Saturday, March 19, 2011

Filling the Well

Lisa passed around a bunch of colored pencils to the group. We each chose one (I picked a dark, brick red), and wrote out a message to ourselves in scrawling, loopy cursive. We squirted paint over the text, and scraped it around with a credit card, forever obscuring the secret message, which peeked out in the texture and parts with less paint. My phrase came out of nowhere, and became a motif for my journal - a much more personal one than the business-focused journal I made in Mexico:

Let go of knowing.

We made mini-journals. I started mine on an Art Date - a three-hour workshop with wine, which my friend Anne Liese hosted at her home. I carried that journal to the weekend Filling the Well Retreat at Lagoon Resort - a two-day workshop where I added and added to my new little book until it was literally bursting at its temporary, yarn-secured binding.

I've worked on my big journal since Mexico, but going to Lagoon Resort gave me the excuse to completely unplug (no power, no internet) and be present, totally absorbed in my art supplies.

essentials: magazine images, packing tape, glue stick, coffee

What's more, my new little journal didn't have a purpose. I didn't think I was doing any problem-solving in my pages. I just worked in the process, painting and collage, layering, tape transfers, all sorts of textures on top of each other, leaving the blank space to fill it up with writing later on.

one of my favorite poems - self portrait

At our rubber stamp station (a table set up with loads of alphabet stamps), I found little number stamps, which had the numbers spelled out as words:


I'm about to turn thirty (one month from today), and feeling oddly calm about it. I'm never one to get worked up about my birthday, but at the retreat, I stamped the words THREE ZERO on the bottom left corner of every page of my journal, concentrating on the number - making it real. I left lots of space to write, filled with beautiful images. A safe and beautiful place to record the mundane and the emotional as I journey through my 30th year.

H30: my mini-journal

About a week after the retreat ended, I reached cruising altitude. For the first time in months, I felt safe. I was shaken upon arriving in Uganda - astonished at how easy it would be to just stay; reminded at just how much I love this place, and the feeling of being alone here. My emotions were turbulent, and both happiness and anxiety were running full throttle. I don't fully understand what happened on the {still empty of text} pages of my little journal, but I'm grateful for the leveling out; the letting go.

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