Don’t Cage Me In

Yesterday, in preparation for my Expressive Arts group, I researched mixed media art journalling online.  I was supposed to attend a demonstrative class ahead of time, but there were not enough registrants.  I’ve collaged before, though.  Given that knowledge and my EXA training, I thought I could give enough justice for it to be meaningful for my own group.

There are a tremendous amount of how-to videos posted online!  Several inspirational and beautiful creations with varying styles. I pinned a few on Pinterest, but honestly, it just wet my whistle.  I’m always anxious to just dig in and try different techniques out.

I like the idea of not having a plan in collage, in fact, allowing that to be the goal.  Pick what intrigues you, what triggers you.  And just start mod podging it down to the page without intention or thought.  I felt there were SO many to choose from, so many different techniques in my head; I wanted to try them all.

What I ended up with, in my humble…but critical….brain, was a MESS.  Chaos.  Busy-ness.  With this beautiful wolf left unfettered in the center.  And the words, “Watch Out” standing clearly above her head.

Oh, how I love the wolf.  The image of beauty and fierceness.  I look at her spirit animal meaning and take great honor in seeing, “Sharp intelligence, deep connection with instincts – as well as her feeling threatened – by self and others.”  That certainly resonates with me.  Yet butterflies always show up for me as well.  I have begun to accept her apparent fragility with her amazing messages of transformation.  This I understood as well. I also at the last minute slapped on the words, “living in harmony”, which seemed to fit.  Somehow, I knew this chaos felt…..ok.  Right.


One of the main tasks of Expressive Arts is to look at the created piece as being separate from you; now created, it has something to say.  And the creator, to look upon it and describe what we see.  Not in judgement as an artiste, criticizing it for its faults, but what now did It have to say to us in Its infinite wisdom.  As corny as it may sound, but I actually see the created piece as God speaking back to me.  If I am to believe that the Divine is within me, as in all things, then this piece coming from my soul, has something sacred – from ME – to offer back.  We know clearly what our head says (ad nauseum) about why we chose what we chose or why we think we made an artwork like we did, but there is meaning in what we notice about that creation.  Our psyche often gets hidden withthe voice in our head working non-stop.  Our creations allow us to see inside in a completely different way.

A common question in Expressive Arts: “What surprised you?”  For this project, the clear message it spoke to me, “Don’t cage me in,” was confusing.  There is nothing in my external world holding me back.  My days are wide open.  My husband has never been more supportive or interested.  So, how in the world am I caged in?

Perhaps, I thought, this dear, wild beast is within me, telling ME, “Don’t cage me in.”  Really?, I double-checked. Am I holding back?  Am I still fearful?  Am I worried about my ability to handle a new business?  How it’s going to emerge?  How I can make it succeed?  Where it will take me?

Hell, yes.  Though there’s an excitement in me that says YES!  I can see this happening!  Even “in harmony” living with the chaos.  But there’s also a part of me that says, “I don’t know if you can really do this.  You don’t know shit.”

Thankfully, the more I talk about my vision, doors keep opening for me.  AND, joy of all joys, my groups keep providing me with tremendous positive feedback.

My brain is filled with the jumbled excitement seen outside the wolf of my collage.  It’s exciting; I want to do it all.  Everyday, I have ideas filling me.  There’s a strong message of “Watch Out!” … I come.  I will not be caged or held back.

I feel I’ve been keeping the fear in a harness, holding her back.  Following where I’m lead.  But maybe I’m still doubting.   I do accept that the business part of this scares me!

Is there a place in which you feel you’re holding back in your life?  That you are ready to break forth but either your inner or outer world is keeping you at bay?  What would it take to break that barrier?


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