Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Spiraling Out

Spiraling Out, 2007
Recently I read Betsy Fram's blog in which she reviewed a book she found inspiring about a woman who recovered from a serious illness while restoring her practice of making and creating. It (and some other recent events) took me back to my own illness some years ago from which I felt quite impaired and hopeless about a recovery. 

Cognitive impairment was a big and horrible component of that illness (Epstein Barr Virus) for me. I could not read or use a computer, could not exercise, or even make a competent dinner or conversation. But I eventually was able to sit at my work table and play with my watercolors. It felt like I was able to accomplish at least something small some days.

The image of a spiral kept appearing to me, and I imagined spiraling out of that dark place back into the world. I made several small watercolor and pen paintings and eventually the larger piece above.

My climb out of that limited place was very slow and difficult, and certainly it didn't look dramatic to anyone else. It took longer than I had imagined. Even when I had more energy and abilities, I often experienced some of the cognitive impairment. 

The eventual result was a shift into a world of Art. I opened a gallery and studio, worked hard and happily on my art and on teaching art, and reached a place of huge fulfillment and satisfaction.

More importantly, I understood so many things about the difficulties of life for so many others. I learned about compassion. I learned about being less judgmental. I learned some important lessons. I'm grateful for all of it.

Did my art practice "cure" me? Who knows? If you are feeling lost, maybe it can help you find some small piece of yourself.