I’m so excited about our “Stress Succs: How To Do Away With It” workshop coming up this Saturday (22 April, 2pm)! I think this workshop can really help a lot of people out there who are suffering from high-levels of stress, busy-ness and who might be suffering from technology overload (electromagnetic toxins). I can’t wait to hear talented local artist Sarah (from Sarah Mae Designs) share with us her inspiring story of how she used art and nurturing succulents to help overcome her health issues. I’m also so excited for her to teach us her craft in turning junk into creative (and sustainable) planters for the very versatile succulent plant.
I have a big space in my heart for creativity. Having done a PhD in Creative Writing, and analysing my own self-discovery and self-change through the creative process, I am a big believer in the power that creativity can have for change. In the field of health, creativity usually gets shunned to the back seat as an unrecognised means for recovering from health conditions – for physical and emotional change. However, thankfully, there have been some innovative researchers who have studied the healing force of creativity. PhD Nutritionist, Dr Deanna Minich, in her book “Whole Detox”, talks quite extensively about the way that finding your creative flow can help us resolve biological issues, as well as emotional ones, and in particular, stress-related conditions. She calls creativity THE FLOW, which is also intricately connected with the emotions – THE FLOW calls upon us to let “e-motions” (energy in motion) move freely through our bodies so they don’t stagnate and end up diseased. If you feel “stuck”, “dried up”, or “blocked” chances are that something has disrupted your FLOW. Likewise, if you feel moody, overly emotional, numb, uncreative, or even infertile (the act of procreation is the ultimate expression of creation!) – chances are you’re struggling with your FLOW as well.
Infertility is an interesting one. When I started my PhD in creative writing my husband and I were trying to fall pregnant. After a year of trying, still no baby. So I started seeking medical advice. It took awhile of seeing GP’s and gynaecologists, but eventually I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which meant I wasn’t ovulating. Looking back now, this seems absurd that I was infertile at a time when I had thrown myself into creativity during my PhD. But I tell you what, my PhD was HARD. It was a struggle. There were many, many days that I felt STUCK. DRIED UP. BLOCKED. Like my writing was going nowhere. My novel and thesis that I was writing at the time – well, so, so many pages and words were ripped up and thrown away. There were many days that I felt completely uncreative, incompetent, worthless. Funnily enough, PCOS can often arise due to high levels of cortisol (triggered by stress), and is often a syndrome that plagues women who are highly driven and highly stressed (uh-hum…that was me!). Many, many days that stress overcame me physically and emotionally. Three years of trying to conceive, seeing specialists, having invasive tests, dosing up on Clomid to help me ovulate, we finally fell pregnant. This was such a special and exciting time. And it transcended my own creativity – finally my novel and thesis had direction, and my writing and ideas flowed more freely. 12-weeks later, I miscarried. It was heart-wrenching. Lonely. I felt like a piece of me had been ripped out, along with the baby. Strangely enough, this experience also got my creativity flowing – or perhaps my creativity got my fertility flowing, because 6-months later we conceived naturally, without really even trying.
Dr Deanna Minich recounts countless examples from her own clinical experience, where patients who were experiencing health issues, overcame them by giving themselves permission to be creative. And likewise, many who felt their creativity was blocked, recovered their inspiration and creative vision by addressing the physical nature of the FLOW. Creativity, by the way, is not just the creative arts – you can find your FLOW in any act of creation, be that decorating a room, gardening, preparing a nourishing meal, turning a flaming idea into a passion-driven business.
Sarah, our tutor for the “Stress Succs: How To Do Away With It” workshop, also experienced healing through embracing her creative FLOW. Sarah experienced a lot of emotional and psychological stress connected to her health issues a few years ago, so much so that she had to defer from university as her mind could no longer concentrate enough to read. She was also plagued with a lot anxiety, and for a need to be perfect. Along her road to recovery, art was a saving grace. She says “Drawing..helped me in anxious times. I developed a very detailed style that embraced mistakes and was very relaxing to draw. I did (and do) use fine-liners to create finely patterned works that aren’t erasable; if I made a mistake I had to roll with it and work it into the piece.” Not only did art help to reduce Sarah’s cortisol levels, but they also helped her to embrace mistakes – not just in her art, but also in herself. It gave her a space to recognise that she wasn’t ‘perfect’ – and that she didn’t have to be ‘perfect’, a distorted idea that caused her health issues in the first place.
If you’re feeling stressed, busy, stuck, blocked, stagnant, irritable, infertile or overly emotional, you should definitely consider coming along to our “Stress Succs: How To Do Away With It” Workshop this Saturday (22 April) 2-4pm. You can read more about the workshop, and register here. It would be wonderful to get UNSTUCK with you, and embrace the creative FLOW!