Emotional Alchemy through Creativity

Ah, the realm of the emotions.

Those who know me will know I feel deeply. I am sensitive and can get emotionally overwhelmed quite easily. 

Growing up with a Father who worked so hard to be a single-parent to three young kids (Thank you, Dad!), often meant that there was not much space to express my experience and feelings. 

I learnt very young, as many of us did in patriarchal societies, to ‘Get on with it’,  ‘Not be so sensitive’, and that  ‘You shouldn’t feel that way.” 

The result was an internalized belief that emotions were ‘unproductive’ and that I should do my best to only feel the ‘good’ ones. I judged myself deeply and didn’t consider much of my emotional experience as valid. 

When we haven’t been taught how to relate to our feelings in a healthy way, shut-down (hypo-arousal) and anxiety (hyper-arousal) are common coping mechanisms. Emotion is energy and without its free-flowing expression, our nervous systems can go into a state of overwhelm. 

The process of learning to relate to our feelings in a healthy way is a journey, with many layers of Story and belief to be peeled away. Stories are the narratives we tell ourselves, or create, around our experiences. 

A helpful way to cultivate this relationship is through somatic introspection and creative expression. 

Our emotions are felt first in our body. The heaviness on our chest, the flutters in our belly, the constriction in our throat. Before we can consciously name it, our bodies feel it. 

When we use our awareness to gently tune into our bodies, we can begin to sense what is present. We can describe our experience with our senses, simply being curious about our inner world which allows for neutrality and openness. 

Naming a sensation as an Emotion can immediately cause judgements and Stories to flood our nervous system. We may contract in the shame attached to an emotion. We might go into the narrative of Why? – looking for an external source of our internal experience. While doing so can bring understanding, it can also lead to patterns of blame and projection. Our focus shifts to the Other, and we abandon our inner sensations in favour of an external ‘fix’. 

A healthy and empowering alternative is to channel this sensation through creative practice. 

Emotion is a powerful energy and when we befriend it, can become a source of inspiration and great potential. Staying in connection to the felt-experience of an Emotion, it can be articulated through colour, texture, gesture, and sound, bypassing the Story and transmuting into physical form. 

This physical manifestation – whether it be an artwork, a dance, a sound – can provide an entry-point into an emotional experience that may otherwise have been inaccessible. With the distance it provides, we can relate to ourselves with less judgement and more compassion. We can see our emotional expressions as the energetic forces that they are, and even find a sense of beauty in it.

What was once deemed ‘unproductive’ can become the magnificent source of creativity that it inherently is. 

The first time I danced, like really danced, was the first time I ever truly felt beautiful. It was not because I was moving in any particular way – in fact, I’m sure I was a bunch of gangling limbs. It was because I allowed myself to move and flow, to express from my heart freely. I was able to transmute what was once suppressed and filed with shame, into a purity of expression. 

For the first time, I was grateful to be the sensitive one. The one who feels deeply. 

My emotions became my ally, my life-force of creation, and my greatest source of inspiration. 

Experience this emotional alchemical process for yourself at our Emotional Alchemy Creativity Workshop