Creative practices and hobbies are wonderful tools for our personal well-being. We gain so much by slowing down and putting our focus on a creative project. Activating that part of our brain helps us in a myriad ways. The focus of this piece is on practicing presence and building self-worth through creating collages. This is where the journey took me.
When I was going through a very dark time, I found my way to a 12-Step group called AL-ANON. The program is for families and loved ones of alcoholics. It was in this group I found me. I stopped focusing my energy on people and things I couldn’t control and started to focus on what I could change and improve—me. One of the tools I heard mentioned multiple times was making a God Box. This suggestion brought back horrible memories for me because I remember having one in high school and thinking God hated me because the pain kept coming. I knew I needed something, so I got a container and started covering it with everything I wanted for myself inside and out.
In the midst of creating the project I cut out the words “God can”. In that moment, I felt connected…What I can’t do for myself, God can. For some reason working on the container and seeing the life I was looking to create for myself both inward and outward connected me. I was present. I enjoyed placing each piece of paper on that can. Each one just seemed to have the perfect spot. As the project went on I felt even clearer headed. I thought, here is what I want. I’m going to write God letters on anything that is creating difficulty in making what is on and in this container come true for me. Creating the can, I was present. Looking at the can, I am present. Writing the letters, I’m present. In that presence I find the best solutions. I’ve been given so many amazing gifts from engaging in my creativity making my God Can.
On a side note: I will tell you right now, I don’t judge anyone for what they believe. I believe our spirituality is a personal relationship and how we connect is an inner calling only we can hear. Books, people, animals, and nature can help us feel that inner call, but it is up to us individually to make the connection that feels sacred to us.
Through the years I’ve created presents for friends, which once again connect me to the best parts how I see others and how I see myself. Finding each word to describe my loved ones, along with each saying and/or phrase that felt true, connected me to this amazing energy of peace and joy. These feelings only exist in the present moment. One of my favorite sayings I learned in AL-ANON was, “If you spot it, you got it.” Now, I’ve heard that before, but I never thought it was true for the good stuff because I had a horrible sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-image. It was making these types of gifts for my friends and realizing, this is true for me too, that helped me build up my sense of self. I began to see that through my perception of them, I could see me.
In my late thirties, I went to college to get my degree in Human Development. I took an amazing course on the creative process by professor Marta Ockuly. For one of the projects I created a hope chest. I went through dozens of magazines in a complete Zen-like process finding empowering words, phrases, and sayings. I read countless inspiring quotes from old Louise Hay calendars. I was in search for all the good I could find. By putting my focus in this energy, amazing ideas kept popping into my head. The creative process brought out my best qualities. I was happy taking this time to focuse on this image of hope I was creating. I felt connected to each piece of paper I place on the wood. I felt peace as I brushed the on the coating creating a finishing shine. My hope chest is now filled with my dreams and goals.
The latest collage was my inspiration board for 2018 (Check out the story of my inspiration board here). My goal was to create something for my desk where I wrote everyday. I’ve learned the importance of staying present and mindful. I’ve taken away so much of my stress, worry, and anxiety by simply staying in the moment. I’m still not perfect, but as always, I’m a work in progress. Making the board helped me focus without getting overwhelmed or filling myself with fear of an unknown future. It didn’t put pressure on me to make an endless amount of resolutions that I wouldn’t follow through on. Having the board in front of me helps me keep my head where I want it to be. My inspiration board reminds me of what I stand for and the person I am. In times of darkness, it keeps me from putting my energy into the fear, hate, rage, and anger. Each time I look at my board, even right now, I get to see the love that is inside me, because I created this board of hope. I found these words. I connected to poetry, quotes, and saying. This board is what is inside of me.
My journey through my collages shows my dedication to being the best version of me. Focusing on me in this way didn’t make me selfish. It made me into a woman who has self-respect, self-worth, self-esteem, and a positive self-image. I love sharing and giving to others, because I know what I give is from an authentic place of love. I am able to pay my mistakes of my past forward by assisting others in seeing their own value. I love what my collages have brought out in me.
I hope this will inspire you to get out your magazines, print out some pictures, find your favorite memes, and create the best vision of you that you can imagine. I would love to see what you create. Share with me on From A Loving Place.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff © 2018