Some Thoughts on Organic Growth in Creative Expression and Some Tips on Working with Clarity

Over the past few days, I’ve been working on a soul collage. While I used to create them pretty consistently, I haven’t in a while.

The way it came about was quite organic. I was cleaning a layer of ash (from the Thomas Fire), off of the space where I keep my magazines and, in moving them to clean, I remembered how fun I feel creating soul collages are.

In moving the magazines back to their newly cleaned space, I took a magazine off the top and paged through it. A few phrases stood out to me, so I cut them out and placed them on a chair, so I could see them and feel into the energy of them as I passed by throughout the day.

I still wasn’t thinking an entire soul collage was going to evolve.

The next day, I found myself with a bit of free time, and picked up a few magazines and cut out some images. I arranged them into a form I kind of liked, and left them there – again, so I could feel into it as I looked at them in passing, while going about my day.

I was thinking maybe it would be a ‘year-end’ collage of sorts.

That’s how it all stayed, as the year ended.

I woke this morning, on this first day of the new year, with some ideas of what I want to do and what I want to create. A soul collage wasn’t on that list.

It surprised me that the first thing I reached for was the arranged phrases and images I had put aside! I brought them out to my backyard table (where the sunshine enticed me to stay, despite the cold air – 50F!! and the smokey smell).

I put one of my favorite chants on replay on my iPod, followed by one of my favorite ‘good morning songs’, also on replay – kind of to engage in my mind so my heart whispers could arise, and kind of to get my playful energy going as I sang along, and open my heart through joy to possibility.

My soul collage arranged itself, and I am pleased with the feel of it!

You might notice that some of the original phrases that interested me are not in it. They simply didn’t feel like that fit into the message, as a whole. So, I put them aside to use in the future.

I wanted to share this soul collage with you as an example of flow in creative expression; honoring organic growth within unfolding. 

(I didn’t insist upon creating a soul collage. I didn’t make myself sit and do it beyond the blocks of time that felt comfortable, right and in flow. I didn’t include a few of my original ideas. I didn’t judge myself for not finishing it. I simply allowed it to happen, within flow. And, I allowed myself to be surprised by it all.)

But, also, as a tool to think about and feel into the energy of clarity, with.


We haven’t spoken about clarity in a while together, via this blog; although that’s what I specialize in, and one of the natural skills I have to share with you (and world).

So, we can look at this soul collage, and see what we think is ‘the obvious’ – right? Reading the words and thinking about their literal meaning. Looking at the objects (pillows, a lion, a flower, etc) and thinking about their literal/physical meanings. And, we might think that’s clarity, and leave it at that.

While that is one facet of understanding, and could supply meaning to you, it’s a ‘surface’ meaning, and also based upon what you think the literal and physical meaning is, and what ‘stories’ you have about those based upon your past life experience.

You might agree that another person looking at this, knowing the same literal definitions as you, but with different associations to those meanings, might interpret the message as something slightly, or even totally, different! (which wouldn’t mean either of you were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, simply that you both have an understanding that differs – and understanding that would flow peace through the differences.)

Taking something literal, and not acknowledging how your life experience/s and associations might color your understanding, means you might actually miss the message in it for you.

So, how might we get to the deeper understanding?

I will share a bit of how I work with that, using this soul collage as a reference (and of course, you can take all of this as a metaphor, if you wish, and apply it to an area in your life that you’d like to experience clarity in.)

I do my best to remove emotional attachment from whatever I’m looking at. (I don’t think ‘oh, I love this’ or ‘ewwww, this is gross’, I simply center and look at what is being presented.)

I ask whatever I’m looking at to show me what I’m meant to know, what the message today is for me. This is one way of not imposing what I think I know onto it. I also recognize that each time I ask, there might be variances in the meaning.

I listen. Doing my best not to impose what I think and feel on what is being shared.

I look at what is obvious, about what is physically present, and feel into that meaning. For example, in this soul collage, I see a lot of pillows, that vary in size and shape. Pillows energetically represent comfort, so their placement could be saying ‘buy more pillows’ but the deeper meaning might be ‘allow yourself the experience of comfort, deep rest, support in a myriad of ways.’

I look at patterns (in this soul collage, that would be colors, textures, repetitive words) and feel into what they mean. For example, in this soul collage the word ‘ground’ shows up twice. For me, energetically ‘ground’ means to center, root deeply into, then open. And, I know I do that consistently (daily), so the invitation is to remember my roots, my ‘why’, my ‘intention’ as I explore newness (when I’m feeling ‘grounded’, my heart opens most easily to new things/experiences/means of creative expression, to play and create with joy) so this is saying ‘try new ways of being present, and be present to new ways.’

I look at, and consider, symbolism. For example, in this soul collage, the lion and the fox stand out (and I chose them over other animals). I understand they have symbolic ‘totem energy’ meanings, so I will consider that as I consider the overall meaning of the soul collage. Also, color has meaning, so I will look at what colors appear – in this case, yellow, brown, orange stand out to me-and consider those meanings as well. I know the redwood trees are in the Sequoia National Park, a place I’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t, so this could be saying ‘visit’ (especially with the ‘walk new ground’ phrase right there).

I will consider the messages I feel, then leave it be while I do something else. Sometimes as I move through my day, doing something else, an intuitive hit/a burst of clarity will arise (about the thing I’ve let be). Sometimes I bring a different understanding/openness to that which I’m seeking clarity about, after I’ve let it be. Most often, it has something more profound/deeper to share with me.

And, also, it is true for me, that clarity is one of my natural gifts, and simply arises for me, without me asking, or sometimes even wanting to know. It’s a natural gift, one that I’m learning to love and appreciate. One that I enjoy sharing. (And one that I’m including myself in, because it’s potent stuff.)

Because this soul collage is fresh and new to me (it’s only been an hour or so since I’ve created it) I don’t have the full meaning yet. But, I like how it feels, and I’m excited to work with it’s energy as the week, and month, unfolds!

Here is the ‘gist’ of how I am beginning to interpret this for myself:

Overall, I’ve been doing lots of inner work the past few months, and I can see and feel that this collage is more about the lower, base, chakras, which to me is saying ‘bring that inner work to earth, to your daily life and allow yourself to grow from there’ and also ‘try new practices of presence, ways of creating and being and connecting, *with joy*’ (the yellow flower – yellow is the third chakra which is a joy center) and also ‘allow yourself the experience of comfort, deep rest, support in a myriad of ways.’ And, I’ll be physically moving living spaces this year, so I think this is addressing that a bit by saying ‘move with love, making sure to honor your personal preferences and your heart whispers’ – move into loveliness.

Questions for you to consider

Dear Reader: Now that you’ve read my example of creating organically, and my thoughts about the process of clarity:

Do you play with organic growth in your creative expression? If so, what do you feel some of the ‘benefits’ are to creating in such a way? If not, are you open to playing with organic growth in your creative expression and is there a certain project that you could experiment with this in?

It could be that my soul collage has a personal message in it for you! If so, please do share that in the comments below.

As you think about and feel into what I’ve shared about clarity, if you have any questions about ‘how to access or work with it’ in your own life, please do ask. And, if what I’ve shared about clarity has expanded your understanding, or something new has clicked for you, please do share that as well.

There is no judgment here, it’s a sacred container feel of a space, and whatever you share will be met with love and compassion.

As always, thank you for your time and presence!

Much peace,


If you’d like some personal support and encouragement, as you walk your heart-pathI do offer personal sessions. 

In case you are interested: the 2018 Year Overview Intuitive Soul Call Card Readings, are available to purchase through January 31, 2018. I will be working on them once again, this week, so if your heart says ‘yes, please‘ , it would be an honor and a delight to pull a reading for you and to share the heart guidance from the cards.

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Comments on: "Some Thoughts on Organic Growth in Creative Expression and Some Tips on Working with Clarity" (7)

  1. Joy,

    I love the energy of this post- the feel (for me) of light (as in lightness/lighthearted feel AND as in “shining a light”) and playfulness that you have come to in this practice and shared here.

    I find my energy many times tends toward getting “bogged down” with what feels like “heavy” and “serious” energy and it is challenging for me to bring lightness, play, and fun to my creative endeavors and just to my daily life at times. This seems especially true when I am in phases of deep healing and growth and/or rapid transition…which has seemed to be a pattern for me in the past few years. This past year especially has felt very “heavy” to me with some rather serious health issues that left me with little energy for much else than healing and daily life tasks. With that focus however, came a forced simplification that brought me more clarity about exactly what matters most to me, You could say that clarity came from organic growth…it simply unfolded as I allowed myself the time and support I needed for my body to heal. This I can see, in hindsight, as I reflect on my year.

    What is also wonderful about this is through these periods of deep inner work and healing as well as the transition periods that seem to follow each with rapid changes in my external life, I have connected with myself in new ways, learned so much about my capacity for growth and my strength and my courage, and still, at times I often find myself wishing I ‘could be’ a bit more lighthearted in my explorations, in my growth, even with my healing (something I don’t often think of as “lighthearted” stuff…yet that is literally what it’s result is…lightening my heart of the “heavy” energy I have carried for years).

    I used to judge myself as being “too serious” and “too dark” in these ways and with these natural tendencies. I thought that there was something “wrong’ or “bad” about being this way, yet now I have learned to appreciate the richness and depth that comes with having this sort of energy…AND I can appreciate my need to “lighten” my energy by bringing more playfulness and fun into my daily life, especially when it comes to sharing my creativity and my passions with the world.

    I’ve learned there is nothing “wrong” with heavy and serious energy…sometimes in fact, that is just the sort of energy we need and crave. It can be grounding, comforting, and even help to create space for deep healing to take place. Your cozy pillow images remind me of this…sometimes this is the energy we crave. And in learning to not judge and just accept myself, and my own energy as it is, I have found it often does transform itself into lighter and more playful energy as well. (The image that comes to mind as an analogy is a picture of someone cozying up into a pile of fluffy pillows, maybe with a cup of tea, a magazine, a good book…and after a while, a friend enters the room and joins this person, and they start chatting, laughing, enjoying one another’s company, maybe put on some music, start dancing around…which brings the kids into the room…they join in the dancing, the laughter, and the scene evolves into a playful pillow fight…). In this way, it is clear. It is not “bad” energy to sit in a cozy pile of pillows with your tea and your book, and it is not a “better” energy to have a pillow fight with a group of friends or children. It is simply different energy.

    I learn best through sharing with others- listening to their stories, connecting them to my own experience- sharing that experience with them…I love connecting in this way with others. For me it is as natural as breathing to see the connections in everything…and it may be my favorite thing in the world to sit in deep conversation with a friend who shares my passion for exploration and personal growth, for learning and creating…this is where I come alive. This is where that energy of lightness and ease comes into my life most easily..where my organic growth happens. I am overjoyed to make these types of connections with others…whether in person, or in a space like this…here on your website.

    What caught my eye in your post here, beyond the overall energy, was the images and words… and how each imbues the other with a richer meaning. I love working with the marriage of word and image- this may be my favorite way of creating…and it was one of your collected phrases that you didn’t end up using directly that struck me most. It’s as if the energy of the words are contained in the whole of your final product soul collage, even without the words themselves being there.

    Rich is always a good thing.

    To me the feel of your whole soul collage embodies this…the richness of the colors…the energy of the animals you chose…the image of the trees….it just has a depth of richness within the whole of it.

    And this phrase. To me, when I read it, I immediately connected with it as a healing phrase, for me. I mean that in that I grew up in deep poverty and was raised to view money as both “bad” (the root of all evil, etc) and constantly lacking- a constant need that was not met. The juxtaposition of that belief and that experience concurrently made for a very warped perspective on earning money, saving money, accepting money, using money…all of it, for me, fraught with much “heavy” implication and energy.It has been an on-going process for my adult life to examine my beliefs about money, un-learn many lessons I was taught surrounding money usage and management, and develop new beliefs and re-learn new habits that support those beliefs. This is an on-going process, and one I fully enjoy. I understand that money is just another form of energy, albeit one deeply revered and ingrained in our society’s structure, and therefore deeply imbued with meaning and power in our culture.

    Rich is always a good thing.

    My reflexive internal response to this phrase, on first reading, was one of both immediate attraction and repulsion. With my experience and background, I can completely understand why this dichotomy exists within my emotional response to reading that phrase. And…I could look at your collage, finished, and see and feel the richness and the goodness deeply embedded in it. For me, that is a good thing. It means I can recognize old patterns and triggers, be aware of them, and now, feel beyond them, into what I am creating for myself, in my own life.

    This made me realize that for me, clarity comes deeply from connecting with others- both listening to their stories and responding to them with my own- and it also comes from an intuitive place that I can connect with most easily through creative endeavors and expressions. Experiencing art, music, performing arts productions, seeing movies, reading books…these activities are not merely “entertainment” for me…they are the way I connect with my own intuition. In a similar way, creating, for myself, is a way I can deeply connect with my own intuition, and gain greater clarity for myself.

    Being a highly creative person, this shouldn’t come as a surprise- I’ve long been drawn to creative pursuits and interests- and yet…I am also a highly cerebral person- I can get lost in my own mind for days, weeks, on end…I love to think, brainstorm, come up with ideas, philosophize, and contemplate. And I always thought this is where my creativity, my insight, my knowledge came from…Now I realize, these things actually come from a different place. They may be sparked, engaged, or enhanced by my mental activities, but they are born from a deeper space- and my intuition is what connects me to that space. To “enlighten” myself…to find my own clarity, on anything…I just need connect with that space on a more regular basis. How? (that is always the base question I return to in every inquiry). Well I just answered that very clearly.

    Through conversations and connections with others who love to engage in deep thought and reflection and discourse. Through creative expression and play, through reading, listening to music, seeing performances, experiencing art, and watching movies that inspire and provoke me…And also, through engaging my body as a means of occupying my mind- moving meditation as it were. Those are my methods. That is where my “richness” lies…And rich…it’s always a good thing.

    Thank you for the inspiration Joy, for the “conversation” here, for sharing your insights and clarity with us all.


    • I was wondering if anyone would read this article, Molly, and I’m glad you did – and that you took the time to write out a response straight from your heart. It makes writing this very much ‘worth it’ (it’s always worth it to listen to my heart, but I also love responses, too!)

      I do feel that most of us walking a heart-path, tend to consistently be in ‘healing mode’, since we do inner work that leads to heart-healing and opening, which leads to more inner work to be comfortable with the energetic and physical changes, and can be a lifelong cycle. I share this as encouragement that you’re not alone in what you are feeling (in this pattern of deep healing/growth, that you referred to).

      Since you are interested in ‘lightening things up’ I wonder if you might consider substituting “clear, strong physical messages from my body’ for ‘rather serious health issues’. Not to lessen the effect of the unfolding you experienced, but to lessen the impact of the energy in the words you are choosing.

      A synchronicity for me in your words is around this ‘forced simplification’ and ‘clarity about exactly what matters’. As I’ve been bringing in more machines than ever (two air purifiers, a diffuser, a space heater) to our living space, I’ve been thinking about how my kids and I felt that clarity through simplification while living on the boat, and that I miss that simplification dearly (and in that missing is an invitation about being present to bringing that energy forward, in this space now).

      I am so glad you allowed yourself time and space to heal. I do hope you thanked (and are thanking) your self for that gift!

      As you wish you were ‘a bit more lighthearted’ (thank you for sharing that, many people reading this can relate!), it might not be your nature. Which doesn’t mean it’s not possible for you, just that something is in your nature, that’s a different gift, and if you can feel it as such, light-heartedness might flow through that understanding/acceptance/appreciation. Thank you for sharing your clarity and insights on this process for yourself (again, I know people reading can relate).

      I think what’s most important is the ‘not judging yourself’, instead understanding and appreciating your natural essence and preferences, and honoring them.

      This phrase that stands out to you ‘rich is always a good thing’ is one that I very much wanted to use in my collage, and was surprised when it didn’t fit. I originally meant it in regards to money (because I’m working on re-creating my money patterns), but then I meant it in terms of texture, color, connection. And, as you pointed out, I think my soul collage embodies that energy, even if the phrase isn’t in it directly. Although, I did keep the phrase next to my soul collage, so I see it when I sit to journal, or write here, or draw.

      I very much appreciate that you chose to share what this phrases means to you, and am surprised by the similarities in it for us both.

      I’d like to share with you a bit about the contrast in the phrase for me (in case it supports you in your healing journey and work with money). When I consider ‘rich is always a good thing’ what stands out to me is ‘good’, and if I was to think out the contrast ‘poor is always a bad thing’ (which I don’t believe for others, but had taken on for myself) I can feel the self-judgment in it. Since I’ve lived in poverty for most of my life, and lots of people look down upon people that are poor (while lots of people don’t). So somewhere in there I made myself ‘bad’ for not having money, or for not choosing money, or for being poor (when really it’s a money story I was born into, and was conditioned to live…and the more self-love and self-compassion I practice, the less self-judgment shows up).

      It’s quite awesome that you realize where clarity comes from for you, and have strong clarity about some of your patterns, beliefs, and practices. And, now that you have a deeper understanding of where your creative expression flows from, and what inspires you, you can play with it a little more, if and when you wish.

      I am so glad you felt inspired through reading and sharing here, that lights my heart!! Blessings as all of this continues to unfold for you and as your deeper understanding ripples out through your creative expression!

      • Joy,

        Thank you for your reply here. These are great insights and suggestions and I already feel “lighter” in having shared with you here!

        And congrats on manifesting your new comfortable and “perfectly placed” chair! I love to hear stories of synchronicity like that- it both inspires me and encourages me!


  2. Happy New Year, Joy! <3 I love that you made the soul collage and shared the way you approach doing it and letting it speak to you over the day, week, month, year. I am letting the drawings be my "soul drawings" for as long as they flow, because they seem to be drawing (no pun intended) on something deep inside me for their creation. I know that when I am working on them, I am nowhere else but drawing and that is wonderful to me, that I am present to what is happening and looking at it in wonder and surprise. I did set some intentions for the new year, but I think my strongest intention is to just let these drawings flow and maybe they will help me to see magic everywhere and also possibility that I did not know existed. Love to you and your family and thank you for sharing this fasciniating process. I really enjoyed peeking over your shoulder this morning <3

    • Happy New Year to you, too, Jean!

      Your drawings feel like soul drawings to me, kind of like my sunset photo process does for me – you’re letting source energy flow through you, and manifest in a format that is textured and different from your previously consistent format, and you’re enjoying the process! I am so inspired, and in wonder and awe, as you share your process and your drawings!

      I do feel it is very possible that the energy of your drawings and being present to the process, is likely healing something within you, and also opening energetic and physical doors along your path, so newness will be experienced (in good and lovely ways). Because they are so different from your previous work, their existence will likely expand your audience (reach) and in that there may be new opportunities for you.

      Thank you for the love – right back atcha’! And, I’m glad you enjoyed peeking over my shoulder this morning! I’d love to peek over yours (in real-life!!).

    • Hi Jean,

      I popped over to your website to check out your art, and I love it! The look, the feel, the art! I feel like I may have checked you out before, and perhaps since you’ve done a re-design? At any rate, I wanted to just say, beautiful!

      And…I noticed you are in the Charlottesville, VA area, which is very near one of my oldest and best friends, who I am hoping to visit very soon. Perhaps I can see your art in person while I am there!


  3. Molly, I sent you an email but will also say Hi to you here and tell you that I really enjoyed getting to know you a little bit more through what you wrote here. This is one of those times that I wish we could all just de-materialize in one place and pop up in another so we could play together (Joy, you are included, as well as anyone else who is connected through you). Since we cannot do that yet, I do hope you can stop by the art center (let me know before you come) and see the work and get a hug. Wonderful to connect with you here! <3

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