You had the opportunity last month to end up not recognizing yourself.

This past weekend I have had a bit of that existential-post-trip-out-of-body-kind-of-weirdness-needing-to-contract feeling.

[Thanks to my soul sister, Patti Henderson], I check in with the Power Path regularly (especially when I feel like this) as a tool/guide.  I am reminded of the July 2016 forecast:

“Radical personal transformation is possible. Start with taking care of yourself, loving yourself, giving yourself the time and space for emotional assimilation, clearing, healing, and allowing yourself to prioritize your life according to what matters the most to you. Give yourself permission to be irritated and cranky as long as it does not affect others. Be careful of impatience and judgment and always move yourself to a place of compassion and forgiveness.  You have the opportunity this month to end up not recognizing yourself…  This is a higher centered time of emotional revolution, of seeing things differently, of having a new unique experience of your life, of access to more power, bliss and inspiration and to really feel like you are setting your life on a satisfying path.  If you are not there yet, have patience. Perhaps there is something that needs to be completed first in order to free you up for transformation or perhaps there is still fear. Just keep working at it, chipping away at the armor of attachment and falling more deeply in love with yourself and others.” – The Power Path July 2016 Forecast

I am working at it.  If you are not there yet, have patience…  When I am tired and need to rest, I tend to resist.  This resistance then creates an unease I liken to fear.  So instead of saying YES- not only to possibility and life- but to rest and stillness, I resist.  I am learning, however, that this seems to be a new (or at least more obvious) pattern to my creative process:  

observe, listen, inspiration, research, plan, prepare, create, OUTPUT!, experiment, collect, document, reflect, clean up, put away, stop, anxiety, fear, existential crisis, contract, fatigue, retreat, solitude, ponder, more fatigue, reflect, journal, rise up, abuzz, observe, listen, inspiration, research, plan, prepare, create, OUTPUT!, experiment, collect, document, reflect, clean up, put away, stop, anxiety, fear, existential crisis, contract, fatigue, retreat, solitude, ponder, more fatigue, reflect, journal, rise up, abuzz, inspiration…

So each part of the pattern is essentially essential- without one, there would not be the other.  The PROCESS has a PATTERN.

“The creative process is not just iterative; it’s also recursive. It plays out “in the large” and “in the small”—in defining the broadest goals and concepts and refining the smallest details. It branches like a tree, and each choice has ramifications, which may not be known in advance… The creative process involves many conversations—about goals and actions to achieve them—conversations with co-creators and colleagues, conversations with oneself.Source: A model of the Creative Process

And so back to the Power Path: You have the opportunity this month to end up not recognizing yourself…  This is a higher centered time of emotional revolution, of seeing things differently, of having a new unique experience of your life, of access to more power, bliss and inspiration…

Certainly this recognition of pattern and process and allowing the process to unfold, even the fear- is NEW and TRANSFORMATIVE for me.  Being in the journal portion of my creative process yesterday, I took some paper and a pen to a bench in the park and just wrote, knowing I am carrying some many insights and personal lessons with me from last week’s trip.  But I knew i just had to write.  To keep the pen moving, writing nonsensically, without thought, without curiosity, without censor… just move the pen and let the verbosity out.

July 31, 2016 Stanley Park [unedited]

Sometimes you require, crave, demand solitude.  I am spreading.  Folds of flesh start to fall.  No longer am I fetus, infant, toddler, child, pubescent juvenile, young adult, adult, daughter.  My skin has slipped from its hinges and is askew.  Existential downtime when home from a trip.  The glow stick is snapped and the heat spreads upward from the heart- the peritoneal lining feels acidic- the heat spreads onto the face  and the sweat creates a hovering layer not quite touching the skin.  The hands cool, clammy, wet, wrung, wringing.  The brain turns 360 degrees in its cavity before settling back.  It is requesting something and I am not sure what.  I want to debrief and talk deep but dialogue feels futile.  The birds will have it.  Sitting in the park, the putter of Sunday life the soundtrack.  I request and require solitude, I write in my mind, observe the human, like on the bus this morning, and I feel so disconnected.  The birds will have it.  Three robins sprang up in front of me as I walked towards the bus stop.  The meeting?  The meaning?  Are they guardians?  Souls?  

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As the flesh comes off its hinges and becomes papery and fragile, it peels away, revealing the skeleton underneath.  The flesh no longer the nurturer.  The bones though still provide structure, framework.  There is a child playing with his little sibling and he keeps repeating “Stop in the name of love!”   Meet it all with love.  I must gather myself, my thoughts and my to-do’s and remind myself to trust the permanent change.  To celebrate every breath, to make sure I make the right agreements.

A gentle journal vomit session tends to cleanse the nooks and crannies of the mind and heart and spirit.

“In the world of YES, Fear = Contraction.  When we contract, we become closed or restricted.  This can cause us to retreat or give up.  Take a look at what causes you to contract or expand with regard to your creative dreams.  Creative dreams themselves are natural expansion devices.  They contain energy, motion, and desire.  We can learn to respond to change creatively by studying our habitual responses and making adjustments.  It can feel natural to respond to change by contracting or saying no.  Contraction is not bad, It just slows expansion.  What makes you feel expansive, open to change, and like saying YES?” – SARK

Source: Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day by Sark, Simon & Schuster 2005

So did I end up not recognizing myself after this month?  Hell, yes!  

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Procrastination embraced. Journal exercise.

If you procrastinate, it has served you in some way. Welcome it! Congratulate yourself. Study its effects in your life, and its gifts – allow yourself to accept and then release your procrastination! – SARK

The following journal exercise can take you a few minutes or several weeks- totally up to you!

1. Get a composition book.  (Dollar store has delicious ones):IMG_3038.JPG2. When you finally get around to it, write today’s date (whatever that day may be):IMG_30453. Gather some drawing and writing supplies, so they are ready for when the time is right:IMG_3039.JPG4. Collect all your to-do’s in a basket, if they fit:IMG_3040.JPG5. Make a pile “to read” books.  This visual will make you feel productive:IMG_3042.JPG6. Grab a cup of coffee and your phone:IMG_3043.JPG7. Collect some stuff to eventually add to the composition book:IMG_3044.JPG8.  Go on instagram (essential):IMG_30469. Tweet a little (optional):IMG_3048.PNG10.  Wait for further instructions.  That’s enough for today.

Love Kat

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Celebrating being what @SusanAkaSARK calls SPLENDIDLY IMPERFECT. #journalexercise

There is a lot of joy in the mess and chaos of living as a “splendidly imperfect” human being.

Sark

Draw yourself in the centre of the sheet.

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On one side list things that come to mind when you think of the word IMPERFECT. Don’t worry about getting it all in or making sense. Just keep writing:

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I am a hoarder and have lots of clutter, I don’t exercise enough or eat well enough, I avoid conversations, I am covered in moles, my body is sagging and aging, I just want to write and draw, I am always second-guessing myself, I have huge debts that keep me awake at night, I miss Sweden, my carpets are filthy, my bathtub is broken, my dishwasher is broken, I have trust issues, I am not a good friend, the walls need painting, I make too many promises, I get overwhelmed and need cave time, I am not elegant, I judge, I am ugly, I am exhausted, the word yet is misspelled in my book, “yut,” I am addicted to coffee, I am a pushover, I am tired of working on the DTES, I don’t know how to value myself, I am not original, I don’t have sufficient income, I had to sell my car, my nails are too short, I miss my Mom and Dad and haven’t had the time to grieve…

Now on on the other side, respond to that list to show that you are actually SPLENDID.

SPLENDIDLY IMPERFECT.

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I live in my art space and am surrounded by creativity.

I am 50+, almost 51, and doing great and enjoying my consumption and routine.

I need me time.

My body is perfect for it is alive.

I am a dedicated person.

I have been able to juggle my finances on super low income in order to live as an artist and open myself to abundance possibilities.

My new career is starting and I can catch up on all my debts and fix-it needs and go to Sweden and live my dreams…

I love being married to ME.

I have a book with my name on it and I facilitated a legacy.

Feeling stuck? Try my Sunday night #journal exercise: twenty words. #arttherapy

Feeling a bit scattered, stuck, like you’re treading water?  Trying to focus on the next step?

Based on Lynda Barry

Try this exercise I came up with for myself tonight:

Write 20 words that simply pop into your mind when you think about your “stuckiness”… Don’t hesitate.

Draw out a lined sheet of paper.

Rewrite the words and mark it as you contemplate each word and realize it’s OK to be stuck sometimes.  For those are the times we rest.  Open ourselves up to new chapters.

Don’t power walk. Saunter slowly in the sun, eating chocolate, and carry a blanket so you can take a nap. – SARK

Part 33 of 35 daily journal workshop. @SusanAkaSARK’s MICROMOVEMENTS. #arttherapy

Time to take a breather and simplify by using SARK‘s inspiring micromovements!

My collection of SARK books. Always an oasis.
From SARK's The Bodacious Book of Succulence p.35

Disaster to-do lists.
Organized to-do folder through micromovement!

Try some micromovements of your own.  Use your journal as your oasis.

SARK:

SARK is a best-selling author and artist, with sixteen titles in print and well over two million books sold, including the national bestsellers Succulent Wild Woman, Bodacious Book of Succulence, Eat Mangoes Naked, Prosperity Pie and Fabulous Friendship Festival. Her newest book is Glad No Matter What; Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift And Opportunity. SARK’s books are frequently chosen as One Spirit selections, and are translated into a number of foreign languages. Her work is widely used by colleges and universities as required reading and course material and she is a distinguished contributor to many magazines and periodicals. SARK is one of the featured trailblazers in the critically acclaimed PBS Series, “Women of Wisdom and Power”. An acclaimed speaker and teacher, she has been teaching and leading workshops for over twenty years. She is a transformational role model offering inspiration and guidance to people in their process of living more powerfully and authentically, and being more actively creative on a daily basis. SARK is also the founder and CEO of Planet SARK, a thriving business that creates innovative products and services to support empowered living, including her newest ePrograms: SARK’s Transformation Exper!ence, Juicy Journaling with SARK, Magical Journeys with SARK, SARK’s Awesome Anytime Adventure and Dream Boogie with SARK. Call her on the Inspiration Line at 415.546.3742 . [source]

Daily Journal Workshop:

JOURNAL PARTS 1 to 25

Part 26 PERFECTIONISM

Part 27 SHUT YOUR EYES AND SEE

Part 28 ANGELS AMONG US

Part 29 MINDFULNESS

Part 30 REVIEW. RESOLVE

Part 31 NEWBORN. BRAINSTORM

Part 32 GRIEF

Part 21 daily journal workshop. SELF-HARM #arttherapy

Disclaimer:

I am not a doctor and these pages are not a substitute for professional help.  If you are triggered negatively by any of the journal work here, seek support.

Self-Harm:

There are so many forms of self-harm.  I have seen the whole gamut in my work with at-risk youth.  I have seen it in my family.  And certainly in myself.  There’s a whole spectrum from harm-less to very harm-full.

What does SELF-HARM mean to you personally?  Pick one way you feel you self-harm.  Physically or emotionally.  Maybe just a small one so as to ease into the dialogue.

Draw it out.  Express that energy you direct so brutally towards yourself onto paper instead.

Start the dialogue.  Release those feelings.  “Self-healing from the core.”

Now write a message of love to yourself:

Today’s message from SARK:

My dear friend, Dr. Lissa Rankin of OwningPink.com – a brilliant, creative and succulent Medical Doctor – has found scientific evidence to prove that creative health is every bit as important to your body as good nutrition, daily exercise, and regular check-ups.

It supports what I’ve taught for YEARS – expressing yourSELF creatively isn’t just some fun luxury pastime. It’s vital to living a healthy and joyful life!

Take a minute now to watch her talk at:

Self-healing from the core

Resource:

Self-Mutilation and Art Therapy: Violent Creation by Diana Milia, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2000

Diana Milia examines the effect of art therapy interventions with clients who harm their bodies. She describes art making in terms of symbolic modification of the self-mutilating client’s own body, with the ultimate goal of self-transformation. The creative process itself provides an arena for the discharge and mastery of aggressive impulses, and develops self-control, self-esteem, and symbolic capacities, all of which are crucial in the treatment of self-mutilating behaviors. Demonstrating how these theories can be implemented in practice, Milia then describes examples from her clinical experience, and includes extended case studies. She analyzes art therapy sessions and the process and content of artwork. Her book is practical: it also extends our understanding of the concept of self-mutilation and how best it may be addressed.

Ophelia, Katarina Thorsen (late 90's)

Daily Journal Workshop:

Part 1 JUST WRITE

Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS

Part 3 HEART

Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE

Part 5 NAKED SCREAM

Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND

Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S

Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN

Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT

Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT

Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING

Part 12 DEAR WORLD. SECRETS

Part 13 NEGATIVE – POSITIVE

Part 14 BE THE MAP

Part 15 GUEST SPEAKER

Part 16 COMICS!

Part 17 ALTER

Part 18 SURVIVOR

Part 19 CANCER

Part 20 WORTH


Part 20 daily journal workshop. WORTH #arttherapy

Let’s take a look at the concept of worth.

Write about it.  Then draw “ME” over your words.

Pull out the words covered by “ME.”

Draw an eye.  Recall tutorial.  Draw tears coming out.  Large, bloated tears.

Write the ME words in the tears.

Find a quote you like about worth, self-worth, self-esteem etc.

I picked:

If you let yourself be truly seen, then you can be truly loved. – SARK

Add it to your eye.  Any way you like.

Now color.  Try some dry pastel.

It’s lush and you can get right in there.

You can “fix” it easily with hairspray to stop it from smudging.  Plus hairspray makes the color bleed through the page nicely.

WORTH IT

Howework:

Collect some images around self-harm.

Daily Journal Workshop:

Part 1 JUST WRITE

Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS

Part 3 HEART

Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE

Part 5 NAKED SCREAM

Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND

Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S

Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN

Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT

Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT

Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING

Part 12 DEAR WORLD. SECRETS

Part 13 NEGATIVE – POSITIVE

Part 14 BE THE MAP

Part 15 GUEST SPEAKER

Part 16 COMICS!

Part 17 ALTER

Part 18 SURVIVOR

Part 19 CANCER

Part 13 daily journal workshop. NEGATIVE – POSITIVE. #arttherapy

Daily Journal Workshop:

Part 1 JUST WRITE

Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS

Part 3 HEART

Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE

Part 5 NAKED SCREAM

Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND

Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S

Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN

Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT

Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT

Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING

Part 12 DEAR WORLD. SECRETS

How can we transform our thoughts?  How can we transform them to something positive as we are overwhelmed by negative events and circumstance?  Is there a process/toolkit we can access to contain the overwhelming feelings?  Can we do it through careful rationalizing, thereby finding the positives?

Today use photography to process these questions.  Take photos or find some.  Maybe glue them in your journal.  Write about it if you feel like it or let the photo speak for itself.

Here’s how my exercise unfolded:

I had a couple of private art therapy sessions today.  Certainly the stories my art therapy students share and the lives some of them live can be moving and heavy.  But that is not personal.  That is my work and as I facilitate their artistic expression, a negative mood can be transformed into a positive moment.

My art therapy student adds to my journal today.

But a note re: my father from his doc this afternoon was personal.  These words stood out:

I felt that familiar tingle of panic in my toes.  “It’s back?” I thought.  So Dad and I pulled out our toolkit as we headed to X-ray and tests.  Our toolkit, besides our art, is HUMOR.

So we humorized and instagramed the hell out of that panic.  And thereby transformed something negative into something fabulously positive and fucking funny.

"Not yet."

OUR DUAL ART EXHIBIT and FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN DETAILS COMING SOON! STAY TUNED!

"Viking, 2011" by Roar Thorsen

Recommended:

In this inspiring book, SARK shares the insights she found along the way — practical strategies we can all use to cultivate profound, positive transformation through, rather than despite, life’s inevitable travails.

Dream Boogie Winter 2011 with @SusanAkaSARK! DREAMing to DOing


Winter 2011 Dream Boogie with SARK:Dancing from DREAMing to DOing

I adore SARK as you may guess from my endless twitters and rants, including my dedicated page HEALING WITH SARK.

I am proud to help her promote her latest free teleclass!

SARK says:

An all-new session of Dream Boogie with SARK begins February 1 and I’m so excited! One of my absolutely favorite parts of Dream Boogie is what I call “SARK’s Intuitive Flash” – where participants in the Boogie Beans Community can post any question related to their dream, and receive my intuitive flashes!

I’m discovering more and more how much Intuition is related to the Dance from DREAMing to DOing and so I’m delighted to present an entire class on this very subject….and it’s FREE for anyone to attend and participate! I’ve invited my friend Marney Makridakis from artellaland.com to join me in presenting an in-depth look at the practical, playful role that Intuition plays in our dreams…finding them and making them real.

SARK’s Intuitive Flash is a free teleclass that takes place on Wednesday, January 19, 2011, at 9:00pm Eastern (8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific)

There is a lot of joy in the mess and chaos of living as a “splendidly imperfect” human being.

– Sark