Gratitude & New Beginnings

Book of Days

Gratitude, Letting Go and

New Beginnings

Today is Christmas day, Noël as we call it in France. It’s the last week of the year and my heart knows it’s a magical time for gratitude. I can feel it tingling every little cell of my being…

But this year is different and special: a week ago my beloved grandpa passed away and our family’s world was turned upside down. Four days ago our family was gathering to say goodbye, express our love and honor his life. Then yesterday we came together again, around my grandma and our little ones, to celebrate Noël. This year more than ever, it was a celebration of light, love, gratitude and new beginnings.

Laly Mille Art Journal Page

The morning after Papi’s passing, I woke up with the urgent need to grab my art journal. I didn’t get a chance (or take the time, or allow myself) to do it until later that evening, but when I finally did, it was such a relief. The art journal is an outlet for what we have no words for.

She made broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.
— Ariana Dancu

I’m not ready to share the page I created that day, but I would like to share another one from last year. Because to me, the magic of the art journal is not just in the making, the creation, the process of painting a page. My “Book of Days” is also just that: a book. And when I pick it up and flip through its pages, it has so much to tell me, so much guidance and comfort to offer. So here is the page that called to me today:

Laly Mille Art Journal Page

The symbol of the butterfly holds so much wisdom and teaches me about wisdom, beauty, mystery, fragility, boldness, joy, transformation, letting go... I feel there is something solemn about it here, and at the same time it is full of life and whimsy because when you open and close the journal, the wings seem to flutter…

We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.
— LeeAnn Taylor
Laly Mille Art Journal Page
 

This page has so many layers and like I often do, I started with words, then worked my way up from the darkest, messiest ones, towards Light. There is something so liberating about letting the shadows be expressed, and something so healing about bringing back the light little by little, ever so gently.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
— Abraham-Hicks

Today this page speaks to me of joy and sorrow, endings and new beginnings, the simplicity and mystery of life. It tells me that gratitude and forgiveness are like a beautiful pair of wings, ready to lift us up if we trust them and follow our heart. It speaks of honoring the beauty of what really matters, embracing change and the flow of life. Of surrendering and letting go.

“How does one become butterfly?’ Pooh asked pensively.
’You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,’ Piglet replied.
’You mean to die?’ asked Pooh.
’Yes and no,’ he answered. ‘What looks like you will die, but what’s really you will live on.”
— A.A. Milne
Laly Mille Art Journal Page
 

My grandparents loved each other at least as much at 92 as they did at 15. They were the sweetest and strongest of couples, the one I will always look up to, and they had “their song”, a song about butterflies. No matter how many storms they went through, they lived a happy, love-filled life together. Their example is the greatest gift they could ever have given us, and no matter the emotional roller-coaster that the past days have been, what fills my heart above all right now, is love and gratitude.

The greatest gift you can ever give another person is your own happiness.
— Abraham-Hicks

New beginnings

Around the same time last year, I started the practice of honoring the past year and expressing gratitude for all its blessings (challenges included) in my art journal. Then welcoming the New Year with another page to start exploring my “Word of the Year” and welcome new beginnings.

I challenged myself to film my art journaling process for the first time, because I knew I wanted to start sharing this creative, soul-nurturing practice with my creative community, and I’m delighted to share it again this year!

If you watched the videos last year and created your own pages, I invite you to do it again this week! And if you haven’t already, I would love for you to join me. I hope they will inspire you!

With gratitude, light & love,

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