A Balanced Life: Writing and Art Making Prompts
To begin your creative process, read the blog, A Balanced Life. In this blog I reflect upon the start of our new year as a natural time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.
Typically, I consider the first month or two of the year as the time frame to complete this work. I take my time with the writing prompts/ questions and have collage images on my studio tables and allow them to "speak" to me. What wants to be here, what does not?
As a guide, below I have outlined of some of the basic aspects of life. Perhaps consider these as spokes of a wheel or pieces of a pie. They are general categories as we are all different and what creates balance for one is different for another so please adjust, delete, add and create your own categories to fit your unique self.
Allow yourself to make this process your own. Some of you may want to start with the collage/ art making at the same time as the writing, others may want to complete the writing first then start the art. Trust yourself.
Take a few minutes to look at each area and notice where you sense you are off balance or would like to focus on some changes this coming year. These can be tiny changes or larger ones. Take some time to write about your reflections and insights using the prompts that follow as guides. If you don't resonate with my questions, make up your own.
GETTING STARTED WITH THE WRITING:
Read through the general categories that are listed below.
In your journal or sketchpad, answer the questions that are listed
Allow yourself time for this, perhaps set aside a half hour each morning with your coffee to consider and reflect upon your life.
Don't worry about spelling or grammar, this is about your intuition and what you are sensing you need this next year.
Health: This includes your physical health and also your mental emotional health; how your personal spaces support your health; how music, play, hobbies show up for you and how they support your health.
Finances: Not only your career, work, job or lack of job but also what is your comfort with your relationship with your finances, is there growth potential, do you want to create more savings, retirement accounts, investments etc.
Relationships: This includes marriage, dating, children, parenting, pets, friends, family, social groups, entertaining and your relationship with yourself.
Calling or Spirituality: This area can be about religion, nature, creativity, community, prayer, introspection, sharing your gifts with the world or exploring what is calling you to be shared.
1. What would you like to see more of/ what would you like to grow in the coming year?
2. What would you like to let go of?
3. What would you like to know about this area of your life a year from now?
4. What ways can you support this vision of yourself?
GETTING STARTED WITH THE ART MAKING/ COLLAGE PROCESS:
* Materials to gather - magazine images, scissors, glue sticks, a journal to glue the collages into or individual paper/ mat board
Gather images from magazines, catalogues etc. Take some time when you are watching TV or have time to go through some old magazines and pre-cut your images. Cut out words, images etc. that resonate with you. Don't over think this process, let yourself be surprised. It's fine to have a big stack of images, you won't use them all but they will be there for your next project. Also, don't just cut out images of what you think you need....part of this is the surprise of finding that you didn't know how much you are wanting to manifest something and the images can help our imaginations with this type of insight.
Set aside some time to look through these images and begin to sort them, asking what is drawing me, what wants to be here now?
Begin to create collages with the images that naturally want to be together, loosely organize them by the categories that you wrote about.
There is no right or wrong way to make a collage, I like to use a large magazine image for a base and then cut out smaller images to place onto the larger image (see example below). Juxtapose things that might surprise you but just somehow "want" to be there....such as cutting out the image of horses and placing them onto the background of the canals in Venice. I love this card as it reminds me of my love for travel and hope to be able to do so again!
When you are ready, title and date your collage images.
COMPLETING THE PROCESS:
Once the collage process feels complete, I usually re-visit the new images that have come and spend time writing to them. I ask questions, what do I need to learn from you? What do you want to tell me? I often am surprised by realizing that what I am truly wanting to manifest looks quite different than what I originally thought.
Find a place to keep your images and re-visit them a few times a year. Next you will have a set of images to visit and reflect on, what did your year bring you? What new things were offered to you, what surprised you and where do you want to go as the next year unfolds?
Several years ago, when I was looking at the relationship area of my life, I wrote about wanting to enhance my relationship with horses as they have always been a source of inspiration for me but in my busy life I did not see how I could add them in. In answering the questions above and through the open ended journaling process of being curious, I was able to identify that while I was very busy there might be a way to add horses back into my life. The process opened me up to this possibility. I created a collage with images of horses, children and people laughing and being outdoors. When I was done, I kept this image near me in my studio. I knew it mattered yet was unsure how it might manifest in actual time with horses.
Magically, that summer I connected with a therapeutic riding center and brought my then 7 year old grand daughter with me. I ended up training to be a volunteer to help with riding lessons and was able to assist while she was learning to ride. Today, on many Monday afternoons you will find us at the stables, getting the horse she will ride from the pasture, grooming them and tacking them.
Here is the "magic" that I love about this process: in making art and writing about what I wanted to bring into balance in my life I re-connected to horses, my grand daughter and myself.