Depression

How I Got Into Art Journaling

People ask me all the time how I got started with Art Journaling. I’ve touched on it some in my blog, but not what led up to it.

I wish I had a rosy story to tell, how the heavens parted and I was given sunshine and rainbows and inspiration galore. But it didn’t quite happen that way.

Back around 2016 I was depressed. Not, “I’m sad” depressed but, “I didn’t want to get out of bed, and why isn’t my brain working like it should?” kind of depressed. 

My creative spark had been GONE for a good three years. 😱

Lori Greenberg making glass beads at torch 2016
Working at my Torch in 2015

At the time I was a glass bead maker and my love for the medium just wasn’t there anymore. I was lost, and knew that something had to change.

During that three years I tried so many things to try to break the cycle. I tried different kinds of glass work. I tried writing a novel, twice. I tried digital art. I created coloring books for adults. That all kept me afloat, but my creative joy did not return. 

Out of boredom I signed up for a three-day out-of-state workshop, totally unrelated to glass and jewelry, just to get away. It was paper arts, collage, painting, and all the things that could be used in art journals. All things I’d always been afraid of because I believed I wasn’t any good.

art journal pages with octopus and astronaut
Early Art Journal Pages

The Art Journal Workshop Effect...

At the beginning of the weekend we made and bound a big blank journal, and each day we filled a different two-page spread with each workshop’s project and techniques.
 
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that weekend my funk started to lift, and my creativity started to return.
 
Lately I’ve been getting messages from people asking how they can get started art journaling, too. I get it.
 

Creating is such a life-changing activity with so many benefits:

  • It boosts your mood.
  • It makes you forget about things for a while.
  • You can express yourself in a safe place and way.
  • And you get pretty stuff at the end, just to name a few. 

I created a free resource so you can experience those things, too, and help you avoid the pitfalls that I spent so much time in.  It’s a  six-step process for getting started with art journaling.

This roadmap literally shows the exact steps you should take (and in what order!) plus common mistakes to avoid to go from stuck and overwhelmed to living in a state of inspired creative flow.

Need Help Getting Started?

The FREE
Jumble Journal Roadmap
will show you how!

It’s a pretty awesome feeling, and I want you to be able to experience it, too.

My Artful Journey, continued

I left off my art journey story at 2009, when I had last played with the silver. A that time, I was still making glass beads, and continued until 2012 when I had the call to dive into glass micro mosaics. (I just spent some time looking at old blog posts from that time. Boy, that was some fun, and I made some really cool stuff!)


When I started working with those teeny tiny little pieces of glass I never thought that that would be the end of me making beads. But, one thing led to another, and found myself only on the torch to make the small components, and to pull the fine stringers of glass for the mosaics. It was still a lot of torch time because each tiny chip of glass actually has anywhere from 5 to 11 layers of glass.

2012-2014

I did that for two years and made some really cool pieces but then I veered again, to making glass stringer stacked murrine.

Getting deeper and deeper into detailed work, as is my way, I didn’t create a a lot of finished pieces. The work that I did make was pretty spectacular, if you ask me. That whole process is a little mind-boggling.

That phase of work only lasted about six months. I’m happy to say, as with most things, I’m glad I took the time to learn the process.

November 2014

I decided that I was going to try my hand at writing again. I really do love writing, and it seemed like it would be the perfect job at the time. You see, my kids were in the tween stage and it was getting increasingly hard to find the amount of uninterrupted time that I needed to continue working in the studio. Writing would let me be in the house with them.

[insert HUGE laugh here from my writer friends]. I love you more than words, and especially the fact that you didn’t actually laugh in front of me at my naivete. Mwah!

We had also started a major construction project, adding on 1500 square feet of new space that included a recording studiol, so I couldn’t work in the studio. I don’t remember how long I tried the writing gig — maybe two years? During that time I learned that I could craft a story and I managed to write two almost-complete first drafts. I also realized that while I love writing, in the form of blogging, and how-to articles, fiction was just not my thing. It was disheartening to realize that after trying to force it for a couple years. I was miserable.

So, still wanting to do a “book thing” I decided I’d create coloring books for adults.

August 2016

I started publishing my coloring books for adults on Amazon and set the goal of publishing 12 books in 12 months. And I did it. During that year the new studio was finished and I jumped into journal art, paper art, and bookmaking.

I realized something very important. I need to make art. I’d missed it so much.

August 2017

I published my twelfth, coloring book. It would be almost a year from that time before I’d be back in the jewelry studio. I’ll pick up there in the next post. To tell you the truth, I lost track of a lot of what I did after the coloring books. My struggle with depression was at it’s lowest. I slept a lot, and was hiding from the world most of that time.

January of 2018

I found a good naturopath and I spent a lot of time working on digging out of that dark hole. The good news is that I made some major lifestyle changes and we figured out what works for me to be mentally healthy. I haven’t been on anti-depressants since September of 2017, and have never, ever, EVER, felt better.

Observations of a new meditation practice.

imageDespite having known about it for years and years, I’m sharing my experience of engaging in a regular practice of meditation. I share it now because I know that once I’ve been doing it for a good long time these observations will become second nature and it won’t seem like anything special. It will just be, and that is already starting to happen.

Simple sitting with eyes closed, focusing on the breath and then focusing on a point between the eyebrows. When thoughts come up, telling myself to let them float by, coming back to the point of focus.

At some point in the process above you “drop in.” That is, your brain goes into a different wave pattern. Alpha state is, I believe, what is reached. You notice the shift and then you can sit and watch what goes on in your inner vision.

Anyway, what I have noticed about myself since implementing a regular practice is that I don’t get hooked into things, I’m less reactive. Whereas I would once jump in and respond immediately to something someone says, or a situation, I see myself sitting back and letting it rest. I’m not thinking about what to say or do in reaction but, am still and sit with it. The interesting part about that is that when you don’t react, the other person, or situation unfolds more and it works itself out. I don’t mean that everything fixes itself but the other person will continue, express themselves and they might work through what they originally came to you with.

I’ve noticed that people like to talk and don’t always need or want a solution or response. Sometimes they just need to get it out or hear themselves say it out loud. Reacting or responding can take a conversation down a rabbit hole that isn’t necessary. My reaction or input isn’t really wanted or needed, even if they think it is what they want. Sitting still and letting them express themselves works better than trying to fix it or figure it out for them. They have their own answers too. For me, it feels like a relief. Less work and unnecessary brain power, being able to stay in my calm while in a conscious state.

I also have noticed more focus. My brain is being trained to stay on target. I’m not as focused as I’d like to be but I do notice that I am doing things that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time such as decluttering things around me. Whereas once it seemed overwhelming, I’m doing it little by little, and it feels good.

I am noticing that I appreciate things around me more. I know it sounds corny but driving and noticing the landscape around me brings me a sense of peace and appreciation. When your brain is always working and thinking about something else it is hard to appreciate what is all around you and what is around you is full of life and beauty. That feels so foreign coming out of my mouth but I like the change. It’s easy to go on a hike up and away from everything and notice the beauty but driving down the road, to an appointment or somewhere you don’t really want to go, and enjoying the trees or the sky or even the car in front of you is a wonderful feeling. I believe this is the byproduct of my brain being trained to be in the present moment. It’s a pretty cool place to be.

I’ve learned a lot about presence. They say, notice each step you take, the feel of each foot touching the ground. When you start to do it in a ‘fake it till you make it’ way it feels weird. What I’ve noticed is that now, I’m doing it spontaneously. Just a second ago I picked up my coffee cup and noticed the feel of it in my hand as I took a sip, and enjoyed the taste. I know it sounds like a little thing and what the heck could that possibly have to do with anything. When you start to feel it or experience it though, it’s profound.

Don’t write me off as crazy until you experience it yourself. Every tap of my fingers on the keyboard, when noticed, feels good. Having eyes open in a way to see more than just that picture on the wall in front of me, taking in the essence of what is around me is a phenomenal feeling. I guess that is what expanded consciousness feels like. I am in that place now and it comes and goes. The more I practice, the more it stays.

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