Creative Healing


sketches of my face showing different emotions. I was so disconnected emotionally that I could almost not bear to look at them.

This will be kind of long, because I have been away for so long, (again). I kept putting creative stuff on a back burner because… L.I.F.E. and day-to-day survival got kind of critical.

I had quit a horrible, soul-destroying job and was only working part-time until a full-time job became available.  I cut expenses to the bare minimum so I wouldn’t go into foreclosure. The small inheritance my husband had from when his dad passed had been supplementing our income and then, it too, dried up.  My car insurance was liability only, no collision coverage, and I got in a wreck (ironically, on my way to a non-profit to seek help paying my utility bills). No one was hurt, thankfully, but the passenger in the other car said that the look on my face would be etched in his memory forever. The car was totaled. I started taking the bus – an hour to and from work everyday. I eventually got a very demanding full-time position working at a Secure Residential Treatment Facility with adults with severe mental illnesses who had committed serious crimes (folks who in crueler, more ignorant days were referred to as “the criminally insane”).  Good work, but intense, exhausting ten-hour days. 

eva1

EVA – my Energetic Vibrational Ally

I kept telling myself that art, making things, creative efforts were a luxury I couldn’t afford to indulge in “right now” and convincing myself there would somehow be time and space and alignment with the universe in some future time that would signal that it was okay to start again. And that didn’t really happen… and I sort of froze up. Everything became very solid and non-moving and I felt like I couldn’t access that part of myself anymore. I was doing things to strengthen my spirit – making friends, meditating, growing plants, working on relationships, learning new skills and I was LOOKING at lots of art and artists (and pinning to my Pinterest). I still did small projects to try and thaw some, but it was limited and my confidence was destroyed. I had damaged the creative part of myself and I needed to find a way to heal my creative spirit.

In my earlier life, art and creativity had always been a healing force – that was its primary role in my world. It was what kept me sane. That had changed somewhat over the years, as I took medications to control chronic depression, I kept mentally diminishing the importance of art in my life until it became “optional” somehow instead of essential.

a fragment2
A Fragment of my Former Self 001

My well had run completely dry by the end of 2015. I wrote earlier on this blog about the importance of the online doll classes I took with Pamela Hastings. I felt a longing for the creative healing I had experienced in her classes and was drawn to see if she had any classes available, but she had stopped offering online classes at that point.

However, on the website was another artist, Barb Kobe. I had taken a class jointly taught by Pamela and Barb and I saw that she was offering a year-long Transformative Healing Doll class. I read some of her guided imagery process and immediately connected emotionally to her style of teaching. I contacted her to see if she ever had any shorter (cheaper) classes. She didn’t at the time, but worked with me to make it possible to take the class. It was slow and lumpy going. I felt like a fraud and at times I was ready to quit because I was so stuck, but with Barb’s insightful, accepting and intuitive teaching, and the support of the other dollmakers in the class, it made a safe space for me to start healing.

Even though that first year, 2016, I didn’t make much more than a paper doll and some sketches, things had begun to thaw. I continued onto the 2017 class with a few other alumni from the 2016 class who were now part of my creative family. Although my mom passed away unexpectedly in March of this year, I slowly continue to heal creatively and creatively heal and I realize now that this part of me is critical to my spiritual survival and without its powerful, steady, presence in my life I cannot be whole.

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7 Responses to “Creative Healing”

  1. Suzie Says:

    Sending out love ~~
    From an old old friend and huge admirer of yours~
    You were so very cool, so much fun, so clever, so deep, so wise and so very much more INTERESTING than the average schmoe WAY back then and you still are, always have been and always will be.
    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • eileen2000 Says:

      Thanks, Suz. I remember our creative adventures so fondly. I looked up to you so much. You were brave, principled, adventurous and creative and you inspired me to be the same. I am very grateful that we reconnected as adults. I hope some day we get to meet again in person. xoxo

  2. thebeantrees Says:

    I always smile, and fall deeply into the past when I see FB posts by you and others, such as Kent/Nan/Cindy. It’s always been in the process for me, in ways I just never knew could heal. After reading your words, and looking to the last 4.5 years of my life, i find myself at a similar artistic point. Artistic expression is directly linked to my mental/physical & spiritual well being. I don’t know how to get back on my art horse or where to go to dig into the tool that Kent had available.

    I wish we lived closer – I always have.

    • eileen2000 Says:

      Ah, Lo… Its so hard when you are raising kids. Its such a different energy in some ways. I mean, I did stuff then, but it was super sporadic and I went through major dry spells. I don’t have the answers but I think you have to show up where you are, even if you don’t like it. Even if you can’t feel it. Maybe it is a doodle. Maybe it is dots, over and over again, like my hero Lynda Barry describes in “Picture This”. You are an artist. You have to have that in your life somehow. Find people who art, or craft, or make, near you and meet up when you can. I wish we lived closer, too. My dream is an artist’s commune with all my friends. C’mon lottery!

      • thebeantrees Says:

        over the last few years I have seen my creative nature take to what HAS to be done – cooking reflects my need for expression these days.

        … and I’ll be vacationing at your artists commune ❤️

  3. Jude Says:

    Lovely post Eileen. I am so happy you are doing better and things are thawing. I hope you continue to make progress. its always a journey isn’t it? And soon we will meet again for the salon. Maybe we can talk more about the process of starting up again. I’m still working on that. Personally it seems that I need to look at art, be inspired, go in the studio and make something, or do a page of doodles, anything creative. And then go be inspired again. And then doodle again. It’s slow.

    • eileen2000 Says:

      Thanks, Judy. You helped the thaw! Your lovely little creature who was the inspiration for angsty rabbit was the first real break-through I had and got me through my bus trip down for mom’s funeral service. Looking forward to salon and lets definitely talk about how to start things and keep them going. The support of our little tribe has been really important in where I’m at right now.

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