I have heard it said that we are all artists, that each of us possesses a special talent. Having taught school to little ones and raised two daughters, I do know that we are all born with a creative spirit. If you don’t believe me, give a room full of five year olds some finger paints and stand back. Each child will go to work and create his or her own masterpiece. Somewhere along the road to adulthood, many people stop creating art because they believe it isn’t “good enough.” The judgement starts and the creativity stops.
I’ve always loved arts and crafts. When I was young I painted. I learned how to needlepoint in junior high school Home Economics class (shows how old I am!) and have continued this hobby my entire life. I enjoyed making sterling jewelry until the joints in my hands decided they needed a gentler hobby, so I began beading necklaces. Some creative outlet has always been a part of my life except during incredibly busy times, yet it is then that the things I need to do the most for relaxation seem to slip away.
Recently, a great deal of my time (and resources) has been spent on my health. More than anything in the world, I want to feel good and have only a moderate amount of pain to deal with. I want to laugh, smile and truly enjoy my days. I don’t want to just get through them feeling exhausted by mid–afternoon; I want enough energy to feel good into the evening. I know this may not sound like a lot, but when you live with lupus and other chronic illnesses, it is the energy to enjoy life that is what most of us want. So, right now, I’m focusing on being healthy. I’ve been given one infusion and have another scheduled for the first week of February. I’m resting when I need to and taking it a bit easier than usual, but here’s the fun thing: I’m also feeding my creative spirit. I’m taking an 18 week painting class with some of my friends.
I’ve learned that I need to balance the focus on physical treatments for my lupus with creative endeavors. I have found that taking the time to feed my creative spirit brings me happiness. I do not know if there is truly an artist living within me, or a two-year-old with a box of crayons, but either way I enjoy the process of expressing myself creatively. I hold no expectations for the outcome of these lessons. This is a time for my creative spirit to come out and play. No “should” or visions of painting the Mona Lisa are dancing in my head. The goal is just to have fun!
Yep, my medical treatment goes much better when I balance it with a healthy dose of play! Honestly, I wish my doctor would give me a prescription that reads, “Take one art class, once a week until finished.” In my fantasy world, insurance might even pay for these classes. A girl can dream, can’t she?
About Cindy Coney: Ambassador of hope and author of The Wild Woman’s Guide to Living with Chronic Illness, Cindy Coney is a nationally acclaimed speaker, trainer, human resilience expert, and philanthropic force. Dedicated to helping both children and adults achieve optimal health and success, Cindy has taught thousands of people to move beyond coping with limitations to recapturing joy and fulfillment in their lives.
Diagnosed with lupus in 1980, Cindy has since driven a race car 124 miles per hour; completed the Chicago Marathon; championed countless nonprofit organizations; presented to the World Lupus Congress as a keynote speaker; and shared her inspiring, empowering story from Belize to Baltimore.
Follow Cindy’s Blog at www.cindyconey.com
PainPathways is the first, only and ultimate pain magazine. First published in spring 2008, PainPathways is the culmination of the vision of Richard L. Rauck, MD, to provide a shared resource for people living with and caring for others in pain. This quarterly resource not only provides in-depth information on current treatments, therapies and research studies but also connects people who live with pain, both personally and professionally.