In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche wrote that when we are faced with difficult circumstances,
"Art approaches as a saving sorceress, expert at healing. She alone knows how to turn these nauseous thoughts about the horror or absurdity of existence into notions with which one can live."
Art is the product of creativity and creativity is the key to why art heals. As we grow into adults our creative nature tends to either become refined and nurtured in such a way that we have become an expert in particular creative endeavors or at the other end of the spectrum, we have not actively visited our creative nature in years, leaving it to lie dormant, maybe even since being a child.
Speaking of being a child, can you think back and remember a time when you were so engaged in the act of creating something that you found yourself in this flow where time was no longer part of your experience. All of your energy, all of your focus, was zoned in on having an experience. Maybe you felt out of your comfort zone, maybe it was even a little terrifying...thrilling.
You were in a dialog with the medium in your hands. You were in a dialog with your intentions, with your limitations and your skills. Each one of these elements had its influence on your experience. As you let them each rise to the forefront and fall back again, your focus seamlessly shifted. Stretching yourself, you were able to create and maintain an ever changing sense balance by staying in the moment and following what felt right.
"If we can liberate the creative process in our lives, it will always find the way to what needs attention and transformation."
Shaun McNiff “Art Heals”
As you transform a particular medium, such as clay or paint, from one form to another while expressing yourself, you - your being is also transformed. Different mediums will open you up in ways unique to their characteristics. It is a much different conversation with clay then with paint. One can open you up to the flow of color while the other is a more tactile, structural experience. The unique voice within each medium is waiting for your story to be told through you, through them.
It is critical to the health or our mind, body and spirit that we embrace the positive influences of the creative process and make it a part of our everyday experience. The benefits of steady practice can be astounding as it feeds a sense of acceptance, release, and evolvement. Creativity reduces stress and is a vehicle for developing a deep sense of personal awareness that can be used to weather difficult situations or propel you into positive life enhancing ones.
Take fifteen minutes a day to be consciously creative at something, anything. Learn something new. Keep it simple, accessible, on the brink of challenging and fun. Most of all keep it as a vital way of experiencing life.