Before my illness arrived I had some creative pursuits that I tried to commit time to daily. I wrote poetry. I walked around with a point-and-shoot camera and/or my iPhone all the time to make certain I never missed capturing a beautiful moment – flowers, sunsets, the movements of the city – then I used the images I captured to create graphic art. I painted – not very well – but my creations pleased me and the few friends who saw beauty in them.
Now I struggle to do any of those things. I am unable to do any of them with the same frequency, or at all. The constant weight of pain medications on my brain has reduced writing creatively to a slow trickle, which means I haven’t written many poems recently. Because of the pain I can’t go for walks when I want to take pictures of the active world and changing seasons outside my apartment. I have been trying to replace these creative things with activities I can do within the walls of my apartment without too much cerebral or physical effort.
Recently, while clicking through boards on Pinterest I found a creative project – art journaling. It does not require much effort and I decided to add my own twist. I’m combining creativity with gratitude. Each day I write about something for which I am grateful. Then – if I’m alert enough or not feeling too much pain – I sketch shapes or practice Zentangle doodles. I use coloured pencils and markers to draw and fill in the shapes I sketch, or I can paint the pages with water-colour paints. I’ve even written a few poems.
I have found a way to re-ignite my creativity while focusing on positive things. And, I am putting all of these things in one place where I can flip through the pages any time I need remind myself of about the good things that are in my life.