Visual artist and author SARK has talked about using creative work for personal growth and to deal with her experiences of sexual abuse.
SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) is the author and artist of fifteen books, including Succulent Wild Woman, Bodacious Book of Succulence and others. An acclaimed speaker and teacher, she is CEO and founder of Planet SARK, a business that promotes empowered living, and her writings and artwork.
In an interview, SARK said she knows art is healing “because of how it heals me and how I see it healing other people every day. Through art, we come alive through the deep connections to our souls and spirits.
“I’m talking about being ‘artists of life,’ not only visual artists. I believe there is an ‘art of living’ and that this art practiced heals each of us everyday in small and significant ways.” [From Arts and Healing Network interview.]
In another interview, she explains how challenging and difficult her path has been.
[Q: What were you doing before you started writing books? Were you always so creative and spiritually aware?]
SARK: “No, not at all. I’m a survivor of incest. That was a period of seven years and it pretty much, at that point, destroyed my life. Then, from the ages of 14 to 26, I had 250 different jobs because I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do [with my life].
“During that time period I was also living a very self-destructive life and I wasn’t at all creative in any kind of physically manifested way. At 26 I finally turned to dedicate myself to art and writing, and proceeded for the next ten years to be rejected in every way that you could be.
[Q: What motivates you to keep writing?]
SARK: “The people, and my own spirit. My own need to express my experience drives my writing. Also, what I feel to be speaking through me. It’s like taking dictation, in a way.” [From interview: Living Juicy: A Creative Conversation with SARK, by Laura Barcella.]
SARK has also explained how much she chose to stop living as a victim, “as if someone was doing something to me. I was flying blind in my life, crashing and burning.
“As an incest survivor, I was hiding, avoiding, living less than a half-life, careening around and dealing with many addictions and an overall dysfunctional environment. Life was like a pinball game and I was the ball moving from one dramatic event to another. I made a clear decision to change my mind and my role by using role models, mentors and teachers.”
[From Balance magazine interview.]
Also see video of her in my post: Developing Creativity: Dream Boogie with SARK.
Investigate your pain
On her site she includes the urgent advice to “Wake up to your pain and investigate it.”
That can be hard to do when trying to protect yourself emotionally. For men and boys as well as women and girls, of course.
Physical, emotional and sexual abuse can have profound impacts on how we accept and treat ourselves, and how we interact with others and life.
But many people throughout history have used creative expression to help heal.
– She says, “You can take baths and long walks. And that’s all a part of good self-care. But this is about long-lasting Inner Self-Care: really managing our feelings. And most of us are not Feelings Masters.”