Lisa M Kirk
Artist and Facilitator

Love Letters to Creative Souls

(posted on 1 May 2013)

Hello All,

I hope this email finds you all healthy and in good spirits. I have certainly found the coming of Spring and the return of light a welcome addition.

This year (2013) has found me traveling back and forth to Vancouver to care for my Mom. I have been down three times since January. Most recently, she was admitted to hospital and ended up with surgery for a ruptured appendix and resulting bowel obstruction. She was gravely ill and is still recovering in hospital after being there for over two weeks. However, she has had a miraculous comeback--which we are all grateful for.

Being in the hospital was an experience...seeing all those who do not have family members to visit them and those that are fortunate enough to be surrounded by love. I was struck by the courage of all the patients to endure so many invasions of their privacy. There is a loss of dignity and control over even bodily functions when one is very ill. How can we empower those that are ill to still feel human and feel like they have some sense of control over their lives? The nurses work so hard and do their best to treat everyone with care, as do the residents and doctors and yet they are overloaded and overworked. We expect so much of them to figure everything out and really it is like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. They are only human too. As I took Mom to CT and X-ray and sat with her day after day in various rooms, I watched in awe of the will people have to live and endure being poked, prodded, and injected and the patience of the medical staff. Life is certainly not to be taken for granted.

At almost the same time, my daughter was going through a transformation of sorts as she bravely and courageously came forward and spoke out about some of her own personal issues. It has been a long journey for her and she is my hero, overcoming so much in her young life. She inspires me continually to face up to whatever challenge is next. Interestingly enough, part of her journey has involved an amazing boxing program called "Shape Your Life" in Toronto that changed her life ( Part of that program involved a creative aspect and the participants painted out some of their experience. If you are interested here is the link to the article that was written about it in the Toronto Star:

Creativity is healing in whatever way we may practice it. It heals us on such a deep level. It is another language with which to express ourselves and to tap into the deeper knowing of our bodies which are so wise. Over the years of teaching, I have seen the transformational qualities of the creative process. Painting assists us to sort out our lives.

One does not need to know how to paint a perfect picture, or paint at all, one just needs to be open and willing to trust the process and step inside the blob of paint at the end of the brush and allow things to unfold onto the paper. Truth be told, it is a mystery to me how this happens, but it does. The body is wise and will give us answers if we are open to seeing and open to allowing their expression. We may not understand it all at once or even in one painting, but if we trust and have patience, the process will guide us gently in our lives. This is one of the reasons I love to teach. I feel honored and blessed to be part of this painting journey.

The other part to any healthy life is to move our bodies. Walk, dance, run, bike (or in my daughter's case, box) -- whatever movement feels good for you. It seems the research is pointing to the most important thing we can do to move trauma or stress out of our bodies is to MOVE.

In caring for my Mom, I found this to be very helpful. I would walk to and from the hospital, sometimes going for longer walks on the way home, even though I was exhausted, just because I needed to move. As I walked, everything would begin to fall away, literally off my shoulders. As my Mom began to be able to get out of bed and walk, I also saw a change in her and a shift in her attitude as she gained strength.

In my painting classes and my own creative practice, I like to have participants stand, not sit. I put on music that "opens" and I encourage people to move their bodies, even dance as they paint. It moves things out onto the paper and out of our bodies that are holding so much. It is a release. So go and move your body, even if you have to drag yourself outside or to the studio or, with this nice weather, bring the studio will be glad you did--of that I am certain.

Below you will find the new schedule for June. I am looking forward to doing some “Spring Cleaning” and preparing ourselves for a Summer of blossoming inside and out! There are some spots in the morning and evening classes if you are interested, but please do not leave it too long to let me know as the last session filled very quickly!

Take care and keep on creating in whatever way moves you! Feel free to forward this along to anyone you think might be interested.

And, as always, my artwork is available for purchase. Feel free to contact me if you would like to see anything in "the real" or if you have any questions. Or come for a studio visit!

Kind Regards,