Years ago I wrote an article about a workshop I participated in led by naturalist John Muir Laws. One activity I enjoyed very much was a bird walk where we shared tips for leading bird walks when there aren’t any birds around. It happens. On this walk we were encouraged to forget about learning the names of birds-much to my relief. It was an exercise in the value of observation and connecting with our experiences. Laws spoke humorously through a common experience among birders, to make this point about observation:
“When you’re with a group of birders and you hear a bird or actually see the bird, there is urgency in calling it out, the guide (or someone else) quickly names that bird! Once the bird is identified (check!), it’s counted and the group moves on.”
When we regurgitate our knowledge immediately to our group, we take away the opportunity of independent discovery, exploration, and creative thinking. We intrude upon one’s personal process, their creative impulse and thoughts and uninhibited learning. We must remember how exciting it is to make discoveries on our own. We should allow others this same experience.
I think this is true for any learning process, and I find the memory of this experience fits nicely with SoulCollage® too as you are encouraged to create and interpret collaged cards in a way that is meaningful to you and you only. With SoulCollage® it is exciting to create your cards and make discoveries on your own, experiencing the synchronicity of a card’s imagery and guidance. It is not a competition to create appealing cards for others, or for others to offer meaning to your images. Instead there is emphasis on personal pace and process, imagination, and uninhibited self-discovery.
During the bird walk we were encouraged to pay attention to a variety of details calling out in high whispers the obvious and not-so-obvious physical descriptions and behaviors. We collectively gathered this information as a group. We were asked to begin our observations with classic “old school” naturalist prompts beginning with, “I notice…” followed by, “I wonder…” and then relate our observations to our own life experiences by sharing, “It reminds me of…”. Today, as a SoulColllage® Facilitator, these sound like wonderful journal prompts for our cards!
Where we found multiple species to watch in a given area, we were then encouraged to make up names for our birds—gasp!—based on these observations. We willingly came up with names like Fast Darts and Blue Squawkers. Tapping our imagination allowed a very left –brain group of interpreters to detach a bit from our analytical brain and engage our right brain, resulting in a new source of intuitive knowledge (and very engaging learning). We were guided to speak from our imagination—much like one must do during the IAOW exercise in SoulCollage®.
Laws reiterated, “You’ll find everything in nature is doing something. Biological organisms are under extreme pressure to survive. Nearly all of the time, a species’ behavior is something to help them survive.”
In a sense this could apply to the things we are passionate about and possibly a reason why we are attracted to SoulCollage® as an expression of one of our most ancient triggers for survival: our gut instincts or intuitive guidance.
That was the most memorable bird walk I’d ever been on. As a nature lover and educator it added another level to nature study often overlooked in our enthusiasm to share our knowledge. But it also inspired me creatively, and now further as a Facilitator.
With SoulCollage® one can easily relate to the idea of observation using imagery, inward exploration and creating a space for a personal experience that will stay with us. The trail prompts of, “I notice…, I wonder…,” and, “it reminds me of…,” can be readily used in the SoulCollage® process.
I did a random pull from my deck and journaled using these nature prompts following an initial IAOW statement with my, “Initiation (to Inner Depths)” Council card:
I am one who sees in the dark using other senses. I am Bat medicine! I am the one who hears what is hidden from sight. I symbolize your intuitive sight through the dark, regarding things you cannot “see” with your eyes.
I notice you have blocks, slowing your progress
I wonder if you are afraid or feel “not worthy,” and are self-sabotaging.
It reminds me of the way you have handled previous challenges that are similar, this silly cycle.
I am one who is about rebirth, flying at night, and seeing things from a different perspective. I am showing up today to encourage you and to tell you that you are worthy of even more than you seek. Even if you cannot see it.
As a SoulCollage® Facilitator, I am always on the lookout for new ways to share this exciting process with others. Coming across this article again and reliving that particular workshop experience, but now through the lens of SoulCollage® is a great reminder of how fluid our SoulCollage® practice can be, easily integrated into our daily life. Whatever you are passionate about, your deck will/should reflect. Look within to discover the many creative prompts, ideas and exercises your cards can offer that speak to your style and interests. Blend your SoulCollage® practice with your love of nature, your hobbies, your favorite movies, your writing, and more, for enhancing your practice!
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Something to try: Following IAOW, give new life to those classic interpreter prompts (I notice/I wonder/It reminds me of--as related to a previous memory or experience) by using them as journal prompts in your next SoulCollage® reading.
Modified from my original article: http://EzineArticles.com/4569194