the healing nature of art

Today I wanted to share something really quite close to my heart. It’s the reason Hope in Focus was created and the thing that often keeps me going to be able to still have adventures and do things I love. And I wanted to share it with you, so all of you can see a little tiny piece of my heart that is constantly changing and growing.

I love being an art minor and have been recently reflecting on the concept of art and what it’s able to do for people. I got incredibly emotional and had a revelation of everything art has enabled me to do throughout life and everything it’s helped heal me of. So, let’s delve deeper.

This is how my dictionary defines art:
the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.
     I thought it would be fun to create a new definition of my own. Not that this one is bad, but I believe it could certainly be expanded.
     I have always loved making things. It began with building “sculptures” out of topper-ware and sticking plastic forks in the carpet to make patterns when I was two or so. It evolved with coloring, painting, and making paper projects in elementary school. Then came music: singing, playing mandolin, and fiddling around on a piano. It turned into making cards for birthdays and every holiday under the sun and painting wood trinkets and the walls of my room. Then it swayed to watercolor and ceramics and college design classes. Most of these things I still do (minus the fork thing because I’ll admit that was pretty weird), which really brings me joy.
     Through deaths of friends and family, divorces, my own horrid decisions, depression, and illness, art has stayed a constant.  Art in many forms, not just painting. I am convinced there is such thing as the art of running. The art of writing. The art of being kind, even when it’s hard. The art of traveling. The art of vulnerability. The art of math (what? Yeah.) Some of my favorite memories involve burrowing in my room and painting, or going on runs with friends. Those moments healed me. I was able to take the focus off of myself and life for just awhile and simply create something.
     Why do I consider all of these things art? They require creative thought, creative reflection. AND, they heal people. When we do things we love, we are inviting healing, inviting wholeness. Yoga, photography, weightlifting, small groups, skiing: creative thought. Oxygen to the brain, gladness to the heart. These things are gifts from God. God gave us these things to heal us as ways to connect with Her. He knows we need things to enable us to grow and be healthy.
     Whatever form of art you enjoy, grow that. Keep going there. Let your mind be alleviated of stress and wander to distant, creative places of your heart. Learn what your heart loves best about it.
     It makes total sense to me that people that have speech impediments can sing the most beautiful words when they’re put to music. I get it that a person suffering with depression can create the most beautiful images on a canvas.
     And I know that a group of kids with chronic conditions can bring life to a hospital by taking photos and finding their passions.
Have a creative week, friends.

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