Chaos and Change


Over and over, I notice the parallels of the practice of making original art with personal growth in the therapeutic arena. In my role as therapist and artist, I observe that the parallels are amazing. Generally, integrating change in life is preceded by a period of disorienting chaos. The feeling is one of being out of control, overwhelmed and distracted.


I have facilitated over 20 Artist Way groups (ala Julia Cameron). I also participated in a 3-day Artist Way Program facilitated by Julia herself. I am reminded of her many lessons. For example, when you hit an artistic "U-turn", similar to ‘hitting the wall’ in our personal lives, she recommended turning to simple things like walking, meditating, making soups, breads, and pies ... in contrast the chaos that thunders outside your door. I add to that making time to listen to your favorite music. This creates a space, a time for rest and integration of lessons learned. Returning to simple restorative practice fills the creative bucket as it returns us to living a creative life. When that bread comes out of the oven, voila! We are enlivened. When I lose touch with 'soulful living’, I become ungrounded in my life as well as in my creativity. Unmoored. The pandemic has hit our whole culture and people feel it as described above. Truly, art reflects life and life reflects art. I keep relearning this.


When the shut-down occurred, I moved a small studio to my home. I was very disorganized in both studios. I realized, I needed to purge years of accumulated ephemera and books from my studio ... and my home. My aesthetic shifted, changed. I needed to clear a space for the new by releasing the old and create breathing room. I was recovering a confidence in my aesthetic as I cleared out. Overly busy managing all these ‘things’, I had neglected my home and my studio. I had stopped enjoying time in my kitchen, reading, walking, having time to do nothing. Internal ‘things’ started shifting as external ‘things’ found a new order. I took advantage of the lull in momentum created by the pandemic. My creativity had suffered as I had no time for the ‘muse’ to assert herself in long walks and lazy baths.

Newly energized, I tackled a long-held dream of re-branding my artist self, hired support to update social media sites and begin a process of creating a newly thought out professional business of making art, rather than running from one thing to the other, squeezing in a few hours here and there to paint. This in turn has led to streamlining how I organize my entire calendar, clinic, studio and personal time. I am eating better, sleeping better, feeling calmer. A new day awaits. How about you? What are you learning from the new world order we are living in?


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©2020 by Phyllis Anne Jenkins

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The Alameda Artworks
The Alameda, San Jose, CA, USA