I don’t remember what I was searching for the day I channeled my inner Alice and tumbled down the internet rabbit hole. All I know is that I fell far and fast and since that day I’m compelled to squirrel away magazines from waiting rooms or to visit every Goodwill on the Peninsula to peruse stacks of musty National Geographics. More likely than not, when I’m home alone you’ll find me surrounded by images torn from those magazines and an array of glue sticks, rubber cement, 5×8 inch mat board, xacto knives and scissors. Because the day my inner Alice tumbled, she landed at a place called SoulCollage®.
Brought to life several decades ago by a woman from Northern California named Seena Frost, SoulCollage® is an art form and visual journaling practice that requires nothing more than the ability to trust. But I am slow to open. Trust is something that, at times, I lack.
Skepticism is not a trust issue, however, and it’s a personal characteristic I hold dear. My inherent skepticism compels me to question everything and keeps me from sipping the Kool Aid too soon. But maybe my skepticism has its own shadow side. Maybe it keeps me stuck (I should probably do a card on that!).
It was a surprise when, on the day that I said “I am the one who…” for the first time, my ‘stuckness’ softened.
SoulCollage® touches on my love for art. It taps into my understanding of transpersonal psychology. SoulCollage® pulls me from the sidelines and makes me an active participant in my spirit dance with interoception, intuition and gut instinct. SoulCollage® is a way to give form to feelings we experience but can’t always name.
Meanwhile, there’s my aversion to circles. You know the kind I mean – the ones where we sit around and talk about our feelings. I found myself on the doorstep of SoulCollage® facilitator Beth Breedlove’s welcoming home for her introductory workshop this past September. As other participants arrived we were asked to select a variety of images from three large Tupperware bins resting on card tables in her kitchen. We pulled one image from our collected bundle and then gathered in her light-filled living room.
Circles make me queasy. I wanted to bolt.
But this circle was different. Maybe it was Beth’s calm manner, or the beautiful Native American rattle we held when it was our turn to speak, or the air of curiosity in the room. Beth leads SoulCollage® workshops from her home on a regular basis and one or two of the women with us had participated before. But for most of the women everything was a brand new adventure. I tapped into that energy and let myself explore the unknown. I swallowed my skepticism, settled my soul and opened my mind.
Beth led by example. She held her image and began to speak, “I am the one who…” By the end, after all six of us had spoken, I was beginning to understand the potential of the practice.
But it’s difficult to explain, isn’t it? The experiential nature of SoulCollage® makes it difficult to define with words.
I decided it was best to arrive at the four-day SoulCollage® Facilitator Training at Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose, California a blank slate. After Beth’s workshop I continued to make cards at home but questioned not only what to do with them but if I was even making them ‘right’. So in the days leading up to the training I dropped any attachment I had to the story I’d told myself about the doors my training in San Jose might open. I was excited, but it was an excitement tethered to the unknown.
I was honest. I wondered to myself if SoulCollage® was another angle on West Coast weirdness. On the afternoon of the first day I confessed out loud to my fellow trainees, our teacher Mirabella and her assistants, that I was skeptical, cynical and judging. We laughed, I explained my proclivity toward being skeptical and promised to shake off the rest.
But it wasn’t until our first chance to read our cards that I fully grasped the power each collage contained.
SoulCollage® channels the subconscious. It gives voice to aching silence. SoulCollage® allows us to find dreams believed to be lost, to chart a course, and to find comfort in the knowledge of discovering our own path.
It took a few days to process the enormity of what I discovered about myself in San Jose. Since then I’ve continued to make cards, to pull a card and to journal every morning. Until my facilitator training I was a morning news and coffee junkie. This new pattern brings peace and quiet contemplation to mornings that just a few months ago were loud and anxious.
SoulCollage® puts feeling into form. It transforms intuition from something like air – invisible and impossible to hold – into something seen and solid.
When we can honor our intuition by giving it shape and color, we honor our own truth.