So...Once upon a time (uh, a few days ago), I opened to a blank spread and began thinking about the winding path of my life. Can you see the white dots in the background? (They are much more visible on the pages then can be seen in this picture). They represent my path on the page through (the deep, blue cosmos) of time.
I remembered as I traced the white path, long ago I had lost the connection to my creative self. I thought of all the years I put my shoulder to the wheel, juggling work and raising young children, never creating and expressing much. Yet, I knew that even though I often felt lost in those years, it was still a beautiful journey, and the first layer of white dots on the blue, blue background really did look lovely. (I wish I had taken a picture of the page at that point).
I fell into a sort of meditation.
I am deeply blessed. I have lived in a beautiful, peaceful part of the world at an amazing time in human history. I travelled and experienced art and nature and met interesting people. But most importantly, I loved and was loved. I love and am loved.
Then I finished making the dotted spiraling line across the spread and I stood back. And what did I see? A dotted, white heart. One I did not consciously know I had made. See it in the top right corner?
Magic, I tell you.
After spending some time in wonder, the heart made me think about the Tin Man and so I outlined the heart in metalic ink (and later, I added the quote):
Wizard: "As far as you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don't know how lucky you are. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable..."
Tin Man: "I still want one."
And before I knew it I was making bricks out of scraps of watercolor and patterned gold paper, layering my own yellow and multi-colored brick road across the white dotted path.
I love to collage bits of paper like this. It's very soothing to cut and paste, construct an image, and let my mind wander. I began to think about what I had been looking for all those years. For Dorothy it was "home" (and actually, I had been searching for my real home all my life). But I also think, as I ignored my creative self all those years that—like all the characters in Wizard of Oz—I was really looking for something else.
What was it, I asked myself?
Brick by brick it came to me:
All those years I felt like I never had enough time...but It wasn’t time I lacked.
What I didn't have was the confidence or self regard to honor myself.
I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t think doing what I loved was important enough. I didn’t think I was important enough.
And yes, like the Tin Man, it had felt like I was missing (at least a piece of) my heart.
I hadn't known it then, though. For all the happy times in my life, up until the last few years I always felt like I was missing something, but I didn't know what. There was a huge lack of clarity in my life. What did I want? I knew I was longing for something? What was it?
I looked down at my journal page.
Hmmm, it felt kind of like being lost in a dark forest...
And of course then I knew my page wasn't just one truth, just one story. I began to cut out and paste leaves around the page to give a symbolic sense, at least, of a forest above my spiraling paths. And I knew I had to add crumbs—gold ones, strayed across the white path, as if Hansel himself had scattered them..
Because that's what I started doing several years ago—I began to pick up crumbs in that dark forest.
A little therapy here, a little yoga there, I started to get in touch with my breath, I began to seek more awareness, I started reading excellent books, and then after a long time of battling the fear—years, really—I began to explore what I found interesting…'Ooh, what if I tried to express a feeling in pictures? What would it be like to pick up a paintbrush? Hmmm, I’ve always wanted to try collage…"
And before I knew it, I found myself diving head first into the rabbit hole of creative recovery. So of course I needed to add the white rabbit to my page! (which I copied and cut out from a favorite children's book of fairy tales.)
And from there the rest of the page came together—just like I feel like I am. Coming together.
Creative recovery is in a very real sense recovery of one’s own spirit. And I am now far enough along in the forest, down the rabbit hole and following the yellow brick road to know, well, a lot of things:
But most of all, I came to see my path. Like Dorothy who was driven to find her way home, I have one goal:
To connect with
and creatively express
And I love the last quote I found for my page of stories of truths—because it is so true:
I am so happily excited that I found my creative self again, and I know we will be together ever after.