Saturday, December 31, 2022

Sacred Margin And A Commonplace Life

 Sacred Margin And A Commonplace Life

Author Shelly Miller called the time between Christmas and New Year's Day a sacred margin- 
"A sacred stretch of time between what was and what is yet to be."

Sacred margin is the in-between time. The current year is closing and the new year stretches out before us.

For quite a few years our office has closed for the week between these holidays as a way to recharge. Working in a church means the time through Advent leading up to Christmas can be pretty hectic. Add into that equation the fact that our church has adopted two public schools as our community partners, and the busyness level is increased. I always appreciate this slow week between the holidays and I use it to reflect on the past year and make plans for the year ahead. 

This year my sacred margin week has had ups and downs, but overall it has been a good time of resting, getting creative, looking back on the past year, and making plans for my creative life in the year ahead. Last year was not a year of consistent creativity and art making due to so many events that drained my emotional energy. It was a year that held a lot of transitions. As a result of these events and transitions I got off-track with the rhythms that keep me balanced: time in God's Word, reading, writing in my journal, and making art. I intend to reconnect with all of them in 2023 intentionally.

I spent some of my reflection time looking at past art journals and found that the years where I kept an art journal or commonplace book where I kept records of my daily life, were the journals I enjoyed the most. So, I intend to return to the habit of commonplacing in the new year.

I first heard about commonplacing and commonplace books back in 2013. A commonplace book is where one writes down book quotes, musings, ideas, experiences, observations, etc. Many famous people in the past have kept commonplace books, such as Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, John Hancock, Virginia Wolfe, Emerson and Thoureau, and Ronald Reagan.  One article I read even called it "a record of a curious person's readings, obervations, etc". Being a curious person, I was drawn in!

I have always written in journals since I was a teenager and I have always quotes from books and obervations in them. So, when I came across a term that described a habit I already had, it was exciting. When I then combined this habit with art journaling I found a practice that appealed to my soul - filling a journal with art, images, and words from everyday life. A visual commonplace book filled with the marginalia of life. A commonplace life. And that is my intention for the year ahead.

A few year's back I used a Moleskine journal for my visual commonplace book. I loved the Moleskine and the dotted paper but I did not enjoy how the paper buckled when gluing objects onto it. That problem was solved as I explored journals on Amazon. I found a journal with heavier weight dot paper. It has 80 pages of 170gsm paper, so in between the weight of drawing paper and watercolor paper.  It's great! I can glue paper on the page with no bubbles or buckling.

My pages so far:

You also get a sneak peak into my word of the year for 2023: Place. But I'll expand more on that in another post. I'm also joining Junk Journal January (@megjournals on IG) which starts tomorrow. A sneak peak at my first page along with a tracking page is below.

I'm looking forward to re-connecting with the things that put me in my happy 'place' in the new year. The things that bring me joy, peace, rest, and energy.

I hope you have plans for the year ahead that connect you to the things that bring significance and peace to your life.

1 comment:

  1. I was interested in your word for the year, as "place". Mine is "Home", which is a place that has various meanings. When I chose it I was so longing for my home in heaven, yet I know the Lord has more to show me in that word. Looking forward to you sharing about your word.