Yesterday I had the honor and pleasure of attending a workshop at the Monarch School where I work called “Reignite Your Flame in the New Year”. It was lead by my friend and Monarch’s amazing Director of Therapeutic Arts, Rachelle Archer, and her Expressive Arts intern Jamie Rosen.
Gathered in a sacred circle around burning candles and opened with a poetry reading of Judy Brown’s ‘Fire’.
We chose images that resonated with how we were feeling in life. I chose this one below, which represents how I feel as a self-described “entre-professional”, wife and mom-to-be, with the weight of the world on my shoulders and back as enormous changes initiated in 2015 come to bear in 2016 to infinity.
Then we created and shared reflections or poems about those images. Mine read: When I am feeling the weight of my world, I need a brace, a massage, a spotter, a cheerleader, a crane, a hand of help, or applause, a lift, a ride. When my life is heavy, I need some light, the sun, a breath of fresh air, or sometimes to simply stop and be there.
We partnered up for an emotional listening and playback exercise. We briefly reviewed some sources and healthy responses to stress before enjoying a wholesome vegetarian lunch together. After lunch, there was an intimate candle lighting and intention-setting ceremony. My word of intention for 2016 is FAITH.
Next was an hour-long art project where we made–or in my case, STARTED making, visual story books.
The day culminated in a share-out of our artwork and takeaways from the creative experience.
I describe it all in such detail because I was truly moved by every moment of it. I will admit, I initially attended more out of desire to support my colleague Rachelle, an obligation of friendship that I take seriously. I don’t know why I wasn’t looking for it to help me shift and work through things I am challenged with coming into 2016. Perhaps it’s because I am a life coach and felt a little “been there, done that” walking in. So full of myself.
Walking out though, all of my expectations, for the workshop and for myself, were exceeded beyond measure. I wished I had shared about it in advance and invited others, rather than treating it like “this work thing I have on Saturday”. That was a selfishly missed opportunity that I will definitely make amends for should Rachelle and Jamie offer the workshop again in the future.
When I got home, I thought I would just zone out in front of the TV with my wife like I usually do on a typical Saturday. But my unfinished storybook called to me.
So, I dragged my coaching workshop/retreat/crafts suitcase out of my office and mined it for more materials, posted up in the living room (so as not to abandon my wife and her TV), and resumed work on my story book.
Ten hours later (at 1:00 a.m.) with only one 20 minute break for dinner, I was finished. It felt like hardly any time had passed. I guess that’s what making art feels like. Writing has been my chosen form of art since I was a little girl. Yet, I can’t think of a time in my life when I sat down and wrote for 10 hours straight.
I am proud of the work, so I took the pictures below, which tells the story described.
I am even prouder of the lasting impact this experience made on me, so I am sharing this reflection and the photos on my blog and social media sites.
If someone ever invites you to do something that sounds a combination of amazing and cheesy, whether it is to Reignite Your Flame, or to INDULGE in Self-Love (just sayin’! *wink*), my advice is to be open, and try it if you are able. Bring a friend. Or if you want to keep it to yourself, then share the results and impact it made on you afterwards. Perhaps someone else will be inspired to want to tag along next time.
And for the love of God, if you start a piece of artwork and are enjoying the direction it is going in, commit to FINISHING it, no matter how long it takes.
Always Believing In You…
KishaLynn Elliott’s Inspirational Visual Story Book
“The glass isn’t half empty, it’s full. True story.” Pullout: Things I Love–God. Myself. My Wife. My Framily. My Life. You.
“Be balanced and evolving. Be happy, vibrant and perfecting. Be positively brillant. Be healthy, free, beautiful. Be compassionate and loving. Be inspired. Your own opinion counts. I AM awesome.” Pullout: “BLOOM where you are planted.”
“There came a great freedom. Build it and say ‘I spent wisely.’ Sow a smart investment. Reap the benefits. Give. Live the good life. Stay open for business. Joy is not in things, it is in us. It’s the little things you come to love. We’re going! Determination is in our nature. Start smart. Coming home. YOUR HOME. See yourself in paradise. Enjoy.” Pullout: “The way to know life is to LOVE many things.” -Vincent Van Gogh
“Ready or Not! You and Me. Baby. Mother. Little fingers, little toes. Family. Imagine the possibilities. PLAY.” Pullout: “All life is an experiment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I omitted the left page because it reveals the gender and name of the baby my wife and I are expecting in June 2016. We aren’t ready to make that public yet.
“Shelli you are my sunshine every single day! Perfect. An intense and absorbing love. Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be. Love and Pride. Romance. I heart you like XO. Beautiful. When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. Warm. Unity. PERFECT. I love you unlike any other.” Pullout: “Find ecstacy in life–the mere sense of living is joy enough.” -Emily Dickinson
“Start every day the right way. Stay fit, stay fun. FEEL GOOD. Whole food nutrition. Staying power. ‘Nothing should be prized more highly than the value of each day.’ (Goethe). The only wealth is life. Energy. Think, don’t smoke. Water–drink it every day!”
“Words of wisdom: Learn to think. Track your progress. True friends are those who like you for who you are. Be committed to transformation. Keep the faith. DREAMs come true. You make some decisions with your heart, others with your mind. But every step you take affects your life. Look which way you’re going. Your life is NOW. Believe in miracles. I guess like all things in life, MAKE it till you make it.” Pullout: At the end of the day…the choice is yours.
“Well done DREAM Weaver. Go on and make it happen. Smile, you’re fabulous. The end?”
That’s my story and I am sticking to it…XOXOKL
Copyright 2016 KishaLynn Elliott. All Rights Reserved.