month, Dana Reynolds shares her life-transforming
thoughts, ideas, and sacred imagination based around our
"theme of the month." Dana is a visionary Spiritual Midwife, who
devotes herself to helping women birth their creative
gifts into the world.
Opening the Senses to Beauty
The process of nourishing the soul, and comforting
and caring for the spirit requires awareness and
cultivation. Integrating an appreciation of beauty into
one’s life creates a conduit to self-nurturing.
Webster best defines the beauty I am speaking of as,
"the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person
or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or
pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit." Beauty by
this definition is certainly "…..in the eye of
the beholder." This kind of beauty is unique to the
Pleasuring the senses is a primary part of soul
nourishment, comfort and care. We know how good it feels
to have a massage. When aromatic oils, candles, and
soothing music accompany the massage, the experience is
deepened. The senses are engaged in a pleasurable way.
This month you are invited to contemplate beauty as
you practice comforting your soul. Engage all your
senses. What foods please your eye and your palate? Name
the fragrances that stir your heart and imagination. How
does nature quicken your body and expand the vision of
your inner eye? Contemplate those objects, places,
persons, and events that pleasure your senses or enliven
your thoughts and spirit.
Listen to music to evoke your emotions. What is your
own particular definition of a beautiful sound? Is
silence beautiful to you?
Use soft focused awareness this month to contemplate
the meaning of beauty. Invite your senses to become
awake and aware to those moments when you feel comforted
by people and surroundings that you find beautiful.
Invite your sacred imagination to enhance your awareness
of beauty. Incorporating the beautiful into your life
adds an element of sacredness and enriches daily
experiences and interactions.
Creating a Map for Your Senses
Here’s an exercise to help you identify how you
interpret the world through your senses. It will also
indicate your definition of beauty. You might think of
it as a map for color, texture, and those elements that
enrich your feelings of peace and well being. After you
complete your map for your senses, contemplate how to
incorporate its wisdom into your life for new ways of
nourishing your soul.
A piece of cardboard or foam core board 36" x
Magazines for cutting up
Your favorite paints
Crayons or Colored Pencils
Things collected from Nature
Color copies of favorite photos
Light a candle. Play music that you find comforting.
Invite your muses before you begin.
Using the paper or foam core board and a pencil,
create a map of your senses. Begin by leaving a 3"
border on all sides. Draw a square inside the boundaries
of the border that measures 30" x 30". Within
the square divide the space into 6 segments. This can be
done in whatever way you choose. Each segment can be a
different size and shape or you may choose to divide the
space evenly. You may wish to color each segment as you
prepare the background for collage. Label each segment
for the six senses; sight, sound, taste, touch, smell,
and inner sight (intuition).
In each segment create a collage using images,
photos, torn paper, words, etc. as a personal
interpretation of how each specific sense speaks to you
Embellish the border with text from your favorite
poems, sacred texts, quotations, your own thoughts, etc.
Fill the entire map with color, texture, sparkle,
words, etc. Paint can be added as enhancement. Let it
become a living breathing personal interpretation of
beauty and food for nourishing your soul and your
Place it flat on a table as a paper altar cloth.
Arrange stones, shells, and other treasures signifying
beauty on the surface. Meditate on the importance of
welcoming beauty into your daily experience. Throughout
the month add objects and images that you find
beautiful. Think of this as a work in progress.
Beautiful images, objects, and surroundings offer
opportunities for inspiring comfort and nourishment for
the psyche and soul. Beautiful words provide a different
element of support to self-nurturing. I am constantly
inspired by words such as; prayer, alchemy, sacred,
velvet, allegory, poetry, ennui, etc.
Here’s a simple exercise to enrich your vocabulary
so that you can begin to incorporate language to comfort
and nourish your soul and the souls of others.
The Word Jar
Give yourself permission to spend an hour or so
looking through old magazines for words that you find
beautiful. Words that stir your senses, inspire the
beginning of a poem, or help you to retrieve a pleasant
memory. Cut these words from the pages until you have at
least 35 or 50.
Using card stock, index cards, or heavy paper, glue
each word to the background you’ve chosen. Leave space
around each word. Cut the words into small cards. You
may want to embellish the back of each card with a
rubber stamp, sticker, or even your thumbprint.
Place the cards in a basket or bowl and draw one each
day as a prompt for journal writing or simply as a
beautiful focus. Add a word a day to your collaged map
of the senses. Incorporate the word into your daily
vocabulary in a conscious way.
March is the harbinger of spring and a time of
rebirth. Let this season of renewal be a time of
self-comforting through beauty. Engage your senses to
welcome your inner flowering as you discover beauty as
welcomed food for your soul.
invited to submit your story and accompanying
photos to be considered as a feature for the Sacred
Imagination column. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright© 2001 Dana
Dana's Soulful Living Feature Articles:
and the Sacred Imagination: The Dance of Co-creation
Dana's Past "Sacred Imagination" Columns:
2001 "The Eyes of Love"
2001 "Patterns of Authenticity"
2000 "Finding Peace in the Fields of Time"
2000 "Cultivating Gratitude: Heart-Hugs and Prayer
2000 "Journey to the Center - The Sacred Mystery of
2000 "The Heart and Craft of Healing"
2000 "Transforming Life’s Challenges into Beauty and Story"
2000 "Sacred Spaces Invite the
Muses of the Soul"
For ten years, Dana Reynolds has
been facilitating women’s spiritual presentations and
retreats nationwide. Her work as a Spiritual Midwife,
one who assists women as they birth their creative gifts
into the world, is the foundation of all her endeavors.
Her background as a visual artist and writer enriches
her Spiritual Midwifery: Birthing the Feminine Soul
As the creator of an art making
process known as visual prayer, Dana teaches
women how to combine ritual with sacred intention to
create altars, collages, spirit dolls, and other
touchstones. The creation of sacred spaces is also
paramount to the Spiritual Midwifery experience. Her
offers samplings of her visual prayer collages, poetry,
and a workshop catalogue.
Dana is the author of the
whimsical and colorfully illustrated book, Be An
Angel, a co-creation with illustrator and graphic
designer, Karen Blessen, (Simon & Schuster). Her
essay, Visual Prayers is included in the
anthology, Our Turn, Our Time: Women Coming of Age, edited
by Cynthia Black, (Beyond Words Publishing).
A trained labyrinth
facilitator, Dana incorporates the labyrinth and other
spiritual wisdom into her retreats and workshops. She
recently traveled to Chartres and Vezelay Cathedrals in
France to gather information pertaining to ancient
sacred mystical traditions. She currently lectures on
such topics as spiritual midwifery, sacred journal
keeping, feminine spiritual wisdom, and the early
Christian women saints and mystics.
Dana’s life follows the
spiral path from rim to center and back again. She looks
for the sacred in forgotten places and openly embraces
the great Mystery of life. Guiding women to the
discovery of their creative inner gifts is the passion
that fuels her soul.