My mom offers free SoulCollage® workshops to the eating disorder recovery community at the Petaluma Health Center every year, thanks to funding by the Petaluma Health Care District.
On May 26th, she offered one of her workshops and I usually help her set up and clean up for each workshop, as well as attend.
There are some times when I don’t always want to go, although I do always enjoy it. When I start to get busy and I think I need to do X, Y and Z is when I usually rather do something else on a SoulCollage day, but this past SoulCollage® workshop, I was really looking forward to going. I felt like it was something that I really needed in that moment in time and something that I would really benefit from.
I remember the morning of, waking up and looking forward to is, as well as not. I was thinking, “I’m not in the mood to have to focus on images that are going to reflect something inside of myself that I need to see.” And I was extraordinarily tired that morning.
When we arrived to set up, I still felt my tiredness, but it wasn’t hindering me in any way and then for the first time, instead of skipping the opening meditation to wait to sign in more people who show up later, I didn’t skip it. It was the first opening meditation I did at this SoulCollage& workshop and part of the opening meditation was to envision ourselves, our authentic selves and to look into her and to see what she had to offer or say to us.
I was looking into this portal, and I saw myself wearing billowing white cloth, my hair was flowing and I didn’t really see myself in detail. I was more of a Goddess like being, and I was emitting energy and light. It was flowing through my authentic self and into the me who was looking at my authentic self through the portal. My authentic self was smiling at myself. It felt so relaxing to know that the person I was looking at was me. The energy and light and love that I was receiving, I was receiving it from myself. At any moment in time, I can recall on this image, on this woman, on myself — and be there for myself.
The SoulCollage® workshop went fast. In the morning I was worrying that I wouldn’t be into the process, but throughout the whole process I was completely in the moment. I forgot that I was tired and I was fully absorbed into this process of creating my card. And I wasn’t creating a regular sized SoulCollage® card this time, I was creating something much larger, like the size of a vision board. I was creating myself this vision board of what I want to bring into my life.
At the bottom left corner there was this outline of a kid with his hands in the air, pointing out into the universe, with colors coming out of his hands. And the rest of the collage was a mix of flowing colors and energy, and a kid reading a book with a dragon coming from it, floating in the sky, with kids dancing and playing, with a young woman defying gravity, floating in her apartment, almost floating out of her window, out into the world, with images of a person’s head, but within his head was the sky and clouds, and a female’s head in the center, with a yellow lightbulb in the center of her brain, and thick forested trees and a vibrant waterfall — everything in my vision board I was creating. The essence of my vision board was energy, the energy that I want to bring into my life, that I want to release into the world and that I want to create.
After the SoulCollage® workshop ended and I was helping my mom clean up, I noticed how tired I was. And for about a minute I began to get easily frustrated and irritable, and then when I noticed that, I stopped myself. I thought to myself, I don’t want to embody this kind of energy right now. My energy completely shifted. I was laughing, joking and being silly with my mom. I was super tired, but I was happy.
Lately, for the past months, whenever I get really tired, I get easily irritable, but I realized that I don’t have to. Irritable doesn’t have to be my default. I can choose to cultivate another form of energy.
It was a great realization, that I can choose how I want to feel, and my emotions or energy level or outside experiences don’t have to dictate my feelings to me.
Today, I woke up around 12:30pm. Since I came back from Hawaii on the 21/22 of May, I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep, maybe 4 to 5 hours each night, when I was used to getting 8 to 9 each night.
Last night was the first night that I really allowed myself to sleep in. It felt great, but when I woke up and saw that it was 12:30pm, I started to get nervous and I stared to bring in negative energy into my body. I began to think of things I wanted to get done, and told myself that maybe I wouldn’t be able to complete what I wanted to today.
My mom heard about Qigong classes being offered every Monday and she wanted to go today at 1pm. She invited me last night and I originally said that I was interested and then when I woke up this morning, she invited me again, and at first I said no. I thought, “I don’t have the time. It’s donation base, and I just spent a lot of money for work-related things over the weekend and I’m close to broke, and I don’t want to spend any more money.”
And then my mom asked me again, and said that I don’t have to donate a lot, and so I changed my mind and I went.
I’m so glad I went. I have done Qigong a few times with my mom once while camping and a few times at home, but this was my first time doing with a group of people and an instructor.
At first, I noticed that my body, especially my shoulders were tight, and occasionally I drifted into thoughts of things I had to do, but overall, the experience allowed me to forget of external thoughts. It allowed me to bring myself back into the present moment. The instructor, Juliett described Qigong as the practice of being inside of our body. I felt the energy that I gathered between my hands. Instead of struggling to keep my arms held up, they floated as they moved. The energy carried my arms and hands for me.
I envisioned my authentic self that I saw while doing the opening meditation at my mom’s SoulCollage® workshop two weeks ago, and she transformed. Juliett told us to envision this energy and to see it expanding within ourselves, as well as coming from the earth and beyond from the universe and to see it coming from our sides and from above us. I started to see this energy traveling into space and I saw myself floating in space, in a semi-fetal position, enveloped in energy.
Whenever my thoughts would become more concrete or distracted, I began to envision the energy in space, or myself in space or just white and blueish flowing energy and I would bring my thoughts to this energy that is outside of myself, and outside of the room I was in, and outside of this earth and into something truly beyond and outside of myself. It felt relaxing. It felt relaxing to not be worrying about tasks I wanted to do today. It helped to put things in perspective to think about this energy that travels all around the universe and through myself. It helped me to be in the moment.
After we finished the class, Juliett asked each of us about our experience. As each person was talking, I was imagining my heart opening up with this blue/white light and I imagined that energy traveling to each person who was speaking and washing over their body, traveling inside of their heart and then exploding and enveloping them with this healing energy and love.
As I did this with each person, I felt myself vibrating with love and becoming more relaxed, warm, happy, open and confident.
I remember stories from when I was younger of my mom seeing auras around people. A couple years ago the conversation came up again and my brother said he sees them to and was surprised that I never had.
Today, when Juliett was taking turns talking to everybody in this circle, and when I was imagining sending my loving energy to them, opening each of their hearts, I began to see light emanating around most of the people. It was a fuzzy light outlining their body’s.
I remember a few years ago thinking, “Why can’t I see this light around people that my brother and mom see? Does it mean that I’m closed off?” I started getting into my head wondering what was off about me that didn’t allow me to see that as well.
All throughout the class today, whenever I noticed myself start to focus or think too much, I stopped myself and I just let myself feel and be with the energy. When I stopped my thoughts, I really began to experience the energy around me and flowing within me.
I think that’s a metaphor for living in the present moment. When I stop living inside of my head and stop allowing a barrage of negative thoughts rule my life and just let myself be, then all these opportunities open up for me. When I allow myself to live in the present moment, I notice my energy pick up. I notice that I’m happier.
SoulCollage® two weeks ago showed me that I can choose how I want to experience any given moment. Instead of being tired and cranky, I was able to be tired and happy. Today, instead of allowing my thoughts to run off into, ” I need to do X, Y and Z today”, I was able to let go of those thoughts and just let myself experience the movement, sound and energy of Qigong.
In both cases, I had the choice to choose where I was going to focus my energy and I had the choice to choose want kind of energy I wanted to bring into my life in those given moments.
This reminds me of my authentic self that I saw during the opening meditation of the SoulCollage® workshop. She is always inside of me. I have the choice to connect with her or live as her whenever I want.
These two experiences are good reminders that I have the choice and the power over how I live my life.
Emelina Minero writes for Curve Magazine and EDGE Gay Media Network. She’s working on launching her own progressive LGBTQ publication. She’s a Connection Connoisseur, Networking Maven and Self-Love Enthusiast. She founded Community Bucket List and co-founded the Love Warrior Community. Find her on Twitter, @CommKr8veWriter.