Conversations with Myself

Today’s post was inspired by a journaling meme that asked three questions. These questions created an opportunity for reflection and also provided a great follow up for last Sunday’s Tips for Living a Full Life post. Unbeknownst to me, they would also mesh perfectly with the chapter I am working through in the It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Workbook. I love such synchronous collisions.

Conversations with Myself

Journaling is a form of conversing with myself. Writing down my thoughts seems to open access to my higher self, or to my inner child, or to some part of me that has shut herself away. It is very healing for me, as well as revealing. Many of my ahas in life appear as thoughts become words, flowing onto a page.

So I welcomed the questions presented in this meme:

Conversations with Myself

I appreciate that all three questions ask me what I can do…to feel loved, to support myself, to nurture my body…rather than asking what I need from someone else. The moment I look to another for something, expectations are created. And when expectations aren’t met, disappointment arrives. I don’t like putting expectations on another or living with disappointment or regret.

I made a list of ways that I can show love to myself. I’ll share a couple.

What do I need to give myself to feel loved?

1. Connection – This is at the top of my list. To lose connection with myself, with my heart, with my soul, with my body, creates a-lone-ness, otherwise felt as loneliness. Being present with myself, centered in myself, and feeling my feelings creates awareness. I can’t feel alone when I am so connected.

2. Recognition – I need to acknowledge myself, my journey and what I am doing, in a positive and sincere way. I used to reward myself, for accomplishments or for sticking with a tough task, with food, which was unhealthy on so many levels. Now doing things that bring me joy is my way of recognizing who I am and my worth.

Conversations with Myself Spending time, outside, on a quilt, under my favorite tree.

How can I best support myself?

I can support myself, and who I am, with compassionate self-care, self acceptance, openness, curiosity about my journey, and the willingness to continue seeking, learning and growing. When I am aware of myself, and tuned in physically, emotional, spiritually, mentally and creatively I know when a part of me needs extra care and support.

What steps can I take to nurture my body?

My focus has been here the last two years, with astonishing results. Here’s the list I jotted down.

1. Nourish – eat healthy, whole foods. For me this means fruits, veggies, legumes, brown rice, herbs, seeds and nuts. I know my body thrives on such a lifestyle and that my body can heal itself.

2. Eliminate – limit toxins that go into my body and go on my body, and that are in my environment. For me this means no GMO produce, chemicals, pesticides, dyes, herbicides or other poisons. I’ve been switching over to different cleaning products, laundry supplies and toiletries such as chemical and dye free shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. What goes on my skin, goes into my body. I want to create optimal health.

3. Move – walk, garden, stretch, play and do yoga.

4. Be still – journal, meditate, read, go within, keep developing my intuition.

5. Clear – energy, old emotions, old habits and patterns, limiting beliefs, past experiences, anything that weighs my spirit down.

Conversations with Myself

These were good conversations to have with myself, and they are ongoing. I appreciate what I am discovering about myself, and what I am uncovering. I love deep conversations and connecting at a heart level…with another, and most especially, with myself.

Conversations with Myself

The Water Lily

Today I felt inspired to create another page in my repurposed art journal. I am using a second copy of the book, Captivating, to journal in a fresh way, writing and sketching and coloring on the pages. I realized recently that I had not used the book for several months. I was ready to create a new entry.

As I completed my day and was driving home, my thoughts turned toward the journal. I was considering what image or design to draw on the page. Suddenly a water lily came to mind. Intrigued, I looked up the symbolism of the water lily when I arrived home.

I was immediately enchanted by what I read.

Water lilies are associated with rebirth and optimism, as they return to the water, even if they dried up the year before. They symbolize fertility, sexuality and creation, as well as purity and spiritual enlightenment. The scientific name, Nymphaeaceae, brings to mind the nymphs of mythology, maidens who inhabited waterways, ponds and wells.

The flowers possess the unique characteristic of having their roots anchored in the mud below while the blooms float on the water above. Because of that, the water lily has inspired quotes about rising above the muddiness, or messiness, of life and resting in beauty and tranquility.

Inspiration had once again tapped into my soul and guided me. I now had the opportunity to express my thoughts through art journaling.

I opened my book to a fresh page and circled the words that stood out to me. They spoke of the heart being the source of creativity, courage and convictions, along with faith, hope and love. I also circled the quote at the bottom of the page, from The Last of the Mohicans. "I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far I go…I will find you."

I then sketched a single water lily floating among lily pads. I wanted to show the perspective of the long stems beneath the water, that are attached to the roots that anchor this beautiful flower. So I drew that view as well.

I inked in my pencil sketch. It makes it easier to see what I need to color and creates a nice finished effect. I was ready for my favorite part of art journaling…coloring!

I enjoy coloring, even when it's my own sketch. Coloring is a meditative act for me. As my hand moves the colored pencil, my mind is free to open to the thoughts that rise. If a troublesome thought pops up, I let it pass on through. I choose to dwell on good thoughts, beneficial thoughts, and inspiring ideas.

I considered the water lily and the information I had read. It is a very feminine flower, with its symbolism of creation and sexuality. I liked the rebirth aspect as well, and the spiritual enlightenment symbolism. The water lily closes its petals at night and opens to the sun the next morning.

The water lily reminds me to rejoice in my feminine heart, appreciating my creativity that is rich and fertile, and gives birth to new ideas. The water lily encourages me to be courageous, to stand on my convictions and to embrace who I am as I journey continually toward greater enlightenment. The water lily inspires me to live in peace and tranquility, no matter how turbulent the water of life gets, knowing I am solidly anchored and grounded.

I wrote the symbolic words along the water lily's stems, so that I will remember.

And the quote at the bottom, Nathaniel's words of hope to Cora? They are a promise I've made to myself. I will keep searching, keep discovering new things about myself, keep growing, no matter how long the journey or how far I go.

Every time I finish a page in my art journal, I declare it my favorite! I did so tonight as I completed my water lily page. I appreciate the way the Divine guides me and inspiration flows. I am grateful for a curious, questing mind that searches for the deeper truths. My appreciation and gratitude are captured in tonight's art journal page.

It's my favorite page…until I create another one.

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food

From the title, you might surmise that I have had a really good Monday! However, the reality is that I felt drawn back to the travel journal I am creating, after the recent trip to Italy. As I wrote about previously, I didn’t have time to journal the way I thought I would, during the trip. Instead, I decided to journal about the experience after the fact. 

I am appreciating how the acts of sketching and writing are allowing memories to surface. Like bubbles, they rise up and pop, surprising me and making me smile. 


On day two of our tour, we left Rome, and entered Tuscany. We stopped at the little medieval village of Lucca for lunch, and later enjoyed a wonderful tour and five course meal at a vineyard. As I flipped through photos on my phone today, I felt inspired to capture Dayan’s first Italian pizza in a sketch. I also drew the bell tower of Lucca, with the trees growing at the top, creating the illusion of hair. 

Although I would not learn about the significance of Italy’s bell towers until later in the trip, Lucca’s towers were the first to catch our attention and our interest. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
We capped off our day at Fattoria Il Poggio, a Tuscan farm featuring vineyards and olive groves. What a magical evening. Our group dined al fresco, at long beautifully set tables under twinkling white lights. The wine and the food flowed freely. I learned that night that I would be fine, eating plant based in Italy. The food was marvelous. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
As I wrote in my journal, I realized the true magic that wove itself through the evening involved relationships. That night, over a long and delightful dinner, strangers became family. Perhaps because of the wine, or the music, or the incredible beauty that surrounded us, 43 people bypassed the acquaintance and friendship stages and connected on deeper levels. 

We laughed, we sang, we danced, we dined on amazing local foods and drank wines created right there at the vineyard. We fell in love with Italy and ourselves and each other. 

The memories from that night warmed my heart and made me smile as I wrote in my journal. 

And then they jostled another memory, that sent me searching for a piece of paper. 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food
My family! My Globus family! Judy and Chelsea and Hilda, Norm and Rohini… We all wrote our names and email addresses on a piece of paper labeled “Traveling Companions”. Let’s all stay in touch, we said. I’ll email you, I promised. 

I have not contacted my traveling companions, my new family, since I have been home. I found my paper with their names and email addresses. Perhaps this is why I was drawn to journal today. Perhaps this memory needed to surface. Regardless, I am grateful for the reminder that this day of the trip was full of so many good things, including gaining 41 new family members. 

I will begin emailing them tonight. It is time to catch up with my family! 

Love, Laughter, Wine & Good Food

Creating a Travel Journal

I had a great idea, before I left on the Italy trip with my daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan. I bought each of us a journal, with unlined blank pages, to use as travel journals. I had a romanticized vision of sitting on a hotel balcony each evening, while in Italy, capturing the day’s memories in delightful sketches and meaningful words and quotes. 

It wasn’t a bad idea. But it didn’t happen. I’ve never traveled before with a tour group. We were busy from early in the morning until late at night, experiencing all that we could of the country we were visiting. I never once sat on a balcony. And although Elissa used her journal to write down thoughts and collect mementos, I never opened mine. At all. 

Creating a Travel Journal
After I returned home, I tucked my unused journal into a drawer…and left it there, until today. This morning, as I asked the Divine, How shall we play today?, the journal came to mind. The answer to my question seemed to be, Create a travel journal…

My response was something along the lines of, I think that horse has already bolted out of the barn… which was a cheeky way of saying, I think it is too late for that. I felt a wee sense of sadness about that fact that I had not used my journal. 

Time has no meaning to the Divine. Was it really too late? My thoughts returned to the journal throughout the day. Create a travel journal…Create A Travel JOURNAL. There is no barn. There is no horse. Create. 

This evening, I pulled the journal from the drawer, grabbed a drawing pencil and began a travel journal. Although I didn’t capture the memories each day while we were in Italy by sketching them, I did capture them. I took photos with my phone. And I wrote a daily blog post. 

Creating a Travel Journal
Creating a Travel Journal
I started with a two page spread of Rome, where our adventures began. I included a quote that I love, We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” Using photos as inspiration, I sketched some of the highlights of that first day of our tour. I reread that day’s blog post and wrote out the phrase that so caught my attention as we wandered through the Vatican, Conquer your own space. 

I sketched quickly, so as not to overthink what I was doing or doubt my ability. I had fun. The images I drew are symbols that remind me of special memories: Dayan’s first morning in Rome, looking out on the city from the hotel window, flowers growing atop a building, the Colosseum, which represents all the historical monuments we viewed, and a statue overlooking the Tiber River. It too is symbolic of the many amazing sculptures we saw while in Rome. 

Creating a Travel Journal
I enjoyed creating a travel journal entry, even if it is after the fact. I know it touched a deep place within my heart, because emotions were evoked. My eyes filled with grateful tears. I’ll include a quote about Rome in the bottom left corner and call these first pages good. As I sketch future pages, capturing the Italy journey day by day, I will be kind to myself and forego criticism. I will have fun, creating a visual representation of a wonderful shared adventure. 

Perhaps a I’ll sketch next time while sitting in the backyard garden. It is the closest thing I have to a balcony. 

Creating a Travel Journal

Art Journaling

At the bookstore recently, Greg found and bought a publication that intrigued me. Titled Art Journaling, the gorgeous oversized magazine has pages and pages of artwork and techniques for creating art journals, which are books where heart and creativity combine.

I spent time late this afternoon, slowly turning the pages, savoring the beautiful and meaningful artistic journaling examples. I was especially captivated today by the work of Ana Campos. Her journals, using altered books, inspired me to try this art form myself.

Art Journaling
Book altering involves repurposing an existing book, turning it into a sketchbook/journal. I love books, and I have always been extremely careful with them. I don’t typically write in my books, unless I am deeply inspired by the words within, and I don’t bookmark my place by turning down a corner of the page. I was both alarmed and excited about the prospect of drawing, coloring, painting and creating collages in a book.

I recently decluttered bookshelves, releasing many books to new owners. Duplicate copies of favorite books were the first to go. As I stood in my creative studio, pondering which book to turn into an art journal, I saw The Phantom of the Opera. A possibility, I mused, yet it was the only copy of that classic that I own. I felt drawn to the closet, even though I knew I had removed and sold or given away the books inside.

Art Journaling
I opened the drawer of a storage bin in the closet, seemingly at random. Wedged within was the book Captivating, written exclusively for women. This was perfect on several levels. The word captivated kept coming into my mind. And this was a duplicate copy. I checked to make sure that I had the book resting on a shelf in my bedroom. I had my art journal.

To move beyond the slight hesitation I had in marking up a book, I began by creating a Cindy’s Art Journal page and then enjoyed adding to the title page, by gluing on cut outs. This was going to be a fun project!

Art Journaling
Over my nervousness, I moved on to the first page of the book. As I read, certain phrases stood out to me. I outlined those phrases, allowing images to arise that fit with the words. Grabbing my colored pencils and a black gel pen, I journaled. More specifically, I practiced art journaling.

This was such a beautiful experience. Creating something fresh and new was rewarding and freeing. And focusing on the phrases that stood out to me allowed me to take those words deep within, to contemplate them.

Art Journaling
Coloring is a meditative activity for me. I discovered that the book paper took the color well. Using the Tom Petty quote for inspiration, I sketched flowers, a tiny heart, and a sailboat call FREE. On future pages I may employ collage making, painting, and covering portions of the page, in addition to cut outs, drawing and coloring.

Art journaling is fun! I enjoyed creating my first page so much that I am keenly anticipating spending a few minutes each evening, adding to my journal in this way.

I also have something new to look for at flea markets and junk stores…interesting and inspiring old books to create with. This is an open door that I am eager to enter through, to explore the unique territory beyond.

Art Journaling

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