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 My River Of Joy


Faced with having to slow down and heal from a vitrectomy on my right eye, it seemed only fitting to share how personal healing played a role in my life as I was preparing to launch the Over 50? You Are Not Done Yet! show in 2019. Healing with Art is something we can all do. Believe it or not, even at this very moment, the creation of this episode ‘My River Of Joy’, is helping me to heal from that very surgery today.


Hi this is Nadine O. Thank you for joining me today. I decided to do something a little different and that is to share my special journey towards healing using art. This episode is titled, My River of Joy.


It was April 26th, 2019. I laid a blank white canvas upon a wooden framed easel in a small area of my basement. It would be here that my healing would occur. It was my final project from the book, Healing With The Arts: a 12 Week Program to Heal Yourself and Your Community by Mary Rockwood Lane and Michael Samuels. Carol Ann Graham was my coach through it all. I sat many days looking at the blank canvas going within, talking to the little girl inside, listening to what she had to say. Many emotions arose buried from long ago. Moments in time where I felt absolutely alone surviving the best way I could. Which often meant shutting down. A pattern that was hard to break as I aged.


And so it was, I listened to my inner child without judgement, to whatever pain she was carrying and began to write them directly on the canvas with pencil. I then spent a few more days reflecting. This was important. I needed to heal. I needed to evolve.


As time went on, my focus shifted towards embracing that little girl, letting her know that she, that we were ok. That we were never alone. That our experiences, be they happy, scary or sad brought us to this point in our lives, making us who we are. It was time. It was time to let go. To let go of those things that didn’t serve us anymore. To fall into the beautiful abyss of love, of light, of that river of joy we had been longing for.


How did I know such healing needed to take place? It was a whisper in the wind that kept getting louder and louder, calling me to serve. To what magnitude I didn’t know. I just knew then, I needed to get ready to be ready. And that meant clearing up a few things. I made a commitment to  meditating and praying whenever I could find the time. There were those times I thought, I need to find a teacher. I’ve had several coaches in my time and they have served me well. But, honestly information just started flowing towards me, things I needed to explore, to know. People I needed to meet. I just felt like the universe/God was shining a beacon of light for me to find my way home.


I had only a few weeks to finish my final project. I wondered what to even call it. It wasn’t long before I came to the title ‘River of Joy’. What a beautiful title. But I tell you, the beauty of this process of healing was exciting and yet challenging for me. I had very little experience painting with oil and it had to be abstract. Definitely out of my wheel house. It wasn’t long before the sound of that old broken record started playing in my head. “What if it doesn’t look good?” I didn’t care. I knew deep down inside to trust the process. And so I began to paint.


I loved the feel of oil on canvas. It allowed me more time to play with the colors. The fluidity of the paint gave me a sense of freedom. The smell was intoxicating. Each brush stroke became an extension of my desire to heal. And when it was all said and done. When that last stroke of paint was applied. I stood back and saw my vision of healing transformed before my eyes. It was I who had trustingly fallen backwards into the cascading river of life, cleansing myself. Letting go of all those things that didn’t serve me anymore. The cogs in the wheels dismantled. What was left was an array of colors that gave me a glimpse of my true purpose in life.


Thank you so much for sharing this healing moment with me today. I really do believe we all have the ability to heal ourselves, to heal others, to heal the world and that art can heal. I hope you will give it a try. Until the next time, I wish you joy, I wish you peace, I wish you love and light.



Walk Break by Jules Gaia


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HEALING WITH THE ARTS: a 12 Week Program to Heal Yourself and Your Community by Mary Rockwood Lane and Michael Samuels.

CAROL ANN GRAHAM was a featured guest a few months back titled, ‘Into the Silence’.