SoulCollage® for Me...

SoulCollage® for me is a sacred listening practice. It is a very personal form of prayer that takes me to the place where soul and Divine Consciousness meet. From the hilarious to the terrifying, the complicated to the serene, each card is a gift, an offering from Me to me. The practice of SoulCollage® merges all of the senses into one fluid motion of inner awakening; sight becomes sound, becomes touch-opening memory to taste, smell and the mysterious sixth sense of intuitive knowing. Creation and creativity flow through each of us in all moments. SoulCollage®, like yoga, meditation, prayer, dance, song and deep uproarious laughter has the power to remind us of this truth. I have experienced every card to be Love at first sight (even the shadowy ones)…a love that grows as I blossom into the woman I am becoming, day by day, moment by moment.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

SoulCollage: Creating a "Nest" of Silence for Deeper Listening

Make everything in you an ear,
each atom of your being,
and you will hear at every moment what the Source is whispering to you, just to you and for you….
You are — the beloved of the Beloved,
and in every moment,
in every event of your life,
the Beloved is whispering to you exactly what you need to hear and know.

Tips for Adding More Silence to Your Daily Life

1. Simply choose to stay in bed for 5 extra minutes every morning before you even open your eyes to just breathe attentively in stillness and silence.
2. You could do the same for 5 minutes every evening sitting on your bed.
3. If you typically listen to the tv or radio in the morning…try having your breakfast without the extra sound stimulation once a week. Same thing in your car…try driving in silence. Now if you have family or a partner around leaving the radio or tv off will instantly create an opportunity for better listening for everyone.

4. I don’t know if any of you remember the “cone of silence” in the old Get Smart TV series…but I like to think of my shower time as entering the cone of silence. This daily ritual can be an opportunity for deep awareness and listening…not just to the sound of the water…but “listening” in a more global sense to the sensations you feel in your body as the water warms your skin and massages you.

5. Then there is of course the silent (ipod free) walk…in your neighborhood…through a local park or if you are so blessed through the woods near your home. Pay attention, because you could easily become derailed by busy thoughts…when that happens notice that your mind does that…acknowledge ahhh I’m thinking…then do your best to return to the present…the sensation of your feet touching the ground…the shifting of your weight, the swinging of your arms...the sound of your breath…the sound of nature. The air on your face. Enjoy this precious gift of a silent walk.

6. How about a silent cup of tea or coffee during the day. Holding the warm cup in your hands…inhaling the aroma…not reading or engaging in anything but the experience of drinking your tea.
I’m talking about listening with all of your senses…not hearing necessarily…but listening in a felt way…

These are just a few ideas to get started with…don’t try taking them all on at once…just choose one thing to focus on daily for a week and see how it goes….gradually building a little more silence into each day.

Suggestions for Creating a SoulCollage Workshop held in Silence:

1. If you are a facilitator creating a SoulCollage event and you want silence to have a significant role in the experience…let people know in advance that although there will be time dedicated to “I am the one who…” and some dedicated time for personal sharing and respectful, sacred listening…silence will be the loving container that holds the practice. Set the expectation that there will be no talking while selecting images and creating cards.
a. That way you will attract people who want to engage in silence.
b. No one will feel hurt or disappointed because they were looking forward to friendly conversation. (which is also a lovely and valuable container for SoulCollage)

2. Start by asking everyone present to turn off their cell phone until the end of the gathering (if they cannot do that because they have left dependents at home or for a variety of other reasons, ask that they switch their phone to vibrate so as not to disturb others-and to answer any in-coming calls in another room)

3. Let the group know that as facilitator you will speak at times (and/or ring a chime) to indicate that there will be some kind of shift in activity or focus. (ie. card making to card readings-a suggestion to stand up and stretch or walk around-creating a card gallery or circle for closure…that kind of thing)

Time to begin.

4. Light a candle to visually signal the shift from ordinary to sacred time.

5. Ask everyone to set one silent personal intention for this precious time that you are gathered together (ie. may my heart and mind be open to unexpected gifts) and one intention for the wellbeing of the whole group (ie. may everyone be touched by healing in some way today).

6. Invite everyone to close their eyes for a few moments…offer a guided meditation…keep it simple…there’s no need to create an elaborate visualization at this time. Suggest that everyone start by noticing their breath flowing in…and out…Being aware when their mind has wandered away from the breath and allowing the recognition of this wandering into thoughts to be a reminder to return to the simplicity of inhaling….and exhaling. 10 minutes is probably long enough to settle in and really land.

7. Another possibility is to start with a walking meditation…this is a wonderful way to connect to the moment kinesthetically. You don’t need a lot space. The main thing is walking with great attention, being aware of the movement of the body through space, the feet as they touch the ground. This can be done in a circle (one person following another) or if space allows ask participants to walk back and forth for just 10 steps then turning around and repeating the steps in the opposite direction. Again, do this for 10 minutes and remind people before they begin that when they notice their mind wandering bring their attention back to the breath…using the walking to ground them in the present moment. And then have everyone sit with eyes closed for a moment with breath awareness before card making begins.

*You could start with either of these meditation practices…I think that even if you begin with the walking practice, it’s beneficial to offer it again or perhaps 10 minutes of yoga or free-form dancing after card making for an hour and again every hour. We are embodied souls and our bodies need to move or they get cranky… we need to get the life force flowing…

8. Now it’s time for card making. Remind the participants to “Allow the images to call out to you”…share that this can be really hard sometimes if we have a strong desire to find the perfect image or the “missing piece”. Suggest standing or sitting in reverential silence and waiting for the images to select you…because they will.

9. In regard to partnered or small group readings…it’s very important in the context of this “nest” to refrain from commenting on each other’s cards. Even on your own cards. Allow the words that flow from the images to be enough in and of themselves. Hold them in respectful silence. I had a chanting teacher once who would speak about the power of the silence after the chant….just sitting in that silence and absorbing the lingering notes of the melody…there is holiness in that space. I think it’s the same with our SoulCollage cards…allow space…silent space for the wisdom of each card to reverberate for a moment before going on to the next card. Don’t even try to interpret or figure out what it’s saying on an intellectual level because it goes so much deeper than that…approach it like music or poetry…just be with that Divine wisdom. You can do the thinking stuff later if you choose to. But this is a time to just receive what the voice within the card has to offer.


Shadow said...

i enjoyed this read thoroughly. i need silence. i crave silence. silence fills me with things i cannot describe or put into words. just feel... and i love their feelings.

and thank you for your visit.

Laura Hegfield said...

Hello, Shadow,
I'm glad you stopped by too! I think we all crave silence at times, but forget that as we get caught up in the busyness of our lives. I'm happy that this was a good stop on your blog hopping tour today.
gentle steps,

Vijay Kumar Sappatti said...

laura , i just loved this post. truly amazing

Griselda said...

Great ideas Laura...thanks for sharing them with us. I did not see a place where I can "follow"
Best wishes to you.

Farila said...

Hi, Thanks for visiting my blog. I would love to surf more on your wonderful blog once I recover from my fracture. The pain is killing me and I cannot read much at the moment.