It would seem that Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow and I have little in common, but we share the belief that our breast cancer experience was a wake up call to take better care of ourselves and the reason we approach life with renewed zeal.  While few of us may harbor ambitions to become a recording artist of Crow’s caliber, we all have the capacity to promote our healing within reach. Our best medicine is at the ends of our fingertips when we tap into our Creativity as a healing tool. We are the patient and the prescription. I’m here to share with you some of the many ways you can benefit from tapping into your Creativity.
Creativity influenced my recovery enormously. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m neither a Brittney, nor a Marilyn and although I did have a cousin named Madonna, she was famous for her baking and not writhing on stage dressed in virginal white. I have no entourage, nor do I have a posse. I’m just Mary. I am somebody’s wife, mom, sister, and friend. Someone you’d see at the grocery store, or at church. And I’m here to freely admit that my “drug” of choice produces a 100% natural high. It’s called using your Creativity. 
Your Creativity is a chameleon and takes many forms. We are all creative beings. Making time to play is engaging your creativity. The word play brings to mind sports and games, but it’s also attitude. Opportunities to be creative surround us:  trying a new recipe, taking a new route to work, watching the travel channel instead of a Mash rerun, taking a walk on the coastal trail, enjoying the sunset, arranging flowers in a vase for the dining table.

My favorite creative expressions are writing in my journal and making collages. A collage is a visual version of a journal page and the only supplies necessary are a glue stick and your favorite magazines. It can be as small as an index card, or as large as a poster. After collecting images from the magazines, simply glue them down and watch what happens. The resulting collage may affirm an intention, reveal a passion, or awaken a purpose for you. No writing experience is necessary to keep a journal. It is a safe place to vent, a trusted friend and a tool for healing. Your journal can be anything you are comfortable writing in:  spiral notebook, or leather bound, loose leaf paper or index cards or even calendar pages.

The hands-on experience helps you focus your energies on the present moment. I am fascinated how  a piece of paper, glue, charms and a bit of whimsy becomes an incredible piece of art. Indulging in creative expression actually changes our brain wave pattern, and affects the autonomic nervous system. It can affect every cell in the body, changing the immune system and blood flow to all the organs and creating a healing physiology.

Using your Creativity produces cool stuff. There is nothing like the joy of accomplishment and the bonus of being able to wear a work of art; a work of art of your own hand. I made my favorite piece of jewelry, a Booklace (combination book and necklace) at an art retreat. My first art retreat adventure had me feeling a little like Alice falling down the rabbit hole into another world, but it was great fun. To get started close to home, the public library has books on crafts, pick up kits at hobby stores, browse crafts magazines, or download free directions for crafts off the internet.  Creativity novices may also find help and advice at small independent craft stores.

Be prepared to meet some very interesting people when embarking on your Creative path. These individuals are often rule breakers and Free Spirits who use their imagination to see endless possibilities; not boundaries. When they are given instructions in class, they take them as suggestions, or a safety precaution, never the final word.

If you’d like to set off on your own Creative journey, it would be my privilege to be your guide. I facilitate two types of workshops:

In the Coaxing Creativity Workshop, we unleash our Creativity through collage and simple journaling exercises. No writing experience necessary.

The Simple Abundance Close-to-Home Workshop offers an opportunity for women who find themselves hurdling through each day as if it were an out of body experience to slow down, take stock of their world and perhaps make changes in their lives. Close-to-Home Workshops are based on Sarah Ban Breathnach’s 1995 New York Times best seller, “Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.”

Mary E. Knippel, Creativity Mentor- encouraging Creativity as a Healing Tool www.openuptoyourcreativity.com.