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It's Time To Anchor Yourself With Creativity

In, Courage Isn’t a Buzzword, It’s a Daily Practice, we delved into three types of courage: Telling, Trying, and Trusting

In the spirit of change that comes with the fall season, we spoke with Rakshanda - A South Asian Art Therapist living in Canada, who graciously shared her story of courage that helped her move through times of transition and change. 

Join our conversation on how telling the truth has set her free and her personal wisdom on what helped her persevere through difficult times. 

Before you proceed with reading this, do know this article mentions self-harm/self-injury in general, without any particular details. If this mention causes any symptoms getting triggered within you, please know you have full choice to tap into your inner strength and make the choice to keep reading as you see fit. 

Rakshanda’s Journey

Rakshanda immigrated to Canada with her husband and infant son a few years ago. She shared with me the difficulties of delving into the unknown during this time in her life. Not knowing if they would be able to make it with their savings, whether they would be able to find jobs in their respective careers, and whether they would be able to successfully build their new life in a new country. 

When asked about what that was like and what helped carry her through these times, she lovingly spoke about her family being the anchor in her life, the importance of movement to her, and the power that art has played in her life. 

The People And Things In Her Life That Keep Her Anchored

“When I think about transition and change, I think about being grounded. Certain things have kept me grounded throughout all of this. The biggest one being my family, especially, my son. Ultimately, it's about what works best for all of us. ”

“And then I think about movement. Physically I need to stay active.  I try to go to the gym pretty regularly and that's something I started right after the pandemic because I felt like I really needed movement in my life. The regularity of movement. I double down on the things that ground me during times of change and transition.”

Transformation Through Art

When it comes to art, she shared how she’s recently been reflecting on how it all started in her tweens, and who introduced her to it. She started her creative expression through writing at a time in her life when there was a spike in conflict and instability in Karachi, Pakistan. At that point, she wrote a poem called, What's Happening To My City? It helped her use art to express difficult emotions and to make sense of complex social issues.

“To be able to use this resource my entire life, I find it offers me so much when I'm feeling ungrounded. It helps me because it brings me into the present moment. When I'm making art, I'm a lot more aware of my body, feelings, and thoughts. I'm really connecting with all of it and also expressing it.”

The Power of Intuition

She also shared how it’s provided her with a creative outlet when she needed it and a strong sense of achievement capturing what she’s feeling at times of distress. 

“It’s a mirror to me. A lot of the time, I give in to my instincts and work with the materials, and I allow things to emerge. I try to be instinctive, and that can be so revealing.”

She believes art has helped her trust her intuition and herself in other areas of her life. 

“What is it that I'm feeling? What is it that I'm struggling with or feel conflicted by? And, when I lean into that process of art-making, I can also find solutions because it's really connecting with myself.”

The Courage Of Telling The Truth

As we took a deeper dive into her experiences, and I asked her about a time in her life when she told the truth and telling the truth set her free, she courageously spoke about a time in her life when she would’ve been labeled a “self-injurer.”

“I used to be a self-injurer, and that is something I have talked about publicly through workshops and when I worked as a peer supporter with people who have the same shared lived experience. I remember it was something that caused a lot of shame, and I hid it. Until I started my first public expression of it in a comic I made about it. And then later on, as part of my training back in Pakistan, I was speaking up very openly and freely about it, which was very liberating.”

She shared how speaking her truth helped her redefine her identity…

“it became something I used to do, not who I am.” 

She shared the prevalence of shame and guilt about this in her South Asian community due to the social and cultural stigma, and the misunderstanding that exists about this. When she spoke her truth, it helped her bring hope through connection and empathy with others in her community who were also struggling. 

The Determination To Not Quit and The Power Of Surprising Yourself

Reflecting on her journey to where she is today, she shared having a strong determination not to quit until she’s done everything in her power: “Let’s try and build from there.”

This attitude of openness about trying has helped carry her through…

“I am where I am now, doing the things  I love, living the life I want because I went through all of that.”

She shared how this has taught her she’s stronger than she thought she was…

“I've been surprised by so many things. I’ve surprised myself. When I look back and I see how far I've come, that gives me the motivation and the courage to keep going.”

Her Biggest Takeaway? Eliminate The Noise

“Do what is needed in the moment. Meet the moment where it's at. And keep doing that.”

Rakshanda’s inspiring journey beautifully blends and highlights the courage of telling the truth, trying, and trusting. Truly, how necessary they are in dealing with the hardship that comes with life’s transitions and challenges. More so, how transformative this can be on life's journey when you trust your intuition, believe in yourself, and then keep going.

I’m curious to know what moved you from Rakshanda’s story and what it’s inspired you to do today. Do share if you feel called to do so.

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Hiba Khatkhat

Hiba is a holistic psychotherapist specializing in trauma, couples treatment, and culture. She's passionate about solving mental health crises by practicing prevention. She brings over 18 years of experience working with individuals, couples, & families in her private practice. She is known for her work on the transmission of trauma and its impact on relationships.

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