Soul Collage by
(243 Stories)

Prompted By Memorabilia

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I retired over 10 years ago and since then I gained over 20 pounds,  and try as I might,  I couldn’t seem to lose them.

It’s understandable – at my age loosing pounds and inches is hard,  I’m not a gym rat (in fact we have a treadmill in our apartment which collects dust),   I’m a Weight Watchers drop-out,  and admittedly I’m  pretty lazy.

And I realize when I was a working school librarian I kept a schedule,  punched a clock every morning at 8:00,  was on my feet all day,  took the stairs instead of the faculty elevator,  and for lunch every day ate tuna fish from a little can.    Since retirement however I sleep late,  go out for lunch with friends,  sit in the theatre a lot,  and take cabs around town.

Then a few years ago,  disgusted with my weight,  I signed up for a week at Green Mountain,  a woman’s health and fitness retreat in Ludlow, Vermont.   “She’s going to a fat farm.”,  my husband undiplomatically told everyone.

Not knowing what to expect,  I arrived at Green Mountain and was immediately delighted – the mountain view from my dorm window was breathetaking,   the staff were professional,  knowledgable,  warm and kind,  and meeting the two dozen other women from across the country who were also in the program was the icing on the cake.

We were of all ages and sizes,  there were two sets of mothers-and-daughters,  a lawyer from Hawaii,  one other New York eastsider,   a dentist from St Paul,  a college kid from California,  women from all walks of life and it seems every state – one gal even from Europe.  And of course we all had our own stories,  and by weeks’ end most of them had been shared.

We started the day with a nature walk,  some yoga and then a yummy – and nutritious – breakfast.   Then we each followed an individualized schedule which included various types and levels of exercise,  water aerobics in the pool,   martial arts including kick boxing,  lectures by the nutritionist,  the trainers and even the wonderful Green Mountain chef.

And we had fun activities each night – karaoke once with me belting out Bonnie Raitt’s Longing in Their Hearts,  and another night discovering the emotional impact of making  “soul collages”,

We were given scissors,  paste,  and piles of old magazines,  and were told without any forethought or planning to cut out random images that appealed or resonated with us,  assemble them on a large card,  and then explain the meaning of the collage to the group.

I was amazed at what memories the images I chose from those old magazines evoked.   Here are three soul collages I made at Green Mountain.

Can you guess what each one meant to me?

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Soul Collages


  1. Oh my goodness, what a treat, Dee! A GREAT story with your WONDERFUL collages! (Can you tell I’m excited?!?) I envy your Green Mountain experience (despite your husband’s description of it)…it sounds like a dream come true, whether or not you lost any weight and/or kept it off. (I won’t ask.)

    What pops out immediately from your beautiful collages is a love of (a) friendship, diversity, books, and pets. I also see you kicking up your heels, and maybe a cuppa this or that? And maybe wondering what the heck you’re doing there?

    You have a great sense of color and composition, Dee! And now you might see this coming: make more collages! Why not?!?

    • Thanx BB, to be honest the weight loss took awhile until I finally internalized that eating right and eating less, as well as moving more is the real trick. And I guess heredity plays a part – when I look in the mirror while I have little on, I see my mother looking back!

      And my soul collages – you pretty much guessed it all!

      The dolls in #1 represent my childish playthings as well as my girlhood friends, the apple and tomato my favorite foods and my favorite color red, and of course there’s still a place in my heart for my childhood dog.

      My love of cats is obvious in #3.

      And #2 is my adult life. Books and literature represent my life’s work and my passion, the cups are for tea and are neatly stacked for order, the bouquet of red roses is for romance, and the red shoes and blue-and-white dishes are things that appeal and I seem to collect.

      And the woman’s question-marked face? As you’ve surely wondered too BB, it means, “What’s it all about, Sister?“

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    Love your collages, Dana. Guessing what they mean to you is challenging. The first one with the dolls (are they American Girl?), apples, and dog feels like childhood and school. The dolls are diverse, which must mean something. The second one is harder, although I see literature (librarian influence), questioning, kicking up your heels — don’t know what that says about your mindset back then. Of course, the third one is the work of a cat lover. Sorry if my feeble attempts to understand what these meant to you were off the mark.

  3. Marian says:

    Very cool, Dana, and you’ve inspired me to start doing collage, which I’ve done previously in fits and starts. Yours are packed with so much meaning, I’ve enjoyed seeing them.

  4. Suzy says:

    This is fun, Dana! I was prepared to start guessing, but then I saw your explanations in your reply to Barb’s comment. So the pressure was off! I like the idea of just cutting appealing images out of magazines and turning them into a collage with some kind of meaning. That retreat sounds great too! I feel like I would do better with the karaoke than the collage, but of course I would try it all. How fun that you sang a Bonnie Raitt song!

    Maybe we should have a prompt called collage, where everyone would make collages and the story would just consist of explaining what you made. Something to think about.

  5. Suzy, I love your soul collage idea, keep me posted.
    And I’m not surprised a lyric lover like you is game for karaoke! And I do love Bonnie Raitt, do you?

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