Category Archives: Essential Journey

A Prayer for Present Me

Watercolour and acrylic inks on watercolour paper – 9 x 12″

I didn’t know I was still carrying energy around a long-ago event until my daughter told me about my grandson waking up inconsolable with a fever.

Ah yes. I remember those feelings. That sense of helplessness. Of worry and fear grappling for dominance in my mind.

She was three months old. Thanksgiving. She’d been fussy for a couple of days. I asked Wanda, our next door neighbour who was a pediatric nurse, for help. What do you think? Should I take her to a doctor?

She’s just teething, Wanda asserted.

I wanted to believe her but the next day when she would not stop crying, (Alexis never cried as an infant) I insisted we take her into the Children’s hospital emergency room. We were on our way to my then in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner can wait, I told my then husband. This is more important.

I remember when they took her from my arms and placed her on a cold steel examining table.

I remember when they put a tiny IV needle into her scalp.

I remember holding her and trying to soothe her and all the while she is mewling and I am forcing myself not to cry because I need to be calm for her.

She was admitted to hospital that day. An infection. A spiking temperature.

She was there a week.

I only went home to shower and change my clothes.

I could not leave her alone no matter how kind and caring the nurses and doctors.

I could not leave her alone.

I had forgotten about those moments and days 34 years ago until I heard about my grandson. He is okay. Whatever was ailing him passed through and he is once again his sunny self.

I am grateful.

That he has weathered this storm, whatever its source and that I can breathe again through memory, letting time wash away the traces of those moments and days long ago when I felt so helpless, so incompetent and like such a failure as a mother.

How could I not have known when first she started to cry that it was something serious?

How could I not have immediately whisked her off to the doctor?

And I smile.

I remember.

I never wanted to be ‘one of those mothers’ who was constantly dragging their child to a doctor imagining the worst.

I wanted to assume the best. To be calm, collected, thoughtful in everything I did.

Years later, when Alexis was about 12, she’d break her foot climbing the doorframe to the kitchen (I know. It was a thing to do.) Not wanting to foster her assertions that something was seriously wrong after having listened so many times to her cries that a fall had resulted in a break which ended up with unnecessary x-rays, I put ice on her foot and told her if it was still hurting in the morning, we’d get it checked out.

Sure enough, this time, the break was real.

And again, I wondered, how could I not have known? How could I be such an incompetent mother?

I’m smiling as I write that. I think being a mother has taught me more about acceptance of my limitations and fears as well as made me aware of my blind-spots and ego’s need for reassurance than anything else I’ve ever done in my life.

Being a mother humbled me. It still does.

And being a YiaYa has given me the gift of remembering those places where old fears still linger, where charred spots in my psyche can still burn.

And I say a prayer of gratitude. And I say a prayer of hope. And I say a prayer of remembering what it means to be human.

We do our best and our best is all we can do.

Namaste.

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As part of the course I’m taking online with Orly Avineri, the invitation was to take one image and repeat it 3 times in a journal page.

This page in my altered book journal, My Mother’s Prayers, is called, A Prayer for My Inner Child — it became 3 prayers, one for my inner child, my present me and my future me. My mother always lit candles for her children, particularly when something was going on in our lives. I’m pretty sure, 34 years ago she burnt a candle and prayed for Alexis every day.

A Prayer for My Inner Child
May you always feel safe in my arms of Love, free to run with abandon in the garden of dreams blossoming in my heart. May you never fear that I will desert you or put you at risk. May you know peace within me.
A Prayer for My Present Self
May courage be my constant companion, drawing me deeper and deeper into the great mystery of life where I am bound in sacred partnership within the luminous present opening my heart to Love always.
A Prayer for My Future Self
May you feel deeply and passionately connected to the exquisite nature and intimacy of the whole dancing fearlessly in the ephemeral nature of the embodied present. May you dance with life, falling forever into Love.
And so it was.
And so it is.
And so it will be.
Forever and Always.

Do You Believe In Yourself?

“Softly, her dreams took flight on the wings of hope that believing in herself was all she needed to make her dreams come true. And they did.” – Altered Book Journal. “My Mother’s Prayers” two-page spread.

We all have dreams. Big ones. Little ones. Quiet ones. Loud, audacious ones. Dreams of living lives of wonder. Dreams of great adventure. Dreams of discovering far off lands, of creating stories of greatness in our lives.

Sometimes, our dreams come true. Sometimes, we let them go because life happens.

We fall. We face a wall we cannot climb. We trip over a rock that sends us flat on our back.

In our pain and fear of getting hurt, in our concern others will laugh at us or judge us for our failures, we lock away our dreams and continue on our journey taking the safer path, the road more travelled.

We do okay. We create a ‘good enough life’. It’s just not the life we once dreamed of. But that’s okay, we say. Dreaming is for children. We’re “all grown up now”. We have responsibilities. Success. Things. Secure inside the comfort zone of the life we’ve created, we forget about our dreams and carry on living our good enough life.

And then, one day, if we’re lucky, something happens to remind us of our dreams. Tentatively. Hopefully. We unlock the cage inside our heart where we tucked away our dreams long ago and peer inside.

That’s where the magic happens. That’s where our dreams peer back at us and ask, “Are you ready to come alive?”

It’s a big question because if we say yes, the next question we must ask ourselves as we peer into our hearts and gaze at the sleeping beauty of our dreams unlived is, “Am I willing to believe in myself?”

_________________

As with all the pages in this altered book art journal, embedded within the page is one of my mother’s prayer cards. Also included are a photo of my mother and father hidden behind the smaller bird in the cage.

I hadn’t intended to hide them. Initially, I was going to transfer their images to the page with a technique that requires you to rub off the photo backing so that only the ink from the image remains affixed to the canvas. I started the process with the prayer card only to discover, while that technique works well on a canvas, on a book page the vigorous rubbing off required to remove the backing paper can tear the page of the book.

Ooops.

I wanted to quit. To give up. To tear out the page and begin again.

And that’s when this page became something entirely diferent than what I started to create.

Isn’t that what happens to our dreams sometimes?

We start out all excited and open to the journey until we encounter an obstacle or something goes drastically wrong. Feeling dejected, or embarrassed or possibly hopeless, we pack away our dreams and continue on our journey. It’s a little less bright. A little less promising, but it’s okay. It’s a good life and we should be grateful for all we have.

We tell ourselves, “We didn’t really like that dream anyway,” or some such conjured up story that will hide our disappointment. We’re living well so we ignore the ache in our hearts and the yearning in our minds to fly higher.

Until one day, something happens and we remember our dreams. We remember we are brave, courageous, worthy. We remember we are dreamers.

In that sacred, rarefied air of possibility, we take a step outside the confines of our comfort zone and take a deep breath.

We stretch our arms wide.

We close our eyes.

We dare.

To dream.

To believe in ourselves.

To set our dreams free.

Second Time Syndrome

It is a trait I’ve noticed before. One that trips me up easily, reminding me of how delicate and fragile, as well as rigid and pernicious, my ego’s need to look good.

I call it my “Second Time Syndrome”.

The first time I try something new, I am generally very patient with myself. I allow myself lots of latitude for learning, stretching, messing up and not doing it ‘perfect’. The exploration of the craft becomes a vast playground of possibility where I am both awakened and alive within the expansiveness of the creative process and the joy of stretching and tuning my creative muscles.

First time out, there’s no critter hissing about ‘getting it right’. There’s only grace dancing with me in the playing field of creativity.

Second time. It’s a different story.

Somewhere buried deep within my little reptile brain that sits at the base of my skull, the voice of fear awakens and whispers, “Ain’t no room for mistakes, lady. You get it right or you gonna fall flat on your face.” As if, come the second time, there’s no room for learning and definitely no latitude for mistakes or even playfulness and joy.

Second time. I gotta ‘do it right’. supersedes my soul’s craving for being within the creative process and its beguiling flow. Which, in ego terms means there’s no room for growth. There’s only space for ‘perfection’ – and given how my ego already knows I’m going to fail anyway, hopelessness and fear shadow my every move.

Once fear awakens, looseness, ease, grace fall away as I fall into the “Get It Right” trap. Suddenly, focussing on ‘the outcome’ becomes my point of reference. “Forget about savouring the moment and being in the flow of the creative process” the critter hisses. “You gotta focus on the final product. You gotta make it look good! Or else…”

It’s the ‘or else’ that gets me every time. The critter speaks in innuendo. He never defines, the ‘or else’. He leaves that to my imagination — and when I’m listening to the critter hissing, my imagination can go to some not so pretty places!

Case in point. On the weekend, I decided to work on eight more collage pieces using the techniques of the series I worked on last week. (See – Out of the Box)

Again, I used a limited palette (four colours + white – Ivory. Yellow Oxide. Red Oxide. Payne’s Grey). I painted on pages from old books for the collage pieces and painted watercolour as the substrates for the pieces themselves. I drew and doodled and cutout and tore up the painted book pages. And then, I started to assemble the pieces.

I felt stiff. Awkward. Tense.

My head was busy with thoughts of ‘do it right’ and ‘don’t mess up’.

And then, I remembered. Oh wait! This is my second time. I’m worrying about doing it instead of breathing into the pure delight of being immersed within this creative moment.

I had to remind myself to Pause. Breathe. Get Present.

A lot.

Pause. Breathe. Get Present.

Which also brings me front and centre with my ego’s need to protect me from criticism. “Give ’em the caveat,” the critter hisses vehemently. “Tell ’em you know they’re not that good. You’re just practicing…”

Pause. Breathe. Get Present.

“It’s okay, Louise,” the voice of wisdom deep within my belly whispers gently. “It’s not about judgements or making good art. It’s about expressing yourself fearlessly and stretching your creative muscles with grace.”

In grace, self-compassion gives rise to fearless creative expression and the art is not measured by the final product. It’s found in the joy of being within the creative process, allowing, expanding, growing, learning, creating.

I created eight new collage pieces in my ‘Liminal Spaces’ series.

The critter had a lot to say about the process.

My soul slipped lovingly into silence, breathing deeply of the essence of my creative nature.

And I am reminded once again how art, like life, comes alive in all its living colours when I let go of my expectations of getting it right and breathe instead into my soul’s desire to be fully present and embodied in this moment, right now.

Namaste.

An Ode To Summer Solstice

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days have begun their journey back towards the darkness.

The long lazy days of summer beckon. Blossoms burst forth and grain fields grow plenty. The days begin to give up their light to the dark. Imperceptibly. Moment by moment. The lengthening of shadows begins.

On a far and distant horizon, cool days of autumn slumber, oblivious to the promised heat of summer yet to come. Beyond the promise of autumn days coruscating in the golden light of falling leaves, winter sleeps, its dreams full of frosty days and snow-covered nights sparkling under the light of a full moon rising.

And the world continues to spin.

And life continues to unfold in all its mystery, magic and wonder.

May the Solstice be with you.

______________________

Confession: The word ‘coruscate’ appeared in an article I was reading this morning.

Coruscate? Hmmm…

Curiosity slipped in. What does that mean? So did my father’s voice. “Go look it up.”

It was his way. Growing up, whenever I’d ask, “What does that mean?” he’d reply, “Go look it up.”

And so, I did.

And just as a child when he’d make me use my latest ‘coruscated’ addition to my vocabulary in a sentence, I followed my father’s voice into the mystery of discovery, and used it a sentence in my blog today.

Thanks Dad!

(And don’t tell him… but just in case you too, like me, do not know its meaning, I gave you a hint. — or you can go look it up, HERE.)

I think it might just be my favourite new word. It’s so yummy and juicy on the tongue.

It sparkles!

A Morning Meditation

A Morning Meditation (turn sound on)

Dust motes dance with the lissome grace of fairy dancers swathed in shimmering gowns of sunbeams streaming through the window. I stand in the light and open my arms, welcoming the sun in. I feel it. Warm. Against my skin. My face. My hands. My body. Effortlessly, it warms me with its grace.

I sit at my desk and watch white fluff drift lazily through the air. A delicate dance of grace floating down towards the ground. The poplar trees are casting off their spring buds. Snow falls in June.

Pink honeysuckle scents the air. The glossy green leaves of the poplars that dance above their blossoms rustle and whisper, redolent with the stories of the wind as it moves effortlessly through their branches.

The river flows past. The wind drifts through. I sit and soak up the beauty of this morning, my body embraced in the sacredness of the world around me.

Here. I am.

I breathe. Deep. Soul-nourishing breaths that ground me here, in this moment.

I imagine my toes digging into the rich soil that nourishes the grass and shrubs and flowers and trees. I imagine the soles of my feet sinking. Down. Down into the bedrock. Deep. Deep within the earth.

I keep breathing. Slowly. Deeply.

I sense myself coming to rest deep within the core of the earth. Connected. Supported. Grounded in Mother Nature. Mother Earth.

Here. I am.

The morning breaks itself open to day.

The sun casts light into infinite space.

The river flows past.

I sit at my desk. Silently embraced in the grace of morning’s awakening.

I am the temple girl carrying water from the well to wash the feet of the holy women gathered to sing the praises of Mother Earth. To dance in honour of the sun rising, the moon setting, the dawn breaking.

I am the initiate dancing in the light of dawn bathing her naked body in early morning light.

I am the priestess supine, body stretched out in supplication before the altar of Mother Earth’s beauty.

Here. I am. I whisper.

And Mother Earth wraps her being around my body and gently, lovingly pries me open. I am broken open and I weep in gratitude, joy, Love.

My heart sighs. I take a sip of morning’s glory bursting with the promise of this day. I take another and another and am filled with the wonder and awe of being here, where I am.

Here. I am. I whisper to the morning and the sun and the trees and the flowers and the birds and the river and the grass whisper back. Here. We are.

Namaste.

Always. There Is Love.

Photo by Britt Gil

I remember the first time I heard her cry. She was inside the womb. The doctor was about to cut in when he stopped momentarily so that I could hear her cry. Within. My body.

I remember hearing her sweet, precious voice.

And I remember the feeling of Love that washed over me, consumed me and never let me go.

34 years ago today, I heard my eldest daughter, Alexis, cry for the first time. Over the years, there would be many more tears and much more laughter and giggles and lilting songs and poetry read fierce. Sometimes there would be angry words and sometimes, gentle words and sometimes curious words and always. There was Love.

Alexis age 2

No matter the times. The words. The thoughts and feelings. Always. There was Love.

It is her trademark. To love fiercely. In light and darkness. To care deeply. In joy and sorrow. To speak truth. In courage and in fear.

Alexis is a truth-sayer. If you follow her posts on Instagram, you will hear the clarity and beauty of her voice as she speaks truth about the things that matter most.

Motherhood.

Family.

Friends.

Living true and fierce.

About being human. In all our complexities and challenges. In all our beauty and darkness. About dispelling myths and untruths and injustice and racism.

She has always been that way.

Speaking truth so that the light can shine brighter in the darkness of our human condition.

Speaking truth so that we can see the wonder of our humanity.

Speaking truth so that we can create better, do better, become more… human.

She is fierce. She is loving. She is loyal. She is true.

And soon, she will be the mother to her second child. A daughter.

And she will be for her daughter as she is for her son. Loving. Caring. Fierce. Loyal and true.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

It is her way.

It always has been. Because, no matter where Alexis goes. What she does. What she says and writes and creates. Always. There is Love.

34 years ago today, I heard her cry for the first time and in her cries, I felt my heart. Break. Open. In Love.

And still today, she continues to break my heart open in Love. Every single day of her life.

She is the gift whose beauty deepens and enriches my life through the Love she gives so generously and so completely. For always, no matter what. Where there is Alexis. Always. There is Love.

She is my daughter and I am so very, very grateful.

Happy Birthday Alexis!

Promises. Promises. Promises.

Promises. Promises. Promises. Mixed media on canvas. 40 x 40″

When my beloved arrived home from his golfgame and saw the painting I was working on, he asked, “What kind of flowers are those?”

“I think they’re daisies,” I replied.

“Oh,” he said. “To me they look like dandelion puffs about to take flight.

It’s all in our perspective.

The original painting. Getting ready to pry off the letters.

The painting above is painted on top of an old painting that used to hang in our living room. Originally, it was reds and darks and golds. A many-layered thing, a reflection of the word that formed my intention for that year (2014) encompassed in the words I’d affixed to it – “At Onement”.

On Monday, I sliced and peeled off the letters. Sanded down what remained and then painted over the original to create a background of yellows and greens.

Yesterday, I dove in.

The outcome is not at all what I had envisioned. Yet, in the end, it doesn’t matter. The outcome pleases me.

The title, however, surprises me. Promises. Promises. Promises.

Where did that come from?

And memory immediately opens me up to thoughts of the past.

I remember as a child not trusting my father’s promises. He’d say we were going to do something. Go somewhere. And his promises seldom came to be.

I know now, my father never meant to make promises and then break them. He was mostly only repeating behaviours he’d learned when he was a young boy and struggling to make sense of a chaotic world. When he was nine, his parents divorced and shipped him off from London, England to boarding school in the wilds of the Saskatchewan prairies. A long and lonely journey for a 9-year-old boy to take on his own.

I don’t know what messages my father took as his ‘truth’ when all of that transpired. I do know that the disappointments and broken promises of his young life carried through into his adulthood.

He had a temper he often expressed with angry words and he made promises he seldom kept.

I loved him anyway. Because, in spite of, or perhaps because of, his flaws, he was very, very human. And I knew, no matter what, he loved me. He just struggled to express Love through all the layers of pain and regret and anger that clouded his vision of the world.

Which is why the title of this painting makes sense.

Work in progress… I want to quit.

As I worked on it, I had many moments where I thought… ‘this is going nowhere’… ‘Ugh. Quit now while you’re ahead.’ ‘What on earth were you thinking?’ ‘Give it up. You’re not an artist.’

Despite the critter chatter messing with my head, I kept going.

My father taught me that. Do not give up. “I promise you,” he’d say. “There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Never stop looking. Never stop believing. And even if you never find the pot of gold, look at all the beauty you’ll discover along the way.”

My father may have messed up on keeping his promises, but he never messed up on seeing beauty in this world. And he always believed in our humanity. No matter who you were. Your story. Faith. Colour. Title. He always accepted human beings as just that. Human beings. Beautiful. Magnificent. Flawed and Flawless.

He saw the magnificence of our humanity and he always promised a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I didn’t find a pot of gold as I painted yesterday. I did find joy. Peace. Contentment and the beauty of being immersed in the creative process.

And in that richness, a promise my father made me long ago came true.

“If you do what you love with all your heart, I promise you, you’ll be richer for the experience.”

He was right.

Namaste

Life Is The Art of Finding Joy In Everything

Being in the kitchen is one of my happy places. I play music. Dance around and fling ingredients into pots and pans, stirring and swirling as I go.

My husband calls it ‘free stylin’. I call it, ‘Love in Action’.

I love to cook. I love to dance. And, I love to create.

It’s the same thing in the studio.

I play music. I dance around. I fling paint. I flirt with the muse.

Because, for me, that is what creativity is all about. It’s not the outcome or output. The outcome is simply the visual expression of the joy I find immersed in the creative process.

Focaccia Garden art

Yesterday, I created in the kitchen. Foccacia and yummy tasting, but not so pretty to look at, lemon poppy seed loaves – with olive oil instead of butter.

The poppy seed loaf was not so pretty to look at as I decided to use these pretty paper cupcake holders I’d bought some time ago — a lovely idea, except, they were wide and not very deep. The batter overflowed the tops and made one big cake! Not what I wanted to take to the birthday party we were going to, but good enough to eat. So, I think I’ll freeze them and use them later for a trifle.

See, that’s the thing about creativity. It lets go fo judgement and moves with ease into possibility. It adapts. Transforms. Evolves. It sees beyond ‘the box’ or in this case, ‘the cupcake’ for ways to create another path when the path you’re on is not unfolding with life’s natural grace and ease.

It is when I am immersed in the creative process that I experience life’s natural grace and ease most. There is no tension. No strife. No feelings of less than, or worry about being good enough. There is only the joy of being in ‘the flow’. Or, as my friend John McMahon calls it, PHLOW (Power. Harmony. Love. Order. Wisdom.)

In the PHLOW, I become all that I am. I stop paying attention to the whisperings of my limiting beliefs and fall with grace into my belief in the wonder and magic of this great big world in which we live. In the PHLOW, I am my creative expression. I am joy. I am Love. I am me.

Yes. There is dire news in this world. Yes. A lethal virus is still running rampant. And, injustices and violence still abound.

And amidst it all, Love still flows freely. Creative moments still arise. And life continues to evolve with its naturally grace-filled ease.

May we all find joy in creating a world of Love, beauty, harmony and grace.

May we all know the joy of living fearlessly immersed in Love.

Love Will Always Find You

Lost and Found

Lost in the darkness of my fear
there was no hope for me,
I could not see the light
beckoning me to surrender
and fall fearlessly into Love.

All hope is gone, I cried
and Hope whispered back softly,
its breath gentle as a lover
kissing my eyelids awake. Come,
Hope promised, there is light
beyond the darkness
and joy beyond the sorrow
and Love beyond the fear.

Trusting in nothing but hoping it was true,
I opened my eyes.

And there was Hope waiting to greet me
with arms full of possibility and a heart full of Love.

And so I fell into Hope’s embrace
and that’s where Love finds me still. Always and forever.

_______________________________________

I saw an acronym for H.O.P.E. the other day. Hold. On. Pain. Ends.

My mind immediately thought, Love doesn’t. End. Love Endures. Love Captivates. Love Overcomes.

Hope is a gateway to Love. Hope holds onto truth in darkness, light in fear, possibility in despair – even when we feel like all hope is lost. Hope is holding on to us.

Thoughts of hope drifted into my mind this morning as I read the quote by Fenton Johnson that David Kanigan shares on his blog, Live & Learn.

I remember a time when I felt like all hope was lost. Hope of ever getting my life back. Of ever getting free of an abusive relationship. Of ever walking in the sunshine and feeling its warmth against my skin without feeling the fear stalking my every step. Of ever seeing my daughters again. Of ever being free to Love fearlessly.

And then, one beautiful May morning, there was hope. Shimmering in the sunlight. Beckoning me from the shadows. Encouraging me to step away from the darkness into the light. To choose Love.

I have been choosing Love ever since that morning 17 years ago when I had given up on hope and fallen into the darkness.

I have chosen Love in my despair. Love in my fear. Love in my every day.

It is one of the most inspiring aspects of life I experienced working in the homeless serving sector for so many years. No matter how dark, or grim, or chaotic life was for those experiencing the harshness and pain of homelessness, every morning people woke up, rose out of their makeshift beds in large rooms filled with others sleeping in the same space, breathing the same air, and they felt HOPE. They had survived another night of homelessness and could take another step today.

There was always hope.

I remember a couple who wanted to get married at the shelter. One day, the soon to be bride came to me and said, “Tell me I’m doing the right thing.”

I told them I couldn’t tell them that. It wasn’t my place. What I could tell them was, “Love prevails. Always. It doesn’t care about titles or the number of degrees or recognition you’ve gained or the colour of your skin or your address. Love prevails. It will find you no matter who you are or where you are.”

And it does.

Find us where ever we are.

For always, no matter what is going on, or where we are, or how we are, Love is always there. In everything. Always and forever. Love. Is. Everywhere.

And always, in everything we do. Everything we say. In every way we step into this day, hopeful. Scared. Sad. However we step, we can, and must, choose Love.

Because, while pain and storms and turmoil will end, Love prevails. It has no ending, nor beginning.

Love just is. Love.

Always and forever.

_____________________

Thank you David for the inspiration this morning.

What’s Your What?

It took me all week to figure out how I wanted to finish off the binding on my Sheltered Wonder Art Journal.

I’d finished binding in the 20 pages. I’d even created a little video of the completed journal. Except for the spine, I felt it had come out really well.

But that spine…

There were lots of alternatives on how I could finish it off… the hows were limitless!

The unfinished spine.

Yesterday, the answer came to me. Paint a panel to cover up the messy threads.

So I did. And though the colours were slightly different than the cover itself I knew I could make it work.

But, how to give it a ‘finished’ look when I wouldn’t be able to fold over the panel at the top and bottom edge? (The inside pages came right up to the edge leaving no room for me to fold the page over.)

Plus the threads made a lumpy surface. How to smooth it out?

What about ribbon? The voice of the muse whispered. You have that beautiful blue ribbon with that rolled edge. What if you lay it on top first?

“But that’s not how I planned on doing it,” I hissed back.

Calmly she urged me on. “Let go of the how, Louise. Focus on what you’re trying to create.”

What am I trying to create? A beautiful finished spine for my journal.

I got the ribbon. Tried it out. I liked the look. I glued it down.

And then… well, I was still kind of attached to ‘the how’ that I’d started with. I wanted to affix my painted panel — but when I tested it, it still looked untidy and ‘blah’.

I sat and contemplated ‘the what’ of my project. And that’s when inspiration struck.

In the bottom drawer of the supplies drawer that sits beside me at my work table, I have a collection of tags I’ve made – for a rainy day, or perhaps just this occassion.

I dug through the drawer and found one I’d made a long time ago after seeing something similar at a craft fair.

It was the perfect fit.

I made a few adjustments and glued it in place.

Perfect.

The finished spine.

And here’s the thing — The finished spine is much different than what I’d started out to create. Remember the painted panel? I never did use it!

The lesson? If I had stayed focused on ‘the how’ of what I was doing, I would not have been open to the possibilities that appeared as I worked on the spine.

It’s not the ‘how’ that makes a difference. It’s the ‘what’.

In this case… A finished spine that created a visually appealing finish to the book.

If I had stayed focused on the ‘how’ of finishing off the spine, I would have been disappointed simply because the how was all about doing it the way my mind told me was ‘the right way’.

As long as I stay focused on ‘the what’, the story will always be about creating better. Always. Because the ‘what’ is about listening to my heart. The heart knows. The ‘how’ is an intellectual exercise. The ‘what’ engages the heart in taking action to create better.

Because that’s the thing. Staying attached to my first idea of how I was going to finish the spine would have kept me stuck in seeing only one path to getting to my goal, a path that would have resulted in an ‘okay’ finished product.

By focussing on my ‘what’, by letting my heart lead the way, I created something I really like. Something that pleases me. Something that reflects what the journal is all about — an expression of all I’ve learned, experienced and grown through during these months of self-isolation.

_____________________

And… if you want to see the video of the finished product (minus the completed spine) I created of the journal I’ve included it below.

For a first attempt at using Photoshop Premiere video editing software, I’m pleased with what I created. 🙂 The how was easy — learn the software without pulling my hair out! 🙂