Looking transforms to seeing

I have worn glasses for 30 years. For about 20 of those years, I have only been able to see clearly about a foot in front of my face without them. This is most annoying when I first wake up in the morning. Nothing is in focus and this makes it hard to wake up and engage the day. The up side is that I can choose how to see things – with or without glasses. I particularly like Christmas lights without my glasses. They get about 10 times bigger and twinkle much more when I take my glasses off.

My my view of what seeing is has changed dramatically over time. As a massage and intuitive support therapist, I no longer see ‘seeing’ as simply a physical thing we do with our eyes. I see with my hands and with my energetic/intuitive self as well. So, I have come to have a much broader sense of seeing to be more about how we perceive the world around us. People call my hands magic because my hands ‘see’ things in their bodies that they themselves don’t ‘see’. Really it is about gaining awareness through lots of practice. I didn’t used to be able to see these things either. When I work with clients, we work with increasing awareness of physical, emotional and spiritual self. The first step is noticing. Once you notice you can access the power of choice to make changes that will open your system to be more expansive. The result is feeling more alive and more comfortable in your own skin.

I believe these same ideas apply to seeing to make art. I fall in the category of being told my whole life that I’m not creative, I’m not an artist, you can’t make a living as an artist, etc. ‘Truths’ we are told as kids die hard. And so my beliefs about myself and art have persisted, mostly without questioning, for nearly fifty years. But the last several years have been different. I have become more aware of myself through my massage and intuitive work. Finally I started hearing the voice inside me that said I needed to be creative to be happy and that for me, part of that is drawing.

Of course I squawked back quite loudly at that voice. “You have got to be kidding!!! I can barely draw a stick figure!” But the voice urging me to draw is a very persistent voice. And so I have given it space to practice and experiment. I have no doubt now that I am supposed to create art – not only for myself but also to share with others to make a difference in their lives.


To nurture the artist in me, I am enrolled in Sketchbook Skool. It is an awesome online program that was recommended to me by my daughter’s art teacher at Conserve School. They are not about creating art to hang in museums, but instead focus on art by people for people and talk about the experience of creating rather than specific skills, although skills naturally follow simply by doing. Each class is six weeks long, with a new teacher offering their own perspectives and ideas each week.

For our first assignment, Danny Gregory talked about transforming looking into seeing. One of the sketches I completed for this assignment is above.

I am excited about what I am learning about art, about myself, and about sharing what I create with others. I am feeling inspired to work toward creating illustrated sketchbooks to inspire and encourage people through words and art to wake up to live life more fully, vibrantly, consciously.