Sometimes our feelings feel like they are stuck. Swirling around and around in us creating more pain and suffering. Our creative practice is an incredible tool to help our feelings move through us, a healthy actionable thing we can do when we are stuck ruminating and telling ourselves the same stories again and again. Creativity is more than just art its all the ways we express ourselves in body, mind and heart.
I want to start by sharing a poem I wrote all about my shifting relationship with my feelings and offering you a creative process for making your own deck of feelings cards to help you express and move your feelings through you rather than holding onto them. The Last Encore What happens to a feeling when it stays buried deep inside? If my anxiety and bitterness never see the light of day would it even matter? After all I spent years creating a special hidden home for them. A dark theater positioned somewhere in-between my heart and my throat. Hours spent on a painfully hard wooden chair just watching my feelings take center stage. A private theater of “he said she said” “what if” “never ever” and “it always ends up this way” kind of drama. The writing was top notch and the performances arresting …if I do say so myself. I was a hermit. Committed to a daily performance for one. I read once in a magazine that my feelings mattered and that I should pay more attention to them… that it was good for me. The worst days came after this, trapped all day inside watching performance after performance. Before this I would escape for brief moments, step outside and sit on the grass. Call my friend and talk about what I made for dinner last night. But now “in the service of my health” I spent all my time locked inside rehearsing and playing the scenes again and again, as though it was possible to perfect resentment. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. That this is what listening to my feelings was all about. And then a wedge was driven into my stage. I walked down the hall in the midst of a particular rage filled production and I glanced to the side. and I saw that all along it was there in front of me. Paper and red oil pastel so dark it looked like a pin pricks shadow. I scribbled until my arm hurt and then I took the paper and rolled it under my arm. I walked out of the theater with it hidden away. But already I knew my days acting on the stage would never be the same. It was different now. I could breathe. I found space. The marks dampened my rage. I scribbled more and I found that I was never meant to perform only- To observe. To bare, witness to my rage filled anxiety bound tight by pain and fear. To simply find the courage to express and let it move through me rather than occupy my chest. To let it run its course and never ask it again for an encore.
I have been thinking about feelings a lot lately. Why do we have them? How do they serve us, harm us, and what to do with them? Last week on Instagram stories I share a few thoughts but quite frankly I am still unpacking it all as you can see. What if today all we had to do was notice what we are feeling and find a safe outlet to name and express it? That’s it. No ruminating. No thinking. No action or doing. No need for anything but a safe outlet for the feeling to move through us?
Try this; make a set of feelings cards: Spend a few moments observing what you are feeling today. Grab a small card of paper, and a colour or 2 that feels right. Make a few lines or shapes, trust your impulse. Now label the carb with the feeling. Don’t know the feeling? Is it one of these feelings in this wheel? If that doesn’t feel right… Start with the wheel. Does one of these feelings seem like what’s going on for you right now? Write the feeling out and then on a small card grab a colour and make a few lines or shape that feel connected to the feeling.
Keep a bank of these cards. Make your own personal deck. Each time you make another imagine the feeling moving through you and onto the page.
Next time I am going to share more about how we step out of our own theater's and how we can best listen to the wisdom of our feelings as well as offer a bit more about this wheel. Comment below and show me your card or let me know what connects with you here! All my best. Rachel