Self-Expression is Healing

By Randy Moore

The expression of art in any form has the potential to enhance our health and happiness. Even the words healing arts underscore the importance of self-expression in healing. The arts include familiar experiences like creative writing, drawing, painting, photography, calligraphy, poetry, singing and dancing. Art can also include everyday activities, sports and hobbies such as gardening, yoga, cooking, crafts, riding motorcycles, spending time in nature, and more. For some people, art becomes integral to their livelihood and others discover artistic expression in aspects of their work.

It is our perspective that makes something artistic. It’s our satisfaction of being expressive that makes life more meaningful. And the best part is our creations, big and small, touch people in positive ways while enhancing our personal health.

I play disc golf every week with my son Bryan and other friends. Every throw I make and every round I play is artistic on some level. It begins with deciding which colorful disc to throw and continues with the subtle choices in the ways I hold my wrist and follow through with my arms, legs and torso. It even includes watching the flight of the disc flying toward the metal chain-linked basket.

I used to play a lot of basketball when I was younger and I would sometimes describe the experience as a form of dancing. I ended up studying ballroom dancing when I lived in Minneapolis and the parallels are surprisingly strong. Ideas like staying in your own space as you move, keeping your head up or maintaining good posture apply to dancers and basketball players. Even the sense of intentionality is similar. Basketball helped me to dance better and learning to dance has made me a better athlete.

Ideally, we discover and develop livelihoods that enable us to live artistic lives everyday. Few people achieve this ideal over a lifetime and that can lead to disappointment and frustration. The desire to be more expressive is a powerful motivator and it often inspires the pursuit of avocations that feed our creative nature.

The choices about what forms of art we explore changes as we change. I was more physical when I was younger and even though I’m still active, some of my artistic expression today is more cerebral. Poetry is a good example; its cathartic and an excellent way to study words and composition.

I recently decided to write 100 poems to challenge myself as I explore this particular art form. I’ve written 25 poems over the last three months and it has been a positive experience on many levels. I read my poems every few days to reflect on their meaning and to make small changes that better express my ideas. The modest collection is like a small garden and each poem is a flower. I enjoy the pruning process and thinking about various topics has challenged me to be more connected with my feelings, other people and nature.
The most important thing I’m learning is to be in the moment with each poem and not to judge the outcome. The creative effort is where I find the greatest satisfaction; one poem at a time.

My favorite part of poetry is discovering hidden meaning. Those unexpected roses in my proses are a reminder that creative expression helps us tap into something bigger. Some people call this bigger thing God. A few of my poems have brought me to tears and that’s the moment when I understand the healing nature of poetry for the writer and the reader. Here are a few of my recent poems.

Thinking of dying
Wakes me to now
The pain of lying
To myself
The dream of flying
Any where
The joy of being
More than before

Crying is like dying
Quicker endings
A dam breaking
Overflowing banks
Spilling storms
Of raw feelings
In shallow creeks

Pictures of life
Melting moments
Into soft mysteries
Tender to remember
Everything we are
So much deeper
Than goodbye

Early day light
Stretching awake
From fading dreams
Far to near places
Out of bed sleepy head
Tee shirt and shorts
Winter white socks

Kitchen oasis
Coffee maker true
Dark grounds dancing
In quick brown brew
A splash of cream
Drizzle of nectar
Where’s the spoon

Okay I’m addicted
To the taste – the fix
That familiar smell
Wafting in my nose
Tickling my toes
And so it goes
Sweet obsession
Two cups deep

Counting sheep
To fall asleep
I had quite a herd
When I was young
Then I built castles
With thick walls
And tall towers
To guard dreams
Of a young prince

Today I count
Boards and nails
For tree houses
And small cabins
Private places
To read and write
No sheep or crown
Just my black dog
And a small bed

The last bee
Died today
She was 108
Heart disease they say
But I doubt it
Probably loneliness
And pesticides

Imagine being
A single bee
With empty hives
And no honey
To make honey
From sweet nectar
How depressing

Good news though
A company in Ohio
Is building a bee
A tiny robot bee
With smart radars
To find robot flowers
In digital meadows

The robot bee
Has a guarantee
It’ll operate free
For 10 years
Doesn’t sting either
Unless you mess
With its battery

Spend some time this summer surrendering to your creative impulses for living a more artistic life. Your efforts will make you smile while enhancing your health, vitality and relationships.

Randy owns Triple 3 Marketing. He’s a long term advocate for positive change, having owned community magazines since 1999. Randy sold Positive Change Media in April 2009 and took a year off before launching Triple 3 Marketing. In addition to helping business owners, he also provides private coaching. Randy has a masters degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he studied persuasion and attitude change. Contact Randy at

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