When I was 40, my life abruptly changed. Really smart brain doctors at Mayo and Cleveland said it was a virus or toxin that attacked my brain and left me struggling to walk, talk and express even a simple thought. The pain was horrific. For two years, my physical state continued to deteriorate. The situation was frankly, pretty dire. I was a mom with two young boys fighting like hell for her future.
My friend, Dawn, gave me a book called "My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard neurosurgeon who had suffered a debilitating stroke and used art as a tool to reteach her brain how to work. I immediately enrolled in an art class at Indiana University South Bend. My hands were so curled from my illness, I could barely hold a pencil.
But determination and perseverance are pretty powerful tools. Day one, I struggled to even draw a simple circle. By week eight, I was doing some pretty respectable portraiture.
I loved art was a young girl, but other academic and career demands pulled me away from exploration. But necessity brought me to an art studio at this time in my life. I could not believe the effect it had in reteaching my brain how to function! A trampoline, gym and excellent physical therapists helped with the physical part of my recovery. But I attribute my brain recovery to art classes!
As I grew stronger, my love for drawing and painting flourished. Now, if I cannot draw of paint, I feel as if I am missing a large part of expressing what is going on in my heart and head.
And on goes the journey...and a glorious, evolving new way to find and express voice.