Shift happens .

Sometimes shift is a result of enormous effort- a process of going deep within, seeing ourselves with open, honest eyes and allowing awareness to come to our conscious lives. At other times, shift just happens when we are looking the other way. We look back in an introspective glance, and see the changes that have occurred. We didn't plan the shift- it happened as part of a natural process of healing and evolution.
It is this second form of change that I have lived this past week and a half. It is interesting to me, and worthy, I think, of debriefing. 

I am now grandma to a beautiful girl- 7 days old as I write. I was gifted with the joy of being a part of my daughter's labour and birthing. The experience was  completely engaging, and so full of love. It was awe inspiring to see my daughter as she blossomed into motherhood. I saw her strength, courage and beauty as she brought her daughter into the world.
So this shift happened as my focus was drawn outside myself and the health and safety of my family became the object of all my attention. In this circumstance the shift was just that- a change in focus. I was not preoccupied with my weight, body image, etc.
Part of my eating disorder behaviour has always been caught up in a cycle of over- exercise while restricting my food intake. Those behaviours had no place in my world during this time that I was focused on new life, and they dwindled as part of my repertoire. I'm not suggesting that I'm 'cured', or that I haven't had any distorted thoughts, old messages, the horrible tapes that have run in my head for decades. I am saying though, that they were quieter, allowing me to hit override, so that my attention could be diverted to what was (is always) really important: family, children, LIFE.

Healing process is rarely a straight line. There are bumps, curves, and ups and downs.
Sometimes I have taken breaks from the task of healing myself- long or short, I have always come back to purposeful self- awareness. That purpose has been in the name of self- healing, of course, but more importantly, I have always believed that my journey has been made more bearable, and I have embraced it, because it provides me with the compassion and tools to help others.
With all this in mind, I realize I can learn something from this 'break' in eating disorder behaviour. I am reminded that I have choices. I know that I don't always exercise my ability to choose something else, and that at times I am not even able to see the choices through the distorting fog of 'triggers' and eating disorder.
But the choices are there, and when I accomplish what my psyche has sent me in quest of- I will choose health again. Many of our unhealthy behaviours are coping mechanisms- smoking, and drinking come to mind. I was not on a mission to lose weight, rather, when my unconscious was on overload, and I had to face the reality in the present, the eating disorder popped up again so that my full focus would not be taken up with the pain I was feeling.

Let me be clear. I am NOT choosing to stay stuck. I have had a glimpse, a reminder of what it takes to come unstuck, and move forward.
And THAT is a choice I am exercising.To remember the tools and reasons for living in the world in an engaged and healthy way.

Art therapy and the shift...
As I sat with my daughter as she laboured to deliver her beautiful daughter, I painted. Making art has many benefits. In this instance, painting relieved stress, kept me in a calm mode, so I could be present for my daughter.



Picture
This piece I painted early in the labour process- calm and muted colours, it reflects the serenity and peacefulness I was feeling. This was a soothing activity, and I enjoyed the way the colours arranged themselves on the page to form a city scape with an almost pastoral sense.

Picture
Here is evidence of a tired and scattered time. I painted to externalize my feelings of apprehension.

As I look at these two pieces together, the change in my emotional state is visible. It isn't hard to imagine the difference in how I was feeling.
Through the posts I have added, I have provided examples of the different ways that art works for me. It changes and morphs as I approach the art making experience. Sometimes I draw myself a map to another way of seeing, at other times, it is soothing, and provides me with a place to position emotional questions.
I was asked recently, by one of my readers, how the art works in the healing process. As I write, I am relaying my experience of art making in my healing process. I will address this question more fully when I get back from my grandma outing.
 


Comments

Charlotte
12/03/2013 7:20pm

Thanks for sharing this and for sharing in our birthing experience. I am so grateful to have you here and am glad it had given you an opportunity to take a 'break. '

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08/19/2016 10:14am

This post made me like Art more. I did like how the author emphasized that Art helps in healing process. Well, what I love the most about Art is that it can add joy to our lives and can have a positive effect on our mood as well. Seeing beautiful and lovely paintings, for example, does make us appreciate and admire the beauty of what life could bring. Art is also an effective way where we can show our appreciation and give emphasis to the wonders of nature and environment.

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Louise
12/04/2013 8:00am

Amazing post, Yona. and amazing contrast between the art.

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12/28/2013 10:34pm

It is wonderful that you have a daughter who was accepting of incorporating art-making into the experience of your granddaughter's birth. I love the first piece--I feel like I can see the serenity.

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09/08/2016 2:19am

I should try art therapy for myself. Thank you for this informative post. I appreciate it.

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10/11/2016 8:04am

Changes aren't always for bad or even good. time would reveal the result.

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09/09/2017 9:54pm

This is not my choose to stay stuck too. This is not for me at all.

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