“The artist speaks to that part of you which yearns for beauty and creativity. The inner artist invites you to participate in the great work of healing the world by lifting out of your senses creative images, words, and actions that inspire others to live lives of wonder and surprise.”–Macrina Wiederkehr (The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by Christine Valters Paintner)
Recently I led a retreat titled Becoming Ourselves: Exploring the Archetypes of Inner Monk & Artist. Our inner artist engages with the world through its senses, while our inner monk has a longing for connection with the Divine, seeing the sacred in the ordinary. We can be intentional about nurturing these energies within us, paying attention to the beauty around us, and bringing a sense of wonder and curiosity to our work. We can be intentional about nurturing these energies within us by seeing nature, people, and life circumstances in new ways, while creatively and prayerfully expressing ourselves through poetry, art, music, gardening, relationships, and more.
Practicing SoulCollage® is the perfect expression of the inner artist and monk archetypes. We creatively and prayerfully cut and paste images onto cards that eventually become a visual journal. It is a spiritual practice of seeking the Divine while learning about parts of yourself. With others, while “image bathing” and creating cards, there is a unique opportunity to share parts of our spiritual journey—why I love leading and participating in retreats!
On retreat, spiritual playmate*, Jana West, was particularly drawn to images of rainbows—they kept popping up in the images she was collecting and intuitively finding their way onto her collage cards.
*Don’t you just love the idea of a spiritual playmate?! Jana coined the term, and it has quickly become part of my post-retreat reflection vernacular.
So now I am seeing rainbows and the spectrum of colors in all kinds of ways. I saw, and accepted, this fun challenge on Facebook: to find the colors of the rainbow in nature.
Nature provides us with countless metaphors and lessons on the spiritual journey. It was an awe-inspiring exercise to notice and appreciate the various colors of the rainbow within my own backyard. Noting the colors of the rainbow, I see how all things connect in beautiful, unexpected, yet God-intended-it-to-be ways. I sense the need to claim the full spectrum of colors within myself, in nature and relationships, and in our diverse world.
During this PRIDE month, I feel particularly grateful for the full spectrum of people, regardless of sexuality or gender, who round out the spectrum of diversity in our communities. In a world full of chaos, it does the soul good to see how all things fit together so beautifully. To appreciate the many colors of the rainbow and the rich diversity in nature and people is a gift.
“All these seven colors are part of one rainbow, yet they are all different. They have their own quality, their own identity, their own flavor to it. So it is a rainbow. The Divine loves diversity, that is why he made us all different.”– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
A creative blessing from the retreat I led by Macrina Wiederkehr (serendipitously chosen before the rainbow images were going to be a thing.)
O Colors of Earth, anoint me and robe me with the attributes I need for my life work: PURPLE for wisdom, meditation, transformation, and spirituality; RED for passion, energy and courage; BLUES and GREENS for calm restfulness, balance, healing, hope, serenity and contemplation; golden YELLOWS for optimism and joy, lucidity, compassion and illumination, and ORANGE for animation, creativity and enthusiasm, BLACK and WHITE for death and life, power and innocence, mysticism and truth.
All of nature—send your mystical energy upon my work: rocks, precious stones, pebbles, air, wind, breezes, storms, earth, flowers, trees, plants, water, lakes, ponds, rivers, oceans, streams and brooks, fire, moon and stars, sun, volcanoes, bonfires, burning candles, quiet lights, and bright lights.
O Let everything that is good bless my work! –Macrina Wiederkehr