I’ve been cultivating a supportive art practice for many years. As I create and explore my capacity to recognize feelings and sensations of peace has improved. I’m getting good at knowing what feels right and supportive. My rituals and practices include so many small elements that I’ve learned are the best tools that work for me. My practices have brought me a sense of peace and comfort I can’t describe. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.
I feel the pressure and urgency of the world around me. I feel the weight of expectations, roles and responsibilities. I feel pulled in and drawn in by the chaos of things sometimes. I lose my footing and sometimes spiral…then I land again in the soft spaces I’ve learned how to cultivate. Through art journaling and self-reflection it has become clear to me that there is sometimes a volatile cycle that I want to break.
How can I protect my peace amid the chaos?
How can I learn to carry this peace and comfort throughout my day?
How can I anchor myself in the solidity I feel after a nourishing practice?
Of course it comes with practice and more insight but we have to start somewhere. There needs to be a shift or a change in something that I’m doing.
Before I dive in, I also want to make sure to acknowledge that the pressure and stresses we feel from society and our collective culture ARE REAL. It makes sense to feel the way we feel; tired, disoriented, sad, stressed. It makes sense. I know that we can’t care ourselves out of collective problems. It’s very important that we always remember that. Sometimes we feel the waves hit really hard. Sometimes the current swallows us whole and it’s not our fault. My search is for ways to protect my peace and gift myself compassion amid the mess.
In therapy I’m learning about boundaries and how they feel in my body. I’m learning how to lean in and out of discomfort. Most importantly I’m learning how to discern what weight is mine to hold and what is not. What is my problem and what is not. This, of course, will be a life-long cultivation of skills and practice. I did find however that this was the place to start in learning how to protect the peace within me and to preserve my sense of solidity as I navigate this chaotic world.
I’m learning that the sense of peace, comfort and solidity I cultivate in my practice is mine. It comes from me and it very much feels like my natural state. I move at a pace that feels natural and supportive. I am alert and responsive. I am awake. I start here, by acknowledging that my peace is mine and it goes hand in hand with the deep knowing that I am deserving of the space I take up and deserving of this peace.
In my creative practices I am exploring what it feels like to take up space. I’m exploring what it feels like to own this sense of comfort and peace as well as creating visuals to express what a boundary around my peace might look like. These creative visuals allow me to envision something that I’m not yet used to yet, something foreign and new. Through the creative process I create edges to represent my boundary and I imagine all of the things within this boundary as well as all of the things without. I realize this boundary isn’t static, it is pulsing and shifting just like me. Within the boundary is my peace, my comfort, my solidity and I repeat to myself,
“What is outside of my boundary is not mine. I protect my peace.”
The edges of my boundary get fuzzy as I interact with certain people and see my relationships from new perspectives, and that’s ok. Learning is messy sometimes and it requires real-life engagement and practice. I’m learning to see all of the hiccups and challenges as signs to take note and learn. It sure does require endurance sometimes but I’ve noticed my confidence growing and my skills building.
This newfound sense of empowerment born from this practice is something I’ve been carrying around with me. During moments of stress, discomfort and confusion I anchor myself in the visual I created and I practice discerning what is mine to hold vs what is not mine. Above all, self-compassion as I navigate this world with other humans just like me that are trying to protect their peace amid the chaos.
Eve is a survivor of childhood incest and has been using expressive arts as a way to tell their stories for nearly 20 years. They are a fierce advocate, parent, sibling, teacher, artist and survivor. You can find more about their work and community offerings on their website eveandry.com.