Art As a Healing Sacrament

Many say we have the power to co-create.

That we can heal ourselves.

Yet how does one go about that, how do you begin?
Is it a thought? An energy? An action? Imagination?
Yes, all of those focused together for our good create the highest healing potential. The person who can hear their own internal wisdom, with practice and fortitude can begin to hear a clearer narrative from within to inform their lives. In this way, focusing on being a “maker” we inform our creation with the energy we bring into it. Art can be a healing sacrament, simply by our choice. As soon as we choose, energy and matter respond.

 "I bow to the stone."

~ Lenore Thomas Straus

In Intentional Creativity we make with mindfulness. You can think of it like art with purpose. What creates the biggest impact in working this way is a combination of how the brain interacts with the body, the field and the physical medium you are working with (i.e.canvas, clay, paper, drum etc.) When we create we are activating as much of the human system as possible and focusing our efforts towards a particular experience and insight.

It can be helpful to understand that creativity isn’t something that is based in talent - creativity is for everyone. Everyone has imagination, and is using it all the time. Creativity activates our natural healing capacity, our intuition, our internal narrative and our physical potential. When intention is added, the impact is amplified.

Every single culture has elements of intentional creation - whether that is mark making and design, or symbol, story, pattern of code, or objects infused with the sacred attributes - when we make objects of art as human beings we impart our essence into what we make. How can it be otherwise? In physics we may think of this as something ‘taking on a charge’ - or energy - like a talisman. Talisman comes from the Greek, Teleo - to consecrate. Putting the sacramental capacity into the hands of the human being to impart their essence into matter. Sacred sites and objects are the root of Intentional Creativity, and beg the question - if we have the power to infuse the inanimate with our intention what might be possible if we focused our healing powers through art?

All art intuitively apprehends coming changes in the collective unconsciousness. As a human being the artist may have many moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is 'man' in a higher sense – he is 'collective man' – one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic life of humankind.

~ Carl Gustav Jung

Art in all mediums, dance, song, pottery, jewelry, painting, cuisine, landscape, architecture - all have the capacity to be more than design and function, but a living expression of the hope of the artist for their work. In particular within our community we have worked directly with the link between trauma and imagination through medicine painting. Infusing what we make with the pattern of the energy, wound, scar and them consciously transforming it before our very eyes. The wound is acknowledged, brought from energy in the field, and the physical body into external form - to be witnessed and changed. A field of healing gets created by the one participating in the art experience. They step more fully into their own healing capacity through self expression. Releasing trapped trauma into full color and inviting conscious transformation. Directing their healing, being their own oracle, and making art a sacrament.

Put the power into the hands of the individual. They can claim that if something within them is ready to shift, they are the one who can initiate a healing cascade. Further, begin to make choices from the truest place within themselves. 

When you are able to move past the usual pre-frontal cortex domination, you can enter into a profound flow state. You begin to gain access to a hidden world within you that is always available but not always known or understood.  This is due to not being able to hear our own voice above the negative input we are used to listening to, both from inside of us, and externally. 

Intentional Creativity Process for Gaining Insight

 Here is an Intentional Creativity Process you can do with whatever paper and pen you have on hand! We call this metacognitive drawing, which is basically thinking with a pen in hand.

 1. Inquiry - Consider something you would like to have insight on. Craft a question in your heart. (This narrows the field of information available, like a focused probe.)

 2. Access - Gently hold the question within you. Draw a shape somewhere on the page, big enough for a sentence or two and leave it empty. Then, without making a design, begin to move the pen on the paper without controlling it, just letting it go where it will. It is almost as if you are following it and it has a mind of its own. Avoid the open shape. (This bypasses the pre-frontal cortex.)

 3. Insight - When you feel complete or have filled the page, begin to write what has arisen as if it IS the answer you are looking for into the shape. Don’t edit or change it, just let it come out. The element of surprise is essential.  (Here you are accessing the subconscious.)

The outcomes are often startlingly simple, and provoke an awareness of a deeper intuitive connection to the often hidden domain of being.

 The hope of the process is to reveal something to you that you have not been seeing or had access to through your default thinking processes. We have practiced this with thousands of people who have discovered hidden truths that were previously shrouded by doubt, fear and past trauma.

The hope of Intentional Creativity is intimacy with oneself - the entirety of the human being - the anthropas. This makes it more possible for us to fulfill on our potential through being self-expressed and choosing to be conscious. If we cannot hear our own voice, then we will follow the voice of others when we should be following our own. 

Art is a healing sacrament, when we choose to bring our intention into what we make. Infusing it with our hopes, desires and transformational energy. 

As we tap into the deep sources of bodily wisdom through creative art expression, we dance the renewal, recreation, and healing of ourselves and our world.
~ Ana Halprin

Exploring Our Philosophy

What Intentional Creativity is:  

Intentional Creativity® is a philosophy for approaching what we make. We infuse what we make with intention, through mindfulness and embodiment. This approach to making our art can be applied to any medium and any thematic topic. Anyone can use it. Anyone. Everyone uses it even if they don't call it that. Our species have always made what we make this way. Good, bad or otherwise, all stuff we make and bring into form has a level of intention.  

Our work specifically, is to make this approach conscious, practice it in our art forms and the ways we live. We bring awareness to others about the impacts creating this way can have in our lives. Working with this level of awareness can cause awakening at an exponential level, as well as catalyze healing and move stuck energy. The frequency of Intentional Creativity with the power of love is having incredible impact in our communities - many claim it has been life saving.  

When we make something we infuse it with our energy. As it becomes infused, it takes a charge and becomes a resonator. This charge of energy is returned back to us, based on what we put into it. This is reciprocity at the quantum level. We are recieve what we are giving instantly.  

If we choose to, we can also send this same feeling energy out to others, and yes, it travels there instantly. This is quantum connection. Even after we are done with what we make, years later it can still carry the 'charge' from our intention in the molecules. This is measurable science, intention in action. And we hope, love in motion.  

Intentional Creativity through focused imagination draws upon the energetic through intention with our hearts, minds, and the physical through the motions of our body as we 'commit art'  

What Intentional Creativity is not:  

A person, a painting, a painting style, 13 steps, a specific process, a brand, a company. Intentional Creativity is not me or you, it is all of us. (Hence Musea) Those of us who are teachers and coaches hold a practiced resonance, a frequency and teachings for how to apply it that we can share based on our experience with this work. The person is not the philosophy, but a practitioner of that idea. Their work may use Intentional Creativity, but that does not mean their style is Intentional Creativity in and of itself. Intentional Creativity as a philosophy cannot be bought or sold. It can only be given.  

In addition to MUSEA: Centers for Intentional Creativity we also have our own 501c3. The Intentional Creativity Foundation preserves and illuminates an enduring legacy of four generations of art making. We provide education, research & community building, focused on creating with intention. Our field of practice and study, Intentional Creativity, is an emergent discipline combining creativity with mindfulness. Our projects to share this work with others are piloted by the global Intentional Creativity Guild. 

Creating with intentional symbolism to communicate and tell story is ancient and pervasive the world over. From the Red Hand Cave paintings of Aboriginal peoples of Australia, the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Egyptian glyph and myths, Russian icons coded with story and symbol, Shaman drums painted with personal medicine, sacred theater in Ancient Greece, Black Madonna rituals like the Sous Terre in Chartres Cathedral, skin story tattoos of the Hawaiian Islands, Native American beadwork, baskets and garments, Taize Musical Worship from France, African dances for birth and death, to the modern movement of intuitive art being globally practiced – the references are truly ever-present and endless and in every culture in the world. The common red thread of telling stories across cultures, weaves us together.  

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