I’ve just posted a new set of printable journal pages over at the shop. It’s full of things I would love for each of us to know about ourselves:
…that we are brave enough to pursue our dreams in spite of our fears;
…that we can forgive and be forgiven, to lighten our loads just a little and make room for new adventures;
…that some part of each of us shines brightly in every moment, even this one right now;
…that our goals are within our grasp, even in the face of daunting setbacks;
…that our well being is worthy of our time and effort; and
…that we are not alone.
As always, from my resilient, dreaming heart to yours, best wishes and happy journaling. xoxo
This is the second in my series of interviews in which I ask people, “What does it feel like to be you?”
Skye Boyle is an arts and crafts adventurer. She finds creative inspiration in the colourful plants and animals surrounding her home in Southeastern Australia and in the wide range of materials she uses to make her art. Rather than limit herself to one style or medium, she follows her hands, heart, and imagination wherever they lead, embracing new projects and techniques along the way. As the founder of The Art of Greenskye, she has cheerfully chosen the title of Artist and Creator.
Skye graciously agreed to share her answer to the very personal question of what it feels like to be her in relation to her love of making art. In an email, she wrote:
“I've always found joy in creating but that questioning feeling always creeps in, is this good enough, what would others think of it, am I wasting my time and money. But I've recently stumbled onto a train of thought, to create not just for the sake of creating, but something that will help others too. In doing this, my spark has been ignited! The fears drop away and I'm floating through my joy as I create.”
“I've recently completed some Medicine Wheels, using mixed media, paint, resin, wool, crystals, thread, etc., which have brought me so much joy and in turn inspiration, and there are no fears associated with them, they make me proud of myself.”
When I asked how her new projects help her fears drop away, she responded:
“These new projects that make me feel less fearful, I think it's because I loved every stage of it, I felt excited and happy in every moment, and then I was so happy with the outcome, that I didn't care what others thought. It's actually hard to put into words. It really is intuitive art, delving into my own feelings and then also empathy, with thinking and feeling of how it would/could help others, knowing that someone out there will benefit in some way. But then some stages I don't have control over, like with the fluid art, the paint will lay the way it wants to, I've changed my thought process to love the freedom of it, that it will turn out the way it’s meant to. To not focus as much on the outcome, but to fall in love with every stage of the process.”
I can’t help but be delighted by Skye’s description of how she feels while she’s creating – that she has identified her process as an antidote to her fear, that she places her trust in her own intuition and empathy to guide her toward meaningful projects, and that she feels proud of herself and a sense of purpose in the work she’s doing. I’m also drawn to the thought of finding freedom in the moments we don’t have control over, rather than fearing the outcome. I look forward to giving it a try in my own work.
How about you? Do you ever question what others will think of your chosen pursuits or worry that your efforts won’t be good enough? How do you deal with your fears? Share your thoughts with Skye and me in the comments.
This one’s almost ready to go. It’s framed in terms of letting go, recognizing growth and moving forward. Reflection in action. I’m hoping it can be used in two ways — to reflect on forgiving others and, perhaps more importantly, on forgiving ourselves. An opportunity to lighten the load a bit, to make room for new adventures.
A peek at some early work on a new set of word-themed pages. For now, the words are: better, essential, vivid, brave, forgiven, and cared for. I’ve been thinking a lot about compassion directed inward — about recognizing courage, taking time to take care, and letting go of the past. It's slow going, but I think that's just part of the process. It takes as long as it takes.
This is the first in a series of interviews in which I ask people, “What does it feel like to be you?”
It’s an incredibly personal question to ask someone (even to ask oneself), but what if it’s precisely the question that could help us understand each other better and connect in more meaningful ways? What if it’s a direct and authentic way to find common ground, by focusing on feelings we all experience?
Ella Rose bravely agreed to help me test my hypothesis by sharing what it feels like to be her.
Ella is a single mom of three awesome kids, a dedicated nurse with more than 25 years’ experience and the founder of the Liminal House, a website that helps people tackle decisions surrounding death. Her future plans include journals, retreats and fundraisers, which will one day fund the construction of a contemplative care home for those dying between the ages of 21 and 55.
When I asked her about the feelings that accompany this current moment, as she juggles single motherhood, a full-time career, and her vision for reshaping the conversation around death and dying, Ella answered with five words:
“I always feel like I have to either improvise or improve or manipulate … in important projects and in my life.”
“All of us, if we’re listening, we’re guided . . . Sometimes it’s louder than others, but you know it’s there. You choose whether to listen.”
“I refuse to feel defeated. Even if it’s something heavy, there has to be an upside. But you have to recognize it and hold onto it. Miracles still happen, but people don’t recognize them. They’re in the little things.”
“It means being in between. In between life and death. As a single mom, working full time, looking for a new job, I’m constantly on a seesaw. It’s hard. It can be scary. It can be challenging, but it stretches me to look at other options.”
“I think I always say what I feel. This is something I’ve had to work on. Why do we lie? We’re afraid. What am I afraid of? Because that’s what’s holding me back. We have to be more real with each other.”
In Ella’s hopefulness, I see parallels in my own life. My hopefulness is also rooted in the little things, in recognizing and holding onto moments that carry me through difficult challenges. I also identify with the double-edged experience of being stretched. It feels like there’s never enough time or resources, but it’s precisely the lack of time and resources that pushes me to stretch myself in new and constructive ways. It’s fascinating to me to see the balance Ella brings to this moment – between feeling stretched and stretching herself, in her hopefulness grounded in reality, and most of all in choosing the in-between, the liminal, as the place to fulfill her vision for helping others in their most difficult moments.
How about you? Have you ever experienced any of these feelings in the midst of new projects in your life? Share them with Ella and me in the comments.
Update, July 4, 2019: Thank you so much to everyone who commented for sharing your replies to my journal prompt. I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be sending out a secret package to Crystal. I’ll be in touch by email within the next day or so to obtain mailing instructions. Thanks again, so much, for journaling with me. :)
Remember that envelope journal I made yesterday? I’ve decided to fill each of its ten tiny envelopes with a journal prompt and give it away. If you’re interested in receiving a little package from me, leave a comment in reply to the journal prompt below. On Tuesday, July 2nd, at 3:00 pm EDT, I’ll choose one comment at random, announce it here on the blog, and follow up with an email to obtain mailing instructions.
Here’s your prompt, one of my all-time favourites: One little thing about your day today that means a lot.
I’ve been feeling the itch to make something new. Something fun and journal-related. Something with pretty paper.
When I pulled out my paper stash, my mini envelope templates were right on top. It got me to thinking . . . How about a journal made of envelopes?
I chose several sheets of pretty paper and my 2.5”x2” envelope template and started tracing.
I figured out the binding pattern as I went along, which explains the big stitch right at the top. If anyone asks, I totally meant for that to be there. It’s decorative.
Here’s the finished binding:
And the finished journal, from a bunch of different perspectives:
There are ten envelopes in total. I just need to decide how to fill each one. Any ideas?
This cheerful exercise brings together some of journaling’s best features:
Thinking on paper. By composing a thank you note using your journal, you can take a moment to think about someone’s generosity or kindness and what it means to you.
Memory keeping. You’ll create a record of the moment or action for which you’re thankful and that will help you remember it.
Transforming thoughts into action. This is where the power of journaling really shines through. It gives you an easy way not only to recognize your gratitude, but also to act on it.
All it takes are a few simple, specific steps.
Starting in your journal, write your responses to these five prompts:
One person you’d like to thank.
One thing you’d like to thank her or him for.
Two details to describe the thing for which you’re thankful.
One way in which it made a difference to you.
One lovely thing about the person you’re thanking.
Next, select a card or sheet of note paper and turn your prompt responses into a thank you note. Here’s one way you might write it:
Thank you so much for (2.)! I love (3.).
It means so much to (4.). You’re (5.)!
The only thing left to do is sign your name and you’re finished!
In a short sequence of thoughtful steps, you’ve documented a meaningful moment in two ways — in your journal for you to keep and in a note expressing your gratitude to send to someone who will surely be thrilled to receive it.
To make it even easier, I’ve created a new printable journal page that includes all the prompts I listed above. You can download it by clicking here or on the image above. As always, the pdf file includes four page sizes: letter, half letter, A4, and A5.
If you’d like to see more, you’ll find a variety of 10 Minute Journal Pages, free sample pages, and much more in my printables shop.
I have an idea for a new journal page (or set!). It may or may not work out in the end, but I thought it might be fun to think it through with you here on the blog this week.
The page started with the idea of a map. Specifically, I was thinking of those lovely illustrated city or country maps featuring a place and a collection of its streets and landmarks. They’re not drawn to scale, but to give the viewer a sense of the place. I love how sweet they are — full of history or natural beauty, or sometimes the illustrator’s memories of places she visited while she was there.
I wondered if that kind of map might make a good journal page — if the main streets could be a way to represent themes or lists, if intersections could represent relationships between ideas, and if important details could be shown on the map as landmarks. I wondered if a sort of illustrated map/journal page hybrid could be a creative way to explore everyday experiences and seek out new insights.
The result is what you see above. It’s as far I’ve gotten. Now that I see it down on paper, I don’t think it’s quite there yet. It’s not obvious how to approach the page and, when finished, I’m wondering if the map works to clarify ideas in a meaningful way.
I think I’ll step away from it for a while, but I’ll be back here tomorrow with new eyes and a fresh perspective. In the meantime, what do you think?