Healing Through Art and Creativity

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Getting over an illness or dealing with an on-going condition can drain the body and the soul. It’s times like these when we need to be fed really well. We need to fill that void inside us with something really good. Oh, if it were just food we needed, that would be simple. What we often need is a way to express ourselves so we can begin to understand our own hearts and feelings. It can be a way to begin the healing inside of us.

What many have found throughout the ages is that overcoming anything — be it a physical loss or a spiritual one — takes fortitude. It also takes a good bit of distraction at times. Many have found creativity to unleash the pain and to help them work through grief, anger and loss. No one is ever too old to be creative.

Ways to Be Creative

Art — Painting, Drawing, Photography . . .

Many very famous artists began painting in their golden years. I think sometimes we have to be older to actually give ourselves permission to do something we’ve never done before. I’ve seen the joy that painting can bring to older people. Tiffany Paige has used art for years to reach those who suffer from dementia. She brings art to the aged in assisted livings with paintings and drawings for them to look at. Monthly outings to museums are scheduled for both the dementia patient and the ones who care for them. The results are magical.

She also puts a brush in their hand and encourages them to mix their own paints. This simple act frees them to try something new and express themselves in their own way. You can see the healing in their faces.

Photography is also a way to show others the way you see the world and those around us. I love those little disposable cameras. They’re easy for anyone to use. Put one in the hand of your ailing loved one and see what they choose to take pictures of.

Writing — Life Stories, Poetry, and even Fiction

Everyone has a story to tell and there is often healing in the process. What a wonderful legacy to leave behind — the story of your life. You can help your loved ones tell their story by writing down the things they tell you. A tape recorder is also a great way to get those stories down. Encourage them to describe how they feel when they’re narrating their stories. Even those who suffer from dementia can often remember the things that happened when they were very young.

Perhaps poetry or song lyrics are something your loved ones might enjoy creating. Bring them a spiral bound notebook and ask them to jot down their thoughts. You might suggest they write down a poem they learned in childhood. It could break the ice for them to write one of their own.

There Are Many Ways to Be Creative

Art can come in many forms. Some like to make quilts or knit scarves or do needlepoint. Some enjoy learning how to cook exotic dishes, while others might enjoy designing their “dream garden.” Take your loved ones to a craft store and see what they might be interested in, or hand them a craft book or catalog. While you’re at it, find yourself a creative outlet. Everyone needs a little feeding of the soul!

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