Reminding myself that to truly appreciate home, we have to leave it first.
So in the final post of the series, I wrote:
Leave home we do, throughout our lives. But I don’t just mean those times when we box up our stuff, pack up the car, and hit the road to a new dwelling. No, I mean all those times we leave a role or stage of life, in order to transition to a new one.
Little did I know how true those words would be for me this year.
In fact, I’ve been a walking, talking advertisement for the theory that you don’t need go anywhere to feel far from home. Like transition expert Nancy Schlossberg says, “even when nothing is happening externally, everything is changing internally.”
It’s been sort of like taking a road trip, in the fog, without a specific destination, but with lots of questions.
Familiar questions, to be sure. But questions without concrete answers.
You know. Questions like:
How do I balance my needs with who and what I love so much?
Where and how do I want to live?
Who am I becoming?
What’s it all about?
How can I pay attention to the sweet, precious moments of life?
Where, oh where, does the time go?
Good questions. But with a tendency to leave me feeling unmoored. Unhooked. Untethered.
Sometimes, there’s an odd satisfaction that comes when I just give in and simply allow myself to float in that place.
So on a whim, (and after reading a book by Natalie Rogers), I picked up a small sketch pad and some colored pens.
And my first art journal came to life.
In the beginning I had no idea where it was going.
Even though I rarely gave it the suggested ten to twenty minutes a day, I noticed early on that each time I sat down with it something shifted.
No matter what I did, I felt a shift.
A quick free-write.
A mood expressed with words and images.
All of it warmed me. Embraced me. Made me breathe a little easier. A definite shift.
Right about then things got pretty interesting.
My art journal took on a life of its own. It wanted more than colored pens. It called out for paint. Pastels. Crumpled magazine images. Quotes. Snippets of newspaper articles.
On one particularly confusing day, Joe the Quilter found his way in, looking remarkably like Joan Crawford in drag.
But his (her?) words rang loud and clear: You don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t have to wait to start. You can find out what you’re doing by doing it.
So true. In both life and art.
Perhaps most unexpected has been the way my art journal accommodates my deeper self and helps me make sense of my dreams (the sleeping kind). It all started when I pasted in a photo of a young woman with pigtails. She reminded me of a recent dream; I knew she was a metaphor, an archetypal symbol. And I wanted to talk to her through the process of active imagination. Although that can sometimes be difficult, it wasn’t this time. Her words easily tumbled out, gently challenging me: You think it needs to be perfect to find me, but I’m always, always, always available. Stop pushing me aside.
So there you have it. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m truly, madly, deeply in love with my art journal.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I’m really showering all that love and affection on myself, since my art journal is me. And that’s what an art journal can give us: a reminder that we are enough, that we are creative and whole and full of imagination. And even during times of complicated transition, we can find our way back to ourselves. Just like the lyrics say in one of my favorite holiday tunes, we can celebrate ourselves home, even when it’s a metaphorical home.
Please, celebrate me home.
Play me one more song that I’ll always remember
I can recall whenever I find myself too all alone
I can sing me home.
Singing us home. I think that has a nice ring to it.
So as this year comes to a close, I wish for you a time of singing yourself home, metaphorical or otherwise.
A time of joy and enoughness.
I’m out of here for a few weeks, but set to return during the first week of January. So stay tuned because I’ve got some new goodies in store for you.