the agony and the irony…

X Marks the Spots - Gwyn Michael

…and the transformational power of a bad diagnosis.

Happy New Year, readers! Seems like eons since I last wrote here, and certainly much has happened for me. All over the blogosphere folks are making lists and setting intentions for 2012. That includes me, yet it is not what I could have imagined a few months ago. Since I began writing here last spring, you have followed my artistic journey through several iterations, as I struggled to find more meaning and purpose in my work. I ended the year with the notion of starting to offer services (not my passion) to bring in dollars, while I continued searching for the elusive purpose I am meant to serve. I imagined my new year would begin with me advertising and selling these services while I geared up for some tent shows (also not my passion). It had become all about making a living.

Then I started having back pain, which I wrote about. I was pondering the idea that if I were to lose an aspect of my physical or mental self that I need to do what I love, what would I do. IĀ asked the question:

If you were robbed of the very thing you think defines you, be it physical, intellectual, or other, how would you persevere?

How would you find a way to be an artist with no eyes, a singer with no voice, a writer with no pen?

What I have decided for myself is I will always find a way.

The responses were enlightening, and made me feel a bit ashamed as I heard from some readers facing far more serious problems than back pain. This is where the irony comes in. I guess the powers that be had a laugh at my naivete and decided to test me with a real problem in the form of metastatic breast cancer. The cancer has spread to my bones causing fractures, aka agony, and I am strangely relieved with this news.

There are no more questions about what is mine to do.

I am here to make art and heal. I am here to help others do the same. Why was it so hard to see?

I will be getting some training that qualifies me to work with patients using creative expression to heal, and I will be using my journey through cancer to create my own best work. My lesson to you in this is:

Do not wait for misfortune to strike before allowing yourself to be brilliant!

Now, what am I actually doing, you may ask? Well, here it is. I started a new blog at Art.Hope.Truth which has been my off and on tag line for some time. I am creating artwork out of my experience in the theme of The Ugly Duckling. You know, the homely baby bird transformed to an ethereal beauty of a bird.

Virtues 2012 - Gwyn Michael

The words are my focus virtues for 2012 gifted to me by a Facebook friend. I think they are perfect. There is more on my mind, and I am strangely, or perhaps not, motivated given my situation. It seems I was correct when I said:

What I have decided for myself is I will always find a way.

Till next time, I’d love to hear from you:

In what ways has creative expression helped you heal, or overcome serious obstacles?

7 thoughts on “the agony and the irony…

  1. It’s helping me to go on, I’m a wheelie and i live now in a fokus appartment, so i can work more because i have the assistents on 24 daily help. It help me to be just myself and to find me strenght and the fun of being alive and not a disabled persone.
    So without my art work i will lost my self esteme and the curage to fith for the commen daily things that my live given me as a sad gift.LOL
    And to find new way of freely thinking and exploring of materials to show others that live is fun as well.
    I think my art work is the greatest gift for me.
    When my partner died too early i have made a remembering closet for him to mourn about him, i couldn’t found the words for it, but working with his materials and in the way he would love and lived his life , i could mourn and it set my selffree to go on.
    So it’s for me more then anything else.XD

  2. First, Gwyn, I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, but I can see in you a strong will to live…and that, I have found, can be a large determining factor in someone’s healing.

    For me, art is hope.

    The past six years have been very difficult for me and my family.

    My art has been like a lifeboat…no matter how stormy the seas get, it’s always there for me to climb into. No matter how bad any particular day is, I can escape for a while, into a world where everything is okay, where everything is good…until I’m strong enough to reemerge in the real world and can believe again that one day, everything here will be good too. It keeps me from drowning. It keeps me safe, knowing that the shore is out there, and one day it’ll be within swimming distance.

    It’s amazing and humbling to know that it also has had some impact on others, and brought smiles to their tough days, too.

    I hope your art helps you and many, many others to heal.

  3. Gwyn: I am so sorry about your diagnosis. I hope you find hope and comfort in God’s gift of art and beauty and His presence therein.

    I’m a photographer and honestly I feel photographing families and young children brings healing into my heart and peace as I take in their relationships and beauty and capture those with a camera. Though it isn’t my family or my children, capturing these relationships for others does something within me.

  4. Gwyn,
    I know we have only just “met,” and so I hesitated to leave a comment, but the honesty and intensity of your words reached out and drew me in.

    I am so, so sorry to hear about the battle you are facing, but I am inspired by your outlook and the way you are turning the unfair whim of the powers that be into fuel for your creative fire.

    I’m glad to know you and will be thinking of you and sending healing and creative energy your way.

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