This page says it all.
Good Morning Sheree.
I sometimes write this at the top of my page on a morning in my Good Morning Vietnam voice. And then proceed to have a conversation with myself. Checking in with myself to see how I’m feeling this morning.
It’s almost like a letter to self. My voice strong and loud in my head coaxing out the different thoughts and feelings and cheering myself on.
Almost like a long prep talk, I prime myself for the day ahead at the same time savouring then moment I’m in while completing my morning pages. The softness of my bed. The sound of the tumbling washing machine. The birds singing and the silence, when it’s there, humming.
I love this time of the day, just woken up and coffee brewed. Eyes and thoughts still hazy but an excitement rumbling on my belly. I get to do this each morning. This sacred ritual which I don’t take for granted but accept as a privilege.
I do share this practice, here, in workshops, in my writings and interactions with other people because it is a powerful source for mental health, dream making and becoming a better version of self.
I’d be crazy, selfish and inhumane if I kept this tool, this practice to myself.
We could all tap into this power and it starts with saying Good Morning to yourself. Your true self and continuing to turn up for the self who you see starting to appear.
I feel as if I’ve hit a sweet spot at the moment in terms of my visual journaling/ journaling/ art journaling. sharing my practice is helping.
I’m filling my creative pot with images, text, words, voices and some are coming out on the page. But some I’m reluctant to bring out.
Again I’m thinking of my Mixmoir ( I’ll talk more about this soon) and how I’m censoring and silencing myself out of fear.
Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of failure. Fear of being branded a fake (again!).
But turning up each day for my visual journaling practice is supporting me to move forward to open the floodgates and to write the damn thing.
I trust the process and that’s all I need to do. The rest will follow.
I’ve given myself the task of posting here every day. Not only does this make me accountable, but it also forces me to show up, to be seen. Not so much by others, although that is part of it, to some degree. But most of all to be seen by myself. To value my contributions to my self-healing journey. To hear my own voice. Loud and proud.
This page created today, started a few days ago with the adding of colour to the altered book I’m using as my journal. And I don’t use the page sequential either. Throughout my day I add paint to pages for future backgrounds so when I turn up the next morning I have an array of pages to choose from to work with. My mind, my life, my feelings do not play out in a straight line so why should my journal do so.
This thinking takes the practice out of the need to be perfect and ‘right’. It allows it to be more authentic and vital.
Also adding paint throughout the day is me taking moments to touch base with myself. It means I’m giving myself a moment of rest and stillness inside as I smear paint across the page. It also gives me a jolt of joy as I do love me some colour! 🖍🌈🎨🟦🟨🟥🟣🟩🟧🟤
I do love a white gel pen on a black gesso page. I love the contrast but I also love that it reverses/ subverts the norm.
Quite fitting really when I was exploring my understanding/ operating of ‘The White Gaze’ today.
From Wiki: ‘ The White Gaze is the assumption that the default reader or observer is coming from the perspective of someone who identities as white, or that people of color sometimes feel the need to take into account the white reader or observer’s reaction.”
I wonder who wrote this definition? Loaded much, ‘assumption’ , ‘sometimes’ please. It’s our reality. It’s White Supremacy Culture. It’s the norm.
I’m learning ( all the time) how to survive the white gaze. And taking my lead from Toni Morrison, I know I have meaning and depth without the white gaze. My life has meaning without the white gaze. ‘ But we do language. That might be the measure of our lives.’
It might be a daily practice with need of constant reminders but I’m learning to create not for the white gaze, in spite of the white gaze and it’s repercussions.
I am learning to be free.
Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep. Story of my life at the moment.
Could be the change. Could be tummy pains. Could be anxiety. Who knows.
I just know sleep will not come. So instead of mindlessly scrolling I got the journal out again and explored the thoughts and feelings that were at the forefront of my mind.
To go to Paris again in June or not? I fell in LOVE in Paris when I booked a few days there in August 2009 to complete the PhD.
I needed to get away and just focus on the manuscript and be done with it. And Paris was the ideal place to go as it was quick and easy and cheap to get to but it would have plenty of sights and sound and tastes so feed my soul as I dredged it all of everything goes in order to complete the PhD.
It was such a magical time where I would walk most of them day, stop for food and drink and work on the manuscript and then walk some more. Photos galore. And then I would run during the evening through the streets enjoying the fading light and voices and sights of families coming out to socialise.
It also holds a dear place in my heart as I was pregnant with Miss Ella during this trip and didn’t even know. She was definitely a gift.
So I’ve been itching to travel again and go back to Paris now as I’m much older and wiser and have more of a sense of self to really appreciate all this beautiful city has to offer my thirsty soul.
But as my late night/early morning muses explored, I can’t justify the expense of going at the moment, well June, as money is tight after a few weeks of little work due to sickness and tiredness and lack of forward planning on my behalf.
So I’ll continue to dream of Paris hopefully be able to share my plans to re-visit this magical place somewhere in the near future.
Until then I’ll dream about it with my eyes open. As there’s no sleep coming my way.
Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep!
At the moment, I’m using an altered (romance) book as my visual journal. I go with my moods when it comes to deciding what to use next for my visual journal. I listen to my gut and what she’s calling for in terms of size, shape, texture of page, of journal she needs in order to show up daily for the next month or so.
So with an altered book as my journal I was calling for space to explore colours but also layering, composition and found text.
There will be pages that are heavy with colour and my handwriting while others I’ll crave colour with space and some text cut ups applied.
I’m using Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye at the moment to create found poetry for double page spreads. The Bluest Eye was the first book I read in which I found someone who looked like me and who felt the same self-hate I was experiencing around growing up in a predominately white society being within a Black body. It was revolutionary for me and my personal development to find this book when I did.
I suppose using a copy of the book now to cut up and repurpose is saying something about how I’m feeling at the moment and how I want to see myself on the page. How I want to take back the space, take up space and be validated. But on my own terms.
I love how powerful visual journaling is to my psyche and how I move my body through this world but does so through such a simple process. It never ceases to amaze me what comes to light and fruition through this practice.
After Covid in February, I committed to moving my body more in March. I felt tired and sluggish and beat. So I needed to shift my energy. Fast.
One way I committed to this journey was to set myself the task of walking every day. And for some reason it had to be 4 miles a day. I think this roughly worked out as my 10,000 steps a day. Now this is moving from 0 miles to 4 miles overnight. My body wasn’t happy.
What I found soon enough was how much more energy and joy I was experiencing in my day once I got out the door and walked. I walked every where for every conceivable errand and then some days I just walked because I promised myself to do it.
March came and went into April, and I continued the walking. Some days not quite reaching 4 miles while other days far out passing it. I noticed I was walking faster and at first this worried me. I used to think the faster you walked the less you would notice. Not the case.
I noticed the faster I walked the more in tune with my body and surrounding I became. My senses were more alert, colours were brighter, scents were sharper. I was more present. I felt amazing in my body and moment.
When I think I’m not in the moment, not in my body, in my walk then I slow down and start taking photos. I’ve performed photowalks for years now and I’m so pleased to be bringing them back into my practice now.
A Photowalk is just as it says on the tin; you walk and take photos of whatever takes your interest a long the way. I see something first and then stop and then see it again as I take a photo of it. Sharing it here with you, not only brings you along on my walk but also allows me to see whatever it is again and relive the moment, re-engage with my body and memory of the time. It’s a gift that just keeps on giving.
Today, I’ve upped my mileage to 5 miles a day moving forward. Of course I ended up doing far more, over 8 miles, but that won’t happen every day. If someone had told me back in February that you’ll be out every day walking just for the hell of it, I would have laughed as I was feeling pretty rough with and after Covid. But here as I up my time outdoors, living in and through my body, I’m so pleased I made this commitment to myself.
Look out for more Photowalks as the year progresses. I just love the beauty that can be found when I’m open.
I couldn’t sleep last night. Not sure why but sleep evaded me.
I read. I surfed the net and then I just gave in, got up brewed fresh coffee (yes I know not conducive to sleep) and broke out my visual journaling supplies.
I was no longer tired or annoyed or frustrated about the lack of sleep. I was wired and alert. My energy has shifted up a gear and I was in the flow.
Outside was dark and silent. Inside was just as silent but the lights were on and I was dreaming with my eyes wide open.
I felt as if I was stealing back time from my day. Getting a head start on the day ahead by already connecting with myself before the sun was even up.
I felt I’d been given a gift to be at my journal at this time of night/day. This totally shifted my mood into gratitude and joy.
Try it next time you can’t sleep. See how you feel afterwards. Something would have shifted in the process. Guaranteed!