Any type of creative expression, whether the end result is “good” or “bad” is healthy for our whole being.

I am reminded of an older woman that I met years ago. Our paths crossed for one brief summer and then our paths separated and we went our own ways. She was a great woman and had quite a mind—she was a visionary, a rebel—a strong spirit that was ahead of her time. She was a retired teacher and high school counselor, jobs she both loved, yet you could hear the disappointment in her voice at not being able to make real needed change and commitment within the faculty. She was also a writer—not published, but she wrote prolifically to her muse. Toward the end of our short relationship I became drained. I realized that though I enjoyed being a sounding board for her, learning from her, and understood and empathized with her, I was becoming depleted. Her unresolved energy was rubbing off on me, and left me feeling sapped and cranky.

Though, a fond memory that I take from our short acquaintance is when I shared my artwork with her one day. It was a mandala that I had been working on. I used drawing pastels on a blue midnight blue background. A healing energy emanated from it. She took it from my hands and admired it. She wanted to draw something too. She wanted to use her hands and imagination, reach into herself and see what would happen. Her beautiful crystalline blue eyes widened. I told her to go for it.

Several days later I saw her at the coffee shop. We said our hellos and started talking. She pulled a folded piece of paper from her bag and said she had something to show me. She unfolded the page timidly and there was a picture that she had drawn. I remember a sun and I remember liking her picture very much, but most important, I was proud of her for not being afraid of how childlike or how “bad” her drawing might have become as she set out on the blank drawing page that was new territory for her. She was willing to try it, rather than say, I can’t do it, I’m no good, or I can’t draw.

If we tell ourselves we can’t enough times, we will start to believe it.

We can do anything we set our minds to.

A large part of the joy for me is in the doing—coming to whatever task it may be, standing at the threshold, and taking that first step.

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