I have been working on this project, something that I hope to announce to you in the nearish future. I mention it now, because that work keeps me reflecting upon why what I do has such an impact for my clients. This reflection speaks to the power of art and creativity for healing, and as I thought about why, the letters ESP came to mind.

What does ESP stand for?

  • Express
  • Soothe
  • Process

Unpacking the cancer leftovers is a big job and often you do what you can to manage it. Often you tuck aside (or rather, inside) the life altering moments that continuously crash into you as you keep your head above water. Yet despite your best efforts, at some point you are either too saturated or reminded by being triggered, and it starts to tumble on out.

Very uncomfortable for most of us! Yet these are the stories that must be told so that you can begin to release what you have been holding onto out of survival.

How does E.S.P. work together?

Express

When you start to unpack the stories, you might experience it as that closet you have been jamming all those things you don’t have anywhere else to put. It is something that at any moment the delicate balance of each part working together can be disrupted, and all of the sudden an avalanche occurs and it spills out everywhere.

OR

The process of tucking things aside has started to numb or freeze those thoughts and feelings- but you have become such a champ at shutting them down, the freezer has gone Awol and has frozen your ability to feel and think about the things you want to experience. And you fear that the defrost cycle will be too intense.

SO

You look to art and creativity to begin to express what you see, and the more comfortable you become with the process, you begin to find ways to re-organize or unfreeze these thoughts, feelings, and experiences so that you can process them with less overwhelm.

Soothe

As you begin to express yourself, you begin to develop ways of responding, not reacting, to what is coming forth. Using art/creativity supports you in engaging your creative problem solving skills, because unlike the mind (which may have an agenda), the art is speaking for this part of you that has been shut down or shoved aside.

The art leads you to contemplate what you need in that moment, which is often some form of soothing- or validation- of what you have been through. When you choose to soothe or validate your experience, your nervous system can relax- slowing down the need for fighting or fleeing.

Process

Once you have expressed and soothed yourself, you can begin the last and most juicy step that everyone wants- the repacking of the suitcase. This repacking is WAY more intentional- it is not a reaction, it is a response. It is where you make meaning out of your experience, it is where you feel more empowered to choose how it informs who you have become.  This helps you to integrate this part of your life story back into your identity, which recalibrates it to allow for you to not always have it dominating your world.

What does it look like if you’re only doing one or two of them, but not practicing the sacred trine?

If you get stuck in expression, you will likely feel like things are always falling apart, with no end in sight. You will likely feel exhausted.

If you get stuck in soothing, you will likely be stuck with habits that temporarily numb you, but have a high cost to your health and wellbeing over time. You will likely feel dependent.

If you get stuck in processing, you will likely feel like you are stuck in rumination, always coming to the same dead end because you have not really unpacked what happened or nurtured yourself. Rather you have started to read at the final chapter of the story, hoping that all of your questions will be answered.

This is why emotional healing must include the sacred trine, because after all cancer has taken enough from you. While this might not be a lesson in becoming a psychic, the insight you will gain from regularly practicing this trine via creativity and art- the more you will feel like one!

Do you want to start talking with others who are also looking to develop their powers of E.S.P? Request to join my private FB group- Creating Connections with Creative Transformations, by clicking here. We’d love to have you!

-Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, LCPC, is an art therapist and breast cancer survivor, and a former oncology counselor at the Dempsey Center. She began Creative Transformations to help others who are healing emotionally from cancer. Through Creative Transformations, she works with people in person and online to offer the self assessment toolcancer coaching, an Art as Therapy program, virtual workshops, and this weekly blog. Sign up today so you never miss a blog and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.