As a women's empowerment and creativity coach, I can always rely on SoulCollage® to deepen my relationships with my clients, theirs with each other, and their relationships with themselves, no matter the circumstances. SoulCollage® breaks down barriers to the authentic self and gets people to the heart of the matter very quickly. As a trained Facilitator, I know that I can surrender, step out of the way, and let it do what it is designed to do.
|Inner Knowing (Council Suit) by Colleen Russell
I Am One Who
listens. I Am the bridge between your inner and outer worlds. Be still and know.
I've made many cards over the years, and they always gift me with new levels of awareness. For instance, when I started writing a book a couple of years ago, I created a
Crone card (Council Suit)
with an ancient, wise, kind, beautiful half-woman, half-striped-animal sitting on the ground listening to a tiny figure standing before her. As I consulted the imagery of the card, it reassured me that I would not be alone in my writing, that I had a guide or an inner resource I could call upon that would be there for me as I wrote. With its help, the book is almost finished!
I Am One Who is ancient, who sees without seeing, who is in touch with the feminine, who is grounded, has transformed, has depth and wisdom. What I have to give you is knowing, clear seeing, guidance, beauty, and connection. What I want from you is to take time to get to know me. If you come to me you will have ease. I will guide you. Allow your knowing to come through so that you can help others who are still struggling.
I often use SoulCollage® to begin getting to know a new client and to build rapport in groups. For instance, I have had the privilege of co-facilitating women's trekking trips to Tuscany over the last three years. Women join our group from all over the United States. Most of them do not know each other before the trip, but many leave as life-long friends.
SoulCollage® has been a key component in the bonding that happens between the women. I have four conference calls with the women before they arrive in Italy. On our third call I introduce them to SoulCollage®, send them a packet of images and cards, and invite them to set aside time to reflect on and create at least one card, with the aim of deepening into the question of what has called them onto this journey.
On our next call the ladies share their SoulCollage® cards with a partner. That's when the bonding really begins. The next step in SoulCollage®, called the "
I Am One Who...
," is based on the idea that each collaged card depicts an inner part of ourselves, sometimes a part we are conscious of, sometimes a part we have not been fully aware of. The "
I Am One Who...
" is a way for that part of ourselves to introduce itself to us. This is an aspect of our inner world, while also being Other than the conscious self we usually introduce to others. Allowing a voice from within the less-known in ourselves to speak to a stranger cuts below the surface of superficiality and often opens people to see and experience more quickly their shared humanity.
|The Group Gathers - photo by Colleen Russell
We talk about what it was like to create a card and what they learned about themselves. I often hear what a relief it is to discover that they actually
creative after all, and they are amazed at the depth of what the card revealed to them.
The women bring the SoulCollage® cards they have made to Italy. At our opening evening I ask them to share their cards with the group. Each woman shares her card's
I Am One Who...
and what it means to her; then passes her card around the circle. In this way, each woman's uniqueness begins to reveal itself. Afterwards the cards are placed on the center table, reflecting the beauty of the group, and a deep, intimate bond is made among the women for the rest of the trip.
In between hikes and sightseeing, we make more cards and I teach the women how to consult the cards -- how to ask them life questions and receive the wisdom of the deep self in response.
I then coach them to use their curiosity and imagination as they begin to inquire about the messages hidden within their cards, just allowing the images of the card to answer -- as when they were children, becoming anything or anybody in their imagination. It is wonderful to share these explorations with the cards in the natural beauty of the Tuscan countryside.
|SoulCollage® Cards Introduce Themselves - photo by Colleen Russell
One lady said of her card, "I already know what's there. It's this, this, and this." I quietly invited her to let the card speak to her, to see if there might be more underneath the surface. During the process she began to cry as she discovered the deeper story, which opened up a well of grief in her. She cried for the next 24 hours, but because we had already created such a safe place, all the women were able to just witness her tears and warmly support her without the need to fix.
When I saw her at a reunion six months later, she was glowing. Something had opened in her that allowed a new life-giving energy to come to her awareness.
I believe most people are hungry for a real connection, not just with themselves but also with one another. We need powerful bridges that can bond us; SoulCollage® is one of these bridges. I am grateful to Seena Frost for her genius in developing this process.
Colleen Russell, MA
, The Artful Sage, is an artist, writer, and speaker on women's empowerment and creativity. She became a SoulCollage® Facilitator in 2010 and has been teaching and sharing the process ever since. She is currently completing her first book,
The Feminine Path to Wholeness
, due out in Spring of 2018. For more information about her book, art, travel journeys, and services,
please visit her website