Alyson Swihart

Art. Recovery. Archetypes

Making Ink

This past Spring Break, the fam flew to Seattle for a week.  I always ponder creative ways to record memories in my journals. 

Anytime I travel, I always bring my stash of art supplies: scissors, glue stick, pens, markers, watercolor pencils as I never know what I will need to cut, glue or paint.

On this particular trip, however, I left a major portion of my stash as home (oops), and I was in need of one very important tool... ink.

During some fascinating mind twist and turns trying to problem (yes I could go to the store, but that's to easy), I had an epiphany.  Ink had to be made somehow.  I COULD MAKE MY OWN INK! 

WHAT?  Of course I could make my own ink. People did hundreds of years ago.  

I threw myself down the rabbit hole of GOOGLE, and quickly learned I needed a pigment, a preservative, and a binder (which I quickly released I wouldn't have on hand on this trip), but also learned I only needed a pigment if I were to make a water color. 

Pigment can come from anywhere- specifically if I focused on natural pigments- plants, fruits, rocks, soil, burnt bark, etc.

And hence my adventures in memory ink began.  I collected items- rocks, lunch scraps, plants and made a watercolor out of them and then painted the hell with them.  

Found items that were soaked in boiling water.

The aftermath of the boiling: Coffee, berries from lunch, cherry blossoms, rock, and moss.

 Life did not exist since the end of January.  It did, but I was in the height of worry, dread, and anticipation so it's very hard to account for what happened for the past 7 weeks.  There was a lot of rain in Northern California, and by a lot I mean, NO ONE IN 100 years has seen it rain that much.  There was even snow...

My husband pointed out to me I needed to do things differently, my funk was started to affect everyone so I made a list of things I thought would restore me to me and this is what I did...

I got a two hour massage that incorporated sound healing (highly recommend it).  

I started back with yoga.  

Oh, and I took Inner Engineering with Sadhguru.

 I started the practice of gratitude journaling again.

And spent quite a lot of time thrifting.

Self care is no joke.  It fucking helps... a lot.

There are no pictures today.  There is just words... a beginning of a practice to come back to myself!


Well, that was a flop.  All the intentions were set.  All the rituals were had. And then... nothing.

I watched TV.

I did read three books (that's cool considering I may only read one book in a year).

I looked at a lot of instagram because "I was looking for inspiration", but there was ZERO art created.

I maintained everything for Sober Soaps and Music Is First.

I focused on everyone  else's shit, their dilemmas, their decisions because here is the TRUTH BOMB.

I didn't want to do the work ... the spiritual work to keep me grounded.  The physical work to keep my body healthy. The visioning and strategizing of a business / non profit.

Guess what?  It's all ok.

I'm tired.  I need to rest. You maybe too.  

So the bigger question is, 'Is my rest restful or a distraction from rest? '

Yes, most of it was a distraction from rest. The instagram. The TV. Being in everyone's business.  

But I learned. I witnessed myself spiraling a little bit.  I realized that the rituals and intentions were more rest related than the screen time.

So what next?Take the next best step.  Authentically rest when you need it. Take breaks. And then when you are ready, emerge back into the world.

Here is a recap in photos:

Marin Headlands- California
My Mom sent me love at the Marin Headlands.

Sober Journal  Teetotally Awesome Goals
My Teetotally Awesome Goals Journal got published. You can buy one here!

Oakland Museum
I went to the Feminist Exhibit at the Oakland Museum.

Sober Soaps Birthday

Eric and I celebrated birthdays. Yep, we are birthday buddies.

This week I switched decks.  I went from my usual Myss Archetype Deck to a Zen Tarot Deck, just to mix it up a little.

I pulled a Major Arcana card (that means it's a big deal) as it tells us about our current circumstance and gives us the opportunity to examine a central theme in our spiritual journey.  Then I pulled a second card to get insight into that theme that I was examining, and boy was that illuminating. 

Major Arcana:  Completion

Minor Arcana:  Exhaustion

Let's dive into these cards:

Completion:  Whatever has been absorbing your time and energy is now coming to an end. In completing it, you will be clear the space for something new to begin. Use this interval to celebrate both- the end of the old and the coming of the new.

Exhaustions: This card is not only about being a workaholic. It is about all the ways in which we set up safe but unnatural routines for ourselves and by doing so, keep the chaotic and spontaneous away from our doors. Recommendation: take a little trip into the uncharted.

Questions to Reflect on?

My Reflections:   Put down what is exhausting you.  Let that go.  Either complete them or let them die.  Focus on the larger perspective and as new things arise, be mindful of what may exhaust you. It is time to let go of the things you've been thinking of letting go.  

Goodbye to shoulds and obligation.  Yes to me first.  Doing things that bring me energy so I have energy for others.

Mantras for the 2023.  

A heart my mom sent.  

Archetypes for the year

All the magic.

Well that was a fucking wild ride - especially the last 6 weeks of 2022... I got the chance to go to Guerneville before all the flooding to calm my nervous system down, create some space.  Re-prioritize. Got the best fucking massage from Minh at MinhTherapy...

Started off 2023 with yearly intention setting, phrases of the year... 

So here are my 2023 intentions:

I want to:

  • become a massage therapist
  • focus on Sober Soaps
  • make gift bags out of newspaper
  • foster Wild Spirit Community
  • Travel to Seattle, England, France, Germany with Family
  • cover dining room chairs
  • turn soap studio into massage room
  • feel deep peace
  • trust my instincts
  • hike weekly
  • drink H2O
  • read books
  • evening routine
  • journal
  • teach others to journal
  • send snail mail to people
  • have dinner parties monthly
  • create a sacred garden
  • be present
  • say yes only when I mean it
  • make ME a priority
  • weekly dates with Eric
  • Do more, worry less
  • Digest positive content 
  • Weekly Family Activities


I skipped intentions for week 33. That'll teach me. Ha

Week 33 was a shit show.  Let's just say I needed to cocoon and recharge my batteries.  And thanks to the hubby I did with some R&R in Guerneville. 

So last week there isn't many goals I met.  But this week, I'm rarin' to go.  I did make a template to track my goals.  I figured I needed something different after last week's "crash." So, here's what I'm hoping to accomplish.

Teetotally Awesome Goals

  • pay bills
  • declutter desk
  • family recording (jingle bells)
  • Transport Kids
  • box soap
  • address and stamp postcards for Soap Sale on Thanksgiving weekend
  • upload journal for print
  • Website consulting
  • Package Free Soap for Handbrewed Soap customer.
  • Journal
  • Move
  • Archetype
  • Drink Water
  • Read

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