During the past five months, we’ve spent time deepening our mindfulness and self-compassion skills. In the coming weeks, we’ll take those refreshed skills and use them specifically to support us in working with difficult emotions.
To mark this important transition, we’ll be doing a Creative Invitation that invites us each to rest, regroup and to invite the following: What’s really on my heart right now? Which three questions are alive for me now, as we move into this next session of our self-compassion study? Perhaps then we can bring those questions with us as we enter into this new phase of the course.
Through this Creative Invitation, we’ll allow intuition to explore some of those questions and simply meet what emerges with curiosity, openness … and possibly delight.
- Three pieces of blank paper: 5×7 inches or so is great.
- Magazines you don’t mind cutting up
- Glue or tape
- Watercolor or other paint you love
Arrive. Settle. Touch in with some inner space.
From this place, ask the following: “What questions are most alive for me right now?”
Many could emerge. You’ll know which ones want the most attention. Choose three such questions. They could have to do with your spiritual life (including your self-compassion practice), your professional life, your relationships, and more. No topics are off limits. The simple wish is to attend to those questions which are most alive for you right now.
- Write one of your questions on the back of each sheet of paper (one question per sheet).
- Then, flip over your three papers and shuffle them around a bit so that you can no longer see which paper has which question written on it. Let go of the questions, and please resist the temptation to peek for the duration of the exercise, knowing that synchronicity is the main operator for this exercise.
- Next, pull out your paints and brush (or other supplies if you wish) and simply begin to place color on each of the three sheets. It’s important during this and all steps that you listen deeply from the source of your quiet mind and respond as you feel drawn to respond. Tune in to impulse if you can. Noticing when plans, judgements, and fears try to take over. Simply notice and name them, turning back each time to the breath and emergent impulses to color, line, and pattern.
- Once you feel that your three panels have been adequately colored (You’ll know when.), choose a magazine and begin to flip through, allowing the images and words to wash over you. Choose an image that calls to you, and cut it out. Again, not thinking too hard.
- Paste or tape the image you’ve cut out to one of the three sheets you’ve painted.
- Continue this look, feel, cut, paste process until each of your three panels is fully covered in images and color. Reminding you to ALLOW the images to be pasted on any panel they wish, staying out of critical and rational mind as best you can.
- Once everything’s covered, sit back and look at all three pages. Is there anything you’d like to switch around, add, replace, remove, or embellish? Do so. You will know when you are finished.
- When you’re finally done, turn over each sheet, one by one, revealing the question on the back side of each mini-collage.
- Did you see a relationship between the question you wrote on the back of each sheet and the images that assembled themselves on the front?
- What (if any) insights have emerged for you?
- Are you inspired to take a new action as a result of what came up during this exercise?
- Revisit your collages over the coming days and weeks and see whether new insights, questions, or actions emerge for you.
This Creative Invitation is inspired by Christine Valters Paintner.