There is a therapist and healer within us that calls us to do what is needed to heal ourselves. Of this I am convinced. We need only to learn to recognize that voice and respond.
I have been going through some struggles as of late, and have been back with my old and familiar friend, grief. I have written previously about how aging seems to bring this companion by more and more frequently, and this really does seem to be true.
My most recent struggle has been, on the surface, about relationships with others – but, on a deeper level, about the relationship that I have with myself. I observe, yet again, how easily I can take the road of self sabotage, self condemnation, self blame, self punishment. Perhaps this is my feeble attempt to try and feel some control in my life over things which I really do have no control over. Like the reactions and choices of others. Like someone not wanting to talk about something so that we can work it through. Like how life can be unfair. How loss is inevitable. How aging brings losses and changes that I cannot control. How death is the final inevitability.
In the midst of all this, I notice that I am drawn to do things that I loved to do when I was younger, but had to abandon in order to survive in this world, make a living, listen to what I was taught was important and what I needed to pay attention to. I have written before that these parts of us are still there, for which I am so very grateful. What I now realize even more is that these long neglected parts of us are not only still there, but are there to help heal us and bring us home to ourselves, home to our Selves. Who we were, who has been inside us all along, who we still are, who we can still be.
I have been painting a lot lately….I am lucky enough to now be retired and able to devote time to this. And I notice that the process of painting brings me quiet and calmness and takes me away from the ever present ruminations of my mind. It calms me. It takes away the illusion of time. I get lost in it….and, ironically, I find myself. I marvel at what can show up on a canvas, really have no idea where it comes from ……but am so grateful that it does. The painting seems to flow through me from somewhere else…..and that is totally ok with me. It’s not from me, but through me. And I feel at home. And ok with being me. Flaws and all.
I wonder, if I can allow this space and surrender to apply to painting the canvas of my life. To allow what is to flow through me. To allow myself to develop on that canvas, flaws and all…and in fact, to appreciate that the flaws actually make the painting more unique, believable, able to be interpreted in so many different ways by others, depending on their own experiences and ways of seeing the world. Can I allow myself to step away and simply be quiet when I need to allow myself to be able to see the canvas more clearly to know what my next step is? Can I allow myself to try different colors and palettes to see what fits and what needs to be changed? Can I allow myself the time to simply paint and know that this is enough, that this is all that I need to do in this moment, that in fact, this moment of painting is perfect in and of itself?
Some paintings bring up joy, some bring up sadness ….but they all touch on things within that need to come out. My inner therapist speaks to me through painting, through writing, through walks in the redwoods….
How does your inner therapist try and reach you? What did you love to do but have forgotten? What were your natural tendencies, abilities, talents, desires? What made you smile and laugh with delight? What is trying to get your attention? What is inside you that needs to be heard, and seen, and attended to? I hope that you can stop and listen for a while….and that you can begin to hear the whispers coming from your soul.