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Healing Visions: A Film by Annie Gusman Joly

The following film and transcription follows the artistic expression of Annie Gusman Joly.

Annie describes her creative path and how starting in 1986when she attended classes at the Esalen Institutehow her relationship to painting deepened and opened a door to healing.

Perhaps her journey may provide inspiration for others to move beyond fear and channel their energy into a path of healing no matter what chosen medium to fuel a space for healing.

Annie Gusman Joly’s film, Healing Visions, is about how the act of painting has helped her heal emotional wounds.

Annie Gusman Joly’s Healing Visions

Painting of a Face by Annie Gusman JolyI started painting for myself in 1986.

I took a workshop at Esalen Institute, and when I arrived I had no what I was going to paint. I had been an illustrator over 10 years, and I was just feeling the need to paint for myself to do something different. I thought maybe I would paint the scenery. I was painting in a beautiful building on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and I stood there with a giant white piece of paper and my hand just started to move. And I was totally amazed at what came out.

And the more I painted, the more came out. Even though the paintings were very dark as far as imagery, it was a great release to do them. It was discovering a whole new part of myself that I did not know had existed. When I look at the paintings now, it seems that I had some kind of awareness, some kind of precognition, because that year my mother committed suicide.

Using Intuition

People are afraid to paint because they don’t know where to start. Seeing that piece of white paper is very scary, but it is also very exciting at the same time.

I don’t think too much about what I am going to paint, I just try to go on intuition. Sometimes I just put a color down, and that color has a certain feeling which will make me want to put another color next to it.

After my mother’s suicide I felt like I was leading a double life: the internal life and the external life. It made me feel very separate from other people. As you can imagine it was a very, very dark and very difficult time for me. But I knew that I had to do something. I started to paint again, because I remembered how comforting the paintings had been to me when I painted at Esalen.

Healing Through Painting

Painting by Annie Gusman JolyIn one of my favorite paintings called “My Healer,” I realized that my healing was up to me. The paintings became a practice, like meditation . . . like dance . . . like poetry.

It’s very important to suspend judgment at the painting. I still occasionally look at something and say, like, “Oh, I don’t like that color. I think I’ll move this.” But now I think of it more as it’s only a part of painting that I don’t like, and I know that’s going to happen.

And maybe it’s just the tension in the painting that helps me move on, that helps me finish the painting. And I really try not to judge it as though I would if I went to museum.

It’s about those early paintings . . . there is a lot of demons flying around. And the demons are really scary at that point, I am really afraid. They look mean. They look angry, because that’s really how I am feeling inside.

As the months progressed, the demons became my friends. For example, after her death, I had an incredible dream. The dream was very scary at the time, but when I actually started to work on the piece, the whole mood, the whole character, of the painting changed into one of benevolence and compassion, and kindness and healing.

Listen to the Paintings Speak

In the early nineties, I met a man named Shaun McNiff. He taught me that it’s really not a good idea to talk about paintings, and that so many of us judge paintings according to somebody’s criteria. He taught me: don’t judge the painting. Don’t talk about the painting. It’s just as if the painting has a soul and a being of it’s own. So when I look at the paintings, what I do is pretend that they are actually a person.

For example, you wouldn’t talk about a friend who came into the room and said, “Wow, that dress looks really bad with those shoes,” you know, or, “That hat is really the wrong color.”

What I like to do is have the paintings speak to me.

Most of the time, I stand when I paint. I feel like if my whole body is involved rather than my hand and my brain, things seem to flow better.

When you paint with no judgment, things happen that you don’t expect. And it’s a journey. It’s like going on a trip to a foreign country, a place like you had never been before.

It’s almost like a door. It’s really not the grief any more; the grief is turned into a door. Where I know that these images will come . . . I just know that.

Speaking Truth

Annie Gusman JolyI think it’s easier to speak your truth when you are not doing something for money. These paintings were created for me; they came from a flow that was inside. So I feel free . . . I feel free to create what I want to create without worrying about the end result.

When I first started doing these paintings, I was little nervous to show them to people, because I thought they would think I was really strange, kind of crazy. Slowly, but surely, when I started to share them with some people, it was really amazing to hear their reaction. I think everybody relates to them in some manner in their own life. Everybody’s had loss, everybody’s had some problems.

I never feel like I run out of things to paint. I have an endless well of imagery that I feel now can come out at anytime. I never felt like this before I started these paintings.

When I’m in a room full of my paintings, I feel that I am with my best friends. It’s like something else is at work and things are not as they appear, and that there is another force going on within us. And that if we just can connect with . . . I don’t know, just makes me smile.

The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness by Donald Altman

Many of us find during the week there are days we feel rushed, running on empty, and wishing we had add a few more hours to the day.

Or we wish we had a few more days to the week and so on.

If you’re a member of today’s fast paced society there’s little doubt that at one time or another you’ve felt this way.

Depending on the exact specs of your life you may feel this way often or rarely. Either way, it doesn’t feel good and in fact may be damaging to your health; body, mind, and soul.

clock hanging on ceilingThis is why we wanted to alert you to Donald Altman’s most recent book, “The Mindfulness Code,” which teaches you how to get out of this type of life – actually the thinking – that keeps you feeling like you’re a clock watcher, running on a treadmill and the speeds just a bit too fast.

In The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness, Altman teaches the reader what exactly is going on in the brain – or brain science. He then takes the reader on an easy to understand journey into active ways to really re-wire your own brain to disable these thoughts and patterns that tend to overwhelm us.

Step Out of the Rat Race of Pain with Mindfulness

Altman, a former Buddhist monk, now a practicing psychotherapist, teaches the reader how to get in touch with his or her own reactive thought patterns which cause stress, anger, anxiety, and fear.

These negative emotions seem to becoming more and more the ‘norm’ for how people in our society feel on a daily basis.

These negative feelings not only impact our jobs, our relationships with family, friends, and loved ones but also our health. When we’re stressed the infamous “stress hormone” cortisol increases. This stress hormone is now being linked to cancers, and other chronic diseases like heart disease.

The Seeker of Peace will Find It in Mindfulness

peaceful insideIf you feel at all like you’d like to be more in touch with yourself, less stressed or anxious, and not running on the treadmill like a mindless mouse, then The Mindfulness Code is a good match for you.

In forty-four chapters, and 273 pages, Altman will clue you in on what’s really going on when we argue, react, and feel stressed out in general.

Learn to turn what you used to see as the negative into positive, learning experiences that enrich your life and the lives of the ones you hold dear.

Science, Spirituality, and Mindfulness Meet

Altman teaches the reader through science, words, and case studies that there are four vital keys for living a healthy, fulfilled, and happy life; The Mind Key, The Body Key, The Spirit Key, and The Relationship Key.

This book is a one of kind tool that not only tells you’re the science behind what’s going on, but gives you real life ways to apply this to your life for peace and harmony in all you do.

The Mindfulness CodeAs you look at the “rat race” we’ve all become part of it’s hard to know exactly how to get out while still being a productive part of society. The Mindfulness Code takes you step by step to a life you may have yearned for but didn’t know how to reach.

Deepen your relationships, turn turmoil into triumph, enjoy the day to day life you live, and become even more productive with less stress and more creativity.

This is a phenomenal book that all who are suffering in our world today would benefit from reading and applying to their lives.

To read other great reviews visit Amazon > The Mindfulness Code