The Art of Transforming Fearful Mental Images

The Art of Transforming Fearful Mental Images

When vague inner fears dance around in my heart and mind, I’ve found that giving them visual form through collage is an excellent first step in getting a handle on them. There is something healing in the act of gathering together those disturbing but hazy feelings and turning them into a visual you can hold at arm’s length and address in a more solid and concrete way. It’s cathartic.

This corona virus pandemic has definitely stirred up some fears, so I decided to explore my uneasiness through SoulCollage® and Creative Journaling, including the use of my non-dominant hand (NDH) to allow the images to speak.

The first card I created is a representation of this virus pandemic that I call “Aye! Corona!” In this card, the whole world is wearing a mask (of illness? of fear? of protection?). Those spiky little virus buggers have evil monster faces and sharp teeth – and they are everywhere! The poor beleaguered health worker, like something from a horror movie, looks out through the eyes of the virus.

Allowing the card to speak, here is what emerges from the voices of the virus, the world, and the health worker imagery.

Virus Images

I am one who is coming at you with teeth bared and spikes out. I am one who is everywhere. You can’t hide from me any longer. I am one who has come to make you wake up and pay attention. I will multiply until you start to listen. I am a symptom of a world out of balance. I am a desperate call for change.

What do you need from me?

(NDH) I need you to wake up. I need you to recognize that I am a messenger – that this is bigger than the here and now crisis – that your entire culture needs to make deep, systemic changes if humanity is to survive. Think about the gift of your breath. Your breath is life. It feeds your entire system. It is a balance of gathering in and letting go. But your culture gathers, gathers, gathers and never lets go. The wealthiest of you always wanting more, more, more while so many have not enough. If all you ever did was inhale, you would explode. And your culture is doing just that. It is no accident that I attack the lungs. I am a metaphor, a symbol of breath out of balance, of a world drowning in an excess of greed and complacency, like a balloon about to burst from too much air. It’s time to let go of this need for more, more, more.

World Image

Help me! I am desperate. I am dying. I can’t breathe. I am one who has been your home, your mother. I am one who has been abused – nearly to the point of no return. You and I are one organism. We will live or die together. It is time to come together. There is still time to heal.

What do you need from me?

(NDH) I need you all to allow time for a reset. I need you all to reexamine your priorities. I need you all to recognize that this is one world, that all of you are interconnected and bound with me. I need you all to make me – your home – a priority. I need you to recognize how out of balance this world has become and to work at bringing balance back. Start with balance in your own life, in your own way of being.

Health Worker Image

I am one who is here to help, but I am overwhelmed and outnumbered. I am one who must protect myself so that I can help to heal others and the world. I need supplies: gloves, masks, medical equipment, tests and medicines, rooms and beds. I am one who stands on the front lines. If I fall, we all fall.

What do you need from me?

(NDH) Keep their feet to the fire – those in charge. Make them see that in this moment of crisis we need to focus on procuring the necessary equipment and facilities for the storm that’s about to hit. Please, please, please heed the advice to stay home as much as you can, to wash your hands often, to disinfect surfaces. These actions can lower the amount of cases that land in my care.


Having created a card that expresses my fears and having listened to what it wanted to say to me, I begin to think and feel my way into creating an opposite or antidote card.

One thing that really stands out to me from what the virus said is the idea of breath – that this is a disease that attacks the lungs. I take a deep breath and feel that my antidote phrase is “healthy lungs.” Yes, there is much more to this crisis – deeper, systemic social construct issues, climate change, greed, etc. But my right-now-fears are centered in the current health crisis. So, “healthy lungs” feels right.

A couple things that really stand out to me visually in the “Aye! Corona!” card are the round, spiky forms of the virus and the predominant pink color. When I look through the fear at just the visual impression, I can’t help but think of a softer form in a similar shape and color. A flower, like a peony or hydrangea. Now I have the clues I need to begin to create my antidote card.

I find several appropriate images and create my new card. The combination of the pink peony and the pink daisy mirror the round shape and pokey spines of the virus, but in a soft, transmuted way. The pink color is echoed in the bronchial pathways of the lungs and it feels healing.

When I look at this new “Healthy Lungs” antidote card, I feel an immediate shift in my energy from fear to peace. Just looking at it automatically triggers several deep breaths and the feeling of peace grows.

Healthy Lungs Image

We are ones who bring you the breath of life and pour that life through your whole system. We are healthy. We are strong. We are ones who, while vulnerable to viruses and pathogens, have worked and will continue to work remarkably well for the vast majority of your life.

What do you need from me?

(NDH) Please keep breathing deeply. It helps to keep us strong and clear and gives us what we need to feed and restore the entire body system. In addition, it lowers your stress and relieves the system of stress hormones, which are detrimental to your health and immune processes. When you feel fear and stress arise, remember to breathe.

Pink Peony Image

I am one who transforms the fear in your head. I am one who softens your thinking. I am one who brings the pink light of healing energy into your entire system. I am one who rests gently around your third eye and crown chakras, opening the way for spiritual wisdom and guidance to help lead you in right action.

What do you need from me?

(NDH) I, too, am fed by deep breathing. I blossom as fear moves aside, and fear moves aside when you inhale peace and exhale worry. Breathe deeply, and when you feel my calm presence – listen. Listen for Divine Guidance. Know that you are safe, protected and guided at all times.

Pink Daisy Image

I am one who projects your energy out into the world. I am your spiritual antennae. Like a halo, I project your inner light – or your inner fear to those around you. Like an antenna, I can also soak up the light or the fears from those around you.

What do you need from me?

(NDH) Be aware of how you are affected by the fears of those around you and the fears peddled on the nightly news. Do not allow yourself to soak up too much of the fear around you. Be aware, too, of what you are projecting out into the world. Try not to feed the fears, but rather to be a light.


I found this process to be cathartic, calming and healing. If you are looking for a way to transmute your fears about the current pandemic, I encourage you to give this activity a try. Your fears and my fears may take different form. Let your own emotions and intuition guide you as you gather images and make your cards.

While I created my cards digitally with free use source images from Pixabay, you don’t have to do it that way. You can also use magazine images, scissors and glue to make your cards. Or source your images from the internet, print them out, and then use scissors and glue. You can even simply draw a visual representation of your fear and then draw an antidote. The main point is to use imagery to express and then transmute your fear.

I plan to keep my antidote card out where I can see it throughout the duration of this pandemic as an anchor and a reminder to breathe, to tune in to spiritual wisdom and guidance, and to watch out for both incoming and outgoing transmissions of fear.

An Inner Family Story through SoulCollage®

An Inner Family Story through SoulCollage®

Once upon a time, you were an imaginative, creative, spiritually connected little child for whom nothing seemed impossible. You could daydream your way through the day, build giant castles out of blocks, create a rocket ship and travel to the moon with nothing more than an empty box, create whole worlds with dolls and stuffed animals, dress up and become a princess or Superman, have a tea party with an imaginary friend or two, color outside of the lines and make the trees purple and the sky green, stare at the clouds and see dragons or butterflies or angels. You lived from the heart. Your world was magical and unlimited and ALIVE. Nothing was out of reach or impossible. You could be or do anything you could imagine. That amazing child still lives inside you as your Inner Child – but he or she may need rescuing because . . .


Somewhere along the way, a whole bunch of grown-ups – some with the very best of intentions for you, and others who were just plain mean – slowly started to rein you in. They told you to stop daydreaming because you were going to be late for school. At school they told you that trees were supposed to be green and the sky was supposed to be blue and that you had to color inside the lines. They told you that little boys could not be princesses and that little girls could not be astronauts. They said that you were getting too old for imaginary friends and it was time to grow up and grow out of it already. Very often, they made you feel wrong. They told you, or at least implied, that you were dumb or slow or sloppy or wasteful or uncoordinated or fat or ugly or useless or worthless or bad. The more you grew up, the more rules there were to follow – and the less you seemed to measure up. One day all those outer voices became a voice inside your own head – your Critical Parent – constantly criticizing and reminding you that, in every way imaginable You. Just. Weren’t. Good. Enough.


That once vibrant and unfettered child became very frightened by all those voices and messages. But the voices wouldn’t stop and, with endless repetition, the Frightened Child began to believe the things they said. And so, you stopped daydreaming and building castles in the air. You stopped believing you could be or do anything you wanted. Maybe you began to work really hard at being good, doing what was expected of you, conforming and fitting in. Maybe you gave up on your dream of being an astronaut or a ballerina and became an accountant instead, because it was practical and numbers were the only thing you were ever acknowledged for being good at. You settled, and the inner child felt abandoned. As you gave up on your dreams one by one, that inner child stopped creating and imagining those dreams for you. Why bother? You were no longer listening. The child went into hiding, for the most part. And when they did show up, it was mostly in dysfunctional ways like making you cry at work, indulge in addictive behaviors, or blow off important commitments out of fear or boredom.


But one day, with your help and empowerment, your inner child can learn to say, “ENOUGH!” They can regain their voice and, in no uncertain terms, begin to tell the inner critic to Shut. The. Hell. Up. With all the sound and fury of a toddler throwing a tantrum or a teenager asserting their independence, your Inner Brat can emerge in their full glory. It will be freeing. It will be invigorating. They will tell the inner critic how mean and wrong it is. They will refuse to listen any longer to the heartless words with which the critic has been constantly punishing them. They will assert their right to dream and to be and do whatever their heart desires. They will insist that they are worth it. That they deserve it. But, they will not be able to do it all on their own. Because, after all, the inner child IS just a child. They can help you to dream big and get in touch with your true Heart’s Desire. They can keep you in touch with your own imagination, creativity and spiritual connection. But they need YOU to do the doing. And they will need to be protected and nurtured as they inspire you. Because they’ve been hurt and abused for a very long time. Sometimes even by you.


Your inner child needs a protector to keep them safe. Someone to stand up for them like a mama bear protecting her cub. Someone who can say, “No,” when it is necessary. Someone to create strong and safe and practical boundaries. Someone to deal with the bullies (even when that bully is you). Someone who will always look out for the child’s best interests. An ally. An advocate. Your inner child needs a Protective Parent, and they need you to help with developing one. You may never have gotten the kind of protection you needed while you were growing up, but you can give that protection to your inner child now and heal the wounds of the past. Imagine the very best qualities in every kind of protector you can think of – from the animal kingdom to guardian angels to superheroes – and create within you a protective parent that embodies those qualities and whose sole focus is the inner child. Give the child that safety and protection and they will help you to claim your Heart’s Desire.


Your inner child needs to be nurtured. Their fears need soothing, their hurts need mending, their worth needs affirming. They need to be encouraged. They need to be recognized and celebrated. They need to know they are loved, valued and honored unconditionally. They need someone to hold them close. Someone who will let them feel all their feelings. Someone who won’t turn away from their anger or belittle their fear. Someone who doesn’t push them to be someone they’re not and accepts them just as they are. Someone who will only feed them what is truly nourishing, both literally and metaphorically. Someone who sees to it that they get enough sleep, enough fun, enough bubble baths and massages. Your inner child needs a Nurturing Parent and they need you to help with developing one. You may not have grown up with a good nurturing presence in your life, but you can become one for yourself. Imagine a mother holding a baby to her breast, a bird feeding her newly hatched chicks, Mother Teresa tending to the poor and the ill, or Mr. Rogers zipping up his sweater and telling you, “I like you just the way you are.” Create that presence within yourself to nurture your inner child. When your inner child is loved and nurtured, when the wounds of the past begin to fall away, then the little child will lead you to your Heart’s Desire.


If you’d like to learn how to create a strong inner family and claim your heart’s desire, I invite you to join me and my co-facilitator Beth Breedlove for “Claiming Your Heart’s Desire By Healing Your Inner Child,” June 5 -7 in Burlingame, CA (just south of San Francisco).

During this weekend retreat, using Creative Journal Expressive Arts activities and SoulCollage® card making, you will:

• Learn how to communicate with your inner child
• Learn how to quiet the voice of your inner critic
• Begin to develop a healthy inner family to heal and support your inner child
• Explore, envision and express your current heart’s desire
• Discover what blocks you from your heart’s desire and ways to get unblocked
• Create your own Inner Family SoulCollage® mini-deck to take home for continued healing, growth and exploration
• Create a vision board to take home so you can stay on track to claiming your heart’s desire

For full details and registration, go to

Save $50 on your registration through March 15th!

(These SoulCollage® cards were created using Free Use Images from Unsplash and Pixabay)