Several years ago we started a wedding and portrait business. As part of the process in setting up our workspace, I painted our office a dark mid tone green. My rationale at the time was that I needed to edit my images in an environment that would not interfere with the colors that I saw on the computer screen. Now, anybody who has an in depth understanding of photography knows the color green is not the recommended wall color for an editing environment. I consciously created a dark cave with barely enough light to read by. I created an environment that matched my emotional state. I wanted a space in which I felt safe. I wanted a place where I could hide from the world and my personal suffering. I was in a depressed state for many years. I was able to find periods of peace within my cave as I worked on my images. I was living in the dark for a long time. It was a dark space that brought me to my knees in the fall of 2013. Three years ago, I found my way to a therapist, via my primary care doctor, to get help because I was not dealing with the death of a very good friend. I had also stopped photographing. My heart was broken and I didn't understand why I set down my camera. Throughout my life I had dabbled with painting. I was a few months into my therapeutic journey when I started to dabble once again with painting. I had found a way to simply put paint on paper, without intent, expectations or a desired outcome. I had found intuitive/expressive painting. The therapist that I was seeing was not an art therapist, but I was lead to definitely understanding the role creativity played in the healing of trauma. The more I painted, doodled and sketched the more I found myself moving towards the light. I discovered the more that I placed paint on paper from a path of curiosity, the more fun I had. I began to become excited about my creative process and even picked up my camera once again. Our photographic workspace soon became a creative studio focused more on a painting workspace. The past four months it has been hard for me to walk into the dark green cave that I originally created. It was too dark and too depressing. I began to crave the light. I wanted to be free from the cave. I now know that the safe cave was not really safe, only a place to hide. My creative journey has brought me to a place where I want to explore and create in the light. My heart and soul could no longer live in the dark cave. Approximately five weeks ago, I moved my studio from the cave into the other spare room where the walls and ceiling are white and the window brings in a beautiful north light. I look out the window and see the zen garden my wife created for me. The expressive paintings I have been creating have brought me into the light. I have gone from my soul not being able to create, to craving my creative time. If I go longer than 3 days without creative time, I become anxious and dull. It is not easy to move from living in the dark to living in the light. Often it can be a difficult journey. It is a journey that at times may include some professional assistance. However, having a creative process to go with you on that journey to the light, fills one’s soul in ways that is profound, enlightening, and necessary. It is necessary for each of us, regardless of what our journey is, to have a creative practice in order for each of us to live a wholehearted life. A creative practice may include a single activity or multiple disciplines. It does not mean that you must master the creative activity you choose or that you need to share your creative practice with anyone but yourself. A creative practice is a way for you to create time and space where you can nourish your soul. It is a way to love and honor who you are now. The journey to the light can be difficult, however the rewards far outweigh the misery of living in the dark. Be courageous, be brave, be self forgiving and may you find and stay on your creative path to your creative light. Hugs and peace from your Curious Soul.

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