Journal Images, Part 2!

I actually used an image from the art therapy coloring book of a glass jar to make a little bottle of favorite things, inspired by Bullet Journal ideas…

I love drawing cactuses and copying drawings of them.

This is one of those doodles that just got left at the top of the page. You can see the back of the page, scores for Gin Rummy game…

These were all black pen drawings, simple. The rest of the art in the journal is collage made with tape and drawing in it…

Journal Art

This is the front of my last journal recently completed. And below is the back. I was making a lot of signs at that time, November 2017.

Something I wrote on the inner cover that I like to keep in mind, sort of ┬áthe yoga of speech. Does it have to be said? Does it have to be said now? Does it have to be said now by me? I would add, Does it have to be said now by me in these words in this way…

Another sign. above. This was when I tried to make this a “Bullet Journal” and numbered the pages and had an index! Of course I didn’t complete it…

This was my December page for the bullet journal, which I quite like. I will post more groups of images from this journal soon!

More on Yoga

“We know what we are now, but not what we may become.” -William Shakespeare

Writing equals ass in chair. Stephen King

I am reading a book called Meditations from the Mat: Daily Selections on the Path of Yoga, by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison. Rather, I am being read to, as it’s in the form of an audio book.

I’m able to do my yoga practice while listening to the book. This is not what you’re supposed to do if you’re working on mindfulness. The first idea is to try to do or focus on only one thing at a time. As an art therapist I work with people who often talk while they are making something. There are lots of reasons for it.

Anyway, the thing I like about listening to the book while doing my yoga practice is that it feels like I’m being reminded what is going on that can’t be seen, whether in body, mind or spirit. Also, today I was doing seated head to knee posture right when he started talking about the posture; that was cool. It’s a male voice reading the book, which doesn’t lend itself to remembering that two people wrote it, one seems to be female. They start each daily reflection with a quote, and they quote from a wide range of sources, from Shakespeare in the above quote to scriptures of all religions to poetry to Tom Petty and yoga students.

Both the quotes above kind of go together and to the practice of yoga and writing. In order to do yoga, I have to make the time and get the mat out and get going. In order to write I have to put my ass in the chair and write. Showing up to your life is a concept that we all recognize, easier said than done.

Today I’m not sure what I’m writing about. Maybe this is my reflection on today’s practice. When in my studio, I use the floor and walls. The yoga mat is usually dusty and little pieces of paper or glitter or whatever collects on the floor gets on the yoga mat. My feet and hands get dirty from touching the floor. I shake this stuff off when rolling up my mat.

Actually rolling up the yoga mat has been a constant struggle since I started doing yoga about 18 years ago. It seems so impossible to get the mat to roll up properly the way everyone else does it, so that one side isn’t bulging out. I’ve tried doing it slowly and other things, but often I give up and leave it rolled up but not even. The other day someone said, “Just hold both sides at the same time.” I’m sure I have tried that many times; this isn’t rocket science. For some reason, being reminded or told that, I was able to focus on holding both ends and got the mat rolled up quite evenly. It is still not a guarantee that the mat gets rolled up properly. I have never been a symmetrical person in any way, so I start off balance. My body isn’t balanced; neither is my mind. One of the most important things I learned in yoga is to attend to both sides equally. If you do something on the left side, then you do it on the right side. If you do a headstand, you counter it at some point with a shoulder stand. Even walking down the street with a bag on my shoulder, I hear my yoga teacher Liza telling me to hold it on the other side as well. When she came last week, I found out my left hand doesn’t stay even with my right hand in child’s pose. I felt like I was putting my left hand way in front when she corrected me even though it was now even.

Yoga evens me out is the message. Balance and equilibrium are hard won. Every action having an equal and opposite reaction. Very basic. Most of the stuff I get excited about that I learn from my yoga practice is very simple stuff I seem to never have really known or completely forgotten. Just getting back acquainted with the hands and feet is a revelation!

That is it for today.

Yoga and Comics

I just wrote a post that as usual felt too long and rambling. Here’s the short version.

The practice of yoga has strangely been about building a practice and proving to myself that I have the self discipline to keep something up on a daily basis consistently. Concentration, discipline, commitment and showing up in whatever shape or mood to the mat. Doing yoga for 20-30 minutes in not ideal situations, with the TV on or music, with other people talking or doing things, in small corners of places, in the dark outdoors or indoors, at work, even in regular clothes when there’s no time to change into “yoga clothes”.

Other forms of self care and exercise have not worked out, whether adding exercises, going running, changing nutrition to eat really healthy, all have been taken up and given up after a while, but through it all, I’ve kept up my yoga on my own.

In July I started doing a comic strip that I decided was a daily comic; I was fed up with the graphic novel that I’d started in 2000 and turned into a failure monster and decided to do the comic while trying to get back into the graphic novel. I then gave up on the graphic novel and decided to leave it and be ok if I never picked it up again, but to commit to the comic strip instead.

Now, about six months into the comic strip, I noticed a lot of similarities to the practice of yoga. You commit to do it daily and it’s something you can get done quickly but have to keep up regularly, even if you skip it here or there. Basically, I have done a comic for each weekday and one comic for the weekend since July.

I noticed how you show up to it and follow some structures and rules. Like having the mat and doing some kind of sequence and focusing on it. The comic involves fitting something into few panels, writing the name of the comic strip and the date. I’ve tried different characters and types of drawing. I also got into the habit of making Tuesdays a day to focus on affirmations and Thursdays to focus on “Gender”. Some days I like the comic and feel good about it. Other days, I’m very bored with it and feel like I don’t have much to put in it, but I do it anyway. Other days I get really inspired and come up with ideas for several comics. Every once in a while I have a great breakthrough and feel really good about it, but most days it’s just, got to do today’s comic, scan it and post it on Instagram.

It’s a practice and a consistent commitment to show up and have enough faith in yourself to do something and then move on. The feeling of community and support of others is the icing on the cake from posting the comic on Instagram. As I do it for my personal life, it’s not something anyone has access to so there’s a good boundary there. The comic is like self care and doing it may enhance my doing my job but it is separate from my other life. Family members do not see it, but many friends do. Mostly it’s people I do not know. There is inspiration from others the way some people feel from going to a yoga class. While my yoga practice is mostly done alone and sometimes with one or two other people, my comic is something I put out there and get support from others.

These two practices can sustain me when I feel unproductive and unsuccessful in other areas of life. It feels good to know I’ve kept up the comic for 6 months more than thinking about the comic being really great or good enough or not that great. It’s the process that matters more than the product. The comic even can feel like a spiritual practice in an odd way.