Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life - Death - Grief and healing through SoulCollage®

As some of you  who read my blog  and know me personally may know, for the past 8 weeks I have been witnessing, holding heart and been totally engaged in the ongoing illness and recent death of my good friend, and co-partner in the Creative Arts Studio and my work as a Mandala Faciltator, Patrica Waters.  This process has been heartbreaking and heart opening, transformational and healing, all put together in one powerful period of time.  Art has helped me to self-soothe and cope with this loss on many levels.  As a SoulCollage® facilitator and at times addict, creating cards in my groups has helped me on many levels to diaglogue, understand, and release sorrow and attachment through these trying times.  
Early on during this journey, I created this SoulCollage® card for my friend Patricia, to integrate her into my inner Community, and honor her presence in my life.  I added in a photograph of her actual hands drawing a mandala, since we worked together for over 20 years, facilitating Illuminated Mandala Workshops.  When we decorated the cardboard coffin she will travel into the cauldron in, on her last physical journey, I glued 8 prismacolor pencils and black canson mi tientes paper cut into a circle, onto the outside of  her coffin, so she can draw in the after life.  This card really brings me closer to her essence now that she is gone.   While she was ill, I made a large color copy of this card to put on the wall next to her bedside as a reminder to her of her strong and vibrant self. 

This card,  the Gateway card, came through for me, during a period when it appeared that Patricia was having a difficult time letting go of this life.  It gave me an image of the Gateway that we must all journey through as we transition from this life to another.  Whether it helped her unconscious or not is another story, but it allowed me to have an image to hold onto, that actually comforted me and gave me a grounding as the Gatekeeper role that I had found myself in. 
Gaia is the Goddess of All is aone of the most recent cards I made, using a photocopy of one of Patricia's drawings, and adding all the animals that she loved and nourished in this life.  Interestingly, the day that I printed it off of her computer , it was  raining out and when I carried it to my car, the rain, dripped on the ink jet print and formed tears.  It set the stage for this card, and how deeply she loved the earth and grieved for it as well. I created this card, on the day that she passed.  Which seems so appropriate to me now. 
The Path.   I created this card as well on last Friday, and although at the time, it related to my finding a new path and direction that calls to me, as I add it to his series, it really fits into her journey as well, being called to the light.  But for me personally, it speaks to paying attention to what flutters in my heart and sings to me as how to know which path to take.
Holding Heart -  This whole experience, has opened my heart so deeply, that I had to honor the heart space, as I held heart for Patricia, for myself, and for all of those who come to my studio and work on those deep inner images that live in the heart space.  It also helped that this was February, the month of holding heart on so  many levels.

This is the last card of the series, which is the Grief card, letting go and looking forward, contemplating what is next, and reflecting on my life, her impact on it, and all the edges of grief death and release.

I hesitate in adding my first person words to this series, offering a process oriented narrative.  During this whole journey I have been the facilitator of a helping hands website, offering updates on Patricia's journey, which is one of the many reasons why I haven't posted here very often. This process has also given me a sense of a new voice that is emerging for me through my writing, which is another door that is opening.  Thank you all for viewing this, and reading this.  Namaste.