Art As Self-Care

Like meditation or prayer, I truly think that making art is a type of spiritual act. There is something extraordinary happening when you use your gifts to bring something new into the world. That flow state is the closest thing to the divine I have experienced personally. But I never thought of art as self-care until recently. I realized the lack of making art was actually hurting me because that flow state that lifted me up was a kind of fuel. And I was not being replenished with fuel in my daily life.

For the past four years I have been dealing with severe cluster headaches and it has only been in the last couple of months that I was recently diagnosed correctly. Now on a new treatment path I hope to be feeling better more often. So far this past year I have been in severe pain 100+ days and counting. With about 75 days left in this year, that means I was in severe pain roughly 1 out of every 3 days. And the pain combined with exhaustion meant I was just trying to survive and keep my job. Don’t get me wrong, I did fun things this year and even went on vacation, but a majority of my time was spent miserable and either working or resting in bed to get the energy to work. Not having to go on disability was my main goal day by day and it was all a struggle.

It wasn’t till recently that I realized that my creative fire had also been drained this whole time. I couldn’t even get out of bed to create with my hands so I spent most of my time writing and reading. But that didn’t exactly fuel me the way creating physical art did.

Identifying the creation of art as self-care is a game-changer for me. And hearing Cleo Wade speak about self-care in 2018 was truly the first time I ever dug into the concept and re-evaluated my relationship with how I treated myself. I use her words as almost a form of meditation and self-healing. “Heart Talk” has been part of my journey, and in turn, I turned it into art.

There is something truly magical about creating something new out of something else. Bit by bit, piece by piece, distruction becomes a creation. I took her words and gave them a new form.


Even Little Miss enjoyed the art mess it created.


Even if she wasn’t as much help as she thinks she is…


Out of destruction comes creation and “Heart Talk“ was given a new life.


The flower in the center now bloomed with words of inspiration that I needed to hear.


Here is a bit of a wobbly video showing it more close-up.

I then made a custom box because this piece is a gift. With three dimensional paper art you have to create ways of storage that prevent areas of the work from being crushed.


I gave it to Cleo Wade tonight at her event in Minneapolis supporting her new book “Where to Begin.” I hope she loves it and I hope it expresses all the gratitude I could not put into words. From here on out even if I feel sick like today I am going to try to make sure I create art if I can. Because I know it is the self-care I need.

Coincidentally Cleo Wade was actually sick tonight, I didn’t get a picture with her as I had hoped for but I am just so grateful she held the event. It is now time for her to do some self-care too and I wish her all the best.


UPDATE 10/18/19:
I think she likes it! Cleo Wade shared it in her Instastories along with my pretty coffee post.

CLICK HERE  to get Cleo Wade’s newest book “Where to Begin.”

CLICK HERE to get Cleo Wade’s newest book “Where to Begin.”

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