I'm a champion stuffer. At least, I used to be.
I swelled with pride at my success in tucking away uncomfortable feelings and painful experiences and marching on with life. I was able to carry on without the distraction of inconvenient emotions.
The animal mentors in my life have gently nudged me closer to the place where I have the courage to sit with and experience those feelings rather than packing them away in a dark, hidden place. I made a lot of progress.
Then I found art.
Whether it's paint, film, clay, pencil, ink, fabric, or something else, art encourages us to feel. Art asks us to connect with ourselves to connect with others. Art challenges us to consider different perspectives.
Art presents all sides of life as worthy of beauty and curiosity.
Creating art requires emotion. Appreciating art requires emotion. It's an echo of life. Living without emotion is not really life at all.
When people ask me about why I chose art when I could be doing something else, this is why. I see so many who yearn for this kind of connection and intimacy and are too afraid of vulnerability to try. I recognize that because I was that person.
In the space of caregiving for animal family with exceptional medical needs, providing hospice, or establishing a new normal after death, art has been a gift for me. It brings focus and allows for possibilities. It comes without judgment. It encourages me to be in the moment and flow from this one to the next.
This spring I’ll begin teaching photography workshops regularly and also offering other art workshops. Totally casual and supportive spaces for you to begin to open and look into spaces that may have felt to dark to see. I’ll be so very glad to see you there.
I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.