I originally attended a Soulful Vision Boards collage workshop at the yoga studio where I was teaching, thinking I knew what to expect. When my boys were little, I worked from home as a graphic designer, every year crafting a vision board for myself as well as for clients. The workshop landed in my path when my life was in major transition. The combination of returning to the US from a 6 year stint in the Far East, personal turmoil, and a career shift meant it was an ideal time to refocus. The workshop sounded like a familiar practice, done in a group setting.
Do you see where this is going? Did I READ the course description first? This was not a familiar practice.
First of all, we couldn’t use scissors? I knew my soul was in for a ride the moment Rachel encouraged us to let things get messy. Rip, tear, trash, shred… neat niceties are overrated. My mind enjoys things making sense, having explanations, closure and understanding. But I rolled with it. Despite that need for order, new things are shiny and exciting to me, and my heart and soul were wide open and thirsty. We weren’t expected to understand during the process – reflection was the dessert course. As someone who tends to live compartmentally and very focused on the task at hand, there might’ve been some mild fear and shaking involved. There might’ve been many questions… asked and not.
The premise: Tear with abandon now, glue without a roadmap, interpret later. Keep what the spirit asks for, even if it isn’t pretty or understandable. This is the raw stuff. This is story. This is REAL.
The synchronicity that occurred between my teeny inner voice and my hands, once my mind felt permitted to rest and let my heart do the talking, arrived like the depositing of a beautiful shell on the sand as the tide fades away. The process seeped into my skin, reverberated in my bones and was realized in my spirit.
We haven’t even gotten to the real meat of the work yet, though. This process continued well after the workshop, reinventing itself, revealing innermost movements along with it.
Once you understand the mechanics of intuitive collage, it becomes a quick practice to turn to any time. My library is at five notebooks, several posters, and expanding. I collage for myself, I collage for others. I collage when I don’t understand, and even when I do. As a joyous lover of all things steeped in color, imagery, and creative expression, but not an artist in the traditional sense, this process is putting my authentic core on display. In moments when life deals blow after blow, it is a cathartic healing balm. It is a whole new language realized… hieroglyphics of the heart.
Much of my self exists in oversharing, validation seeking, and get lost in self-doubt. All of which are shadowy parts of my journey that are embraced as fully as my laughter, generosity, and ability to support others. Intuitive collage doesn’t let me sit in the mire of my excuses. It walks me through a beautifully crafted forest of what my heart desperately needs the rest of me to hear… and heed. It is a bridge offering a safe distance between the catalyst and the reaction. It permits me to see things more clearly as they are, not as my emotions want to shape them.
Intuitive collage has completely shifted the way I process happenings and the feelings that arise from them… regardless of where they fall on the positive-negative spectrum. It is a curiously mindful inquiry into the depths of the spirit, unfurling into beautiful, unique, and very telling art. It is the friend who shows me, silently and lovingly, what my soul has been trying to tell me all along. No fear, no judgment, no rejection.
My role as a wife, mother, and teacher — kunga/children’s/Thai yoga, mindfulness + movement mentoring — require I be present, aware, and enter every offering with an impermeable love filter. Only love flowing in and out. Seva (service) has always been the root of all for me. However, for a very long time, I felt selfish entering into any activity that considered taking care of myself. Recently, my body (and my heart) became ill and broken from the inside out, forcing me to stop in my tracks and re-evaluate. It is only now, as I emerge from an unwell fog, that I catch myself with grace and open arms. I am beyond certain I wouldn’t have arrived at this place without this process of soul-speak whispering to my being with color and shape, pattern and hidden meaning.
Workshop seems like so trite a word for something that can completely change the way we turn down the volume on the expectations of society and of our own minds and reconnect to the heart space. Through intuitive collage, I found a deeper way to step back into the cloak of my own true, sweet self, finding and nurturing every corner of my being.