When life gives you scraps make quilts….Anonymous
My mother makes quilts. I have carefully observed her as she places a template on fabric to sketch a pattern for her stitches. The design created by the template is merely a guide, an inspiration for her particular push and pull of the needle. Even though she uses a template for the quilting, it is her choice of fabrics and colors that makes each quilt an expression of her unique brand of creativity.
Templates, in the form of role models, are also helpful when one makes the conscious awareness to live authentically and purposefully. Emulating the behavior and approach to life exemplified to you by a person or persons you admire provides a map or a guide, as you create and shape your authentic life.
Over the centuries artists have copied the famous works and creations of the great master painters and sculptors. This is how new techniques and methods have come into being. Through the process of studying and exploring the brushstrokes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, or Renoir, artists discover their own authentic way of applying paint to the canvas.
Who would you choose for your role model templates? Who do you admire? Consider the people you know; friends, family members, and colleagues at work or school. Who are the people you are attracted to? Who inspires you to be the best you can be? What characteristics or attributes do these individuals exude that call you to examine your own life and ways of being in the world?
History offers an unlimited cast of characters as templates for your own life. Who are the historical figures who seem to “speak” to your soul?
On my desk I have an icon of Saint Hildegard of Bingen. She was a twelfth century mystic, visionary, and healer whose spiritual strength and creativity inspire me. I have studied her writings and her life and when I find myself creatively blocked I turn to her icon and ask myself, “…how would Hildegard approach this problem?” I contemplate her creative process, her prayer life, and her courage to express her visions. She is one of my templates, a model for how to draw fearlessly from the well of creativity to live more authentically.
Another model I refer to over and over again, Mary the mother of Jesus. Mary inspires me to say, “Yes!” to God’s callings. She leads me to trust the Higher plan and to be true to my life’s purpose. She is a teacher for me, a way-shower for how to look at my life from a higher perspective.
Living with a vibrant spirit in full authenticity with purpose is an evolutionary process. The authentic life is a living breathing entity that like all organic things grows and changes with time. Conscious awareness of others’ life enhancing qualities and characteristics that are creatively nurturing and spiritually centered will enlarge your awareness of the areas within yourself that you long to enrich and nourish.
The authentic life is multi-faceted. Living with a sense of purpose requires the engagement of body, mind, and soul. Bringing this holistic awareness fully into each day will over time enliven your palette for painting your life in the outer world, the way you visualize it in your inner world.
Here are a few suggestions for ways to express and contain whatever inspires or excites your authentic and purpose-full life. As you explore your life’s purpose to live authentically and purposefully, I invite you on a journey through your sacred imagination in search of templates (role models and mentors) to assist the birthing of your authentic self. Living the authentic life with a sense of purpose is an ongoing journey, a pilgrimage to the center of your own soul. Use your sacred imagination to bring color and spontaneity to the greatest adventure you can have…..the adventure of meeting your “whole” self for the first time.
1) If you were choosing three teachers to design a special curriculum for your body, mind, and spirit who would you choose? (These may be persons living or deceased from history or your own life).
2) When you think of your childhood name two people who impacted your life in a memorable and positive way. What characteristics did these individuals have in common? How did they differ?
3) Who are the artists, musicians, writers, or specialists in your field of work or interest that you admire? What is the common thread regarding your appreciation of their gifts? In your journal list these various persons and the traits that you would like to emulate.
4) Create a collage from images cut from magazines that represent either figuratively or symbolically your role model template. Cut and paste the images onto a piece of card board or poster board. Place it in a prominent place to reflect periodically on your role model’s traits that you desire to incorporate into your life.
5) Keep an inspiration bulletin board as kind of sacred container for those things that influence and stimulate your authentic life. Clip images from magazines that are symbols for the qualities, actions, and outcomes you are working towards as you engage with your authentic self. Once a week create a collage as a meditation practice to focus on one or more characteristic or event you are cultivating in your life. Keep your inspiration bulletin board where you will see it frequently throughout the day. Allow it to change and grow during the week. Refer to it as you embrace the parts of yourself that are finding voice and form.
6) Type up words, phrases, and affirmations that express the values, personality characteristics, and creative endeavors you are engaging with as you awaken to your authenticity. You may also clip words and phrases from magazines. Keep these in a clear glass jar on your desk. Once a day reach in and choose one at random. Read it out loud to yourself and copy it ten times in your journal as a way of integrating new ideas and concepts into your psyche and spirit.
7) Most of all engage all your senses to enlarge your inner and outer worlds. Look at art and nature for inspiration. Listen to music and recordings of poetry and literature or foreign languages to stimulate your creativity. Cook new foods, explore other cultures, rent a foreign film or documentary, to stretch beyond your everyday boundaries.
How much piecin’ a quilt’s like living a life…The Lord sends us the pieces,
but we can cut ’em out and put ’em together pretty much to suit ourselves…
Create a patchwork photo collage representing the people who inspire you. Use photos of friends, colleagues, relatives and copy images of historical figures, etc. who call you to your Highest self by their example. Cut the photos into small squares depicting the people who are important to you. Glue the images onto slightly larger squares of card stock. Index cards also work for this. You can sew the squares together or glue them on a large piece of cardboard. You may like to add paint, colored pen, or crayon to complete your Inspiration photo quilt. Have a color copy made of the finished piece to glue in your journal.
Sacred Tool for the New Renaissance: Raise the bar on your life. Open to the Spirit to draw forth from your soul the gifts that are waiting to be born. Be inspired by others’ contributions and creativity. Design your inspiration template drawn from the aspirations and desires of your heart. Look for models to inspire you begin to move towards the new life you are creating.