Small Miracles: Art that Heals

Many clients who come in for coaching report that they feel a little deadened, overwhelmed or burned out and wonder why. With very little probing, it often becomes clear that they have become separated from their creative soul. After all, it is a busy, productive world we live in, and art, music, dance and dreaming don’t seem to fit.

I’ve been coaching for a long time now, and I’ve found that creativity and coaching go hand in hand. I’ve always been interested in the creative arts, but I, too, wandered away from the joy and aliveness playing with paint and sound and movement and words can bring. I rediscovered my creativity through Julia Cameron’s wonderful book “The Artist’s Way”. Her material brought me back to something essential in myself, made it possible for me to write two books, and rediscover my playful creativity in the process. Being the person that I am, I then brought her work to others through integrating it into my coaching and through teaching creativity classes.

After my daughter died in a plane crash on December 3, 2000, I could barely function. But I was able to make simple drawings in a blank page book that showed me what I was feeling inside. Sometimes I could then look at those drawings and find words to express my grief and pain.

The next year 911 happened. Not only was I still reeling from my own loss, but now we were all, friends and neighbors as well as passing strangers, shaken to our core after the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York City. We all felt in one way or another that our world had been broken along with our hearts, and our confidence that life is how we expect it to be.

I had learned from my own journey that during times of personal and global unease, the soul longs for a salve to help soothe its grief; it seeks the wisdom to piece together a new reality from the remains of what has moved, changed, or been lost. So I created a coaching group called “Small Miracles: Art that Heals.”
We considered art to be medicine in the sense of the Native American understanding of medicine: that which heals. People did not need to be artists, only to be open to using creativity as a bridge from the inner world of feeling to the outer world of expression. Each week we each created a piece of art and explored its healing qualities in a variety of ways. People made baskets, masks, poetry, and paintings that were not only healing to them, but in the sharing, were healing to all.
I’ve come to understand that everyone has a longing to create. And of course, creativity can be expressed in many different ways. Almost everyone who comes to coach with me eventually remembers a creative gift that they may had forgotten about. And it is my joy to help foster that in whatever ways bring joy to my clients, whether through creating art or creating a business.
The horses are a catalyst for going deep into the creative soul, as they help us see, feel and express what is going on in the moment too. They help us get to the real story that wants to be told. They awaken the senses and the emotions. Often after a horse session, clients will journal, do a collage, or sometimes even paint a colorful symbol that has meaning for them on the neck or the flank of the horse they worked with. Feathers and ribbons, too, tied into the flowing mane, are another way clients express deep learning, connection and creative growth.

Lynn Baskfield, owner of SpiritDance Coaching,, is a Minnesota based equine guided coach and educator doing individual coaching, retreats, and group workshops for spirited midlife women (and older) around the world. She is also conducting a yearlong apprenticeship program in Australia starting March, 2015 for coaches and horse professionals who want to become qualified Equine Guided Coaches.

© Lynn Baskfield 2014