The Holistic Healing of Expressive Arts

by celena dionne

The term “expressive arts” had never been introduced to me until 2016. Until then, the therapy behind creating had been present, but misunderstood. Art has always been a way for me to express my current state of mind, but how much further can the combination of mind and art take us?

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What do expressive arts mean to me?

Growing up I was inspired by my father’s artwork. I can remember playing with his oil paintings and acrylics at the kitchen table for hours, feeling a surge of peace and significance as I made a beautiful mess, never knowing what the end result would be. With each emotion that flowed within me the art shape shifted. I, as well as my father, did not fathom the mental and emotional benefits of creating at that time.

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As my teen years approached the ego belief system grew and my desire to create diminished. After years of identifying with fear and guilt based belief systems I finally reached a place of complete darkness, which inspired me to start meditation. The practice came naturally to me; I am able to disassociate with my emotions and thoughts, which allows me to tap into a place of peace, unconditional love, oneness and complete unlimited perfection. In this space I receive messages manifested in shapes of plants, animals, words or symbols. All of which, correlate perfectly with what my current emotional state is. The best way I can describe this natural download is by looking at it like a map of where to go next. A source of inspirational divine knowledge, there to help clear the mind and reassure me that forgiveness is key.

I needed a way to share the ability to see emotions and thoughts outside of self and the images I created with others, so I returned to my roots and started drawing. Quickly I noticed that generating artwork also put me in the same meditative space and that others were connecting with my images as if they were their own. There is something healing within these messages and the act of organically releasing artistically. It is a way to connect us all as one love in order to heal. Every time I create, my body feels less dense and I am filled with abundance and bliss. What if art could help others the way it helped me?

Why are expressive arts good for you?

Art was a way for me to make sense of what was happening in my mind. Once it was out it acted as a blueprint of my emotional and mental wellbeing. It told me how to approach it in a holistic and positive way rather than identifying with self hate. The truth is, a picture does speak a thousand words. For example, if someone is experiencing anger they might aggressively draw a black hole in the center of the page. This piece of art becomes an outline of that person’s emotional turmoil.

What each shape symbolizes, why, the intensity of each line and how each aspect is  representative of a piece of us that needs nurturing—these are all questions that may be asked while observing the image. Once it is on paper it can be seen as outside of you, no longer identified by the fear and blinded by its intensity. The artist is able to mindfully examine his or her grievances clearly and without judgment. In this space a sense of love, encouragement and peace are present and we can look at our fears with compassion. We just need the tools.  We construct an outside picture of an inward condition.

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When you are creating, take note of the emotions presenting themselves to you. Recognize them as outside of you; feel from a place of compassion and release to love. Everything we experience is love or a call for love. Do not worry about what the end result will conclude, just grow with the flow. Allow your expressive self to flow freely and without judgment and the art will come naturally. It is not about how well you can craft art, but about releasing and seeing what is in need of healing. Be an observer of what you are experiencing, using art as your navigator.

Whether you hit the gym, scream into a pillow, journal or create art, emotions are being released. For me, the art produced also acts as a symbol of development and self-love. It is something to look back on and a tool to use during future emotional confusion. The liberation of turning your pain into beauty is indescribable, but we are all able to experience it. So the next time you feel yourself bubbling with fear, pick up a pencil and see where it can take you. The journey may seem scary, but there is always light when you look through darkness.


Artwork by Celena Dionne.