We have written a new book that is a 12 week process to heal yourself with art. It is a guidebook taken from our classes in art and healing at San Francisco State University and University of Florida.
The website for our new book is here. There are many photos of art and healing and how to do it there.
The essential process of healing ourselves with art, music, or dance involves our own personal change. When we are ill with a physical or mental problem or when we need to grow, we start to heal ourselves with art by opening ourselves up to our inner voices of change. We allow ourselves to listen to those voices and to let their messages to us emerge.
The first step is to see ourselves as an artist. Choosing a medium is the first priority. That may be done already if we have made art or played music before or if we saw ourselves as making art in our daydreams. Or we may have to ask ourselves what we want to do. Am I a painter, a sculptor, a musician, a poet, a storyteller, a dancer? Have I ever wanted to create something and been afraid or too busy to do it?
Clearing a space as a studio or place to practice is next. Getting materials together, orienting ourselves to this new world, looking at art, listening to music, being with friends who are artists, puts in the space to create.
The most important step is to make the first movement, to draw the first line, to make the first sound, the raise your head and dance, to write the first word. We do that from a place of no judgement, from a place of letting go, of trust, of love. And we let the process happen by itself. As the lines increase, the sounds connect, the movements join, the words add up, a piece of art emerges and we see who we are. The art becomes a sign of our healing, a visible or audible representation of our own transformation and healing.
As we see the art appear outside of us, it looks almost like it has been made by someone else. Its beauty and wonder are almost beyond us and its message more than we could have known. Yet we see it and are witness to its message of growth, change, and transformation.
Pages to come
Healing ourselves with painting and sculpture
Healing ourselves with music and dance
Healing ourselves with poetry and storytelling