A page from my art journal. I love the creative play my journal allows. I spend about 10 - 15 minutes sorting through my pile of already-collaged papers, then cut images into shapes. Then comes the glue and last-but-in-no-way-least, a written entry.
These words gave me pause, invited me to consider my importance in the world of relationships. This isn't a brag. It just feels important to claim self. I haven't always known how significant my presence was/is. Growing up in a household where I felt invisible most of the time, (teeny tiny house, five brothers, father snared by the bottle and mother loving, but so-very-occupied), self-growth became my spiritual focus. But there were years when I cast doubt, labeled my interior needs selfish and self-centered. "How dare I run off on tangents...claim my own work/healing as vital when so many I love and care for don't understand?"
But the more I developed a connection to myself as just Candace, without depending on roles for definition, (daughter, wife, employee, friend, mother, aunt, sister, writer, counselor, and at last "Nana",) the stronger my attachment grew to the God of my understanding. And lo and behold, the more loving and present my heart became, the easier it became for me to back up and let others have their own lives. Input from me maybe, but I no longer felt the need to be anyone's guiding light. Being emotionally present for others provides them just enough light to walk their own path.
We each need to find the light within ourselves. That's how families (and the world) will heal, carrying it forward one person at a time.
Each of us is important. We each have a road to travel. We each are invited to create a life path that honors the gifts we hold. There are no exceptions. We all carry gifts inside. Journaling and art journaling have been part and parcel of how I've stayed in touch with my pain, confusion, healing, wit, wisdom and my need for creative play.
I so often return to poetry and literature for words to describe or explain. The first three lines of "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver invites one to linger for a moment:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
No one can take your place. No one can be you but YOU. You have a right to health, healing and to claim what is yours. Let others take note and notice as you carry your intention for wellness into this crazy turned-upside-down new year.
And a virtual hug for all readers from this end of the blog.