I got off the phone with one of my 'sister' friend's the other day...In my early 30's I used to share with her how I felt something was missing in my life. It wasn't that I dreamed of having children but I knew (for me) if I could bring life into the world I wanted to. She called to let me know that all these years later she could finally relate to what I was saying. I remember that yearning, that searching, that craving feeling. When I got off the phone with her I realized that when my baby finally came home, one hole was instantly filled, while another hole quickly appeared. This time I completely lost myself.

And I grieved. I mean truly grieved a part of myself that I could no longer find. The excitement, the interest, the energy...GONE. I felt heavy, weepy, unsure and filled with anxiety like I had never felt before. As more time passed, other pieces of myself, that I deeply loved went missing too. I stopped dancing (in the kitchen), my creativity was literally sucked out of me and that playful, spontaneous woman...GONE...GONE...GONE. I was STUCK.

Until a weekend long painting workshop in NYC crossed my path. I left my (at the time) one year old girl and RAN into the city, crying in the car as I drove in, relieved that I could feel excitement again.

I had no idea what to expect. I just SHOWED UP to myself and gave her what she was aching for. Time and space to come home to herself. To breath, to be... just the way she was.

As one of my painters said last week, "I tasted the kool-aid and I want more."

I wanted more.

I went deep into a search to reclaim my creativity in order to reclaim my voice and make sense of this new person I was becoming.

Whether it be birth, life or death our transitional seasons are sacred. A time to make space to get to know the pieces of you that no longer serve you and to become acquainted with the new pieces of you that show up.

For me, Process Painting, opened a world of radical acceptance and radical compassion like I had never felt before. And it has supported me through every life transition ever since.

Elissa Arbeitman