I’ve kept many versions of a visual journal over the years. This little pocket of the universe has been my saviour in challenging times. On that blank page your inner world can be explored with sometimes remarkable insight. I often return to my journals for inspiration and guidance. We all have an inner wisdom, a wise Self , but its voice is often ignored or unheard amongst the clamour in our heads. Keeping a journal gives the opportunity for regular communing and an ongoing dialogue and record of your psyche’s life journey.
Please feel free to comment on how Visual Journalling has helped you!
I recently took my 4 year old niece to ArtPlay, a City of Melbourne initiative that provides a space for artists, performers and writers to develop arts based programs for young children and their families to enjoy.
My niece enjoyed the installation Colourbox, which aimed to teach children about light and colour. The only things provided in this space were rolls of coloured tape, scissors, punch stamps, paper and magazines. It is surprising what you can do with simple materials. We cut lengths of tape and stuck them on the wall and floor, adding to the already vibrant mural of designs by the young artists who preceded us. Normally young children are discouraged for making marks on walls, but here there was a liberating sense of anything goes!
We made a castle and a colourful snake as well and she enjoyed seeing her shadow cast on the large screen that changed colour.
Afterwards we had lunch on the banks of the Yarra, ice cream and posed with the vibrant Chinese New year animals.
Rest and Digest!
The past year was honored and left behind as firecrackers faded and celebrations wound down after NY Eve. It was a very hot evening in Melbourne as I reflected on the lessons learned and the challenges overcome in 2015. I had dinner with a friend and we talked about the year and our hopes for 2016. I think it is important to “digest”the year in this way. It allows what nourishes you to become a part of you and what doesn’t work can then be let go with thanks.
Now it’s a new moon and a new year and I’m itchy to create a vision for 2016. I like to think of this process as a way of refreshing my body and spirit and orienting myself towards new adventures, journeys and inklings as the year unfolds.
For the past two years, I have made a vision board, based on the work of Heather Price, and with references to mandala work and the Medicine wheel of indigenous cultures (see image above). The centre of this mandala is the “Self” which is the image of our wholeness. Around it are the component parts of body, heart, mind and spirit. I choose colours, images and words that describe what I would like to focus for each part of the wheel. My choices are often intuitive in that I’m not sure why I want that particular colour or symbol, but there is an inner nudge to use it. And often I will find out later in the year its significance! Using symbol is a powerful way to allow what is unconscious to come to light.
Last year, I had the symbols of cups of tea and saucers in the physical part of the wheel, and also a little row of houses. By reflecting on these, I realised I wanted to have more homey social events. Several months later I became good friends with a neighbour and over the course of the year we shared many cuppas. So, once my intention was clarified via the symbol, the physical world began to align with my vision. This is how we can make our dreams a reality!
When my vision board is completed I will take the time to sit with it and reflect on the whole of it and also each part. I will ask these questions:
- What are the underlying themes present?
- How do I feel about what I have created?
- Is there anything that is surprising? Why?
- How can I begin to take small steps towards my vision?
So that I am reminded daily of my vision, I will place it somewhere prominent, where I can continue to see and reflect on it.