04 March 2011

Things To Do While I'm Alive

In my birthday post on 26 January, I mentioned a self-discovery art journal inspired by my good friend, Annee. When the mood strikes me (usually 3-4 times a year), I take a few blank pages of this spiral notebook journal and pick out whatever magazine pictures or words catch my eye and put them in a current moment snapshot collage. It visually represents what's up for me. It has been a meaningful process for me for the ten or more years I've been doing it and I like to review the pages and see how they portend or document personal shifts or changes in my life. It's satisfying and fulfills my yearning to find other ways to express myself, this way through art.

Here's the cover page:

And here's a combination I put together some years ago as a self portrait. It's a combination of a Klee painting and a stone circle in Ireland. This, for some reason, speaks to places deep within me and is still accurate:

I did one in Trinidad on my birthday and then arranged it on the picnic table since I didn't have my journal with me. Now that I'm home I put the pictures into the journal today but tweaked them a bit by adding in some tickets from recent places I'd seen in Rome.

Pages 1 and 2:

Pages 3 and 4:

I'm not sure all that they indicate but they're partly to do with designing a new dream, re-innovating myself and getting back to simple things in a place that's simply spectacular. It is what's on my mind for quite awhile now come to think about it.

As I reviewed the past journal pages, here are the things listed in my illustated discovery journal over the years as things I want to do while I'm alive:




Chime in

Have taste

Be flexible

Become quiet

Get innovative

Create sacred space

Give art the run of the house

Have a second career goal of changing society

Say "arriverderci" to average

Create domestic bliss

Serve up well being

Forge a new view

Work for legacy

Dream globally

Stay fascinated




They're values I resonate with, goals I think are worthy, challenges important to me to work on. And I like having a place to play with them, make art about them, keep them before my eyes and heart.

What inspires you these days?


  1. I think your discovery journal is an inspiration!!

  2. What a clever idea! I'm impressed that you've had the patience and ongoing commitment to keep it up. I think it would be one of those things I'd start but soon leave to languish in a drawer, like that sweater I started to knit years ago.

    Many of the items on your list of things to do while alive are also on my list, which is filed away in a corner of my mind. Another on my list is "get out of my own way." I've also got some contradictory things, like "speak my mind" and "hold my tongue."

    And so it goes.

  3. Those are inspiring values. I am inspired by many of my blogging friends and find my mind stretched to take in more points of view. I also have contradictory things, as PattiKen said, like "express myself more" and "learn to listen." Thanks for the inspiring post!

  4. Yes, I agree with the others. This is inspirational. I really like this idea. I loved the colorful photos and the words that went with them.

    In the classroom, we teach reading "non-text" messages. This topic is quite interesting to me. I especially like that you use this technique as a self-discovery journal. I definitely believe this is a great way to explore those thoughts and ideas that are below the surface and only emerge when one gives expression to visual representations.

  5. Mary that is the most wonderful and inspiring thing I have seen in a long time! AND the perfect thing for someone like me that years to express herself creatively, yet can't draw well at all! Your list of things to do before you die is a great "bucket list". So many self-discovery, works in progress! You are always doing at least one of them!
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. Mary, I just remembered something I was going to ask you.
    Those standing stones reminded me of a series of books that I just finished reading. Diana Gabaldon wrote them and, so far, there are five, I believe. The Outlander series.
    Have you read any of them?

  7. Wow. And even though I don't know you in person, I feel like you are teaching us these joys by embodying them.....

  8. Nanny, Thanks. That's what I feel reading other's blogs, too- inspired.
    Patti, Since it's usually just a few times a year, I've stayed commited. Your 2 contradictory items were familiar!
    DJan, Your welcome. I like that we inspire one another in the blogging world.
    Sally, Reading "non-text" messages- now that sounds interesting! What is it? I think you're right about the visual being a way to the ideas below the surface. Sometimes they emerge through poetry as well.
    Krissa, Me too- can't draw but want to be creative. I'll look up those books since I haven't read them and I'm a voracious reader always hunting for new ones. I've been loving a series of Sister Fidelma mysteries. She was a nun and lawyer in the 600's in Ireland and the books read like historical novels- my favorites! BTW, I went to that stone circle in Ireland and was in awe.

  9. p.s. Lauren, I stopped too soon! Thank you. You're one of the internetties I would enjoy meeting.

  10. Oh my how beautiful, funny I have been doing the same, although I have not shown my art journal, I have posted some pictures, it has given me a good feeling to do this, as i can see its the same for others too!
    You certainly have had an adventure to be sure, and many more will be had.
    I feel very blessed for the people who have contacted me, as their blogs have brought me so much pleasure, amusement and expansion of knowledge...........which I lap up!
    Thank you for you tip, about the Druid, Ihave found him I just need to contact him now. eeek! its not always so easy when one is alone, but I shall let you know when I do and what comes of it. I shall be an avid returner to your blog, I love Italy so nice to see different parts of the world from my armchair.

  11. I love the fact that "Defy" is on top!

  12. Lynne, If you can't trust a Druid, who can you trust? I'm eager to hear what comes from contact. Yes, the blog world enriches me, too.
    Nan, You would!


Let's chat.