Art-Making, a Way Beyond the Pain, by Wendy DeRaud


Do you ever wonder how some people live beyond the pain of their life, and others are consumed by it?

How do some people seem to overcome a difficult past of abuse, neglect and poverty, and go on to live a life of selfless giving and meaningful success? While some wallow in the muck and mire of their depressive environments, others find a way of escape and seem to smile in the face of it all.


I didn't ever want to believe that life is full of pain, but experience has taught me that no one escapes the pain of being human, the sadness and grief that can come to each of us in this life.



"Jesus at the Door", Prismacolor, 1981, Wendy Mellor (DeRaud) 



We all have to contend with intense inner battles, our thoughts are powerful and can seem to control us. Whether empowered by demons, chemicals, habits or generational influences at the molecular level, we each have to learn a way out of the quagmire of destructive thinking if we want to grow and move on from the defeating traps of Self: self-pity, despair, people-pleasing, comparing ourselves to others. You can name yours and I can identify mine pretty easily. As my friend once said, "I'm getting pretty tired of my Self." If we are fortunate enough to find others on this healing journey, we may learn that we aren't as alone as we sometimes think.


I've learned that my pain makes me forget, and makes me afraid to look inside. But pain is meant to remind us of something important, it tells us we're alive and that we count. Listen to the pain and don't ignore it, walk up to it and shake its hand, ask its name and other important questions. What does it want to teach you? What does it know that you don't yet understand? Give it the courtesy of your attention. Listen to your pain. After you've heard its story, you can say thank you, and move on.


Then you can look inside again, and see something you never would have seen before if it wasn't for what you just learned from your pain, something even more beautiful than you could have imagined.


It's from those moments of learning that we are compelled to share with others, and that's when we can take the leap into our creative expressions and tell our stories.


We can all benefit from your story, and how you found beauty in your pain. That may be real art.