The lovely Amy Cunliffe, Transpersonal Art Therapist of Creating Healing in Sydney, has written a guest blog piece for us about creativity for self-healing. Enjoy 😉

A New Year has dawned and for many of us it feels like a blank canvas of new possibilities. 2012 feels to be about connecting more deeply with our inner truths and creating a life that is more in line with who we really are, rather than who we ‘should’ be. Many are asking: What brings me joy? What are my passions? What is my purpose? Sometimes we get caught up in expectations and need to re-connect with what is important to us.  Creativity is a wonderful way of connecting with and expressing our Authentic Selves, our unique essence. It offers new perspectives into situations that are often not accessible in the analytical (often critical) mind, transporting us into a greater space of Being, embodiment and presence. When we create, we speak from our Hearts, our Soul, our Spirit. Creativity has the powerful ability to bring about healing – to renew, grow, transform and to make whole.

Creativity shows us we don’t need to become ‘different’ or ‘better’. It provides an avenue to express, explore, receive and integrate all the wondrous colours and facets of our selves, the light, the dark – and all shades in between. It teaches us self-acceptance and self-love.  You may think ‘I’m not creative’ or ‘I’m not an artist‘. We all have the ability to create, dream, to bring into being and shape our experiences. When we’re young we are naturally imaginative, playful and free. However, life experiences can shut down our innately creative selves. Our Inner Critic can deter us from trying new things with thoughts like ‘I’m not good enough’. We pressure ourselves to be ‘good’ or ‘perfect’ or compare ourselves to other people. When creating there is no right or wrong, just a willingness to express and explore yourself and see what emerges.

“Each of us possesses a creative self….The ultimate creative act is to express what is most authentic and individual about you.” Eileen M. Clegg

Some ways to express creativity: Journaling, Drawing, Poetry, Painting, Pottery, Gardening, Cooking, Collage, Photography, Music, Singing, Story, Dance, Drama, Sewing, Jewellery, Design, Film, Sculpture.

Ask: How do I enjoy expressing myself? What creative activities did I enjoy as a child? What creative activities do I enjoy or would like to explore now? What inspires me? Being in Nature, Family, Friends, Children, Music, Films, Travel, Art, Love, Books, Meditation, Learning.  Bring more creativity into your life: Dedicate time to be creative: It’s easy when you’re busy to dismiss as ‘not having enough time’, but what’s more important than nurturing your innermost essence?  Set aside a manageable amount of time – eg. 1 hour on Tuesdays at 7am to journaling.  Create Your Sacred Space: Clear a table, desk, corner of a room. Set up materials – paper, pencils, paints, pastels, crayons, glue, scissors, magazines, photographs, feathers, clay. Turn your phone and TV off.  Play relaxing music or have a candle or essential oils burning. Decorate your space with inspiring images or a beautiful flowers.  Still the Mind and come more into a state of Being. Spend some moments in meditation and bring awareness to your body, releasing tension with the breath, until you feel a greater sense of  relaxation.  Set an Intention about what you wish to create, express, explore – e.g to express how I feel right now;  release stress; to explore my passions and dreams; to gain clarity around…
Create, Express, Explore: Be spontaneous, letting it flow without thinking too much. Take the pressure off yourself to create something ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’. See what emerges.  Reflection: Spend time reflecting or journaling on what you have created – immediate thoughts, feelings, associations of colours, symbols, images, words or shapes you’ve used. This will bring greater meaning and insight.  Keep a Creative Journal with writing, reflections, poetry, drawings, collages, photos, is a great way to explore, express and nurture and blossom into your unique and wonderful Self.  Happy Creating Your 2012!

Would you like to win “An Art Therapy session to envision and explore your dreams, hopes and passions for yourself and your life for 2012” with Amy Cunliffe? Please answer below (in 40 words or less by 31 January) “What is your creative dream for 2012?” Dream big!  You will also receive a Creativity Alchemical oil.  A runner up (anywhere in the world) will receive a bottle of Creativity Alchemical oil.  Good luck everyone! 😉

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