Close up of canvast with reds, blues, oranges, yellows, and black dots

Just 4 months after I launched Soul Curry, I was diagnosed with cancer. A very random, chance discovery, a shock of a diagnosis, that I just didn’t see coming.
Choosing not to talk about at that time. I shut down and internalized it. While going through the surgery and treatment and the aftermath, art was my biggest outlet.
As life got darker, my work got more colorful, varied, expressive and healed me tremendously in really difficult times.
Art continues to be my therapy when things are glum. In good times or bad, when I feel the walls closing in on me or simply as a way of feeling grounded when I feel untethered.

Ishita painting with a paintbrush

Creativity can help settle you when you find yourself feeling unsettled. Here’s what you can actively and mindfully do to use art as your therapy:

  • Set aside a bit of uninterrupted time. It could be as little as 10 mins or a couple hours. Take as long as you like.
  • Try something newish or slightly different from your usual style or medium
  • Set the bar low. Expect to be terrible at it and give yourself permission to simply enjoy the process without any expectations
  • Always remind yourself that what you are creating is simply for YOU, for your pleasure. You are under no obligation to share it if you don’t want to.
  • Just play. Give in to the elements of fun. It could be through color, trying a new technique, doodling, scribbling or crafting things with bits of paper. Anything that feels like it may spark joy.
  • Finally, when you are done, step back and think of how amazing the whole experience felt. Think of how for that duration of creating, you lost the negative thoughts, the pain, the darkness or the worries.

Commit this feeling to memory and put it on repeat.

Artist using tools on an abstract canvas

Art, or any kind of creative practice is a way to reclaim and celebrate our authentic selves. It is mean of self expression, a channel for emotions and feelings. A perfect way to explore our immediate moment, to relax and think about where we envision ourselves, and where we want to be headed.

Over time, the creative process will accumulate and your journey will unfold in front of you. The engaging process of a daily practice and a creative outlet will lead to meaningful interpretations of life's unique ups and downs. This is where the process of healing and change begins.