Last week was filled with much angst and stress. My mom ended up in the ER and they originally thought it might be another heart attack. Thankfully her heart is fine, but it caused a well up of feelings for me that continued to spiral in my mind long after she was released from the hospital.

Sunday, I led a visual journaling workshop for adolescents from a drug and alcohol treatment program and it was the perfect opportunity to move away from the book images and pull out my Journal from the Heart. This is where I let my mind roam free. Thoughts and images spill to the page, in no particular order and without any preconceived notions. I just allow the images to speak to me as I work though the feelings I have inside. This is where I work it all out. Narrative collage, soul stories. These pages don’t have to be perfect. No one has to see them, they are my sacred ground. My way of coming back home.

I enjoy using this tool with clients. If they are distance clients they send me JPEGS of their images between sessions and we talk about them together. Watching the kids find their way into the process and then discussing their pieces was truly a touching experience. I sat next to a young girl who must have created eight pages. She told me,"I will use this in my life forever." 

I understood what she meant, I have been using this process for almost 20 years now. It feels in some ways like a lifetime, as it is what helped me to transform my life from darkness and pain, to what it is now, beautiful mixture of both shadow and light. The difference is knowing that the shadow won’t kill me, it is the fertile ground from which my creativity is born. I also know that when the darkness and difficult times come, they will be here for a time and then like the seasons it will change.