Creativity to Ease the Pain

I have been an artist and writer all my life. Somehow I refused to let go of the child-like desire to color, paint, build block towers, write short stories and pen poetry as I grew. Working as an artist and writer have been very fulfilling for me. Then when Zachary died, I stopped. For one whole year, what I call my Year of Distraction, I couldn’t be creative nor did I even try.

I lost myself in so many ways. It was when I got back into my work that I realized the amazing potential of creativity to help find a way through my grief – and this creativity is not reserved for just professional artists and writers. It’s for everyone.

creativity tool photographs copyright Alexis Marie Chute Wanted Chosen Planned blog 2


Creativity itself is mysterious, spiritual and healing.


Creativity taps into a different part of our brains and allows us to express the inexpressible parts of our pain.


I would like to encourage everyone to write and make art through the pain, through the grief and the longing.


creativity tool photographs copyright Alexis Marie Chute Wanted Chosen Planned blog 3


Here are some tips for using creativity to find healing:

  1. Privacy. Resist the urge to make everything public. We live in a culture where people tweet their every thought or post on Facebook every event in their day. Grieving is such an individual act and expressing that grief through creativity can make you very vulnerable. Some people think that if they disappear from social networks they disappear as a person as well, but that is simply not true. Take the time to be introspective, reflective and private.
  2. Audience of One. The privacy you give yourself to write and make art will allow you to create for no audience but yourself. You are what matters in this process. Don’t day dream about publishing your writing or exhibiting your art or anything else that will distract you from the process. This gives you the permission to ‘fail,’ write ugly sentences, be a mess, paint something with the ickiest colors, experiment.
  3. No Judgement. Sometimes even writing or making art for ourselves elicits the most obnoxious critic in our lives. Us. It is important that you tell your judgemental self that you two are playing a game, blind fold her and then kick her out the door and turn the lock. You need to be loving, accepting and trusting with yourself – not judgemental.
  4. Start. Don’t fret about what your creative effort will look like in the end. Just begin. The experience of making is more important than the end result. I have often found that what I end up with is totally different than what I had expected but that it revealed something in me that was very helpful. And it’s okay not to finish what you start! The starting and journey are what matters here.creativity tool photographs copyright Alexis Marie Chute Wanted Chosen Planned blog 1
  5. Experiment. Try painting. Try writing. Try clay sculpture. Try dance. Try learning the guitar. You never know what outlet will resonate so be open to experimentation.
  6. Reflect. While you are being creative, and afterwards, think about your loss and pain. Process everything. As you work with your hands or type at your keyboard or write in a journal, reflect on your life and let whatever emotions surface flow into what you are doing. Remember not to sensor yourself in these moments.
  7. Happiness. Do what makes you happy, helps you find your joy, and gives you meaning. That is what matters. Your child may have died, but your love for him or her never will. That is worth celebrating and reflecting upon. You may find that if you keep writing or keep making visual art or music or dancing, that your sadness will shift into something sweeter. Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself.

What kinds of creative expressions do you find helpful?


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