Tell Me Your Story is a series of activities to develop your own narrative, the story that makes sense of life experiences, gives meaning and potentially supports conscious changes.
One tool for increased awareness is journaling. An “oldie but goodie” book for guidance is Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The core of her process is the Morning Pages, daily journaling in the form of “freewheeling” writing. If you would like to develop a creative/meditative practice in your life, morning pages are an excellent foundational step toward self awareness. The daily exercise is intended to be without an agenda (“just show up and do it”). However, we can use morning pages or journaling to recognize those things which make us happy.
In this exercise we enlarge upon those things which make us happy. There’s a lot of research to support the mental, emotional and physical benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. (Google it!)
A Gratitude Collage. Collages tell a story. Pictures from magazines, photocopies, added paint or other materials – plus scissors and glue. Cheap, accessible, limited only by your imagination. If you’re lacking motivation or believe that collages are simplistic, just for children, Pinterest is a source of visual inspiration.
In this activity, go through old magazines, or cheap books from the local second hand store. Tear or cut out pictures, colors or words that “call” you or look quirky, interesting. Try to include references, literal or symbolic, to at least one person for whom you feel gratitude, not just things in your life. You may like to add words, hidden, fragments, or perhaps part of a letter. Don’t plan ahead, let the collage grow organically. Squint, look at it from a distance or upside down. Leave it for a while and come back to it. Each new way of looking at it reveals new details or awareness of patterns. Are you attracted to similar colors? Are images or words recurring? Is a theme emerging? As you allow your subconscious to roam and choose things that you are grateful for, stay relaxed, breathe in your thoughts about things for which you are grateful, feel the gratitude and the good feelings about that.
Trust the process – give your subconscious a chance to tell its story. And remember that tenacity is one of the strongest elements of creativity. Stay with it. Don’t give up.
Good luck! And if you feel so inclined, please share a picture with us.