Blooming in 2024: My First Art Journal Spread
Hello and Welcome Back to Beginnings, where we talk about Fresh Starts, New Cycles, Experimentation, Exploration and Creativity. And this is my first blog post for the New Year of 2024, and I'm excited to bring you my first completed art journal spread, which I have titled: Falling Apart in Order to Bloom. I did the majority of this spread in 2023, starting back in July, when I was in the throws of grieving my father's passing in January (1/8/23 will be a year).
Now, what does that mean exactly? As of this writing, (1/5/24), I'm still contemplating. But in reflection, I think it speaks to the "falling apart," or breaking down phase when you are reckoning with a life changing event that correlates with some very deep rooted parts of your life experience that are foundational to who you are. And my father's passing certainly contributed to that experience. Somewhat of a metamorphosis, which entails a breaking in order to re-build and bloom. And this takes courage! And discernment of how to get from the beginning of this process to the beauty of transformation.
So here is my art journal tool and supply list used in this spread:
water soluble pastel
colored pencil, both water soluble and non water soluble
fabric in various prints
leaf stamps in various types and sizes
Have you experienced a "falling apart" in order to bloom in a new place? What was that like for you? What did you learn from it? What new undrstanding do you have of yourself now that you didn't have before as a result? How did you take care of yourself in the process?
Thank you so much for being a part of my journey as artist and creative.
Your presence is greatly appreciated. <3
I wish you the Happiest of New Years in 2024 and the very Best of Beginnings!
My Song: I Believe
Hello and Welcome Back to Beginnings, where we talk about fresh starts, new cycles, exploration, experimentation and creativity.
In this post, I will be sharing with you some Music I’ve released, including lyrics and my reflections on what the song means to me, as well as some journaling prompts for further reflection.
I always get excited when I’m ready to release new music so I can share my joy with you, with the intention and hope of your spirit being lifted in some meaningful way as we traverse this world at the same time in history.
The new song I’ve recorded is titled, I Believe.
I wrote this song several years ago (I’m not exactly certain when, but it was within the past 4 years since I’ve been writing music for about 5 years, just to give you an idea.) I’ve had this song in my piano book for a long time, but recently it has really been speaking to me, and I’ve been playing it with a new cadence that is deeply meditative, with a supplications vibe toward Spirit, and for me, it is a deeply empowering message.
Here are the lyrics below:
by Dawn Herring
KEEP ME SAFE
I AM SET FREE
IT IS ALL
DONE FOR ME
I CAN SEE
WHEN YOU SEE
THE TRUTH IN ME
YOU WILL BE
(Words and music copyrighted to Dawn Herring 2023)
When I wrote this song, it was in response to my scripture study and prayers in connection to my song writing, which is a natural outpouring of what Spirit speaks to me in the moment.
In the process of writing the words, stanza by stanza, I sensed a supplicating essence that I could feel within myself. My desire to feel safe, secure, loved and heard was deeply resonant. And as I made my requests, I could feel my faith rising up, knowing I was heard and was not alone. Then a deep realization of what I actually truly have in Spirit came upon me, I felt more awake to what was alive inside.
Then, in response to my faith and supplication, I sensed a reply and directive coming from a deeply loving essence of Spirit that shared the importance of vision, clarity and truth and how Waking UP to this reality brings Freedom. Yes! What a victorious response that lifts my spirit, bringing me hope that I AM FREE.
In this world filled with so much uncertainty, we all feel the need to be protected and loved; we need that assurance that we will be ok. That we are not alone. That we can see. And with what we can see, we are Free. Free to be Who We Are. Not bound by societal standards but only the boundaries we set for ourselves, for protection and care.
Spirit is there for us when we need Spirit most, during those moments of the deepest fears, doubts, insecurities, overwhelm, and uncertainty.
As we reach out for what we need, as we seek, we will find.
And when we seek together, we can support each other through the toughest of times.
And experience freedom in community!
Sounds like the Best of Beginnings to me! How about you?
Below I provide some journaling prompts for further reflection. I trust they will help bring clarity, focus and freedom to your life in this moment. ❤️
Make a list of the times when you have felt most free, whether in childhood or whatever time comes to mind naturally. What is the common thread that you can see on this list? People? Places? Activities? Pick one from the list and detail it as much as possible, reliving that sense of freedom you felt.
Do you feel that way now? What has changed or what is different?
When have you felt the most protected? Was there someone who came to your aid, such as a good friend or mentor or a family member who really gets you?
List times when you felt the most heard. What was the conversation about? Who was listening? How did this impact and change you for the better?
What is your truth right now? What can you come back to again and again that grounds and centers you no matter what you’re facing?
Write this down on an index card and keep it in a place where you can be reminded of this central truth. ❤️?
Disclaimer: journaling prompts are to be used at your own risk. If you feel overwhelmed or emotionally distressed, please seek out a counselor or therapist or call 911.
Going Gentle: What Is Working for Me Now
Hello and Welcome back to Beginnings where we talk about fresh starts, new cycles, exploration, experimentation and creativity.
For this post, I will share with you, my dear reader, about Gentleness and why it is the Centerpiece for me in my life right now. But first, a bit of back story.
About 10 years ago, I wrote a scripture down on an index card that contained the Fruits of the Spirit:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.
These are obviously character qualities we all desire to have and be in life. And when we emulate them, we are aligned with Spirit.
When I first wrote them down, I decided that I would choose one that I was most drawn to and focus on that quality in my life, both in giving and receiving.
My first choice was LOVE. I had remembered another scripture that says, Love your neighbor as yourself.
Now the part of that I hadn’t really discovered was the Love Yourself part. I was never taught how to do that in my religious upbringing in school or church. (A life time of teaching, really). But through my own study and discovery, I came to understand what it really meant, looked and felt like to truly love myself. And it changed my life in many ways, and it was noticeable.
The next fruit focus I chose was JOY. I took a deep dive into everything that brought me JOY. And I brought it and shared it with you, my dear reader, from newsletter to blog posts to videos. so much JOY!
Life goes on and I dealt with lots of changes on the home-front, attempting to choose Peace from the fruit list awhile in the midst of dealing with losses and responsibilities and moves and business and so much going on. It was a step by step, moment by moment process.
But in the past year or so, especially since the passing of my Dad in January, I realize now that I have HAD to choose GENTLENESS. I have always tried to be a gentle person and have even been told by some that I am gentle, which I always appreciate hearing. But being GENTLE with myself has become a key factor for me these past months.
How have I chose to be Gentle with myself? Let me count the ways:
Giving myself margin between tasks.
Resting when I’m tired. (And that includes naps!)
Realizing my limitations and not pushing myself too hard (still working on that one!)
Taking one small step at a time.
Not apologizing when I have to say no. And No is a complete sentence.
Setting boundaries where necessary, especially when I feel disrespected.
Doing more of what I love, like playing my piano and really enjoying the process.
Being careful with what I eat and listening to what my body needs and wants.
Seeing my need to cry when necessary as I continue to mourn my father’s passing (and it comes up when least expected.)
Going Gentle is Key to my Well Being, my connection with Spirit (who is oh, so gentle), and with my mind set. Slowing down. Not rushing. Taking it easy. and not feeling guilty when I don’t get it all done or when I disappoint another’s expectations of me.
Going Gentle means taking care of myself first. Because I know that everyone else has to take care of themselves first too.
I know I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but my own. (This was a deep realization I’ve had in the midst of Going Gentle.)
My prayer for all those who I love and care about is that they will have their own Gentleness Breakthrough that will change their life like it has done for mine.
And I pray that prayer for you, my dear reader and friend. Remember to Go Gentle with yourself.
We all need to learn to take care of ourselves in the best way possible. With no apology needed.
And Gentleness is key. May it unlock all the JOY you can experience and LOVE for yourself. Every Day.
What does Gentle mean for you? Make a list of ways you can Go Gentle with yourself. Choose one from the list that you’re not already doing and do it today. Create a mind map with Gentle as the Centerpiece and see what associations come up for you. Don’t censor. Just associate. Have fun with it. Then Go Gentle!
Copyright Image 2023 by Dawn Herring
My Choice: It is, Isn’t It?
Hello and welcome back to Beginnings, a place where we talk about Fresh Starts, New Cycles, Experimentation, Exploration and Creativity. For this post, I am sharing some new music I’ve released, a song titled, My Choice, along with Lyrics and Reflections on what this song means to me. If you choose to watch the video on YouTube and enjoy, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel, if you haven’t already. And if you have, thank you!
Now on the the music.
First I’ll share the lyrics to the song, MY CHOICE, and then I will share my reflections on how I first perceived its message and how I see it now in my current life experience.
by Dawn Herring
What looks good to me
May not always be
Deception often plays into my mind
What I think I should do
And where I should go
May not always be from the Divine
I must choose carefully
Knowing it will always be
It’s really up to me
How I choose to go
I realize I need your Grace
To know the choice that reveals your face
Help me choose to follow you
No matter where I turn
I must choose carefully
Knowing it will always be
It’s really up to me
How I choose to go
Upon the initial writing of this song, my first impression was the possibility of temptation to go down a road that might not be best for me or might not align with my values or might be a distraction from where I really need to put my energy for my greatest well being. It’s easy to get distracted by things that can steer you off course and waste your energy, even if it might look like a good idea at the time. I realize it’s always best to listen to your Higher Self and Spirit when it comes to making choices like these.
In the past few months as I’ve played and sang this song to Spirit, it has taken on a more layered meaning for me. And when I discovered what that was, it really gave me food for thought. Sometimes, when we feel like we should do something, even if it feels heavy or off or misaligned, and even influenced by outside sources that are not aligned with our values, or if we feel obligation that is not the best for our well being, it can be easy to assume that we should or ought to do that something even if it upsets us or we feel disrespected by this action we are expected to take.
When I came to realize this with some really important subject matter in my life, even coinciding with my father’s recent passing in January of this year, it really had me thinking about how important my life choices are for me, more than ever. I must take care of myself first; self care is essential, especially when I’m in the midst of mourning my father’s loss of form in this world.
Gentleness, compassion, love, comfort and slowing down are leading sources of what is needed, and if the choice I make doesn’t give me that kind of energy, then it’s essential and necessary to say no.
I must choose carefully knowing it will always be My Choice. And I don’t take that choice lightly. When I make the choices I do, I must come from a place of Love and personal power to move forward with my day full of confidence and assurance that I am taking care of myself as I need to. No questions asked. No second guessing. No matter how tempting it might be to do otherwise.
We all have choices to make in life. And we should feel Good about those choices—always.
Because it creates the right energy for the Best of Beginnings, which is what I wish for you!
Are you faced with a difficult decision and you’re not quite sure what to do about it? Detail this decision laying out all the pros and cons for each side of the coin you’re dealing with. Once you have it visible to yourself, ask this question: Is doing this thing taking care of YOU? If so, how? Really choose honesty with your answer. Be careful not to allow outside influences to determine what is right for you as you answer these questions in your journal.
Try dialogue with your Higher Self and ask the questions that have been eating at you concerning this decision. Let the dialogue flow and see what naturally comes to mind. Don’t censor or second guess.
Feel gratitude for any clarity or insights you experience or recieve as a result.
And when you make that decision based on taking care of you, move forward with confidence.
Copyright 2023 Music and Illustration by Dawn Herring
Coming Full Circle:
I also wanted to add here that I got back to sketching with just fine black pen this year, getting Back to the Basics, as I like to put it. If you would like to see my pen sketches, I show them inVlog 1 and Vlog 2.
Well, that wraps up my 2022 Year in Review! It’s been a fun ride, an interesting journey and I look forward to what is in store in 2023. I do hope you will join me as we continue our creative journeys together; that makes it so much more fun, doesn’t it?
I am always here to cheer you on, to encourage and inspire you and even empower you to take those first steps, choosing courage as you determine where you will express yourself as only you can do!
Thank you for being a part of this journey with me!
Here’s to 2023!
And I wish you the very Best of Beginnings!
In this post, I am sharing my very first video log (vlog) where I talk about and share new art, pen sketches to be specific, my experience with new music and my thoughts on a video project which is already published on my YouTube Channel, which you can access here on my website.
I decided to record some behind the scenes footage to share more of my thoughts and intentions with my creativity and with my content that I share here on my website. This is a new venture for me and I'd love to know what you think!
I've been inspired by other artists who have vlogs and decided to try my hand at it; if you like it, please give it a thumbs up on YouTube and leave a comment below on your favorite part! I hope you are inspired in your own creativity; that is my aim and goal always.
Thank you for watching and supporting my YouTube Channel and my presence online as a creator.
That means a lot to me!
And I wish you the Best of Beginnings!
My Decluttering Journey
First a little backstory. I have done major house Declutters several times over the past 5 or 6 years, referring to various Decluttering experts and their published books for reference and inspiration. And I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff as a result.
This time around, I have been more recently inspired by a funny and practical person; I found her initially on YouTube and subscribed to her newsletter. I’m referring to Dana K White of A Slob Comes Clean. I love watching her videos where she features different areas of her house that she is decluttering with her tips and tricks and her unique decluttering process that she uses personally and teaches others how to do.
One of the things I love about Dana is that she focuses on intuition as your guide, a way to trust yourself to know where to put things. I won’t get into the five step process she uses but I have followed at least 3 of her steps and it does help reduce the overwhelm when it comes time to declutter.
I’ve been through all visible spaces, bathroom and living room cabinets, as well as a full wardrobe and jewelry declutter (and I'm still taking stuff out!). I still haven’t finished my whole space (more kitchen to do) and really, you never do. It’s an ongoing process to keep up the reduction of clutter over time. But I’m pleased with what I have accomplished; and it motivates me to keep it up.
I think it helps to start with a visible space that doesn’t take up a lot of room. That’s where I started. At my dining room table. Yes, I have several items I keep there and I completely decluttered and revamped what remains and how I store it.
It also helps to “shop” in your own home for storage solutions once you remove what doesn’t need to be there. I found myself exchanging containers from one place to another, and it worked out nicely. One basket was on the table; I moved it to use it in a drawer instead. I also moved a black mesh office organizer from that drawer and chose it for the dining room space and it’s perfect. One clear plastic dish was in that same drawer and I moved it to the kitchen to hold items in one place. Yes, it’s helpful when you don’t have to buy anything!
That leads me to decluttering my Jewelry Collection. It was an interesting experience for me to go through it. I’m big on jewelry and hang on to things longer than I should in some cases, so it was time. Using Dana’s process, I removed what was worn or broken, some stuff I just don’t wear, and made some space for new pieces. I have found right away that since I decluttered my jewelry, I’m now wearing pieces that I wasn’t wearing before, and I’m happy about that. There is less to choose from so it simplifies decision making when pulling a look together from my wardrobe.
I shared the various pieces I let go of and put a video together (see above) to share what I removed so you can learn about my thoughts in the process. I hope it inspires you to do some decluttering too!
It feels good to let things go that are no longer needed, that are worn out, or simply what I’ve outgrown; it helps me recognize how I’ve changed and what I still love and why. In a way it’s like shedding an old skin and fully embracing the “new” me. It’s a Fresh Start. Like a New Cycle of what belongs to me and why I choose to keep it in my space. I will keep an eye on what I could let go of in the future, being mindful of how my belongings make me feel. Because I do trust myself and will know when it’s time. And that’s a good feeling!
What do you feel Iike you need to “shed” right now? What items in your wardrobe are you hanging onto that no longer suit your style? Do you have collections that have been piling up and need paring down? Record your thoughts on decluttering and brainstorm where you would like to start. Keep it simple and easy and reward yourself for any progress you make.
I wish you the BEST of Beginnings!
I wrote the spiritual song, The Eternal Now, last year (2021), when I had a lot of questions about the future. There was so much changing on the home front and I was looking for answers. My first place to look is always through prayer, but sometimes the practical side of life seems to require an external source. And when it doesn’t come right away, or there are too many options concerning the subject matter, it can sometimes be overwhelming.
In recent years I have come to understand that much frustration and angst can result from looking to the future to the point of struggle rather than being in the Now. I found that the more I spent time just focusing on what I could do in the Moment, the more peace I felt.
Another issue I was addressing was Trust in the Divine; and when I choose that Trust, it brings even more Peace.
So my spiritual song, The Eternal Now, was my way of expressing this understand that Now is all there is and all that matters in the moment. And in that Now Space, Wisdom resides, bringing clarity and direction and that inner knowing, a powerful place of Intuition we have all been gifted with.
And when I experience this energy within myself, I no longer look outside of myself but within, where Divinity lives and moves and blesses me with Presence.
I have offered the lyrics to The Eternal Now below. I hope it lifts and inspires you!
I look to Now
For the Answers
As my questions turn to dust
I look to peace
in the place
that requires I must
I see the space
that is open
Timeless and True
In the knowing
That comes from you
I am certain
That you are here
And I am with you
In the Eternal Now
Is there a situation in your life where you feel like you need external answers to your questions?
Do you find yourself looking to the future and wonder if NOW is where you will find peace? Detail this situation in your journal and list off ways you can become more present from moment to moment. As you implement these ideas, record any change you experience in contrast to any struggle you’ve had with looking externally. Also detail if an answer came when you least expected it as a result of your presence in the Now.
Note: Music (both video and lyrics) are Copyrighted to Dawn Herring, 2022
Dawn Herrings is an Artist, Illustrator, Aspiring Musician, and Avid Journal Keeper. She enjoys spending time writing songs, composing for the piano, playing with all kinds of art media, including colored pencils for illustrating, exploring design and textures, having fun creating spreads in her art journal and writing about her day, her dreams and her vision in her journals. Dawn is also Office Manager and partner in business with her husband, Bill, of 33 years.
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