Episode 5

Creative Fuel Episode Art_E5.png
There are moments in our lives when we are stopped in our tracks. Moments where something out of our control impacts us in a way that can feel insurmountable. These are moments of sadness, of stress, of darkness, of feeling broken. We may lose someone, we may experience a great change in our lives. Or we may be in a moment where we struggle to find the drive to create like we want to. What do we do when we’re in that place?
 
In this episode, with the help of writer Cheryl Strayed and Dr. Girija Kaimal, the current president of the American Art Therapy Association, we explore how creativity can serve as a tool for helping us grapple with those moments in life when things feel unstable and unknown.
LISTEN NOW
Apple.png
spotify.png

Subscribe to Creative Fuel on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

How Do We 

Get Through Hard Times?

FEATURING
20220328_145630.jpeg
DR. GIRIJA KAIMAL

Dr Girija Kaimal (EdD, MA, ATR-BC) is Associate Professor, Interim Chair and most recently served as Assistant Dean for Special Research Initiatives at the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions. In her  Health, Arts, Learning and Evaluation (HALE) research lab, she examines the physiological and psychological health outcomes of visual and narrative self-expression. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers and has a book forthcoming with Oxford University Press called The Expressive Instinct. Her research has been continually funded since 2008 by federal agencies like the Department of Defense, Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts as well as foundation and academic centers and has been featured by NPR, CNN, The New York Times as well as a range of media outlets worldwide. In her current studies, she is examining outcomes of art therapy for military service members with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, narratives from Gulf war veterans, and arts-based approaches to mitigate chronic stress among patients and caregivers in pediatric hematology/oncology units. Additional international research projects include examining the therapeutic underpinnings of indigenous and traditional artforms and the creative self-expression in times of adversity across the human lifespan. Living out her research  interests, she has been a lifelong  visual artist and her  art explores the intersection of identity and representation of emotion. She is currently the President of the American Art Therapy Association (a member organization of over 4,000 members) Dr. Kaimal has a doctorate from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Master of Arts from Drexel University and Bachelor's in Design from the National Institute of Design in India. 

Girija Kaimal

CHERYL STRAYED

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide and was made into an Oscar-nominated major motion picture. Her book Tiny Beautiful Things is currently being adapted for a Hulu television show that will be released in early 2023. In 2016, Tiny Beautiful Things was adapted as a play that has been staged in theaters around the world. Strayed is also the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel, Torch, and the collection Brave Enough, which brings together more than one hundred of her inspiring quotes. Her award-winning essays and short stories have been published in The Best American Essays, The New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, and elsewhere. She has hosted two hit podcasts, Sugar Calling and Dear Sugars. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Website

201228_Cheryl Strayed_Andres_23.jpeg
Show Notes

Episode 5: How Do We Get Through Hard Times?

There are moments in our lives when we are stopped in our tracks. Moments where something out of our control impacts us in a way that can fee insurmountable. These are moments of sadness, of stress, of darkness, of feeling broken. We may lose someone, we may experience a great change in our lives. Or we may be in a moment where we struggle to find the drive to create like we want to. What do we do when we’re in that place?

 

When Cheryl Strayed was 22, she lost her mother to lung cancer, and words became a way to carry her through. In this episode, along with the help of Dr. Girija Kaimal, the current president of the American Art Therapy Association, we explore how creativity can serve as a tool for helping us grapple with those moments in life when things feel unstable and unknown.

Hosted by Anna Brones

 

Co-Produced by Anna Brones & Gale Straub

Theme Music is by cleod9 music

 

Season 1 is Made with Support by Big Cartel

 

Featuring:  

 

  • Dr. Girija Kaimal: Dr Girija Kaimal (EdD, MA, ATR-BC) is Associate Professor, Interim Chair and most recently served as Assistant Dean for Special Research Initiatives at the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions. In her  Health, Arts, Learning and Evaluation (HALE) research lab, she examines the physiological and psychological health outcomes of visual and narrative self-expression. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers and has a book forthcoming with Oxford University Press called The Expressive Instinct. Her research has been continually funded since 2008 by federal agencies like the Department of Defense, Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts as well as foundation and academic centers and has been featured by NPR, CNN, The New York Times as well as a range of media outlets worldwide. In her current studies, she is examining outcomes of art therapy for military service members with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, narratives from Gulf war veterans, and arts-based approaches to mitigate chronic stress among patients and caregivers in pediatric hematology/oncology units. Additional international research projects include examining the therapeutic underpinnings of indigenous and traditional art forms and the creative self-expression in times of adversity across the human lifespan. Living out her research  interests, she has been a lifelong  visual artist and her  art explores the intersection of identity and representation of emotion. She is currently the President of the American Art Therapy Association (a member organization of over 4,000 members) Dr. Kaimal has a doctorate from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Master of Arts from Drexel University and Bachelor's in Design from the National Institute of Design in India.  

 

  • Cheryl Strayed: Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide and was made into an Oscar-nominated major motion picture. Her book Tiny Beautiful Things is currently being adapted for a Hulu television show that will be released in early 2023. In 2016, Tiny Beautiful Things was adapted as a play that has been staged in theaters around the world. Strayed is also the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel, Torch, and the collection Brave Enough, which brings together more than one hundred of her inspiring quotes. Her award-winning essays and short stories have been published in The Best American Essays, The New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, and elsewhere. She has hosted two hit podcasts, Sugar Calling and Dear Sugars. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

 

Resources Mentioned & Places to Learn More

 

Sponsor Links

Big Cartel believes you don't have to sell out to sell online. With their simple stores for artists, makers, and creators, you won't be surprised by hidden fees and they don't take a cut of your sales like some other platforms. The sky's the limit on your sales and your success. Open your own shop at bigcartel.com

SUPPORTED BY
big_cartel_logo_clear.png

Creative Fuel is made possible thanks to the support of Big Cartel and

Creative Fuel Collective members. 

Domes_Blue.png
Arrow_Black.png
Creative Fuel E5: How Do We Get Through Hard Times? Cheryl Strayed: One of the most impossible questions that I've been asked is, “what would your life be like if your mother had lived?” And I usually have an answer for everything. and I don't have an answer for that question because honestly her death was so formative to me that I almost think of myself as being a wholly different person because of it. Anna Brones - Narration: This is writer Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl Strayed: I have always loved to write since I was a young child. I fell in love with what words can do. Anna Brones - Narration: Cheryl is the author of Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things, and Torch. Her mother died of lung cancer when Cheryl was just 22, and her work is proof of the power of what words can do, as well as the creative forces behind them. Cheryl Strayed: Creativity at its core is, always being a seeker, always asking questions. What I found in thinking so deeply about what that loss meant in my own life is there's always a new answer at every turn. Anna Brones - Narration: I lost people very important to me in 2020. Most of that year felt like a fog. And like many of us, the entire experience of the pandemic contributed to waves of ups and downs. This has me reflecting on my own art practice during that period. There were times that I could turn to it to give me a mental boost, or to get me through a difficult moment, and there were others when I simply didn’t have the energy to create anything. So this week, I’m asking, how do we get through hard times? Theme Music Comes In Standard Intro Anna Brones - Narration: To be creative is to be human. And exploring that drive might just help us understand ourselves a little better. I’m Anna Brones and this is Creative Fuel. Act I - The power of art therapy Anna Brones - Narration: Before we jump in, we cover mental health issues and grief in this episode. This episode is not therapy, and I encourage you to seek out professional help when you need it. We’ve linked to some resources in the show notes. Music In Girija Kaimal: Our brains are predictive machines. Our brains are always trying to imagine what is gonna happen because their job is to keep us alive from moment to moment. And what do the arts do? The arts are a container for our imagination, and humans are the only species that are naturally creative. The arts are fundamental to who we are because they've served this role for us to hold our visions of what might be our hopes, our fears, all of that. Anna Brones - Narration: This is Dr. Girija Kaimal, associate professor, interim department chair, and assistant dean for human development and health administration at Drexel University. She’s also the current president of the American Art Therapy Association. In stumbling upon Girija’s work I found something of a kindred spirit. We both believe creativity is fundamental to our everyday. Music Out Anna Brones: So how did you end up here? Girija Kaimal: I would love to say that it was part of some grand plan, but it really wasn't. and I think that's both the joy and adventure, and application of creativity in life, if you will. Anna Brones - Narration: Girija was born and raised in Nepal. She started her artistic career as a textile designer, but found that a part of her was unfulfilled by design alone. It wasn't until she discovered art therapy that she chose her path. Girija Kaimal: Being a lifelong artist, we go to our arts practices in times of distress, in times of confusion. And having known that and lived that myself, I intuitively understood this connection and felt like, gosh, such a privilege to bring this to those in need So I got my masters in art therapy. And as I was doing that, I discovered that, gosh, I love research so much, almost, more than clinical practice. So when many of my classmates were going on to take on clinical positions, I went on to get a doctorate. Anna Brones - Narration: Girija leads the Health Arts Learning and Evaluation Lab at Drexel University researching both the physiological and psychological outcomes of self-expression. In one study, she and her colleagues analyzed cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone, in a group of adults before and after an art session. They found that after 45 minutes of making art, their cortisol levels decreased. In another, they found that visual self-expression increased the amount of blood flow to the medial prefrontal cortex, concluding that art making could be a way to regulate mood and evoke a sense of pleasure. Art is a container for the imagination and it can also be a means to help us heal. Music In Girija Kaimal: Art is as old as human civilization. Art therapy is a profession, however, came to exist primarily after World War II as a form of therapy for soldiers who were what was then called shell shock, and now what we know as post-traumatic stress, that they were really unable to verbalize and express using traditional therapeutic methods. So the arts became this nonverbal way to express and communicate. This idea of self-expression is deeply rooted in our brain wiring. Like, we do need to connect and communicate with each other because it's a way to feel safe, it's a way to belong, and sometimes we can put it in words and sometimes we can't. Art therapy really came from this place of, helping us as humans, communicate that for which we often don't have words. Now it has expanded to serve a range of populations, community settings, nursing homes, schools, mental health settings, The idea really being that a trained clinician, someone who's proficient both in psychotherapy as well as visual arts, can really promote health and wellbeing. Anna Brones: So in thinking about art therapy and art as a tool for, therapeutic, practice and healing, what is the balance between seeking that tool for yourself and when you need to seek it with the help of a professional? Girija Kaimal: This is a really, really important question, and if I may, I'll offer you a home improvement analogy. Okay, There are a lot of things we can fix around our home, right? You can change a light bulb, You might fix a leak. There's a lot of things we can fix. But then if there's a breakdown, say in the plumbing system, you probably don't want to try and fix it yourself. You might actually damage the house or you might hurt yourself. Girija Kaimal: So I think of it the same way. There is an element of agency that we should have and we all should have tools of expression that helps us feel a sense of control. But when you've been through adversity or you've been through traumatic experiences that have really, really challenged that sense of agency and. I wanna emphasize, a lot of adversity happens to us, especially with mental health, one in three people will have mental health needs according to the World Health Organization in their lifetime, right? That's a huge number. So to recognize when you need help, when you know, oh gosh, this plumbing problem is not something I can deal with or should deal with. That awareness is really, really key. We shouldn't hesitate to seek help when we reach that point. Anna Brones: I'm wondering if there's an example of a time when you really saw a breakthrough in someone or in a group of people through the practice of art therapy. Girija Kaimal: Oh, I have so many examples and I often think of the value of art therapy as really a shortcut. It bypasses a lot of our reticence, fears, social anxieties, all of that. And we go straight to who we are. So one is a patient that was in one of our studies and he was an individual recovering from a brain tumor surgery. So he had a lot of tremors in his hand. So as he was beginning to work on this collage with me, his hand was shaking and I, I just kind of made note of it and I asked him if he needed any help and he said, “No, I got this.” He sort of slowly made his way. He was telling me a story about the collage he was making, and towards the end of the session, as he was gluing all the pieces, I said to him, “you know, I, I see your hands are not shaking anymore.” And he looked at me and he said, “yeah, I know. I feel really relaxed and when I'm relaxed, my tremors go away.” I felt so happy to hear that one, that he knew this aspect of his condition and two, that the session was able to provide that for him. Even though, right from the beginning, he is like, “I'm not an artist.” And we get that all the time in our sessions. People will be like, “Uh, I'm not an artist.” Girija Kaimal: And I'm like, “Well, we'll see.” In my mind, everyone's an artist. We are all capable of creative expressions. We might differ in levels of skill, but it's not either or. Anna Brones - Narration: A quick aside - this is exactly what Girija’s new book, The Expressive Instinct explores - self-expression as a fundamental human drive. Anna Brones: Something that you said there too, really struck me. You said art provides a vehicle for bypassing a lot of other things, like it gets directly to the source. Why is art that thing that just kind of gets you to that place? Girija Kaimal: The way to think about it in my mind is that art is a metaphor, we all have our emotional states, our inner states, we all have joy, sadness, anger, disgust, rage, all of that. now when we just express that without any kind of filter or container that's just venting. And there's a place for that. That's what our friends and family are for, but if you take that experience and you contain it within, a painting or a piece of music or a piece of dance or poetry or fiction or drama. What you're doing is you're taking that universal emotion and putting it in a container that someone else can connect to and understand. Music transition Act II Cheryl Strayed: I think that the beauty of stories that we put in the world, especially those stories about our losses or our suffering, the work they do is not up to us. It's like we put it out there and hopefully it helps somebody else heal. It helps somebody else see themselves or their experience more clearly. And we just let it go. Music out Anna Brones - Narration: While art therapy mostly utilizes nonverbal expression, writing is a means of striving to articulate what we feel. As you heard at the start of the episode, Cheryl Strayed has been a writer ever since she fell in love with what words can do as a little girl. She has written essays, books, an advice column, and had her work turned into film and television productions. When the unthinkable happened, it was words that carried her through. Cheryl Strayed: When I was a senior at the University of Minnesota, I was a creative writing focus. And I was in a class where I was required to write stories. And I found that when my mom got sick, and died seven weeks after her cancer diagnosis. I couldn't write about anything but her death and my grief. And I was really afraid of that for a while, because I thought, “who wants to hear about this?” You know, this is just me in my sorrow and feeling sad about, and, and hopeless about the world and angry about my mother dying. So young, she died at 45. Anna Brones - Narration: Despite her doubt, Cheryl continued writing. And grief not only became the heart of her work, it became the container through which readers connected with her too. Cheryl Strayed: My first time that I really just went all the way and told the truth about. My grief is in an essay called heroine and the title is heroin N slash E. So it refers to. My mother as the heroine of my life, which she was and heroin, the drug, which is something I turned to in my grief a few years after my mom died. in writing that essay, which is just honest and vulnerable and in so many ways just saying it exactly, like I felt it saying that experience of what, of what my grief was to me. I remember feeling happy it was published, but also embarrassed. Like I had said something that would reveal something strange about me. And in fact, what happened is so many people wrote me letters. And they all said the same thing at root. They all said, “you wrote the truth about grief, you wrote what I'm feeling and experiencing.” Grief was like this weird thing. I had really thought I was so alone in so many of my feelings and that I was some sort of outlier that I was strange because I still really ached for my mother three years after she was dead. I still sometimes would break down in tears. What I came to understand by writing about it is in fact, this was the norm. This was what grief is. And it was only through my work that I found the people who said that to me. And they said that to me because I said it to them, I said, “this is what I feel.” And they said, “me too.” Anna Brones: So I experienced some pretty severe loss in 2020, some very close family friends who were basically extra parents to me, died in a very tragic way and and something that I ended up talking to a grief counselor a lot about was that. I really thought of creativity and art as a way to process through, like you said, your grief was coming out through your writing. but at that time in the wake of that, I knew what the tool was and I didn't feel any energy or motivation to do so. And so I was wondering, do you remember right after your mother died, could you come to your words and your writing practice right away? Or did it take a little bit of time, to be able to, be there in that grief with the words? Cheryl Strayed: Yeah, what I found the way I was writing. It wasn't so much as an artist, I was sort of floundering through my sentences, writing what I felt, but also not writing in that same way as I had before where I was saying, okay, I'm trying to write a story or I'm trying to write an essay, like trying to craft something that other people would read. I essentially kept a journal I had to just like, write what came. I couldn't attach it to any kind of goal or intention. And then over time that changed after a few years. I found myself feeling driven to tell that bigger story and that way we do when we write something for other people to read, and I think with all kinds of grief, when it comes to, creativity or whatever it is that your creative outlet is. Cheryl Strayed: It's like, when you're grieving, you really have to accept. that what's true is true on that day. So if you don't feel like making something, you get to say, like, this isn't what I feel driven to do. Music in Anna Brones - Narration: Experiencing something like grief stems from a variety of causes, like losing someone. Of course, not all loss is the same and not all grief is the same. We all come from different backgrounds and realities that shape how we understand and move through our everyday lives. And as Girija said earlier, trauma and grief are the result of forces outside our control. And in creating this episode, I’d be remiss not to underline that for many people here in the United States, systemic inequities perpetuate disparities that cause hard times for some more than others. Grief is the experience of some type of emotional trauma, like from a significant loss, that triggers our fight or flight response. This physiological reaction increases blood pressure and heart rate and stress hormones like cortisol. Our prefrontal cortex, our cognitive control center, becomes less active and our limbic system takes over. We can feel forgetful or like we’re in a fog. We’re in survival mode, and in that moment we don’t always have the bandwidth to process. But eventually, art and creativity, particularly if we have a regular, established practice, can become tools to do just that. Music transition Girija Kaimal: My artistic practice is very organic. I don't think about it as much. I let it sort of come out and then I look back and be like, Oh, okay. So that's what was going on. Anna Brones - Narration: Over the years, Girija has turned to art again and again when she needs to process. She mitigates some of the friction of making by approaching both her feelings and the art with curiosity. Girija Kaimal: I remember one time I was really upset and angry with someone and I took oil pastels. I just sort of started scribbling and I was thinking about this person and how angry they made me and I kept on using different colors. Suddenly the whole piece of cardboard I was working on was full and I looked back and it looked to me like this sort of exploding flower waterfall, something. And as I step back and look at it, I felt physically less angry and I felt a sort of compassion for this person that I was initially really angry about, and I felt like my attitude changed completely. I don't quite have an explanation of why that was, but something about externalizing it, took it out of me into this external product and it was a very dynamic piece of art. I kind of liked it even though it was made with a lot of rage. And I always remember that whenever I'm really agitated or upset, Go make something. Go do something, you'll feel better. And invariably it does. First distracting and then engaging in this expressive experience has always changed my mood. Anna Brones: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. and that's why it's so incredible to me to just think of it as this tool that's always available to us. Girija Kaimal: Mm-hmm. There's value to distractions. Because it gets you out of whatever funk you were in. And we see this with our oncology cancer patient study, when people are going through active treatment they have to be in that warrior mode. They have to be in that fighting mode. That's usually not a time for deep reflection, but once they are done with treatment, in cancer care it's referred to as survivorship that's when it really hits them. Like, “Oh my God, what did I just go through? This was a life threatening experience. It could come back, I don't know how many years I have left.” That's when the sort of processing and psychological care comes in, in a big way for cancer care. Girija Kaimal: So similarly, I would say the reflecting and processing can only happen in peacetime. Anna Brones - Narration: I find what Girija has to say so reassuring. There is value to distractions when we are moving through hard times. Even if we know that art and creativity can be a tool for getting us through, we don't always have to come to them right away. And as you'll hear from Cheryl, the processing can come when we least expect it. Act III - processing Cheryl Strayed: When I first began to write Wild, which is a memoir about my 1,100 mile hike on the Pacific crest trail. I wrote about maybe 40 or 50 pages about this hike. And I said to my husband, I'm so glad to be writing a book that has absolutely nothing to do with my mother or with grief. Which is so crazy. Cause of course the book is completely about that, And so, I find myself circling back to that essential loss a lot, you know, and I'm not even in charge of it. Anna Brones: Yeah, which is fascinating because I think a lot about creative process, this idea that it's the process, not the product. So like when we're harnessing creativity, we have to be in that process and try to remove the expectations of what the outcome is. And grief too is a process, which means that it's an ongoing thing and a thing that's constantly changing. You know, what you need one day is very different from the next day. Cheryl Strayed: Yeah. Anna Brones - Narration: I asked Cheryl to read a quote from her book Tiny Beautiful Things, which is a collection from her long-running advice column called Dear Sugar. Cheryl Strayed: No one will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal. Anna Brones: It really speaks to that, like being in the process and allowing it to be what it needs to be. Cheryl Strayed: Yeah, I think that what grief puts us in, it drags us there. we don't want to be there, but we are forced to be there into this place. I think of learning to live with acceptance. When we're grieving, we have to accept something really awful. We have to accept that we have to live the rest of our lives without that person we love. And that can feel absolutely entirely impossible and to grieve is to say, “I will bear this. I will accept this thing that, that in some cases is the very least one to accept.” And so to grieve is to live with that and to learn how to be somebody who accepts in a radical and deep way. And that's a profound experience. And I think that that is for me, why grief is such a rich subject to write about because as ugly as it is, and as hard as it is, and as painful as it is, it's also astonishingly beautiful. It's astonishingly profound and illuminating to have to learn how to carry that person you're grieving forward into your life with you in a different way than just having them here and being in a relationship with them. Anna Brones: I was wondering if you could just share like some of your memories of love from growing up, through your mother. Cheryl Strayed: Oh goodness. That's such a great question. I have so many memories of love from my mother, so many, I mean, all of them really. one of my earliest memories is walking down the street in what, I guess would've been Revloc, Pennsylvania, where I lived, and just holding my mother's hand. I remember we stopped in front of somebody's yard and she showed me the flowers. The flowers were so beautiful, and she told me the names of the flowers. It's in my body, that feeling of being held and loved and. Somebody showing me beauty and giving words to the beauty. And that was my mother in, in every way, really what it is is a whole, very tightly woven fabric of love that my mom gave me. And I think that is one of the things that really allowed me to go on without her, because there was a point in my grieving, Anna, that I felt like, I understood that even though my sorrow felt like I couldn't go on, it was the love like that love that my mother gave me was never lost. Even, even though her life was like, it was, it was all in me. I do believe that her love is in every cell of my body. And of course there are probably scientists out there that are thinking, no, no love doesn't live in your cells, but. I feel it. I feel it does. I feel my mother's love in all of me and that never dies. Anna Brones: It's beautiful. I like that you brought up that example of her showing you the, the flowers and just kind of finding the beauty, and I'm wondering what you, as a writer, as an artist, how you think creativity and the practice of art, can help us to do that, to find, beauty, even in, in those moments of darkness. Cheryl Strayed: Mm so much. The healing power of writing in my life just cannot be understated. It's tremendous. And so much of that healing has been done by telling stories, whether they be about grief and my mom or, or any number of other stories I've told that, bring me to that deepest place within myself, where I have to see things for what they really are on the truest level. My deepest hardest ugliest grief is my deepest love and beauty. My deepest loss became my deepest strength in carrying my mother forward into my life. And I think that what we do when we go to those deep places within us is we see that there too is the light. There is the beginning of what we will grow into. It's like when we hit rock bottom, there's only one direction to go and it's up. Cheryl Strayed: And I very much think of creativity being essentially the rope we can climb out of that hole. And it's the rope I've climbed over and over. When I feel like I don't understand, when I feel like I'm lost when I feel like I'm suffering or hurting or confused, I write into it. And I always find beauty there. I sometimes find humor there. I always find truth and certainly the strength to go on another day. Music Anna Brones - Narration: What Cheryl has come to find as her truth through her experience, Girija has seen in practice with patients. Girija Kaimal: What the act of creation does is it reminds you of a sense of agency. It's like, no, wait a second, there's still things I can make and if I can make something in this setting, and in a session, I never know what someone's gonna make or what's gonna come up. If the patient or the client can create through the session and learn something about themselves, then they can take it out into the world and be like, “you know what? The next problem I face, I, I have a dose of confidence and I can go into that and, um, know that, I might be able to handle it.” Anna Brones - Narration: Girija is speaking to the resiliency that can develop over time as we work through hard things. Cheryl told me that for her, grief has become a reservoir that she draws upon in her creative practice. But it’s not a static thing, nor is it linear. Girija Kaimal: Our whole life is sort of an ongoing artistic work, isn't it? Anna Brones: Yeah, it really is. And I think that maybe part of supporting people to have creative tools is also reminding us that we are just constantly navigating and that we have the capacity for that. We may be stopped in our tracks for a certain time when we are grieving or when we go through something very difficult, but that we also have the capacity to work with that and move forward. Girija Kaimal: Absolutely. Absolutely. And if you need help to know to ask for it and to know when it's the light bulb and when it's the plumbing. Music to carry us out Anna Brones - Narration: If you or a loved one are in need of mental health care, please seek it out. We made sure to link some resources in the show notes. Take care. Credits Anna Brones - Narration: This episode featured Cheryl Strayed and Girija Kaimal. Learn more about their work through the links in the show notes. Thanks so much to Big Cartel for making the first season of Creative Fuel possible. Big Cartel’s small-by mighty team makes it easy for artists, makers, and creators to operate online on their own terms. Get started at BigCartel.com. Creative Fuel is hosted and co-produced by me, Anna Brones. It’s co-produced and edited by Gale Straub. Theme music is by Cleod9 Music. Our next episode — and last episode of the season—will be out in 2 weeks, and if you missed it - head to our feed to catch our last episode which asks: “How do we find flow?” Follow Creative Fuel on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts. We're still getting the word out, so if you could rate, review, and share with a friend it would be so appreciated. Head over to CreativeFuelCollective.com for more creative inspiration, prompts, online workshops and a robust creative community.

Episode Transcript

 

LEAF.png