My heArt journaling is an unfolding map and reflection of my becoming, of my unbecoming, of my humanness and divinity, of my growing awareness, of all the peaks and valleys and themes that I wrestle with and celebrate. It is a practice of homecoming and claiming my own experience, my own life. This creative process is anchored in my heart and body— the place where I can access my wisdom, my connection with a high power and information about what is actually happening in the here and now. Creating and moving, no matter what it looks like, allows me to be in an evolving, flowing conversation and relationship with life. Moving, with an intention to make space for what is.
This whole thing— process art, HeArt Journaling and community is medicine for me. It counters the spirals of thought that happen in my mind, that if unchecked, can wind down my jaw, shoulders, chest and limbs to imprison my body and life. It is also an antidote to messages that don’t serve me, that what matters most is the outside appearance, intellect and thinking are the superior ways of knowing, that the answers are held by experts and outside of me. Journaling has begun to soften my heart to myself, to help me cultivate fearlessness as I spend more time with parts of myself I have judged and rejected in the past.
The pages I’m sharing from my heArt journal are from a few weeks ago and were the outcome of returning to my heart and body and trusting the process, one step at a time. Its wonderful to have Stephanie’s support in slowing down and paying attention. With her help I was able to notice and follow the tension in my jaw, neck and upper chest. I painted and felt this and watched this image form— fierceness and aggression, as well as feminine beauty and softness and birthing. I recognized in the face I painted the fight for my own spirit, for knowing who I am and making space for and nurturing her above any other “shoulds”. My painting and creation told me that tenderness and healthy aggression are interconnected and that I have access to both. This is valuable to me as I continue to define my career and as I become a mother in a few short months.
Stephanie talks about how sacred these journals are, these maps of our heart journeys. I agree. The more I relate to all parts of my experience, my body as sacred, the more I am inclined to pay attention with respect and care to what’s happening, to invest in care for myself and to feel a greater sense of love and empowerment gathering in myself that I can bring to my life and relationships. It feels kind.
I came across this poem by Tricia Elliot on social media. It made me think of HeArt journaling and all the small, large, meaningful ways we reach out to touch something true and larger.
A shrew moves in moonlight,
Tracking across the unbroken snow.
You have felt this small, a lone heart pounding in the darkness.
Claim your trail. Open the frozen meadow, like the shrew.
As it rediscovers home, it sutures all things together.
Power is not correlated with size.
Even the smallest journey reshapes this world.
– Tricia Elliot
Michelle Bunch is celebrating one year of process art making and self-discovery with the Creative Nectar community! Michelle earned her master’s degree from Kansas State University in Marriage and Family Therapy and has worked with a wide range of ages from children to aging adults. She has been trained as a play therapist, completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training program and the Beginning Level of Somatic Experiencing, a body-based approach to healing trauma and restoring regulation and flow. Mindfulness is an important part of her life and she is a member of Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness and leads a community class once a month integrating movement and mindfulness. Michelle is joyfully awaiting her first child in spring 2018 and has chosen to pause her clinical work and use this time to listen and tend to this growing life and to her own soul.