Not sure what got me on the Junk Journaling path earlier this year, but here I am. Any other junk journal junkies out there?
My first junk journal was for Halloween and had a macabre "embalmer/funeral director" theme. Here's a flip through of the finished product (I gave it to an online acquaintance):
Yesterday, I finished stitching a Christmas Junk Journal (my 2nd full-length one). Flip through below:
Haven't shared much of my jewelry designs on here (I've been making jewelry for over two years now)--so I'm applying that to making ephemera for junk journals--for example, "journal jewelry", "bling" or dangles (as they're often called. Here's two sets below (might make some for Christmas), that are in our ChezBoyer Etsy Shop here:
Also, some beaded and fabric tassels (found here):
But I admit--my favorite media to work with these days are paper, ink and string. It grounds me--the complete opposite of writing. Elementally speaking if writing is Air (and some Fire, for motivation)--then Junk Journaling (and paper crafting) is Earth, with a good dose of Water.
And interesting flip, considering I was so Air/Fire for so long.
I'm glad for the "balancing"--and grounding. It suits me now.
Have you heard of Kindle Vella? It's Amazon.com's newest venture--a way to read stories in episode format on the Kindle iOS app or online. It's like an app in that you buy a certain number of coins and you can use them to read episodes.
My newest work, Tarot Look-a-Likes, is now up on Vella at this link. Nine "episodes" are already published.
If you ever wondered what differentiates similar looking cards (e.g. 2 and 3 of Wands)--or ones with similar energies (e.g. Celebration: 3 of Cups, 4 of Wands and 6 of Wands)--this series is for you.
Our core values are things we hold deeply. To live an authentic life, our actions, decisions and investments must be aligned with those values. Otherwise, we live inauthentically--and wonder why we feel a lack of purpose or personal meaning.
Many are out of alignment with their true values because:
They never stopped to identify them (if you don't know your values, you can't live in alignment with them)
They're living according to someone else's values (parents, teachers, peers, culture, religion, media)
They've outgrown past values (yep, your values can--and do--change!)
They've deemed some of their true values as frivolous, embarrassing or immoral
Have you took the time to consider a host of values so you can drill down to figure out yours? My free list of values for you to explore will help you determine your core values. Click here to grab it from DropBox.
Do any of the values on the list make your blood boil? Stirs your heart? Makes you wish the world would change to reflect? These are important clues as to what you really, truly value.
When examining the list and narrowing down potential values, ask yourself: "Is this really my value? Or is it one my religion says I should have? Did I pick this up from the media as something trendy or important--or perhaps this is a value my Mom, Dad, favorite teacher or culture holds dear?"
Believe it or not, your values can change. What you value at age 20 may not be what you value at age 50. As you change, your values may change. This could be because of a life-altering event such as serious illness, natural catastrophe, accident, loss of a loved one or a pandemic. Or, on the happier end, a joyful marriage, new baby, job promotion, spiritual epiphany or positive lifestyle changes.
Lastly, some people discount a deeply held value because they're embarrassed about it. Perhaps a religious tradition deemed certain values "bad" or "immoral"--like Wealth, Achievement, Fame or even Beauty. But no value on the list I provided is "bad" or "good"; they're all neutral. If you have a core value, you can't just say "Well, I don't value that" when, in fact, you do hold it dear.
Ignoring or sublimating it will just make you miserable--and you'll likely act and choose according to your value anyway, even if subconsciously. Your inner critic will then likely eat at you, shaming you for pursuing that value (let alone think about it).
So it's time to come clean. Figure out your deeply held values.
Your values. No one else's.
Then, start making choices--and spending time and money--on those values.
That is what authenticity is: living according to your core values.
What about you, dear reader? Care to share your values? Need help discerning what your core values are? Noticing values you thought were yours--but aren't? Weigh in down below in the comments!
P.S. If you truly detest one of your core values, then you can always drill even deeper and ask yourself why that value is important to you. This is one of the things I can help with as a Life Purpose Coach.
In the Myers-Briggs typology, the profiles most likely to experience this kind of angst are NFs (iNtuitive Feelers). The combination of the imaginative, idealistic and OMG-all-the-potential! of the iNtuitve persuasion coupled with Feeling’s subjectivity and relativism is a brew that flails, quests, gropes and/or gnashes the teeth in the search for meaning.
You can watch a brief interview about how to articulate life purpose below:
The interviewer asks Dr. Maisel for some examples of life purposes. He offered these:
Doing the Next “Right” Thing (Living According to One’s Principles)
Making Value-Based Meaning
It can be in “menu” form (listing what’s important to you)—or in crafting statements that encompass several things (incorporating values from your “menu” of life purposes).
And, what we find meaningful five years ago (or even last year) may not be all that meaningful this year.
As we change, so do our values, priorities and—yes—our life purposes.
Dr. Maisel goes on to stress that the most important component to meaningful living is to orient yourself, each day, towards your life purpose.
In the interview—and in Week 7 of the book—he explains how to create what he calls a Life Purpose Icon—a tangible image (or symbol) that captures your life purpose choices.
Just a universal symbols like a cross, Star of David or pentagram evoke great significance and associations for some religious folks, a personal symbol can also become a strong icon anchoring us in our deepest values—as well as a motif leading us to our best selves and a life full of meaning. (I just got an image of Batman’s Bat Signal glowing in the sky… Ha!).
So taking Dr. Maisel’s examples from the interview, how might we distill those life purposes into icons? Well, it will be personal, of course. But here are some symbols that I’ve brainstormed:
Activism – A symbol hinting at the type of activism, perhaps? Social justice may be Scales. Environmentalism might be a Tree. Animal rights could be a favorite furry, scaled or feathered creature. Non-violent resistance could be a peace sign. Some health advocates associate colors with particular diseases they’d like raise awareness for (e.g. pink for breast cancer, purple for Alzheimer’s, red for AIDS, multi-color puzzle piece of Autism, etc.).
Service – An outstretched hand? Connecting hands? A wrench?
Strong Relationships – A chain? Two tethered hearts? Stick people in a circle?
Doing the Next “Right” Thing (Living According to One’s Principles) – Exclamation mark? Check mark? Asterisk? Justice or Judgement Tarot card?
Obviously, there’s no wrong way to create a Life Purpose Icon because it’s personal—whatever is meaningful to you.
In this vein, choosing a Word of the Year (or three words) is another way to focus on what truly matters to you. Over at Inc.com, Megy Karydes shares her 5 Tips on Crafting an Inspirational Mantra (that you can use all year long). For some, this method is more goal-oriented rather than meaning-oriented—but you can still use it to distill your chosen life purposes.
At qz.com, Rose Spinks encourages us NOT to make New Year’s Resolutions (she calls them a “scam”) but, instead, create what she calls a Life Thesis. I love how she sums up her article:
As it turns out, when you take away expectations and shame and pressure, humans tend to be rather intelligent about choosing what’s good for them. Chances are, if you craft a thesis that truly honors what you want your life to look like, your daily habits and actions will align to create that life, too. It’ll feel less like a moving target, and more like finding your center of gravity.
After seeing three Tarot books published in 2018 (!)—five full-length books in the last ten years—I feel a drawing towards process. I’m moving away from words and mandates like “productivity”, “publicity”, “sales”, “accomplishment”, “professional” and “business”. In fact, as I was talking earlier this evening to my husband (about, what else…meaning!—especially in terms of art), I uttered the phrase No End In Mind.
That is, play. Creativity for creativity’s sake. Enjoying the journey without a destination.
You don’t see a 3-year-old ponder self-worth, artistic prowess or marketability, right?
My values are changing. Have changed.
And so are some of my Life Purposes.
I’ll make some icons to reflect those—as touchstones for the upcoming year. Reminders of where I’m at now (not where I was, or even where I think I want to be).
What about you, dear Reader? Have you pondered your Life Purposes lately? Made choices as to what they are? Or even created icons, symbols or talismans to reflect those Life Purposes? Do share in the comments below!
I’m a talented writer, but am rarely published. Am never solicited. My book has been rejected by nearly every publisher I know of. When I do publish, no more than 10-15 people read my work. With each rejection, my art brings me less joy. Legit question: Why continue writing?
Now, let me just say this guy isn't a self-published hack (I checked his Twitter bio, snob that I am). In fact, he's a NYC Emerging Writer Fellow at the Center for Fiction--and his work has been featured in Hobart Pulp, Barrelhouse, Joyland Magazine and Split Lip Magazine.
I tweeted back to him:
I have struggled with this, too. After much contemplation, I decided to retire from writing Tarot books (I've 3 under my belt, each innovative--but not good sellers). I've turned my creativity to jewelry making and aromatherapy these days. Life is too short to be miserable.
He then replied "Life is too short to be miserable--indeed! Thank you for sharing!"
It's true. Now, if writing gave you supreme pleasure--money and/or audience be damned--I'd say keep going. But when writing starts to become a drain, you have to ask "Is it really worth it?" Talent doesn't demand our slavery.
Just because we're good at something--even really good--it doesn't mean we have to do it. We don't owe anyone anything in this life. In fact, we don't even have to do it if it helps people.
In case you didn't know, our son Noah does amazing work as a Tarot bag designer. His stylish Tarot wallets can also be used to hold Lenormand decks, large oracle cards, essential oil rollers and inhalers--as well as mundane things like tissues, medicines, anti-bacterial containers, money, credit cards, etc.
Customers at our Chez Boyer Etsy Shop get to buy already-made bags, or have custom Tarot bags with their choice of liner color and vintage button. Here's a video I made with showcasing some of Noah's work (including Kitty Kicker Kushions filled with organic catnip!):
Doesn't he do extraordinary work?]
In fact, the customer that ordered two more Lenormand-size bags (that I mentioned in the video) just posted a 5-star review of her original bag, along with this photo:
Here's Noah talking a bit about his process (from a few years ago):
You can snag your very own bag made by Noah on our Chez Boyer Etsy Shop here.