Face Your Fears: How to Express Your Shadow Side in Art.

Creativity does not just have to be bright rainbows, glitter, and happiness. Although, if that is your message, then that is fine. Brightness in art and human connection tends to eclipse the darkside. That is why the moon usually has only one day in it. Either way, We must address our dark side. We are dual beings. Beings that are light, angelic, and harmonious. But we are also dark, beastly, and chaotic. We are the light and the dark. We are a little bit of human, angel, and animal.

Our fears, our worries, our anxieties, our skepticism, cynicism, lower frequency ego driven traits are also apart of us. The Yucky side. And something that I have noticed is that our fears can become us if we do not address them. If we do not face them.

So why not face them through art?  Why not face the dark side of creativity?

Face your Fears.

To start, all those lower emotions are choking up your creativity. They are choking up your heart. Your divinity. Your vision. Your true potential and all that mumbo jumbo. It seems like a broken record for me to say "face your fears", right? I mean that's what A LOT of the Internet/Self Help Books are telling ya, but it is true! Facing & Expressing our Fears is the hugest part of conquering them.

So how do we express them?

First and foremost, we need to acknowledge our fear. We feel scared. We feel worried. We feel anxiety about the future. We feel depressed because how we feel on the inside doesn't match the outside. What emotion is driving you to self destruct?

Then you own it. You are in control of your life. You didn't get to this point without some action. You didn't get there because someone did it to you. You can't blame anyone else for the fear you are feeling. You have to own it.

Guilt//Shame < Humility// Compassion

Then once you own it. Give yourself some compassion. Love on yourself. Accept yourself. Maybe you are feeling undesirable, maybe you are feeling like you can never reach a goal. Whatever it is. It's just your ego, your shadow being more powerful than your light. So, take back that responsibility. Say to yourself, I love myself. I can do this. I am a magical empowering human being and I will conquer these dumbo mumbo emotions!

Then the Last Step, EXPRESS IT

Take Charge to Let it Out. Speak, Write, Move Your Body, Yell, EFT Tap, Write out Your New Moon Affirmations, or whatever it is that allows you to express your fear. Let that emotion move through you by expressing it through those creative projects. Whenever we are moving through our emotions, we are addressing them, not repressing them and that is when we can let it go!

For me, I am expressing my fears through my most recent project. I am working on animal paintings that represent our ancestral partners. Our human connection with our furry, scaly, and wild companions. We humanize our pets. Humanize our Predators. The zoological aspect of spirituality sees animals as a merely a metaphor. We don't define them as a living creature that is present on this Earth. We use them as a tool for self exploration. In the presence of the most dangerous animals of the world, we look at them and paint them in bright colors and call them our spirit animals. Many people choose their spirit animals to be that of a predator. Which, makes me question if we see ourselves in the same lens. As the most dangerous animals on the planet. It makes me question why we are putting clothes on our pets for pictures and if we are moving towards a closer world where even animals have forgotten their wild attitude.

It's scary to think about. Leaving my daughter with a world that is detached from our planet- animals and humans alike. It's a scary thought to think that we are not helping our animals, but merely catering to our dystopia.

I want to express our wild beings. I want to express our wild calling. I want to remind each of us that we are not detached from mother nature at all, but connected.

Expressing my fears is turning into a beautiful and desirable art project. I am letting go my attachment to those fears. I am delving into them and calling action to what they are. I will share this project more than likely at my next art show. I am excited, empowered, and feel as if the light is stronger than the dark. Basically, I am a glittery beary unicorn-liger octomom ready to launch ! And you know, you can make any emotion that you need to work through a creative mission statement too.

So what are you working through with your expression? What do you need to let go? You can do it.

Wildly,

Mel

Identity: How to Explore Your Message & Expression

Labels cannot be avoided. At my show recently at the Village Gallery, I came across many people that wanted to talk about who I am/ was; what my art was identified as and how I identified myself. One person that really stuck in my mind was this younger girl that interviewed me about each piece while carrying a sketchbook of her own work. Clearly, she was an artist. I asked her how she felt about the paintings and she said, "Well, they are very colorful. So I would assume that the works in this show come from extroverted artists." Interested, I asked her to expand, only for her to continue to say, "Art has much value in it, a depth and aptitude of color that creates value and expression. Most artists are introverts because they understand how to use these dark colors and balance them in their work. These artworks themselves, don't use much black, if anything they don't use value at all." Nameless An Exploration of Form-Mel BIkowski

This stung me at my core. Number 1, my personality was being stigmatized by the way that I use color in my artworks and number 2, honestly, I really needed to work on value.

So how does this apply to exploring my identity? Well, I took my time to think about what she said and I questioned and explored the information.

First and foremost, I am not an extrovert. She had that wrong. By definition, I am an introvert (according to MBTI standards), but I don't define myself as one.When I am out and about (which is not very often) you won't find me in sitting in a corner mumbling to myself, "oh I'm an introvert, that's why I can't talk to you." lol.  And you know, to be honest, I think a lot of introverts get really stigmatized. My closest friends will say that I am loud, talkative, and zany. Much like an extrovert would be if you were to judge someone by the textbook definition. But, my friends would also say, that I need my space. My alone time. They will say that you can certainly find me recharging or thinking about something out of this world. My mind is hyperactive. Filled with ideas and I do not really need other people around to feel energized and thought provoked. I mean, maybe if that person was Albus Dumbledore or my husband, who I am lucky to share a space with and lets me rant for days about nonsense even if he doesn't agree with anything I am saying. (An example- last week I told him all about my past life reading and how it applied to me now. With open eyes and an open heart, he just smiled and took it in. lol) & on top of that, one of my favorite mottos of all time is "Work Hard in Silence. Let your success make all the noise".

And Second, How do Bright Colors get categorized as Extroverted? Is it because they can be the life of the party, loud, in your face, sometimes zany in artwork? Is it because Introverts are stigmatized to be dark and foreboding? It's possible!

Art Print- Flower Magic- Mel Bikowski

I think for the most part, we need to look at labels as we look at the light on the moon. The Moon Exists in Space. It reflects the sunlight. Much like ourselves as humans reflect information and identity. We are merely borrowing from our knowledge and reflecting it. The labels and identity traps are meant to guide you in exploration to define and see who you are. To help you gravitate towards the knowledge that will allow you seek your highest good. That is why we need to be careful with labels and as artists NEVER LET THEM DEFINE US.

So back to the girl and my artworks. I could of just stopped her right there and said, no way, jose. I am an introvert. I am on the MBTI scale as an INFJ. **BIG HMMPH** or I could of just listened to her and looked at what she was saying about my artwork and how she labeled it and decided to use it as a tool for clarifying if I am conveying the message that I am trying to convey.

As an artist, we delve in and explore identity. I find that we observe it. We see it and redefine how the world can view these perceptions. But to start, we need to see whether or not these labels are fitting for our artworks, our message, ourselves. And it's A-OK to change the way you see yourself and it's definitely A-OK to change identities. Labels and Identities do not define our work. Who we are as people and what we are interested in does. We as artists are like the moon- faithfully shining down onto Earth an expression of our Muses, which for the moon, is the Sun.

So moonchildren, what are you going to reflect outward today?

 

Wildly,

Mel B.

How to Practice Self Care on the Full Moon & Invoke Creative Intelligence

Full Moon in Taurus- November 3

Happy Full Moon to everyone reading this blog. This is my first Full Moon that has cycled around to rest. As you all know, I am taking a break from the full moon workshops, but looking forward to picking them back up when I am done with hibernation. Currently, I am swimming deep in the depth of Self Care <3

Mel Bikowski_2017

Empress/Emperor Self Care

Are you feeling anxious and sleepy? Has exhaustion taken you over? Are you worried about the New Year or are you excited for it? Are you reflecting on everything that has happened in the last few months? Well, you are not alone. The Taurus Full Moon comes at a time where we can take a moment to invoke awareness at where we are needing rest. Where do you need to be a Cosmic Parent to yourself? Accept those random hugs and gifts from the people you are connected to and remember that there is no time like the present to start a self-care practice.

And please, keep in mind that you do not have to break the bank to start a self-care practice. Most of the things that I do myself for self-care are found in my kitchen cabinets.

Before I start on my self care process, I always journal and hear the messages from the full moon, but then it is time to have some fun and relax and honor my mind, body, and spirit.

The Ritual Process goes:

  1. Light an Incense of my choice (some of my favorite ones are created in house at Crystal Fox in MD)
  2. Cook a delicious dinner (lately, I have been so busy with school, I treated me and my family to fancy homemade dinners from Green Chef!)
  3. Sage my Home with Flower/Sage Bundles from Aquarian Soul
  4. Take a bath. (my favorite for this past year and my go-to is a Salt, Basil Bath. It is easy to do- Just boil some fresh Basil from your fridge- pour the water into the bathtub and then put 1 cup of Sea Salt in there)
  5. Lather Up with my favorite go-to Lotion Products
  6. Snuggle in my favorite blanket on the couch or walk around the neighborhood moon gazing with my family and my dog
  7. Unplug from the internet & my cellphone (hugely important lately- I think I went almost a whole month last month without my phone in the daytime & rarely used it in the evenings)

Invoke Creative Intelligence

So, how is self care linked to creativity? It is scientifically proven that self-care, silence, and resting enhances our creativity. It gives our nervous system and our mind a moment to recharge. It also gives our energy a moment to restart and come back to the present. It refreshes and prepares us to be ready for our new projects whether that means painting, poetry, starting a new business, entering a new relationship, or creating a vision board of some sort. Creativity is the source of almost all actions that we do in this life.

I think that for me, Self Care reminds me that I am merely a medium and Creativity is the source. Much like Pen & Paper is the medium where I write down my poems or Acrylic and Canvas is the medium where I paint my paintings. I am merely a reflection of the source- Creativity. Energy. And hey, have you ever tried to paint, draw, or create with shitty mediums? It SUCKS.

So clean yourself up-rest- enjoy your time this full moon.

 

Love you Lots,

Mel B.

 

 

NOTE: 4 more open studios happening in my studio this year. Mark your Calendars and come hang out <3

November 8 November 15 December 6 December 20

#MeToo- How Art & Poetry are healthy coping mechanisms for PTSD

#METOO

For those of you that aren't sure about the campaign that has exploded over the internet this week. Let me just talk about it for a moment. The "Me Too" campaign is a movement started by Alyssa Milano, who is trying to bring light to all the sexual assault and harassment that women have had to endure for not just the time I am alive, but for CENTURIES.

 

The Truth of the Matter is Sexual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Assault is my scar.

It's the biggest one I carry on my soul. I have been working on healing myself through art, poetry, alternative therapy, cognitive therapy, having spiritual advisers, meditation, and I have even went down the dark dreary hole of trying to heal it with alcohol. It's not a pretty scar for me.

In my youth, I was trapped in a relationship where he made everything but himself seem unsafe. He harassed me over the phone, through text messages, through friends.. He would drive up to near the end of whatever street I was at and park there. He would tell me the people I was having a good time with were out to get me. He would tell me my family was out to get me. I remember a time when I got in trouble for not paying attention to my grades, so my parents grounded me from seeing him and he came over to "help me with my homework" and tried to get me to leave and move in with him.

I didn't feel safe. Then it came to a time that I moved in with him. I had true love mixed up with horrific fear and mind control. I picked up alcohol as a habit. I was in public places all the time surrounded by friends because I only felt safe there. I remember one night, I came home to do my homework and because I didn't want to have sex, he grabbed me by my hair and dragged me down three flights of stairs. I still didn't even leave after that.

Finally, at one point, our relationship ended. He started cheating on me with other women and he wanted to take the chance with new ones. I wasn't free from his hold though. I still got harassed everyday with missed calls, emails, text messages, and etc.

I found myself sending out cries for help. I would post subliminal poems on Facebook or in a journal. I couldn't even look my mother in the eye. I was so upset at myself for allowing all this to happen.

The only thing that kept me sane through all of it was poetry.

Then I got sexually assaulted two more times by other strangers. At parties, where I thought I was surrounded by friends. I was having an enjoyable time chatting in deep philosophical conversation with some friends of mine. Then it happened and I ended up leaving the party distraught. Helpless. Again?

This led me down a path of having serious PTSD. I would spend days crawled up on a couch if I wasn't at work going through each and every scenario over and over and over again in my head trying to figure out what about me could of made the scenario different. If someone asked me to go into a neighborhood where my abuser lived, I would say no. I carried a knife in my purse and car. I puffed out my chest at anyone that thought me weak. I got triggered every time a man said "You are pretty."

I went through all the scenarios of having panic attacks. avoiding my family. hiding my scars. Thinking to myself constantly, Why was I the victim of this violence? Why couldn't I leave and why couldn't I say no?

I felt weak. afraid. unsure of myself. and hopeless.

So what helped? What Saved Me?

  1. I found Yoga. God did that save me from some of the PTSD. I would go into one vinyasa after another. Every time any of my abusers faces would show up in my mind, I would go and exercise.

I found Dancing. I would dance for hours. Working out any and all of my issues with emotional constraints. My chest felt free. None of it weighed me down anymore.

But that is what people with PTSD need. To restart their nervous system. Awaken the body and ground themselves into their present life. 

2. I wrote poetry. So much poetry. I would journal every single emotional upheaval. I find that poetry does heal us. It might be written about a situation that is emotional and maybe not everyone will feel the way that I felt, but it connected me to something. It connected me to my senses. The good ones. The ones that made me feel more alive than I have ever felt before. I could write out those feelings, truths, and understandings without anyone saying "How dare you tell that story."

3. I painted. I am very sensitive to energy. I find myself in a room seeing and feeling all the things that aren't being said. It's hard sometimes to even get a hold of reality because I am seeing all the interactions happening. But when I paint, I can feel myself again. I wake up from the dream I am having. The horrific one & I get out all the angst. I am focused on a something larger than myself and I am safe there. NO man is going to come into my paint space and take what I have.

4. A healthy diet. It is SO important when Trauma has happened to remove yourself from anything that might have otherwise made it feel worse. Have you ever eaten a bag of chips and felt like shit the next day? Well that is how PTSD feels without the chips. You need to feed your soul. Eat those things that make you feel good. Give you energy and awaken & ground you into who you are as a person. I LOVE JUICE just for that reason. You can catch me drinking a Green Juice and smiling. Not because I am following some bullshit health trend, but because I am healing my insides to heal my soul. To heal my heart.

CREATIVE THERAPY CURED ME

I'm not saying I'm cured. I still deal with a lot of PTSD. Let's be honest. All these #METOO posts triggered me this week. I went down a path of crazy panic and needed release. I wrote 2 different FB statuses and then made them private or deleted them. I saged the whole house and I journaled and wrote poetry. I cried for a while and looked up booking an appointment with a therapist. I haven't felt that kind of panic in years.

But you know what? Art Therapy is the psychic integration of having a dialogue with your trauma. I know this because I did it. The Conscious and Unconscious mental activity, mind-body connectedness, and the use of mental & visual imagery allowed my cerebral cortex/nervous system to calm down. It illuminated what I needed to heal. It begins to change the stored images into new images.

I know that creating through art- whether it is poetry, music, or some other creative format will make trauma less powerful. And I find it to be less threatening than any verbal therapy. Sometimes we DONT want to talk about our traumas. Sometimes it triggers us to become worse.

So I urge you, if you have went through some sort of trauma to try out some poetry prompts ( I have some going on in my FB group  now) or pick up a journal, dancing, music, or some sort of creative activity. You'll feel that healer inside ignite. & you will feel so much better. Trust me.

 

Art Is the Safe Space.

 

Love you.

Wildly,

Mel