Yesterday, I complete the sixth 2-page spread in my “Sheltered Wonder” art journal.
I am loving the experience. Savouring each moment I spend immersed in the creative flow expressing itself through the exploration of the question: “What are the gifts and learnings that have come through this sequestered solitude.”
It may be an enforced, not asked for nor even welcomed isolation. It holds many gifts and every spread I create for the journal is revealing how many gifts I’ve received and how much I am learning during this exceptional state of affairs.
The process of creating a journal page is very much a reflection of life. My life in this case. It begins with a meditation of some sort – either to music or in silence. As I enter my meditation, I often carry with me a question. Something like: “Where am I right now?” “What’s yearning to be expressed?” “What colour are my emotions today?”
Sometimes, I ask, “What’s in my bucket I need to empty out?”
I have long known that I carried what I call a ‘shame bucket’. I picked up as a child and learned to self-soothe in the presence of that bucket. At a young age, the child in me learned to believe she was not worthy. That bucket held the secrets of her unworthiness, so she held onto it believing she’d be lost without it.
If I am not paying attention to the now, that bucket can sometimes haunt the adult me with its need to be filled through acts that undermine my integrity, my values, my sense of self-worth. When I catch myself ignoring doing things I need to do to create harmony in my life, I know I’m in deep doo-doo, totally out of balance, off-kilter. In those times of distress, I have to turn and ask the child to let go of the bucket so I can hold her lovingly in my arms. We both know that the road to her garden of joy, where she feels safe witin me, is through my art. I know. I know. very esoteric — and very, very healing, no matter my physical age.
The universe is filled with mystical insights, wonder, awe and miracles.
Yesterday, after a Zoom call lead by Mary, Joe and Greg Davis, the key facilitators of Choices Seminars, the personal development course I have been part of for the past 14 years, I approached my studio with my question in hand – “What wonder is yearning to be expressed?”
My meditation was filled with a golden lightness of being. With sparkling waters and light as air fairy dancers joyfully cavorting on the water’s surface.
And then, just as I was beginning to come back into the moment, I saw her. A little girl with golden hair standing at the corner of a field of wild flowers. In one hand she held a balloon. It trailed behind her, bobbing and weaving as she walked, brushing the wildflowers with her fingers. Ahead of her, the field of colour turned into a forest.
Will she enter?
I began painting from that place of curiosity. Will she or won’t she?
My art journal pages are many layered. They weave and morph into many things until finding the essence of their story exposed on the page. It could be a word, a quote, a face… The possibilities are limitless and can take many layers to be called forth.
As I look at her with morning fresh eyes, the words that appeared and especially her balloon, I awaken to the essence of her story.
The bucket is gone. Vanished, or perhaps banished. It is replaced by a beautiful translucent balloon. Balloons speak of magic and mystery to me. And while, in the ‘real’ world I do not use them as they are environmentally harmful, in the field of wonder that is my imagination, balloons have great meaning.
It’s hard to get rid of a bad habit, but, if you focus on replacing it with something healthier, more life-giving, the habit becomes a welcome friend.
Yesterday, on the Zoom call, Joe Davis of Choices said, “Habits rule our lives.” And then he went on to describe how our brains are attuned to ‘chunking’, especially around activities that are rote or repetitive. (For more on ‘chunking’ – click HERE.)
Some of my thinking brain’s chunking has enriched and informed my life. Some… well let’s just say, it’s resulted in some not so healthy habits.
And so I wonder and walk and paint my dreams in all the colours of the rainbow… If the little girl can replace her bucket with the beautiful, light-hearted whimsy of a balloon… what else is possible?
More process photos: