Art Journaling

Art journaling, for me, is sometimes the end and sometimes the beginning.

Heart Art- journaling for fun

Heart Art- journaling for fun

Quite often, I art journal (if that can be a verb) for art journaling’s sake.  I play with a variety of materials, subject matter, and techniques without concern for the outcome.  The key word here is PLAY.  It’s an activity that reminds me of being a child– joyfully exploring without self-criticism, getting my hands covered with paint and glitter, and feeling limitless because I’ve put no limits on myself.  It’s about the process not a product.  It’s liberating to know that this is a piece for my eyes only, unless I choose to share it.  I’m free when I art journal.

Camper- playing with all sorts of materials

Camper- playing with all sorts of materials

Being an artist who also appreciates the sale of my work and the connection my pieces can make with other people, I also use my art journal as a learning tool.  All of the playing and experimenting help me see new color combinations or envision new compositions for larger works.

The Divine in Me

The Divine in Me

On a deeper level, my art journal is a way to connect with my authentic self in a way I cannot with a written journal that so heavily relies on intellect and grammar.  My art journal is soulful.  It is the place where I can explore personal imagery, dream symbolism, and my spirituality.  The mysteries of my inner life are revealed in my journal.  My emotions are vaildated and freely expressed without judgement.

Focus on the Light- what came out when I found out my brother-in-law committed suicide

Focus on the Light- what came out when I found out my brother-in-law committed suicide

An art journal can also be a seat of power.  A place to set intentions for what I want to manifest in my life.  The art I create in my journal can deliberately reflect my desires or unconsciously expose what is hidden inside of me, much like a vision board.

Dream the Moon into Existence

Dream the Moon into Existence

In my art journal,

I am creator, healer, priestess, teacher, student, celebrant, and eternal child.

Dream Weaver

Dream Weaver

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Bridges and Boundaries

Transformation is only possible when we choose to build bridges instead of roadblocks.

Transformation is only possible when we choose to build bridges instead of roadblocks.

I thought I fully embraced transformation–eagerly desiring positive change and building bridges to what I envision as the next phase of my life.  But something has been getting in my way.  Me.  I’m building my own roadblocks as fast as I’m building bridges.

This is a common pattern for me and many others.  We get close to fulfilling a dream and then pull away out of fear, whether it be deepening a new relationship, deciding to move, or changing careers.

I’m grateful for finally recognizing this for it means I am in a position to break the cycle of self-defeating behavior.

What do I mean by “bridges”?  

Bridges are any action or decision you make in alignment with your soul’s wish.  When I decided to leave Virginia, I focused on finishing my masters’ degree, got certified in other states, sent out resumes, made phone calls, and traveled hundreds of miles for interviews.

As I got closer to my goal, I let fear overpower me and I started building roadblocks instead.

What do I mean by “roadblocks”?

Roadblocks are the barriers to success and the awakening of our authentic Selves.  They are any action or behavior that gets in the way of reaching your goal or fulfilling your dream.  When I accepted a position and prepared to move, I began to sabotage myself in three significant ways.  FIrst, I claimed to be “too busy” to follow up with realtors who were trying to sell my house & help me find a new one.  Second, I let perfectionism paralyze me, making the excuse that everything had to be perfectly in place before I’d move forward.  And lastly, I shut down.  I was so scared about the scale of this life change that I couldn’t make any decision regarding the move for a few days.

There are already plenty of roadblocks between us and the fulfillment of our dreams.  Do we honestly need to sabotage our Selves, denying our right to happiness and an authentic life?  Naguib Mahfouz wrote, Fear does not prevent death, it prevents LIFE.”

So what am I doing differently?

Anything.  Everything.  It only takes one itty bitty baby step to break that negative thought pattern.  I am acknowledging my fear and taking the next step anyway.  I am choosing to listen to my intuition more than my inner critic.

To learn more about my painting called Transformation (seen above) or to view my other work,

visit me at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan .

Listening to Intuition

I’ve been craving space, knowing that life, like the earth, has seasons.  Autumn is ending and the last of the crops have been gathered before a period of rest.  It’s getting dark earlier.  Snow will most likely fall tomorrow and there is little else to do outside.  So I eagerly anticipate winter for it symbolizes the winter in the cycle of my life – a time when I can go more deeply within, rest, wait, emerge transformed.  I honor these cycles and learn from them.

I was overdoing it.  The perfectionist in me loved the committees, obligations, and productivity that I had over the last couple of years.  The authentic me, buried beneath the to-do lists, longed to step into the light and just BE.  As my commitments came to an end, I refused to “fill the void” with yet more committees and obligations.  Instead, I chose to sit in the growing space and settle in.  A little space felt good and more space felt even better.  I respected what I was feeling and stretched out my arms, embracing the mystery.  I don’t need to “be” anything other that me.

I have to warn you.  If you are brave enough to try this, some people won’t understand.  They have expectations for you.  They remember the old you and want you to stay that way, for if you reveal your authentic self and come from a place of inner knowing, they have to take closer looks at themselves, too.  Not every one is comfortable with change.  Be okay with that.  And be okay with the fact that some relationships will fall away to make way for relationships that align with who you are, NOT with who you were.

I also have to warn you that like-minded people will suddenly surround you.  Kindred spirits will respond favorably to the change and affirm your decision to be YOU, for they have traveled similar paths.  You’ll be amazed at who appears in your life and the new opportunities that come with your growing authenticity.

This has been my experience over the last few months.  I love the way it feels yet acknowledge a part of me that is uncomfortable with the growing space… that perfectionist who adamantly says, “I should be doing more.”  “I should say yes to all the things people want me to do.”  “It’s selfish to self-nurture.”  Right?  Wrong!!  That’s just fear and insecurity calling out in desperation to be recognized.  That’s the voice I listened to in the past.  But I want something more for myself so I ignore that desire to please and produce and continue to sit in the space I’m creating and nurture myself.

So I’ve stopped saying yes to every request for my time & energy.  I’m only saying yes to things that stir my soul and energize me.  To get back to my nature analogy, the earth goes through periods of birth, death, and rebirth.  So do we.  Some call them “chapters” of their lives.  Some say they are “entering a new phase”.  Whatever you call it, honor it.  Surrender and see where it leads.

My period of rest has given me the time to get to know my true self- Pure Susan.  I like where I am going and I like who I am traveling the road with.

I’ll be exploring this & other related topics in my next several blogs.  How do we create space?  How do we say no to energy-suckers?  When opportunities to fill the space come along, how do we know which will nourish and which will drain?  How profoundly can life change when we say “Yes!” to what stirs our souls?

I can’t shed everything that no longer serves (yet) but by shedding what I can, I create a sacred space for my authentic self to grow and reach for the sunlight of all possibilities.

 

 

Putting Fear in Its Place

There was a gem of an idea stored deep within me in a box I had labeled “Wishful Thinking”.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m starting a new business venture & now it’s close to becoming a reality.  I’ve had to remind myself that no matter what happens, the only failure is in keeping the dream confined in that musty old box & not giving it a chance to see the light of day.

The stages I’ve experienced as my business transforms from dream to glittering reality- inspiration, motivation, & trepidation- are similar to those experienced by anyone preparing to birth something new, whether it be a baby or a Broadway musical.

The moment of inspiration is ecstatic!  The mind, heart, & soul unite to generate ideas as we revel in the possibilities of what might be.  Dreams expand to fill the universe because, at this stage, absolutely anything is possible.  This is the “fun part”.

Then, we are motivated to make the dream come true.  We roll up our sleeves, accepting the responsibility of being the co-creator of our existence rather than a passive victim of circumstance (i.e. fate).  Called to action, we take steps to manifest the dream in our life.  There’s no denying the amount of blood, sweat, & tears that go into birthing something healthy.  However, dreams, like babies, can be born prematurely.  It’s only by listening to the messages our intuition is sending us that we know how best to proceed.

What are the signals?  They are those unexpected signs such as the right opportunity revealing itself, the right people coming along to support your vision, the money appearing just when you need it, etc…  Synchronicity.  Pay attention.  Take notice.  The signs to proceed are there or they’re not.

This is usually the point where fear stalks the psyche.  We question everything.  Am I forcing this?  Is the timing right?  What if it’s rejected?  What if it’s a success?!

That’s the funny one… “fear of success”.  Why are we afraid to let our light shine & be all that we are capable of being?  Ultimately, I believe, it goes back to a fear of rejection.  Look at famous people who seem to have it all.  They still have insecurities about being seen as frauds or of the fame, money, & material possessions disappearing one day.  We’re only on a pedestal long enough to be knocked off, right?  What if that’s not right?

What if the Universe (Source, Great Spirit, God, Goddess) wants us to be happy?  What if all we had to do was “show up”?  Suppose the only expectation is that we live lives of integrity & AUTHENTICITY.  How liberating!!!  No fear, just the understanding that we have to be present & be our best selves.

When fear strikes me, as it does all of us at one time or other, I remind myself that no woman ever gave birth to a fashion designer or marine biologist.  She gave birth to a baby who evolved over time.  No plant bears fruit before its roots are established & it has time to mature.  No book springs from the author’s imagination ready to be published.  See where I’m going with this?

Don’t force yourself to run before you can walk.

Take baby steps if giant strides seem too much to bear.

Do anything but stand still.

And most importantly, give your dreams the chance to manifest in your life.