Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Creative Side of Healing

I have always been fascinated with words … how and where they originate … and how seemingly unrelated words can be derived from the same roots. Case in point, the words heal, whole and holy can all be traced back to the same Anglo-Saxon and Latin origins.

Now take the word diseasedis + ease. Dis - means apart, away, negation, lack, reversal, deprivation. As such, dis-ease literally means the negation, lack, reversal, etc. of the state of ease, wholeness, health.

To heal suggests the opposite of dis-ease … The idea of being whole again … to be restored and be returned to the whole, "holy" aspect of our nature … that part of us that expresses the divine, creative spirit that lives within us all.
"Healing is regaining the memory of what it was to be whole."
- - Deepak Chopra

Creativity, to me, is simply taking that which is within and expressing it outside of ourselves. It is one of the most powerful processes we know of to reduce or even eliminate dis - ease and in so doing, regain our wholeness, health and divinity.

Frida Kahlo, the Mexican Painter (1907-1954) is a perfect example. Not only was she stricken with polio at the age of six, but was later seriously injured in a bus accident at age 18. Her body was almost entirely crushed and she spent the rest of her life in and out of hospitals, undergoing 30 operations, bedridden for long periods and in tremendous pain. Only her strength and will to live (and in my opinion, her painting) allowed her not only to survive, but make a remarkable recovery.

Frida began to paint shortly after her accident because she was bored being in bed. Painting then became her lifelong passion and profession. She expressed all of her emotions on the canvas.

"I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration … 


My painting carries with it the message of pain ... Painting completed my life ... I believe that work is the best thing."

One of the greatest expressions of the healing aspect of creativity was Frida's appearance at her one and only exhibition in Mexico in the spring of 1953. Her health was extremely poor at that point and she was advised not to attend. 

But in her inimitable style, nothing was going to stop Frida, especially from attending a party in her honor. She arrived at the exhibition by ambulance and was then taken by stretcher to her own bed that had been placed in the center of the gallery. True to form, she told jokes, entertained the crowd and sang and drank the entire evening.

She told reporters, "I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint."

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