The first thing I did was have my students NAME the three woman. For me, it was easy to name the two as Young Bride, and Nun. It took -forever- for me to find a title for what I now see as the Gypsy, but who went through name incarnations such as "Wild Woman," "Mendhi Artist" and even "Jezebel." What's interesting here is that I most identify with the image that I couldn't find a name for. Which reminds me of the period in my life, in my early 30's when I was dealing with a pretty severe case of panic disorder, and I could not, for the life of me, come up with a word that was the opposite of panic, so as to tap into the opposite of this debilitating energy. Now, I can see easily that they word was "calm," but at the time, it just wouldn't come. Which makes me wonder - what in me is fighting the "Gypsy" in me? Hmmmm .... ;)
Next, I had my students give their newly named Characters a one-word attribute, what they felt the essence of that Archetype was. What do you see as the attributes or essences of the three women? Mine were:
1.) Where they were now on the spectrum,
2.) Where they'd -like- to be, and
3.) What steps or actions would it take to get there?
My own answers (and yes, I -always- do my own exercises during the classes!) surprised me (as they often do) as it was the Nun who had the most to share with me. My spectrum was:
Naivete >> Cloistered >> Free Spirit
As I worked the exercise, it got me to thinking about being "cloistered." In 2012 I had emergency open heart surgery for a torn aorta, which was followed by three strokes - a result of being on the heart/lung machine during the surgery. Coming out of big illness, or health crisis is a type of coming out of a cloister. Physically, mentally, emotionally, certainly spiritually. And due to the nurturing nature of relationship, that can be a type of cloister as well.
Two and a half years later, I'm beginning to stretch my physical and emotional wings a bit more, each day yearning a little more for the Free Spirited, Gypsy me I once knew and was. There are changes, big changes, that I'm going to need to make, actions to be taken. New worlds to step into.
Seeing the parallel, I pictured in my mind, what it would look like if that Nun were to leave the convent, her cloister. I can picture her, eyes blinking in the bright light, just outside the convent doors, shifting and uncomfortable in her new "street clothes," every bit as nervous as our New Bride entering a new life. What feelings would she be having? What would it take for her to step -into- this new life?
As I placed myself in her shoes, I realized it would take energy. It would take time. It would take patience for her to get her bearings in this Brave New World. At first, I'm sure she would feel like she'd made a mistake, like she couldn't possibly make it in the "real world," that there was no place for her, that she didn't have the stuff it took to "make it."
She would need to be patient, go slow, take it one step at a time. She would need to remember the stories of who she was, and how strong she was in the past, and use those stories, those memories to anchor her. She would need to make friends, build community. She would need to have a workable plan.
And she would need to be very, very kind to herself in the process, celebrating each and every tenuous, delicious step and success along the path, along the way.
She would need to hold a sacred curiosity about her story, her journey, her life.
She would need, as I will need, to be her/my own best friend.
See? This is just one way a collage can give you pointers, tips and breadcrumbs in your life. With every story you see in a piece, you are seeing a piece of your own story. My story is about moving from a cloistered state, through naivete back into my free spirit self.
Want to see what messages are waiting for you? Then join me for the next
21-Day Journaling with Collage course using my collages, or a 7-Day Journaling with Collage course using your own. Next 21-Day course begins on May 1st. The 7-Day course date is set by you. I look forward to spending creative time and energy with you!
In Light and Love -