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A SoulShirt = Wearing Your Soul On Your Sleeve – Part 1 of 3

Are You Facing Tough Problems in Your Life?

Ones that leave you feeling stumped?

 Take heart!

Making your very own SoulShirt could change all of that.

Would you like to

  •       Experience a fun and funky way to strengthen your inner psychological core so you can face your biggest challenges with confidence and poise while simultaneously expanding your creativity?
  •       Maintain a grounded, yet hopeful connection to your dreams and goals- so you can reach for the stars while keeping your feet on the ground?
  •       Expand your creative problem solving skills so they encompass any difficulty you may face?

 Do you remember my recent blog post about making my first SoulShirt?

Soulshirt1In that post, I shared how remaking an old jacket nourished my soul while it moved me toward external goals as well. This adventure has continued and has taken me places I didn’t clearly anticipate, though in retrospect, they should have been no surprise to me. I’ve found that this process has done all of these things I just asked you about, and more.

I’ve found that wearing a shirt for my soul, AKA a SoulShirt™ is quite an adventure.

When I made my first SoulShirt™ , as you may recall, I was experimenting with Contemplative Handwork™, a variation on what Carl Jung called Active Imagination. I wondered what would happen if I put symbols that spoke to my heart and soul on an old second-hand jacket.

I never intended to wear it out of the house. But while it was buttoned around my dress-form, it called to me. And while I worked on it, it talked to me. It kept telling me that the next step was to wear it. Wear it? No way! I argued, pleaded and resisted. It became more and more insistent. When the symbols were all finished, and the jacket was completely reassembled, that inner voice became stronger and louder. I dug in my heels.

Yellow Nazca SpiderI finally listened to that call and ventured to wear it when I was invited to a costume party for my then-three year old great-nieces’ birthday. I felt silly getting out of my car wearing this strange thing in broad daylight in a Denver neighborhood. Not only that, I felt exposed. These symbols on my jacket, AKA my SoulShirt™ came from the depths of my soul.

Sometimes it helps to know that I am not alone in this kind of experience. Carl Jung tells us that “self-knowledge has certain ethical consequences which are not just impassively recognized but demand to be carried out in practice.” . He goes on to say that “the experience of the self is alwsya a defect for the ego.” He goes on to describe how this kind of thing often happens when “the ego’s sense of responsibility are too weak and need, if anything, strengthening.” (C. J. Jung, Collected Works, Vol 14, par 778)

Well, apparently my ego needed a lot of strengthening right about then. As I got out of my car in that north Denver neighborhood, I was thinking, “What if people made fun of me and my strange get-up? What if they didn’t notice it at all? What if they treated it as a clown suit and me as a clown? What if they go in the kitchen and snicker?” My soul may have been quite happy with this little adventure, but my ego was not a happy camper.

So when I walked through the front door, I could not believe my ears when a stylishly dressed woman half my age asked me if my jacket was made by Designer So-and-So, and several other women drooled over it. Maybe my soul- sourced idea wasn’t so weird after all. Whew! My ego settled down quickly, to my relief. But that didn’t last long.

Then My SoulShirt Talked to Me!

I realized, in quiet moments as the birthday party wound down, that I could hear my SoulShirt talking to me. Again. No, I’m not SAM_0947schizophrenic. But then if I were, would I tell you? Probably not. Ok, I’ll confess. I know I’m still sane because I know that it was not literally the fabric and thread talking to me. Nor was it the spider or any other symbol that it bore that spoke their silent message.  My Heart and Soul were speaking to me in that quiet, inner voice that’s often so hard to hear. 

What experience have you had when your soul asked the impossible of you? What was a creative or inspired moment, and what message did your own still, small, inner voice offer? Please share your own experiences and memories below…..

And also Please Stay Tuned for Part 2, where I’ll share some creative guidance that came from this SoulShirt Adventure.

Featured Quote

Through art I was able to bring grace into my life. I tookt he things that were most bothersome and made them the subject matter of art. The toxin became the antitoxin, the medicine of art.

— Shaun McNiff, Art as Medicine