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. 


  1. Honest and beautifully expressed! The collage grabs one's attention, and your words and process add a whole other dimension. Maybe also I Am the One Who is worthy to connect to the world from the top of the building, the highest point thereby seeing the whole pattern, not just the fragments.

    1. Hi Healinghaven. Thanks for commenting and I love your "I Am". I hadn't thought of placing myself at the top of the building but of course.