Always Well Within

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How Creativity Can Help You Move Through Loss – Even If You Aren’t Creative


Please enjoy a story of transformation from one of our readers today.

I was married for 30 years and my husband left me. Needless to say it was a difficult time for me. Both of my daughters were adults, although our youngest was in college and living at home.

After the initial shock and some time had passed, I got all my ducks in a row as far as finances, lawyers, etc. My spirit, confidence, and pleasure were nowhere to be seen, however. Everyone at work was planning vacations and I realized that life does go on and I too should have a vacation. I had lots of offers to tag along with others but chose to go it alone as this was my new reality.

My birthday falls around Mother’s Day and I always planted my garden that weekend. The kids, husband, and whoever else I could gather up would get the garden all ready for the growing season. I had no more garden, so I chose that time to take a week off work, travel to the ocean, and stay in a condo. It was about a 5-hour drive from home so I knew I could get there and back.

Creativity Can Heal You By Surprise

It was a great location, right on the beach with no people, very private. There was a lighthouse just around the bend. I walked there and back many times a day. I stocked up on food so I didn’t have to leave my ‘nest’. As I walked, I found lots of sea glass, pieces of wood, and shells. As the week went on, I had quite a collection. I began arranging them on the coffee table and ended up with a beautiful collage. I was leaving in a couple days and didn’t want to lose my collage. So I went to an art store and picked up a canvas and some glue. I transferred the collage onto the canvas and took it home.

What I had on the canvas was a lighthouse with a collection of small white shells forming a halo around the light coming from it. The halo was not a full circle as I only had so many of the tiny white shells. So I used – you guessed it – 30 signifying the years of my marriage. The broken circle signified that we had not finished the marriage – just stopped. There were other things on the canvas that represented things in our life. I didn’t realize how important that week was to my recovery until much later and still I find the beauty in self-introspection.

The final thing I did was to give that canvas to my soon to be ex-husband. I showed him how it was our story. I told him this story has ended but 2 more were beginning – mine and his, just not together. I never looked back and have done okay for myself, as they say. While I certainly had my ups and downs and still do, I can remember piecing together those random items I picked up and how they came together that week.

I had never done anything like that before or since, I don’t think I have the creativity gene. It’s good to know that I did have it when I really needed it though!

What has helped you in times of transition, change, or loss?  I would love to hear.

Thank you for reading!  Please sign up for my monthly note – Wild Arisings – and receive a copy of my free 50-page e-book, 21 Simple Stress Tips.  Until next time, be well, be happy, be safe.  Love, Sandra


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  1. What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing that!
    I have so many resources that I have gathered over the years that help me get through loss and tough times. The first is prayer and dependence on God and Angels. And gratitude is very important to bringing me out of negative thinking and back onto the light side! I think the biggest support I ever have had from human beings was through RC or Re-evaluation Counseling which assumes that everyone, if given time and loving attention, can figure out anything they want or need to. Of course, friends, off- and on-line, have been there all along and finally, Network Chiropractic has helped to relieve all sorts of stress in my life. And walking and working out has been a huge way I have dealt with any loss/ stress/disappointment. I hope that is not TMI but it is how I deal with loss and distress. 🙂

    • This is so helpful, Jean! You have a whole system in place. I love it. It’s not TMI for me. Your approach is very inspiring. It also reminds me to be aware of my own resources so I feel a steady foundation, whatever arises. Thank you!

    • HI Jean, I am glad I read your response here on Sandra’s site…I am supporting a friend whose son took his life (early 20’s) and March 7, 2016 marks one year…She and her husband have been very intentional doing many of the things you mentioned here. Loss is so so hard no matter what, but walking through it is a must, rather than busying ourselves with other things. My friends have done this and I am so proud of them. Thanks for sharing!

      • Hi Joan,

        Your friend is so lucky to have you! You have the patience and understand that is truly needed to support someone through loss, which is often very hard as you say. I loved Jean’s steps too, they really are whole and complete. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. What a wonderful story Sandra and guest and what a special gift that was created just when it was needed.

    I love the mysteries of life and the light we’re given to help us through our toughest times. Be it in the form of a lighthouse, or shells or sudden and inexplicable bursts of creativity.

    I remember a few weeks after my husband passed away I got up one morning and felt as though I was being put back down on this earth, as though someone or some energy had been holding me up until I could stand alone again. A gift of a different kind.

    • Love this comment, thanks for sharing!

    • Although I know how difficult your loss must have been, it’s inspiring to hear this story that you felt invisibly supported when you needed it most. I love how you framed this as the “mysteries” of life as that’s so much what it is. Who knows how these magical times unfold to help us move through our greatest challenges.

  3. HI Sandra, Love this guest’s story…Thanks for sharing it here. I love it all, because I love the beach so much, but I believe my favorite part is that the writer gave the final project to her ex, reminding him that they DID have a life and lots of special moments before he made the decision to end it. Wise Woman. Love, Joan

    • I love your perspective on this, Joan. It’s great to read the comments and see the how people approach it from different angles, all so enriching. Yes, I think it was a courages step to give the canvas to her husband and acknowledge all the goodness that they did share. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. A wonderful account of how one dealt with separation and accepted the situation that affected every facet in her life. 1000%!!!

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