Art, Heart, & Healing


A while back I signed up for this free class at called Art, Heart, & Healing.  And yes, you did hear me correctly, this class is free and you can sign up any time.  All you have to do is join Willowing and then you can sign up.  The classes are recorded and you just have to watch them and work in your journal.  I really like that I can do them when I can and not have to worry about missing a session because I don’t feel well.  There is a link for posting your work and if sweet Tam (who just had a new baby) has the time she gives great feedback!   She actually uses a graphics program to digitally adjust your work to show you what she thinks would help…. like if the eyes are too close together or the nose too long.   I myself, am great at making mile long snouts!

Anyway, it sounded rather easy and I thought it might help me and even be fun.  I love painting and one of the things I really want to work on this year is branching out with my art.  I tend to draw just what I see.  I’m always trying to paint a photograph and get caught up in details.  It never even occurred to me until this past year that I could interprete the picture however I wanted.  I could leave out things or put things in different places!  I want to be more imaginative and creative in my art.  I love to look at other art and see what other artists do differently and try to learn from that.

I started taking watercolor lessons last fall from a local man by the name of Tom Nixon and I have really learned a lot.  Only problem is the cold keeps me grounded to my house.  I deal with a lot of pain from Fibromyalgia and even though I try not to let it slow me down the truth is it does.  The cold during winter causes the pain to intensify and then I can’t concentrate on art…. or anything.  Even if I bundle up and my car is in my warm garage… once I get out of my car I’m done.  I haven’t been able to get out for an art lesson or for anything for a long time and my spirits are way, WAY down.  So I thought this would be the perfect way for me to learn some things about art, especially more imaginative things, and to help myself heal on the inside at the same time.

I started to watch the first video and got stuck.  I followed her instructions and got my journal and wrote out all of my negative thoughts.  I was so surprised because they came pouring out like a flood and I started to cry.  I realized I’ve been holding in a lot of painful feelings…. trying to not let them show because I don’t want to burden others with them.  I especially try to keep my husband from worrying because he already worries enough about work and making enough money to pay the bills.  So, I suddenly realized that I have been carrying around a bunch of emotional junk and that is really stressful.

The next step in the program is to forgive yourself and then to write some positive things on another piece of paper.  I’m not very good at explaining this part.  It really helps to listen to Tam explain it.  After you have your piece of paper of positive things the negative words get covered up with layers of paint for the background of your artwork.

I never got past the negative words….. it is still very disheartening to look at it.   I did realize something though….  ALL of these things on my list are caused by the fibromyalgia and other health problems that go along with it.  Maybe I felt fat before but now I’ve gained much more weight and exercising hurts.   Even when I do exercise it isn’t enough to lose weight.  I just do what I can and eat healthy.  I also feel helpless sometimes.  It is really hard to have to rely on others so much.  I have always been very independent and suddenly I always need to ask for help.  It really is hard to ask my son to open my medication for me because my hands are hurting too bad.  I am only 40.  That is something I have to come to terms with though.  Reality can be so hard sometimes.  Put that on TV.

You know, it’s funny that I can’t seem to help myself until I think about helping others.  I remembered when I worked at the hospital and thought of a few of the people I worked with.  I remembered some of the conversations I had with them and thought, “Wait a minute!  Why did I know what to say to them then but now can’t help myself?”  I guess I was just designed to help others.   So I thought about what I would tell someone else in my position and all of these positive things came to mind.  It made me realize that telling someone those things may not have helped as much a I thought at the time BUT just knowing someone cares helps.   Just talking and listening to them helped.  I went back to thinking about what I would tell myself.  I ended up learning a lot.   I wrote it out and it was funny to me that I kept having to go back and edit the pronouns because I would always switch to talking to someone else and using “you” instead of “I”.

Anyone who has health problems that hold them back should read this too.  There are a lot of people out there that deal with other invisible illnesses or are stuck in wheel chairs, are limited by crutches, canes or walkers, deal with arthritis, MS….. I could go on and on and on….


It isn’t my fault that I have these limitations.  I didn’t do anything wrong.  I am not being punished by God.  I may be heavier than I want to be but I don’t need to be a model.  I can only do what I can do and be what I can be.  I have to be happy in my own skin, happy with who I am now.  It isn’t bad to ask for help.  Good people will love me for who I am and not who I was or could have been.  I am not a bad wife just because it hurts to be touched.  I am not a bad mother because I am sometimes too tired to make dinner.  I am not broken…. I am limited but I have to keep moving forward and work around my limitations.  There are no time machines so I can’t sit around waiting for things to go back to how they where before.  I have to be who I am right now.   There is always something that I can do!


I don’t know if that is what Tam with Willowing had in mind but I sure feel better.  I think I can cover up those words now and move on to painting.

Before I go though I found this article that was very inspirational for me.  It is about a man that climbed mount Everest and he has a great limitation – he has no legs.  This is a great example of working around limitations and finding out just what you CAN do!

5 responses »

  1. Oh, I might just check out the link. I think many of us don’t realize how much we stifle our feelings and emotions. I was once at a dance camp for two weeks and halfway through the second week I just started crying for no reason that I could find. But soon after, I began losing weight and I always felt like all the physical touch that went on as part of dance loosened up some of my pent-up trapped emotions. Once they were released, I was able to get a bit healthier. Grinning – I’ve since gained the wait and I still suppress emotions all over the place, but…there’s hope. We’re always so hard on ourselves, aren’t we. Thanks for the post and the chance for me to reflect!

  2. Oh, Donna! I am going to have to check out this free class, too! You know I am in much the same boat as you, except I have the luxury of being only responsible for an adaptable cat. Of course, then I don’t have anyone handy to help me out with things, either. Anyways, I am going to check out this class. I like that you can do it when you want to little by little. I’m sure I could combine it with the SOAR journal I am doing for the whole year, too. Cool!

    Sounds like this is just what you needed!! I totally agree that we should be as nice, as encouraging, as forgiving to ourselves as we would be to a total stranger. What’s up with that, eh? LOL! :):)

    I have to go check out the link….

  3. I’m watching the videos on the Art, Heart, and Healing to see if I think I could combine it with the SOAR journal. Do you know, is it just the four classes? Or is it longer? You said you got stuck on the positives. Have you done any more? Have you started painting the face?

    • I think that is all there is. I have had a headache for 3 days so I haven’t moved on yet but I’m ready to gesso the page when I feel better. Got a Dr appointment to go to today so maybe they’ll know some magic to make this headache go away. I just joined the soar journal thing today. You should add me as a friend on that site. I don’t know what name your joined under. I really like the way this site looks and how fast someone welcomed me and added me as a friend. I don’t know if that is the person that runs it but I liked that. I’m not going to combine them but to them together. I’m going to turn my new years journal that I planned on doing into the soar journal and keep my art journal I had before for the other. Of course some art my seep into my Soar journal too…. I make a lot of smaller art pieces that I think I might add to it. Plus I want a SMASH journal. Have you heard of that? It’s a thing they sell at Michael’s now – at least i’m going to see if they have it at mine. I’ll find out today.

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