Unsettled, Anxious, Angry? Get Clear and Release.

Doodle and Jung quote2017 has started out with a collective angst that is hard to shake. Social media is ripe with fear, anger, and speculation so where do we find emotional peace?

In the silence of our own space.

It has never been more critical to practice mindfulness and focusing on the moment you are in. What are you feeling – right now? What can you do for yourself – right now? Why are you reacting the way you are – right now? Carl Jung advocated getting clear about what part you are playing in the collective unconscious. Calling what is effecting us on the inside out into the open so we can get clear.

There is a lot of confusion and hopelessness being generated right now. I feel it in my bones and my gut. I don’t know what to do next – that is the story I’ve told myself and it is just a story. The reality is my focus is to get myself clear so I do know what I should do next. If I get caught up in all the panic around me then I will remain foggy and nervous.

get-clearJanuary is a rest and reorganize month for me. This year I haven’t fully engaged in rest because I’m caught up in the collective energy. That does nothing for my spirit right now.

Visual journaling to the rescue!!!! The time is ripe for us to take time to get clear on the feelings that are swirling around. Take one feeling at a time. One point of anger at a time. One spiritual issue pressing on us at a time. One page per “thing” and dig deep.

  • Find images that resonate with you and do.  some college.
  • Do several collage pages at once.
  • Get quite for a few minutes and ask yourself what to journal about.
  • If you need help with a topic, use oracle cards.
  • Pick a page whose images call to you and then just start writing.

Visual journaling does several things better than any other self help technique 1)Picking images helps us to use symbolic expression. Our soul speaks in symbols and to really communicate with our higher selves images & symbols work best. (I’ll do a whole blog on this later). 2)The physical act of writing calms our body down and lowers blood pressure. 3)Getting the words out helps to clear out space for other feelings and thoughts because you can’t jam anything else into a full container. 4)Purging your system helps to see what you are really thinking. You can start to make sense of your personal truth as the words flow.

vasaline page 1This takes practice to unearth your true voice and creative style. Your visual journal/altered book is your safe place. No judgement (this takes A LOT of practice).

Start a page and you can always go back to it. Just because you put your journal down doesn’t mean you can’t add to your pages. You can even cover up the whole thing with collage if it’s too deep.

Now is the perfect time for self care so we can have the energy and clarity to know what is the next move for you.

Purging in an Altered Book

purge

Purging in your altered book/art journal is an excellent way to retain your sanity and calm anxieties. This is the basis of using art as therapy – get the crap OUT! I also use mine as a inspirational book and write my favorite quotes in.

We feed our brain by focusing on stuff. Once we add it into our library of information it’s there to either create a positive atmosphere or a negative scary one. We have gotten used to all the negative from all the “news” sources over the past years and we are feeding our thoughts (and soul) with fear. Now more than ever people are stressed and sick over the “what if’s” that they think up because of all the fuel of negative bullshit out in the world.

What Haunts Me 1

Purging or pouring out your pent up emotions on a page is very therapeutic because it gets that fearful energy OUT of your body. When we get scared or anxious there is an energy that builds up inside us. Mine felt like a whirl in my gut. This energy wants to do something and if we don’t exercise that energy it will stay in our body. If we let this active negative energy build up in our systems, our body will start to break down. We will form a habit of letting this fear that comes from our lizard brain (our primal instincts) rule our lives.

Peace

Practice purging in a journal either with collage or writing. Anything to clean out the shit that is clogging up your head. It is hard to describe what happens when you practice purging but it seems magical after you are finished. Things seems less intense, you can look at your thoughts objectively when they are on paper.

There is too much information flying around that focuses on just the problem. That is dangerous because it reinforces the fear and not what positive action we can take. This activates that flight response with nowhere to run. The negative energy gets stuck in us.

The creative flow (doing anything creative) helps to channel that energy and get our minds off the unknown. Now more than ever it’s so very important to purge creatively.

 

Road Blocks with Your Project 

I’ve had a road block with writing my book for several months. At first the section of “self discovery through the creative process” was blank in my mind. 

About a month ago I had an idea start to form around that section will focus on story. The story we repeat to ourselves may have been written by other people. We listened & believed to what people told us when we were young. When you’re young you just believe what’s said. (This is kinda juicy isn’t it?)

I now have the focus but details are hard coming. I’m in the birthing pain part of creating and it’s uncomfortable. It’s restless with an urgency. 

So today I just started doing a page in the journal. I made a path for writing the events in my life on in chronological order. 

So whatever you might be restless about doing – start at the beginning, take little steps, and be compassionate with yourself. 

Changes

Changes are always coming into our lives. Sometimes we know something brewing and other times we are knocked off our feet. 

There have been several times that I have been blindsided and devastated in my life. It’s at these times we have to step back and take a breath. It feels like we will never be the same and we never are. We do have a choice to work through our emotions of anger, fear, instability, and uncertainty so we can grow stronger. 

This is where an art journal/altered book comes in. This is your safe place to let out your frustrations. You can examine your reactions and begin to write a new chapter in your story. 


With all that is happening in our country and the high emotions, we need a way to reflect and relax. Painting with watercolors might just be the ticket!

If you haven’t tried painting in awhile, it will feel weird & maybe silly to play with watercolors but give it a try. After your page or paper dries, write down how you felt while you were painting and what parts you like. 

Take time to play, relax, and process so your feelings don’t get bottled up. 

Read Your Own Story

What is your story?

Do you ever really think about the stories you tell yourself and where they have come from?

Are the lyrics to the song you sing to yourself your words or are they the word of others that you have mistakenly taken on as your own?

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One way to look at self discovery is to look at the narrative that runs in your head. You live your life according to the story you have created. If we do not examine those songs, poems,  fables, and gossip pieces we believe about ourselves then we are not living in our OWN truth.

I examine the thoughts in my head through the collage of images and words. I have found that a majority of what I thought was true about myself is really other people’s issues projected onto me. I valued other people’s opinion so much that I believed their perception above what my truth really was.

It was built

Our story is built piece by piece as we walk our path in this life. Our greatest mission in this life is to find our own truth.

Not the truth of others.

Not the lies others tell us because of their pain.

Not the standards of society.

Not what “they” might think.

Not the false values when we compare ourselves to others.

It is time to rewrite your story with your truth.

 

 

A great way to rewrite your story is with an altered book. You are physically taking apart a book and recreating it with your beauty. As you create you are able to appreciate the style that is your own through the colors and textures you choose. You will change the words to fit who you really are.

This process takes a life time and it can be hard to believe your truth. It is difficult to lay down what you thought was true and craft a new story, but that new story brings brilliance.

You will gain a self confidence and focus that you may not have had. The whirling thoughts about what others think will be quieted. You will gain your peace. You will gain a love for yourself. You will find what a bright soul you are after you dust off the bullshit from your story.

I’m in the middle of writing a book about how to use art as a tool in your life and have been stuck on the self discovery chapters. Self discovery is such a broad theme – how do I explain it? Then the block crumbled and I saw how I deconstructed my story using an altered book. I have been rewriting my story for the past 12 years and I couldn’t be more in love with myself. I see my soul and what lessons it came here to learn. Now that I know more of my truth I am able to be more of who I’m suppose to be.

What is your story?

 

 

I’m Burnt Out but there’s so much I “should” do

priorityIt’s time for me to follow my own advice. I’m totally out of energy and have been for awhile. I’m burnt out but there is so much I “should” do so I bypass my needs to get things done. This habit of mine is a hard one to break because it stems from my big deep down shadow of not being enough. I need to prove, all the time, that I’m contributing to others. If other people depend on me then I’ll be good enough – and that is a lie that was built as a defense mechanism. It was a tool I used to make me feel better about myself.

image0We all have our own handmade tools we use to make sense of our world. The only damaging thing about that is we made them when we were little kids. We didn’t have enough wisdom to know that the people that helped us build these coping tools were teaching us out of their pain.

We make tool from our pain because of the fears of others. What is the opposite of love, not hate, but fear. If there is fear in our lives then it leaves less room for love.

If we make it our mission to understand our deep down stuff and love ourselves in spite of our fear – we understand how to love others more authentically. It is as simple as learn to love yourself in what ever way feels good to you. Less fear = more love and more abundant love.

It was builtIn honor of learning to love myself more than the “I shoulds” in my life, I’m going to take time away from a lot of social media. I love my blogs, Instagram, Face Book, but the reality is that I am easily distractable and need to focus on one thing right now.

My creative discovery packets I’ve been doing are asking to be a book. I have always had a secret desire to write a book and knew that some day the topic would present itself. Using art as a tool clicked with me and it has grown stronger. It is ready to come into the world to first help me and then others who need it.

I will still be posting on occasion when I get the nudge but it won’t be on a regular basis. I have enough energy to focus on this book for right now. If I am writing a message of pausing life, I better do it myself.

Love to you all and see you soon! Cathy

The Creative Brain and an Idea Box

my creative brainI’ve been getting a lot insights into my creative brain lately. Mine goes at light speed with an over abundance of ideas. This morning when I was meditating with my oracle cards (Wisdom of the Oracle by Colette Baron-Reed) I got an insight about using an Idea Box. This is not a new concept but it was timely to me. The idea box is a space to hold ideas until they are ready to be acted on.

A creative brain will never run out of ideas, in fact, it creates ideas non stop – are you saying “yes” right now? These ideas all seem too wonderful to let go of so we feel the pressure to remember them all. This will lead to a head space of confusion (what to do next), guilt (there’s not enough time), and even shame (I’m lazy if I can’t do all these things). There is a lot of time that I spend exhausted just from all the ideas that I don’t do anything.

Your muse is not working against you, it’s working the only way it knows how – flowing with ideas. You can CHOOSE which ideas you want to follow. You don’t need to follow all your ideas into the planning and “I should” stage. Appreciate them for what they are – mental projects. You can have many mental projects and a select number of material projects.

doodle with ink 1Mental projects are just as valuable as the ones you birth into the material world. Practice being comfortable just appreciating the beautiful mental images your wonderful creative spirit thinks up.

Your muse is bringing you the gift of beauty and not the pressure of bringing it to life.

Most of the images that pop into my mind never come out exactly the way it is in my head. If I’m telling the truth, nothing turns out the way it started in my head. This leads me to believe that there are two realms of creativity – the one in your head and the one that comes out as projects.

 idea boxThe idea box can help you calm your feelings down when your brain is going a million miles an hour. I have collaged a blank cardboard box that I got a craft store. I can write down my ideas on a small piece of paper and drop them it. When I want a project to do I have my handy box of goodies to reach into. You can let your guilt go now that you have “saved” your brilliant twinkly seeds of inspiration. Sometimes that is all that is needed for you to feel that you’ve honored your muse.

Find your way to honor all your star dusted ideas and it might not include actually putting them on paper (right now). Look into what excites you about that idea – is it the color or technique? Maybe that’s what you write on your paper – USE TURQUOISE and GLITTER!

Use this blog to let go of the expectation that you need to make everything that pops into your head – it’s your choice.

 

Stencils and Tags in an Altered Book

When I rip out the pages of my altered book, I usually end up with a couple pages that don’t rip as close to the seam as I want. What to do with those pages? Add tags in your altered book!

gluing tags into an altered bookgluing tabs in an altered book

 

 

 

 

 

I chose to glue two tags together with the ripped page in between them.

  • Get tags or other pieces that are the same size.
  • Glue the bottom of one of the tags with a liquid glue (Tacky Glue) that’s strong and glue them to one side of the ripped page.  Tabs in an Altered Book
  • Using the Tacky glue, glue the other tag all over and line it up with the opposite tag.
  • Hold every thing down while the glue sets up so nothing comes away from the seam on the ripped page.
  • Close the book so it dries with some weight on the tags.

You can use a pocket, envelope, one larger piece, or many smaller pieces. I’m going to make little collages on the tags and write quotes on them.

Now for stenciling with gesso!

I already have 2 layers of stencils on this page. The first one was a random pattern with squares that I used a pallet knife to scrape gesso through the stencil, next paint, then a circle stencil with clear gel medium. FullSizeRenderThe gesso is opaque and using the clear gel medium shows the square pattern through it. Paint on the gesso is more opaque and paint on the gel medium acts more like a stain. After everything dries Usually sand the page lightly (hold the page down tight so it doesn’t rip). I love the different layers that come through when I sand. The distressed look is really cool.

IMG_1504I felt the page needed something else so when I got my new stencils from Stencil Girl, I wanted to use them all and I knew this would be a good one for this page.

Be very careful with stencils that have thin details. When you wash them, don’t scrub because you’ll catch one of the edges and damage it.

 

Gesso with stencilYou can see that I scraped some gesso down the page to carry the image further.

I put a bright yellow drop of paint in the middle and darker around the edges. I got a paint brush wet and painted in lined starting from the middle out. I wanted to keep the middle more of a bright yellow that went to oranges and a red-brown.

 

gesso and stencilsThis is too dark for me so I blotted some of the paint off with aIMG_1508 kleenex while the paint was still wet.

All the times you layer something on your page adds depth to it. If you want to add more paint and blot off several times to see what happens – that’s fantastic. Experiment!

FullSizeRender (2)I sanded the whole thing after it dried.

Now I’m ready to either collage on this, doodle, or outline the patterns.

 

IMG_1517

 

 

 

 

The Creative Brain

Make a listMost of the stuff that makes me happy is in my art and my altered books. If you can identify, then you can proudly claim to be a creative!

The only difference between those who call themselves artists (or creatives) and those that don’t think they are is recognizing we all have a creative brain. Individual expression through whatever medium is creative. If our brains are creative and we express ourselves then we are artists. Every artist has a unique way of being them and all people are unique. We are all unique and we create the lives we live, therefore, we are all artists of our lives.

Our brains are all wired differently and we process the information around us in our unique ways. That leads to our expression being different. It is in these differences that our bright inner selves shine.

Even though our brains process differently, I find that those who funnel their unique way of expressing themselves into one area (visual art, music, fashion, etc) have similar mental experiences. It took me a long time to understand that this is the way my brain works and to go with my creative flow.

The creative brain:

  • Works overtime putting ideas together
  • Has a hard time shutting down
  • Sees all the interesting things around it
  • Asks “why” . . . A LOT
  • Forgets ideas easily
  • Comes up with millions of ideas all at once
  • Gives the body boosts of adrenaline when exploding with ideas
  • Wants to dance
  • Wants to be a rebel (or just do it’s own thing)
  • Is distracted by shinny things (or squirrels)
  • Ok, it”s just plain distractable
  • Multi- tasks
  • “What if” is a major player in the decision making process
  • Loves in a childlike way especially fireworks, fairie wands, gem stones, games, and those close to them
  • Gets lost in daydreaming
  • Has an ebb and flow all it’s own

my creative brainThis is a pretty good representation of what is going on in my head all the time – even when I try to go to sleep. I am learning to work with that ebb & flow of my creative brain as I express what’s going on in my altered book.

If I’m tired and don’t have much brain power – I rest and look at inspiration in Pintrest or magazines. I know that I will have more ideas & energy soon.

If I have a ton of great ideas, I write them down for later because I know they will escape my memory (we can only hold so much). When I can’t remember that great thing I thought of last night, I don’t get too upset because I have learned I won’t run out of ideas.

doodling to relaxIf I can’t sleep at night, I either meditate in bed or go with my ideas to see where they lead me. Sometimes I get up and doodle while I listen to Podcasts. I try not to fight and fight to get to sleep – that doesn’t work as we all know.

Understanding your creative brain just means you are focused (or mindful) of it’s ebb & flow. Work with your brain to rest when it’s tired and go with the crazy ride when it’s on fire.

Working these things out in your altered book will help to remind you of your personal patterns. You have to know what’s going on inside you physically, mentally, and spiritually to live the “fully uniquely you” life you were born to live.

Understanding and loving our inner critics

Tired of the Inner CriticI’ve done a few pages and blogs about our inner critic which focus on standing up to the old recordings in my head. Today I want to focus on understanding and loving our inner critics.

We all have that voice inside our heads that tell us how crappy our work is or that we aren’t doing enough. What if that part of us is trying to protect us from getting hurt and not just judging us? That part of me tries to protect me from criticism by telling me to keep busy and not to trust my authentic self. It want me to conform instead of being a leader because it was born from the insecurities of someone close to me.

My purpose isn’t to place blame on the person who spawned this part of me who is scared of making mistakes, but to help me understand this part of me. It’s very easy to except those voices (that are programmed by others) and not go deeper into understanding why/how they came to be. Now that I have identified my inner critic, spent time with it, and went deeper to understand it, I can say it’s hold on me is almost gone.

Altered BookWhat seems scary or dark inside you are parts that haven’t experienced unconditional love. My inner critic was helped into being from a person that didn’t really have a secure loving childhood. They learned that the world has rigid rules and they were blamed for many things. The only way to gain control in their life was to control others so they wouldn’t be challenged. It came out as angry authority and that caused me to be scared most of the time.

 

I did try to be what “good” was, but I have a strong desire to be authentic – always have and that got me into a lot of trouble growing up. This was a perfect environment to experience the life lesson of not feeling like I’m enough. This seems to appear in many people’s lives in one way or another. We have to get to the point in knowing that we are enough but were living with those who were struggling with this deep hurt.

image0I have learned along the way that most personality issues stem from not loving ourselves. There are so many messages in our society today that basically say – don’t value yourself, instead value the opinions of others. Putting other people first seems noble, but it’s just the way we are programed.

How are we really going to know how to love others if we don’t practice on ourselves first?

inner critic love letterToday I wrote my inner critic a love letter. I know it’s just trying to keep me from getting in trouble/hurt. I made it to protect me when I was little so now I’m releasing this part of me.

I thanked that part of me for doing all it could to help me conform, be a people pleaser, and a perfectionist. I don’t need it any more because I am supposed to be a rebel no matter what that brings.

Can you start practicing understanding where your demanding inner critic comes from? Don’t go inside with the mindset of blame, just loving understanding. Write your critical parts love letters when you are ready – it took me years to get here.

With much love, Cathy