Welcome to Art Speak, a video series in which I share the stories, messages, and medicine of the art I create. In this first edition, I share what I learned from the swan. What I share may ring true for you as well. But as always, I encourage you to work with these symbols to discover the unique meanings they have for you.
Tips for working with symbols
What do I mean when I talk about “symbols”? In my experience a symbol can be a person, place, thing, or situation that has meaning or significance to you.
A symbol can come from your waking life, a dream, or a meditation. It can be something you hear or see repeatedly from different sources. Or it can be something that appears only once but in a dramatic or noteworthy way. Anything that makes you sit up and take notice. Even situations and interactions can be symbols. Symbols are an opportunity for self-reflection and deeper understanding of ourselves. Here is what I do to work with the symbols in my experience:
ONE: Write about it
As hard as this sometimes is, my go-to tool for understanding is ME and preferred method of finding the answers within is writing. A journal is really great...and you could even create a journal dedicated to the symbols you are exploring. That way you can always easily refer to them. Why would you want to do this? Symbols often return and it is really helpful to see what you learned the first or second time around.
TWO: Tell the story
If you are working with a situation or relationship, try telling the story out loud to someone you trust in the third person. This helps us detatch from the emotional charge of the situation and see the message more easily. As an example, I had a situation in which I had disappointed someone, and they let me know clearly what they thought about my actions. So, in retelling this story, instead of saying “I did this and THEY did that,” which keeps me emotionally caught up in the drama, I would change it up. I like to use a technique I learned from Bill Plotkin’s book SoulCraft and call myself “the ego of me.” The other person could be "the THEIR NAME of me". But, adding another layer to this, I suggest you try calling them what they are to you rather than who they are. So, if the person is your boss, you would call them “the boss of me” or if it was your kid “the child of me,” “the teenager of me,” “the best friend of me...” You get the idea. What this does is take your ego out of it and allows you to start seeing the situation more objectively, and to begin to understand the message.
Of course, my favorite way to work with symbols is through creativity. Once you get the message, allow yourself to feel into it. What emotions does it ignite? If the message is about releasing something, a belief or way of thinking, a relationship, a situation, so that you can open space for a new experience, allow the emotion of that release to move through you. You can write it, sing it, dance it! Sometimes the universe brings a song to me at just the right time, a song that expresses exactly the message of the symbol. I will play the song and sing, move, dance, and PAINT, allowing the emotion to flow. This is how I heal, grow, and transform. Once I have released, I feel a huge space open up inside me...I feel grounded and clear and receptive and imaginative. In this space I begin to imagine into what is possible.
I invite you to watch the first episode of Art Speak. It is quick(2 minutes) and tells my story of the messages of the swan. Then, I invite you to join the conversation in our private facebook group The Soul Path Network and share a story of a symbol in your life and the messages it brought you.
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