As you have surely noticed, I have not added any new entries to this blog in a very long time! For those who do not know, I have been pretty sick this year with MS. For now I have begun blogging again but just on one of my blogs. At this time, that is more than enough blogging for me to manage. I am still coaching clients over the phone and via e-mail if you are interested in being coached or you could send me images of your cards and I would be happy to witness and scribe for you one on one through a new service I'm offering Lev b'Lev SoulCollage Guidance. If this interests you let me know firstname.lastname@example.org
God willing I will start up this blog again in the future, but for now if you want to find out what's new, creative and spiritual in my life feel free to visit me atShine The Divine: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice. You can follow that blog using the google follow icon. When my vision returns to normal again and my hands become steady I will begin to create my beloved SoulCollage cards again. For the time being...I receive pleasure and guidance from the many cards in my deck.
shana tova...may this be a year of great healing for all the worlds.
This is one of the first SoulCollage cards I ever made (nearly 3 years ago). Her message continues to unfold for me, changing as I do.
Her original name was Weightless-But as in the Torah, when transformation happens, names change too.
Her new name is Bouyant Freedom.
In this moment it seems a perfect image for a rapidly approaching Chodesh Nisan- the month of renewal and freedom-releasing what is old and birthing what is new- supported by what we have learned. This is a continuous theme in the Jewish life cycle, moment-to-moment, Shabbat-to-Shabbat, Month-to-Month, throughout the Holy-day cycle and the life cycle.
Here is today’s reading of this card as I am poised to cross the Sea of Reeds:
Who are you? I am the one who is wizened and old, gnarled by a year of toil. I am the one shedding old skin- Rising, flowing out of the birthing waters into a freedom I have longed for these cold winter months. I am the one who is open and free…filled with wonder at the miracle of being born yet again…floating, rising to a world that calls my name.
What do you have to give me? I offer you a buoyant salty sea…may the tears of this years harshness carry you/me to new awareness.
What do you want from me? I want you to allow the salt water to cleanse and soften our skin as we rise; so that my deep learning will have meaning through your life this coming year.
Is there anything else you want to tell me? Love this embodiment of freedom. It might at first seem fleeting…but it will always return again.
You may notice that there are a few months missing here. My family life has been turned a bit upside down by illness and other complications and it has been difficult to keep up with my multiple blogs. This is the way, the wave we all ride as women, as humans, tied to the tide of our lives. If curiosity get the best of you you can go to my personal blog Creativity as a Spiritual Practice to get the scoop.
It seems appropriate that this collage came to be just as we approach Purim a time for revealing the courage, strength and faith that stands behind our masks.
I am One...I am Two... Who stands behind this mask of fire. I am one who is both mother and child dressed up and shielded by long stands of truth ...mother as masquerade for the inadequacy I feel-yet thrust into this warrior status. I stand firmly on ground that is shifting.
I offer you comfort in knowing this duality...it is real and makes perect sense as you walk upon new and frightening territory. I give you courage to continue standing behind these flames of uncertainty.
I want you to see the regal qualities you possess. You are the warrior/mother/child. Look within to see the stength you have summoned...your Own strength.
Is the mask really a Mask? If so, what is it hiding?
Your strength-truly this is not a mask, but a shield to protect the ones you love.
Cheshvan is often referred to as Mar-Cheshvan (Bitter Cheshvan) because in this month there are no holy-days to celebrate....No preparation, special prayers or rituals to fill our time…nothing extra that we have to do. To me this is not a time of bitterness as much as it is a time to breathe…to wait…to embrace the space of emptiness. Yes embrace the space of emptiness. As a SoulCollager, yoga teacher, meditator and creativity coach I find this emptiness to be a blessing. One common denominator to all of these practices is that they each can be a springboard for diving into the emptiness. Cheshvan is a reminder to take time out from the busy-ness of holy-days (of everyday really) and notice the holiness of being in the moment. Any moment. Including the “empty” ones. My yoga and Jewish spirituality teachers, Rabbi Myriam Klotz and Diane Bloomfield recently shared this commentary on B’reishit from Reb Levi Yizchak of Berdichev:“When a person wants to arouse new outpouring of this energy (shefa hadasha) throughout all the worlds of existence, she needs to immerse herself in (l’dabeyk atzmo) the Ayn, the No-thing-ness.”This powerful sentence teaches a core principle everyone engaged in creative endeavors must pay attention to. In order to replenish our creative wells and truly nourish and nurture our innermost essence so that we can “do” when “doing” is what is called for, we must stop for a while to consciously tap into the “shefa” the Divine Flow of Creation. Jill Badonsky, developer of Kaizen-Muse creativity coaching refers to this as the realm of Muse Lull. Indeed. As the leaves continue to fall and the trees become “empty” we become witnesses to this process in the physical world around us. We too can mirror the wisdom nature displays and focus our attention deep down in our roots. We need this time, this month of Cheshvan to cherish the quiet and allow the shefa to rise up and fill us with the strength, the ideas, the courage to Lech Lecha…go to ourselves. This month of stillness is an opportunity to listen for the Divine voice as she speaks directly to us. B’reishit tells us that God “speaks the world into being”. When we sit in the no-thing-ness…the emptiness…the stillness…silence…we open to receiving the inner-messages that will sustain us. When we embrace the space of emptiness we become the vessels through which Creation and creativity flow.Although it could be argued that there is some “doing” involved in creating a SoulCollage card…for the most part, the images that “desire” to be connected tell you so…again, it is a matter of sacred listening and discernment. SoulCollage is a fabulous way to stop, look and listen, to truly sit and embrace the emptiness of Cheshvan; allowing shefa to replenish your creative well.
The Hebrew month, Elul is a powerful month of preparation as we dig down deep cultivating the ground we will be settling into for the winter months. Hard work, deep intention, prayerful awareness arises as we contemplate our lives up until the present time...and yet, we know that every year as the memories wash over us and our desire to improve our connections with the Divine, with our loved ones grows, this is part of a continuum. We strive to turn inward toward the Creator, our roots searching and penetrating our inner soil. We contemplate our purpose in the grand scheme of life unfolding. This is t'shuvah. As the reality that we have many failings becomes clear...remember too dear ones that we have evolved over the past year as well. With each failure there is a mirrored image of success. This time of inward reflection can also lead us to celebrate with gratitude all of the goodness we have been granted as well as the goodness we have created.
May we all be blessed with the awareness that we are good, that we create good...despite the suffering that is part of the whole of what it means to be human.
*T'shuvah is often translated as repentance...but a more accurate understanding might be "the process of turning inward". **This post fist appeared @ Creativity as a Spiritual Practice
We human beings are all part of one magnificent tale...SoulCollage®is a process that helps us look at our own stories, without getting caught up in them. The images give us an opportunity to bear witness to our inner worlds, sometimes bringing light to secrets we didn’t know we held. As a teacher of yoga, art and Jewish spirituality, I am on my own soul journey, always exploring the ways these three aspects of my professional and personal life intersect. SoulCollage® is not a religious practice but a powerful tool available to anyone who wants to take a closer look at their life. That said, it reminds me of a Jewish technique called Cheshbon HaNefesh. This Hebrew phrase translates to “Accounting of the Soul”. Rabbi Mendel of Satanov wrote a book titled Cheshbon HaNefesh in the early 19th century describing this method in great detail. His intention was for us to turn inward and take stock of our attitudes and actions, to be accountable for destructive habits and embrace our beneficial attributes. When translated into English, however, we can take the root of the word, “account”, and add another dimension of possibility. “Giving an account” means, telling a story. SoulCollage® takes us to the heart of our personal narratives and presents them right before our eyes. A SoulCollage® card goes a step further than a written journal by becoming a visual bridge, spanning the divide between spoken and unspoken words. This allows us to reframe the deep-rooted myths that limit our potential.
A SoulCollage® card reading is an opportunity for a sacred listening encounter, opening us to another person, to God, to our own essence. Like yoga, it can take us deep into our bodies unlocking emotions and intuitive wisdom we’ve carried in our flesh for a long time. I call this “soulular knowledge”. In mystical Judaism, the human soul expresses itself in five fluid layers, often compared to the five different colors visible in a single flame. The outer layer,Yechida, joins the individual soul to God, (this is represented by a Sourcecard), but the first four belong to the realm of sentient beings.Nefesh, the innermost portion corresponds to the body,ruachthe heart,neshamathe mind andchaya, the spirit. These in turn align beautifully with Seena Frost’sSoulCollage® suits. It is interesting to note that in Judaism, animals are also endowed withnefesh. In SoulCollage®, the Companion suit is associated with the totem animals that accompany the chakras (energy centers in our bodies).Ruach rests in the heart, the seat of emotions. This aspect of soul correlates well to the Committee suit, all of those inner-parts pulling on our heartstrings.Neshama, the soul level of the mind is tied to the Community suit. The people who support and challenge us help inform the ways we think.Chaya connects us to spirit, a clear link to the archetypal guides of the Council suit.
This brings us to another key concept Judaism shares with the SoulCollage® process: “the One and the many”. As illustrated above, from a Jewish perspective, each human soul has many facets, yet all of these facets belong to one soul. Likewise, every soul belongs to an individual person, and all are unified in the One. The One has many faces and many names, but remains one.
I think this is what every soul longs for. A sanctuary in time and space where we can experience joy, tell stories from our unique perspectives, know that we have been listened to and discover how we fit into this enormous puzzle of a universe.
Traditional SoulCollage® Suits (developed by Seena Frost) Source- nothingness from which all is birthed Companion-this is the energetic realm of the chakras. Each chakra has an animal companion or totem that you will discover. Committee-this is the psychological element of the process. Your many "inner voices" speak from this place. Community-these cards represent the people and pets in your life who support you-whether as living beings, or memories of loved ones. They may include people you have never met but have influenced your life and guided you at times, none-the-less. Council-this is the archetypal realm. Unseen beings of collective consciousness who guide you with or without your awareness. Correlating Levels of Soul These aspects of Soul come from mystical Judaism. They align well with the suits listed above. Ayn Sof-without end Nefesh-physicality (this is an aspect of soul we share with animals Ruach-emotions Neshama-thoughts Chaya-lifeforce
PARDESis an acronym-it also means orchard and is the origin from which the English word Paradise comes. P’shat-simple meaning Remez-hint Drash-midrash/interpretation Sod-secret/mystical meaning Elements EarthWater Air Fire
My life is filled with many joys, including: living on the edge of the woods where I spend as much time outdoors in nature as I can, exploring creativity through photography and writing poetry, prose, essays and music, singing, teaching mindfulness meditation, coaching others as they unlock their own soul's creative expression or sitting with them as together we connect with Spirit, living with and loving my husband, daughters and our two remaining animal companions. I also live with a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis. I’d been sick on and off or at least 12 years before being correctly diagnosed with MS in 2009. (This is not unusual with an autoimmune disease.) I feel as though MS has changed me for the good. That might sound strange, but somehow as the neural connections in my central nervous system decrease, my compassion toward my own lived experience and toward all beings increases. For this I am grateful far beyond words. I offer this prayer to YOU: May you be blessed with chessed (kindness). May you be blessed with rachamim (compassion). May you be blessed with simcha (joy). May you be blessed with shalom (peace). May it be so for all beings.
I am the one who gaurds the secrets, tends to the wounds of jealousy and fear. I am the one who hides anguish and rage behind masks and doors...I am the shadow sister who lives despite your denial of my existance. I give voice to the words you dare not speak aloud, I give darkness a place to reside within you. Do not be afraid of my presence, see me as a truth unearthed in times of confusion and justified rage.
Dear Ones, e-mail your SoulCollage images to me and any text you want to include and I will post it here on the site for you!
If you've never created a SoulCollage card before-why not give it a try? If you can flip through magazine images cut with scissors, wield a glue stick and listen to your heart you're most of the way there.
Feeling unsure about the process? Send me a message and we can do a one on one session over the phone. First consult 45 minutes absolutely free to get you going.
If you want more time to explore SoulCollage one on one with me, I offer Neshama l'Neshama guidance- $50 for a forty-five minute consultation.
Coming Soon Rosh Chodesh Tele-Havurah Stay tuned for details!
Each month we will welcome the New Moon, opening to possibility, honoring both the dark and the light aspects of Creativity and Spiritual Awakening.
We will open with a kavannah-an intention for our gathering.
• Connect with a diverse community of Jewish women. • Explore text from a soul-centered perspective. • Open to the imaginal realm of our Imotenu (Mothers) as they offer timeless truths, providing new themes for each month. • Create Intentional SoulCollage® Cards to Share with our Havurah through the inter-net. • Listen to your heart and the wisdom of our shared stories through SoulCollage® readings. • Expand your mystical understanding of the Aleph-Bet as we explore deeper meaning in the Hebrew names for each month. • Stay in touch throughout the month and share your thoughts, writings and images on our members page. • Aguided visualization will complete eachhour long tele-havurah to carry us gently into the new month.
SoulCollage images are created from magazine photographs. They are for personal use only, and are never to be bartered or sold. I gratefully acknowledge the skill and artistic talents of all the photographers and artists who have unknowingly inspired me to create the SoulCollage Cards you see displayed on this blog. A special thanks to my teacher Seena B. Frost, foremother and midwife of the SoulCollage process.