Cork Board
My side table. Photo by Rachel Andrews

 

I respond well to visual stimuli, so I began keeping a cork board of inspirational pictures and notes near my desk a few years ago. I didn’t even spend a lot of money on it, I think it was $5.00 at Goodwill. I don’t update the pictures on it often, only when I need some extra juice, but the effect is immediate and strong. I’m sure the process of cutting out pictures from magazines is not new to you, but I figured I would share my process with you just for fun.

The history of images from my cork board tells me a lot about my personal evolution. For instance, I used to have a picture from a fashion magazine of a model wearing a green faux fir coat, with patchwork leather leggings, winter boots, and a t-shirt. I was in love with this picture and I actually posted it on my old blog. The outfit is what I dreamed of wearing in high school, but it took me until last year to get rid of the picture. Nostalgia sometimes works against us. We can hold ourselves back just by holding on to outdated ideals.

The new fashion picture is much more “me”. The dress is simple, but colorful. It even has my favorite new color: magenta! Her hair is simple, like mine, and she is surrounded by books. This is what I feel like now. It’s cleaner and more polished, but still has that edge that I love so much from the booties and leggings. This image will remind me to pick clothes from my closet that resonate with me on a higher level. Wearing clothes that are fun makes me feel like I’m on an adventure, even when I’m just typing emails or reading a book.

Coco Brandolini from Style.com/Print
Coco Brandolini from Style.com/Print

I always have a few landscapes on my board, and the properties of each photo tell me about my general mode. For example, am I feeling introspective or expansive? If I had a bunch of interior shots of cabins or walled off gardens that would tell me to spend extra time in meditation and digging around inside myself. Today I chose two beach pictures that only hinted of manmade items. The pictures are mostly sand, water and sky. They say, go! Be free! Spread out and direct your energy outward. This was a theme with my photograph adventure the other day as well. I went to the highest places I knew of to get shots of green peaks and deep valleys. There is one picture of a garden path surrounded by beautiful perennials, though. This is reminding me to keep pruning my insides! That work never ends.

Besides what I’ve mentioned already, I have a map of my favorite State Park in Connecticut, which I venture to whenever I can; a ring made of a straw wrapper made by my boyfriend; a wheel of cheese; a postcard from London from my sister; a painting of a woman with green hair (some things will never cease to hold my interest); a picture of a green rose and a yellow rose; and a quote from a Yogi teabag that says, “It’s not life that matters, it’s the courage that we bring to it.”

Cork Board Contents
Cork board close-up. Photo by Rachel Andrews

There is a special synthesis that happens when you place items close together that resonate with you on a deep level. Their energies combine and create a powerful totem. The trick to picking the most useful pictures is to be discerning. Choose what lights you up or intrigues you and don’t worry about what it says about you. Forget about what other people would like and just focus on your reaction. The painting of the woman with green hair is a little dark. She’s even scowling in the picture. It’s not what most people would consider beautiful, but it held my attention so I cut it out. The cheese is also a strange choice at first glance. I don’t really eat that much cheese, yet the picture grabbed me. There are reasons why each choice is perfect, and if you trust your own process, the reasons will reveal themselves to you.

Most of all, seeing an exterior representation of yourself can help you to trust your process of evolution. Sometimes when I do feel introspective and crave more solitude than normal, my first reaction would be to judge myself. I would feel badly that I wanted to spend time alone instead of talking to my friends or going out. We all have different needs, and it is more than okay to fulfill them. It’s easier to be happy when we are flexible. There are seasons in nature and each one has it’s own mood, color palate and temperature. It’s silly for us to have each day of the year scheduled in the exact same way and expect to stay chipper and free spirited. Be easy on yourself, and let your own clippings help you to see what’s going on inside that beautiful shell of yours.