Living Your Questions

Finding One’s Joy through Painting

This grant to Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing, which serves the Kansas City metro area, illustrates MetaCancer’s commitment to creative expression as a way to improve the lives of people living with metastatic cancer. In this case, Turning Point hosted several sessions of a program titled “Living Your Questions Now: Finding One’s Joy through Painting.” The sessions were facilitated by Cindy Molini, M.A., co-founder of the nonprofit Center for Expressive Arts, and Dan Carrel, Ph.D., an artist who is the director of the Center’s Artists in Residence Program.

“Living Your Questions Now: Finding One’s Joy Through Painting” uses a painting process developed by Carrel, emphasizing the notion of chaos as a starting point. Making meaning out of chaos becomes the underlying metaphor for negotiating the world, particularly when faced with metastatic cancer. Participants learn how to literally see patterns in the chaos. The process does not require prior artistic training, but assumes that all people have the capacity to recognize these underlying patterns. Some painting techniques are minimally employed, but the clear emphasis is upon joyful discovery of one’s innate ability. The journaling aspect of the process is facilitated by Molini and uses various prompts from literature, organized around themes such as “Dealing with Chaos” and “Finding Peace in the Present Moment.”

Comments from participants:

  This experience of learning to paint a landscape has been quite an eye-opener. I didn’t think I could do this. Now, I realize, I need to do more things like this. I felt better once we got started. I forgot about my own stuff for awhile. I also learned so much from the experiences of others.
  I really liked the painting and hand-outs together. I liked reading the poetry pieces out loud and then hearing what others had to say. This was a good way to get us relaxed before starting to paint.
  I loved this class. I loved the people. We all share many of the same hopes and fears. Even though I came to class tired—especially after treatment that day—I usually found that I was energized by just being here.