Monday, December 23, 2013

Soul Collage: This Woman's Issues

Mind Map of I Am the One Who Defines Myself Despite Convention
I Am the One Who Defines Myself Despite Convention

This card initially surprised me.  I thought I was going to make a card to celebrate the solstice during the 
SoulCollage group on December 21st but this composition emerged from my unconscious/conscious
instead.  It started with a poetry magazine image which was a collage comprised of fragments of images of
women from glamour magazines.  The poem was about feeling fragmented.  I then found the ancient stone
steps/wall which I cut apart and rearranged, as I did with the glamour images.  Somehow the dark
silhouette of a mosque seemed to fit into the foreground of this card.  

I just noticed that the religious building is in the foreground, the ancient bricks of a wall or steps are in the
mid ground, and the images of the women are in the background.  This arrangement is a metaphor all in itself.
I must acknowledge that I arranged things in this order--and so I see how my mind places what is closest,
a step away, and farther away.  Is this my unconscious understanding of what is important?
Perhaps it is the order of what has been important in shaping my ideas of how I am valued as a woman.
And how I value myself.

At first I reported to the group that this card was another one of a series of "enigma" cards for me.  Images
seem to belong together but my conscious self has no idea what it "means".  I just created a mind-map to try
to unlock my associations.  I really recommend using this form of free writing to gather your associations.

I am now remembering what I told the women at that meeting: that the Solstice represents the return of hope
and light.  With the light we drive away the darkness and are also able to illuminate what is in the shadow.
In the shadow/unseen/unknown for me has been the unconscious judgments I hold related to my value as
a woman as I grow older.  I have reached that age where I perceive that men no longer see me or seek me...
I am invisible to them.  Or so it seems.  But what part of me is defining my own worth as the degree to
which I am beautiful/attractive/sexy or sought after as a sexual partner?

I do not want to become asexual.  I want to be recognized as an attractive woman despite my wrinkles and
rounder figure.  But I long ago rejected many of the accouterments of the beautiful women I see around me:
high heels, fashionable clothes, makeup, styled hair and  jewelry. Actually I think those things were thrown
out with my bra during my hippie years and the woman's liberation movement.  But apparently my association
between my value as a woman and person and my own physical attractiveness was not let go of.

I also continue to see images of glamour and sexual beauty in most ads and many news videos, including the
highly styled women who are delivering the news.  In addition is the news from other countries, as well as
conservative thinkers in our own country, who believe that the freedom gained for women in the last century in
the US is wrong. Women are still stoned or imprisoned in other countries for disagreeing with the religious
and/or political ideas that have been in place for centuries.  I have been grateful to be in this country and
feel, in general, as if I have the right to express myself as a human being, without regard to gender.

But this card is telling me that I need to shift MY idea of my value. That I need to stop comparing myself to
the supermodel or sexy female rocker of the moment.  That I need to lay to rest my need to be validated by
others, especially men, in terms of my outer beauty.

Just saw this wonderful quote from the 17th Karmapa

"Do not let anyone tell you how you must look or act just because you are a man or a woman.
You have boundless potential that can only be limited when you believe that your social identity
is really who you are. Who you are is not a perfectly measured object. There is tremendous elasticity
in who you can be. It is up to you to decide the shape you give yourself."

~ 17th Karmapa

I Am the One Who Defines Myself Despite Convention
I Am the One Who Defines Myself Without Reference to Social/Political/Religious Expectations
I Am the One Who Accepts and Nurtures My Aging Body
I Am the One Who Loves Myself and has Compassion for Myself
I Am the One Who is Worthy of Love
I Am the One Who Continues to Be of Value to the World
I Am the One Who Continues to Grow
I Am the One Who Becomes More Full of Light. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

SoulCollage: I Am the One Who Seeks Healing (a record of process)

I Am the One Who Sees the Mother's Creations
This is the way the card looked in its first version.  It is an image of a green forest seen through a goddess shaped cave entrance.  I wanted a triangular shaped image for her pubic area.  I was surprised when the autumn leaf began to look like a fire bird's head.  I had associations to the bright and conscious creatures that are brought to birth by nature.  It is thrilling to count myself among those creatures.  I also had the association to bringing to birth awareness and that which has vivid life through my art.  The head also has an association to the ancient ancestors of the bird as well...this head looks like the head of a dinosaur.  This card really speaks to me about the primitive process of life coming forth into the reality of earth.After sitting with it for a couple of days, though, I realized that it wasn't done.
I Am the One Who Glimpses the Great Mother

This version of the card was the next step.  I wanted to hide and soften the
wild bird head.  That red energy becomes the energy of the earth in spring.
The first flowers of spring, the Lily of the Valley thrives here.  The flowers
are nurtured by tears from the Bleeding Heart blossom as well as tears from
the eye at the power/self-esteem chakra center.  These tears also form pools
and streams at the bottom of the card.  I also added Cone Flower centers to
define the areas of the mother's breasts.  Sitting with this card I am disturbed
by that inhuman eye.  When looking at the card it is all I can see.  The eye
appears to be looking to the left, towards the past.  My associations are to
as yet unresolved self-esteem issues tied to the past, some of them the
disappointment of unfulfilled expectations, others related to injuries to self-
esteem experienced throughout my life.  I have found that making SoulCollage
cards has really helped my in the process of recovery of my person power.

In my email I receive a note from a website I subscribe to.  Carol Tuttle is offering
a Chakra Healing class and a free chakra assessment.  I take the assessment and
find that all my chakras are strong except my heart chakra and my power/
self-esteem center.  I realize that the card with the eye is like a chart of this chakra
assessment.  My association is that I am also finally getting insurance through
the state and can finally go to the doctor and address some of my concerns
about my aging body.  Need to get a mammogram and do something about
that too ample behind.  Hmm, what do you think the doctor will say
about the 
orange bird head in my public area?  Well, it is only a metaphor, right?

I Am the One Who Seeks Healing

This is the final version of the card
I have had a series of cards, lately,
that are quite enigmatic. Hard to tell when they are done (until that final feeling).
I've finished this card by adding a leafy upper and lower eyelid to that eye.
Still journaling about this one but has to do with nature as my mother and my own
body and its need for improved health. In the simple chakra test it said my chakras
are strong except for my heart and my self esteem/power center. That seems to be
what this card is about: the strange eye at my power chakra looking to the past,
my heart a "bleeding heart" blossom. Hope to do Anne Marie's upcoming class
"Using Soul Collage During Times of Illness". A number of readings have pointed
at the need to address my health. I am overweight and need to see the dentist
and dermatologist and the list goes on. I am thankful for my relative good health
but think it is time to take care of myself and focus on keeping the health I
have as well as improve my energy in the time I still have in this amazing world.