Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Traveling Altar

This weekend Shannon Halligan, L-CAT and I co-led a workshop called, "Awakening to Possibility With a Traveling Pocket Altar."  I became interested in the idea of identifying and inviting change into one's life when I attended a vision board workshop earlier in the year.  During that event, as I sat leafing through magazines, cutting and pasting my collage of things I wished for my future to hold, the idea to create my own workshop began to form.  The social setting of that early January gathering was fun and inspiring, for certain, however, I sensed that this idea of envisioning one's life could be carried further, that there was a rich potential for a workshop that was deeply reflective.   Discussing this with Shannon, she introduced the idea of creating a traveling altar which she described to me as a small decorated box filled with meaningful items that can fit in a pocket or bag, so that it can travel with you.  I loved the idea and suggested that a centering meditation and mindful movement session before creating the altars might lay fertile ground for ideas.  Thus, the idea for the workshop was born.

Yesterday's workshop was a relaxed, creative and inspiring morning of meditation, movement, dream making, art making and discussion.

But that isn't what I want to talk about.  We will offer this workshop again and I will talk it up then.  I will encourage you to come and will send you many invites.  You will be made well aware of why you should take this particular workshop.  And you should take this workshop.   But that isn't what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is MY traveling altar.  I had a bit of a vision of what I might want to include before hand.  One of my friends had introduced the idea of writing affirmations on her phone- things that she wanted in her life.  I loved the idea and copied it.  My smart phone has meaningful messages on the screens, reminders to practice gratitude along with reassurances and visions such as, "You have all the time you need," and "Decisions are made with ease."  At the workshop, I realized that my phone messages are a form of an altar- a collection of ideas that are important to me- ideas I place on high. 

I imagined my altar box to include objects that represented love, financial security, creative expression, yoga, a thriving massage practice- the things that I put on the vision board I had made earlier and on my telephone altar.  When I do finish filling my traveling altar, I am sure it will have ephemera that will represent all of that, but the altar box itself took on a direction that I didn't expect. 

I found myself thumbing through travel magazines, my fingers reaching for travel themed collage paper and cutting out maps.  And when I heard another woman read the phrase, "We are not in Kansas anymore," from a tin of movie themed magnetic words, I, the girl who grew up in Kansas, pounced on it.  My altoid box turned traveling altar is covered with a maps, passport stamps and images of postcards.  A traveling traveling altar!  Who knew that I had the travel bug?  Recently I renewed my passport, but I did so without any emotion or fantasy.  Passport renewal was just an item on my to do list; it seemed like just another something that had to be done.  During the workshop, however, the dream of world travel was awakened!  For so many years, money and circumstances have made travel unrealistic.  And even though I have no plan for world travel right now, what I have realized from my other envisioning projects, that once a seed has been planted, things do begin to shift and what might start off feeling like a crazy dream can slowly begin to feel very possible.

Other participants spoke of the same phenomenon- that their altars took on a different direction than they expected.   Since we took time to become fully present in our bodies before we started our creative work, it doesn't really surprise me.  The body is ripe with wisdom and when we tune inward and pay attention, we can reap the harvest.

Join us next time, why don't you?

Wishing you balance,