Art is a very powerful healer. It helps us to express buried emotions that we may not even be conscious of. It can help release stress and tension as the energy moves from within us out onto the paper. It is therapeutic with its colours, textures and processes. In this booklet I will share some of my drawings from throughout my healing journey. The medium will mostly be coloured oil crayon drawings and some painted ones. I have also had experience with the use of clay, pastel crayons and other art forms as my mentor/counsellor was an Art Therapist. I loved experiencing and learning about the role of art in healing. I am very grateful to my Counsellor for all she has shown me and how she has helped me and others to heal.
One does not need to have any artistic skill to use art as a healing tool. Indeed I did not think of myself as artistic at all. When I started focussing on my healing journey I was a very head-strong, analytical, rational minded person. When Lynn asked me to draw for the first time I thought she was mad. I almost walked out the door thinking how ridiculous, as if drawing could help! It wasn’t long before the floodgates of my subconscious mind opened and drawings were pouring out of me. That is literally how it felt. I wouldn’t consciously think about what to draw or how to draw it. I’d just feel drawn to pick up a crayon and next thing there was a drawing on the paper. It just flowed out.
I was fascinated how at times of strong emotion I would draw and cry or yell at the same time. In these situations the most powerful drawings emerged clearly showing the power of the situations on which I was releasing emotion. I didn’t know how to draw what I drew. If I consciously tried to do it again later I wouldn’t know how. My mind would get in the way. I love how the colours often represent the chakras and the emotions being felt, the profound symbolism that comes through depicting the experiences. Here I have chosen some of my pictures that show the healing of my childhood issues, my relationship with myself and with my parents. I encourage you to embrace art as a tool to assist you in your healing journey.
(Extract from: Smith J, 2011, The healing journey demystified achieving sustainability one heart at a time, Lulu.com)
My birth – I got trapped in the birth canal over night and was eventually pulled out in the morning by forceps. I was covered in bruises and had a pointy head. My Mum left her body and remembers floating on the ceiling watching what was happening below. I refused to breast feed and was shaken by a frustrated Matron.
My happy home – the farm with Dad and my Grandparents.
Dark side of the farm – manipulated and controlled due to sexual play.
Unavailable parent – unable to feel their love.
After the separation – Missing my Dad and the farm.
Speaking to Mum after her first suicide attempt.
Running for my life – the dangers of an alcoholic abusive home.
A horror Xmas visit to Mum and Sean in Cairns.
Summary of how my childhood felt.
The barriers to love – feeling trapped and unable to open up or trust anyone.
Struggling to cope with all that was happening.
Buried emotions within my body
Feeling tortured by the past
Anger and confusion, caught up in my head thinking about it all.
Releasing anger and rage. This is a non-dominant hand drawing which can be a very powerful way of expressing what you’re unconscious of. You can also ask questions of your sub-personalities, letting them answer through writing with the non-dominant hand.
Unable to relax and enjoy life for fear of abuse
Exploring which parts of me are still upset.
Listening to the dilemma of my teenage self.
Embracing my teenage self – being a loving parent to myself.
Being the loving parent to myself
Finding the courage to speak up about the past
Regression to child around Mum – too enmeshed with her, too difficult trying to keep her alive and stay safe at the same time.
Deciding if I can live with the consequences of disowning my Mum.
Considering disowning my Mum – a battle within – knowing what I need for my health but not wanting to hurt her.
Finding the strength to go through with my decision. There were 2 more pictures in this series that showed how painful the process was for me and how conflicted I was after I had sent the letter. Unfortunately I didn’t keep those pictures so I can’t show the whole process here.
Exhausted and emotional after Egypt trip – lots of releasing and healing occurring as I feel what is in my heart.
Calling for God’s help.
Dreams of sexual abuse by my Stepfather – true or not I can’t know for sure.
Signs of past sexual abuse to be faced – dreams forcing me to face what I’d buried inside.
Not allowing the past to overpower me – shining my light.
Determined to heal and break free of the internal voices that continue to abuse me.
A peaceful moment in the healing journey.
The vulnerability and pain of separation from my Dad.
Choosing to let go of needing my Dad – to stop being the child who he did connect with and grow into the woman I now am.
Healing separation from Dad and forming sense of belonging – what I wished he would say to me.
Finding peace and love with my Dad at last.
Vulnerability – showing myself, stepping out of my box
Intimacy – In To Me See – allowing myself to connect with others and be seen.