Dream Goddess

Dreamwork and expressive art were two powerful pathways through grief for me. Today the two came together as my dream group and I each created a mask to represent and honor our Dream Self. Here is my Dream Goddess:

Her lower face is midnight blue with gold filigree and her upper face is a cloudy sky. Her eyes are rimmed with gold in the way the ancient Egyptians rimmed theirs with khol. She has a jewel within a labyrinth for her third eye and wears stars and feathers in her hair. Her mouth is green, for she speaks only the truth of my heart (green is the color of the heart chakra).

She is made from a purchased plastic mask form decoupaged with scrapbook paper and embellished with acrylic paint, gold leaves, heart-shaped sequins, rhinstones, gold metallic marker, gold glitter glue, eyelash yarn, feathers and wire garland.

Plastic mask form: $3.99
Hot glue gun and glue sticks: $10.00
Embellishments: $3.00
Therapeutic Value: PRICELESS

While this was a more light-hearted project for me, mask making can be extremely therapeutic in processing grief. The first mask I ever made was a grief mask. I had a friend create a plaster mask of my face, which I painted and embellished. The journaling and dialogue work I did with that mask was very powerful for me. She became a container for my grief. It helps to be able to pull your feelings out into an object you can stand back and look at. It helps to separate your grief from your identity. Over time, I transferred more and more of my grief into the mask, allowing the mask to hold the pain for me when I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I also created an anger mask while I was grieving. I created it out of a brown paper grocery sack and crayons. I put on some angry music, put the mask on my head and stomped around the house yelling and roaring for about 20 minutes until I fell to the floor laughing. What a great venting process that was!

You can make masks out of paper plates, construction paper, sheets of colored foam, plastic or papier mache forms, plaster cast over a form, or sculpted clay. You can make a mask of your grief, any emotion, your inner healer, your inner child, an animal totem, your spirit guide or anything else you might think of. Use your imagination, tune into your feelings and see what comes out.

Afterward, you can put the mask on and look into a mirror. Speaking out loud, complete the sentence, “I am the one who….” over and over again until you can’t think of anything else to complete the sentence with. This is a great way to get in touch with what you are feeling deeply.

You can also do some journaling dialogue with the mask. Put the mask where you can look at it and with your dominant hand, write a question. Let the mask answer the question through your non-dominant hand (the one you don’t normally write with). Some great questions to ask are, Who are you? How do you feel? Why do you feel that way? How can I help you? What gift do you hold for me?

I hope you will enjoy exploring the magic of mask-making as a path to healing. I’d love to see what you create!

Wishing you peace on the journey…

As always, I welcome your coments here or by email (Claire@DeepWaterLeafSociety.com)

Visit my website: http://www.deepwaterleafsociety.com/

Four Years Today

Today marks the four year anniversary of my son Cameron’s death. Just a month ago, he would have turned 30. As each of these four anniversaries has passed, I’ve been struck by how different each has been. They’ve been different because I’ve been different.

On that first anniversary, I was still coming to terms with the new state of our relationship. I was still carrying a lot of sadness and guilt around the loss. I felt that I’d been getting messages from him—through music on the radio, through my journaling, and through signs in the natural world—but I wasn’t sure I could believe it was true. On May 3rd that year, I released a white balloon with a message to Cameron that I would try to let go of a little more pain and to reclaim a little more joy. Shortly after that anniversary, a powerful meeting with a psychic medium (jamieclark.net) convinced me that Cameron was, indeed, still around and still talking to me all the time.

By the second anniversary, I’d progressed from an empty longing to a certainty that Cameron and I were still bound by love and that we could still heal whatever needed healing between us. I’d done some powerful regression work in the past year and discovered that everything I saw as “broken” in him was really something that needed healing in me. I looked back on the past two years and saw that I’d come a long, long way.

After three years, I’d incorporated body work into my healing journey and released significant fear and trauma at the cellular level of my being. I’d cleared a lot of karma with Cameron and vowed that, should we be together again, it would be without all the baggage. I’d also made an amazing trip to Egypt during that year and rediscovered the truth of my being. It was an awakening in which I remembered that love is the only power. That experience allowed me to release my attachment to fear and worry.

During this past year, I have become a grandmother for the first time, and I’ve recognized once again the beauty and perfection of the cycles of life. I spent much of the past year writing The Deep Water Leaf Society, a chronicle of my healing journey. The writing of the book clarified for me the tremendous gift that the loss of Cameron carried within it. I know now that without having experienced this loss I would not be who I am today. I would very likely still be mired in drama and dysfunction, constantly worried about what might happen next.

Today, I am in the midst of self-publishing the book. Even though the release date is still a few months out, I feel like it is a kind of anniversary present to Cameron and to myself. So, in honor of Cameron and in honor of this anniversary, I’m releasing a small sneak peek from the preface and first chapter of the book here on the blog.

From the preface…

My purpose in sharing this story is to show you how grief can become the doorway to awakening. The breaking of your heart can, ultimately, lead you to greater wholeness. The Universe is constantly communicating with us and drawing us forward into better and truer expressions of ourselves. Sometimes it takes the shattering of our known way of being to open our eyes and ears to these messages of hope, healing and growth.

Imagine a leaf floating gracefully down to kiss the surface of a deep still pool, creating gentle ripples that radiate outward. The leaf may appear to be small and alone as it drifts along. But, in truth, it is supported by the vast body of water beneath it. Our lives are a little bit like that leaf. We skim the surface and are tossed about by life’s currents. We rarely take the time to look deeper. We begin to imagine the flat plain of that surface existence is all there is, when all the while we are resting upon a deep well of mystery, magic and eternity. As long as we’re living the life of a Surface Leaf, we may never tap into our deeper Truth unless something comes along and shatters the surface, pulling us down into a deeper reality. That is the initiation of the Deep Water Leaf.

And from the first chapter…

Since childhood, dreams have filled and shaped my life. Sometimes the dreamspace feels more real than waking life and often waking life feels like a dream. Or a nightmare. Where does dreaming leave off and waking begin? What does it mean to wake up, really? How often do we sleepwalk our way through life, missing the extraordinary meaning enfolded in each ordinary moment? It may be that we are more truly awake when we can sense, during our waking hours, the creative magic of the dreamspace all around us.

This is a story about dreaming and about waking up. It is a story about how thin the veil really is between waking and dreaming, between living and dying, between loving and everything else that only masquerades as love. It is a story about letting go and the fullness that comes from doing so.

This is the story of losing my son and finding myself. It begins with a dream. . .

My four-month-old baby has died. I am filled with grief, utterly devastated.
At the funeral, I come to a decision. I will create the “Deep Water Leaf Society” so that others won’t have to go through this same grief. For some reason, that comforts me.
Later, there is something to do with the number seven, and I wake wondering if numbers equal people in my dreams. Seven equals my sister because she was born in July.

At the time, I had little idea what the dream might be telling me. I only knew that it shook me to my core and left me profoundly sad and profoundly hopeful all at once.

The name, Deep Water Leaf Society, was quite clear in the dream. It puzzled me; it was such an odd phrase. What kind of a club would that be? How could creating it help me to feel better? Why had the number seven come up? And why had I assumed that numbers were people?

After recording the dream in my journal, I reread it and noted that if seven represented my sister, maybe the four-month-old baby represented my eldest son, Cameron (no longer a baby, but a young man of 19) since he was born in April. It gave me an uneasy feeling. Was I destined to lose him?

As it would turn out, the number seven was both the clue to the identity of the four-month-old and the timeframe in which the dream story would play out in my waking life.

As always, I welcome your comments, here on the blog or via email. Please visit my website, http://www.deepwaterleafsociety.com/ often and watch for news on the release of the book.

Wishing you peace on the journey…