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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.

Dealing with Self Judgment? A Meditation for Moving Into a Resourceful and Non Judgmental State

We are often told it is not good to judge others.

The guilt or shame we feel when we do can turn into negative self judgment.

We can get caught in a mental loop where we begin judging our judgments.

This state can create an emotional dam causing mental reactions that keeps us from accessing a creative state of authenticity where we have access to our inner wisdom and guidance.

The following self guided meditation can be read aloud and recorded. Be sure to include pauses between the paragraphs for reflection. Use The Heart Meditation as a guided meditation to help create a healthy emotional state where judgment transforms into a much more creative awareness: discernment.

Heart Meditation

Heart MeditationLay down or sit quietly with your hands on your heart.

Allow whatever feelings you have to rise to fuller consciousness.

Whatever your feelings are, allow yourself to have them and to just be with them.

Allow whatever is present to be present.

Take a few moments to feel them fully and allow your feelings and emotions to rise to the surface.

As you move into this feeling state remind yourself you are safe to feel what is within you, for what is within you is there to guide you. Your feelings are always valid. Your feelings hold keys to open doors that will free you from fear and self-limitation.

Connect with Your Breath

Windy FieldLike the wind blows across an open meadow and bends the seeding tassels of grass, take a moment to connect with the movement of your breath.

Now, as you inhale, allow your breath to open and feel it move deeper and deeper within your body.

As you inhale deeper with each breathe imagine you are also breathing in a beautiful radiating light.

Know this comforting light holds useful information that you will soon realize along with the essence of compassion.

Compassion for all that you are currently feeling and have experienced in the past.

Breathe in Light and Information

Radiant LightThis benevolent and comforting light is relaxing to your emotions. As you gently and deeply breathe in light and compassion you are beginning to feel a sense of tolerance and deep relaxation.

This state is connecting with your innate senses and your intuition. You are simply gaining greater clarity as this light filled information guides you to a practice of self-care.

Now you are able to remember multiple ways to create and invite self-love. You remember what it is like to nurture and love yourself just as you would any loyal and trusted friend.

The safety you feel is creating a space that allows old limiting thoughts or beliefs to float freely away from your essence…floating and rising into the distance.

Take a moment now to sense a growing new found freedom that can change your reality for the better.

Find a Magical Key

A Key to WisdomThis freedom has the ability to allow judgments to transform into discernments. Any reactions to the judgments you have held onto in the past are presenting keys that unlock a door where discernments are easily realized.

Simple ways to self nurture that help you create life with ease and magic easily emerge from your inner light.

With your breathe, you inhale a deep sense of self-love and any left over limiting judgments easily release from your physical body.

  • You easily release fears from the past.
  • Your easily let go of any fear of the future.
  • Fear you have held onto for lifetimes no longer makes sense to hold and dissipates until it is gone.

Guided by light, you now know all fear that you have held and stored has gently left and moved beyond your field creating space for new realizations.

You are now able to discern your deep innate inner needs and the values you hold dear to your heart.

Visit A Moment in Time

A moment in timeIn the minutes, hours, and days ahead the essence of your purpose will shine brighter.

Imagine a moment in time where you are free to do whatever you please while trusting the guidance of your  inner self. In this moment you realize your purpose both in your inner and outer world.

It is delightful to know that whatever excites you and allows you to thrive is possible.

Take a few moments and feel and sense what you might do, how you might be, and what you may have as you fully express authenticity and divine purpose.

Notice how all of your senses are involved. One by one your senses easily bring an image to focus that reveals your full, sparkling, light-filled essence. This is an aspect of who you really are!

Now trust that at any given future moment you can express from this newly realized light filled essence.

Spend time and look at yourself. Imagine your light filled essence as it speaks to you in a clear voice. What might it say? What words might flow from your true love-filled self.

Notice the words and how they guide you to a deep understanding of your unique individuality, your loving purpose, and why you choose to be in this world at this time in your life.

Experience Clarity

Creating ClarityA sense of clarity allows you to learn from situations you have experienced in this life. You can easily find additional keys as you need them to open any closed doors that appear in your future. Whenever a door appears that is closed as you open it you are able to connect with your personal power. Your keys always help you open doors to abundance, and help you realize new and powerful possibilities.

Now it is time to draw all you have realized, discovered, and remembered while on this journey into your heart. You know you can trust your mind’s ability to grasp this information and use it in the most useful ways.

This heart and mind wisdom will always instinctively know how to balance and remain fully accessible. You’re a beautiful blend of your higher and true self and the person you feel yourself to be.

Pause for a moment or two. Allow your heart to recognize the desire of your mind that wants to help you learn and discover what is most important.

Take another moment or two and pause again. Witness as your mind realizes the wisdom of your heart and its ability to guide you to what you value most…what is most dear to your authentic nature.

Embrace Heart and Mind Harmony

Moving into the heartNow take another moment to experience again your heart and mind in harmony.

As you inhale and exhale your breathe gently assists you to awaken present and clear minded from this compassionate and light filled state.  You awaken refreshed and alert, ready to continue your day.

It is comforting to know at any time you wish your body and senses will lovingly help you remember the knowledge gained during this state of expanded awareness.

Now, slowly count from five to one.

Five: You feel the connection to your body and the room where you are laying of sitting.

Four: The outside world is more apparent as your attention moves to your surroundings.

Three: You gently open your eyes and look around you.

Two: With mental clarity, trust, and courage you are now able to discern what is your highest and best choice in any given moment.

One: You are now fully awake, aware, and ready to go about your day with clarity, peace of mind, and a happy heart.


You may also enjoy reading Alana’s answers to questions others have about self judgment and judging others.

To learn more about heart mind balance, visit > Explore Alana’s Answers on the Power of Discernment