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“it saved my life”

My art has always been a do or die situation, it's like deciding to become a nun. You don't think you have the calling, you know.

I would have to say I'm always learning and I don't think I ever will stop. Life always finds ways of teaching me a new lesson.

Growing up I had a lot of rage inside. I was angry at the world, God and life, because I had such a terrible childhood and because we were so poor.

College and for the most part my early 20's was a time of self-destruction. Then I found acting. Acting, saved my life. It introduced me to understanding people and who they are.

I've had to learn to forgive the people who hurt me in the past but most importantly to forgive myself and the abuse I gave my body. I love who I am today and what I want to do.

I love my family and friends. I'm grateful for having them in my life. I'm grateful for my drive and ability to stick to my guns and follow this passion no matter how broke I am.

Sandra Duque [WIIFM Success Radio blog interview] - CEO & President of La Negrita Productions, which “creates commercials, films, television programs, and documentaries to enrich and better educate Spanish speaking immigrants. Its main focus is communities without a voice, specially women and immigrants who do not speak English.”

photo from
La Negrita Productions site

> related article: The Alchemy of Art - by Douglas Eby

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Roxanne Chinook : "creating strengthens and restores my spirit"

Roxanne Chinook is a Tribal Member of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon. She is the Great, Great Granddaughter of Billy Chinook, the son of a Wasco Chief, who was her tribe's second treaty signer, and an Indian Scout for the legendary Kit Carson.

Her Grandmother Jeanette Brunoe, was full-blooded Wasco, a gifted beader, trick-rider and rodeo princess in Indian rodeos.

"My art emulates a personal and cultural experience, from the spirit of the trickster to healing from the traumas of my past. The process of creating strengthens and restores my spirit, and has rendered me a relationship with the sacred.

"I feel fortunate to inherit the same sense of humor that aided in my ancestors' survival. My spirit knows that all my relatives are watching over me, and that is why I paint and for that I am proud."

> photos and above text from her website

Roxanne Chinook's article My Spirit Lives was published in Social Justice Vol. 31, No. 4 (2004)

> excerpt from journal Introduction: Native Women and State Violence - by Andrea Smith and Luana Ross :

With exceptional courage, Roxanne Chinook discloses in these pages her personal experiences of the complexities of violence, including rape, family violence, and the eventual removal of her children.

Chinook must be applauded for her candid discussion of her experiences with tribal courts and what she terms her re-victimization. As well, she must be applauded for her determination to survive such horrendous treatment....

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Marlene Azoulai -
"an artist makes art to save her life"

I was first introduced to Art Therapy while in a psychiatric institution. There, I learned that when there are no words, there can be pictures.

I learned that an artist is not necessarily someone who has studied art, but one who has something to say, and the courage to say it. I learned that an artist is someone who makes art to save her life.

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder---DID/MPD, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. I am also bipolar. I do not consider my being a multiple to be a disorder, however. I see it as an elaborate system that my/our psyche devised, in order to deal with severe trauma.

"If you bring forth what is within you
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
---Jesus, from The Gnostic Teachings
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I do a lot of what I call "shadow-work", both in my writing and art-making.

I find my self/ves identifying and owning my demons. Creating my/our mythos, out of the icons we have un-earthed from within our selves.

This culture we live in exiles demons, without getting to know them....

The Persian poet Rumi said, " Be a full bucket, pulled up the dark way of a well, then lifted out into light." This is what telling the truth means to me.

Marlene Azoulai - from "On Telling the Truth"
on Artist Info page on her site

> artwork: HEALING THE CHILD WHO DIDN’T SPEAK - Medium: Journal Drawing ; SPY GIRL - Medium: Photo

> her site: sacredmonster.com

> some related pages: abuse & creative expression.....dreamwork....the shadow self.....

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Art therapy draws directly on a resource untapped by most other approaches: the client's creativity. The art a person makes, even ballpoint doodles, reflects his or her conflicts and concerns.

It's useful both in seeing problems and in solving them. Art therapy can be a shortcut for both children and adults, who often benefit from working with images as well as the intellect.

Maggie Robbins - from her site - she is an art therapist, psychotherapist, collage artist and writer -

> her new novel is Suzy Zeus Gets Organized - "The story of a promiscuous, manic-depressive bombshell is smart and witty... written in stanzas of six perfectly rhyming lines." [from short interview by Willow Lawson, Psychology Today, April 2005] > photo by James Peterson

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Creativity is the mother of all energies, nurturer of your most alive self. It charges up every part of you. When you're plugged in, a spontaneous combustion occurs that "artists" don't have a monopoly on. This energy rises from your own life force and from a larger spiritual flow. ...

A free agent that travels where needed in the body, creativity restores energy to all chakras, including our emotional center. But creativity is most bound to intuition; creativity and intuition act as sister energies that stoke one another.

Judith Orloff M.D. - in her book Positive Energy : Ten Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear Into Vibrance, Strength and Love

> related interview with Judith Orloff by Douglas Eby /  > related page:..intuition / instinct

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"Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing."

> Julia Cameron, from her book The Artist's Way

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"At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; a wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity."

> Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom

photo from rachelremen.com

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Art is about energy, positive and negative. All art has the power to heal because it helps us see who we are, and what we resist. If I respond violently -- say, to Mapplethorpe's photo of someone pissing on Christ -- I can see the violent part of myself. If I respond to the transcendental in art, it reflects my own transcendence.

Shirley MacLaine - from the book Positive Energy : Ten Extraordinary Prescriptions 
for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear Into Vibrance, 
Strength and Love - by Judith Orloff M.D.

> photo from book : Out on a Leash : Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love -
by Shirley MacLaine

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"Creativity healed me. I don’t know that I could think of any word that I get more inspired by than the word healing."

SARK - author of Transformation Soup : Healing for the Splendidly Imperfect

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"The portal of healing and creativity always takes us into the realm of the spirit."

Angeles Arrien

author of The Nine Muses: A Mythological Path to Creativity

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As I wrote it I felt at peace and relieved. The integration of these two selves, my efficient career-woman self, and my mystical poetic self, took many years, and now I never speak or present myself without both of me showing. That is why I try to read a poem every time.
This example from my own life as an artist illustrates the use of metaphor in healing, and in creation. 

A metaphor stands for something else. It is symbolic. An image is a visual or aural representation that is metaphoric. 

Often these are coded. A code is a language that transmits a message. 

Creating metaphors and images that may be coded in ways the makers don't even realize, permits the emotion to be changed, to be released through a safe and therapeutic means.

> from article : Metaphor and Image in Counseling 
the Talented - by Jane Piirto, Ph.D.

> image from book: Jane Piirto. My Teeming Brain:
Understanding Creative Writers

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Conscious awareness is the source of our healing... Only when you say the truth
can the truth set you free. This is not a negative process, but at times it is a difficult process.

I once heard someone say, "The truth shall set you free, but first it will piss you off."

Marianne Williamson  /  book: The Healing of America

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The "Los Cielos" 1996-2000 Series seeks to integrate my understanding and experience of ceremony, personal love of nature, and healing through nature. ... 

Often, in sharing these paintings with others, I am told deeply personal stories of personal catharsis and healing. 

One of my goals as a painter has been to touch collective unconscious and I believe that "Los Cielos" has been successful in reaching a place deep within the viewer. 

It is my hope that these works bring peace, healing and balance to the viewer. ...

Linda Vallejo- photo and quotes from Artist Statement 
on her site lindavallejo.com

**related books:

Latin American Women Artists of the United States

Strong Hearts, Inspired Minds: 21 Artists Who Are Mothers 
Tell Their Stories by Anne Mavor

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Searching for Angela Shelton... - dvd

If you care about the lives of women in America, go see Searching for Angela Shelton, a fascinating, one-of-a-kind documentary about one woman's search for all the other women in the country who share her name. 

The combined portrait of all the Angela Sheltons in America wakes us up to the realization that 50% of the Angelas -- rich and poor, struggling and successful, black and white -- have been abused, battered or raped at some time in their lives. 

Despite this alarming statistic, Searching for Angela Shelton leaves us not in despair, but in awe of the resilience and strength of women who have had the cards stacked against them.

Laura Davis - author of book The Courage to Heal -
quoted in Angela Shelton's newsletter, 10.15.04

..more on the documentary on page :....abuse & creative expression : page 1

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Giving Life to Carl Rogers Theory of Creativity - by Natalie Rogers, Ph.D.
We discovered that using movement, visual art, sound and journal writing in sequence with very little verbalization helped us tap into our unconscious and our archetypal persona, bringing insight to our personal issues... We created a safe, non-judgmental environment, giving people both stimulus and permission to take off their social masks to discover inner truths. The creative process is a life force energy. If offered in a safe, empathic, non-judgmental environment, it is a transformative process for constructive change.

Metaphor and Image in Counseling the Talented - by Jane Piirto, Ph.D.
The "talking therapy" is often not as effective for people in the arts as is an opportunity to abstractly express themselves in the coded way that the arts allow. Doing the work of writing, making music, painting, drawing, dancing, acting, making an image from what is within, is itself therapeutic. In recognition of the healing that is present in creating a symbol or an image, various therapies have been developed: art therapy, music therapy, poetry therapy, dance therapy. But if the person is talented in any of these domains, the work produced as self-therapy, becomes more.

Person-centered Expressive Arts Therapy - by Natalie Rogers, Ph.D., REAT
We are all capable of being profoundly, beautifully creative... The seeds of much of our creativity come from the unconscious and our feelings and intuition. The unconscious is our deep well. Most of us have put a lid over that well. The expressive arts — movement, art, writing, sounding, music, meditation, and imagery — lead us into the unconscious. This often allows us to express previously unknown facets of ourselves, thus bringing to light new information and awareness.

The Psychology of Creativity: redeeming our inner demons - interview with Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D. by Douglas Eby
"Creativity," Dr. Diamond states, " is one of humankind's healthiest inclinations, one of our greatest attributes. ... Our impulse to be creative can be understood to some degree as the subjective struggle to give form, structure and constructive expression to inner and outer chaos and conflict. It can also be one of the most dynamic methods of meeting and redeeming one's devils and demons."

Spirituality and creativity by Douglas Eby


Art As A Healing Force
"By art, we always mean storytelling, poetry, music, dance, visual arts, painting, sculpture, everything that is usually thought of as creativity. We believe that art and healing are joining together to become one. As art and healing merge, the field of art will be changed and the field of medicine will be changed. For many of us, healing art is a spiritual path ,a transformational process, a way of being."

Art for Healing NYC.Org
"supports emerging, professional, visual and performing artists with exhibitions, teaching opportunities and appearances at various private and public spaces. ... offers interactive programs, such as art classes, readings, meditation with the use of art techniques, healing with colors, video screenings and community outreach programs for professional artists, as well as for interested people with little or no experience."

Arts and Healing Network
"Arts and Healing Network is an on-line resource celebrating the connection between art and healing. Our web site serves as an international resource for anyone interested in the healing potential of art, especially environmentalists, social activists, artists, art professionals, health care practitioners, and those challenged by illness. Our hope is that the information presented here will educate and inspire."

Paintings That Heal
"original paintings created by Brent Atwater, a medical intuitive and healer, that eminate healing energy which activates physical healing for those with health issues and disorders. They are demonstrating the valuable role that artwork can play in enhancing the healing process."

Person-Centered Expressive Arts Associates

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> more sites links index




Lois Keith. "What Happened to You?": Writing by Disabled Women
After becoming disabled at age 35, Lois Keith found herself "living in a society which had permission to exclude me from things I had grown to consider my right." She learned writing gave her relief, pleasure, and the key to a new community. The essays, fiction, and poetry she gathered for What Happened to You? share differing experiences of women who are disabled or ill. A dancer who broke her neck performing talks of loathing the sense of being on show in the "lofty heights" of her wheelchair until she learned to dance quite differently. One woman gives voice to the undercurrents of anger, uncertainty, fear, and humiliation that colon cancer visits upon her. [amazon.com]

Natalie Rogers, Ph.D. The Creative Connection: Expressive Art as Healing

Michael Samuels, MD, Mary Rockwood Lane, RN. Creative Healing : How to Heal Yourself 
by Tapping Your Hidden Creativity
"Healing Art is being born as we speak. The concept is catching fire, is awakening in people's spirits…Artists, musicians and dancers are realizing their imagery has meaning….that their imagery heals them, others, their neighborhood, or the earth." Michael Samuels

..more :.....books: nurturing mental health......

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> related pages :....abuse & creative expression : page 1......nurturing mental health : acting.......

.nurturing mental health : films/filmmaking......nurturing mental health : articles books/programs....

nurturing mental health : sites......nurturing mental health : writing : page 1.........

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