SoulCollage stories


Council card: The Fool

What stories do your SoulCollage cards reveal?

Share your stories

If you have a special SoulCollage story, please feel free to email it to me with a jpeg version of your card and at least one related I AM ONE WHO phrase.  I will share a selection on this web page.

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Honoring a dear friend

Community card: Peter Jolly

Since my friend Peter Jolly died last spring after suffering a stroke in his early eighties, I have missed him every time I’ve hiked or kayaked. Each week, he had organized our local hikes, and a group of us has hiked, kayaked, skied, and snowshoed together for more than a decade.

After he died, I made a Community card in his honor, and shared it with our group of hikers and at a memorial gathering for Peter. I took the photo of him that’s on the card a week before he had his stroke.

In the fall of 2012, two members of our hiking group made wooden signs in Peter’s honor; one said “Peter’s path,” the other, “Peter’s trail.” A group of us hiked up to his favorite trail and put one sign at the start of the trail, and one at the end. The latter one is right next to where Peter liked to sit and have his lunch during a hike. I took this card up with me on that trip, which made me feel that Peter was there with us all.

A month earlier, I also took this card when hiking up to Bachelor Lake cabin on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast to enjoy a pancake breakfast hosted by the Tetrahedron Outdoor Club. I had been there with Peter in previous years and knew that he would have liked this event. Sharing the card that day with two other members of our hiking group who knew Peter helped remind us that he was still with us in spirit.

This card has been a comforting way to keep Peter with me and remind me how much I enjoyed my talks with him. I like this kind of active use of a SoulCollage(R) card, rather than just keeping it in my card box and rarely looking at it.

A synchronicity of symbols

While in Vancouver, BC recently, I was delighted to discover an art installation by Yue Minjun, an avant-garde Chinese artist, newly in place at English Bay. It’s a sculpture collection of giant laughing human figures, each bearing the artist’s own face. Yue Minjun has made such laughing self-portraits, done in many media, his creative trademark, part of what has been called China’s “cynical realism” movement.


I had never seen these figures before and yet I recognized the faces right away: they were the same ones that appear on my Fool card (above) and on my Shame card. When I tore them out of an art magazine to make my SoulCollage cards, I had no idea who Yue Minjun was and paid little attention to the artist. Yet I discovered them in Vancouver in three dimensions, the same morning I was there to do my first SoulCollage workshop in the city.  That was a great surprise and reaffirming touch of synchronicity.

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Make friends with the dark side

JoyAve Lightheart created the card above during one of my SoulCollage(R) workshops in the spring of 2012. She had the courage to share her responses to it:

“I avoided doing it [exploring the card], as I saw such dark energy in the faces and body language, etc.  The whites of the eyes, showing below the iris, indicate low/poor life energy and interest (although the girl is looking up, so that would be normal). I also perceive disinterest in both faces. The girl’s crossed arms show me her protectiveness and “Don’t get near me!” attitude. I have wondered if the background is a raging fire! It reflects a lot energy (negative?).

“Later, I noticed that the girl’s earring is the peace symbol!

“Anyway, the collage has amazingly helped me gain more inner peace and accept my ‘dark’ side/self-defeating habits. Though these habits have persisted, on the whole, I don’t get down on myself, feel guilty, etc. anymore! I eagerly look forward to releasing them, and trust that, although they have been long-lived, they won’t be forever.

“Thank you for providing the opportunity for deep soul-searching!” 
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A father-daughter reunion


Community Card: Father, by Sylvia Matthies

My friend Sylvia Matthies, who learned SoulCollage with me, sends me this powerful personal story:

I would like to share that after I did your SoulCollage workshop, I created a Father SoulCollage card [part of the Community suit]. During the workshop itself, I was having difficulty finding the “right” images, partly because I felt conflicted in my relationship with my dad; we had had no contact for 30 years.

But the day after the workshop, all of the images for the card presented themselves to me easily. After I did the SoulCollage with you, the images were very clear and I felt calm and at peace. To my surprise, soon afterwards, a friend mentioned to me that she had talked to my father. I made the choice to contact him after all that time.

I believe that I manifested this connection with my father through the SoulCollage that I created. Thanks again for this meaningful experience. I  am forever grateful to have done it.

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Compassion and forgiveness


Council Suit: Forgiveness

One night, I was feeling sad about my father, who is dying of terminal cancer [he died in October 2010]. I had been writing about this, and considered doing some “free writing” about it that evening, but didn’t want to lose the visceral feeling in my gut and have my linear mind take over. So, I spontaneously decided to make some SoulCollage cards.


Community suit: Father card

I love the spontaneous, intuitive pull of the SoulCollage card-making process. It invites me to stay with a feeling, not have clarity, and yet feel drawn to images, and produce therapeutic art. I ended up making two Council cards, one for Forgiveness and one for Compassion. I created both with red and gold tones, which felt warm and comforting. I’ve kept these two cards on my desk, beside my computer screen, so that I can see them as I work. They have brought me solace in my sadness.

compassion-card-low-resCouncil suit: Compassion

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Recovery from breast cancer: quieting “the storms of fear”


Breast cancer card #2 by Anne Marie Bennett

Here’s a story of courage from Anne Marie Bennett, a SoulCollage facilitator in Massachusetts and a breast cancer survivor:

December 2001. Breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. I was busy: a husband, a home, three stepchildren, a good job. Then, a routine, suspicious mammogram. A phone call. Mammogram #2. A stereotactic core biopsy.

Diagnosis: breast cancer, stage 2, infiltrating, ductal, HER2.
All of the above happened within the fearful, anxious, unbelievable time span of seven days. Bing. Bam. Boom. My life has never been the same.
Besides disbelief and exhaustion, the next nine months held two surgeries, four chemotherapy treatments (spaced three weeks apart) and 47 radiation treatments, spaced daily, over nine weeks.

Three years have passed since my life was turned upside down and inside out. My prognosis is very good. I hear this every three months, depending on which doctor I see: breast surgeon, medical oncologist or radiation oncologist.

I look good. I feel good. Yet nothing can quiet the storms of fear that sometimes threaten to overwhelm me: the insidious fear that the breast cancer might return. The intimidating fear of another fateful diagnosis.

I have meditated and prayed about this. I have talked about it with my therapist and with other breast cancer survivors. I have tried guided imagery, journaling, and art journaling. These have all tempered the fear to some extent, but only for a short while.

I began practising SoulCollage® and my inner dynamics began to change. . .

I AM ONE WHOSE left breast was disfigured.

I AM ONE WHO covers her breast with her hand to protect it, even now that it is too late.

I AM ONE WHO looks in the mirror with dread and disgust at my mismatched breasts.

I AM ONE WHO survived the lightning that destroyed my left breast.

I AM ONE WHO grieves the loss of my perfect, full breasts.

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Alice Walker: a writing and Soul connection


Committee card: The Writer

I want to share my Alice Walker inspiration:

As a professional writer, I cherish my Committee card The Writer, which  includes an image of author and activist Alice Walker. I admire her sensitivity and insights, her willingness to speak boldly against injustice, and the skill and power behind her words, as revealed in her Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple.

Years ago, I felt immediately drawn to the picture of Walker that now appears on my card. I bought the image as a postcard in a bookstore, even when I was barely familiar with her work. In 2008, as a Canadian working temporarily in San Francisco, I felt delighted to hear Walker read from her latest children’s book. Her message of nonviolence, combined with her powerful presence and spontaneous, insightful words, inspired me deeply. She seemed like a kindred spirit to the SoulCollage community.

After her reading, I approached Walker and showed her my Writer card, which I felt bore an element of tribute towards her. I explained the process of SoulCollage. It seemed that as soon as she heard the word “Soul”, she cried out: “Oh, I love that.” She took my card and signed it on the back with a big heart,  which now appears on this site’s home page.

I was thrilled. This connection gave me a palpable sense of the strength and breadth of community in SoulCollage, particularly since I was away from friends, loved ones, and my spiritual network while in California. The process of SoulCollage can reach out to people in many unimaginable ways, both immediately and over time.

I AM ONE WHO finds my greatest passion and inspiration in writing.
I AM ONE WHO writes for a living.
I AM ONE WHO feels a deep creative and Soul connection with the act of writing.
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Driving as meditation: “in a sort of suspended state”

From Frank McElroy of Marblehead, MA and Roberts Creek, BC, Canada:


Meditation card

Meditation is probably an essential part of connecting to our world, to life.  I’ve never been able to sit still, empty my mind in a small space, except when driving.  Early experiences were trips with my dad, especially, from New York to Toronto or Georgian Bay, Ontario:  eight to 12 hours in a sort of suspended state.

Over the last three years, I’ve driven between Marblehead and Roberts Creek five times, 3,500 miles in 54 hours or less (with one exception).  Despite the exhaustion, it has been a healing time, alone, in the car, driving way too fast in the middle of the expanse of North America.  The faster the better, often way over 100 miles per hour. Nothing to see but the plains, hills and mountains that fashion the horizon, particularly heading west, my favourite direction.

Now that I’ve promised me and my spouse not to do that drive again under similar circumstances, I find that I miss some unexpected parts of it, particularly the 600 miles of South Dakota and its three or four turns.  There is something extraordinarily beautiful, even intoxicating, about a giant expanse without the invasion of humanity.

In all those hours, I never played the radio or a tape or DVD.  It was like being at sea in a sailboat, or crossing Lake Ontario in 1973:  a direct connection of sorts.  In all of those meditations, I never stopped to see a single attraction.

I remember seeing Devil’s Tower in Wyoming from 30 miles away and thinking about a close encounter there.  That will be the trip I take with my spouse, one that will take more than a month and average about 30 miles per hour.  It won’t be my meditation.  It will be an experience of love.