My journaling practice can take on many a guise and I continue to relish the ways that the varied threads of my life overlap and manifest together in the simplest of ways.
This simple exercise is a great example of that. What I experienced here is the magical fusion of the worlds of creativity and yogic practice & philosophy…
- likhit japa
So what was the process ?
From a conversation with my reliable mentor Jill Bolejack (read more about her HERE) I embarked on a mission to create some flash cards with a series of simple markings on them. And what happened, is that magic that always happens when we just decide to start something….the process takes over and leads us where we didn’t know we going and then something new and magical happens.
I didn’t set out to create this mini booklet, it evolved through the creative process
All we need to do is start !
There is no beginning too small
Getting hands on. Exploring the resources I have to hand. Being open to what I’m drawn to, what I like the look and feel of today. Following the desire to play with something I’ve not used before. Experimenting. Following the smallest seed of an idea. Measuring, cutting, joining together.
Trusting in the process and going with it, I create something that never existed before, something which has evolved and manifested through creative practice.
Using ‘found objects’ and upcycling are one of the cornerstones of my practice of creative journaling. This can make it a real challenge, especially for someone like me with real hoarding tendencies, to throw anything away, even the smallest scraps of paper. Here, I used some off cuts of paper I had used the in making of some notebooks. It was a really lovely quality of watercolour paper and I used some card stock for the base of the cards
Ok, so me and quotes have a bit of a thing going on, this you have probably worked out. This particular quote is one that was at the core of the subject of the latest Brene Brown book I read…‘Braving the Wilderness’ (more on this to come soon), that being ‘Belonging‘ and our need as human beings for a sense of belonging. I underlined the quote in her book, I wrote it out in my Journal, I looked up Maya Angelou and that quote, I wrote the quote out on my chalk wall in my studio, which meant I read it every day. This is how I worked on my understanding of what Maya Angelou meant when she said this…and what it means to me !
You are only free when you realize
you belong no place
you belong every place
no place at all
the price is high
the reward is great
From the sanskrit
man – mind
tra – to liberate
Without getting too deep here, Mantras in the Indian/Hindu philosophy, in Sanskrit language are a part of Yoga practice used as an antidote to the incessant chatter of the mind. The use and practice of mantra is a means to free the mind of blockages and awaken higher dimensions of awareness.
Using powerful and relevant quotes, for me, reading them, repeating them, writing them out, reflecting on them, using them as inspiration for journaling are different ways of harnessing the powers of that underpin the concept of mantra, focusing thoughts, clearing the mind, re calibrating my mindset.
Japa can be defined as the constant repetition of a mantra
Likhita translates as writing
This exercise of using a small set of stamps to stamp out the quote, letter by letter, felt like an exercise in lihita japa…the written repetition of a mantra. Trust me…I have to concentrate really hard when I do this and yes, I am still amazed when, I read back by carefully stamped out mantra or quote and realise that I have made at least one spelling mistake !
Bringing in me beautifully to a place of mindfulness. Where the practice you are engaged in offers the opportunity, no matter how short, to focus in a single-minded fashion on the present moment and your actions, thoughts and feelings in that moment. To be totally present. These are precious opportunities that we can offer ourselves through the simplest creative process and practices, to use a tool such as a mantra, or a quote, to quite our minds, develop our awareness and ability to be mindfully present.
For me this example of a very simple piece of creativity that I worked on combined all these varied elements.
The experience was, if you like, more than the sum of its parts.