Burning Woman

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This year I attempted to make a concerted effort to read more books. I felt that I was missing out on rich and varied worlds and ideas by not reading enough. I started off well but I think things went off the boil mid-year, when things in my family life got a bit hectic and harrowing.

I’m trying to pick things up now moving into 2018. To choose just one book as the best for the year is something I cannot do. Also you usually just remember the last few books you’ve read as they are the most recent. To think back over the year, if you haven’t been keeping track is difficult to do anyway. Note to self: keep a record of what I read next year!!!

So I choose Burning Woman by Lucy H. Pearce on the premise that this is one of the books I have kept returning to over the year as it is so packed with juicy truths that resonate with me deeply. This is kind of like a handbook for claiming our power as women internally and externally. I definitely claim the title of a burning woman. #decemberreflections2017

Visual Journalling

 

[[Method:  A double page spread in journal. First covered in paints, a mixture of colours are smeared across the page with a disused credit card. Once dry,  images that take my fancy are stuck on along with text gathered from magazines. Then selected pages from the novel, The Girl Who Fell From The Sky – Heidi Durrow , are cut up to create something new, a poem. My handwriting can be seen added also with black ink, asking the question, why keep a creative sketchbook?]]
 

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. …No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

—Martha Graham, from The Life and Work of Martha Graham

 

What is my visual journalling? Why keep a creative sketchbook? What does it mean to me?

Visual journalling is a practice which I started two years ago taking inspiration from Lisa Sonora’s online course, Dreaming on Paper. 
My visual journal is my method, my way of remaining open to the life force, that creative energy that flows through me. When I enter my journal with paint, image and text, I am acknowledging to myself that I am paying attention to me.

Many moons ago I was introduced to Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. Taken from The Artist’s Way , this is three pages of long hand writing as soon as I wake up in the morning. This is me getting whatever is in my head; worries, feeling, thoughts, moans and groans onto the page. Once out of my head, there is space for the good stuff to come through. My writing. My creations. My dreams.

 

[[ Method: A double page spread of added pages to customise my journal. Extra pages are created from full pages torn from magazines and then cut down if needs be to fit being stuck in with glue or sticky tape.  This creates an extra flap of space. Then it’s covered with lined paper, to write on and then covered with coloured tissue paper to add texture and sound. Cut out text, ‘flow’, added from magazine also.]]
 

Two years ago, my Morning Pages were not enough. Words had become my enemy, they were tricky and taboo. I was afraid of the blank page. It also become evident, that when I did write, the words themselves on the page where not enough. I wasn’t feeling the joy I once felt from just writing. My soul wasn’t being filled with light or colour. Everything seemed flat and lifeless.

While on holiday in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, relaxing away from it all, I found the space to play. Taking Lisa’s course enabled me to break through barriers and fears. I started listening to my instinct instead of adhering to any external rules and I began to smear paint on the blank page.  Red, yellow, orange, blue. Any colour that took my fancy, mixed with others. This movement of colour inspired me.  Loosened me up. Gave me permission to start feeling I was enough. I was ready then to add my dreams, plans, wishes,  and worries also to the page but it felt safe. I felt safe by getting more and more in touch with my internal voice. With my authentic self.

Mixing paint, colours, images, photography, words, quotes within my journal means I’m listening and observing, paying attention to what is pulling my soul, what is calling me to bring to life. What needs to sing?

I could not think of my life without my visual journalling now. I am completing my Creative Journey Facilitator Training  with Lisa Sonora at the moment, so that I can go deeper into this process as well as practice the tools and skills I’ll need to share my love of visual journalling with others. I’m so excited about taking this next step.

 

[[ Method: Paper cut up from Women Who Run With The Wolves – Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Looking to create a new text from the words. Pasted text on to a magazine image of wildflowers. ]]

The Big Smoke

There’s no place like London. I was down there for a couple of days again last week. A flying visit you could say.

I caught up with an old friend from Uni. I love that we are still close friends and that we’ve been through so much together. We don’t live in each others pockets, and sometimes we have gone years without seeing each other. But when the chips are down, we know we can count on each other. We have always been there for each other. I am so very grateful for this friendship and unconditional love.

While in London, I took in a few exhibitions. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the National Portrait Gallery at Trafalgar Square, so I popped in there for a few hours. I didn’t pay for any of the visiting shows, as there’s far too much to see in the permanent exhibitions.

I was so inspired by what I saw. I was taken through British history through the portraits of Kings and Queens, writers, artist, movers and shakers of each time. There is more to come out of this visit. I am allowing the ideas to percolate in their own time. But I felt my ignorance of British history while in there. And I think this stems from a feeling of not belonging in Britain. Feeling unwelcome here as well as rejecting my British heritage also.

I found walking around, looking at these faces a newfound pride and interest in what made this country the way it is today. And I know my ancestors, black and white had a hand in these developments.
I look forward to exploring this rich vein of knowledge and activities further through my reading, writing and photography. I am excited about what will unfold.