Skye Boyle, What Does It Feel Like To Be You?

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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.”

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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.

Learn more about Skye: Facebook | Instagram | Etsy

 

Ella Rose, What Does It Feel Like To Be You?

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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.

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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:

Stretched

“I always feel like I have to either improvise or improve or manipulate … in important projects and in my life.”

Guided

“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.”

Hopeful

“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.”

Liminal

“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.”

Real

“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.

Learn more about Ella: Website | Facebook | Instagram

 

Mini Envelope Journal Giveaway

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. :)

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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.

 

How to Use Your Journal to Write a Thank You Note

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:

  1. One person you’d like to thank.

  2. One thing you’d like to thank her or him for.

  3. Two details to describe the thing for which you’re thankful.

  4. One way in which it made a difference to you.

  5. 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:

Dear (1.),

Thank you so much for (2.)! I love (3.).

It means so much to (4.). You’re (5.)!

Love,

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.

 

10 Minutes to Tackle the Impossible - New Printable Journal Page

It’s the kind of sunny Friday afternoon when anything seems possible, so I turned last week’s post on doing the impossible into a new printable journal page. You can download it by clicking right here or on the image above.

Let’s all go out this weekend and take small, but mighty steps toward achieving the impossible.

P.S. As always, the pdf file includes four page sizes: letter, half letter, A4, and A5.

P.P.S. 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.

 

How to Use Your Journal to Access Your Inner Wisdom

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This journal technique is simple and straightforward. It uses a basic question and answer format and requires no tools other than a pen and paper.

There’s just this one thing . . . you’ll be asking the questions AND answering them, which is the key to connecting with your knowledge and experience. It sounds a little unusual, but once you get the hang of it, you may be surprised to discover the depth and breadth of your own wisdom.

Accessing Your Inner Wisdom

Here’s how to begin:

Step one: Ask yourself a question, in writing, in your journal.

Step two: Answer your question, in writing, in your journal.

Repeat steps one and two until you’re satisfied with the work you’ve done.

That’s really all there is to it. Two steps repeated many times. The trick to making it work is not letting yourself off the hook.

Follow Every Answer With a New Question

Let’s say you’ve got a big decision to make, but you’re not sure what to do. You could begin by asking yourself, What should I do?

Your first and most honest answer might be, I don’t know, which is entirely okay. That’s why you’re doing this. Keep going. Ask the next question: Why don’t I know?

Then answer it.

You might not find the answers you seek right away, but don’t let that stop you from following every answer, especially the ones that seem the least helpful and the most unproductive, with a new question.

If you don’t know because you don’t have enough information, ask yourself how to find more information. If you don’t know because it’s a hard question, ask yourself why it’s hard. If you don’t know because you’re afraid to know, ask yourself why you’re afraid.

Then answer your questions and the follow-up questions they inspire, in writing, in your journal. You may find that the answers you’re searching for are already within you, just waiting to be written.

Why Your Journal Is an Excellent Place to Access Your Inner Wisdom

I love this format. It usually doesn’t take long for me to get past the I don’t knows and the I’m not sures to the core of difficult challenges and decisions. It has a lot to do with how I view my journal.

My journal is a safe place to think. It’s a judgment free zone. It’s always there for me when I need it. In return, my journal requires words. It requires me to articulate and describe, and in order to do so, I have to pay attention. I have to stop for a moment and think things through.

The results are often incredibly heartening — a new path forward, a renewed sense of confidence, a new understanding of myself that yields more intentional decisions. I don’t always find perfect answers to my questions, but I always find somewhere to start, something to do to move forward.

If you’d like to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes. Leave a comment below or drop me a line via email. I’d love to chat!

P.S. I’ve also used aspects of this technique in two of my printable journal pages: When You Just Need a Moment to Think and Reason 10 in my free e-book 10 Good Reasons to Journal, if you’re looking for a place to start.

 

Make Your Own Mini Cloud Journal

This little journal isn’t exactly practical. It probably isn’t very sensible either. It’s also lopsided from some angles and each time I make a new one, it’s never quite the same as the last.

But everything about it makes me smile — the cloud-shaped pages, the blue on blue on blue, and the lovely little bow right in the middle. It’s good for sky’s-the-limit brainstorming and head-in-the-clouds musings. It’s also suitable for noting gratitude, good things, and madcap adventures. (I’ve even done a little something with it that you might not expect. I’ll show you in just a moment.)

If you’d like to make your own cloud journal, I’ve whipped up a quick printable and tutorial for you — for moments when you’re feeling a little impractical or un-sensible and a regular rectangular journal just won’t do.

To begin, you’ll find my mini cloud journal template right here or by clicking on the image above or below. (The file includes two page sizes. The first page is letter sized. The second page is A4.)

You’ll also need extra paper to make your cloud pages, a pencil, scissors, something pointy for poking holes (I forgot to include my little sewing awl in the image below, but you’ll see it further down), a sewing needle, and about a 6-8 inch length of thread (I used embroidery floss).

Start by cutting out the cloud templates (image below, left) and tracing them onto your selected cloud paper. I cut out one of the largest clouds and two of each of the remaining clouds (image below, right).

Here’s the unexpected part. After folding each cloud in half individually — I just eyeballed the halfway point and went for it — I arranged the clouds from largest to smallest on the inside of the journal (image below, left), then did the same on the outside (image below, right), so that the largest cloud is the fourth cloud in a stack of seven. This way, there are tiny clouds on the inside and outside of the journal.

Now it’s time to poke the holes and sew the journal together. The red handled item pictured below is the awl I used to make the holes. Again, I estimated a nice middle spot and poked the first hole, then one more above and below (image below, top left).

To sew the binding:

  1. Holding the journal open in front of you, pass your needle and thread through the front middle hole, leaving a tail that you’ll later use to tie a small knot and bow. (image below, top right).

  2. From the back of the journal, pass the needle through the top hole to the front of the journal and then down, through the bottom hole, to the back of the journal. Make sure your tail is to one side of the long stitch you’ve just made (image below, bottom left).

  3. From the back, pass your needle back through the middle hole, this time coming through the front on the side of your long stitch opposite to the tail (image below, bottom right).

Separate your needle from the thread and tie a knot in your thread on top of the long stitch in your journal’s binding. Then tie a lovely little bow and snip the ends of the thread.

That’s it! You’re finished!

I hope your time spent in the clouds while making this little journal inspires all sorts of new sky’s-the-limit adventures.

As always, best wishes and happy journaling!

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3 Journal Prompts for Doing the Impossible

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Whenever I think about impossible things, Walt Disney’s cheerful quote comes to mind: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

You have to admit, he has a point. It’s all kinds of fun to do things we didn’t think we could do, to achieve goals we thought were impossible, and journaling is an excellent way to get the ball rolling.

Here are my three journal prompts for doing the impossible:

1. One thing you used to think was impossible (but you went ahead and did it anyway).

Think about one thing you’re quite able to do now that once felt impossible. Perhaps it’s a skill you now practice with ease, a job or position at which you now excel, a good habit you’ve developed, or a project in which you’re involved that makes a difference. Write that impossible thing down.

2. One thing that feels impossible right now (but probably isn’t).

Now that you’ve already done the impossible, there’s no reason you can’t do it again. Write down the next thing you’d like to do that, in this moment, feels impossible. (For extra credit, add a few thoughts about what it is about this thing that feels impossible and a few reasons why it probably isn’t.)

3. One small step you can take toward achieving the thing that feels impossible (but probably isn’t).

Now that you’re ready to achieve the impossible, write down one teeny tiny thing you can do to get started. Make sure it’s small enough that you can do it now. Yes, right now. After all, even the most difficult tasks, even the seemingly impossible ones, start with a single step. What’s your first step?

A final thought on using your journal to help you do the impossible:

Don’t put your journal away just yet. Go out and take that first step, then come back to your journal and check it off. Jot down one or two things you learned along the way and what it felt like to complete your first step. Then turn your mind, your pen, and your actions to the next teeny tiny step you can take. And so on. Until you’ve done it again — achieved the impossible. I’ll be cheering you on all the way.

If you’d like to see more of my journal prompts, hop on over to my printables shop, where you’ll find a colourful collection of printable journal pages, including lots of free pages, full of encouragement and inspiration on your journey to make the impossible possible. I’ve also added a brand new printable to my 10 Minute Journal Page collection that was inspired by this post!

 

Printable mini guided journal and envelope template

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I’ve had such fun creating an ever-growing collection of handmade envelopes with mini accordion journals tucked inside! I thought you might want to give it a try, too, so I’ve created a new, free printable page and a quick tutorial to get you started.

If you’d like to create your own mini accordion journals and envelopes, start by downloading and printing my mini envelope and journal template. (The file includes two page sizes. The first page is letter sized. The second page is A4.) You’ll also need a pencil, scissors, tape or glue, and extra paper for making your envelopes.

Begin by cutting out the envelope template and mini journals. For the mini journals, I like to cut just inside the dashed lines so they don’t appear on the journals.

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Next, trace the outline of your envelope template onto the back of your chosen paper and cut it out. I’m making two envelopes, one for each mini journal.

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Now for the folding. With your envelope paper face down, fold the side tabs in toward the center using the dotted lines on the envelope template as a guide.

For the mini journals, I like to start by folding them in half, so that the top and bottom meet and the words are on the outside of the fold.

Fold the envelope bottoms up and over the side tabs, again using the dotted line in the envelope template as a guide, and apply glue or tape to attach the bottom to the sides. Then fold down the envelope top.

For the mini journals, fold the tops and bottoms in half again so that they meet up with the centre fold.

Insert your folded journals into your new envelopes and you’re finished!

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You can record your answers to the prompts now and attach your envelopes to your journal or you can tuck your envelopes into a tote or backpack for a little journaling on the go.

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I hope you’ll love this little journal project. If you’d like to try making more envelopes of different sizes and shapes and more mini journals, I’ve also posted a brand new printable handmade journal and envelope kit in the shop.

As always, happy journaling, friends!

 

"word confessions" mini accordion journal (and handmade irregular envelope, of course)

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My recent experiments with handmade irregular envelopes wouldn’t be complete without a few irregular prompts. I made a super-simple, three-prompt, mini-accordion guided journal to tuck inside my latest teeny tiny envelopes. And the prompts are . . . well, they’re a little unusual . . . a lighthearted look at the words confuse and amuse us.

My word confession for the day is that I’m never entirely sure if I’m using the word “ironic” correctly. (Is that ironic? I have no idea.)

How about you?