I am beginning to wish that people wouldn’t recommend books to me. Some books I am simply too mean to buy – the purse simply refuses to open and allow the debit card to reel off its numbers. Other books, mostly the Kindle variety, get a more positive response. The book I settled on was “The Sound of Paper” by Julia Cameron. I read through a number of the reviews. They were a mixture of fives and fours with the occasional one thrown in.
Each chapter comes with a craft activity and a writing exercise.
Gather fifteen to twenty magazines with pictures. Buy a large piece of poster board and glue (the purse said “No” to the poster board reminding me that I had A3 drawing paper and the glue was harvested from the old Sunday School materials box under the stairs – old but still up for the task – a bit like me). Spend half an hour cutting images from the magazines. (I have lots of these – mostly food related – I refused to surrender any writing magazines to the cause – not the same concerns with my husband’s history magazine). Don’t fret about trying to make sense of the pictures you connect with. Take another half hour to cut out the images, arrange them and paste them on to the board. You are making a portrait of your consciousness. What you see may surprise, delight or even alarm you. Using words take to the page and describe your personal discoveries.
I am surprised that it turned out so good. It would be really interesting to have someone else look at the finished product and tell me what they see in, what it tells them about my consciousness.
There is a chair in the centre of the picture. It’s very much in contrast to all the other images on the page. The other pictures are very active pictures. It could be that the chair is all about my strongest desire being comfort, or than I am basically lazy. God seems to be saying to my heart that it is about doing everything from a place of rest. Resting in His presence is where everything I do has its root and centre.
The top pictures, a set of tools and a hand scraping clay, came from a car magazine I picked up from a garage waiting for tyres to be fitted. I was fascinated to discover they made a full sized clay model of a car before they made the real one – just to see how it might look in light and shadow. I think it is about the work that God is doing on me. He uses the situations I face like tools to scrape away the bits of me that are not needed – attitudes and mind sets that hinder growth. My part is to cooperate with Him.
The bottom corner has boats and windsurfers and there is a glass half full. I had windsurfing lessons once. One lesson is never enough. The surf board on the sand and the sail dug into the sand is not preparation for the sea. I think this is all about taking risks. There is a kind of recklessness about some windsurfers, but they don’t head out to the waves without knowledge and experience, and cutting their teeth on baby waves. The half full glass reminds me that God has confidence in me to take on risk and adventure and to not always to play safe.
The other corner is a colourful picture of a religious festival that involves dye. It’s the Hindu festival of Holi. People throw coloured powder and dye. It is a spring festival about new life. Everyone in the picture is covered in coloured dye. This to me is about getting into the crowd and not keeping a distance. It’s about not expecting not to get dirty and not minding, perhaps not even noticing. It reminds me of time spent in a black orphanage in Durban, South Africa. The smell of the place and the children was very strong. I minded at first, but then, as I spent time there, I got to smell just as bad as the children and I stopped minding. I no longer wrinkled my nose as I gathered them into my arms.
What else is on the picture? There is a letter. I used to write lots of letters. I tried to revive my letter writing but with all the other demands on my time it never really happened. Mother Teresa once said that she was a pen in the hand of a loving God who was writing a love letter to the world. Writing letters may not be the modern thing to do today but it is the most lasting. They can also be the most treasured thing that someone possesses. God writes His-story in my life, asks me to tell that story through words, through actions, through prayers, through forgiveness – through living.
Behind the chair flies superman against a background of coloured cotton reels. I’m not superman or wonder woman. I think this might be about me giving myself permission to be normal. There are lots of pressures to deal with – just the normal stuff but lots of it. Add in to the mixture one or two of the not so normal things and life gets manic. It’s not the worst thing in the world to drop one of the balls – or all of them – and sit down and relax sometimes.
The cotton reels? No idea on that one.
The word “vote” reminds me, not about the upcoming Scottish independence vote. In more general terms it is about being an active participator in life. The other day I asked a history teacher if she could come up with any examples of non-violent protests that had changed the world significantly – excluding Martin Luther King or Gandhi. From the top of her head she conjured up the suffragette movement. To not vote is to dishonour their memoires. And if I feel I have nothing to vote for? Whose fault is that but mine for standing idly by while those in power whittle away the compassion of a nation?
The carrot? That’s about reward. The best way to get the best out of people is to show them the rewards. Joe and I have just started watching re-runs of “Alias Smith and Jones” – those latter-day Robin Hoods of the wild west. The promise of amnesty if they can keep out of trouble for a year dictates their behaviour.
The heart and spirit of a person is seat of all action.