By Lauren McClain
All of us come to some crossroads in our lives where we want to identify the difference between our heart and mind. This feels particularly important as we parent and, therefore, make decisions for others. This power can be terrifying. Feeling harmony between heart and mind protects our inner wisdom and power.
In my house, we say that these feelings and thoughts come from our ‘thinking brain’ and our ‘feeling brain.’ We give their intelligence equal value, although sometimes we acknowledge that we are giving too much of our decision-making power to one or the other.
You know something is right when it seems right or good to both your heart and mind—in both your thinking and feeling brains. Big decisions, such as those concerning education and health care, are best made by agreement—in flow.
But our thinking minds are limited to expressing themselves in words—which are themselves also limited in meaning. Our feeling heart is not limited by anything but our willingness. It can express itself in an endless variety of ways, including all forms of art.
With art, we can express what we cannot explain. Sometimes we just don’t have the science or the words or the knowledge to explain something. But we very often have the art to do so.
Perhaps no aspect of humanity is more important than the feelings that swirl around birth and death. As a parent and a child, you can express and release some of your deep and inexhaustible feelings by creating and viewing art. The divine connection we feel, in birth, parenting, in our bond with our own children—they’re all wonderful subjects for art.
Mila Furstova, an artist who has done cover-work for Coldplay, points out in her winter 2016 Pathways interview that parenthood helps you to access your inner heart and make art. “Being a mother—it reaches so deep into one’s essence that the art potentially becomes better.”
I consider myself a writer, and I write to think, to make sense of feelings and share thoughts. But some feelings can’t be made sense of—and that’s OK. Maybe it’s even best. Some things are too important to write down. Druids didn’t write their spiritual teachings in part because once it’s written down, anyone can access it and twist it. Out of context, or in the wrong hands, words can be used against you.
Art is much less stable. Visual art allows the viewer—and even the creator—to reinterpret the work at each viewing, depending on their current inner landscape. The meaning is sometimes deep and sometimes not; the message of the work is not static. If we write to think, we create art in order to feel.
Words are a kind of end point. Art is a beginning.
“With art it is much like birth,” says Mila. “You reach that point and then you have to let go and allow your intuition to take over. To let go of the desire to control and to allow yourself to flow with it. There is no crossing the ocean without losing sight of the shore. Art and birth are both journeys of crossing the ocean. They both take courage and trust.”
Here are some possible art mediums and beginnings to help you open up and expand on your divine roles:
– Create a ‘safe space’ on tag board using paper scraps and pen
– Using a poster-sized paper and sponge brush, paint your ideal day
– Paint your birth–without identifiable images
– Express loneliness with crayons
– Draw an outline of your body and meditate on how each part feels before coloring it in
– Show the connection between you and one of your children with watercolor
Lauren is a childbirth educator (Birth Boot Camp) and the author of the Breech Baby Handbook. She owns Better Birth Graphics, a shop full of practical, intuitive birth media for professionals. Her work has been published in Mothering, Holistic Parenting Magazine, Birth Issues, True Birth, Mama Birth, and elsewhere. She lives in Maryland with her family of five.