As a child I never really fit in anywhere, neither at home nor at school, which meant that I spent a lot of time in my imagination. I was always much more interested in magic and being with nature and still to this day I have no idea what the ‘popular’ kids did instead. I do know however that I am incredibly grateful to have nurtured my inner world as it brings me so much joy even now.
When I was 13 years old I moved 150 miles away from where I had always lived and the change in outer circumstances prompted me to change myself. I decided I needed to ‘grow up’ and so gave up a huge part of myself, namely the side that wrote poetry, drew pictures and played with magic. I saw it as childish and useless and thought I needed to be more practical. Although this meant I made more friends it also meant at home I just shut down. My family weren’t loving and I suffered different forms of abuse so instead of creating art I retreated into reading books and listening to music.
It’s like my being froze, I didn’t create or process my life in any way.
At school I escaped into meaningless banter and at home I escaped into the fantasy worlds of fiction. Reading and watching fantasy stories had a huge effect on who I am as a person. Without any decent role models to follow in my physical world I learnt all the lessons on how to be a good person and what was important in life from these stories.
As a teen I tried to dip my toe into writing again but I found there was a lacking in originality so I gave up easily. As for drawing I found that my art lessons at school were so horrendously boring that it crushed my passion. It wasn’t until it was time to go to university that a spark reignited. I had decided to do English Literature and Language but whilst on an open day I saw a degree in creative writing and instantly my heart fired up and for the first time I was truly excited about the details of the course as well as university in general.
Nerves crept in as I hadn’t written a poem since I was 13 but I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge. For the first time in 5 years I actively indulged my imagination and creativity. It was wonderful to re-open those doors within myself but at the same time I found my writing influenced by my life experiences which, considering they were so traumatic, meant I was essentially poking at my deepest wounds. This I do not regret in the slightest for it was a gentle way of easing myself into the healing process and it’s a brilliant form of therapy.
Not long after I started university I became interested in philosophy, myths and the ways in which science and spirituality complement each other. I joined a society called Krishna Consciousness where I met all sorts of young people interested in spirituality and being a good person and we had many interesting philosophical discussions. Through-out my life one lesson that has been very clear is that association is very important. One of the main reasons I changed so much in my teen years was because the people I ended up associating with (although they were nice) simply weren’t nurturing their right brain all that much. I was lucky enough that as a child I had one great friend who I shared my love of magic with which seemed to have fed my creative side of writing and drawing. Who you spend your time with largely effects what kind of person you become and this applies in both childhood and adulthood. We are forever changing and so in the same way what you eat becomes the building blocks of your body, the energy of the people you spend time with becomes the building blocks of your own energy.
At the age of 21 I had an intense spiritual experience whilst meditating which completely changed my life. I began to chant Maha Mantra which helped me connect to the Divine and opened the door between my mind and heart so everything I had been learning filtered down to the deepest parts of myself. Not only did spiritual teachings start to integrate into my behaviour and attitude but those along with the metaphors behind the myths began to feed my creative writing. It was like a flood gate had opened and I began to see characters and scenes in animation.
Two years later I had another awakening, this time one that helped me become more grounded which seemed to halt the animations. I began to panic and doubt the awakening was a good thing despite the fact that it had saved my sanity as I had reconnected with a long lost part of my soul and I was on a much more positive path. The images I then saw were mostly static and didn’t have long storylines behind them. At first this disheartened me until I realised they were more personal as they were glimpses into my own experiences and healing journey.
Some of my art is abstract and inspired by nature but most of it depicts something about my spiritual life. Although I wrote poems as a child I found the inspiration I received as an adult was at first for stories and then for paintings. It wasn’t until one day as I was sitting in the garden delving deep into my emotional darkness and waiting for a storm to arrive that I wrote the first poem since childhood that felt like it came from the heart and not the mind.
I don't have much control over my creativity, it mostly just appears and then I have an overwhelming urge to manifest it. It has become an intense passion of mine to communicate my spiritual journey through art not only to express it but also to help guide others with the lessons and experiences I have gained.
The most important part of a creative journey is not to shy away from it. Nurture it as much as possible in as many ways as possible and
don't be afraid to go deep within yourself.
The most wonderful inspiration is born of your own experiences and understanding of life but first you have to be brave enough to embrace all of that.
My advice is don't try to force it or stick to one form of art or one genre, just open yourself up go with the flow.
Below is the poem I wrote whilst I was surrendering to my darkest pain...
I dream of dancing in the rain
To cleanse my soul of all the pain
Rising up to join the storm
Release me from this meagre form
Rage with thunder my fellow friend
Expose the wound to start to mend
Bright lightening strikes to shine a light
On all that I have had to fight
Wind flowing through I hear his roar
Purging, urging, release, adore
The only force that can relate
Surrender to my cosmic fate
Lightning brings forth Divine Light
Heaven to Earth with all its might
Thunder feels the fire in my veins
Burns through my core to clear my chains
A minor glimpse behind the veil
Reveals the light that we exhale
We break as one to rise anew
I cherish now my monsoon blue
- Asha Brigantia