I first started reading about the benefits of collaging to prepare for a professional development session I led in my workplace 3 years ago. The session I taught was on collage art as a creative stress management tool. Several sources said that collage art is recommended when under stress and feeling a lack of control over your present situation. This is because in collaging you get to control which pictures and words you choose to include in your unique expression of art. You’re in charge, and this process of creating gives you the sense of control that you felt you were lacking beforehand.
At the same time, through my own collage creations, I’m finding that collaging has helped me let go and just soak in the art that I’m creating. I let go of a need to strive for perfection or stress about where each piece of paper will go in the collage. There are really no rules when I collage and as a result this is a very freeing and forgiving process. I am in charge because it’s my creation, and I always enjoy seeing how the pieces turn out. In creating in this way, I develop and practice a greater sense of self-compassion too, because I’m not hard on myself if I paste a piece I’ve torn from a magazine in the “wrong” place, because I can paste something over it or bring in other pieces to compliment the misplaced piece if I really don’t like how it looks, but that hasn’t really happened in my collage process so far.
I don’t strive for a masterpiece, I simply create and create and enjoy the flow that comes with this freeing practice. I enjoy the energy it gives me, the inspiration it calls forth in me, and I enjoy sharing what I’ve created with others. I’ve added to my inspirational collage art journal over the past 3 years in the company of friends several times and during some of my professional development sessions in the workplace as well, which have all been such wonderful experiences. I love seeing what others will come up with and feeling their inspiration levels rise at the same time.
My collage creative process reminds me of the balancing act of maintaining control of our responses in life while letting go of the need to control everything else. This is truly an art. I dedicated an entire month back in May of 2014 to learning and practicing the art of surrender, and this daily focus was so helpful when I ran into situations that I could not control. I also started using an app called Mindfulness Daily that reminds me throughout the day to focus on the moment, notice how I’m feeling both physically and emotionally, and if there is anything beyond my control that I can accept for now. This last part has helped me practice letting go in the moment and has reminded me to take a breath and feel grateful throughout the day. I think the combination of dedicating time to express my creativity, along with focusing on what I can control in each moment is proving very helpful in remaining centered no matter what’s going on around me.
These are several of my collage creations that I made when I first published this blog post back on May 7, 2014 on my sister site, Meditations From My Ecua-Gringa Life.