A wonderful book came into my life 2 years ago, "The Sufi Book of Life- 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish" by Neil Douglas-Klotz. Every day I have used the book in my eclectic spiritual practice believing that if you find a truth that resonates within you then you are supposed to use it in your life. So I thought to share the pages as I create them from time to time in small groups. I won't go into all of the details of each page but rather share highlights. They all contain my thoughts and personal journaling musings.
Sufism is the mystical side of Islam and though I am not a religious person, I am quite spiritual and I find the pathways to be beautiful, wise and quite meaningful at this junction in my life. The pathways have brought me peace and comfort in my own personal journey through grief and many life changes. That being said earlier this year I had an inspiration...what if I started at the beginning and explored each pathway through art? So I decided to start a new journey in an art journal created just for my Self, my heart path's.
To begin I needed of course to find a journal and I had a thought one day that there was an old scrapbook of my Grandmother's packed away in an old leather suitcase that was never used. I dug it out and it was a bit worn and tattered from being packed away for at least 60 years, but it was time it was used. I created a new collaged cover for it and appropriately enough "Explore" is across the top. Incorporating techniques from Soul Art I started this project with meditation, intent and body mapping. My hand, cut out from birch bark paper, holds a nest with a gold finch and three eggs. One of my very favorite poems about healing in the book is by Shabistari (Sufi poet and teacher) and says "...only here the bird of your breathe can nest and rest in the palm of the Beloveds hand...".
The goldfinch symbolizes awakening to nature, deepening your perceptions, listening and communicating on all levels and energy and movement, all things very important to me. The dragonfly represents the power of light. The nest is a personal symbol of hope and the number three represents the soul, communication and joy. The iris is another long time symbol in my life and represents wisdom and passion and the happy- faced pansies, free thought.
The first chapter of the book is called "Setting out on the Journey".
This too I decided to explore with, "we begin by remembering, the sound and feeling
of the One Being, the well spring of love..."
A butterfly emerging seemed apropos; transformation,
|Starting out on the journey...collage/watercolor|
symbolizing watchfulness and vision, the ivy for growth and resurrection, and a symbol of the Divine Feminine, always included in my art.
"Every being is born for a certain purpose and the light of that purpose is kindled in its soul." Saadi
|The Yes and No of Existence, Pathway 0.|
"waves broke, awareness rose again..." This pathway is about knowing
yourself and finding the balance between your light and shadow,
emotions and intellect, it's about letting go, immersing yourself in
"unity's ocean." We are alone but we are also a part of creation and thus
|The Sun of Love, Pathway 1|
Again I used body mapping, using my heart, since this pathway explores compassion, radiating love. From behind the heart, rays of sun shine forth and from the center a sun
rises. Kuan Yin, the goddess of compassion looks on and a
quote by Wesley reminds us to "Do All the Good You Can..." A yellow peony, beauty, completes the page.
At times in our lives we must let go of who we think we
are in order to feel more deeply, in order to let our own light shine, so that we can move on to a new expression of our selves and our experience. We put limitations upon ourselves when we hold on to out dated images of ourselves. We must extend a hand of compassion to our own spirit before we can extend it outward to others.
"Knower and known are one..."
I encourage you to explore your spirituality through art, it will add a whole new level of understanding for you. Explore!