Let’s talk about Art Journaling.
This week I have been brought back to the center of my journey, to a practice that has guided me home time and time again. I am reminded that art journaling has held me in the grip of awareness and grace for a long time. When I forget, I can still dive right back into the middle.
Art journaling came to me about seven years ago following years of purely written words. It was something that I didn’t quite understand and I quickly became focused on the product of it instead of the process of it. It was easy to get distracted by tutorial videos and supplies and techniques. The long-time companion of comparison screamed through every page. In my words, in my images, all I could see was my brokenness.
One day I planned a funeral. I decided to release all of those words and the work of my hands. I burned every journal. It was a heaping pile of not good enough. From those ashes, I awoke and rose to a new purpose, a new way of being, of discovering myself for the first time.
The pages lay silent for a few months but when I returned to them, I allowed grace to be my rule. I sank into a consistent practice of showing up, of recording the day, of marking time, of reaching forward, of creating a path to the future that I wanted.
Sometime just a few words say it all.
Other times, the words of others are just what I need to remind me which way to go.
Often, my pen chases my intuition across the page, bringing a peace to me that I find no where else.
Most often, my journal is a processing of the day to day.
Art Journaling is like walking a path through your life, taking a journey through the dark and the light, the valleys and the peaks. Along the way, you encounter many versions of yourself and conversations are had. Sometimes you sit awhile and allow the quiet and peace to heal, to stitch together that which is worn out. Other times you laugh and squeal and play. Always you are picking up and carrying on.
My practice has shifted a bit this year and quite honestly, I haven’t been entirely happy or content with the process. I have even questioned the purpose. Then I was invited to write about Art Journaling, invited to share the magic and mystery of what this practice actually is, what it does. This week, I pulled down my box of journals and flipped through them. My breath caught in my throat, my heart pounded, tears filled my eyes, as I saw over and over and over how art journaling captured moments that I had forgotten. I was able to trace my journey and identify exactly when everything seemed to change. Just when I was processing my mother’s late days of life, her death, I seemed to have lost the magical way. I’ve been going through the motions but my heart has not been in it. I am ready to return to the center, to the heart.
Most importantly, I know that one day, I will look back at the images, the words, and the blank spaces of most of the months of this year and I will see too how those months carried me when I wasn’t able to carry myself. I will see the healing that was happening. Maybe that is the true magic. I think I lost my way but all along this practice was leading me home.
So why all of these words about Art Journaling today?
I am inviting you to join with me and my friend, Anna Meade, to give the gift of Art Journaling. She has started a beautiful campaign to share the healing work of Art Journaling.
Healing He[art]s is a mechanism to put art supplies in the hands of women who are struggling. The vision is for women to give the gift of art to other women. Because we know that art heals. We have lived it, and we would like to pass along that encouragement to others.
The goal is to gift 144 Art Journaling kits this holiday season. Each kit will include some basic art journaling supplies and will cost $25. You can donate by visiting this link and scrolling down to the donate button. (major credit cards, paypal, checks and money orders are accepted)
Please share the information far and wide. Let’s work together to bless as many women as we can.
You can read more stories of Art Journaling and Healing as well as track the progress of the campaign at The Healing He[art]s Blog.