Come back into the room and open your eyes when you are ready.
It is possible to reach for new creative thoughts. Leaning into inspired thought requires the conscious intention to rest upon the edge of what you do not yet know. In your personal mind, there is likely a stream of thoughts that run horizontally from the past to the future in a way that rarely changes. In contrast, intuitive thinking reaches up vertically, inviting fresh understanding.
Spiritual teacher Guy Finley explains how to prepare yourself to hear your intuition:
"Practice breaking thought. Go mentally silent. Just become aware of yourself without thinking about it. Break into the swarm of thoughts and feelings, over and over again, with your awareness of their presence. This will silence them and show you where you have been. This important practice of conscious awareness allows you to know in each moment that there is You and your thinking, and You and your emotions. All are present at the same time. This knowledge brings choice."
You have a "Free Mind" and a "me mind." Once you understand the limits of your “me mind," you can discern between intuitive insight and habitual thinking. When you harmonize with Free Mind thinking, you will receive the answers to any questions that you may have.
Supporting mothers travel through the loss of a baby is a heart-wrenchingly poignant, and the post-traumatic growth can be tremendous to witness too. I recently wrote an article on my Depth Therapy Blog that offers a five-step process for healing the loss of a baby.
If you have lost an older child, this article might feel supportive for you as well. I have created a 5-step healing process that I call Dedicating, Naming, Soul Speaking, Loving and Redirecting.
When a baby dies through a miscarriage, a post-natal death, or even if the death is expected as in the case of abortion, the first healing task is to face the reality that your baby is (in its specific incarnation) gone.
Many women try to avoid painful feelings of loss in various ways such as "being strong" and "keeping busy", etc. Yet, there is no way to avoid the inevitability of grief. You must allow yourself to fully experience and express your grief.
People often misunderstand the needs of the grieving. Ask for specific support from your loved ones during your grief process. Through a kind connection with others who care, be assured that the pain of your loss will lessen in time.
The emotions involved in letting go are painful but necessary to experience. By not doing so, you will remain stuck in the grief process and will be unable to resolve your loss. See the Six Stages of Grief. Anger, guilt, loneliness, anxiety, sadness and depression are among the feelings and experiences that are normal during the grieving process.
As you move into the acceptance stage in the Six Stages of Grief, you may want to create a ritual of good-bye for the baby you have lost through a miscarriage, abortion, or some other kind of death. This might include writing a letter or a poem, asking for ongoing connection and love between the spirit of your baby and yourself.
1. Create a Good-Bye Statement: After the loss of your baby, it is helpful to create a written or visual "good-bye statement." Create a statement that you can repeat often during your grieving process. If you have aborted, you might want to say, “I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank-you.” If you have miscarried or experienced an unexpected loss after birth, you might say, "Thank you dear one for being in my body or in my life."
2. Create a Tribute to your Loved One: It is helpful to create a tribute to the growth process that you and the baby went through together, however brief. You might, for example, feel inspired to commemorate a piece of artwork to the positive changes you have made since your loss.
3. Create an Intention: When you experience a loss, you can consecrate a healing intention that will enhance your life forever. Making a post-loss intention to be more present, kind, creative or loving, for example, will help you to heal and move on with your life in a much deeper way.
1. Dedicating: What would you like to dedicate the loss of your baby to? How might you live your life in a better way in honour of the memory of your baby? Would you be more grateful, more dignified, more courageous?
2. Naming: Do you want to give your baby's soul a name to honour his or her time in your body or in your life? If you chose a positive quality, for example, you could call your baby's soul, "Truth, Courage or Freedom." When you think about the soul "energy-tone" of your baby what does she or he symbolize for you? How do you wish you could have helped your baby to grow? Use your chosen name for your baby to connect with this positive quality in yourself.
3. Soul Speaking: Do you speak to your baby’s soul? Do you share your feelings with your baby now that she or he is gone? Consider keeping a journal where you communicate to your baby's soul on a regular basis. Thank your baby for the learning experiences you have shared.
4. Loving: Do you tell your baby that you love him or her and do you open your heart every time you think of your baby? Thank your lost baby for opening your heart every time he/she enters your mind.
The final task, after fully grieving the loss of your baby, is to affect an emotional withdrawal from the guilt of the abortion or the sadness of the miscarriage or the unfairness of the post-birth loss so that your emotional energy can be used in creating a productive life.
You must find your own ways of satisfying your social, emotional, spiritual and practical needs by developing new or changed activities and relationships. This is NOT dishonouring the lost or deceased and it doesn't mean that you love him or her any less. It simply recognizes that there are other people to be loved and cared for at this time.
5. Redirecting: What kind of mother did you want to be to your baby? What kind of person do you want to be post-loss? Did you want to be loyal, fierce, kind, or honest? Who or how will you love more deeply in this same way after your loss? How will you dedicate your life to loving this other person (or to a caring cause) in order to transform your loss into something deeply meaningful?
Come back into the room and open your eyes when you are ready.
This fun art demo is with artist Amanda Mauk from her Courageous Creativity Summit
I had so much fun sharing my Collage Landscapes practice with Amanda Mauk and you can now watch our time together on YouTube!
I shared my collage landscape journal with Amanda during our interview and I remarked on how the main theme of my journal seems to be about bicycles!
I think it is time to buy a bike and start riding soon, don't you!
A few years ago, after receiving many requests, I finally wrote an expressive arts grief course which is now a module in my year long expressive art and writing course. Because I have walked along the road of loss in my own life many times, and I also worked with people at the end-of-life for ten years, I often felt too close to grief. Yet, once I decided to write the course, it flowed forth with ease and clarity.
I have travelled through the grief of losing loved ones many times, and each time the process has been so different. The loss of my mother deeply infected my heart chakra in a very painful way and the loss of my father opened up my third eye and crown chakra in a beautiful and inspiring way.
Yet, despite all my varied grief experiences, I know that there is a human map for processing grief. Recently, I reread my grief e-course, and I must say, I think it is a beautiful program for healing grief. It is simple enough to read, understand and implement while intensely grieving the loss of a loved one.
Since grief manifests in so many ways, I have written a human roadmap of healing tasks that you can attend to, in order to complete your various types of grief. In the course module, there is a beautiful new PDF for you to download. And, if you have not yet taken my year-long course, it brings me such joy to share this free excerpt from my grief course with you here.
Featured Module Excerpt:
The Dance of Emotions, Energy and Action
Before you begin the activities in this course, I want to share the creative way that I work with arising emotions. Spontaneous art and writing are such profound ways to work with the grief because they get your emotions moving, providing greater access to insights for healing.
Receive, Direct, Create
1. Receive Information: Emotions have a purpose, and they need to be fully felt. Emotions also carry important information about how to guide your life. Locate the place in your body where your emotion resides. Engage with your emotion by acknowledging it with gratitude and openness.
The information contained within an emotion will make itself known through your imagination in the form of pictures or sudden thoughts. You might even be able to see the link to how a limiting belief is causing your emotion. Note all emotional insights in your grief journal.
2. Direct the Energy: When an emotion is felt but not listened to, the energy builds internally and causes agitation. Acknowledge the emotion, and express it in your spontaneous art and writing. Even if you do not yet understand what life-forward movement the emotion is indicating, listen to emotional energy by doing one of the creative exercises in this course each day. Release your painful emotions through word-play and image-making.
3. Take Creative Action: Each negative emotion contains the seed of a healing antidote. A negative emotion always indicates that a higher heart-centered action is needed. When you bring all of your emotions into your heart, you can access ideas about the creative action you need to take to uplift you out of emotional pain.
Digital Collage for Emotional Processing
Over the past 2 years, I have created over 300 digital collages! I find digital collage to be so magical and quick. This emotionally expressive journey I have been on has helped me to process and transform my inhibitions, my mistaken beliefs, my loss and grief, and my regrets. And, it has helped me to progress into my confidence and my magnitude.
You can view a slide show of all 300 of my collages HERE.
I recently had such a lovely chat with harpist/healer Patricia Daly from Ireland.
We talked about the healing power of creativity and we each shared our personal stories of healing and helping others through our own devoted creative practices.
I found it to be a very touching conversation about each of our journeys from self-diminishment to self-confidence.
Please join us for free HERE!
Staying at home, unable to engage in the normal distractions of life, can bring up the deepest unhealed wounds for emotional reconciliation. If you are feeling anxious due to COVID-19, you might also be feeling unfinished grief from the past that is intensifying the level of fear or panic that you currently feeling.
Below, is an article I recently published on my Depth Therapy Blog that explains what I call the "Six Stages of Grief." The "Five Stages of Grief" was developed in the '50s by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Having grieved many losses in my life, and also supported many others through the grieving process, I have added the passage of "anxiety and panic" to the typical 5 stages of grief.
If you are currently feeling emotionally overwhelmed, I invite you to consider the list of grieving tasks below and contemplate how anxiety and panic serve to pierce the emotional numbness and denial that so many of us normally live within. Underneath anxiety and panic exist deeper emotional processes that you will need to pass through before you can feel the emotional well-being of acceptance and peace.
When I draw from my deeper unconscious, inspiration often comes. Drawing intuitively always brings me solace. It not only gives my anxiety an outlet, but it tells me greater things about myself.
My intuitive drawings often help me to see things in a higher way, and sometimes they make me laugh.
Doodling your Feelings
"Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play."
~ Henri Matisse
Intuitive drawings can begin as simple doodles that will become more eloquent as you practice. You can use ballpoint pens, markers, gel pens or pastels. Draw for the surprise and joy of the process, without knowing in advance how each drawing will turn out.
If you would like to participate in a free 30-day intuitive drawing challenge you can do so HERE.
I have also created a set of 30 playful expressive arts prompts that provide some structure for your intuitive drawing and painting process.