month, Dana Reynolds shares her life-transforming
thoughts, ideas, and sacred imagination based around our
"theme of the month." She also
presents the story and creativity of one chosen reader,
whose spiritual journey can touch all of our
lives. Dana is a visionary Spiritual Midwife, who
devotes herself to helping women birth their creative
gifts into the world.
"The Heart and Craft
Healing is God’s way of
offering us the opportunity to grow, to go deeper into
life’s mystery, to renew our spirits and begin again.
To say the healing journey is a spiritual opportunity
for awakening is a challenging statement to make. Not
many of us would choose the painful or unexpected life
events that signal a call to healing.
Physical illness, the surfacing
of childhood wounds, a broken relationship, the loss of
a loved one, or a shattered dream, all of these
situations and a seemingly endless list of others
thrusts one into an abyss of fear, resistance, and often
rage. This is a time when prayer, family, friends, and
creative tools can combine to offer a ladder of support.
This ladder made of love and caring stands ready to
carry the person out of the dark hole, and encourages
movement towards the path of healing.
Fear and rage occur when one
feels that nothing is in their control. I liken the
situation to an inexperienced mountain climber setting
out on an expedition without the necessary preparation
or equipment. Soon a blizzard begins and the climber is
disoriented without a compass for guidance or a tent for
shelter. The mountain becomes a monster with no way to
befriend it. Without the necessary provisions and no one
to offer assistance, the climber quickly becomes
exhausted and succumbs to the ordeal.
The healing journey is much the
same. An event that a person is unprepared for catapults
him/her into a place that is unfamiliar, disorienting,
and that seems to be beyond hope of recovery. Without
support and guidance it’s a short journey to total
This is a time when those near
and dear can offer keys to unlock the doors of
creativity and the sacred imagination within the one in
need of healing. Stepping into the realm of the sacred
imagination is a step into the realm of healing wisdom.
This is the place within each of us that holds our own
unique pharmacy of creative restoration to help us move
Prayer, therapy, a physician’s
care, homeopathy, acupuncture, massage, all of these are
also essential instruments to the healing process. When
these are combined with the individual’s innate
creative ways of internal processing, healing soon
Webster’s first definition of
the word heal is, "to make sound or whole."
Wholeness occurs when body, mind, and spirit come
together in syncopation to bring about a return to
balance, this is the essence of true healing. The sacred
imagination is a conduit, a harmonizing agent, for the
process of syncopation. Journaling, painting, making a
spirit doll or mask, all of these activities help to
clear debris from the healing path and reveal new roads
to follow on the journey to wholeness.
A reasonable question is "…how
does one access creativity and imagination in the midst
of a healing crisis?" It’s challenging enough to
simply get through the day when experiencing emotional,
mental, or physical suffering. This is a time when a
friend or family member can create offerings to nurture
the soul and open the door to creative inner healing
In Shakti Gawain’s essay, Listening
to Inner Wisdom, she says, "A healer is someone
who helps and supports people in the process of learning
to trust their own truths and to live more fully and
freely. In order to heal themselves, people must
recognize, first, that they have an inner guidance deep
within and second, that they can trust it." Each of
us at sometime in our life has had the opportunity to be
supportive of someone else’s recovery journey. In this
respect, each of us has had the privilege of being a
I believe the sacred
imagination is the fuel for the inner guidance that
Shakti speaks of. If someone you know is on a healing
journey here are a few suggestions for ways you can
present love, compassion, and support to inspire and
activate the sacred imagination for the one seeking
Prayer and Blessing Tags
Ordinary shipping tags can
become spirit filled messages of love and healing when
altered by your sacred imagination. Use these simple
materials to express your deepest healing blessings and
prayers for a friend or loved one.
- Small (2 ¾" x 1
3/8") rectangular shipping tags with reinforced
holes and strings (may be purchased at office supply
- Assorted healing words and
images cut from magazines
- (keeping in mind these will
need to be small in size fit on a shipping tag)
- Color copies of photos of the
one who is healing and other favorite photos (these may
be reduced in size to fit on the tags)
- A variety of stickers
- Rubber stamps and colorful
stamping ink (optional)
- Glue stick
- Colored pencils, markers, gold
ink pens, glitter, etc.
- 12" of narrow ribbon
- Charms, buttons, etc.
Gather your materials on a
table where you have room to spread things out and move
them around. Before you begin you might consider
lighting a candle and closing your eyes as you call into
your heart and mind an image of the one in need of
healing. See him/her totally healed and whole. Hold this
image for a few moments and offer a prayer to accompany
your conscious intention as you begin this sacred
art-making. You might also like to ask for an angel to
assist you as you create your very special gift of love
When you feel ready open your
eyes slowly and maintain a soft focus as you work. Quiet
meditative music will deepen the process. Remove the
strings from the tags (twenty to forty will make a nice
selection). As you continue to contemplate your loved
one restored to wholeness, rubber stamp or color a
background on both sides of each tag. Let the process be
a time of prayer and meditation. Next glue words and
images onto each tag. Be sure the holes are to the left
of the tags so they will stack uniformly. When you have
finished your assorted blessing cards select a ribbon or
cord and thread the cards onto it. Tie loosely so the
tags can be moved easily. Charms or decorative buttons
may be tied to the ends of the cord for a touch of
magic. You may want to tuck the finished blessings into
a small pouch or box as a sacred container.
Using the larger size shipping
tag (4 3/4" x 2 ½") follow the same process
as above only complete each tag with a handwritten
prayer on the reverse side of the image/word.
Prayer tags may be strung
together or you may choose to run cord/ribbon through
each individual tag and hang them from branch or rod
that can then be hung with fishing line. If the person
is confined to bed because of illness the prayer branch
can be hung near them.
Friends and family can be
encouraged to create additional prayer tags to add each
time they visit. Send the directions for making prayer
tags and a few blank tags to those who live far away.
Ask them to mail them to the one who is healing to be
added to the collection.
Keeping a journal is often a
very important part of the healing process. Kathleen
Adams, founder of the Center for Journal Therapy in
Lakewood, Colorado and fellow-columnist for Soulful
Living has this to say about the power of
writing/journaling as a healing tool. In her guidance
filled book, The Write Way to Wellness, A Workbook
for Healing and Change Kathleen begins by stating,
"…That writing does heal is unmistakable.
It is not possible to be in the presence of those who
write their way through moments of ecstasy and moments
of despair, critical illness and crucial life choice,
spiritual awakening and free-falls into Mystery, without
acknowledgment of the truth that writing heals."
Writing in a journal is
powerful medicine. A journal can also be a place to
draw, collage, paint, and visually process life events.
Many times all that is needed to help someone confront
the blank page (whether they choose initially to write
or respond with art materials is a personal preference)
is an assortment of colorful materials to stimulate the
sacred imagination. Here’s a suggested list of items
you might choose from to create a basket of journaling
goodies for someone facing a life challenge. Having
materials gathered in a container makes them accessible,
visually inspirational, and irresistible.
Journal Basket Materials
- A sketchbook type journal
- Colored pencils
- Rubber stamps and stamp pads
- Oil pastels or
- A glue stick
- Colorful pens and markers
- A book of healing meditations
(to inspire writing)
- A basket, box, or other
container to hold your selections
- You might also like to include
a candle with a card suggesting that journal-keeping is
a sacred act. Lighting a candle and taking a few deep
breaths before beginning to empty oneself onto the page
will help to center and focus the body and spirit.
It’s been said, "When
one is healed, all are healed." I believe that when
we create healing gifts for someone and bring our
heartfelt purposeful intentions, prayers, and energy to
the process we too receive healing. This is one of the
many Mysteries of the sacred imagination and one of the
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© 2000 Dana
Imagination’s Story of the Month
Atherton, Carmel, California
Atherton, "Prissy" to her friends, is in her
fifties. Her work centers on the creation of harmony,
beauty and peace in home and workspaces. She is a
student of Feng Shui who shares her teacher Denise Linn’s
philosophy, "We can heal the earth one home at a
time." You may contact Priscilla by writing
to her at P.O. Box 712, Carmel, California 93921
One weekend last spring, I
gathered with a small group of close friends at Dana’s
house. Our intention was to playfully make art, meditate
and just be together.
Each woman brought her own
stash of creative goodies to work with. Dana opened her
treasure trove of collage materials, paints, rubber
stamps…a literal candy store of art supplies. We each
made our selections and found our working place in her
beautiful home. We were ready to begin.
I brought along favorite
photographs of my new life in Carmel, beautiful images
cut from magazines that caught my eye or touched my
heart and a large black hard cover sketchbook. What to
do with these items?
As I settled into a quiet space
there was an awareness of how much I had to be thankful
for and how many happy times and small cherished moments
I had begun recently begun to experience. The past few
years had been very difficult, precipitated by great
loss and the darkest time I had ever experienced in life…but
Spring had come. I could feel the light returning. There
were new beginnings. Flowers were blooming in my heart.
That weekend I decided to
create a Happiness Book, a visual work-of-art
reminding me of all the good things that had and were
happening to me.
My first page begins with a
quote for January first from Marianne Williamson’s day
to day calendar. It reads, "Love is what we are
born with. Fear is what we learn here. The spiritual
journey is the relinquishment or unlearning of fear and
the acceptance of love back into our hearts." YES!
Just what I wanted! To relinquish fear and live in love.
This Spring was my new beginning…my new year.
I surrounded this beautiful
quotation with small versions of old French greeting
cards. Each one read Bonne Annee. I made my decision.
This was going to be a good year for me.
I had color-copied photographs
of happy occasions with family and friends. The weekend
in San Francisco with my precious daughter, Margaret,
shopping for her wedding dress, picnics on the beach
with my family, art retreats with the girls. There were
also images from my trip to France and my spiritual
pilgrimage to Chartres. I am smiling or laughing in all
the photos. This was wonderful to see because there had
been so many times of deep sorrow and it seemed as if
thousands of tears had been shed.
I found quotations from
magazines and more from Marianne Williamson’s
calendar. My friend, Elizabeth, was working across the
table from me. She had brought the calendar and was
generously sharing it, allowing me to cut up as much as
I wanted. Another quote, "In asking God to heal
you, you are committing to the choice to be healed. This
means the choice to change." I had asked to be
healed and indeed it was happening. My Happiness Book
was visual proof.
This is a work in progress. The
book stays on a table in my living room. Each time I see
an image that is beautiful and calls to me…each time I
find a new photo that is full of life and love, each
time I receive a beautiful card, I tuck them in the
empty pages. On a rainy day I cut and paste and work
some more. My Happiness Book shows me that I’m growing
and changing and healing. It points me in new directions
and helps me focus on the abundance of beauty and love
in my life.
I recently read a quote by His
Holiness The Dalai Lama. "I believe the very
purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear.
Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one
believes in their religion or that religion, we are all
seeking something better in life. So I think the very
motion of our life is towards happiness…"
May we all move toward real
happiness…that inner state of true healing.
Dana's Soulful Living Feature Articles:
and the Sacred Imagination: The Dance of Co-creation
Dana's Past "Sacred Imagination" Columns:
2000 "Cultivating Gratitude: Heart-Hugs and Prayer
2000 "Journey to the
Center - The Sacred Mystery of the Labyrinth"
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.