Pain is so ugly.
And I mean the emotional pain – the trauma – that we carry around inside of us.
And that’s because, when we hold it in and push it down and ignore it…
when we let it stay inside of us, it festers and rots and causes us all kinds of unimaginable problems from physical illness, disease, & pain, to mental illness, disease, & pain to relationship problems to money problems to all the things you own breaking down and more.
This is a real problem that is not to be taken lightly…
I’ve been holding onto pain for a long time from my days involved in animal rescue.
It is unimaginable how incredibly cruel people can be to animals… and to feel the terror and sadness that those animals felt becomes unbearable.
So as a coping mechanism (for humans in general), when there’s trauma and pain, we push it down and push it away because dealing with it is too hard.
And that’s when it gets stuck and wreaks havoc on our bodies, our energy, and our lives.
And the worst part is that we often don’t know what we’ve done or what’s happening to us or why it’s happening!
But at some point, when everything in your life feels bad and wrong, that deeply buried pain can start to wiggle its way to the surface to stab and hurt you over and over again.
Memories come up (that you don’t want to remember).
Feelings come up (that you don’t want to feel).
Resentments get so strong they start to ruin everything.
And you have no choice, but to face it.
Because there’s no room left to squash it down any more.
BUT, once you’re willing to look…
that’s when the medicine becomes available to you.
That’s when your true healing can start.
And one of the ways that I “look” and allow myself to feel my true feelings is through a process called Soul Art.
Mapping your pain and your feelings onto a canvas with shapes and colors makes that invisible pain visible.
Painting or drawing that pain that you feel gives you a way to express it in a real way so that it has a way to exit your body.
So that’s what I did.
This is one of the art pieces I made to express what I have been feeling in my body and how it’s been making me sick.
It’s like a big knot of ugly, gooey, sticky, heavy tar in my belly that gives me nausea and stomachaches. It often feels like being stabbed from the inside with a bunch of sharp little knives that shows up as back pain, heartburn, cramps, & achiness.
It’s like being chained to a pile of cinder blocks and having to drag them around everywhere I go.
It’s like always having a battery that’s almost dead and in “low power” mode.
But I’m done with it.
I’m ready to let it go – like, REALLY feel it and let it go.
And that’s what I did with this art project.
I traced my dog’s body on a piece of posterboard, then traced my torso on top of that. That represents me and the animals in this together.
I drew a broken heart over us. That seemed appropriate.
Then I started writing down every terrible memory from animal rescue that I could think of.
Thinking about it is bad enough, but to write it down?? That makes it more real. It made me nauseous.
Then I tried to smear the ugliest paint I could find over it all — to represent the ugliness of the memories and the ugliness that I felt — black, red, dark green.
I smeared it around, hit it, stabbed it with a pen, scribbled over it. That was how the anger and the disgust wanted to be expressed.
Once it dried, I ripped the posterboard up into strips, fashioned them into a knot and poked sharp wire through the ends so I could express what it feels like in my body — that ugly, stabbing, heavy pain.
And then I realized I needed to give it up to bigger forces to take care of.
I am not the equalizer of karma, but Mother Nature and the elements? Those are forces that will level everything and there’s nothing you can do about it, but get out of the way…
…and we happened to be in the outer bands of Tropical Storm Marco and Tropical Storm Laura at the time.
They graciously agreed to take this from me and transform and transmute it into something else.
So I hung my big ball of trauma outside, dumped more gooey paint on it, and left it to the elements.
May God have mercy on the souls of those who have inflicted so much needless pain and suffering.
The interesting thing is that I was trying to make ugly, icky paint to pour on the ball to really express how I felt, but through the process of making this art, the healing had already started, and no colors that I mixed together would make something ugly.
Granted, this art won’t be displayed in a gallery any time soon, but guess what.
I feel better today. Not completely. But better. Something has shifted.
There is new space where there wasn’t any yesterday.
So I think the final message is this:
From ugliness can come beauty.
From pain can come healing.
From wounds can come strength…
if you are willing to walk through the fire, with awareness and in full expression, so that the ugliness, the pain, the wounds can be healed and you can be transformed.