Not All Superheros Wear Capes….How Art Saved my life

 I am pretty transparent about my life. I feel that in order to help people really change, we must share our own personal journeys to help facilitate that change.  I am willing to share of myself if I know that it will inspire others to take a chance and do something different.  This is why I want you to meet my art teacher Susan Shaffer of Joyful Arts Studio in Greencastle, PA.

You see, I first met this beautiful soul a few years back when I was going through something extremely difficult, yet very profound.  I didn’t realize at the time that God was doing something in me, preparing me for where I am now and what He has for me in the future.

 I have always been a lover of art. I wanted to be an artist when I was a little girl. But as I grew into an adult, those dreams became shattered by the logical voices around me telling me that it wasn’t realistic.  So I never pursued it. I took some lessons here and there when I lived in Kentucky and loved it but my life was a mess and out of control with a difficult marriage, feelings of low self-worth and a bleak future.  I stopped doing art and did life.

 Many years later when the rubble was trying to settle after my life fell apart, I suffered from extreme anxiety and PTSD. I had been divorced, had to help my children through the loss of their father as teens and a year later had a horrific motorcycle accident.  On top of all of this, I was trying to adjust to a new life and working as a counselor helping other people.  Problem was, I was not getting help myself. I saw a counselor but did not connect and gave up.  After a stay in the hospital for extreme stress, I decided it was time to take care of me. I decided I needed art back in my life again.

 I called Susan at Joyful arts and had the most pleasant conversation. Her voice put me at ease and she encouraged me and told me that anyone can have talent but it takes true desire to be an artist.  I had the desire and I needed this.  Soon I was taking weekly classes with her and for the first time in a long time, I was finding me again.  My art sessions were like therapy sessions.  Susan is not only a fantastic teacher, her spirit is what truly sets her apart from the rest.  She encouraged me to try and not to paint my pictures like others and to paint what came naturally to me.  This was hard for me as I had always lived my life to please others and being me was hard because I didn’t know me. Susan helped me through her gentle and kind spirit and always bringing me back to myself.

 You see, we can go to counselors, psychiatrist and doctors and never get better.  This is not to say these people don’t help because they do. But sometimes, God wants us to look outside the box and find someone who has a spirit that attracts us to them. These are the super heroes for us. The ones that don’t even recognize their power in the world. This is my friend Susan Shaffer. And I am personally grateful that she is in my life and I can’t thank her enough.

 This painting is one that I finished when I was coming to end of my healing journey. I had no idea how powerful it was until Susan pointed out the emotion it contained.  She encouraged me to place a small flower among the dark forest. This painting is titled Glimmer of Hope. Folks, no matter how bad things get, God is there and there is hope. There are angels like Susan who are waiting to bring you back.  Seek those that you are attracted to naturally. You don’t always have to have a person with a counseling degree to help you. Sometimes it’s a simple as rediscovering your passion and finding someone that shares that passion.

 I am now sharing my passion of art with others. I teach women’s healing art workshops and mentor children’s art classes. I so enjoy helping others see the value in the process of creating and not just focusing on the end result.  That has been a huge life lesson from me personally that we do not always have to know where we are going but we can learn to enjoy the journey along the way and be grateful for the people that God puts on our path.  I am grateful for this friend and hope I can be alight to others as she has been to me.