Friday, February 28, 2014

Emotional Refuge

"Emotional Refuge" assemblage
Mini watercolor-ink drawing, flower & leaf die cuts, scrabble tile, metal shell & heart,
mixture of white, tan & dark brown craft sand & gold glitter on mat board
Each of us is in need of emotional refuge at certain times in our lives…from an accumulation of stress, a challenging obstacle, a traumatic experience, loss, grief, illness, chronic pain.  Discovering and identifying ways to access this refuge becomes vital to our well-being.  We can find relief, healing and refreshment by immersing ourselves in whatever soothes us like a comforting “balm.”  Such refuges may range from simple moments fit into everyday life to more elaborate retreats.  A brief pause in a busy day.  A favorite rejuvenating activity or exercise.  A visit to one of your “happy places” (in reality or in visualization.) 
We can also find emotional refuge in a like-minded community.  This is the case for me every time I attend Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula’s monthly healing art retreat.  For a few hours, I can still the pace of my daily existence, tap into creative flow and feel buoyed in the company of kindred spirits.  During a past retreat, one of the prompts I chose was to create a representation of where I find emotional refuge when needed.  With my increasing desire to explore healing art from a three-dimensional perspective, I felt inspired to create this assemblage as my representation.


I find emotional refuge…

At the sea

By nurturing my dreams as they blossom into reality

In creative flow

While enjoying and appreciating nature

On family excursions and adventures

By following my heart

I hope by  sharing my “Emotional Refuge,” you may be inspired to contemplate the composition of your own refuge, perhaps even create a similar reminder for yourself, so when access is needed, you’ll remember the way.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Peaceful Landscape

"Peaceful Landscape," watercolor collage with glitter glue & bead
A couple months ago I received news that a healing art comrade had passed away.  I felt a strong wave of sadness in the days following this sudden and unexpected news.  She was one of the first people I met in the healing art program at our local hospital, and although we only interacted through our shared experience with healing art, I considered her a dear friend.  Within our healing art community, many of our friendships are not of a typical nature.  We may not know much, if anything, about each other’s daily life, details about families or jobs, but in gathering each month to partake in our sacred day of creativity, inner work and healing, we often end up with a more intimate knowledge of one another as we share, often profound, connections of heart and soul.  I felt somewhat adrift with my sadness.  Not knowing anything about her family or if there would be a memorial service or celebration of life, I searched my mind for a way I could honor this friend, this kindred creative spirit and seeker of healing.  My mind finally settled on our point of connection – healing art, and the way to honor her memory presented itself.  I had always admired the beautiful, ethereal landscapes she often painted, so I set up my watercolors and began to paint. I attempted, at first, to emulate her style of landscape, but I was displeased with my results;  then, I realized I needed to approach this healing art from a different perspective.  I began deconstructing the painting with which I was initially dissatisfied, cutting out shapes and reconstructing the painted shapes into a collaged landscape.  My realization was that the best way to honor this friend and remain connected to her memory was to “collaborate” with her spirit, to blend together my collage vision with my best interpretation of her landscape vision.  In doing so, I created this “Peaceful Landscape.”


This month has marked the one year anniversary of a loved one’s death, and I also learned of two more acquaintances recently passing, so those no longer in this “here and now” world have been on my mind.  My hope is that each person has reached their “peaceful landscape.”  
Peace is what I wish for everyone in our lives who has passed and for those of us here who miss them.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Abundant Love

"Abundant Love" notecards created for American Crafts & Jewels

In a past post, I wrote about our boundless capacity for love and its power to inspire, motivate, energize, encourage, comfort and heal.  Of late, I’ve again been reflecting on love’s amazing power while my attention has been focused on hearts!  One of my favorite designs, a simple collage of nine hearts I’ve titled “Abundant Love,” was added last month to American Crafts & Jewels’ assortment of Plumeria Papercraft notecards, and completing this order for my local client prompted thoughts of and gratitude for the abundant love in my own life.  I also prepared heart-themed and Valentine samples for my weekly after-school enrichment class and a recent weekend workshop and was delighted by the wonderfully positive dynamics that emerged in each group experience.  When we concentrate on hearts, love and creativity, how can the resulting dynamic be anything other than positive?!  I created personal expressions of love for family and friends as well.  All of this heart-based work has had an uplifting, energizing effect on my spirit and soul, and I am reminded that love can be simply, yet immensely powerful.


"Wholeheartedly" mosaic collage with origami papers

My "Handcrafted Love" workshop at Pacific Grove Art Center earlier this month

Heart garland I created as a project sample for my Tularcitos elementary students
May love be abundant in your life! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Simply Wish To Write

"Abundant Love," my heart collage design was added last month to the assortment of Plumeria Papercraft notecards
available at American Crafts & Jewels in Carmel...more on this in my next blog post.
I simply wish to write...
Life thus far in 2014 has been focused on ridding myself (or attempting to rid myself!) of physical and mental clutter, reorganizing, playing catch up, embracing opportunities as they’ve presented themselves, living in the moment and going to bed early whenever my body has declared itself in need of rest.  All of the above is positive progress, but alas, I’m left with little to no time for writing.  There’s still reflection time, typically while in the shower, stuck in traffic or on the verge of drifting off to sleep, but I haven’t been able to explore further reflection through writing lately.  Writing and sharing here on Paper And Ponder always helps me clear my head when it’s muddled in thoughts, providing insight and clarity and contributing to the healing and growth taking place in my life.  Just as important as it is to sort through the physical jumble in our home, I know I must find (make!) time to continue sorting through my “inner jumble.”  Writing, along with healing art, SoulCollage® and art journaling, is always a very helpful tool in my sorting process. 

Is writing helpful to you as well?  How do you make time to write?  What other tools help you sift and sort through your thoughts and emotions?