Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Allowing Your Collage Images to Speak

Now that you have your completed your calendar collage, you are ready to dialogue with the images. You will use your non-dominant hand.
This is the hand you do not normally write with.
We use the non-dominant hand to access the right-brain,
which is the seat of our emotions and inner wisdom. 

Step 1.
Take a moment to find a quiet place to sit with your collage.
Give yourself 20 minutes minimum.

Step 2.
Close your eyes and take several breaths.
Release any tension, thoughts or anxiety.

Step 3.
Allow your gaze to take in all of the images on the collage.
Let yourself get curious about one of the images. 

Step 4.
Using your non-dominant hand let the image write about itself in the first person.
Allow it to tell its own story.
What part of you is it expressing? What are its qualities? Why is it on your collage?

Step 5.
If you notice any critical voice regarding the journal writing itself or this process,
simply take a breath and release it. 
This naturally occurs whenever we are trying something new.

Step 6.
With your dominant hand, write down any insights from this exercise.
You may want to write about how the process itself felt to you.

The more you view and write with these images, the more insights you will uncover.
Next month: How to have a written dialogue with your collage. 

June Collage Calendar

July Collage Calendar

Sunday, March 31, 2019

March 2019: How to Create a Collage Calendar

Create a monthly vision board of out magazine images for work or home. Yes, you’ll be creating a collage for April but don’t let that stop you! There’s plenty of year left.

Gather a calendar, a few magazines, scissors, glue sticks, journal and pen and a bag for scraps.

Create your space. Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed for at least an hour. You can listen to music, but choose instrumental. You want a peaceful atmosphere to access your intuition. Take a break to make tea, etc. But try to finish the collage in one session.

Select a Creative Self. Once settled take a moment to center and close your eyes. Allow yourself to relax. As you breathe allow an image of your creative self to arise. This self is your partner in your collage creation. Silently ask it to reveal itself to you in an image.

Open your eyes. Select a magazine and flip through the pages, scanning for your creative self image. It can be a flower, a sunset, a child. The creative self on this calendar was the woman in the center of the kids. Cut out your image and set it aside where you can see it.

Find a focus. Choose a theme for the month. Themes can include a new home, a healthy lifestyle or having a relationship. In above example, I didn’t use a theme, but simply choose the images that I liked.

If you have a theme write it out in a simple phrase. “My ideal home.” “A healthy body.” “Inner peace.” Place your phrase next to your creative self image.

Grab what Grabs You. Quickly flip through the magazines and tear out images or phrases that grab you. Don’t trim, just pull out the entire page. Dig that bright alligator pillow? Grab it. At some point you’ll probably hear an inner grouch grumbling complaints like “Oh, that doesn’t go with the theme,” or “this won’t work.” Don’t listen to that critical voice.  This is your time. Just keep moving. Drown out doubt with the sound of your magazine being torn. This is a fast process. If you find an article you want to read, set it aside.

Select & Trim. Once you gather several pages of images, it’s time to sort. Look at your Creative Self image and phrase. Decide which images feel right. This is an intuitive process, so don’t think too hard. First, sort the pictures into two piles: Yes and Maybe. Don't use the scissors yet. Wait until the next step.

Design. Take your Creative Self image and place it in the center of your calendar page. Now place the images around it. Overlap images, use a small piece of a landscape, set one image inside the other. Trim all of the Yes images and set the Maybe pile aside. Don’t glue yet. This is only the design phase.

Talk Back to the Critic. Once the design is done, stop. Gaze at your layout and listen for any grousing from the critic. Now take your journal and set a timer for 2 minutes. Quickly jot down any internal negative chatter. Don’t filter. Just let the words flow onto the page. After two minutes, stop.

Read what you wrote. Notice how your body feels. If your chest tight? Feeling tired?

Next, reset the timer for two minutes. Hold your pen and imagine you are a feisty little kid that’s going to talk back to the critic. Now read the words again. Start the timer and quickly scribble your response. Let that critic have it. Four letter words allowed. When the timer goes off, read your response out loud at least three times. Really talk back. Take a few minutes to write about what you experienced.  

Glue the Collage. Now it’s time to glue. Take your time. Now that the critic voice has been dealt with, the images might end up in a new arrangement. This is natural. Before gluing, flip the image over and see if there is a picture on the other side that you like better. You may be surprised. This is the time to add images from the Maybe pile.

Reflection. Hooray, you have a finished collage! Journal about the process and the images. View your collage for at least 15 minutes a day. Allow the images to speak to you, and reflect on their meaning. Be choosy if you decide to share. Pick someone who is supportive, not judgmental. Remember, this is your vision. Share as little or as much about the process as you feel guided.

Next month, you’ll learn techniques on how to work with your vision board.

Check out for more information on Visioning(R).

Sunday, February 24, 2019

February Collage

February 2019 Calendar Collage
There are a lot of opportunities to listen in this noisy world. But listening starts with the inside. What's on the inside is present, immediate and now. 

Joy is here. Emotions are here. Trust is here. We are here. Sometimes shame is here.

I was at work when shame took over. It moved in with the rush of over-explaining a mistake to my boss. I noticed it right away and stopped. She noticed it too and said "it's okay, it's okay." "Thanks Mom! I joked."

The word "gutted" swirled around as I raced back to my desk. 

Safely back in my cozy cubby cubicle, I acknowledged 'shame is here.'  Then I listened. 'How do I know?' Well, my face is warm, my energy is in my chest. My mind is picturing tortilla chips. 

Shame: a hulking tangled blob that makes me want to eat. 

Instead I breath and create space. 
Instead, I walk, call my sponsor, then a trusted friend and leave messages. "I'm really excited! I made space for shame instead of chips."

Back at work, a healthy snack grounded my energy while I gazed at my February collage.

I noticed the swirling, tangle of the Chihuly blown-glass image. My eye was then drawn to the four people in the bottom right. The caption reads "The Spaces team..."

Space. This is what collage teaches: how to create internal space for our never-ending expansion. 

The art of collage is listening. 
What is your embodied heart saying?


Interested in having a collage party with your pals? 

To learn about the connection between emotions and food check out the book End Emotional Eating by Jennifer Taitz. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

January Calendar Collage

January 2019 Collage

Today at work I took the cellophane off of the wall art, and tacked them into place. This felt like an open, wiggly thing to do. One wise comment was "it looks like your committed to staying."

I park my car pointing in the direction back home; I leave parties when it's time--without bothering to find the host. Better to send a "loved the party" email complete with pics.

So I'm not sure what "committed" means. But it has more to do with being present than leaving or staying ever could.

That's what my collage created out of a 2018 calendar is all about: being.

I collage because it's messy, get down fun. I speed through magazines, grabbing images that grab me. Sorting and trimming and gluing, oh my! Any image goes. The process is deeply embodied and soul satisfying. At the end...ta da!!!

This year, I'm blogging about hanging with my hanging. Each month a new collage, and a whole lot of heartfelt deliciousness. 

Join me as I talk about the Creative Self, your heart's desire and the exquisite expansion of being.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

It's Holiday Season!

Dear Friends,

Tis the season to count our blessings. It’s easy to forget in the aftermath of fires/floods/tornadoes/shootings/and loss of loved ones. We’ve all counted our losses. Some more than others. These days I’m ready to start over.

One great blessing of 2018 was moving to my downtown Santa Barbara digs and finding a groovy job. But since I’ve had my place and my job for eight whole months, I’m ready for something new.

Generally, this means shopping. But my Christmas dollars were spent on ONE GIANT MUSIC GIFT, so it’s off to the 99 cent store. I can use the walk and it’s fun shopping for one my favorite things: Kleenex. I love the 3-pack version with different sayings. “Summon Your Strength.” “Find Your Fearless.” “Believe In Yourself.” I have packets scattered throughout my home, office, purses, and car. Once at Unity Santa Barbara, a woman was sneezing so much that I gave a pack from my purse. A handy way to be there for a friend, or stranger.

But before my walk I’m sitting on the front porch in my pj’s and robe to call a friend. Or maybe write to a friend, or maybe read a book. Or maybe just sit and stare while sipping a second cup of tea.

Holiday season has begun, so I’m taking care of myself.  Whatever is happening I know one thing. If everyday’s a gift, then it’s Christmas Tonight.
May you and yours have a blessed, magical holiday.
 Love Dorothy 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love and Purses

This year is the 3-year anniversary of my Mother’s passing. She’s on my mind because traditionally, she would send a funny Valentine with $10 and a note to treat myself to lunch. This Valentine’s I am celebrating Mom’s and my shopping trips by hunting down the perfect $10 purse! In addition to cruising stores like TJ Maxx and local consignment shops, thrift store shopping is something I still do with my family. (I know there’s an uncruised thrift store calling to me.)

Holidays can be hard to handle if your loved ones have died. Here’s a partial from today’s passage of Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman.

"If there is one thing grievers know, it is how changeable our moods can be. One moment we are relatively calm, in control, keeping our grief at bay. The next moment we are overwhelmed, our equilibrium shattered. Anything can send us off-a fragrance, the words of a song, an article in the newspaper that reminds us of our loss, the first sign of spring-and our loved one not here to share it. Even minor holidays-like Valentine's Day-can send us reeling...Our lives have been shattered by loss. Of course it will take time for the pieces to come together in any coherent pattern.

I will be patient with myself, honoring the seasons of my grieving, trusting I am on my way to being healed."

Here’s to love and purses.

For those who can't go shopping with me, visit my Pinterest page Decadence to virtually shop through my favorite bags.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


It’s a week after the Montecito mudslide. The town is uninhabitable and the residents and neighbors are grieving over the deaths and the loss. The 101 freeway is still closed. There are dozens and dozens of agencies and fundraisers assisting those affected by the disaster. I want to help too, but feel confused by the choices.

Confusion over choices means STOP. This allows me to separate anxiety about my own life’s challenges from my neighbors needs. For instance, during the Thomas Fire I left the area to take care of myself, but set up my room rental in the event that my housemate knew someone who needed to evacuate for a few days.

Help Welfare Hope Donations Volunteer ConceptBeing an expressive arts facilitator, my initial response to assist was to grab a group and teach them how to relieve stress using crayons, collage, movement and journaling. But I need this for myself first. Discussing ways to assist with friends and letting the ideas marinate has created space around my reaction to just do something already.

This process of intention, inquiry, reflection, research/discussion of ideas, then back to reflection is an excruciating process for a do-do-doer such as myself. It also makes me feel like a grownup. The only action required is to pray for help on helping.

Finally, a breakthrough in the most serendipitous way.

Yesterday a friend called while on my way to walk on the beach. I pulled over and chatted while strolling through a tree-lined suburban neighborhood. On the way back to my car was a familiar landmark: a church listed on the Red Cross website for an upcoming blood drive.

Initially I had rejected this idea because my ego wanted to help out in a bigger, bolder, creative way. But this is not where I am at. I’ve done large creative projects as a donation in the past but today is not my past. And I've just had a magnificent dance with procrastination regarding my own projects, which yielded these insights.

  • Showing up for myself is the only way to help.
  • Donating blood is enough.
  • When procrastination invites me to tango, I’ll watch Tim Urban’s comedic Ted Talk on the topic. Or not.