Ananda’s April Creative Adventure: Soul Collage Workshop at Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts

Happy Friday!

Last week I scheduled a creative adventure with myself and attended the “SoulCollage Studio” workshop with Barbara Black at Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts.  Before I arrived at the workshop, my inner critic archetype Broomhilda tried to disturb my creative flow by ranting and raving about me being 45 minutes late.  Instead of dismissing Broomhilda’s rant, I allowed her to speak her mind.  Why you might ask? Because she represents one of my chosen 8 archetypes who serve as windows of self-discovery.

Ananda's Inner Critic Archetype - Broomhilda

Do you know what archetypes are?  The word archetype is a term coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.  It refers to the various personalities that live inside of individuals. In my opinion, archetypes invite me to explore, embrace, and accept myself. They bring me closer to myself in ways that allow all of my personalities to serve my highest and greatest good. That’s why I have to take the time to identify, nurture, and welcome them into my life.  Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as team players who use their strengths and share their gifts with one goal in mind: healthy living.  I promise them I will listen to what they have to say. I reassure them I won’t pick favorites or judge their commentary, creativity, communication style, criticism, and concerns. I try to honor their presence with gratitude daily.  I do my best to accept and bless who they are because without my chosen eight I would be lost.

Okay so back to my visit from Broomhilda … my inner critic archetype.  As I walked down U Street to Smith Farm’s offices, I asked Broomhilda why she was upset.  She confessed she was worried I was wasting the $12.50 I paid for the workshop.  She was also worried I would not get what I needed to receive from the workshop. When I listened to Broomhilda’s concerns, I noted that she was trying to make sure I my workshop needs were met in her own unique way (minus her rants).

Once I arrived at Smith Farm’s offices, I promised Broomhilda that I would be fully present in the workshop so my needs would be met. She seemed happy and drifted into the background of the evening.  Here’s the lesson I learned about my inner critic Broomhilda: when I listen to her without judgment or resistance, I demonstrate that I am present and aware of her concerns.  I don’t have to agree with her or take action. I just have to be present and aware.  My gift of presence affirms that she is being heard.  It also creates space in my spirit, mind, body, and heart  to embrace my full self — all eight parts of me.

Barbara Black’s “SoulCollage Studio” workshop was exactly what I needed last week.   SoulCollage is an intuitive collage  process created by Seena Frost, a psychotherapist and spiritual counselor.  During the collage-making process, you create your own cards that mirror a unique and different aspect of your soul and self.  It is the perfect creative adventure for an artist like myself … I love collages and archetypes!

Before I started making my SoulCollages, Barbara guided me through a series of exercises based on ‘The Guest House,” one of my favorite poems by Sufi poet  Rumi. See below.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

(From The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

I also read the quotes below.

  • “I am large. I contain multitudes.” Walt Whitman
  • “One must separate out the parts of something before these parts can come back together in a new and truly whole and precious way.” C.G. Jung
  • “When the soul wants to experience something, she throws an image of the experience before her and enters into her own image.” Meister Eckhar

I also journaled about my personal qualities, traits, patterns, behaviors, fears, and favorite activities, past times, passions, and pursuits. My journaling opened me up to writing about my inner voices (another phrase for my chosen eight archetypes).  When I completed my journaling, Barbara instructed  me to put my writings away and sit in silence for a few moments.   After those moments passed, Barbara invited me to join the workshop class in creating SoulCollage cards in silence.

Being able to sit in silence with my fellow workshop participants was a special treat.  The silence allowed me to tap into my soul’s intuition.  Check out what I created below. After the collages were made, Barbara facilitated a guided meditation that asked us to discover who the card was in our lives. We were given an opportunity to share one-on-one.  That was a very powerful experience to have someone listen and write down what I thought.  As a result, I developed six-word memoirs to describe each collage. They are included below.


Six-Word Memoir for SoulCollage#1 – Joy. Travel. India. Books. Heels. Dresses.

SoulCollage #2

Six-Word Memoir for SoulCollage #2: Sparkle. Magic. Goodness of My Life.


Six-Word Memoir for SoulCollage #3 – – Touch Earth. Relaxation. Yoga. Meditation. Sangha.

SoulCollage #4

Six-Word Memoir for SoulCollage #4 – Smart for Two. Partners. Friends. Lovers.

Have you had a creative adventure this month?

What was it?

Have you made any collages or written any six-word memoirs? Please share them in the comment section.

Enjoy your weekend!

Day 9 of 30 Days of Poetry, Jazz & Earth Day Awareness: Celebrating Sufi poet Rumi


It’s day 9 0f my 30 Days!  So today I started my morning with yoga, meditation, and poetry by Sufi poet Rumi.  Click on the Cinchcast audio blog to hear me read one of Rumi’s poetry about love and art. I also read my poem “Loving You” from my new book That Which Awakens Me.   

Do you have a six-word memoir for today?  Here’s mine: Poetry. Jazz. Earth. Listen. Dance. Heal.

Enjoy your weekend!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Rumi’s love of poetry,


New Creative Adventure for Summer 2009 – Wreck This Journal byKeri Smith




Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith –


Good Morning All!

Happy Friday!

It’s 6:40 a.m. in D.C.  The June rain that is hitting the pavement outside of my apartment fills the air with autumn chills.  It’s hard to believe that summer will be here in 15 more days.  I’ve already had two cups of green tea.  They warmed me up and got me energized for my new creative adventure : Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.  

Wreck This Journal is an invitation to play and be free.  It was extended by Jamie Ridler, a certified professional co-active coach (  Jamie founded Next Chapter, a book blogging group that has created an online sisterhood of support for creative women like myself.  I recently participated in Jamie’s Next Chapter book blogging group from January to April.  We read and blogged about The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin (one of my favorite books – read it for the first time in 2000).  Click here to learn more about the group:

Today marks the first step in my Wreck This Journal adventures with a group of groovy creative women. Click here to learn more: Read about my first Wreck This Journal adventure below.

The clock registered 6:00 a.m. when I started my Wreck This Journal adventure.  I opened the book and read the title page.  My heart jumped when I read: “To create is to destroy.”  What a powerful mantra!  It was medicine for my creative soul.  It was also a permission slip to just be without an agenda.  I needed the medicine and permission slip after spending the past year and half working on my poetic memoir.  I really got excited when I read Keri’s warning statement: “You may begin to live more recklessly.”  My giggles let me know that I was on the right journey!  I shouted “Hallelujah!”

The first page I wrote in asked me to fill out who this book belongs to.  I wrote nice and neat like a good Catholic girl: Ananda Leeke.  The next line asked me to write my name in white.  I panicked and realized I didn’t have a white pen.  My sense of play left for a nanosecond until I wrote my name in any ole’ way.  That’s when I started to do my own thang despite the instructions.  My archetype called Madelyn, the lawyer/CEO lady, cringed.  My archetype called Puf, the little girl who rocks the world with her BoHo BAP (Black American Princess) fabulousness and Black-eyed susan southern debutante swagger, grinned and got on with the wrecking process.  Puf got the party started! It lasted 30 minutes. 

My favorite pages were:

1) Pour, spill, drip, spit, fling your coffee here.

I used green tea instead.  Rebel girl Puf didn’t blink an eye at my choice.  Then I dipped my finger three times in my tea cup and fingerpainted 3 long drips on the page.  

2) Color This Entire Page.

Kiamsha, my creative woman archetype, took over on this page. She decided to write a poem first. Here’s the poem.


It is a rainy today.

Play is what’s on my mind.

Play opens the space of gratitude in my heart.

It reminds me of my Yogi tea bag message.

“Gratitude is the open door to abundance.”

Color it all with love. 

 After writing the poem, I walked from my bedroom into my art studio and picked up my box of crayons.  I brought them back to my bed and proceeded to randomly pull out a few colors.  I started coloring the page with two different crayons.  I shaded in places and scribbled in others.  I added more colors.  When I was finished, I realized that my coloring had given birth to a new poem.  So I copied it on the opposite page. 


Coloring is my favorite.

It is scribbles of  joy.

Two crayons together going sideways, upside down, and all around.

Yellow and orange.

Pink and red.

White and violet.

Blue and green.

They kiss a blank page with their rainbow colors with joie de vivre.

My final act from this scene in my creative adventure was coloring the page. When I finished, I looked at the page with all of its colorful shadings and waved a cheery goodbye.

3) Fill this page with circles.

I decided to skip several pages and have some more morning fun.  That’s how I landed on page 32.  I let out a big WOW when I read the direction about filling the page with circles.  My Puf archetype loves to draw circles.  So much fun, right?  I pulled out my crayons again and made crazy swirls of colorful circles until I got dizzy. I drew blue circles on top of pink ones.  Yellow ones layered the pink ones.  Green ones moved next door to orange ones.  They were a family of swirling circle dervishes that  Rumi would be proud of! After I finished with this page, I closed the journal and made my way to my yoga mat for a round of sun salutations, mantra chanting, and meditation before my oatmeal breakfast!  What a way to start a Friday!

To my Next Chapter book blogging group sistaloves:  Thank you for joining me on this journey.  I am so excited to be taking it with you.  This summer I have more time on my hands so I will be able to visit your blogs more regularly (didn’t do that on the last Next Chapter book blogging  journey due to my poetic memoir writing).  I look forward to learning more about your Wreck This Journal experiences. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy your day and weekend!

Peace and Creativity,