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.

7 thoughts on “The Art of Transforming Fearful Mental Images

  • March 19, 2020 at 11:58 AM
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    Thank you for posting this, Claire. We need a calming influence during these unpredictable times. (And a great activity for those at home who are already bored!)

    Reply
    • March 19, 2020 at 12:52 PM
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      It is definitely a calming activity – If you try it, I’d love to see your images!

      Reply
  • March 19, 2020 at 1:38 PM
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    Hi Claire! I was inspired by this. I’m also a facilitator but still a little clumsy with digital collage making. After gathering images from Pixabay, what program or app do you use to make the collage? I use Freemix sometimes but the images are so limited and its very clumsy. Thanks for sharing your process! May you be healthy!

    Reply
    • March 19, 2020 at 3:47 PM
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      I’m so glad this inspired you Francene! I usually use Photoshop when I make digital collage, but I know not everyone has it and it can be very confusing to learn, though once you get the basic steps down it does a beautiful job allowing fine trimming and layering. But you can always print out the images you collect and use scissors and glue on cardstock.

      Reply
  • March 20, 2020 at 1:42 PM
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    I love this insight. Thank you for sharing it. This kind of work is very powerful.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2020 at 2:06 PM
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      Thank you, Laraine!

      Reply
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