Hopeful Art

Hopeful Art

Recently, I have began to develop a little bit of an addiction to Pinterest. As a writer and artist who works in multiple mediums I have enjoyed searching for inspirational ideas. This piece of art in the photograph was inspired by the many mixed media pieces that I pinned onto one of my boards. I painted the canvas with forest green acrylic paint then did a light brushing with silver paint. I allowed that to dry overnight then used scrapbook paper, lace, a mirror, a Christmas ornament, old greeting cards and stickers to finish it. Hope is something so very central to enjoying life that is why I chose it as my theme. Wishing all of you a good week full of inspiring ideas.

Amanda

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Courage

Some mornings we all need that inspirational boost to charge into our day. Upbeat or inspiring music can accomplish this really well. Justin Hines is a Canadian musician and composer who writes music that is inspirational and heartfelt. The music video for “Courage” shows every day heroes who face their own struggles and challenges. I wish all of you a very blessed and abundant day where “courage comes out to play.”

Amanda

Behind Me

Behind Me

I snapped this photograph on Sunday evening around the time that the sun was going down. I ventured out for a short walk and the sunset was so pretty that I took my camera along with me. When I took the photograph I was thinking about how it is only by looking behind me that I can see the beauty of where I have been along my journey. I pay attention when I take my walks to only what is immediately before me, and try to take that same attitude of being mindful in the present. Every once in a while it is nice to pause to think about the beauty of where I have traveled.

Amanda

For Fellow Survivors

The letter that follows was both addressed to myself as a means of encouragement, because I had just started therapy a few months earlier. It was also something that I hoped to share with other survivors who have lived through the trauma of sexual violence to inspire and encourage them to fight their way back from the abyss. The book referenced below was the first time that I saw myself as a survivor rather than a victim. My journey back from that dark place required that I claw my way back towards life. It is not an easy to task to bring your body, mind, heart and spirit back when you felt so fractured. If you choose to leave a comment please be sensitive to that. Thank you and feel free to share this with someone who needs to hear this message of hope.

Sincerely,

Amanda Wilson

 

September 30, 2008.

 

Dear Survivor:

 

If this letter has reached your hands than you are beginning on your journey of healing. You may ask yourself why I have addressed you as dear survivor instead by your name. The truth is that I do not know who you are, only that like me, someone has betrayed your trust, and violated your rights. These two last facts mean that someone has victimized you in the worst way, but it doesn’t mean that you have to remain a victim for the rest of your life.

 

In this letter, I am writing a message of hope to you and any other survivors who read it. There were many things that I wished others had said to me when I was in the very early stages of healing that I wish to pass along to you. First of all, you may wonder what a survivor is. Aphrodite Matsakis in her book, The Rape Recovery Handbook, wrote that, “you will be referred to as a survivor more often than a victim to emphasize a truth more significant than victimization: the human capacity to bear what seems unbearable and to keep on growing; despite the wreckage of the past”(4). A survivor is someone who has the strength to bear what seems to be intolerable, and to move from that towards healing.

 

My own story began when I was a high school senior. A man who I thought that I knew and who I trusted brutally raped me. My strategy to deal with the pain afterwards was to numb myself to it and try to move on with my life. Heavy drinking was one of the many self-destructive ways that I tried to numb my pain. I also chose romantic partners who abused me, or did not treat me with respect because I hated myself so much. I struggled to complete university, and became a professional in my chosen field.

 

For ten years, I spent my life surviving, but never living my life fully. A few months ago the world that I had created so carefully and maintained by hiding my pain crashed down around me. I was hospitalized for major depression and put on suicide watch. The nurse who took my vital signs that first night in the hospital saw me crying for the first time in many years, and sat down on the bed next to mine to listen to me. Her compassion to listen to me started the real healing process and made me feel like maybe I mattered.

 

What ever has happened to you was horrible and was not your fault despite how much you might blame yourself. Our perpetrators are never around afterwards for us to express our pain and anger to, so we take it out on ourselves by doing self-destructive things. These actions are only a temporary distraction from the real pain.

 

It has been several months since I was released from the hospital. With counseling and by learning new coping strategies I am slowly healing. I am an ordinary woman who has faced what seems to be unbearable pain only to keep on growing and thriving. These days my ability to smile, laugh and sing has returned. I am learning to love and take care of myself. I am in a healthy and loving relationship. My strengths are contributing to the community through volunteer work. My rough days are getting less frequent the more that I am healing.

 

Abusers do not discriminate based on age, race, religion, appearance or sexual orientation. All survivors deserve to receive healing, respect and love. It is my wish for you as I close this letter that you will accept the help offered to you for it is not weak to ask for help, or to feel intense emotions. The numbness, anger, sadness and any other intense emotions that you feel are normal reactions to something traumatic that happened to you. You’re not crazy for feeling these things all at once either.

 

It is my wish for you that you have safety, good health, healing, and a future filled with lots of happiness.

 

From,

 

A Fellow Survivor

Will Smith and Philosophy

Alchemy is the story of transforming the soul from a place of lead (focus on material) to gold (focus on spiritual). Will Smith makes reference to the novel The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo, which is an allegorical tale of one man’s quest from Andalusia, Spain to search for a treasure in Egypt. His journey begins with a dream that fuels his journey. This journey takes him from the search for material riches to a much greater treasure.

Many spiritual paths speak of transformation and growth. Everyone has the capacity to improve the quality of their own lives. Will Smith has had an varied movie career with work that ranges from The Fresh Prince of Belair to The Pursuit of Happyness. The Pursuit of Happyness is based on a true story of an African-American man who beats adversity to improve his life and that of his son. Will Smith interests me as a actor, because he has managed to maintain a strong work ethic in his craft and a willingness to work hard to making his time on earth count. He also greatly values his family, and making a difference to the world around him.

My personal quest is to turn the lead of my experience into something meaningful. Where my spiritual journey will take me I do not know. I only know that I have learned a great deal along the way. When I am an old woman who is close to the end of my life; I want that life to have meant something through my being on this planet. If one can show others love in a variety of ways then his or her life leaves such a wonderful legacy behind.

Namaste,

Amanda