contemplative art journaling, co-creation + a video

altered book art journal, "... in the creation of an atmosphere of comfort, well-being, and peace...."

in a contemplative art practice, it is about noticing what jumps out at you in the fine details - as a yesssss OR a trigger - and making time to be curious about and present with whatever that is. time to take it in and roll around with it a bit, to see what it stirs up in our bodies, thoughts and feelings. it might be a word or a phrase, an association or color, a texture or way of making marks.

the noticing becomes a unification with something felt, inherently - a push, a pull, a melting and becoming all at once. then, in reverence or humility, the practice shifts from a dance with personal story into a response of surrender, as we let the moment become the only thing we can keep for ourselves from the experience... trust in the tumultuous and tender rivers of Love, mysteriously working through us.

i continue to discover in my own experience, that a contemplative art practice is a pathway to the heart of my truth, to union with the unnameable (or that which has many names). making art with both an intuitive approach and an intentional practice of reflection and awareness honors my whole experience - spirit, body AND mind - and wakes up my sense divine wholeness... with a greater understanding of what it means to come to, discover, create, abandon, forget and find again "an atmosphere of comfort, well-being and peace."

i don't remember what else was written on that page above in my altered book art journal, but i'm sure it was about trees and living more in harmony with the natural world than how we currently behave toward it. but those few words jumped out at me like the hook of a song that day, whispering of motivations - and also as an ironic indicator of their own meaning.

we create something from what isn't, or from another form, through fresh arrangement, idea and volition. we seek shifts into greater well-being from perspectives of unwell-being. we seek greater comfort from sensations of discomfort - and in fact discomfort is necessary to a certain degree for the appreciation and expansion of comfort itself - for the great journey of resiliency, awakening and transformation.

while duality may arguably be an illusion, contrast is a helpful tool for the human experience in realizing the vast beauty of wholeness and the miracle of growth - and it's an aesthetically delightful tool in art as well, for creating focus, composition, emphasis or atmosphere....

and then there's that word "atmosphere" on the page above. place. environment. shared space. it leaps at my heart and seems to drip with potent medicine somehow. place is a fundamental part of a holistic perspective that is often overlooked or taken for granted. mind, body and spirit seem to get all the credit... and yet, there is something about that which we occupy, as individuals and community, that is essential to our understanding of comfort, peace and well-being. our stimulated senses are seamless with atmosphere - we are like sponges or antennae constantly receiving the energy of dwellings and land - or, if we get energetically technical or metaphorical (choose your angle), we might go so far as to say - we ARE atmosphere.

in the healthcare field, i can't say just how many times i witnessed a healing perspective take root from a simple alteration or attentiveness to space or literal place. shifting the energy within and without, treating self as an environment and environment as self, in alignment with our core truths and needs, we become co-creators of a more favorable atmosphere.

in the simple page above, i found myself swimming in a delightful, felt contemplation of why i find the content presented in RELATE to be so important to share - and, thus, why i'm offering it again this year as a contemplative creative circle.

you see, i feel we are co-creating the atmosphere of this world, based on our triggers and yessssses and how we show up to ourselves, each other, and the environment. relationship is at the heart of our human experience, and is driven by our beliefs, values, unique story, and how much attention and time we give to conscious self-awareness and personal truth - for the sake of our own realization AND how that affects our communities - both small and large.

RELATE presents tools and questions for contemplating the perspectives necessary to co-create harmonious relationships - gifts that were offered to me and that i continue to explore. it is a journey to discover your inner, dynamic truth through intentional creative practice. when we take the time for honest soulwork, all our relations and dwellings become impacted by the clarity, inspiration and empowerment that is available to us through communing with creative - or "creation" - energy.

sometimes this means we begin to make big changes we've been putting off; sometimes it means we speak a truth we've been holding under the surface for too long. other times, it might induce a reconciliation or a softening, or perhaps a time of closure long overdue. sometimes its gift is just in the slowing down and being how we are and who we are, right where we are at.

ultimately, a contemplative creative practice asks only that we practice presence within our creative process, daring to swim gently in deeper waters and follow the guidance within. and while it never promises any definable results immediately or even later, in my journey with it so far, it seems to inevitably be an integral part of learning (or remembering) to trust our own truth in all facets of how we relate.

below is a video previously released as part of the creative practice inspiration in RELATE last year: