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

Holding on or letting go… lessons from my nephew.

As I watch my nephew taking his steps towards his independence, I am struck with the battle we all struggle with between holding on and letting go.

Just by watching Henrik, I find a metaphor for those battles inside myself.

From the simple holding on to the pinky finger to feel safe- to letting go of the perceived safety net and taking those steps…

To finding simple treasures and admiring them for a moment, enjoying the lift the experience gives, then flinging them back…


To voraciously holding on, ingesting all that life has to offer, feeling grounded in the holding on to the known, seeking more by grabbing more, collecting no matter what or how…


To just observing life and death and its wonders, allowing, flying, being light…


To revisiting and redoing, reassessing, keeping, holding, allowing…


Breathing through the fear and blocks…


And drawing through it.  Always drawing through it…


All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. ~Havelock Ellis

“Boid.” BIRD, bird, BbIiRrDd… how my 18-month-old nephew made my crow drawing a masterpiece.

Step 1.Review the alphabet.
Step 1.Review the alphabet.
Have a nap and snack.
Step 2. Have a nap and snack.
Paint. Paint. Paint the "boid."
Step 3. Paint. Paint. Paint the “boid.”
Stay free!  Express!  Put your whole body and soul into it.
Step 4. Stay free! Express! Put your whole body and soul into it.

Completed interactive art:




You will need:

• Paper

• Charcoal

• Dry pastel (one bright color)

• Eraser

• Scissors

• White Acrylic paint

• Fine brush

Full-length tutorial now available on VIMEO!


$2 for 72 hours access!