Self-expression is as essential to our soul as breath is to our body.
Creative self-expression allows clear communication of personal unconscious truth beyond limiting rational thought.
Here’s a stunning example of how non verbal self-expression enables a powerful mind/body healing shift.
At the start of the 2009 Bali retreat, my client described enduring years of chronic physical pain. Her joint pain intensified after the 2008 economic crash threatened her plan to enjoy early retirement from a stressful career. Frozen entrapment was mirrored in her aching joints.
Figure A is a self-portrait of the searing pain experienced daily, especially in her hips after stillness. She wears a false happy face.
Figure B expresses her desired life, a vision of escaping the box of her job/financial situation just like this colourful Jack in the Box.
Upon further exploration this picture was not all it seemed.The mouth was more a grimace than smile. Despite the colourful details, the truth is Jack can NEVER leave. Only able to pop out, always returning to the box, legless, joined at the hip, he cannot move. The crank is unreachable outside. Despite her rational intention for freedom, her soul expressed disempowerment in a box.
This toy metaphor reflected her unconscious state of hopelessness and futility. Her expression pointed to her belief that she was as stuck in her life and as helpless to make desirable changes as Jack.
The clarifying AHA about the depth of her futility became the necessary awareness preceding her emotional and physical liberation.
You cannot contradict with your actions what you hold as an emotional belief. Our beliefs require recognition, evaluation and, if necessary, change. Life will follow.
Painful joints eloquently expressed perceived immobility around her life choices. She ignored or tolerated her body messages and took numbing pain medication. My client’s imagined imprisonment after the 2008 sabotaged escape plan increased her desperation and suffering.
Through her drawings and resulting insight, she WOKE UP to challenge the self imposed debilitating belief that she was a victim. The body pain was indicating the incongruity between the actual truth about her life and her fearful conclusions.The following miraculous morning, for the first time in decades she woke with wonder and joy to a complete absence of physical pain.
Even after what otherwise would have been a debilitating six-hour touring day sitting in a car, my client was pain free.
On retreat we attended to her hopelessness with tools for coping with stress, saying ‘no’ to undesirable tasks, positive self-care, engaging her feminine side and viewing the world more positively.
Figure C is a final self portrait expressing her liberated body, rediscovered freedom and capacity to freely move with her own legs, joyfully dancing barefoot to her own tune.
Renewed hope along with reclaimed self-empowerment translated into action back home. A reinvented life followed: immediate shifts within her job environment, a comfortable new car and eyeglass replacing eye surgery!
A short year later my client dared to volunteer for an early retirement package, begin retraining in another field, sell her home upon graduation and relocate across the country to live near beloved family. She remains pain free to this day.
Laila Ghattas presents Lose Your Head: A guide to juicy soul-searching at Mindcamp 2012.