The healing power of journaling and “making sense.”

To me, the journal is an essential vomitorium, a depository, a giant worry doll that contains it, holds it- allows for LETTING GO.  It allows me to make sense.  I find that journaling is different from keeping a diary.

The difference between diary keeping and journaling (to me):

A diary is a record of events, happenings, day to days.

Journaling is a place to vent, vomit, express without thought or judgement.

Both techniques tell my story.  Both are healing but to me, the stream-of-consciousness journaling is most therapeutic.

As I look back through my hundreds upon hundreds of messy journals- I find that the themes and struggles are repeated ad nauseum– but yet, though the despair and issues may seem repetitive, I see now that I have been able to WORK THROUGH gigantic life events (divorce, parent’s illnesses and deaths, parenthood, growth, severe anxiety and insomnia etc etc etc. stuff we all struggle with… ) via, what I call, a personal therapy process- and most seriously, through journaling, I have simply been able to walk through dark nights of the soul by simply acknowledging my story.

When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away – they own us, then they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong, reckon with our story and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends. – Brene Brown

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My journals feed my creativity.  They help me keep the creative process alive.

I just read through my March-June 2001 journal where I was in the depths of some of the hardest heartache I have ever experienced.   FUCKING AWFUL TIMES.  I read through my predictable grief of anger-denial-bargaining-depression-acceptance-repeat spiral… Ramblings of pleading, notes to self, articles of interest, and yet- somehow by the end- a giant paradigm shift.

It is evident that the journal was a depository of ramblings to quiet the brain- at the time I felt INSANE and incoherent- but now in retrospect I actually seem to make some sense. Though I want to yell at the woman I was then- for I seemed incapable of seeing the truth behind what was happening, I can now see that I, in the end, worked through to the truth on my own- I worked it out. I GOT IT.

Journal writing can help you improve your thinking and decision-making skills, release and review emotions, and refocus your choices and direction in life. Journaling can help you create an action plan to improve the quality of your life; tap into your goals, dreams and strengths; and address the obstacles—perceived and real—that are keeping you from achieving what you want. It can also help you relieve stress, since you can describe a problem and gain insights on how to resolve it. – SOURCE

I began journaling at age 6 (48 years ago) at the first house we rented in Canada after we moved here from Sweden. And though those pages are simply child drawings and lists, they were just as much a container for my anxiety as my journals (and indeed this blog) are now.

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So, yes- looking back on all my journals- the struggle seems always to be the same, and indeed the boxes piled up behind me as I write this, do seem to be the maniacal ramblings of Dr. Mabuse– yet, they contain evidence that I am able to make it through what life throws at me- by being fully honest, at least with MYSELF.

I continue to carry a journal and pen with me everywhere I go.  The greatest tool when anxiety hits.  I still vomit out the seemingly same old stuff.  But I AM HERE and I AM MOVING FORWARD!  I love growing old, I love surviving, I love today, and I love that in my darkest of dark moments, I can still find a journal and a pen- and chicken scratch my way back to the light.


Please note, my endless ramblings and pages and this blog ARE NOT A PLEA FOR HELP nor INTENDED FOR ANYONE TO WORRY ABOUT ME.  Worry instead if I stop writing, stop vomiting, stop exploring the darkness.  Worry when I have a pasted on smile and hum under my breath, through the sunny cellophane of which not very appetizing frustrations can be readily distinguished, as Nabokov wrote in Lolita.

I am simply sharing what works for me.  Sharing the process.  When darkness hits and I write, I am simply working it out- like today, I feel light- BECAUSE I WROTE IT OUT!

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Is this the purpose of journaling?  As the life raft?  My maintenance of my mental health?  The recording of dark lovely struggles, white knuckling, holding on to the ledge trying not to fall any further.  And so I keep asking, keep scribbling:

What am I fighting?

What can I surrender to?  How do you surrender?

Am I meant to be here exactly as I am now?

Are things really exactly as they should be?

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I began these pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships. -Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

 

Soul work… my 2016 Toolkit

You may recall, I set my intention for 2016- to simply meet it all with love.  Yet I knew it was important to take the time to do soul work.  But it’s been hard, so very hard to get “started” on it.

Yet- that’s not really correct…  Actually, I have started.

I have been collecting soul work to do’s.   I’ve been preparing.

So yesterday, I thought allotting myself a two-hour window to create a mind-map of my vision and goals would suffice.  I was expecting to be able to share it quickly with my daughter, Anna, and with Patti, over a simple Skype chat.  I predicted an 18″ x 24″ piece of paper.  No, no, no.

This 2016 toolkit is taking a lot longer than I expected.

But I finally committed to it last night.  I created a toolkit last night in an old, recycled journal (a leftover from my work with youth on the Downtown Eastside).  I collected, cut, pasted, organized.  It’s ready to go.  And I’ll do a few at a time.

My personal toolkit contents includes a variety of empowering tools I’ve developed or gathered from my network.  All too good to forget so I just kept adding to the list. A toolkit to visit in bits and pieces, as needed, throughout the year.

My list:

  1. Vision board: take out my vision board from 2013- review it, re-evaluate.  Collage a new one.
  2. Read Anna’s goals and visions.
  3. Write a scenario of my story at age 64.
  4. Where do I see myself in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years: personal, career, health.
  5. Answer the 10 questions that matter list.
  6. Go through current to-do’s and review.  Start a new calendar.
  7. Redo my 12 journal exercises project.
  8. Do core values worksheet.
  9. Mindmap– review old ones, create a new one.
  10. Do the Inquiry process– archetypes and shadow-work.
  11. What kind of bird am I? Study its symbolism.
  12. The Power Path– review in detail and mind-map the monthly forecast.
  13. Answer the Soul Prompts questions.
  14. Explore post-traumatic growth creativity.
  15. Write out the checklist: 25 things you need to let go before the new year.
  16. Write out a bibliography of my favorite creativity books.
  17. Acknowledge my history.
  18. Street art.
  19. Community– build it.  Honor it.  “Remember to rely heavily on your spiritual practice, your allies and your community.”  The Power Path
  20. Redo Peter Breeze’s exercise.  Write a letter to my future self.  Write a letter as my future self to myself today.
  21. Embrace your expertise and take imperfect action.
  22. Re-visit my favorite websites: Rebelle Society, Paid to Exist, Heroic Trading Co, Right Brain Business Plan, Start with Why.
  23. Review my 2013 manifesto and business plan.
  24. Pull angel cards and create daily ritual.
  25. Rethink EVERYTHING.  Scratch that.  Simplify.  Focus on the one goal and let everything else feed that.
  26. And remember- let go when overwhelmed and just meet it all with love!

This morning I awoke pretty frozen by anxiety (a variety of typical right-now reasons).

Larger scale inner RESETS are often accompanied by intense experiences of some kind that threaten the ego and false personality and may even cause one to feel like you are going a little crazy or completely falling apart. The Power Path January 2016 Forecast

Instead of drowning in it though, I dragged myself through the morning then finally  yanked out the toolkit I prepped last night and dragged it to a coffee shop, grabbed a coffee and sat outside and forced myself to write through tears, through fear:

Journal entry Jan 13 2016
Journal entry January 13, 2016

After I got that out of my system, I addressed item 19:  “Remember to rely heavily on your spiritual practice, your allies and your community.

I texted my daughter and my friend/agent Peter for some much-needed good vibes.  Got some fabulous get your head out of your ass (Anna) advice.

Everything is as it should be.  U just need to allow (Peter).

Draw an angel card (Anna).

The sun came out as their multiple texts rolled in.

I decided to continue on the self-care focus for the rest of the day.  Do the toolkit.  Do the toolkit.  So I am taking my time, allowing, trusting and doing it.

For example:

Item 11: what kind of bird am I?

My sister-in-law asked me that question the other day as we reflected on my street art project.

After much thought, I really feel it is the Sparrow.  I always stop and observe birds.  But there is something in particular that I connect with in the Sparrow.

The Sparrow reflects self-worth.   If a Sparrow totem has entered your life, ask yourself if you know your own self-worth.  The Sparrow will show you that even a common little bird can triumph.

The Song Sparrow reflects the chakra energy awakening from the heart and throat.  It reminds us to sing out our own song of dignity and self-worth. [source]

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Item 12 The Power Path January 2016 Forecast mind-map:

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Item 1: Review vision board from 2013:

My nephew, Henrik, fully immersed himself in the process with me
My nephew, Henrik, fully immersed himself in the process with me, Feb 2013

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I look at pertinent quotes on the 2013 vision board and make a found poem:

How to survive going nowhere?

What she said:

We change into our capes in a telephone booth-

and take on the world’s evolving challenges.

Referring to myself: 

Ways to stay up in the air?

New York

Item 24: Pull angel cards and create daily ritual.

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Beauty is the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at, or someone or something that gives great pleasure, especially when looking at it

The conception for beauty is used or studied in art, sociology, social psychology, and culture. An “ideal beauty” is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.

The experience of “beauty” often involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. [source]

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The journey continues.  I will indeed meet it with love and trust I’ll have some pressing issues sorted.

Everything is as it should be.

Much love, Kat

 

“Here, at the age of 39, I began to be old…”

I revisited Brideshead Revisited last night and was struck, more deeply than usual, by Waugh’s opening line:

“Here, at the age of 39, I began to be old…”

Why did this opening line stand out?  I’ve been trying to find the right quote, the right words to help me reflect on my current dip into anxiety after the vulnerability hangover took over a while back.  It’s not letting up.

My body has rebelled, or more accurately, my chakras are screaming!  Or even more accurately, or what comforts me to focus on, is that my sacral and throat chakras are in dire need of attention apparently!

My lower back was thrown out last Friday and refuses to ease.  Ah, it’s the old dance injury, familiar worries about money, embracing transitions, change, re-experiencing triggers.  And my old wound is acting up (an old left parotid gland/facial nerve tumor issue)- so scratching my left ear feels like I’m scratching my cheek.  Running my tongue along my upper teeth on the left side, pausing at the missing tooth, is interpreted as my lower jaw.  It’s all familiar.  It’s nothing new.  Benign.  But important.  Just old friends encouraging me to pay attention.

So why does the Waugh quote feel like the right words?  

“Here, at the age of 39, I began to be old…”

What does it have to do with aches and pains and anxiety?

The quote brought me right back to my 39th birthday, when I began to be old.  It was the turning point.  I experienced an intense, earth-shattering betrayal.  The wound was deep, great, painful.  It was different from other losses and experiences.  It attacked the very core where my innocent inner self was housed.

When a strong trigger strikes now, it opens that wound in the heart.

It’s a falling back into darkness.  It’s the place I am forced to go, to huddle and shake and decide how to utilize this in my personal journey.

On my 39th birthday, truth came out and I was exposed.  

Vulnerable, raw.  I began to be old.   Of course, so much more has happened before and since, but that experience stands out as the turning point into adulthood.

It fascinates me that as I look back on my journals and see where my anxiety/depression is at its height (or my energy at its lowest if you will)- it is after I have been exposed.  Or am exposing myself to the world.

Risking.  Risking failure.  Thus the vulnerability hangover.

Recall posts:

ANX·I·E·TY /ANGˈZĪ-ITĒ/ August 20, 2011

DIH-PRESH-UHN November 13, 2011

We all struggle.  And I send out love to all who are struggling right now.  

Check out articles shared on FB:

Thank you, Patti, for this one:

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Thank you, Margot, for this one:

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And so…

There, at the age of 39, I began to be old.

And I have journeyed through.  I accept my struggles, accept that life is a rollercoaster of triggers and emotions.  But I am HERE.  Strong, vulnerable, able, fragile, triggered, achy, anxious, a woman trying her best, a very very human being.

What do I do with all this info, lessons, tools, self-care, evaluations, experiences, wisdom etc.?

Well, here, at the age of 53, I decide I am wise.  And ready.

Yes, today is a new day.  I’ll wrap up the old wounds.  Lengthen my spine, listen to the birds, and revel in the theme of of this month [thepowerpath.com].

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Frida and the Robin [a personal art therapy tool is to pick up a china marker and simply draw out the anxiety]
 Recall: Pay Attention to the Birds: American Robin

The robin brings a fresh new perspective to situations that are otherwise foggy and unclear. Try calling on robin energy for clarity when your judgement is clouded or when you need light shed on an issue.

The red robin reminds us it’s time to shake the sleepiness out of our head (both figuratively and literally), get alert, get moving, and start enjoying life! Spring has sprung, tides have turned, and no matter how crummy or grey our world has been it is time for new beginnings! Enjoy the bright road ahead because it’s only going to get brighter! [source]

Art journaling e-workshop 12-part course

I have created an in-depths arts journaling program and am offering it to you as an email course!

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I have been developing a little project for awhile now, inspired by my desires to combine my learned lessons from years of facilitating art sessions.  You will receive instructions and imagery to print out and color.  Fun, easy, in-depths!  

The course covers:

  1. Esteem heart
  2. Past/present/future
  3. Root
  4. Weaving support systems
  5. Inner critic
  6. Drawing tutorial
  7. Chakra chart
  8. Difficult conversations
  9. Critical thinking
  10. Vision boards
  11. Mission and vision
  12. Manifesto

You can choose 1 part for $12 USD or pay for all parts for only $100 USD (parts emailed one at a time every three days).

To purchase 1 part at a time (please indicate title you are purchasing):

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or email transfer $12 USD ($16 CAD) to britakatarina@gmail.com

To purchase all 12 parts:

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or email transfer $100 USD ($133 CAD) to britakatarina@gmail.com

You will need a journal (composition books are great!), pens, pencils, felts, scissors, glue, embroidery thread, needle.

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Mindmap Tutorial Week Part 7 of 7: Reviewing

I have been diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process!

Tutorial so far:

Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week

Part 1: What is a mindmap?

Part 2: the Big Vision

Part 3: Stream of consciousness mapping

Part 4: Prioritizing/consolidating/connecting

Part 5: Enhancing

Part 6: Addressing

TODAY:

PART 7 OF 7: Reviewing

So what did we do?

LET’S REVIEW.

We stream-of-consciousness-ed it all out first:

  —

We started to make connections as to how all our ideas, projects, issues etc. relate to one another:

We categorized, sorted, rearranged: 

We reflected and asked ourselves questions:

 

  —

We trimmed it all down to the KEY points:

  —

We focused more intently on these new categories and started to created action plans and to-do lists:

  —

We asked ourselves what and why?  What is our core value?  Are our plans nurturing that value?

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Now take about 10-15 minutes reevaluating your mindmap(s).  What can be changed around, added, deleted… to ensure that the plan you have laid out, or the reflections that have resulted reflect what is truly important to you?

   —

Now quickly sketch out a new pared down mindmap with your core value in the centre…

Lather, rinse, repeat.

AH- so we have reached the end.  But you will find there is no end in mindmapping.  It is an ever-changing, evolving, self- and group-reflective process.  The core focus last year may be completely different from today’s.  

Keep your mindmaps.  I have a big collections of them.  They are a central part to my journaling and creative process.  

 —

Please share your mindmapping experiences and questions with me.

If you are in the Vancouver BC Canada area, let me know if you’d like me to host a three-hour intensive workshop this Fall.  I have a few people inquiring already.  If the interest is high enough (I’m thinking 20-25 people, for ages 16 and up), I will create an event and post the invite and registration here.  Send me an email to britakatarina@gmail.com if you’re interested and if you’d like to receive an invite.

Stay tuned for more tutorials such as:

Vision Boards

How-to’s

etc.

IF YOU FOUND THIS BLOG SERIES HELPFUL, PLEASE CONSIDER A SMALL DONATION TO THE STARVING ARTIST FUND!

Email transfer or PayPal: britakatarina@gmail.com

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Thank you!

 

 

Mindmap Tutorial Week Part 4: Prioritizing, consolidating, connecting

I am diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process!

Tutorial so far:

Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week

Part 1: What is a mindmap?

Part 2: the Big Vision

Part 3: Stream of consciousness mapping

TODAY:

PART 4 OF 7: Prioritizing/consolidating/connecting

So once you have spewed out your thoughts all out onto your large paper: 

Color code the bubbles— don’t overthink this.  Just circle the items that seem to relate to each other.  Just very loosy goosy…

Start drawing arrows to items that relate to each other more… How do they CONNECT?  This is a “thinking out loud” exercise as you pay attention to what part of the map excites you, what part you know needs priority, what part is a distraction…

Now redraw the map as it reflects the REORGANIZATION of your stream-of-consciousness one…

Make “out loud” notes onto your map.  Converse with yourself.  Be honest.   What is truly your passion?   Essential PRIORITY?  What can be removed?  What is the BIG PICTURE?

Now strip it down.  CONSOLIDATE to the top three categories.

CONSOLIDATION requires getting rid of excess. Some of this excess is not anything definable but rather energetic information both useful and non-useful that has been collected and stored in the energy system waiting for integration. Too much psychic information can feel like a burden; overwhelming, unfocused and irritating.

PRIORITIES need a clear space to settle into. So clear some space, consolidate your energetic resources and allow what’s important to prioritize itself in your life. – The Power Path August 2015 Monthly Forecast

Remember- this can be a personal reflection exercise, or a project planning exercise etc.  It is all really the same principal.

TOMORROW:

Part 4: Enhancing

Mindmap Tutorial Week Part 3: Stream of consciousness mapping

I am diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process!

Tutorial so far:

Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week

Part 1: What is a mindmap?

Part 2: the Big Vision

TODAY:

PART 3 OF 7: Stream of consciousness mapping

In your journal start writing out categories, to-do’s, items, whatever comes to mind that you are grappling with right now.  Or if you are focusing on a specific project, business idea, story – whatever- write down all that comes to mind regarding the project.  Should other items pop up, write those down too, even if unrelated.  You are just spewing it all out onto paper.  This is chaos-onto-paper time.  Just keep the pen moving.  Trivial things can turn out to be important.img_5413

Now transfer these bubbles onto a large sheet.  Don’t worry too much where they are placed, though you can somewhat place them in related groups if you wish.

 

We are not making connections today.  We are just spewing it all out!

Sometimes this process is really easy.  Sometimes, like for me tonight, it’s very hard.  It’s a shitty evening.  That’s OK.  I forced the process anyway in order to get the buzz out of the mind.  I need to sort my next steps and this process always helps!

TOMORROW:

Part 4: Prioritizing/consolidating/connecting

Mindmap Tutorial Week Part 1 of 7: What is a mindmap?

I am diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process!

Recall: Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week

Today:

Part 1 of 7: What is a mindmap?

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Mindmaps (or mind maps– but I prefer the one word version) are essentially visual diagrams.

Wikipedia definition:

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank landscape page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.

Mind maps can be drawn by hand, either as “rough notes” during a lecture, meeting or planning session, for example, or as higher quality pictures when more time is available.

Mind maps are considered to be a type of spider diagram.  A similar concept in the 1970s was “idea sun bursting”.

For me, mindmapping is a tool to move all the churning ideas and voices out of my head onto paper, in order to organize my thoughts and to quiet my mind.  I gain perspective; I can start to strategize and prioritize or make new realizations and connections.  I can develop, or pare down.  I gain new insight on what direction works, what direction doesn’t, what I can cross off, what I can add.  I love the visual.  I love the tangible.  I love the evolving mindmap.  I love looking at old ones and seeing what worked and what didn’t.  I can create a mission and a vision statement more easily.

Mindmaps can be personal, or done in a group, with a group, for a group.   You can mindmap alone.  You can mindmap for someone else as they dialogue.  It is a great listening tool.

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They can act as a type of journal, or therapy, or a tool for strategic inquiry or project planning.  The possibilities are vast and endless.  I use many kinds like:

• emotional mapping

• project mapping

• priority mapping

• “current situation” mapping

• gathering support mapping

• personal challenges mapping

• story structure mapping

• character background mapping

• journal mapping

core values mapping

• mission and vision building mapping

• creative strategic inquiry mapping

• meeting notes mapping

•  etc.

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I use a variety of kinds of mindmapping styles like the familiar linking or bubbles, or making lists, making scribbles on a torn piece of paper or more elaborate panels.

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I love to illustrate and color them.   To make the task more ME and to make me energized, I tend to collect images I love and draw them out.

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Looking back on them, I can shed a tear or crack a smile at their ridiculous complexity:

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And sigh in relief when I get to the core of it:

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Homework:

Write for 15 minutes in your journal about what you might want to mindmap about this week.  Don’t overthink.  JUST KEEP WRITING.  There is no right or wrong.

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Tomorrow:

Part 2: the Big Vision

Mindmap tutorial week on the blog!

Getting ready to dive into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process!

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What to expect:

Part 1: What is a mindmap?

Part 2: The big vision

Part 3: Stream of consciousness mapping

Part 4: Prioritizing/consolidating/connecting

Part 5: Enhancing

Part 6: Addressing

Part 7: Reviewing

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What you will need:

  • Large sheets of paper
  • Felt pens in various colors
  • A journal
  • Willingness

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Part 1 soon!  See you here!

Touch me life, not softly. #journalentry

How will you take on this week? Last week was truly full of too muchness, too fullness, too many extremes, but at the same time, I was grateful for the intensity. It helped me clarify what was truly important. There was output and connection, there was trauma and fear, there was despair and elation, and there was reconfiguration and realization. How will I take on the week ahead? With a don’t know mind, with allowance, with my hand round my cock, with a hustling frame of mind, with humor and curiosity. With self-assurance. With Frida in my heart.

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[Inspired by The Power Path]

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Touch me life, not softly.– Maya Angelou

INNER CRITIC Series Part 4 of 6: CAUTERIZE #journalexercise

The inner critic is always worth a revisit.  I have broken the series into 6 parts:

1. RANT

2. JUDGE

3. INVESTIGATE

4. CAUTERIZE

5. TEASE

6. EMBRACE

Each exercise starts with a journal entry and/or mindmap.  Then we look at the emotions that come up as we share openly.  I encourage you to experiment by sharing your thoughts in the comments here.  Share your rants and judgements.  Judge me freely; judge yourself.  It’s all good.  Let’s demystify.  Let’s take off the mask.  Let’s remove the hesitation.

INNER CRITIC series part 3 of 6: INVESTIGATE

In PART 1 we ranted without hesitation.  We let the ugly out.  We then identified certain emotions that came up.

In PART 2 we dug a little deeper into the emotions that came up, laying out the evidence for judicial review.

In PART 3 we examined the facts to get to some truths.

You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.

― Iyanla Vanzant, Yesterday, I Cried

Sometimes the truth can hurt.  Sometimes pulling off the scab can reveal a wound we are not always ready to address.  So today- let’s slow down.  Let’s cauterize the wound.  Write, mindmap or draw out what this means to you.

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Pick an animal symbol that resonates with you today.  Research it.  What lessons can you learn?  This is good brain gym.

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REMINDER:

You are worth of love and belonging.

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INNER CRITIC series Part 3 of 6: INVESTIGATE #journalexercise

The inner critic is always worth a revisit.  I have broken the series into 6 parts:

1. RANT

2. JUDGE

3. INVESTIGATE

4. CAUTERIZE

5. TEASE

6. EMBRACE

Each exercise starts with a journal entry and/or mindmap.  Then we look at the emotions that come up as we share openly.  I encourage you to experiment by sharing your thoughts in the comments here.  Share your rants and judgements.  Judge me freely; judge yourself.  It’s all good.  Let’s demystify.  Let’s take off the mask.  Let’s remove the hesitation.

INNER CRITIC series part 3 of 6: INVESTIGATE

In PART 1 we ranted without hesitation.  We let the ugly out.  We then identified certain emotions that came up.

In PART 2 we dug a little deeper into the emotions that came up, laying out the evidence for judicial review.

If you judge, investigate. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Today let’s carry out a systematic or formal inquiry to discover and examine the facts of so as to establish the truth.

Go back to your mindmap:

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Focus in on one particular branch/emotion.

I chose:

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Create a new mindmap around the branch you decided to focus on and in a stream of consciousness way, elaborate on your investigation. [Ideally you do this for every branch of your Part 2 mindmap.]

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We often shy away from digging deep as it may expose truths we are just too scared or too tired to address.  We tend to doubt ourselves.  Our abilities.  Our freedom to express openly.

But have fun with it.  Is there some kind of truth/lesson that comes up as you address that emotion that resulted from your Part 1 rant?  Is there something new to learn?

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 Truth: A lot of my issues simply come from a need to control that which I could never and never will be able to control.  

It is by doubting that we come to investigate, and by investigating that we recognize the truth. – Peter Abelard

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REMINDER:

You are worth of love and belonging.

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Inner Critic Series Part 2: JUDGE #journalexercise #mindmap

INNER CRITIC SERIES PARTS 1-6:

The inner critic is always worth a revisit.  I have broken the series into 6 parts:

1. RANT

2. JUDGE

3. INVESTIGATE

4. CAUTERIZE

5. TEASE

6. EMBRACE

Each exercise starts with ajournal entry and/or mindmap.  Then we look at the emotions that come up as we share openly.  I encourage you to experiment by sharing your thoughts in the comments here.  Share your rants and judgements.  Judge me freely; judge yourself.  It’s all good.  Let’s demystify.  Let’s take off the mask.  Let’s remove the hesitation.

INNER CRITIC series part 2 of 6: JUDGE

In PART 1 we ranted without hesitation.  We let the ugly out.  We then identified certain emotions that came up.

My emotions that came up:

• Self-blame

• Shame

• Anger

• Laughter

• Empowerment

• Embarrassment

Draw your words on a mindmap:

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IMG_1571Now dig a little deeper and address each branch and bubble on your mindmap.

JUDGE:

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Judge judiciously.  Research.  Look up quotes that pertain to the emotions that came up for you.  See which emotion feeds the other.  Are there themes?  Judge them fairly and freely.  Let’s disclose and weigh.  Let’s let the facts speak.  Bring in all the evidence.  Voir dire.  Are we ready for the investigative stage (Part 3)?  Prove that you are able to only consider the truth.

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REMINDER:

You are worth of love and belonging.

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Sacred Contracts Journal Exercise Part 6 of 8: PULL BACK TO THE PAST

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SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 6 OF 8

PULL BACK TO THE PAST

We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.

Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In Part 2: Where are your energy leaks? we focused on our body signals and biography makes biology. 

In Part 3: What Masks Do We Wear? we examined the masks we wear to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

In Part 4a: What is Your True Nature? we focused on our inner selves.

In Part 4b: Sacred Body we listened to the messages from our bodies.

In Part 5: Throat Chakra, I challenged you to speak your truth.

Today, we go back in time to identify that moment that may have created roadblocks that stop us from flowing forward smoothly.  In keeping with Part 5 and finding our voice, journal out your thoughts as you go back in time and perhaps come across a moment, an incident, that lends itself as the aha! moment- an event that  you feel affected you so profoundly that it shaped how you now walk in the world.

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“The Sacred Labyrinth Walk, Illuminating the Inner Path, is the ancient practice of “Circling to the Center” by walking the labyrinth. The rediscovery of this self alignment tool to put our lives in perspective is one of the most important spiritual movements of our day. ” – sacredwalk.com

My journal entry:

When did I stop vocalizing my needs?  I’ve been thinking about this a lot.  I have been observing my niece and nephew who now flow into their lives so freely, surrounded by love and support and healthy attachment.  

Vivienne (now age 4 weeks) and Henrik (now age 2.8).  Photo by Cher Hanusiak, Fred Thorsen
Vivienne (now age 4 weeks) and Henrik (now age 2.8). Photo by Cher Hanusiak, Fred Thorsen

And though Henrik causes us to feel flustered as he expresses himself freely through his “Terrible Twos,” I am inspired by his vocalization.  His voice resounds freely through his “Incredible Twos.”

It makes me wonder when I lost my ability to express my needs openly, hysterically, fully.  What made me so fully aware that expressing my needs may cause heartache and distress in others?  

I have wondered what it would be like to not be allowed to go through the terrible twos with full vocal force. Last night, I asked myself the question yet again— what made me so fully aware of my parent’s emotions?

My mother’s mother passed away suddenly when I was two.  Mom’s friends have told me how incredibly hard that  time was for my mother.  I wonder what effect that had on my older brother and I.  

I cannot recall a time when I did not consider my parents in any choice that I made.  And if I took the step to make my own decision from the heart- just for me- there would be profound consequences.  Not punishment, but withdrawal or illness or despair.  The one area in which I could be truly free was my art- be it visual art or dance.  

I do not blame my parents.  They did the best they could and- wow- I had an incredible life with them.  But there are lasting legacies I need to address.  To look at, to stir up, to air out, to let go of.  

Incredibly, I have- with practice and encouragement- been able to express my inner most needs with my children of late.  As they are in their late 20s and have done some profound self-work, they welcome my voice and processes.  

My friend Laura tells me that this time of shadows and Dark Night of the Soul is a time where profound healing can take place.  And as I make a sacred contract with myself to truly step into my life with self-worth and power [taking time to gain clarity as to what I want to focus and develop], I honor my parents and let them go.  In certain moments these days, I experience a profound sense of freedom and peace. Truly anything is possible now.

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This is the bath of birth… This is the merge of the small and the large and the outlet again. – Whitman

 

See also:

The Umbilical Cord Part 1

The Umbilical Cord Part 2

The Umbilical Cord Part 3

“I’d rather be whole than good.” – Carl Jung

Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Part 4b OF 8: SACRED BODY

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SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 4b OF 8

SACRED BODY

We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.

Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In Part 2: Where are your energy leaks? we focused on our body signals and biography makes biology. 

In Part 3: What Masks Do We Wear? we examined the masks we wear to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

In Part 4a: What is your true nature? we listened to our inner selves.

We are getting at what makes us tick.  What makes our heart race- with fear?  With passion?  What is our calling?  What path do we journey along that allows us to live in the flow, fully?  What stream to we rush against?  There is never a full answer.  Or the answer changes, daily, fluidly.  It’s worth taking time to take note.  In keeping with our body signals that we explored in Part 2: Where are your energy leaks?, today I am truly allowing my body signals to guide me.  That includes my dream state and my awake state.

I invite you to journal/draw in the moment, reflecting on the past week, past 24 hours, your latest sleep and examine the messages.

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My journal entry [unedited]: 

I’m feeling headachy, thick-headed. swollen eyes, blurry eyes, focus of energy leaks all around the temple, top of my head.  

Things that come to mind:

Trust, intuition, seeing, eye, the brow, not hiding away, allowing input, observing, visualizing, closing eyes, quiet, sleep, no talking, allowing alone time, reading, visual ingestion, imagination.  

[Where do these body signals sit on the chakra chart?  May as well pay attention!]

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Third eye.  Intuition, intellect, visualization, imagination, reasoning.  Brain, eyes, ears, nose, pineal gland.

A week of 6th chakra- of blurry bleary vision and the cyclical dance of guilt, shame and lack of trust (differing from distrust) culminating in achy heart and headaches and stuffy nose.  Message?

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A wave of melancholy washed over me last night.   It wasn’t the exterior, crushing cut of shame, or the interior acid of anxiety- it was an immersion in a pool of deep melancholy, of missing, of nostalgia.

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It was absolute grief and missing.  I was not anxious about the feeling.  Just… melancholy.  I fell into a sleep stupor.  I dreamt my parents pulled into my garage (their garage?) and I was on my stairs (their stairs?), and they both seemed so unhappy.  They were two broken people and profoundly sad and distant in their relationship.  

Dad came up the stairs first- walking (!) towards me.  Just walking from mom towards me.  

Mom got out of the car and began walking up the stairs too- with a sad look, but weary smile.  

I knew that in my home they could find a refuge.  The air of melancholy lingered.

I found Dad’s day-timer on my kitchen table.   In it he had written It is a good day in each date that had passed.  

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I woke with the exhaustion of having cried profoundly.  The pool of melancholy now in my head.  Inky pool.  No stuff in it.  Just an ink-wash.  Uniform.  

I can dilute it.  Cleanse it.  With clear water.  

What is my body telling me?  It was not my role to make my parents happy, but I made it my role.  And I am hyperly aware of that tendency to play that role.  I am profoundly in touch with savouring my solitary, creative life.  My role is not a role now.  I just am.

The pool flows downward towards my heart.  Cools down and neutralizes the chest and leaks outward through my pores as a bright light.

There are no answers here.  It just is.

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Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Part 4a of 8: what is your true nature?

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SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 4a OF 8

WHAT IS YOUR TRUE NATURE?

We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.

Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In Part 2: Where are your energy leaks? we focused on our body signals and biography makes biology. 

In Part 3: What Masks Do We Wear? we examined the masks we wear to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

Today we examine our true nature.  What is it?

What does true nature really mean?

Is it tapping in to the inner child‘s endless appetite for curious exploration?

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Is it the strength that resides deep within our heart, that resonates with our authentic voice?

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Is it the idyllic peace of enlightenment as we connect fully with the world around us?

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What does TRUE NATURE mean to you?

Write for a few minutes or draw it out.

For me, my true nature is the scared, overwhelmed teenager within that wanders around in the hallways of my brain.  She’s torn and worn, and used and bruised.  And she’s always there wandering.

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But I accept that.  I accept her.  I love her.  She’s what makes me me.  She keeps me on my toes.  She’s in my laughter and in my heartache.  She’s in my tears and in my soul’s eye.  She’s sensitive and creative.

Even if you never consciously grapple with these questions about your true nature, certain circumstances will require you to pay attention. Life delivers you a series of challenges in the form of small and large good fortune, as well as petty and great misfortune. In the struggle to learn how to respond to the resulting joy, pain, and confusion, you are repeatedly challenged to seek and to act from your essence.

Dharma Wisdom

 

Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Part 3 of 8: what masks do we wear?

SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 3 OF 8

WHAT MASKS DO WE WEAR?

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We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.

Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In Part 2: Where are your energy leaks? we focused on our body signals and biography makes biology.  

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In this exercise, we look at how we make ourselves visible in the world.  As we address our passion, our calling- we must also address the roles we take on by wearing masks.

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We Wear the Mask
Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties,

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile,
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

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Mask- a covering, a disguise, to prevent, to protect, to conceal, to filter, a pretence, a reflection, a performance, a transformation…

Journal as you contemplate the following questions:

What masks do we wear?

Why do we wear them?

When?

What appearance do we portray to others?

To ourselves?

Do we wear masks to hide what’s actually going on underneath?

Do we wear masks of persona to protect ourselves from judgement?

To maintain a semblance of control in the chaos of life?

Do we wear one mask, or many different masks or many layers of masks?

When do we fully remove our masks?

When are we safe to do so?

Do we create our own masks or are we born with a pre-determined set?

Or does someone else help us make them?

Are masks an avoidance of showing who we really are?

Do masks allow us to approach?

To hide?

Or are they armour?

An adornment?

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20140613-074247-27767115.jpgIt’s interesting that despite the masks- the eyes are exposed. Can we truly ever fully hide who we are? Fully deny that we want to be seen?

The crudest curriculum vitae crows and flaps its wings in a style peculiar to the undersigner. I doubt whether you can even give your telephone number without giving something of yourself. —Nabokov, Nikolai Gogol

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Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Part 2 of 8: where are your energy leaks?

 

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Biography becomes biology. – Caroline Myss


SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 2 OF 8

WHERE ARE YOU ENERGY LEAKS?

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We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.  Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In this exercise, I would like you to focus on your body.  Where do you feel your energy leaking in those moments where you experience extreme fatigue, or anxiety, or joylessness, or just plain meh.  Is there a location on your body where you tend to feel more physical symptoms than other parts of your body?  Does the location change?

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Throughout my childhood, youth and marriage, I would be doubled over every evening with severe stomach cramps.  The kids called it mom stomach.  I called it stomach migraines as did many doctors over the years.

As my marriage dissolved and I started searching for ways to cope, I felt comfort in looking at chakra charts.  Myss’s book Anatomy of the Spirit was a life raft during that time.  My mother and I loved discussing Myss’s concept of biography becomes biology.  We explored sources of mom’s arthritis (trust issues she felt), Dad’s bladder cancer, etc.

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Certainly my pleaser-anxious-low self-esteem-caregiver personality searching for my own voice had a lot to do with those evening stomach aches.  What released them was being fully myself in my art and with my two children.

Looking at the drawing I made above (click on it for larger image), I see that teetered between the SACRAL and the SOLAR PLEXUS.

During my coming-of-age and adolescence and sexual awakening, I experienced a recurring and over time aggressive parotid gland tumor that threatened my facial nerve.  To speak, to express.  I longed to have my own voice.  That voice developed fully in my art and as a mother.  And small remnants of the tumor sit quietly.

It’s just plain helpful for self-focus to play with the chakra charts.  Many of you that know me know that I have done YEARS of self-exploration and work.  I am no longer doubled over with stomach aches.

The stress over the past few years (financial, parents dying, career development etc.)  have manifested in different forms and now my most typical focus for my energy leaks is my heart.  20140602-084524-31524209.jpg

That is likely why I developed my esteem heart exercise!  We do not need to fear energy leaks.  We need to listen.  To explore.

So take some time to journal/draw on where you tend to lose energy.  Where your physical ailments are in this moment.

Take some time to focus on your SELF.

Stay tuned for Part 3: WHAT MASK DO YOU WEAR?

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I often channel “Little Enid” by Daniel Clowes when I self-identify/draw myself in my mind maps.

“Seeing your life in broad strokes and in bright pieces allows you to redraw…” @carolinemyss

In detecting the emotional charge in your biography, you can begin to see how the fragments of your history have worked together in ways that have affected your past, your present, and the state of your health. This perspective is what I call symbolic sight. Seeing your life in broad strokes and in bright pieces allows you to redraw your conception of your future and fill in the fine, interpretive lines more consciously. Symbolic sight enables you to get back your energy or spirit and heal emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes even physically.

– Caroline Myss

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But the one thing that eases anxiety- always, no matter how tired I am…

There have been so many changes in my life.  Good ones overall, that’s for sure.  But I find myself paralyzed in the mornings these days by anxiety.

Some days are better than others.  It all makes sense with all the stuff going on, all the changes, the bankruptcy, the move, the losses, the gains, the new life.  But, I am hard on myself.  Very hard.

Let yourself fuck up now and then, my therapist told me years ago.

So why do I let myself feel like a fuck up as opposed to being easy on myself, free in the knowledge that I can ALWAYS hold my head high?

It’s the little girl in me wide awake, traumatized by bullies, feeling small.  Voiceless.

EXCEPT IN MY ART.

Self work. Self work.  Self work.

I pull out my tools:

mind map out my to do’s.

micro-step my day, simplify.

Even avoid certain things on my to-do that trigger me.

I  journal– pour out whatever comes off the pen onto paper.

I reach out to friends.  I read.  I blog.  I build my network.

I create create create.

But the one thing that eases anxiety- always, no matter how tired I am- is to get out into nature.

To take it all in.  Works every time.

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Dear Mother Earth!  I think I have always especially belonged to you.  I have loved from babyhood to roll upon you, to lie with my face pressed right down on to you in my sorrows.  I love the look of you and the smell of you and the feel of you.  – Emily Carr

Swans fixing their nest. Looks like it collapsed on one side and an egg rolled down.  Stanley Park, Vancouver BC
Swans fixing their nest. Looks like it collapsed on one side and an egg rolled down. Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

You must be very rich, said a grade 8 student to me the other day when I told her about all my projects.  My heart sank for a second as I thought of the $19 in my bank account, but I responded with, Yes, I am.  

For I am rich with the gifts I was born with, the talent I have developed, rich in the relationships I have built through art, rich with family. Rich for waking to a new day and being able to walk, to listen to the baby herons, to watch the swans, to walk in the woods with my nephew and my dog.

To know, each day is full of new possibilities.

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. – Abraham Lincoln

My nephew, Henrik, and my dog, Tobey, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC
My nephew, Henrik, and my dog, Tobey, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

Is debt an emotion? Changing attitudes.

There are so many shifts and transformations that color this past year for me.  I am learning.  Taking big steps and baby steps.

The biggest change is allowing anxiety around finances to just be, sitting with it, reaching out for help, enriching my support network, listening, facing, communicating, trying, failing, trying again, moving forward.

I am changing attitudes around the concept failure and success.

Q: When faced with impending success or the threat of failure, how do you respond?

A: Success: With relief.  Failure: More work, fast.

– Twyla Tharp

I am changing attitudes around the concept of debt.  I’m still in debt.  But this is different from before.  This is a paradigm shift around the meaning I place on it, allowing whatever emotion arises.

— Debt image 1

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Biography becomes biology. Ugly mole diaries.

Your biography becomes your biology.

– Caroline Myss

Last year I had an ugly fucking mole growing above my left temple (aftereffects of radiation treatments in 1983).  The family kept commenting on it and raising concerns.  I have a lot of moles.  I am a moly person.  But this one was too visible.  I would comb my hair the other way to cover it.  I would reluctantly agree to see a doc and then never go.

I decided awhile back that I had the right to full ownership of my body and never again go to doctors if I didn’t want to after going through some rough stuff in the 80’s with surgery on a tumor and the long aftermath of issues after that (bad teeth, nerve signals turned haywire, claustrophobia from being strapped down for radiation treatments), watching my parents wind down and be poked and prodded during their last years, accepting fully and with so much love that I was taking care of them, not me.  But my main reason for seemingly “rejecting self-care” was having experienced some severe emotional trauma that attacked my sense of self and led to horrible body image.  I now fully accept the gift of my body and its crazy cricks and nuts and bolts and tissue memory from dance injuries.  It’s all good.  I have full ownership.  I love this old skin bag.

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If I need to go to the doc I will, but really nothing was making me go to address that fucking mole.  So I decided to address the issue of my anxiety around it, around what I needed to address in all aspects of my life.  I made up my anatomical heart journal exercise.  I did it a few times.  Two weeks later the mole crumbled and fell off.

I thought,

HELLO!  I am on to something here.

I kept doing the anatomical heart exercise over the next years but I seemed to be writing the same thing over and over again.   Same issues coming up.  Money, trust, low self-esteem etc.

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I was stuck in a perseverating  spiral.  Then slowly a new mole formed just below the original spot.  And I ignored it.  But as I was ignoring it, I was actually building a new life.  And addressing aspects of myself I had indeed been ignoring.

But oi– the mole grew uglier and bigger and again the family addressed their concerns.  I couldn’t cover it anymore.

Yet I noticed my anatomical heart exercise was changing.  I wasn’t writing money, trust, and low self-esteem.  I was writing allow, choose, and change.  And as the mole grew uglier and bigger and harder to ignore,  I made a big choice.  Not to go to the doc.  I knew the mole was just seborrheic keratosis.  I made the choice to change my situation.  To leave the life that was weighing heavy on my heart and to centre fully into my art.

I did not feel authentic in my daily job anymore.  And that is OK.  It had its time.  I gave my notice.  And the mole grew uglier.  But I mindmapped and took responsibility and put up the boundaries and owned the decision.  The new schedule really started November 8.

The week after- this latest MOLE CRUMBLED AND FELL OFF.

WTF?

HELLO!

Wonder what the next mole will teach me.

TRUST

We are never being punished, only being taught. Everything is a teaching.

– Caroline Myss

I am finding chaos a trigger to inner peace. #journalexercise

At times, life can feel chaotic.  Both within and without and especially in moments on transition, when to-do lists double up and there are never enough hours in the day.  When you sense stress in colleagues as they anticipate change.  Your nerves are highly sensitive to triggers and the panic demon sits in the very back of your mind, in the dark, on high alert, ready to pounce.

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Yet…

-maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s surviving the big stuff, maybe it’s because of all the self-work I’ve done or simply a paradigm shift-

I am finding chaos a trigger to inner peace.

When I feel that darkness wanting to invade, I remind myself to let go.  No questions.  No fix-its.  No racing mind and trying to solve problems.  Just allow the chaos.

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Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. – Desiderata

WRITE ABOUT CHAOS IN YOUR JOURNAL.  

Take a deep breath.  Close your eyes and pause.  Then take ten minutes to sit in silence and write. Take some precious time to just stop.  What is it we can do less of?  More of?  What is it we can let go of?  What is it we can get done now?  Or hold off till later?  Not do at all?

Maybe the chaos is a sign to LISTEN, to STOP, to TAKE NOTE, to celebrate that you are TAKING RISKS, and MOVING FORWARD.

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We long for solid predictable ground, but how can we revel and enjoy the comfort of moss and roots under our feet if we don’t at times feel the quicksand?

The purpose of the design is to unsettle the bee… – Annie Dillard

One of my favorite drawings by my father was created June 2012 as he struggled with chaotic thoughts:

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Dad always said, “Keep drawing. Never give up.” His most peaceful times were at his desk drawing.

And don’t forget to laugh!!!

Journal exercise: facing our barriers [writing and drawing]

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Before our drawing exercise today with my youth group, I asked them to write stream of consciousness around barriers– barriers that come up in life, that make us “stuck” etc.  TEN MINUTES.  10 minutes of writing can be very liberating as it gives us a private place in which to problem solve and release.

Here’s what flowed out of my pen [unedited]…

Journaling exercise with Intake 5.  Write for 10 minutes on your barriers.  What is it you repeatedly come across in your life that apparently blocks you?  What is it that is seemingly to blame for you seemingly being unsuccessful in your pursuits of schooling, employment, love etc.?  Is there a way for you to look those things in a new way with a new eye?  To see those barriers as allies?  As a means of embracing imperfections to build structure… wings?  To actually be ourselves with all that shit we carry and be free within those limitations?

Can we truly let go in order to fly?  

Is it OK to hold on in order to build roots?  

When are external forces to blame and when are we becoming slaves to our own hold on those forces?  We build a cocoon with the collection we gather of experiences, successes, struggles, suffering.  We build a cocoon so tight— at times too tight.  Are we at risk for not being able to break through in order to unfold those wings?  Is the addressing of our barriers a way of peeling away in order to reveal our splendid selves underneath?   

Here are the extraordinary drawings by my students that came out afterwards:

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“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Victor Frankl

Untangling Past/Present/Future Journal Exercise

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We may find ourselves stuck in a cycle, weighed down by our past, distracted by our perceived future and not living fully in the present.

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. – Lao Tzu

I have found this new exercise liberating— drawing out the untanglement.  It was born out of dialogue around letting go.  The octopus image is inspired by my student Liz, who often uses the octopus in her imagery.

She practiced this new exercise yesterday, with beautiful results:

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Check out Liz’s new blog!

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“Drawing on Pain” at Espana Gallery closing early due to protests from tenants.

UPDATE!

It as an interesting experiment to have “Drawing on Pain” exhibited in a lobby gallery. Experiment has to end early as some tenants are expressing concern over the subject matter and have asked that the show be taken down. Understood. Thank you, The Espana Gallery, for the opportunity while it lasted!

The show will end Sept 22.  I just received this message from the curator:

“Unfortunately, tomorrow I have to take your work down from the Espana. The manager has called me to say that a group of people are offended by the nudity, language , etc. And they won’t back off of him. One of these people is the strata council so they are really pressuring him. I have my own thoughts about this, but I don’t really have a choice at this point. I apologize.” 

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DRAWING ON PAIN exhibits my personal therapeutic process as I utilize art to help me process the difficult challenges I have encountered (and continue to encounter) in my life– such as divorce, cancer, my friends’ suicides, financial struggles and planning the road ahead.  I call myself a Kahloist and often find it healing to utilize the image of Frida Kahlo to express that internal pain for me.   By facilitating the need for self-expression through drawing, I lighten the load in my heart.

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Drawing is the honesty of the art. – Salvador Dali

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DRAWING ON PAIN Aug 29- Oct 13, 2013

ESPANA GALLERY

689 Abbott Street, Vancouver BC

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