So I’ve been out of it this week, trying to catch up on everything I’d let go, like, oh, THE ENTIRE HOUSE, and also the Brene Brown course. I’d gotten four lessons in on the last course and then Life distracted me, so I e-mailed Alison this week and she kindly gave me the last two lessons again because the notes I’d made on them made no sense. So this is my catch-up post for the course.
The fifth lesson was on practicing gratitude, and the assignment was to go around your home and your life and take pictures of things you were grateful for. I love the ideas behind it, especially the two big ideas, to honor your everyday life (“Picture normal before you lose it”) and then remembering to honor even the small things every day (“Practice gratitude even if you don’t feel it”). The problem was, the house is in such chaos still that I can’t take those pictures. So that’s my goal for Cottage Saturday (two days from now as I write this, one day from now when this is published): clear enough of the Stuff away that I can love even the unfinished stuff here, and put the collage pictures up then.
The sixth lesson was to reflect on everything we’d done before, determine our own mantras, and then take a picture of ourselves to put on up-to-now blank front page with the mantra. When I looked back on everything I’d done in the first class, I realized that almost all of it was valuable–the permission slips helped me identify the places I was needlessly hobbling myself, the “imperfect” assignment helped me find a way to self-compassion, the mantra exercise–“I will choose joy” was such an eye opener I made it my final mantra, the four collages on pain, numbness, comfort, and joy were hugely illuminating, and even though I haven’t done the gratitude collage yet, I know that’s going to be just as clarifying as everything else. The only one I had trouble with was taking pictures from my life that were upsetting and writing the antidotes beside them, talking to the Jenny in the picture and telling her that it was going to be all right because, frankly, a lot of it still isn’t right. But even that was illuminating. I think that’s the most descriptive word for this course: illuminating. It shines a light on all the dark corners where things I didn’t even know about were lurking and helps me clean them out.
And then I made three tries at the self-portrait-with-mantra and picked the one I liked best for the first page. I went through and found blank pages in the book and glued the other two in there, and then I printed out the first image of the Monument Valley game and glued it in on the second page because I loved the image and it just seemed right. Also I love Monument Valley. And then I took the last one and glued it in on the first page, and–except for the two page spread where my collage goes–I am now all caught up with a thick journal full of things I need to remember. I really love this course.