sacred journaling

Paris- Travel Journaling Pt 2

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
Walking in the Silage of Stories Past
Whispering through the alleyways
Written in the stones carved soft with moss,
Across oceans, through centuries,
The echoes of lives
and the layering of stories.
I can almost hear them.
Just beyond a corner
a hint of movement
a scent familiar and strange;
Stories collapsed in time
I feel them brush up against me,
Unhinged shadows.

Sacre Coeur Paris, Galia Alena travel photography
Months later and I'm still sorting through the thoughts of the trip. I didn't take many photographs on this time, partly because I broke my arm just weeks before the trip and the cast came off a week early so that I could fly without it. To lighten the load I left my SLR and lenses at home and took only baby and my iphone. I took some photos, but the trip was not about the photography, but more about the sketching and the art. There are some photos to add in, impressions, but the journal is filled with sketches and paraphernalia that I barely feel the need to add photos (and apart from a few spaces, there is no room for them anyway so I am going to have to get creative on how to add them).

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
The plethora of galleries in Paris is overwhelming- so much to gorge on in such a short period and now, sitting amongst the clouds and trees, listening to birdsong instead of the harmonies of church bells and sirens, I can only dream of those details- the colours, the brush strokes, the risks, each of those artists teaching something different. These paintings come to life in a way you can only imagine when you stand if front of them and let their energy speak to you. Oh that I could wander the galleries with my morning coffee before I head to my own studio.

Eiffel Tower Paris, Galia Alena travel photographyMum likes to tell the story of the man who hated the Eiffel Tower but continued to eat lunch there everyday. When asked why he answered "it is the only place in Paris you can't see it from" -boom boom.

Next stop: London where I head off on my own to meet a dear dear friend for the first time.

Part 1 of my Parisian Travel Journal is here


Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal

Some thoughts on travel journaling and pilgrimage (from the new website):
A journey to a new place or a journey through a journal page will both take you on a pilgrimage to the center of your own heart, to an understanding of your own truths, to a knowing and comfort with yourself. Both will bring you closer to the peace of home and still that wyld spirit that wants to fly freely on the winds of desires, of greener grasses and the whispers of dreams.
Journaling and traveling can both be a journey on which, if you are receptive, you discover a deeper connection with yourself and the conversation with life. Both can act as a pilgrimage from which you are forever changed, giving you both new awareness and knowledge of yourself and the world, journeying simultaneously out into the outer world and deep within the inner world.
There are as many ways and reasons to travel and to journal as there are people. For me the two are similar in that they both are a way for me to embody the journey. The journey to align with my inner world as well as my outer, a journey in trust, a journey in which on the middle of the path one is expanded and changed forever, a journey in which you can meet yourself. A pilgrimage.
Both require me to stay open and curious, to watch and notice attentively, to respond with trust and wonder at unexpected opportunities. Both allow me to engage fully in  the conversation of life with wonder and amazement. Both gift me with myself.

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
"Sometimes it takes a great sky to find thatfirst, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.” David Whyte
There are many ways to travel but when a woman travels alone there is a certain amount of trust that is required, especially when details have been left open to chance, serendipity and faith. A window is left open for spirit to enter and the unique state of wonder and awareness that traveling puts you in enhances your awareness of these moments.
A pilgrimage can take many forms, some structured and religious, some based on tradition. Sometimes one is not even aware that they are on a pilgrimage yet the journey they take will change them forever as they find themselves touched by things they didn’t even realise they were seeking.

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
Traveling allows one to strip away the usual masks that daily life demands which can bury the true self, it becomes an opportunity to get to know yourself without all the usual baggage. When you travel the normal linear day to day time is suspended and you step into a time where routine has been suspended in favour of the fullness of the moment. When you art journal there too is a suspension of time. Your hands set to work busy moving paint about, making marks, selecting papers while your monkey brain watches and hopefully is quiet and distracted long enough for deeper thoughts and awareness to come forward- a moving meditation where the heart and hand is aligned.
“and turning the corner at what you thought was athe end
of the road, you found just a simple reflection,
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:”
  David Whyte

Course Correcting

 On Christmas Eve, my family and I flew home after a few years living abroad. We bought a house on line and were waiting to move into it. Many said it was a brave move, buying a house off the internet. I had heard that before, that it was brave to pack up your family and move to a new country with no real plans. For me it didn't feel brave, it felt like the only thing to do when that itch to break out of one life and try another, to jump- not jumping wasn't really an option. Buying a house on line wasn't brave either. What was brave was admitting that the move wasn't working, that the children were not happy. What was brave was releasing a dream (sometimes we hold them too tight and dreams are fragile things) and doing what needed to be done to bring harmony and make room for new dreams. What was brave was risking failing, and leaping anyway, and then doing it again. Course correcting.

Luminous Mandala word of the year journal page, Galia Alena
Luminous Mandala- word of the year page
We didn't go back, there is no going back, as the saying goes "you can not step into the same river twice". So we didn't go back- we made a conscious choice to go forward, to find a place where we could all flourish. Course correcting.

View from Couch Surfing
 So on Christmas Eve we flew out of the land of the Long White Cloud and returned to the land of OZ. We arrived, with no plans but in time to spend Christmas with family and friends. After a few days couch surfing with family and then at a friends place near the beach luck dropped a little boat shed to rent for a month and we spent a few weeks with the ocean lapping at our feet.

Travel journaling Galia Alena sketching boat shed
Scenes from the Boat Shed
 Literally an old boat shed which was down several flights of stairs into the rocks, the old boat shed had been converted into a studio flat right on the water, so much so that if you were a sleep walker you would be in dire trouble in the night. In the mornings I was woken by the wake of the passing ferries and would then dangle my feet down into the water at the end of the bed while nursing my morning coffee. We reacquainted ourselves with old stomping grounds, caught up with friends, enjoyed the warm weather and outdoor concerts while waiting until our new house would be available for us.

Travel journaling Galia Alena sketching boat shed

 When the month was up, it was time to move up the mountains so the children could start their new year, and a little furnished house serendipitously fell into our laps until we could finally move into our new house.

Picasso Inspired Journal Galia Alena
Picasso Inspired Journal
 So many elements of luck and trust were at work in our move home. I made the decision to bring my family home sitting in a sweat lodge at Esalen surrounded by my beautiful sisters all supporting one another in our truths. In the dark hot tent, to the singing voice of Pixie and others I knew what needed to be done. It took awhile from the initial knowing, to the later hearing and then the final breaking of the camel's back at which point having none of the details sorted or the means to do it, I threw myself at the mercy of the universe, opened myself to trusting and declaring the intention of going home and left so many of the details open. In so many ways I/we were supported by friends, family, chance, luck and serendipity and while all the details are still unfolding it has been a pleasure to watch the pieces fall magically into place. With gratitude I sit here and type from my new home where my children are again happy (I will share more on the new home in another post, although if you follow me on Instagram you would already have had some sneak peeks).

Fleeting Altered Book Galia Alena, mixed media journal
Fleeting Altered Book
Of course, while in between lands and homes, there was light sketching and playing in little journals, a different way of working for different circumstance, an extended travel kit and inspiration from Misty (fleeting altered book and Picasso homage journal) and Jeanne (pattern journal). I hugged my children, worked in my books, listened to the whispers of the muses and let things fall where they would.

Pattern journal, Galia Alena, art journal sketches
Pattern Journal
A word on course correcting, we should all always be doing it, looking at our lives and seeing what is working, what isn't and what is missing (what's still needed as my friend Maya says), risking mistakes to find our own way, making glorious and brave mistakes, and being brave enough to course correct, sometimes a few degrees, sometimes 180, always with quiet listening and fierce abandon for life.

With Gratitude

Making rainbows out of lemons- Journal as Metaphor

 The creative process is a process of surrender, not control. Julie Cameron

Galia Alena Spectrum mixed media journal page
It wasn't the journal page itself I was pushing against, it was myself, it was life. All  I could see was ugly, I wanted to screw the whole thing up, I wanted to toss it in the bin. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I layered and layered, more and more layers of ugly, not the ugly teenage stage, just plain butt ugly and I didn't see any way to escape it. I hated it, it showed me up as a failure who had not a clue what she was doing. I had no control over it. Disheartened, I did my Scarlet O'hara and decided that tomorrow would be another day.

The next day I went back in determined to make things work, lemonade out of lemons. Usually I love the opportunities that mistakes give you, threads for the imagination to tug on until something gives. I tell my son that I set myself up for accidents, and his face struggles with the concept "oh, no, that's just not logical". Accidents are opportunities, ugly means I'm not attached, not attached means freedom, freedom to push against my edges, freedom to try something new, freedom to discover.

When I journal I don't need to make "pretty" pictures, I don't need to make "art", there's a sense of journey and discovery, and while pages are never really "finished" there is a sense of that is how it should be, completion, almost fulfillment. Equally there is also this sense of not done, more to discover, not authentic and other such indicators which let me know to keep going, that the messages aren't complete, that the work is not authentic, that I have to dig deeper.

I know that life is beyond my control, but on most days there is a general illusion that I have some control over my life, that I steer my own ship. On this day I didn't feel this, I felt all was beyond my control, out of control, out of my hands. Life was in the air, free falling and I just didn't know how to juggle any of it. I felt helpless and lost. This is what showed up on my page. I didn't know what I was doing.


And as in life, the next day I picked myself and kept going, pushing through and squeezing those lemons, showing up, pushing though, risking. Is the page pretty, no, is it art, no, but what it is is LIFE, my life and I squeezed those lemons and got myself a rainbow.

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” ― Mary Oliver

To learn more about Spectrum, which inspired this page, or to join on this journaling journey with some truly amazing guidess pop over here: SPECTRUM

Class work- Calling in the Elements



Things have been so busy here that it has taken me until now to put together a little promo video for Calling in the Elements so that you can see if this is for you, the flip side is  I get to share some of the class work that's happening so far. More soon on all the crazy busyness going on here.
Class work from some of the participants:
Even though the class has only been open for a short time I am already being inspired by the work of the participants. It is absolutely the best part about putting together a class like this- watching how others are inspired and where they take things, feeds straight back into the well. Thank you. I think I'm ready to work through the elements again myself.

Tracie Hanson
Air
The above air pages are from Tracie Hanson. To see more of her page and read a bit about what came up for her pop over to her blog http://mybloominglife.blogspot.co.nz/2013/10/the-quickening.html

Kathy Duncan


Kathy has fired through the lessons and done the full cycle of the elements- just love it.

Ooopps, fell off the wagon and down the rabbit hole {Just One Paragraph 14/30}

Galia Alena Photography, Queenstown
View from the school run
Technically I should be on day 18 of this paragraph a day challenge, but it seems I've slipped down the rabbit hole of sacred journaling for a few days. I've been shooting my lesson for Angels In My Studio which I put on hold while I was sick, waiting until I felt well enough to give 110% (and then some) to it. As these things go, I spiraled down, absorbed by all the lessons that the angels wanted to impart on me for this page. The whole process grew bigger than I had any idea it would. Part of the process of sacred journaling is to release expectations and to stay open to what wants to come through, which I did, following the clues as one thread leads onto the next. When you start these pages you never know whether they are going to take you a couple of hours or a couple of weeks, nor how many messages and how deep these messages will go. This page that I was filming, grabbed hold of me, would not let go, running deep and spanning many days. I had planned to write a post on following the energy, instead I followed my own energy and my energy was in this page which drew me in, in fact I'm still working on it, still sitting with the lessons of it and still wondering what else it wants to be birthed. (If you are curious about Angels In My Studio you can find a link in the side bar).
Somehow in all this I did manage to restock my Etsy shop with more blessing bowls which have just come out of the fires. They sold out within days last time, so I am glad to finally have some more in the shop.

The beautiful centrality of pure opposites

Art journal, mixed media, sacred space, Galia Alena
 May she find
in all this
day or night
the beautiful
centrality
of pure opposites
David Whyte
This is the journal page that I created while guiding my workshop "Journaling as Sacred Container" in Virginia for SoulFire Retreats. A lot of my trip, and especially my time in Virginia, was centered around the relationship between masculine and feminine energy. Every card I pulled, all the signs and messages I was given and even this page, all seemed centered around this dynamic. When I was painting this page it presented with a very strong female seed as the basis or strength from which the masculine energy could grow and flow out of, and that masculine energy then seemed to come back down to embrace and protect that female energy out of which it originated, a very nurturing and symbiotic relationship. The next day I noticed my page in reverse and here I saw that as a result of this relationship, the feminine energy was able to rise up and flourish, emerging grounded in her own power yet supported fully by the male energy. It seems no coincidence that the phoenix also asked to be placed within this feminine/masculine energy dynamic.
Art journal, mixed media, sacred space, Galia Alena
What messages do you find in your journal pages?
What is called in her rises from the ground
and is found in her body,
what she is given is secret even from her.
David Whyte