Why I turned to art when words failed me…
I have always been a lover of WORDS.
Since the age of ten I have been filling journal pages with my deepest thoughts (and yes I still have these and yes they are all cringeworthy!). I continued this love affair through acting in theater (oooh, memorizing lines!), speech contests (lots of 2nd place ribbons!), and even 4 Class President terms (yay to campaign speeches!). Later, I became a professional orator by way of teaching high school—creating and delivering daily lectures that dazzled students (or at least I hoped!).
I maintained a blog for over five years (El Camino Less Traveled) and even wrote a children’s book, Freckles Felt Fine (on sale now!:)! But by far the most difficult words-based task of my life was completing my PhD dissertation (not that you will read it, but here it is!). And then in 2017, the minute I edited my last sentence in the 250+ page document, I was DONE.
I had absolute word-fatigue. I never wanted to write. AGAIN.
But little did I realize, those writing exercises were the perfect outlet for my abundance of creativity. Without a proper outlet, this energy began to slowly pile up—making me miserable. I was stuck thinking writing was my only way out...but I refused to write.
So I decided to try something I NEVER thought I would: ART.
I'm no Van Gough
I am NOT an artist—my drawings are worse than a five year old’s (no, seriously)—but there was something calling me to explore this new landscape of creativity within me. I signed up for (and enjoyed) a painting class, but there was still something deeper I was longing for. My PhD research had introduced me to Jungian-based methods of art-making that I thought were extremely intriguing, so when I looked into an online course, I made sure to search “JUNGIAN” and “ART” to see what could come up.
I found JourneyPath Institute and the Creative Depth Coaching program just when I needed them most. Suddenly I had an outlet for my creativity and a community of others who were not necessarily artistic, but who enjoyed the self-discovery art offered. I began to explore a side of me that I never knew existed and I was shocked at what I had found.
My Soul In Art
I fell in love with Creative Depth Play immediately because it allowed me to create from my heart instead of my head. (After years of trying to prove myself in academia, this was much needed!). Then, using Depth Coaching methods, I was able to interpret what my art was trying to tell me from the perspective of my unconscious.
I learned that there is a strong, wise, timeless essence within me that is unaffected by my day-to-day commitments. There were many times I had accessed this essence before (almost accidentally), but most of them felt really ephemeral—escaping as soon as I grasped them. But creating art let me hold on to this essence long enough to understand what it really was.
The essence was familiar, loving, and extremely communicative! But it was NOT communicating using words, only images.
This essence was part of my soul.
I realized that the reason it felt so familiar was that it was speaking to me in my FIRST language: SYMBOLS.
It used these symbols to remind me who I was deep in my soul, but in a way words could never capture.
At first, I translated each art-work into words, but after a while, I didn’t even attempt to describe my art, I could just look at it and KNOW.
And this made me more confident than ever in the power of Extra-Rational knowing. Extra-Rational knowing is not IR-Rational (meaning lacking ration), but EXTRA-Rational, meaning it is above rational explanation. It is a way of knowing that is hard to describe, but is extremely valuable.
Speak to Me!
Prior to becoming a Creative Depth Coach, I had always relied on my intuition, but had never fully understood why it worked.
After my work with JourneyPath institute, I understand now that our true essence can only speak our first language of symbols fluent, but it will continue to try and communicate with these symbols through dreams, intuition, daydreams, and art--but once we become too reliant on words, we usually ignore its messages.
“Why can’t it just speak in English!?!” you may think… but the more realistic question should be, “How can we speak the same language?”
Usually the best first step is to create your version of a Rosetta Stone, or a translation dictionary, where you can begin to bridge the gap between symbol and word and have better access to the wisdom you’ve been missing from your soul.
I created Vision-Quest as a way of sharing the self-discovery tools I value most as a Creative Depth Coach. I want others to know how they can access this soul-based symbolic wisdom through their own mixed-media art.
I want people of all artistic levels (remember, I am still a stick-figure gal myself!) to connect with this under-developed asset within them, and use it until it becomes second-nature.
I want those who are addicted to a the rational mind to take a break from words, go back to their first language of symbols, and begin to trust their extra-r