By Kathy Mack, “wholistic” life coach and expressive art therapist
Humans are wired for connection and community, but maintaining safety and survival has often meant foregoing these in the past 24 or more months. Given the acute challenges of modern times, many of us have had to make compensations and choices to survive differently during the pandemic. There is a need to renew and reconnect, but how to begin? Building a creative meditation practice is a tool renewal during difficult times. Learn how this simple and creative act can reconnect us with ourselves, our community, and even our inner circle.
Creative meditation practice for renewal during difficult times
Times of stress, fear, lack of connection, or count-on-able norms and routines that fall away pretty much summarizes our living since March 2020, yes? How can we renew ourselves during difficult times? Drawing with art materials, words, intuition and imagination are tools we all have. We do.
I ask that you wander with me now as we together follow the weaving of the breath and the sigh of the imaginative soul, and draw with art materials or words as tools. In this instance, creative tools for renewal during difficult times are both meditation and the resulting story that unfolds. The imagination at the other side reminds us of our own power, and intuition to re-image our fear into a space of loving-kindness.
Finding your personal creative renewal process
Sometimes solution, the creative tools for renewal during difficult times, becomes a series of steps to take a process of actions—which can also include no-action steps:
Simply stop and sit
Begin with a time to simply ‘sit with…’ and see what emerges. When sitting with, or perhaps sitting in, stillness a recognition can come forth—one that is soothing and restoring to one’s deepest Soul. Stillness—a part of the action steps—is an effortless but conscious in-action word that connotes stopping: gently waiting, or seeing, or hearing wherever you are, breathing in and breathing out… like old wisdom from grandmas’ wisdoms who might say, “when you are lost, stop. Just stop”.
From stillness to action
Stillness might come in a whisper from the emotional heart that suggests our next step: to go for a walk in nature. Listen to the birds and see the leaves sway in the breeze, watch the sky that shape-shifts with the clouds above, breathe in the whole of the earth and the sky.
Process and create
Maybe then, once a walk has occurred, a next step is taken: the wanderer returns home and thinks about what just happened and decides to write it down—to ‘journal’ it. It begins to take shape as a story. In that moment, it is a story that has life and breath in it, that catches your imagination, and changes everything—your stressors, your fears, your non-norm.
This practice, these tools could just as easily have been done using visual journaling, with an art palette of any art materials—drawn or shaped or collaged (abstractly or representationally) feeling the movement of one’s hands across the page—simply making shapes and colors that caught the imagination. This approach enhances capturing the feeling of content, ease-fully breathing, so that the fullness of the nature of one’s Self to transcend fear to quiet comfort becomes the new reality.
The art of effortless self-expression
The result of my creative journaling meditation looks something like this:
“I felt my heart smoothing as I was feeling the air around me. It was alive; it was fuller than me alone. I noticed a butterfly hovering over a flower almost as if it was deciding between the yellow one as its scent was stronger or the white one… a breeze came and lifted the butterfly up and up and was strong enough that the butterfly was guided to the yellow flower and then the breeze let down the butterfly to land right in the center of the flower.”
Honor what unfolds
This healing journaling story could continue, but for now let’s imagine what these tools of meditation—breath, sitting with stillness, walking in nature—have created in this space which is bigger than one’s self. The stressed heart and the shallow breath both, having visited nature, visited one’s imagination, and having created a “journaling story,” have come into a more connected deepening into Self.
In this moment, all is well with the world. The body-mind-spirit, surrounded by Stillness externally and internally, got ‘un-lost’. This is big. The Self went from surviving around fear or stress into thriving in the present moment. The inhaled breath, and the exhaled breath back out… in the space that is bigger than ourselves…brought in-spiration, so the world of fear could unfold into wonder, no longer lost, not hurting; now thriving.
The Mind-Body-Spirit connection
It was the deep body-mind-spirit intuition that encouraged our wanderer to go out in nature, to leave off being stuck in the computer with work, or the news, or something insignificant. And then it encouraged us to breathe, and to create a visual or writing journaling of the experience. The journey to finding the creative tools for renewal during difficult times began with standing in Stillness and allowing the air, the imagination and the heart, along with journaling, to remove itself from fear and to find magic within; and therefore, the beauty of thriving.
These steps of stillness, breathing, drawing—with art, words or even both—becomes the elixir for the re-equilibrium of the Self. These are the stories of our own Soul. I believe we are all natural artists and creatives. We have these tools of wisdom within us, we are natural storytellers of our own journeys seeking equilibrium, seeking renewal in each moment. We can pause in Stillness, in breath and in journaling to move out of fear and stress. We can express ourselves back into peace and thriving… even in a complicated world. For moments only, or for moments that turn into the manifested journey of a lifetime.
Kathy Mack is a wholistic life coach and expressive art therapist whose goal it is to help with body-mind-spirit integration. Contact her for wholistic coaching and art therapy at firstname.lastname@example.org.