Dear Awesome Woman,
A few years ago, I was feeling a bit drained and empty inside. I had been giving, giving ,giving to others and though giving is a beautiful thing, giving to the point of self-depletion does not feel or look pretty. My chest felt hollow, my spirits low and resentment boiled up and out (unfortunate for those within close proximity of me).
I was reading Karla Mclaren’s book “The Art of Empathy” in which she mentions that expressing creatively “can help us develop a deeper intrapersonal awareness” and therefore balance the needs of others without depleting ourselves. I took her advice and chose an easy creative activity – collaging, something which required only a few tools and no skill.
I began by cutting pictures and words out of used magazines and gluing them onto oversized papers from scrapbook albums. Whatever image or wording that made me say “ooh, I like that” or “how pretty!” went on the paper. Luscious blooms, sparkling blue oceans and colorful hummingbirds with words like “breathe deeply”, “seek miracles” etc. decorated my papers. I got quite addicted to it and did it whenever I had a few minutes. I filled many albums and also took to cutting off the hard covers of used books. These were colorful boards that I collaged and enjoyed placing around my room and closet. Whether these boards and papers looked artistic or random, all filled me with a sense of joy.
Most importantly, I was collaging with absolutely no pressure in the realm of performing or accomplishing. Nada, zero, zilch. I was just being playful and tapping into my soul self.
Amazingly enough, my inner and outer world started to shift. I felt uplifted in spirit, more joyful and much less crabby and resentful to others. By tapping into my creative spirit and giving to myself in this way, I felt empowered to give to others without a sense of depletion.
I also found that many things from the boards appeared in my life or at least the feeling sense of what was on the boards came to me. Call it synchronicity, law of attraction or whatever – putting my attention on what felt good to me in the here and now, brought more of that into my life.
After about a year of doing this, I heard the term “vision board.” I recognized that this was very different from what I was doing.
I had been doing the “un-vision board.”
I wasn’t envisioning the future, I was being present. And I noticed that when others engaged in vision boarding, some women go a bit stuck. Instead of feeling a sense of joy or play in the activity, they experienced self pressure.
Envisioning what we want in the future is good and fine, but sometimes this can make us feel pretty lousy. It’s all too easy to focus on what we don’t have yet , what is lacking in ourselves or our lives and this could easily lead us down the rabbit hole of despair. DO NOT GO THERE!
INSTEAD play with the here and now – skip your rational left brain and go straight into your body. If the picture or word “jumps” out at you, if it brings you an uplift in your chest, makes you go “ooh, I like that!” , put it on your paper. No “shoulding” yourself or analyzing – just follow your body’s lead and cut away.
I invite you to play with this activity and here is the short list of supplies:
2) Used magazines, advertising brochures, used books (garden books, travel books etc.)
3) Large-ish sized paper or colorful hard covers from used books
4) Scotch wrinkle -free glue stick
5) A kind attitude towards yourself – allowing you to just notice what words and pictures feel good to you in the here and now
Enjoy tapping into your well of creative joy!