The following is part of a series of posts detailing the information in my free download 26 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for Birth.
I have never kept an art journal before! Have you?
I really love the idea.
While I was scanning Pintrest for inspiration I was bombarded with gorgeous, inspiring art journals. I imagined myself in a sunlit studio...., every art supply waiting at my fingertips...available for wherever my fancy leads.... huge chunks of time on a regular basis.... lots of inspiration everywhere....and creativity flowing right out of me!
The truth of the matter is, as much as I would like to live in this daydream, I don't. I homeschool my 9 and 5 year old. I do laundry, clean up after my cat who decided to use the potted house plant as a litter box, cook a meal, clean up after meal, make snacks, eat snacks, sweep the floors because I can't stand the crud under my feet, make another meal, clean up said meal... and on and on. Finding time to create is tough. Making time to create is tough. But I think I'm going to do it. I'm going to carve out some time to keep an art journal. I don't know how often I'll do it, I don't know how it will turn out, but I'm going to start. Wanna join me?
What in the world does keeping an art journal have to do with labor preparation?
It is simply a place to practice turning off your analytical, logical brain, and activating your creative, intuitive, and feminine brain. Often when we give ourselves the space to create, new insights arise and surface which leads us to a deeper awareness of ourselves. Be curious with your art. Let it flow. See what happens. See what arises. See how you feel.
How do I begin?
I'll tell you how I'm going to start. I got a couple of these journals at the local craft store. You can use whatever you want and don' t have to spend a small fortune. Gather whatever art supplies you've got on hand. I've got watercolors, chalk pastels, good ol' Crayola markers, colored pencils, crayons, and decorative paper. You don't have to buy all of these supplies. If you don' t have anything on had, then I recommend starting with these chalk pastels. (Pastels are very fun, messy and forgiving. If you haven't used them, you'll fall in love immediately!)
Now just start. Don't think too much about it, just start creating. You can visit my Pinterest board here for inspiration. The possibilities are endless: watercoloring, sketching, doodling, lettering, zentangle, etc. Try a little bit of everything. Find your own stye. Your art journal can be shared with those you love, or it can be your private expression of you heart. It doesn't even have to be pretty. Don't be afraid. Just do it!
It's not about the product!
If the thought of creating art causes you some anxiety, you are not alone! Many of you might be saying to yourself, "But I'm NOT an artist, or, "I'm not very creative". This is quite normal, especially if you haven't done any real art since you were in elementary school. I encourage you to create as though you were back in grade school, when every kid thought of themselves as an artist! Again, don't worry about how it turns out, just let yourself go and be surprised!
Some questions to ask yourself along the way
If you decide to start an art journal, or if you have already kept one, let me know how it goes. What surprised you as you went along? How does this relate to you as you prepare for labor?
Check back here and I'll let you know how it's going with my art journal, too!
The following is part of a series of posts detailing the information in my free download: 26 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for Birth.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word, loosely translated to mean "circle" or "disk". The circle is one of the oldest symbols known to mankind and and often represents unity, wholeness and infinity. Circles are associated with the sun, the moon, and the earth. They represent feminine energy, the eternal, and the human spirit. It is no accident that mandalas are either circular in shape, or have a circle as it's predominant attribute.
Throughout history, mandalas have been used as a tool for meditation and centering. In Tibetan Buddhism, ornate mandalas are created out of colored sand and then blown away, symbolizing the impermanence of life and the world. Mandalas often emerge as a result of moments of intense personal growth. They have been known to bring order, and yet create the space to bring about something that does not yet exist.... perfect for pregnancy!
Your next task in preparing your heart for birth is to create your own mandala!
Gather items from nature:
Anything else you find outside
Find a quiet place outside, and build your mandala.
Arrange your treasures in any circular pattern that speaks to you. You can make your mandala as big, or as small as you like. You can make as many or as few as you want. As you make each one, be present to the baby growing in your round, circular belly. Visualize your baby warm and cozy, curled up inside your womb.
Share the inspiration! In the comments, please post photos of your unique nature mandalas.
The following is part of a series of posts detailing the information in my free download Connect With Your Baby A-Z!.
Clay is a wonderful, forgiving medium to work with. If you haven't worked with any kind of clay or play-doh since you were a kid, you are in for a real treat!
First you'll need to get yourself some clay. I like to work with Sculpey, which can be found at most craft stores. This clay is easy to use (once started) and can be baked in the oven to harden when you are finished. Whatever kind of clay you get, make sure you can fire it or bake it so it will be set.
Tear off a handful of clay and start kneading it in your hands. It will be super firm at first, but as you work it, the heat from your hands will soften it up. This is an integral first step. Work it until it is really soft and pliable. While you are working the clay in your hands, tune into your breath. What do you notice? Is it fast? Shallow? Deep? Slow? Now notice your body. Are you holding tension anywhere? Your jaw? Neck? Shoulders? As you knead the clay, allow your breath to slow down. Feel it move through your body and release any tension you are feeling. (There is no need to be nervous... it is just clay!)
Now that the clay is soft, begin to shape it into an image or a symbol of being Strong in Labor. What does strength look like to you? How will you feel being strong in labor? Is there a symbol of strength that is speaking to you right now?
You may have an idea of what strong looks like for you. Great, go for it.
Or, you may have NO idea what it looks like. That's ok, too. Keep working the clay until it comes to you.
Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, chances are you will mush up the clay and start over a few times before your image comes out. That's ok... just go with it. Turn off the left side of your brain that keeps telling you it has to "look" a certain way. Or that what you created is "right " or "wrong". Let the right side (the intuitive, creative side) of your brain take over and see what comes out.
In the end, you just might be surprised when the image you created is NOTHING like the image you had "planned". It may be something you never would have considered at the beginning. Much like labor, the outcome cannot be planned, but must be allowed to reveal itself.
Once you have baked or fired (if you have the resources for this) your piece, place it somewhere you'll see it on a regular basis. Let it be a reminder of how strong you are now, and how strong you'll be in labor. When you go into labor, place this somewhere you can see and let is inspire you to keep going!