• Darlene Kuehn, PhD, R.P

Exploring Life through Creative Journaling

In this age of information we are bombarded with so much input. It comes from the outside and yet it has a profound impact on our inner world. How is it effecting you? We rely on science, media, experience and conversation for information yet what do we do with it all?

Exploring meaning is distilled and examined in a very different way through art. Creative practice has a wonderful way of slowing us down. Exploring life through art has always been an important part of humanity well before the days of technology and is a profound way of pondering and experiencing the human condition. One of the most profound functions of art is to interact with the experience of what it is to be human.

Both making art, and beholding art made by others, helps us get at a essential, conscious and sub-conscious experiences of life. Art engages other ways of knowing that involves the senses, emotions, spiritual reflection, and imagination. Art helps us to reflect on life in ways that elude the grasp of cognitive thought and the ordinary use of words.

Creative, reflective journaling is a way to explore, contemplate, meditate, and make sense of the world around us ... and the world within us. It provides an existential way of knowing. We are not just cells and anatomy; we are emotion, story, spirit, and soul. At times we ache and yearn and we long to know why. We naturally 'quest' and want to engage in the puzzles of life.

This is why I journal in creative ways. I have learned so much through imaginative and artistic exploration. I get in touch with my inner world; a world that is so affected by all the activity that happens in the outer world. I turn it over in colour, sound, shape, poetry, movement, form, essence, and am therefor able to explore the meanings. Socrates said 'the unexamined life is not worth living'. Examining life by engaging information and the imagination through a process of artmaking provides perspectives that expand our understanding. Metaphor, symbolism, allegory, expression, illustration, image, movement, emotional context ... these help us to get at the essence of what it is to be human and to be able to share it with others in discussion if we so choose to make further sense of it.

I once attended a lecture by the late Eugene Peterson. He began with an invitation to reflect in saying somberly "most of what is in this room (full of people) is invisible". He left a moment of silence for us all to sit with that. I found it a powerful consideration. Most of who we are: what we know; who and what we love; what we have experienced; the pieces of our stories, sit inside of us. The arts provide a way to give these invisible aspects of who we are some form and to engage with it. The arts provide a way for the unseen to be seen. We are all creative. I encourage you to find your expression and to explore the art in living. This is the approach I take to creative journaling and the workshops that I will be offering through Creative Quest Studios.

Stay posted. I hope you can join us on a creative quest!


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