The path to peace is a daily practice that might be crooked and hard to navigate but ultimately without peace, we have no love, no creativity or union with the soul, no breath of life.
Expressing what lies beneath is a lifelong journey, especially as an artist. There is a storyteller within us all who has huge outward energy bursting to get out. From age four I was sent for dance classes as I couldn’t keep still, and it became my first true love, my creative expression. It fed my soul and brought me peace during stressful times, it made my heart burst with joy and got my emotions out! Being dyslexic, school was not my natural home, but the arts in all their forms were exciting, full of intellectual soul seekers, designers and pure joy.
Ultimately as you grow and nurture and try to fit into boxes, a career, material success, making others happy and having a ‘fall back career’ you find an alley and try to stride ahead. Years of working in the fast paced world of fashion design, long hours, workaholic culture, I found myself in a void, a dark space, ultimately feeling empty, confidence battered, self loathing from wounds and the death of a close friend, grief that was pushed down, emotionally numb… I had forgotten my creative soul. It needed nurturing and feeding…
Freedom from the self-started by one day walking into a temple, curious and living in Hong Kong, a friend from work invited me to join her family lineage. I felt a peace from the hectic world outside, sometimes you can still feel alone in the most crowded places, hearing others speak of their darkest moments and coming into the light with spiritual grounding. Temple was the catalyst to connecting there was something else within me, deep to commune with my soul and grounding in my body, which was a strange concept at first, though I had always practiced yoga since my early teens and had a strong self practice, mainly for the physical benefits, I hadn’t reflected too much on the deeply spiritual roots, from that day things changed.
The importance of grounding to the earth when you work in a very stressful environment or live away from your country is massive. At the temple we would sit in Shessin and our guide would communicate from the higher consciousnesses or Buddha energy. Feeling supported and seen, something I hadn’t felt in a long, long time. The words communicated through Sesshin were so true to my inner emotions, the prison created for myself, the modern world beating me, holding on so tight and burying emotions so I couldn’t get hurt again, no air to flow through. I was a baby buddha on the start of a lifelong journey that was opening up within me… I just knew I needed to paint.
One day after meditation, I opened my eyes, went to the art store, bought a canvas and brushes and started to make marks, expressive marks and patterns. They were soft and beautiful. I took them to work and created prints with them for Anthropologie, this eventually turned into larger scale pieces as I experimented and literally danced with the canvas on my rooftop in summer days and it gave me the freedom to express again, just like dancing as a child, but with colour and thick paint!
I became absorbed in colour therapy, colour healing, energy work and meditation, painting, painting, painting and expressing my soul! My spiritual side and connection, compassion all started to grow with my practice too. This changed my life.
Long Buried Feelings of Guilt, Grief and Pain
Life can sometimes take over the best practices and intentions, the last decade for me has been a back and fourth of learning, going back to old habits and stress, working with colour and the energy body, ultimate self care and nourishment in every way and back to burying emotions and being a workaholic to escape loneliness or pain. If I stop painting, for lack of enthusiasm, lack of playfulness or too many burdens, I start to lose my other practices too and can feel myself slipping. So I have to paint, I am an artist, my soul has to express itself and has to balance and create space for creativity otherwise It took a while to accept that and with that learning to embrace my artist self. My soul wants to communicate through colour and expression and share the love, beauty and joy of that with others. Movement, the emotional body is all so intrinsically linked, and healing past pains and traumas with creativity such as painting, writing or movement can really help to bring peace. This is why I am so passionate about sharing the power and value of creativity, in a world where a computer can draw anything you would even imagine, there still is value in creating from the soul – that brings life to art, paintings can make you feel, make you weep or smile with joy.
Creativity for you could start with a meditation kit from a colleague or a mala necklace to add into yoga practice, but it can open up so much more and tame the lion and adder to bring us true strength.
Recently I had an episode of anxiety. For over a month waves of sadness and feelings of grief in the pit of my stomach kept me awake. I had been triggered, it was a death that catalysed a reaction in my body of emotions I had long kept buried, deep down. The energy body was erupting from past and telling me to let go, surrender to emotions and truly feel, something I had avoided for a long time, but in this painful time, I had my yoga practice, I had nature surrounding me with a hug and I had my creative outlay, this combination did more for me that any pill, though I have never had an episode like it.
My prescription, walking in nature a lot, meditation, mindful slowing down, feeling the feminine and being motherly to myself, listening to music that I love and painting have all held my hands and guided me as it will do in the next and though I feel mentally a little battered, ‘I am safe’ is a key mantra and using the immense power of colour therapy in painting, healing and visualisation meditation to help move through. Healing, freedom and peace is a daily practice, connecting to hidden emotions is brave, expressing those emotions in a safe and creative way is a tonic.
Bringing colour into your life and home space can be a wonderful way to start the metamorphosis, bringing art that you love for your walls to lift your spirit every day, using colour on a primal level to communicate with the soul, in mindful painting to boost your mood, in yoga practice – it can all be small things to jump start your journey and when you are ready, your teacher will appear, you might wander into a yoga studio, a gallery or a temple, just out of curiosity.
About The Author
Kati is an artist and founder of Kati Kaia, an artistry led yoga and meditation brand. Her vision to guide others on the journey to a balanced, creative and mindful lifestyle, reflecting the powerful source of nature to unlock the metamorphosis of creativity within us all and inspire our communities through the thread of yoga, unity and peace.