How to Shift Out of Overdrive into Peace Now


If you’ve been doing SoulCollage® for a while, like me, I wonder if you’ve noticed certain “themes” returning in your cards from time to time. Go ahead. Look back over your cards and see if you can pick out a particular concern or two that makes repeat appearances.

I have a friend who has a lot of cards that explore male/female issues. Another friend’s themes seem to be “freedom” and “confinement.” Me? One of the things I’m big on is “being too busy.” That pattern has been on my mind a lot this month: getting stuck in overdrive — doing, doing, doing! Every time I’ve worked with this over the years, my stuckness around it gets a little looser. But it’s definitely something I would call a chronic concern.

Stuck in Generational Overdrive 

The other day, I felt myself stuck in my “doing” rut again. Then I remembered: when I was small, my mother was stuck in overdrive, too. It felt to me then like everything else she did was more important than me! Cleaning the house, cooking supper, doing the wash, etc. were all more important than me! I was last on her list. Wow! My self-worth had been at stake! I could finally see the hook!

Next, I had to ask myself: how many times, when MY kids were growing up, had I, unwittingly, put THEM last on MY list? And myself? Absolutely always, dead last! I made a little note on a scrap of paper in my date book to investigate this issue further the next time I did SoulCollage®!

I feel so blessed to have a monthly SoulCollage® class. That’s when I can count on catching up with myself, because SoulCollage® pulls me back into the “being” side of my life. From “being” I can investigate the things that really matter to the quality of my life – things that never make it to “the list”!

As it turned out, I forgot about my “note to self” and made a different card in my class that day. But the next morning, I noticed that little scrap of paper still sitting there in my date book. And it was pulling on me. (Yes, I said I would work on you yesterday!!!) Well . . . I hadn’t really come out of that “being” space yet, and I had some time, plus a pile of illustrations left over. Time for some internal exploration!

Here’s the first card I made. It came together very quickly.

Too Busy

I Am One Who is too busy to be me – too busy to know or care who I really am, what I really want, where I should focus. I Am One Who is lost to myself – lost in all the doing.

I Am One Who was hurt by a mother who was too busy for me. I Am One Who repeats that unconscious pattern and is too busy to honor my own true self.

Ann H. Hughes' SoulCollage® Card

That really captured it! Now, what kind of a card could I come up with to balance and heal this pattern?

The Color of Peace 

I started flipping through my leftover images. A gold Buddha stood out first of all. Next, I saw a piece of turquoise jewelry . . . and a PEACE symbol and a heart . . . and some abstract art construct in blue. Blue seemed to be calling to me. Blue: the color of peace.

Ann H. Hughes' "Forgive Myself" SoulCollage® Card

Forgive Myself

I Am One Who forgives myself for being human. I Am One Who is sometimes rigid and sometimes fluid – sometimes idle and sometimes too busy – and it is all — okay. I Am One Who has surrendered self-judgment and knows peace.

Back in 2007, when I made my first “Doing” card, I’d made an “opposite card” – “Being” – to balance it. (See Craft Your Wholeness, Chapter One, and, if you’re a SoulCollage® Facilitator, the November 2015 Neter Letter.) But now, exploring the difference between these two opposites wasn’t enough. No — I needed (and was ready for) a deeper level of healing. It was time to transmute this issue. It was time to look at it through the Buddha’s eyes, with complete acceptance and compassion. 

I suspect this “Forgive Myself” card is going to see a lot of heavy use as I go back through my cards, identifying other troublesome themes, and then work to dissolve them, using the forgiveness, love and peace in this card. Here’s how I’ll set that up in my card display space:

Ann H. Hughes' self-forgiveness SoulCollage® card composite

Boxed in by these two very positive cards, the “Trouble” issue will be visually neutralized and will release its charge just as soon as I’m ready to let go of it. (See Craft Your Wholeness.} So, what was a blinding problem in 2007 – and came up for me again this month . . . is, for now – visually anyway – at rest.

For me, working on chronic issues feels like peeling an onion, layer by layer. As you peel, the onion gets smaller and smaller and smaller. But it’s a big onion and can only be peeled one layer at a time. Good luck to you on your journey to the center of YOUR onion, using SoulCollage®!

Ann H. Hughes has been a SoulCollage® Facilitator since 2007. She presented a popular workshop at the 2013 International SoulCollage® Conference in Skamania, Washington, and is a member of the American Art Therapy Association. She is also the author of Craft Your Wholeness: How to Make & Use Intentional SoulCollage® Cards for Healing & Living (available from Hanford Mead and Amazon). Read Ann's articles at the SoulCollage® Blog and Craft Your Wholeness.

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