I was stuck in what felt like a bubble that I had no tools to pop and get out.
Between trying to balance my life with work, having a dog, going to the gym, and being an all around happy, healthy, successful, accomplished, independent person, I felt like the only thing I was good at was working. Not accomplishing - just working.
This was certainly not where I decided my life was going to stay forever - this was not it. I didn't know what "it" was and even to this day I am still not sure. All I know now is that the art guided me to where I am today and my life is much better now than where I was before I started my painting.
The piece was born as a result of a text message from a previous co-worker. I still have this message in my phone - it was the final thing that needed to happen to light up my inner fire. This person asked if I wanted to be a part of her product-based network marketing team, and I decided to decline. Her message reads:
"You seemed like someone with drive and ambition to do more with your life. If that's not the case for now, no problem."
The word that got me was: "Seemed."
I "seemed" like someone with drive.
I "seemed" like someone with ambition.
I "seemed" like someone who wanted to do more with my life.
And if that's not the case for now, no problem.
Here's the thing: it's not "seemed." It's I am.
I am someone with drive.
I am someone with ambition.
I am someone who wanted to do more with my life.
The actual problem was I wasn't sure exactly what that was yet.
That night, I covered a canvas in reds and yellows... Painting so fast I was done in a matter of minutes. When I looked at it there seemed to be a fiery sun among the painting in the sky.
Little did I know this was only the beginning.
One evening I came exhausted and fell asleep on the floor, face down, with my backpack still on my back and shoes on. I woke up and then went to my painting. I stared at the piece and knew it was not finished.
After several days passed I couldn't stare at that red, orange streak fire across the canvas. A layer followed with soft yellows, pinks, violets and deep purples just half split on the top. Soft rolling clouds with a warm sunset feel took over as a sky and then water rolled off my paintbrush on the bottom half with glazes of blues, greens and plums.
Weeks passed and it sat there. It still looked at me - incomplete.
Then another night; darker plums took over the sky and water.
Again, time passed and I knew it wasn't complete yet. Something had to be done, so I used yellow and white, and I added light that casted through the sky and danced on the water. And the water became more smooth.
There was too much white and too much yellow.
So the piece sat again for days. Using a variety of mixed purples, pinks and peach tones I added more clouds on top of the sun. I followed up with the dark plums in the corner to bring the piece together.
There it was.
And there it sat.
It has still sat. Then one day I decided it was time to let my life take another direction and surrender to faith so I left my job and began the journey of my own practice. Months passed and I was not sure what to call my practice - a list of over 30 names laid before me on paper.
Also, there sat that painting.
The clouds, almost storm-like, rolled in. Maybe it was sunset or sunrise, and the waters weren't raging but certainly had waves I would not want to be out on. To make a long story short, I fell in love with "I LIGHT." It was empowering when I said it to myself, and it followed my mission statement.
After seeing the option for a logo, I fell in love with it. It all made sense: the lighthouse. Lighthouses have been a personal favorite travel destination of mine, and as a Therapist, being a light and guide in a storm for those out at sea is that role. Then there is the ultimate goal - rekindling the light and helping clients see they too can become the keeper of their own light - body and soul as their home and the light shines within.
The painting became my light, my guide, when I was lost at sea.
It stared at me all along telling me exactly what I needed to do to come back home to myself. The painting was informing me the direction of my life I just had to keep listening and be patient to understand what was happening.
And sure, I'm not sure if it is done - for now I will let it sit there until it's ready for more change, more layers, and more growth.
That painting was a reminder:
I am driven.
I am ambitious.
I am someone who wants more out of life.
The problem was I didn't see the light yet - I was too lost out at sea.
I am the keeper of my own light.
About the author: Leara Glinzak MSAT is Owner and Art Therapist at I Light, LLC serving the greater Grand Rapids, Michigan area. She has presented and led workshops locally and nationally and her research is published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. Her specialties include grief, Dementia, anxiety, introspection, distress and Cancer care.
Interested in writing for The Growth Studio? Submit your personal stories of creative ways through change to firstname.lastname@example.org.