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Casualty’s Creative Side

By: Cara Barth

 “Creativity is the Essential Response to Grief.”
~ Clinical psychologist Henry Seiden, Ph.D

During the Summer months, I like to catch-up on books I’ve wanted to read, develop some of my business activities and classes, as well as spend some time in more “creative” activities such as gardening and decorating. While I was thinking through how I would spend my time recently, I had a realization around how many of the authors I adore, teachers whose ideas I find invaluable for curriculum, and artists I cherish, have used their casualties through life to create masterpieces of literature, theory, and art.

To make my case further, let’s consider these examples: The pyramids at Giza were burial mounds. The Christian texts begin with the loss of Eden. From 1901 to 1904, artist Pablo Picasso had his “Blue Period.”  He was lonely and deeply depressed over the death of his close friend, Carlos Casagemas. This spurred him to paint scenes of poverty, isolation and anguish, almost exclusively in shades of blue and green. Again, causality spawned creativity. In the opinion of many, these are some of Picasso’s best works!

From a safe distance, we admire and appreciate the creative fruits grief has harvested over the course of time. We can honestly say that humanity owes a whole lot to casualties of the heart. Loss and creativity are two essential parts of human existence. Also, when we experience loss personally, creativity might be something to consider as a coping skill.

Just a thought, everyone has the capacity to be creative. You may be a good artist, chef, gardener, or story teller. Whatever you do and love can be turned into something productive. As clinical psychologist Henry Seiden, Ph.D has stated, “Creativity is the essential response to grief.”

Now, I understand that creativity can help to heal and redirect, but we don’t always feel like tapping into that creative side following a loss or trauma. That’s ok too. If we relax into that feeling of loss, usually a “burst” of creativity will flow forth as we begin our healing journey. Nurturing our creativity is a method of self-care. While grief is a natural and unavoidable part of the human experience, there is such a thing as “healthy mourning.” In fact, viewing mourning as an opportunity for personal growth can lead to boosted creativity and a renewed sense of purpose. I have found this to be the case on many occasions when faced with hard situations in my own life and in the experiences of others, such as my daughter’s painting below. She was processing the divorce of her father and myself.

Created by M.M.E. after my divorce

People who have had casualties in their life, I have found, become more authentic and express themselves in a deeper way. They just become more compassionate human beings. You tend to see and express the beauty and little treasures in the day to day when life becomes “bigger” than you.

“When compassion wakes up in us, we find ourselves more willing to become vulnerable, to take the risk of entering the pain of others.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd

So, take these ideas as hope. We ALL go through pain. The human experience of grief and loss is timeless. Count yourself amongst the creative spirits of old if you can dig deep and find “Causality’s Creative side.”

“The discipline of creation be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort toward wholeness.” ~ Madeleine L’engle

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