Collage Making

Step 1: Setting your clear intention

Your first step in this creative process is to set a clear intention. For example, this intention might be expressed as “to fully manifest and live the Dream Of My Life each and everyday – to the best of my abilities.”

Write down on a piece of paper – or in a dream journal – your own words, why it is that you are interested in creating a passionate and full life that is at once genuine, abundant and joyful.

Step 2: Take time for yourself

Learn to spend some reflective time with yourself – away from the stresses of life, work, family, noise, entertainment – in short, the outside distractions in our life.  Meditation can take many forms.  Meditation is simply about being present to the friendship that already exists between the heart’s feminine energies and the mind’s masculine energies – and therefore the dream of your life.

The expression of this ancient and deep friendship might be known to you through knitting, walking, yoga, woodworking or cooking or some other contemplative “practices” with yourself.  If you already have a practice, you are already on your way – simply begin to utilize this time, together with your intention in step one, to recover and rediscover the dream of your life.

If you do not already have a meditation practice, I have included one below.

Begin with a simple practice of meditation.  My suggestion is to choose a time of day that allows you to begin to create a routine so that it becomes a regular simple activity, just like brushing your teeth.  I choose the early morning before everyone is awake and usually after 10 minutes of yoga that invigorates and awakens my body. You can start with as little time as you need, even 5-10 minutes a day will make a difference. Start slowly with this practice and remember to be very gentle with yourself.

A simple practice of meditation:

Choose a comfortable spot, on a chair, on the floor, on a pillow… settle into yourself and become aware of where you are.

Find a body posture that allows you to keep your back straight, yet relaxed; tilt your head slightly forward; and when you have finished reading this through you can close your eyes and put a slight smile on your face …

Enter Silence … Know that council has begun …

Relax into your body by taking 3 deep breaths with the intention of gradually relaxing the body and bringing all your attention to your body … to your breath … to this present moment …

Simply relax a little more … this is not about struggling! … its much more about ease … empty the mind. Concentrate on breathing.

Now gently keep bringing your attention back to your breathing … and on the next inhalation repeat to yourself
“I have Arrived” … and on the next exhalation breathe out
“I am Home”…

Simply keep repeating – in a relaxed, very naturally and with normal breathing rhythm – this “I have Arrived” inhalation followed by the “I am Home” exhalation for the next 10 – 20 minutes.

Congratulations, you’re meditating!

Step 3: Listen to your inner voice

As you are taking this time for yourself, start to notice, record and explore what you are sensing, hearing and feeling inside you. Pay attention to your nighttime dreams, synchronicities, coincidences also. You want to create an environment that will allow you to recognize the signs and patterns in your everyday life that are somehow related and pleasing; that encourages your intention in step 1 to fully live the dream of your life.

With pen and paper in hand, start to record what it is you really want for your life. This is a creative exercise you do not need to think about this part of the process; you simply let whatever words, images, impressions and feelings bubble up from inside. Repeat the question – what do I really, really want? – throughout the day, while answering as simply and honestly as possible.

Start by writing down – or drawing, painting, sculpting – everything and anything that may be related to the dream of your life.  Even if you think it is crazy! Most of us have a healthy inner critic or judge. We do need to honor these parts of ourselves as they can be very useful at times.  For now, however, the inner “critic” or “skeptic” will be needed later in the creative process.

Give yourself the permission and the freedom to let your imagination run, leap and play a while.

Step 4: Organize your thoughts

I often suggest that it is helpful at this point to create some structure around your creative process.  I like to work with the image of a peace sign as a rough guideline so you can “flesh” out pictures/images/words into some of the particular areas of your life.

I particularly like this universal image of peace because in the end, what we really, really want – after we have manifested the dream of our life – is “peace of mind,” or the “peace and calm” that comes from fulfilling our dreams.

Each third of the peace sign “pie” represents the 3 areas of your life: one third is relationships, one third is work and the last third is self-care.

“Relationships”: What does a truly genuine relationship look like to you? It could include lover or partner, family, kids, friends, work-mates, acquaintances, and all of the above village people. What would all of these relationships have in common if they were all thriving? What qualities do you admire most in friends, family, work-mates? Express these chosen qualities – generosity, joy, care, challenge, authenticity, courage, warm-hearted-ness, passion, humor, beauty – somehow on your collage, even if you feel this does not exist at the present moment.

“Work” section of your peace pie – is automatically changed to the “service” area of your life since the word work has so many mixed feelings/connotations/etc. The idea behind “service,” however, is that this is what you do to serve humanity; its what you do naturally with ease and joy; its “second nature” to who you are; its what you are drawn to; its part of your “ultimate concern” and something that you want to practice for the rest of your life.

Perhaps you want to do this kind of service collaboratively, with people you respect; also it is meaningful, creative, and very well payed. Remember that this is what you are all about, what comes naturally – so even if you do not know exactly what the specific title or profession it is you want to practice for the rest of your life, you can still start to imagine the “feeling” of what it would be like to get up every morning and be excited about “work.”

“Self-Care” literally means how it is you take care of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health – as well as social – needs and requirements regularly.  For instance, if you need to read for 20 minutes after work for “mental health purposes,” then illustrate this somehow on your collage, with a picture of yourself or someone reading.

The same for the physical aspect: if you love yoga and hockey then your collage should reflect this, since this piece of art/collage is also to be a reflection of what your particular ideas of self-care and self-love are. If you like journal writing and telling the truth to your partner every Sunday morning while you walk around your local park is what you know you need to keep your emotional “relationship” body healthy, find a way to express this on your collage.

And lastly, if going to the church or temple and prayers and meditation are all part of your contemplative practice that keeps your spiritual body finely tuned, then gather a picture/symbol/image that reflects this for your collage.

If you are aware that you have all the building blocks of a “busy life,” but there is little balance and rhythm with all of these responsibilities, then express this somehow clearly on your collage.

Step 5: Become a collector

Start a folder for your collage and become a collector.  Collect words, thoughts, sayings, poems, images that inspire you even if you don’t know why.  Cut out as many pictures/images/words as you want, from magazines, newspapers, old photo albums. Lay them out roughly on a big piece of cardboard or paper until they start to fit together in some fashion that feels right for you at this moment.

A collage consists of these images, words, symbols. Include anything that reflects the feeling of freedom and joy you have felt, deep on the inside, since you were a little person. For example, this could be a picture of you standing at the beach in all your glory as a 3-year-old. You may choose a picture of yourself when you looked physically great, an image of you in your community of belonging, a symbol of Buddha or your teachers, a cut-out of someone reading by a pond in bare feet, your mentor, your favorite high school teacher.

Pictures are worth a thousand words and represent what your ideas and feelings of freedom look, smell, touch, hear
and taste like at this time.

Remember this collage is to be reflective of who you are and of all you have ever wanted in your life. This synthesis of images should be representative of all of who you ever imagined yourself to be, without shyness or being small about it. This is you, today, standing in and surrounded by your glory: the house(s), the car(s), the community, the partnerships and kids, the travel and luxury, the abundance’s and graces, the connections and beauty, the love and intimacies, the simple pleasures and sensual delights, the friendships and dances, contemplation’s and complexities, the rituals of nature, rhyme and rhythm, the creative expressions of you, the laughter and “effortless efforting” that is genuinely you.

“Keep your vision – always – exalted, and your feet firmly on the ground” – this is how your dream becomes manifest!

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