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“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” ~ John Burroughs

“Seeing with new eyes” is a fundamental skill I teach in my drawing and painting classes and is the key to greater awareness and creativity. Visually exploring the outer landscape in new ways also has a way of revealing unknown aspects of our inner landscape. By exploring the “ordinary” in new ways we can learn to see more accurately which, in turn, helps us to better discern our own needs and unique perspective.

For Today …

  • Go back and read over the Pre-Course Introduction if you haven’t already done so.
  • Read and reflect on the poem below by Celtic writer and mystic John O’Donohue (there is also a PDF you can download of the poem if you would like to print it out).
  • What particular phrase or part of O’Donohue’s poem really stands out?
  • Think about what beginning this particular journey means to you.
  • Start the first page of your journal or sketchbook in a meaningful or symbolic way that is the essence of what you hope the next six weeks will be like. This can be in the form of your introductory 6-10 words, a phrase from O’Donohue’s poem, a decorative border, drawing, symbol or photo.
  • Write in your journal your first thoughts as we begin our journey.
  • Share some of your reflections in the community forum (if you wish to). The community forum is “sacred space” so please be mindful and considerate when commenting on what others have shared and posted. Offer only your thoughts and impressions, not a critique of someone’s artistic ability or merit. Our goal is to be supportive and encouraging of each other, not critical.

For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us

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