Monthly Archives: March 2014

Infusion of Energy

We’re always looking for those moments and experiences that provide us with a jolt of inspiration. We create stories every day that we’re on this planet, and look to tell those stories over and over again. Our stories intersect and create beautiful unions. These unions provide the foundation for many of our relationships, and contribute to the healing power of stories.

Kevin Kelly states, “The act of creation is beyond feelings and thoughts. It unites us with the fundamental creative energy of the universe and enlivens us.” I love the idea that this energy enlivens us because it makes reference to an awakening. The awakening that we’re all creative beings and creative expression propels us forward in our quest for health and healing.

It’s amazing how many people feel they lack a sense of creativity. We’ve been conditioned to believe that creativity is only for the fine artist, the accomplished musician, or the Tony Award winning actor. The truth is, creativity occurs each and every time we find a solution to a problem. Creativity occurs when you select a vase you love and fill it with your favorite flower. Creativity occurs when a computer scientist creates code. We’re not limited to what constitutes creativity. We do need to unleash our creative potential so it can mingle with all the other creative energy released into the universe by others.

Creativity can be difficult to contain. It often oozes out of our pores without us even knowing it’s happening. If you look at my notebooks from school you’ll see lots of doodles. I like the freedom of taking different color pens and scribbling around a quote by Plato, Madeline Albright, or Ghandi. There’s a amusing juxtaposition between the words of wisdom provided by these notable personalities, and the unrelated illustrations. When I doodle I’m in the moment. I experiencing a sense of flow and that promotes my creative energy.

Where do you notice your creative energy surfacing? Share how your creative energy is released into the universe in the comments section below. For more information on health and healing visit, www.survivingstrong.com.

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The Unspoken Story

There are stories we hold near and dear to our hearts but are too personal to tell to the general public. What if there was a language where you could tell your story but didn’t have to feel raw, naked, or revealed? You do have that language; that language is art.

Obviously there have been public displays of art that are quite revealing. I started my textile art life as a traditional quilter. Serving as the manager of an HIV/AIDS program I was very aware of the AIDS Quilt. This was a place where families could create a 3’x6’ panel commemorating the life of someone who died of AIDS. The individual panels would be connected to create larger panels and they would be ceremoniously unfolded and displayed to the public.

I volunteered as an emotional support person at a few showings of the AIDS Quilt. It was an amazing experience because the panels were so representative of the lives led by those who died. The panels were timelines about the person who died. It’s amazing what you can learn about someone from a piece of art.

On the other hand, when things in life have been too painful to share; sharing it through art can be a way to purge the experience from the body and lighten the soul. It also allows us to tell secrets about our lives that are encrypted. That’s the beauty of art; we can create it and others can interpret it any way they desire. We, the artist, don’t have to acknowledge or deny the interpretation.

When I was doing my dissertation I was in contact with Lilly pharmaceuticals. They do an art exhibit, Oncology on Canvas, by those diagnosed with cancer. I reached out to them to see about interviewing the artists, but they declined because the pieces in the exhibit were anonymous. Anonymity is another way to tell your unspoken story, but create a work of art that reveals your deepest experiences.

Our stories need to be told, but they don’t have to be told verbally. There are plenty of unspoken ways to tell the story of your life on your path to personal health and healing. It also can be a part of releasing what you feel is holding you back in moving your life forward to personal, emotional, and spiritual freedom!

How have you told your story through art? As a community we need to support each other in the unfolding process. Feel free to email me at greg@survivingstrong.com.

Mark Making:Printmaking

Denver is an art rich city. The number of art districts, galleries, and art museums is astounding for a second tier city. The art community is quite collaborative and is represented by the month long, city wide commitment to printmaking. Galleries and the city government have devoted programming, exhibits, and tributes to printmaking.

Last night I attended a panel discussion about printmaking. The panel discussed the intricacies and processes related to printmaking. The artists made it quite clear that printmaking is an intensely elaborate art process. Experimentation is prevalent in the printmaking community. The artists discussed their mark making process and how it results in the final piece of art.

One of the panel members, Michael Chavez, the director of public art for the city of Denver, made a statement about printmaking is the process of making an image and transferring it to another surface. When I heard this simple idea I began thinking about the impact art has on our lives.

What happens when we hear a song, read a poem, or view a work of visual art, don’t we have an experience? Isn’t that taking an image/experience and transferring it to our hearts and souls? I may be stretching the idea a bit, but printmaking/mark making is about what’s left behind. Isn’t it possible to create something and have the image or experience transfer to our being? What happens when we walk away from a work of art that we find moving? Don’t these works of art (all mediums) leave an impression on us? Isn’t it an impression that we can relate back to over and over as part of our soul?

There are so many ways that we’re able to make marks. We are capable of leaving traces of meaning behind by creating art. What marks do you make and how does these marks represent you? How do they promote a sense of meaning making in your life? How does this meaning strengthen your soul energy?

I’d love to hear your experience! Feel free to leave a comment in the space below.

Does Wonder Lead to Creative Expression

I’m always looking for inspiration to spark a creative experience. Inspiration can come from stories, viewing other artwork, and the media, just to name a few. I spend a lot of time at the bookstore in the magazine section viewing artist magazines from a myriad of mediums. Art is great because we can translate the work from other mediums into our own medium or be inspired to try a new medium.

Art, for me, is an expression of my human experience. The art I create, and that created by others is often an expression of an experience. There is something to creating a piece of art that reflects our inner experience. I equate creative expression to dreamwork because it allows us to bring to consciousness those thoughts, ideas, and experiences that may be of the subconscious realm.

The other component to creating works of art in the process of healing and expression is the sense of wonder. I’m working on a couple of pieces and find that I’m continuously drawn to the idea and images of bridges. I’m looking at pictures online, talking about bridges, and asking myself what is it about bridges in this time that’s so important.

Wonder can also be a community experience. “The Artist’s Magazine” has a cover story titled, “Women Painting Women”. The article speaks about how, in the past, women have been passive subjects in works of art. The idea of women painting women is serves as a message of empowerment and a shift in the consciousness of women, art, and meaning.

When we pay attention to the questions that keep arising we’re drawn to digging deeper into our consciousness and our soul. These questions help us extract healing principles through creative expression. Resolution brings a sense of peace. Ultimate self-expression allows us to be seen and heard and that’s paramount to living a life full of possibility.

How does wonder manifest itself in your creative expression? I’d love you to share your experience in the comment section below. For more information you can visit http://www.survivingstrong.com.

Helen Keller Hit the Nail on the Head!

We attribute many things to Helen Keller about overcoming challenges.  She was truly a trailblazer.  Many would say that she wasn’t disabled, but over-abled.  She had skills and insights that many who are healthy will never achieve.  How does someone who is blind and deaf experience beauty?  Keller stated, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart”.

Keller was unleashed the understanding of how one maximizes the experience of creativity.  It’s through the heart that any creative endeavor blooms.  It’s through the heart that others experience an energy that emanates from our soul and is contagious.  It’s through the heart that we can go delve deeper in our creative endeavors.

Our live experiences are imprinted in our heart and soul.  We’re able to reflect back on our experiences on the kinesthetic level.  We embody our experience and translate it to the world through our creative expression.  Art is one way that we share our story.  It’s a powerful expression of emotion and experience.  How do others know our visual story?

When we stand before a work of art we have a reaction, good, bad, of indifferent.  That experience is personal.  We run the visual impression through our own filters and run it through our own experiences looking for a match.  There are times when we are able to relate to a work of art because we’ve experienced the same or similar experience.  There are other times when the expression of healing can be a told in a universal language that we understand.

Relying on our heart allows us to refer back to the art.  Kim Rosen, a noted performance poet (author of “Saved by a Poem), speaks about memorizing poetry.  She shares that memorizing poetry should not be the goal.  The goal should be to learn the poem by heart.  When learning the poem, the places we get stuck have a meaning that we need to take to heart.  Those are the places where we need to focus our attention and energies.  These are the places that will unlock the mysteries of the soul.

How do you interpret Helen Keller’s quote?  How do you experience beauty/art on the heart level?  I’d love to hear your personal experience.  Feel free to share your experience in the comment section below.  For more information you can email me at greg@survivingstrong.com.

In the Beginning….

Welcome to “Time to Live Creatively”, the place where we discuss art and healing.  When we think about art and healing it’s common to think about illness.  However, I’ve been speaking with people who have endured many different life stressors, and through art, they have overcome great odds.  These individuals, artists, are using creativity to express themselves, sharing their story with the world.

When I began this journey, over twenty years ago, I channeled my energy around illness.  After I finished my dissertation on art and healing the artists, even though all facing chronic and life-threatening illnesses, spoke about other hurdles they used art to tell their life story.  They created visual autobiographies to share with the world.

As I continue my pilgrimage looking at how art influences our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives; the evolution of the visual story becomes more prevalent each and every day.  I hope you experience how the creative energy in your life serves to create a sense of calm and peace.  I hope your creative experiences open your eyes, your consciousness, and your spirit to the breadth of possibility in the world.

I would like to invite you to visit this creative sacred space as we explore the impact of art and creativity on our lives and makes us whole!