This is an altar I created years ago. It’s a little wooden cabinet I painted and collaged but it’s been neglected and collecting dust for ages. The paint had faded and some of the artwork was no longer meaningful to me. Now it’s been spruced up with fresh paint and new images.
I recently started a project, or more accurately a practice, called The Wear Your Joy Project by artist Kelly Rae Roberts (side note as of 3/28/16 Kelly Rae Roberts website is being redone, so the link will only take you to a placeholder until the site is live again). It is a 30 day practice of getting dressed in joy. But it is so much more than just getting dressed. It’s about being positive, dumping negative self-talk and old rules about dressing we’ve been told and learned or told ourselves.
Since we get dressed nearly every day of the year, that is a lot of opportunities to feel crummy before we’ve even left the house!
This project is helping me turn around the process and make it a joyful one. To be kind to myself and make getting dressed a positive part of starting my day. Starting the day on a good note helps to steer the day in a favorable direction.
I’ve been a little low lately. I’m very busy at work and my craft desk has been a mess. At the end of the day my energy just hasn’t been there for creativity. This project was appealing because I’ve had those negative gremlins in my head and they can really be insistent.
This project provides me with a daily blog post every day for 30 days, and tools which include a supportive private group on Facebook, guidance with cleaning my closet, suggestions and ideas for putting together my clothes in new ways, and plenty of journal prompts. So I needed a journal dedicated to the project. Needless to say, I decorated the cover.
And the inside.
I haven’t stopped crafting or cooking completely. I just haven’t been doing as much as I’d like, and I miss blogging and connecting with you. I keep writing blog posts in my head and wish there was a way I could quickly and easily share them with you. I’ll cook something, (like mini chocolate peanut butter pies to take to work for Pi Day, 3/14, after seeing this recipe, for example), but then I don’t have the energy to take photos and put together a post.
On Day 3 of The Wear Your Joy Project, the assignment is to create an altar. Although she suggests assembling a small altar, perhaps on top of your dresser, I already had this altar on my wall and remaking it as a Wear Your Joy altar was very appealing to me.
From my bed I can see the altar. The images on the inside of the doors, a serene angel and a sculpture of a full-figured feminine form, are the originals, with some slight changes, like fresh paint and trim. Both felt like good images to keep for this practice.
I added a picture of a pathway below the torso. In fact, I included several paths in my altar as I think we’re all on some kind of journey.
The outside of the doors show water images. I’m a water sign (Pisces) and I’ve included a little meandering brook on one side, foaming waves on the other. On the inside, the view from a beach of sunset over surf. A tiny abalone shell is one of the items inside the altar.
The cherubim inside the top arch (made from a brie box) got some new embellishments – flecks of gold and turquoise mica.
The little charms on a leather cord, too narrow for my wrist but perfect for this, are from a friend. Bird images, cut from cards and calendars, are also from friends.
Inside the altar, I have included images of a strong oak tree, mountains, a rainbow, and more pathways – various pictures pulled from magazines that represent local places or things I love.
Charms, shells, a chunk of crystal, a tiny turtle (slow and steady), a small mirror, a tin heart and a small feather are all little talismans to help me along in this process. The LED candle is safe and convenient to use. A brief prayer of guidance is written on a card and other items and messages will be added or subtracted as I travel along the way.
I actually got started with cleaning out some of my baggage; clothes that don’t fit, that aren’t comfortable or flattering, ie: things that don’t spark joy, last fall when I read Maria Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This, if you aren’t familiar with it, is worth a visit. I actually gave away, donated or tossed out 9 large bags of clothing including shoes and accessories.
Getting it all out of the closet, the deep dresser drawers including the bottom one way in the back, the coat closet and the bin under the bed and going through it was very interesting. There was stuff I forgot I had, stuff I thought was long gone. Like, why was I keeping these dusty shoes that pinched my feet? A top made from pretty fabric with unflattering sleeves that looked great on a hanger but made me unhappy when I wore it.
I didn’t think I had that much clothing but the reality was I didn’t have that much that I loved, that fit, that wasn’t stained, that was comfy. I had items that were gifts and items I liked but that didn’t fit – well, you know how it is. It felt really, really good to get rid of the discards and reorganize the rest.
Now that I’ve sorted out the contents of my closet , I’ve started the work on all the other places I keep stuff – getting rid of old messages and discarding worn out rules. I finally have a full size mirror so I can really see what I’m wearing and I write notes to myself on it. I try and remember to smile encouragingly when I see myself in it.
I’m layering on multiple necklaces.
And when I got my hair trimmed, I had some beautiful color added to it.
So I’m wearing my joy all the time. It’s about more than getting dressed.
Thanks for visiting. It’s good to be writing again. I hope it isn’t as long before I get another post up to share.