Art with Soul
There are turning points in everyone’s life when situations or circumstances have a way of thrusting us out of our comfort zone. I never thought that cancer would happen to me. It was a disease that happened to other people. I was a young mum living a relatively healthy lifestyle. I attended weekly meditation classes that were developing my self awareness and I rode my bike almost everyday. I loved my food but preferred wholesome homemade meals. As far as I was aware apart from some indigestion I was in good health. I had spent the last few years looking after my babies and was preparing to head back into the workforce when I was given my stomach cancer diagnosis.
From that moment on everything changed. The carer became the patient. The organizer became the person being organized. The independent woman became reliant on everyone else. Doctors and surgeons making decisions that would effectively assist in helping me live. There was a real sense of loss of control when my world was turned upside down.
Coming out of surgery and adjusting into my new lifestyle took many months. I watched as my body grew thinner and although excited at first at finally loosing some excess baby weight, this soon started causing anxiety as my body seemed to be wasting away to a former part of myself. I stopped weighing myself after loosing 32kgs and was fearful that a feeding tube was going to be the only way that I could maintain my weight. However at 14 months I stopped loosing and my life started to change.
I never knew my potential before that defining moment in 2011. I thought I was everything I was born to be but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was the ultimate initiation. My mind, body and soul were pushed to the absolute extremes. My ability to face all my fears and push through each challenge showed me I was more capable than I had ever imagined. I had so much more to give the world than a mediocre version on myself. That is how I started on my artist journey. It was a gentle form of healing for myself and then it expanded out to become healing for others. A small easel started in one corner of our house but soon expanded to a studio of my own. This form of therapy helped me reconnect with parts of myself that I had lost trust in. It has allowed me to continuously push myself in directions that I never knew I was capable of. I will continue to learn and grow, using art as my platform to expand my mind and feed my soul.
Walking with confidence into situations and trusting my abilities to manage has been a huge life lesson through this experience. I have learned that every moment should be a defining moment no matter how small you think it may be. Now I understand where I fit in the tapestry of life and it feels good. Michelle Lykokapis (Artist name Michelle Potter)
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