptable so that the unknown can become seen, heard and known.
Expressive Arts: Spontaneously dance, paint, draw, write and collage.
3. Regulation of Emotions: Once we are aware of our emotions, and are regularly expressing them, it becomes easier to intentionally create emotional patterns that feel healthier. If we feel anxiety, for example, we can regularly practice calm.
Healing Tasks: Name your emotions. Tell their story. Practice meditation, spiritual practice, daily exercise. Practice healthy eating and sleep patterns.
4. Transformation of Emotions: When we express and release our emotions and calm and regulate our bodies and minds, we become ripe and ready to embed brand new positive habits into our emotional body.
Healing Tasks: Re-pattern your neurology and biology with positive psychology, positive affirmations.
Expressive Arts: Affirmative collage, gratitude journal.
5. Corrective Emotional Experiences: When we feel better emotionally, we can practice demonstrating our self-love and self-worth with other people. New positive experiences replace old wounds and we are changed for good.
Healing Tasks: Community involvement and service, deepening intimate relationships, healthier friendships.
Expressive Arts: Creative Facilitation, leading or contributing to other people's self-expression in groups.
A Question For You:
I have a passion for emotional healing. I have done a vast amount of inner work on myself, mostly through the expressive arts. And lately, I have been deeply reflecting upon how we are drawn to different creative practices at various stages of our emotional journey.
Presently, I maintain a meditational morning mandala practice for calming, as my aim is to heal my adrenals after many years of overworking. And, on the weekends, I head into my studio for a fun "collage binge" because I need more play in my life.
My emotional need to create is not nearly as imperative as it once was. Many years ago, for example, I would spend an entire day intuitively drawing in order to rise out of an intense emotional mire. Now, my creative practices are short and deliberately intentioned toward a desired way of growing.
At 50 years old, such intensive inner work is not so imperative. I am moving into the wisdom stage of my life. Knowing myself well, and not nearly so overwhelmed and preoccupied with my own "stuff," I am in love with the beholding of "others."
My question to you is: "What is your creative wellness practice right now, and how is it helping you to emotionally heal?" I invite you to share in the comments below.