Vision Cards 2016

Jamie Ridler has a wonderful little e-course that guides you through the process of making three vision cards. I did this last year and loved the results. This year, I listened to the guided meditation on the heels of making this dream board (another Jamie Ridler inspiration). In the opening meditation, Jamie talks you through sorting a pile of stones that represent things in your life. She asks you to keep three stones that represent three aspects you want to focus on in the new year. Last time, I came away with three definite areas that became the subjects of my vision cards (travel, home and art). This year, I was left with the image of three gemstones glimmering in my hand: turquoise, opaque white quartz and amethyst. They were clear as day, but without any corresponding words of explanation or clarification.

Squelching the urge to repeat the meditation until I had something more concrete, I took out my journal and wrote down the names of the gemstones. I know nothing about gemstones – nothing – but I was intrigued. Rather than researching their properties or connotations, I instead scanned a list of words that Jamie had provided in case you got stuck in the process. Three words jumped out at me immediately: community, physical body and the spiritual world. I did a quick google search and sure enough, the gemstones corresponded to these words.

At the risk of repeating myself, I’m not sure what any of this means. There was a point in my life when all this would have freaked-me-the-eff-out, but I have had way too many intuitive experiences to be afraid anymore. If I’m feeling grounded and balanced when something like this happens, I can view it as information that I should probably pay attention to. When I’m not feeling so centered, I tend to swing to extremes: either these are *SIGNS* (cue creepy celestial music) and I freak-the-eff-out or “NJ” butts in and tells me it’s a crazy coincidence and I need to lay off the sauce.

And at the risk of belaboring this post just a bit more . . . there is one more piece to this unfolding puzzle. I spent last weekend at The Haden Institute completing my third of six intensives for my certification in spiritual direction. I was sharing some of these experiences with my mentor who also has a passion for the intersection of creativity and spirituality. Without batting an eye, she quoted me these lines from Rilke: “You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. Just wait for the birth, for the the hour of the new clarity.” I have tried to hold these words lightly, but I will confess that has been impossible. They feel like both a confirmation of what I already know and a challenge to what I think I believe – especially that fourth line. (Really? Really?)

The whole freaking thing makes me feel like I have walked into a debate on quantum physics armed with the words of a dead poet, a handful of imaginary rocks and a gluestick. Which, I guess, I kinda have.

Anyway, here are the cards. xoS

The Spiritual World

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Community

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My Physical Body

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Playing

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I am taking Heather Plett’s Mandala Discovery e-course this month and it has let me explore my word of the year (artist) in a whole new way. The mandala above and the detail below were my response to the first prompt: play. Play! My boys do it all day long. But me? Play is hard. Well, I don’t know if that is completely true. Play is easy, but unhooking from the ideas in my head of what play should look like, how I should be doing it, and all the other shoulds banging around up there – that is not easy. When I first saw this prompt, I knew I wanted to do something different from the mandalas I had been drawing. I also knew I wanted to up my scale and go from a 5-inch circle to a whopping 12-inch circle. A foot in diameter seemed like an endless wasteland when I first trimmed the paper and drew my outline. (And just as an aside, Tara Mohr has a book all about playing big that has been on my mind lately. This interview she did with Jamie Ridler was excellent.)

I thought about collaging the mandala – which is my first love and honestly the way I tried to create my first-ever mandala. {B.A.D.} And I’m not just talking about aesthetics here – I just could not get my head around how you were supposed to get paper that is essentially made up of straight edges to fit in a circle. The levels at which my mind remains trapped is slightly embarrassing. Anyway, my initial idea for collaging a ‘play’ mandala was to cut up an art catalog and use images of paints and brushes and pastels and such. When I reflected on this later, I realized that would have been a twice-removed facsimilie of what play is – a representation of the very things I would like to be playing with. Thankfully, I didn’t get stuck there and just decided to go for it.

I ripped up a bunch of colorful scrap papers to form a base and then painted on top of that. I still had the idea that I should draw some kind of design, because drawing had become synonymous with mandalas for me. So I took a deep red oil pastel and drew a scalloped design along the outer edge. When I finished the loop around, I realized I hated it. One great thing about oil pastels is that you can wipe them off – especially on a surface slick with paint and mod-podge. As I started wiping, the color started to smear into itself. The hard edges of the scallops disappeared and I was left with a ring of soft red. THIS was a whole new ballgame. I played with every oil pastel I had, creating radiant rings of color, drawing on top of this mess and then taking a bamboo skewer and carving lines and words into the wax that had accumulated.

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Full Pink Moon

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The Full Pink Moon asks, what dreams need tending? I found this dream board harder to put together than the others, and even considered stopping this practice or at least skipping this month. However, I kept my art journal open with a few images scattered around all last week. Nothing was rising to the top and I couldn’t get my head around the word “tending”. I forget what images I had combined on the right hand page, but they just weren’t working. I went through my pile of tear sheets again and “Joie” came up front and center. I have hinted at my need to find my joy again (especially in regard to homeschooling) and building a dream collage around this word was incredibly insightful. I think I put this together last Thursday or Friday. On Saturday, I met with my spiritual director and joy came up again as one of the themes in our session (oh, in addition to control and fear . . . ahem). It may look like just gluing random bits in a book, but I know it to be more than that. Much, much more.

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Here is a fun free printout of the lunar cycles for 2015 that also gives some guidance in working with intentions and dreams in relation to the phases of the moon. Good stuff. Jamie Ridler is the one who started me on this process of creating dream boards with the full moon. Here is a retrospective of the ones I’ve made so far: Full Cold Moon, Full Wolf Moon, Full Snow Moon, Full Worm Moon.