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Last week I interviewed artist, Dawn Adams, because we had something in common when it comes to creativity and healing and I wanted to explore that concept to show this very “life surviving” facet of creativity.

We had a wonderful conversation. We talked about art and Dawn’s observation that “Art is communicating from one person to another” Dawn spent much of her career making glass wall pieces which I found very intriguing and beautifully rendered. . Then tragedy struck and Dawn and husband Dale lost their only child to a tragic accident in 2007.

It was a terribly difficult time for both Dawn and Dale and each found ways to cope, using their creativity. Dawn’s choice was to step deep within her creative self and look for ways to survive her grief by changing how she expressed herself artistically.

She started painting water scenes that were soothing and evoked peace and calm for those within their midst. I had that opportunity at the recent Bloom Art Show in Bloomington. I honestly did not want to leave that spot and felt compelled to write this Blog as a result. Art can be therapeutically healing whether it is from the perspective of those creating it or those receiving its healing power.

Dawn shared that when creating art “You can be transported to another place … you control where you go but you feel as if you are in a different space” She traveled in her imagination to a different world of peace and calm as she painted the vast array of water in all of its forms and settings. In those moments she felt part of that scene, feeling and smelling and enjoying as she was creating it on the canvas. Grief disappeared during those moments of “flow” when her creativity carried her away to a better place. Those moments served to rejuvenate her spirit and feed her own creativity which in turn helped her to return to a healthy outlook and a full life.

When I asked Dawn what advice she would give to those grieving she shared” Grief is internalized and when in it you feel disembodied…not connected to your self.” It is a weight hard to let go of but she said we are all equipped to overcome it. Dawn encouraged grieving individuals to “make an effort to embrace their creative side”

While my journey was different, creativity served me in exactly the same capacity. In 2011 I found out I needed heart valve replacement surgery. Before I had my surgery, I thought I would be back to normal in six months and I had already launched a new initiative, Creative Indiana. Little did I realize that my Creative Indiana vision would be the lifeline that fed my creativity and gave me hope as I fought my way back from a year long recovery due to complications.

Not being able to be active and do the things I was most passionate about…my work in creativity training and facilitating, was a very difficult time for me, especially since I had just published my first book. I feared I would lose my momentum. But sitting in front of my computer and developing Creative Indiana and other training programs I would teach at Ivy Tech Corporate College transported me to a place of health and vitality and helped me to hold onto my belief that I would fully recover and so I have in all ways returned to actualizing my aspirations for the future.

So whatever is your “canvas”, I encourage you to use it to move forward in all aspects of your life and especially those times when healing is the “survival” issue to be created on your canvas.

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