Stations of the Cross ~ a focus beyond ourselves…

Stations of the Cross

This creative visual expression of the ninth and tenth “Stations of the Cross” was a group activity of Color Me FRIENDS and some members of St Francis Episcopal Church, Manakin-Sabot, VA this Lenten season. The two stations are part of a series of coloring pages from Illustrated Children’s Ministry by artist, Adam Walker Cleveland.   I wanted to provide a creative response to a presentation I gave on how we hear God through creative expression.  I also wanted the response to deepen a sense of “belonging” and “community”.   In my own experience and what I know from others, as I engage in the creative process, my mind is quieted, my perception opens up, and I awaken more deeply to the Spirit of God.  One might say, “the eyes of my heart are opened”.  Working together as a group on any project, especially an art work, can provide a sense of belonging to something “bigger” than myself, as well as, provide a way for my values to be expressed and more deeply experienced.

“During the season of Lent, the Stations of the Cross are often focused upon – to help us see beyond ourselves, our own egos and agendas, and to walk with God.”   Images of the Stations are found in many forms in churches and gardens throughout the world.  They are associated with Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem by the early Christians who would physically travel to Jerusalem.

The ninth Station on the “left” is entitled, “Blessing”.   Here in Luke 23:27-31, we learn that this is where Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem, and he says these strange words: “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore… (Luke 23:29).  I would like to share with you what the authors of “Illustrated Children’s Ministry” have written on this account. “These words are exactly opposite of what we hear at the beginning of Luke’s gospel when Gabriel announces to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus:  “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).  Perhaps the words in Luke’s account of the Passion are a reminder to us that every moment of our lives, even those places that seem the most forsaken, can be places of God’s blessing.  And it is precisely those most human of conditions that Jesus wishes to bless, to transform, and to take up into the divine life.”

Is there something in your life that is difficult right now?  As you ponder the ninth Station of the Cross, ask the Lord to open the eyes of your heart to hear his words of blessing upon you.  Perhaps as you listen and watch, you may see a picture in your mind’s eye.  Write down what you hear and see, then take one more step and consider how you might visually, musically, or find some other form of creative expression for this blessing that has come to you.  Let yourself rest in this joy.

Carol

 

 

Celtic Trinity Knot

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Artist, Mary McAndrew, has created this beautiful design using the Celtic Trinity Knot. It’s simple design so delicately colored points us to a powerful and very personal story that can be embraced by all.  The Celtic Trinity Knot is a visual symbol of the Christian belief of the Godhead, the Trinity ~ Father, Son, Spirit as ONE.  There is really so much in this symbol to see and ponder. The “three pointed” knot has no beginning and no ending. The overlapping spirals come together in the center of the knot which reinforces the strength of being “centered”.  The flying doves in the blue sky of the circle lets us know that the Spirit hovers over all of creation bringing beauty and life. This flow of ideas I am sharing only scratch the surface of what would come to me as I meditate upon this design and take time to journal or creatively express them.

I encourage you to create your own design as you meditate upon the beauty of the Trinity in your life and I leave you with this Celtic Blessing…

May the God of gentleness be with you, caressing you with sunlight and rain, caressing you with rain and wind.

May His tenderness shine through you, to warm all those who are hurt and alone.

May the God of strength be with you, holding you in strong-fingered hands.  May you be a sacrament of his strength to those whose hands you hold.

May the God of gentleness be with you, caressing you with sunlight and rain, caressing you with rain and wind.  Amen.

Listen with your heart

Wanda's Mandala Wanda’s Mandala 2016

Coloring in colored pencils has become a way to relax and encourage quiet “pondering” on whatever seems to be an important focus at the time.  I invited my art therapy group at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women here in Virginia to join our on line coloring group, Color Me FRIENDS.  The invitation was to encourage developing a lifestyle of listening ~ working in the arts can help us release anxiety and the “cares of this world” ~ and if done intentionally, can become life-sustaining, creative energy.

Wanda is especially talented artistically.  She loves drawing and stained glass work.  She is learning many new techniques with the small amount of teaching I am able to provide.  She draws out of me my best teaching.  This is a coloring page mandala taken from one of the many coloring books one can purchase today.  Sometimes using a coloring page like this can help us get “centered”.  Wanda used this one as a coloring meditation that helped her focus on her God-given strengths.  She is the “deer” in the center walking in the beauty of creation all around her ~ “she walks in beauty”.  As she makes art work, she is creating beauty.

Beauty is a powerful and real God-given attribute and gift. Listening deeply to that presence within enables her to walk in beauty ~ a strength that Wanda wants to live in all the time.  What a powerful desire!  Wanda inspired me to share it.  Thank you, Wanda.

Creativity in the transitions…

Hostess, Eileen & Facilitator, Morgan working intuitively with acrylic inks on yupo

Hostess, Eileen & Conversation Facilitator, Morgan work intuitively with acrylic inks on yupo paper… This creative session was just one of several soul nourishing  experiences we had on our weekend on Whidbey Island, WA in June.  There’s just so much value in fostering one’s creativity especially in times of transition when we are looking for insight, exploring new territory and starting new things.  Replenishing our creative resources rejuvenates us and gives us fresh “eyes to see” the possibilities that lie ahead.    I was so happy to be able to meet the 7 dynamic ladies who participated and share my creative direction.

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Eileen explored all the possibilities at her fingertips.

 

Going with the Flow ~

FullSizeRender It was great experimenting with acrylic inks on yupo paper!  I’ve never worked with it before and found I definitely was “going with the flow”!  It was fun to see the effects of spraying water and sprinkling salt.  I’ll be sharing this process with a group of ladies this weekend.  It’ll be the “ice-breaker” for getting to know each other.  I love meeting new folks – especially from different cultures.  You can imagine how excited I am about this opportunity to travel to Whidbey Island.  I’ll be flying into Seattle, WA and taking a ferry to Whidbey.  Amazing.  I’m going to get some great pics on location and of the artwork we’ll be creating.  It’s a privilege for me to contribute to this weekend that author and photographer, Morgan McKenna, will be facilitating.  I’m to bring creative reflections as a way to respond to the topics we’ll be discussing.  Can’t wait!

Values Over Time.001What you love to do is directly related to your core values… and core values are so very important in creating a life worth living!

In a recent art & spirituality session, attendees created an “accordion” book recording significant events over time.  Using personal photographs, magazine clippings and found objects, beautiful papers and ribbon, a timeline was created and a story told.  Telling our stories and re-telling them in creative ways gave new meaning and restoration to our lives.

I recommend this creative activity to everyone to try!  Visualize two or three happy memories and start your time line.  As pleasant memories come to mind, identify important values that run through your journey from the earliest memories and into the future.  You will find that these values are like “golden threads” woven through special occasions and relationships.  As you identify and hold on to them, they can provide hope for the future ~ they are at the very core of what you were born to love to do!

What do you love to do?