The Art of Words

A lovely lady, Rashmi, wrote in to tell me about the visual journaling she does. That is what prompted me to write this. I indulge in visual journaling too as a personal practice. But when I mention this as a possibility to others, many people seem intimidated by this. “Oh, I’m not an artist”, they say.

I hope this post will help people to become more comfortable with their own creative expression. This process is extremely personal – not meant to be compared, judged, criticized, or critiqued. The visual journal becomes a place for us to express what we are feeling in the moment, and also a mirror to make us more self-aware in order to make changes as needed. This process goes deeper than mere words, to the root of heavy or blocked feelings.

Once an image is created to express the depth of one’s feelings, the written word is used to express what the image reminds us of and means to us. The next step in the process is to then connect to our imagination and create images to represent the feelings that we would like to be feeling, creating new solutions and possibilities for ourselves.

I shall like to give you some tips to begin your visual journaling process:

  1. Get a journal with blank, unlined pages
  2. Gather drawing and writing materials that you are comfortable with
  3. Commit at least 20-30 minutes each day to this process.
  4. Create a safe space for yourself where you will have uninterrupted time
  5. Play some music or light candles to create an ambience if possible
  6. Be curious and honest to yourself – see this as a journey you are going to take
  7. Set yourself an intention – remember there is no right and wrong in this
  8. Express what you are feeling in lines, shapes and colours
  9. Write about what the created image connects you to or reminds you of

Visual journaling is very different from art journaling. Your creation does not need to look like a work of art.  It may simply be a few smears of color to represent what you are feeling in that moment. It involves using your inner mind to imagine what a thought, feeling, or emotional reaction would look like if you were to express it as a color, shape, or image. Images can express these feelings with a depth that words cannot achieve.

The images you see here are what Rashmi created for herself. Her sentiment of sharing her inspirations with her daughter and granddaughter has definitely inspired me to create more. You can see more of her art @rashmikoushik2000.

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