On my art table: Melancholia

black and white sketch melancholia

1: severe depression characterized especially by profound sadness and despair

Tense, irritable, I crashed into a fit of melancholia and found myself crying over inconsequential problems.— Susan Wood

2: a sad quality or mood

There’s a touching melancholia to his voice …— Ralph Novak

Like Wallace’s breakthrough novel, “Infinite Jest,” “The Pale King” is pervaded by an air of melancholia, an acute sense of loss.— Tom McCarthy

Merriam Webster


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Melancholia: It struck again, after a very long time. A sudden swing towards a deep, unnamed sorrow.

One moment, I was perfectly happy and content. The next, I had a gaping hole in my heart. Just like that. There was no trigger. No reason. No warning. It just was.

And one part of me wanted it gone. How inconvenient to have to deal with this unnameable sorrow. This disquiet that has no reason and therefore no way for me to counter it.

How unnerving that it struck just as I was starting to work with my non-dominant hand. Like the synapses in my brain suddenly fired and swung straight towards depression.

And just as I was getting ready to rile against my brain, I remembered the first principle of somatic healing: to sit with the wounding….with the emotion…with the feelings as they arise. To witness them. To allow them the space to say what they have to say. To not push it down, shove it away, numb it. But to just sit with it and let it be. Because these feelings, they just want to be acknowledged sometimes.

So I’m sitting. Witnessing. I don’t claim to understand this sadness or why it arose. I am only accepting it. Moving with it. Letting it pass through and out. That is all that I can do for now, as I sit with this melancholia.

I sketched this girl with my non-dominant hand, and as soon as I saw her on the page, I was struck with an indescribable sadness. There was no reason for it – I still don’t know what caused it. But instead of trying to push it away, I allowed it to move through me.

I knew that I wanted to come back to her and transform this sadness into something more like hope, perhaps. So I scanned her onto my iPad and added some more scribbles and some colors on the background, just letting the sadness express itself however it wanted to.

This is the result. She’s quite disquieting right now, isn’t she?

But I did eventually transform her. I’m sitting with her still, to hear her story. I’ll show you how I transformed her and tell you her story soon.

Healing with art

There is so much joy and healing that I find at the painty table. It’s a joy I wish everyone could experience. Which is why I created a mini art + soul ecourse called Atomic Lotus. Included in the course is a simple spoken word meditation, a curated guided meditation, journaling questions, and an art journal project from start to finish. The art portion contains over an hour of video, broken down into easy to watch segments, which makes it perfect even for the most busy people to watch and create! You can find all the details on the course and sign up here.

Posted in On My Art Table.

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. Kudos dear Shinjini for dealing with melancholy with so much of aplomb. Not fighting those demons and watching them hover around us, is known to be a good way to overcome this pain.
    I’m so happy to hear that the sun is now shining upon you and that demon has moved out of your domain.

    Your writing is always so very cathartic and touches a chord or more.
    Big Hugs <3

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