There is an artist inside all of us, and within the Parkinson’s community, the healing power of creativity is well recognised. Motor skills may diminish, but artistic capability often remains and can even improve. Creativity soothes the busiest of minds as it offers respite and allows us to forget ourselves for a little while at least. Many people with Parkinson’s often find that they take up writing, painting, cooking, knitting, crafting, or learning an instrument; just because they hadn’t previously tapped into these gifts doesn’t mean that they weren’t there all along, they were just waiting to be unwrapped.
So, how does creativity heal? Well, most of you are probably aware that the brain is made up of two hemispheres; the left hemisphere oversees the right side of the body, it is logistical and analytical, and the right hemisphere controls creativity, emotions, imagination, and the left side of the body, which, incidentally, is my weak side. I often wonder if my weak left side an outward sign of what needs more attention in my right brain? It seems that I need to encourage my right brain to heal, and I can try to do this by developing right brain functions such as creativity and imagination; and if I can rebalance my brain, I might be able to rebalance my body.
Armed with this information, I decided to give my right brain more tasks to do, and so, I started this blog. Writing was my way of raising awareness of Parkinson’s and doing something positive with the pain. I write to empower myself and others; it helps me to know that I am giving this illness a purpose and contributing what I can in my own little corner of the Universe. Nothing is ever wasted…
I am not saying that creativity will lead to immediate recovery, but I do believe that it is one piece of the healing jigsaw. GPs often encourage patients to attend art and music lessons to help relieve stress-related complaints; such therapeutic activities clearly make us healthier and happier. The act of taking time for yourself to create can help the brain’s faster brainwaves to slow down, and anything that helps my Parkinson’s brain to move out of high alert is more valuable to me than gold.
The great Billy Connolly sadly retired from live performances due to Parkinson’s, but he is now creating amazing paintings and sculptures; his artistic career is soaring. Treasures are clearly waiting to be unleashed in all of us and we all have a story to tell. Could this blog be a sign for you to start exploring your own creativity?
Although, you may find that being creative is not always enjoyable, especially if you decide to share your work with others; you will doubt yourself and worry how your work will be received by your audience. Sharing my journey with strangers opens me up to looking like an attention seeker or a narcissist, but I know why I write, and that is to take back control and nourish my soul, not to play the victim or for attention. Birds don’t sing for the praise; they sing because they have a song inside of them…
We often resist what we need most, and I would encourage you to just start making something; do the thing that lights you up, then the ideas will start to arrive. We are all healing from something, and creativity is just one way to release tension and transform pain, or you can just keep it all bottled up inside. Start a journal, take photographs, redecorate a room, cook something from scratch, learn an instrument, take dance lessons, go to an art class, start gardening, the possibilities are endless! Step out of your comfort zone, follow your bliss, and do what you love. It’s time to get to work; you don’t have to save the world, just do it for you!