Friday, June 09, 2006
BUSY HANDS CAN HELP HEAL
A recent book, "Cancer and the Art of Healing" co-written by Dr. Marilyn Hundleby and Sherry Abbott, catalogues a variety of activities--painting, singing, writing, photography, journaling, quilting, etc., that have positive effects on patients. "Art helps teach resiliency," says Hundleby, a clinical psychologist from Canada. "Art puts the everyday aspect of their healing journey into perspective," she says. Those of us who enjoy relative wellness can adopt the wisdom of this therapy.
Researchers have found that art has the ability to rebalance and reunite the mind, body and spirit. As well as improving the quality of life, art can actually prolong it. This is due to the shift in outlook that occurs when we create. Busy hands help healing.While Dr. Hundleby puts emphasis on the group aspect of the creative cure, a great deal can be self-taught and self-realized. In my many years of observing what I call "the transformation to the creative mode," I've seen many latent creators quietly and effectively do it on their own. As a by-product, some petty phobias, health issues and perceived limitations are tamed or beaten. This success comes with the understanding that we are taking part in something greater than ourselves. It's easy to place art into the pantheon of humanity's more evolved pursuits. It's too bad that so many wait until things are terminal before they come to this realization. But for many the penny just drops and people realize that, philosophically speaking, times are terminal right now.
Art instructors particularly need to look out to those curious and often puzzled faces and realize that many students have a challenging transition ahead of them. It's going to take a bit of character. For those of you who might try this at home, here's what you need to do:Ask yourself what you'd really love to do. Teach yourself new ideas and new habits.
Use your mind and your hands simply for joy. KNIT! CROCHET, DRAW! Do a mural in your bathroom! Measure life's progress by creative jobs done. Raise expectations and the level of work quality. Monitor the way you feel and what you're learning. (artwork by nina)