An Artist’s Journey from Trauma to Healing

An Artist’s Journey from Trauma to Healing
An artist illustrates her grief after the sudden death of her first child

The inevitable tragedies, suffering and shocking events of life do not escape us humans. Each one of us will be floored by death and other painful events many times in our lives. Indeed, to be human is to experience suffering.

The question isn’t whether we will experience traumatic things in life, but rather, how we will manage to deal with them. Life’s traumas have the potential to knock us to the floor permanently. Many do not return: trauma can carry people away to the worlds of depression, suicide, addictions, anxiety and hopelessness. Will we lose ourselves in the wasteland of our pain, or will we find a filament of hope to ignite the will to carry on.

To live life, to enjoy life, to be happy and to connect with others,we need to be able to weather the storms that will inevitably blow our way. If we let our pain transform who we are it can mould us into a visionary with a scarred yet tender heart, who lights the way for others.

The wound is the place where the light enters you. – Rumi

Developing the tools of creativity, spiritual practice, self care and a greater understanding about life will support us to survive the painful possibilities life may throw at us. The practice of yoga, mindfulness and many spiritual traditions is about creating the resources, and cultivating the inner stability to be able to deal with the cyclones of life when they hit.

Sometimes this is what healing looks like: walking through the world with the wilderness forever inside you, invisible. – Leela Corman

Finding your way back home

Artist Leela Corman’s autobiographical watercolours document her journey through the tragedy of losing her then-only child. She threw herself into creative expression to make sense of her tremendous loss, revealing the rampant pain that ran through her body, mind and spirit for years, in her graphic essay “PTSD: The Wound That Never Heals.”

While every part of Leela writhed in grief, she gradually learned how to recover and heal. Here she illustrates what she has found on the other side of that trauma: absolute self-compassion and a total embrace of those wild, raw emotions that make us so human.

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