Updated February 8, 2019
Having to balance a work and home life as a mom of 3 can be challenging, and it’s important for me to have an outlet to release my frustrations, and enhance my spiritual and emotional well-being. That outlet is art.
As far back as I can recall, I have always loved creating art. I am proud to call myself a self-taught artist. However, after being repeatedly told that artists often struggle financially, my interest in art took a back seat as I refocused my attention to a more “stable” occupation.
Fast forward to 2015, when my husband and I were blessed with a tiny baby girl weighing 1.4 pounds at 26 weeks gestation. We found ourselves in a difficult situation that no one can ever prepare for. I remember being in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) watching my daughter through the clear isolette and feeling as though I had dissociated into three individuals where the “present me” was positioned between my “physician me” and the “mommy me.” The “physician me” was stoic as she acknowledged the sobering reality that the baby’s chance of survival was grim. The “mommy me” volleyed back by hinging all her hopes on chance, even as slight as it was. And then there was the “present me” who was confused about how to keep life as “normal” as possible for my husband and 2 school age kids.
The first month of my daughter’s life was an emotional roller coaster filled with more setbacks than gains. The NICU provided different options to help parents cope. I wasn’t ready to lay out all of my emotions for someone to hear in a traditional therapy session, so I chose art therapy as it was a way for me to channel my energy into creating.
The Power of Creativity
Creativity was the light that got me through the darkness. It gave me a sense of control and it wasn’t too long before the sessions awoke the artist in me and it distracted me from feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and uncertain about the future. Eventually my “present self” began to believe in the improbable and I sided with the “mommy me.”
From that point, I was able to notice my daughter’s raw and uninhibited energy that fueled her extraordinary strength and will to live. She forced me to look within myself and reassess my values. Ultimately, she helped me to acknowledge the multiple facets of who I am, and commit to maintaining an equal balance of my roles as a wife, mom, doctor, and the creative that I have always been.
The powerful effect of creativity exists in the process and not the end product. So whether you think you have artistic talents (painter, poet, writer, actor, etc.) or not, anyone can create. Creativity opens the heart to healing by enabling the ability to be mindful of the peace and joy in the present moment. The sense of mindfulness clears the mind.
Four easy ways to spark your creativity in the middle of a busy clinic schedule:
- Doodle. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen. Reach back to your school days when boredom forced you to draw random figures. Be fun about it AND have fun.
- Meditate. There are many 5 minute meditation apps that can take you temporary away from you busy schedule.
- Listen to your favorite music.
- Journal. Taking 5 minutes to write about your present moment will help you to be mindful and it also exercises your ability to describe the moment in detail.
Call to Action: Have you ever felt torn into so many different directions to the point where you didn’t know your true sense of self? Do you have mechanisms to get your mind back to center? Consider how creativity could push you out of your darkness?