Courage

My writing/art project (the one I have been working on for 16 and a half years) is unfolding in new, fast and lovely ways. The ghosts are happy and all is locking into place.

The creative process has been a windy, strange and incredible path through a dense and dark forest until now. All of a sudden that path is straightening, flattening, welcoming me to the field- a sunlit meadow of flowers.

I had a stress dream last night that I lost control of the project again. I woke up in a sweat and ultimately a sense of relief that I am the gatekeeper – secure, older, wiser – and the ghosts are safe with me.

I have made a commitment to them to not agree to any new collaboration that feels wrong. To enter into the sharing of the project with open heart and delight. To not agree to anything that does not align with my spirit and with the narrative I have been entrusted to tell.

Pulled an angel card just now and lo and behind- these two popped out.

Turn the page- visualizing fading memory

My latest favourite daily practice is to quickly sketch and then saturate the drawing with watercolour crayon and coffee.  I love the feel of the wrinkled page. How the coffee ages the image.  The way a drenched drawing has a life of its own – beyond my control.

I am most in love with the drawing’s ghost.  What happens on the other side of the page.  I am moved by how the resulting image seems to illustrate the concept of fading memory.

“Not only something, but also someone could be there and not there at the same time. And that someone: me.”

– Gerda Saunders, In Memory’s Last Breath

The importance of doodling…

Thank you’s to Tove Jansson for her “Lilla My” character that I can’t seem to stop doodling

Spontaneous drawings may relieve psychological distress, making it easier to attend to things. We like to make sense of our lives by making up coherent stories, but sometimes there are gaps that cannot be filled, no matter how hard we try. Doodles fill these gaps, possibly by activating the brain’s time travel machine,” allowing it to find lost puzzle pieces of memories, bringing them to the present, and making the picture of our lives more whole again. With this greater sense of self and meaning, we may be able to feel more relaxed and concentrate more.

Srini Pillay, MD

Die into life.

I haven’t posted for awhile.  That’s not to say I haven’t been writing, drawing, planning, thinking, working.

A new job started January 15 and somehow 5 months have sped by.  Work has given me a place to land.  During that time there have been some exciting new developments…

Ah, blah blah blah.  Fuck that.  I don’t need to write that.

Start again.

I have been thinking a lot lately about death.  

Oh my God.  That is nothing new.  Ugh, start again.

I am sitting in the kitchen at my favorite spot, by my windowsill garden.  There are fragrant buds on the jasmine plant.  The rosemary and mint are sprouting new branches where I snipped off leaves for cooking and for my water.  I do not take this seat, this spot, for granted.  My role has changed.  And I celebrate that I have been given the gift of …

Ugh. I am just regurgitating the same old musings.  That’s OK.  That’s what this journal process is all about.  But I have been away from it for awhile.  And if I haven’t been writing in this online journal, what have I been doing creatively, that is?

I have been stitching.

Thought after thought after thought.

Stitch, stitch, stitch

Obsessed with stitching.  And what have I been stitching about, quite obsessively in fact, is that I want to be OK with dying tonight.  Not specifically tonight- but “tonight.”

img_0456

What do I mean by that?

What I mean is that I know I will never complete all that I want to do… and that is OK.  If I die tonight, not having completed all I want to do– that has to be OK.

img_0452

Stitch, stitch, stitch…

What I do know is that I want to relax into life (and death)- relax into its unfolding.

IMG_9678

Stitch, stitch, stitch…

Depression has had me by the throat many times.  I have desperately tried to find a way to ease my pain.  And the fear of the effect of my pain on my family.  There have been times I admit, I have forced myself to look forward and walk with an even pace.  Simply to get off that proverbial bridge.   Death, or thinking about it, has been a way to cope.  The option has been a way to get through the day.

img_0467

Stitch, stitch, stitch…

I have been lucky not to have tried to hide from it- to numb it.  My mom needed to numb it.  And that is a sadness I will always carry.  

Last summer, I made a pact with myself to live life as a second chance.  To die into life.  To be a ghost.  To walk in peace amongst the noise, haste, stress, pain, joy.  To understand all the ups, downs.  I was so tired of resorting to perseverating thoughts. I made a pact.  Life as a second chance.

I realize that dark journeys help me understand the characters I research, and feed my quest of understanding of human nature.  The understanding of ghosts I walk among.  How else could I walk the path of those I write about?

screen-shot-2018-06-17-at-4-32-17-pm.png

Stitch, stitch, stitch…

So much happening.  With so much to come.  What makes me feel this peace?  What makes it different now?

I am older.  I am old.  I am approaching the other side of the staircase.

800px-Kurbits_1799
A Swedish Dala painting with kurbits ornamentation, by Winter Carl Hansson from 1799

I am truly blessed to enter this new chapter of my life- I call the chapter putting on the crown.  

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 7.17.16 PM

I am so blessed to have been given the gift of art to use in every aspect of my life.  It heals me, it unmasks me, it opens me wide open, it hides me.  It allows me to live. And to die into life.

And if I die tonight, I am ok with all the unfinished projects, knowing my life is mine, and my children’s lives are theirs.  They are grown.  And how incredible is that?

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 4.36.48 PM

Stitch, stitch, stitch…

img_0334

#SKiP 2017 was amazing!

Recall:

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 11.42.19 AM

I had the pleasure of presenting and facilitating at the SKETCHING IN PRACTICE 2017 SYMPOSIUM on June 23 and 24!

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 11.22.27 AM

It felt so great to be around such like-minded, like-spirited, enthusiastic, inquisitive, creative people!  I was invigorated!

And being able to participate in three fabulous workshops as well was such a treat!

June 23:

Photo 2017-06-27, 11 14 42 AM

It felt great to speak about Molly!

Check out: AMY BURVALL

June 24:

Photo 2017-06-27, 11 14 50 AM

Check out: GRAPHIC HISTORY COLLECTIVE

Photo 2017-06-27, 11 15 02 AM

Check out: LORRAINE WHITE-WILKINSON

I have so much I could write about the two days.  But for now I will list just a sample of words I scratched furiously into my SKiP sketchbook…

Radical imaginations, weaving process, verbal to visual, resist, politics of care, intersectional framework, history can be a weapon/tool, mutate change, visible thinking, metaphorical typography, critical creativity, Gutenberg Parenthesis, porous pedestrian, kennings, serendipidoodle, fringed oddity, spurned desire, Sanburgian synthesis, scheduled creativity, the way out of the box is the shackles, pareidolia, storytelling ethics, mark making

I am so excited to build on the connections made at the symposium.

Photo 2017-06-24, 2 48 23 PM (1)

Some photo highlights from my two days:

 

A huge thank you to Jason Toal and the entire team for including me!

 

 

From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 5

I dedicate today’s post to my soul-sister Patti Henderson and to our deep HEART chats.

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

1. CREATE freely.  Do what you love.  What relaxes you?  For me, it is drawing and embroidering.

I recall a piece from 3 years ago:

20140622-182158-66118733.jpg

20140622-182212-66132493.jpg

20140622-182226-66146873.jpg

20140622-182235-66155359.jpg

20140622-182242-66162926.jpg

20140622-182255-66175079.jpg

Release attachment to the outcome…

To feel the anguish of waiting for the next moment and of taking part in the complex current (of affairs) not knowing that we are headed toward ourselves, through millions of stone beings – of bird beings – of star beings – of microbe beings – of fountain beings toward ourselves.

– Frida Kahlo

I had a real awakening in 1986 when I took the CREATIVE PROCESS class at (what was then called) Emily Carr College of Art and Design with Kitty Mykka.  It was a LIFE CHANGING CLASS that introduced me to the theory, practicality and universality of the creative process.

Beware! I now know a language so beautiful and lethal
My mouth bleeds when I speak it.
– Gwendolyn MacEwen

Kitty also took my journaling work deeper than I had ever gone before, opening for me a safe personal space in which to process my work and my life.

And as three decades have gone by since that Fall of 1986, I continue to embody the creative process.  I often tell my students that process for me is much more important than the end product.  That is why I love street art- I put it out there- it will (de)volve as it will.  The ongoing process is what intrigues me.

As I approach age 55 in a few weeks, I feel a renewed sense of peace at my core.  Not only is my creative process not attached to the outcome- my life is not attached to the outcome.  These days, if I feel a sense of angst rise up as I try to juggle all my projects, or look at my bank account, or worry about family and the future, or fall into saudade, or feel guilt for deciding not to pursue certain projects so that I can commit fully to certain partnerships, as I worry I am not prepared for a session, or as I plan the road ahead and feel overwhelmed looking at the to-do list, or as I think think and over-think, or as I work on my graphic novel worrying if I am on the right track, or if I feel helpless to help someone in need- my heart releases and my mind is reMINDed to not be attached to the outcome.

And it is a lesson I try to instill in my art students.  It is a way to quiet the inner critic without stifling it.  To not be attached to the outcome sets us free to create.

I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but START WRITING. There is NO SUCH THING as “too late” in the arts. Trust me. START. – Patton Oswalt

Is that Self Compassion?  Is it maturity?  It is PROCESS.  TO STAY and LIVE IN THE MOMENT- to (try to) ride it, no matter how difficult that moment might be.

Let your indulgence set me free. – Shakespeare, The Tempest

eec120090129de496de6e7afe3dff979

There is no doubt that art has saved my life.  And I am not attached to its outcome.

Related:

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 10.37.18 AM

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 10.21.15 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.26.06 AM

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.40.45 AM

 

Catacomb of Veils- Burning Man 2016, Part 2 of 4: The Inspiration

Recall Part 1: The Project

Catacomb of Veils will be the largest art piece at Burning Man 2016 and one of the largest burned sculptures in the history of the event. Everyone participating in the creation of Catacomb is all-volunteer with a commitment to the transformative power of temporary art. – SOURCE

12524394_1050131355048724_8790386693442594258_n

Part 2 of 4: THE INSPIRATION

As I mentioned in Part 1: The ProjectCatacomb of Veils speaks to my passion for the creative process- from the inspiration, to the idea, to the planning, to the development, to the implementation, to the product to the celebration to the release.

Graham Wallas, in The Art of Thoughtoutlined the 4 stages the creative process:

  1. Preparation: the problem is investigated in all directions as the thinker readies the mental soil for the sowing of the seeds.
  2. Incubation: no direct effort is exerted upon the problem at hand.
  3. Illumination: connections between the seemingly unconnected.
  4. Verification: testing the validity of the idea and reducing the idea itself to an exact form. [SOURCE]

And personally, research and inspiration (inspiration preceding and evolving out of research) are integral parts of each stage.  Inspiration is about ALLOWING the tangents.  Going along for the ride with eyes open wide.  Catacomb of Veils takes inspiration from the landscape itself.  And it inspires our own further research, helps us make connections, pulls out the past, brings us to the present, facilitates contemplation of the future, holds space to grieve, immerses us in magic and allows us to let go through temporary nature.

For example, let’s take a look at the word Catacombs.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 12.03.03 PM

What are they? Will investigating them enrich our understanding of the creative process of the Catacomb of Veils project?  Enrich our connection to it?  Where does your mind go as you get inspired by this project?

Catacombs of Paris:

Catacomb

For me, this project is:

• approach,

• ascend,

• enter,

• descend,

• embrace,

• acknowledge,

• emerge,

• release.

Next up:

Part 3 of 4: THE TEAM

Part 4 of 4: THE SCOPE

YOU CAN SUPPORT THIS PROJECT VIA:

INDIEGOGO:

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 7.53.20 PM

JULY 14, 2016 FUNDRAISER:

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.38.41 PM

FACEBOOK:

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.43.14 PM

Y-STR
Katarina Thorsen, 2016, chinamarker and embroidery on paper

INSIDE OUT PROJECT- breaking the cycle of violence through creativity: Activities Report Summer 2015

Inside Out Project Summer 2015 was made possible by a generous grant from the Province of British Columbia – Ministry of Justice: Victim Services and Crime Prevention  Division

INSIDE OUT PROJECT- OWN YOUR JOURNEY: breaking the cycle of violence through creativity Activities Report

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.09.47 AM

Location: Mountainside Secondary School, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Instructors:

Ian Powell: photography, digital media

Kat Thorsen: therapeutic art

Erin Ross: animation

The Inside Out Project Summer 2015 was a three-week intensive arts-based program for youth ages 13-20. Using therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation participants were taught skills in self-empowerment, peer-to-peer interaction, and how to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for the Inside Out Project was to help youth-at-risk address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression.

IMG_4797

Arts-based prevention programs allow for alternative experiences of what life can be like, helping at-risk students discover their own talents and creative energy and providing opportunities to develop their inner resources and explore new options for the future. Using a rich and creative curriculum around the themes of violence prevention, self-actualization, empowerment and creativity– facilitators of the Inside Out Project encourage participants to own their journeys.

The Inside Out Project engages participants with the arts, allowing for successful experiences on which to build the resilience and psychological hardiness as well as providing tools to be able to better meet personal and community challenges and to make healthy, non-violent choices.

Between July 6 and July 24, 2015, 11 participants completed the three-week curriculum.

Week 1 Highlights

• Chalk Talk: How does violence affect how people live their lives?

Photography introduction

IMG_4721

IMG_4733

Vancouver Police Foundation Mounted Squad field trip

11703131_10200627001633782_2025418926933509631_n

• Art journals

• Discussion and reflection on Shane Koyczan’s Ted Talk: To this day- for the bullied and the beautiful.

• Animation introduction

Check out more about week 1:

Day 1

Day 2- VPD Horses

Day 3- animation and anatomical hearts

Day 4 and 5- digging deeper

Week 2 Highlights

• Journaling

• Public Service Announcement discussion

IMG_4800

• Project planning

• Animation project: Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson (individual and group projects)

Week 3 Highlights

• Film interviews

• Craftivism: Operation Sock Monkey: “200 Sock Monkeys for Nepal” (benefitting KYT Foundation)

• Animation completion

• #BESTYOUth Emotional Intelligence Workshop (with guest facilitator, Laura Mack)

• Celebration

LIFE SKILLS addressed during the three-week curriculum included:

o Anxiety tools

o Emotional intelligence

o Self-reflection

o Motivation

o Journaling

o Behavioral pattern recognition

o Teamwork

o Chalk talk

o Peer to peer counseling

o Project planning

o Mind mapping

o Interview skills

o Creative process and expression.

CHALK TALK defined:

Three groups of 3-4 students work on three sheets of large paper, silently writing on the topic: how does violence affect how people live their lives? Each group moves at regular intervals to each of the three sheets- adding their thoughts and reflections on existing work. A large group discussion follows. The discussion and subsequent key points serve as a starting point for the final group video project around the theme of violence prevention.

IMG_4720

IMG_4719

FINAL GROUP VIDEO PROJECT OUTLINE:

Title: Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey

Subtitle: Breaking the Cycle of Violence Through Creativity

Chalk Talk: footage and audio (participant interviews)

Participant Interview:

Like nothing mattered other than drugs. Honestly, I didn’t even care about myself. I didn’t care about what I did. I didn’t care about going to jail. I didn’t care about dying. I didn’t care about anything. I just cared about using. And that is not who I am. It’s crazy how different it made me, like, I don’t think I would recognize myself I saw myself on the street like that.

Animation compilation:

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.13.54 AM

(interpreting and animating the poem “Autobiography in five short chapters” by Portia Nelson, ©1993)

I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost … I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place

but it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in … it’s a habit.

My eyes are open

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

Back to Central Interview:

Well, like, I guess when I’m being creative, it lets me let out all my emotions and like everything that I’m thinking, just like, let me be crazy on a page or whatever… and like when I used heroin it would, like, take it into me again. It wouldn’t let it out. It would just shove it back down and make me feel better that way. Instead of expressing it. That’s why I think I should probably do more art. 

Tagline: Do more art.

Timelapse: youth artist portrait painting.

Credits

FINAL PROJECT LINK: INSIDE OUT PSA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-9R1pgxJHY

PARTICIPANT REFLECTION:

The Inside Out Project run by Kat Thorsen, Erin Ross, and Ian Powell this July truly changed my life. Two days before the program started I lost a friend to a heroin overdose. I could have chosen to fall back into my own heroin addiction but the Inside Out Project helped me stay strong throughout this hard time in my life. Honestly, I don’t think I would have made it through without the love, support and whole-hearted care everyone in the program gave me. The Inside Out Project saved me from myself. It saved my life. – Miko

PROGRAM ENHANCEMENTS:

Vancouver Police Department Mounted Squad field trip: tour with Cst. Darcy Henkel, discussion on violence prevention and use of horses, as well as photo essay opportunities. PHOTO ESSAY LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAE1F99nQXM

Operation Sock Monkey (OSM) craftivism workshop: OSM is a volunteer-run initiative in support of humanitarian organizations that provide laughter, hope and healing to communities around the world affected by disease, disaster and social/political turmoil.

The 200 SockMonkeys For Nepal project: LINK

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.15.34 AM

#BESTYOUth- Growing Together (ViRTUS /TELUS ®): emotional intelligence workshop with guest facilitator Laura Mack.

Key learnings from #BESTYOUth:

o Get to know your best self

o You always have a choice

o Your values are your inner GPS

o You can learn how not to snap

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.22.26 AM

A SMALL SAMPLING OF PROGRAM MOMENTS:

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.17.00 AM

Wow- even though I KNOW, from years of experience, that art heals, art builds connections and art saves lives- experiencing it again and again never ceases to amaze me. I just completed a three week intensive with 11 amazing youth. (I am so honored to have worked with you all!) It takes a lot of courage to dig deep and these 11 youth certainly did that. Watching them develop and form connections in these past three weeks has certainly been a highlight in my career as therapeutic art facilitator. [Special mention to Miko Philip for bravely sharing her personal story on which we could build our creative expression.] Here is their final project video on the theme of “breaking the cycle of violence through creativity.” Huge thank you’s as well to Ian Powell,Erin Ross for developing and facilitating this program with me. And thank you’s to Lenore Kane and Laura Mack for adding significant enrichment to it. – Katarina Thorsen, July 24, 2015

11745769_10207449514578201_5123196452177787755_n

560250_10207431281402383_3650484770073737743_n

10983126_10207386028991101_1609527214342644964_n

11666306_10207346205355535_3604427899600013423_n

11693839_10207373210750653_7877458005089150221_n

11745904_10207423249321586_26587599045944422_n

11751469_10207441449896589_6461528835237723819_n

IMG_4715

IMG_4716

STAY TUNED FOR MORE ARTS-BASED YOUTH PROGRAMMING:

“INSIDE OUT PROJECT 2016”

AND

“EMPOWER YOUTH CONSULTING SERVICES”

Day 1: Inside Out Project: Own Your Journey Summer 2015 arts-based youth program

INSIDE OUT PROJECT: OWN YOUR JOURNEY- Breaking the cycle of violence through creativity

Inside Out Project – Own Your Journey SUMMER 2015 is a three week intensive arts-based program running out of Mountainside Secondary School (July 6-24, 2015) for youth ages 13-20 that uses the vehicles of therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation to teach life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction, community connections and by providing tools to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for Inside Out is to help students address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression. The program allows students to creatively reflect on self, to work in a team and to experience critical engagement and transformative changes that shift their attitudes and behaviors in order to prevent violence. Three experienced facilitators (Ian Powell, Erin Ross, Kat Thorsen) provide instruction and support.

The program begins with a focus on self, moves into teamwork and ultimately into community.

Week 1: SELF

Photography, therapeutic art, journaling, drawing to focus on self-regulation and creative process

Week 2: TEAM

Team building, project planning, stop motion animation, self and group-directed learning

Week 3: COMMUNITY

Project completion, self-evaluation, community outreach, presentation and celebration

This program is offered to youth at no cost thanks to a grant from the Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) in partnership with the Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division (VSCPD), BC Ministry of Justice.

Day 1 highlights include:

journaling, drawing, Chalk Talk, photography (including exposure triangle and DSLR 101).

Mindy! 1 of 2 Inside Out mascots!
                  

Conversation about art, artists, creativity w. Tharp, Miller, Walker, Petit

I love that I can have a sit down with my heroes on a warm Saturday night and just shoot the shit.  Tonight we contemplated creativity, the artist and the why.

Here are some highlights:

Twyla Tharp (china marker on newsprint)

I believe that we all have strands of creative code hard-wired into our imaginations.  These strands are as solidly imprinted in us as the genetic code that determines our height and eye color, except they govern our creative impulses.  They determine the forms we work in, the stories we tell, and how we tell them.  I’m not Watson and Crick; I can’t prove this.  But perhaps you also suspect it when you try to understand why you’re a photographer, not a writer,or why you always insert a happy ending into your story, or why all your canvases gather the most interesting material at the edges, not the center.  In many ways, that’s why art historians and literature professors and critics of all kinds have jobs; to pinpoint the artist’s DNA and explain to the rest of us whether that artist is being true to it in his or her work.  I call it DNA; you may think of it as your creative hard-wiring or personality. – Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

Henry Miller (china marker on newsprint)

The practice of any art demands more that mere savoir faire.  One must not only be in love with what one does, one must also know how to make love.  In love self is obliterated.  Only the beloved counts.  Whether the beloved be a bowl of fruit, a pastoral scene, or the interior of a bawdy house makes no difference.  One must be in it and of it wholly.  Before a subject can be transmuted aesthetically it must be devoured and absorbed.  If it is a painting it must perspire with ecstacy…  The anatomy books will tell you one thing, or many things, but looking at an eye or an ear to render it in form, texture, color yields quite another kind of knowledge.  Suddenly you see– it’s not an eye or an ear but a little universe composed of the most extraordinary elements having nothing to do with sight or hearing, with flesh, bone, muscle, cartilage. – Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Alice Walker (china marker on newsprint)

… these grandmothers and mothers of ours were not Saints, but Artists; driven to a numb and bleeding madness by the springs of creativity in them for which there was no release.  They were Creators, who lived lives of spiritual waste, because they were so rich in spirituality- which is the basis of Art– that the strain of enduring their unused and unwanted talent drove them insane…. What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist in our grandmothers’ time?  In our great-grandmothers’ day?  It is a question with an answer cruel enough to stop the blood…  Our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see; or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.  – Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens

IMG_4539
Philipe Petit (china marker on newsprint)

There is no such thing as motivation in my world.  As an artist, I am driven, I am compelled, I am thrust forward by a force so rooted inside me, so convincing, that it seems futile to try to explain it.  Although it has a name: passion.  Passion is the mortar that holds my creative assemblies together.  It is the motor of my actions.  Because it is in perpetual motion, it has an impatient edge to it.  It is urgent.  And because it invites my arts to grow, it is essential. – Philipe Petit, Creativity- the perfect crime

Flu poem. 

Walking my old dog in Stanley Park today oh so slowly.  My body brutalized by flu. Every joint aching.  My head pounding with a migraine.  Can there be creativity in that?  If I can stay truly present- not deny it or be annoyed by it- what words come out?  Where does my mind go if I ride this?  I let the words flow and type them into my iPhone…

These ghosts and angels

These relics of the past

This hope and the hopeless

The gentle and crass.


The pterodactyl yawning

Sacred robust

Fragile precarious 

The weight of the bus


The root and the rooted

The foot of a tree

The story left buried

Released not yet free


Let me just lie here a little while on this dirt floor shh… shh.. at the foot of this tree with a root for a pillow shh… shh… let me just close my eyes and try to stop the pain and nausea, pull a leaf over to over my shoulder, curl my left arm around my old dog shh… shh… let me just lie here awhile in the shelter of the rhododendron bush.  I don’t ask for much just a few minutes of shh… shh… and the root can wrap around us and pull us deep deep down into the dirt floor and I’ll just shh… shh… be here forever…

ART SALE: One-of-a-kind journals 

One-of-a-kind journals with hand-drawn, embroidered covers containing  12 of my original journaling exercises

IMG_3702

I have been developing a little project for awhile now, inspired by my desires to:

• combine my learned lessons from years of facilitating art sessions

• reach more people that doesn’t require arranging in-person workshops.

But I want to do it in a very personal way.

 So what you get is a hand-drawn and hand-written product- and no two journals are alike!

This is not a published handbook or photocopied exercises.  This is a tangible, personal art program.

img_3704

Each journal is a composition book with a unique cover– featuring surprise images (you never know what you’re gonna get) on the front and back, hand-drawn by me.

These images are used to inspire certain exercises in the journal.

IMG_3568
The Badger/Crumb edition front cover

IMG_3569
The Badger/Crumb edition back cover

Inside you’ll find 12 of my original journaling exercises to facilitate you to explore in a safe and fun way.  I also include an opening and closing exercise.  Each exercise takes up about 4-8 pages.

img_3700

Cost: $135.00

This is not just a journal

It’s essentially a 12-session personal workshop series!

How to purchase: $135.00 CAD Plus $8.00 shipping 

Payment options:

1. Email transfer directly to britakatarina@gmail.com

2. PAYPAL

btn_buynowCC_LG 

You will then email me a shipping address and I will create your unique journal.  It will take about 3-4 weeks to receive it.

Group rates available for 5 or more. 

IMG_3716

Mouse edition front cover

  

Mouse edition back cover

And yes- you can then share these exercises.  And share your results with me!  I’d love to see where you take it!  There is no right or wrong- just freedom!  My goal is to spread the empowering/expressive force of creative journaling!

 

IMG_3708

IMG_3705

Pay attention to the birds: Part 5- Sparrow

Bliss- walking my old dog slowly, oh so slowly, in our West End neighborhood listening to the sweet song of the white-throated sparrow.  Miraculous.

I walk with a smile on my face.  I am filled with self-love for truly the first time in my life.  I know my own worth and I can sing it from the rooftops.  Today.  For today is all I have, and that is beautiful!  And lo and behold-

The sparrow reflects self-worth.   If a Sparrow totem has entered your life, ask yourself if you know your own self-worth.  The sparrow will show you that even a common little bird can triumph.

The song sparrow reflects the chakra energy awakening from the heart and throat.  It reminds us to sing out our own song of dignity and self-worth. [source]

IMG_3128.JPG

The Sparrow is ever vigilant in her goals. She is always bustling for her food, foraging for her nests, and gathering for her young. Fastidious and productive, the Sparrow is a reminder that idle hands (and idle minds) should be avoided in order to live a full, healthy life.

She is a master of flight, and camouflage, and as such the Sparrow teaches us to use our creativity to get around in life – think outside the box, and be creative in solving our problems.

As an bird totem, the Sparrow speaks of higher thoughts and ideals. She beckons us to keep our burdens as light as we can in order to avoid a heavy heart. [source]

Birds hold so much meaning to me.  And they always feel like messengers, telling me to pay strict attention.

My bird, Asterix, age 26.
My bird, Asterix, age 26.

See also:

PART 1: Kingfisher

PART 2: American Robin

PART 3: Pigeon

Part 4: Hummingbird

POST: They let their wings down…

POST: Dead messengers

“Hey over here- over HEAR!” Bathtub musings. #journal

IMG_1288-0.JPG

This that this that

I throw you the unknown

This that this that

Hey over here, over- HEAR!

Cart on a cup over rocks in a bird’s stomach

Soaring crashing

Overview- over this view, so over this view

But not you and you but them.

Not this not- this right here.

Clear clear I love this. This! Right here.

Hysterically, she courts: Here Hear! Hear me!

Yes, yes, I hear right here.

But sometimes- sometimes I am so over this (over)view.

Released from… congrats.

Now what? I still wait. Weight wade wade into the shadow,

through the muck that smells deliciously mouldy.

Eyes just at the surface blink slowly slowly blinks winks laughs and takes in air

and algae and bird turd and chokes and bloats and bides-

Bides time until there is just enough. Just enough. Say… ten lousy dollars.

Let’s just say, ten lousy dollars. Enough-

Enough to buy a bun, two buns and two cups and a french press and time.

This this right here. Hear!

It’s good now. The shadows are good now.

Lay the hand on the moss. Sink the cheek into the moss.

The moth and the moss- in time.

In time, the root overtakes the bone and pulls it down, past the moss

and the rock and the roots and the decay. Away and overlay

and the sun through the leaves offers pockets of hope,

and the shoot and the root crush under the boot.

Here… Hear. HEAR! HERE!

IMG_1290

My retreat journal part 6 of 6: The Closing Circle

I experienced a life-changing weekend as I co-facilitated Creativity and Connection Retreat October 17-19, 2014 on Bowen Island with Laura Mack at Xenia Retreat

10686972_10205184667878449_51112617749659093_n

Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall:

PART 1 October 17, 2014 FRIDAY INTO SILENCE

PART 2 October 18. 2014 SATURDAY MORNING INTO THE LABYRINTH

PART 3 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY MIDDAY THE CYCLOPS GODDESS

PART 4 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY AFTERNOON THE SYMBOLS WAY

PART 5 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY NIGHT THE DANCE

PART 6 October 19, 2014 SUNDAY: CLOSING CIRCLE

Sunday AM.  Woke up at 6:30.  Showered, prepped.  Cozy.  Slept so well as the room was inviting, the bed so comfortable and the light so right.  Going to grab a coffee while I can and then come back and savour these moments in the cabin. 

IMG_0765.JPG

Chatted with others in the kitchen about fathers and death.  Such camaraderie in that.  Prepping for 8:30 start on the Raven drawing.

IMG_0764

After breakfast, we sat in opening circle and pulled Goddess cards. 

Participant 1 pulled “Mary Magdalene” and that message certainly resonated with what this participant focused on this weekend: self-love/heal the situation with love. 

Participant 2 pulled “Mother Earth.”  Though the message at first seemed environmental and about taking care of the planet, upon reflection it also became about taking care of the self and the inner world. 

Laura pulled “Sorceress”- making complete sense to me.  I love watching Laura move into new, richer, visible leadership.  Trust.  I am so blessed to watch my dear friend blossom and expand her work. 

Participant 3 pulled “True Love”- a card that shone with the message of the gift of staying in the present. 

I pulled LEAP OF FAITH- again!!!  Take a risk and put your heart’s true desire into action!

Our drawing session began with a Raven drawing and unfolded into an image of grounded perspective and reflecting the work we have been doing around archetypes.  Water (LOVER), Earth (WARRIOR), Raven (MAGICIAN), Crown (SOVEREIGN).

IMG_0759

IMG_0770

A bio break and then snack time with Saria’s delicious muffins and blueberries plus crumble and whipped cream.  Bliss.

Laura has taken us into more perspectives around the work we have been focusing on at this retreat- providing tools to carry with us as we “re-enter” our lives.  Clean Talk, Clear Actions.

We are now journaling around what awaits us as we step back into the world. 

Deep breaths.  Address a piece at a time.  In small steps.  TRUST.  Trust that I am taken care of.  This pause from my daily life certainly feels cleansing, but certainly stepping back into it feels slightly ominous because this experience truly allowed me to take a real emotional dive/mental break from TV/Phone/To-do Lists/Worry/Fear- is it possible to allow myself to carry this lesson forward into my life “on the mainland”?  To be cleansed by this LEAP OF FAITH?

Filling this journal with stream of consciousness and drawings has been the greatest feeling.  Dancing again, teaching, creating, being together, being in the structure of the yurt during processes, pausing and being, being nourished by this welcoming land, being nourished by glorious food, being taken care of but also leading, guiding, sharing who I am as a creative force. 

It is Sunday AM and I am tired.  A plane flies overhead.  Reminds me that tonight I do not open my computer or prep for the week.  Leave that to tomorrow.  The yurt is being pelted by leaves.  Loud leaves.

The participants role played and practiced clean talk. 

Then off to a beautiful Mexican lunch with Saria.  We presented her with our art piece: Creative Prayer and I read her “A Breakfast for Barbarians” by Gwendolyn MacEwen.  To me, the poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen partnered perfectly with this retreat and this particular poem was a perfect thank you to Saria.

IMG_0756

my friends, my sweet barbarians,

there is that hunger which is not for food —

but an eye at the navel turns the appetite

round

with visions of some fabulous sandwich,

the brain’s golden breakfast

                                        eaten with beasts

                                        with books on plates

 

let us make an anthology of recipes,

let us edit for breakfast

our most unspeakable appetites —

let us pool spoons, knives

and all cutlery in a cosmic cuisine,

let us answer hunger

with boiled chimera

and apocalyptic tea,

an arcane salad of spiced bibles,

tossed dictionaries —

                                        (O my barbarians

                                        we will consume our mysteries)

 

and can we, can we slake the gaping eye of our desires?

we will sit around our hewn wood table

until our hair is long and our eyes are feeble,

eating, my people, O my insatiates,

eating until we are no more able

to jack up the jaws any longer —

 

to no more complain of the soul’s vulgar cavities,

to gaze at each other over the rust-heap of cutlery,

drinking a coffee that takes an eternity —

till, bursting, bleary,

we laugh, barbarians, and rock the universe —

and exclaim to each other over the table

over the table of bones and scrap metal

over the gigantic junk-heaped table:

 

 by God that was a meal

Gwendolyn MacEwen, “A Breakfast for Barbarians” from Magic Animals: Selected Poems Old and New. Copyright © 1974 by David MacKinnon. Reprinted by permission of David MacKinnon.

10341477_10205199614692110_3089041777240030104_n

We then packed and entered our closing circle. 

IMG_0752

Laura shared more tools to sustain the experience of the retreat and we reviewed our original intentions from Friday evening.

My original intentions:

Be present

Stillness of the heart

Allow

I truly feel I have met my own intentions during this retreat.  I allowed the fears to come up and I met them with love and stillness.  I navigated the journey with Laura with ease, being present to changing currents.  I allowed myself to welcome back the dancer.  I even sang!  I know that I now infuse and exude all the lessons of my life and I can maintain my intentions to be present, to allow, to have stillness of the heart.  I immerse myself in the creative process- not to escape but to simply BE- to allow stillness, connection, action, results and move back and forth through the spiral.  No judgment. 

The SIMPLICITY in all this is that I have gifts that I love to share and those gifts are my guardians.  I am safe.  I am me.  I am taken care of by the peacefulness of the creative process, by the stillness of knowledge, by the trust. 

That is one thing I’d like to share with the group: TRUST.  When the fear arises, fall back to stillness and trust.  Unravel the past from the present, from the future, the depression from the anxiety from the peace and give them all space to dance and breathe together, to let it all BREATHE.

10486657_10205131256183190_9202950443935480650_n

Thank you, Laura.

My retreat journal Part 5 of 6: The Dance

I experienced a life-changing weekend as I co-facilitated Creativity and Connection Retreat October 17-19, 2014 on Bowen Island with Laura Mack at Xenia Retreat

IMG_0240

Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall:

PART 1 October 17, 2014 FRIDAY INTO SILENCE

PART 2 October 18. 2014 SATURDAY MORNING INTO THE LABYRINTH

PART 3 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY MIDDAY THE CYCLOPS GODDESS

PART 4 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY AFTERNOON THE SYMBOLS WAY

PART 5 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY NIGHT: THE DANCE

After lunch, Laura took two participants through the Symbols Way process.  Beautiful and profound moments and insights.  

We had a labyrinth drawing break before dinner- we added the labyrinths to the Cyclops Goddess.  A friend came by who lives on Bowen Island and joined us for dinner; she gave me a beautiful book as a gift from her SFU class: The Flight of the Hummingbird.  Again- magical connections as the theme of the book is the power of taking small steps to achieve a big goal.  “I am doing what I can.” – Dukdukdiya.  Recall the LEAP OF FAITH theme this weekend!

After a lovely salmon dinner and chats about restorative justice and all that good stuff, we headed back to the yurt for the final process.  I loved the experience of scribing for the participants and gathering information for them as a take away tool.  Then dessert and I moved my things into the Writer’s Retreat cabin to have the experience of that cozy lodging.  

At 9 PM we all returned to the yurt to dance.  Intense muscle memory came back and I literally gave myself to the dance.  I was stunned, relieved, at ease, grateful…  Obviously, I will feel it in my joints and muscles tomorrow [I actually didn’t!  My body is loose and pain free] but my soul was thankful to revisit the dancer- who is seemingly alive and well.  

         

How could I have left her so dormant?  

She wasn’t dead.  She was dormant.  

Like the floor of Death Valley covered in flowers after a rare rainfall.  Seemingly nothing grows there until the right conditions arrive.  

20140729-081042-29442457.jpg

I allowed myself to welcome back the dancer- “dance” in the schedule was the one thing that made me hesitate more than the anticipation of darkness.  

Stay tuned for Part 6: The Closing Circle

IMG_0239

My Retreat Journal Part 4 of 6: The Symbols Way

I experienced a life-changing weekend as I co-facilitated Creativity and Connection Retreat October 17-19, 2014 on Bowen Island with Laura Mack at Xenia Retreat

IMG_0240

Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall:

PART 1 October 17, 2014 FRIDAY INTO SILENCE

PART 2 October 18. 2014 SATURDAY MORNING INTO THE LABYRINTH

PART 3 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY MIDDAY THE CYCLOPS GODDESS

PART 4 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY AFTERNOON: THE SYMBOLS WAY

Laura took each participant through the EXTRAORDINARY POWERFUL process called the Symbols Way.  I find the process not only a valuable tool for self-exploration, but a paradigm shifting exercise that changes the way I view my life.  The imagery is so rich, so tangible. Laura brings such depth and safety and beauty into the facilitation.  I loved scribing the processes for the participants through mind-mapping.  Each process took a little under two hours.

Sample of the mind map I created for myself when I went through the process with Barbara Cecil and Laura- the process truly a gift I treasure forever:

IMG_0831.JPG

IMG_0832.JPG

IMG_0835.JPG

IMG_0830.JPG

“At a personal level, The Symbols Way is a way to reflect on your calling, unique to the phase of life you are in. the process yields personal clarity, rooted in one’s central core of meaning. At an organizational level it reviews current reality and reaches into relevant and meaningful possibilities for the future.”

– Barbara Cecil

FOR MORE INFORMATION drop me a line!

Stay tuned for Part 5: The Dance

IMG_0239

My retreat journal Part 3 of 6: The Cyclops Goddess

I experienced a life-changing weekend as I co-facilitated Creativity and Connection Retreat October 17-19, 2014 on Bowen Island with Laura Mack at Xenia Retreat

IMG_0248-0

Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall:

PART 1 October 17, 2014 FRIDAY INTO SILENCE

PART 2 October 18. 2014 SATURDAY MORNING INTO THE LABYRINTH

Part 3 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY MIDDAY: THE CYCLOPS GODDESS

Laura explained the Symbols Way process and got us in the frame of mind to fully enter the process this afternoon.  

As part of our facilitation posters, I had reflected the 4 archetypes in my own way, and I feel the imagery I chose worked well within our natural Xenia landscape:

The Warrior (SOUTH)- imagined as a blackberry bush- emotional gateway ANGER; The Sovereign (NORTH)- imagined as Opa the tree- emotional gateway JOY; The Love (EAST)- imagined an autumn leaf- emotional gateway GRIEF; The Magician- imagined as a raven- emotional gateway FEAR
The Warrior (SOUTH) EARTH- imagined as a blackberry bush- emotional gateway ANGER; The Sovereign (NORTH) FIRE- imagined as Opa the Xenia tree- emotional gateway JOY; The Lover (EAST) WATER- imagined an autumn leaf- emotional gateway GRIEF; The Magician (WEST) AIR- imagined as a raven- emotional gateway FEAR

But before each participant was taken through the Symbols Way process individually, we dove into more messy creative process.  I took the participants through my chakra drawing exercise— taken from previous lessons I have shared with other students.  I love building and re-interpreting.

20140602-084549-31549463.jpg

20140613-075001-28201962.jpg

IMG_0208

We drew a human figure and then went on to drawing a 3-D eye.  We wrote the chakra chart and started incorporating the lessons thus far.  It was truly a GO WITH IT exercise, creating a CYCLOPS GODDESS that we just kept layering on top of!

IMG_0740.JPG

IMG_0741.JPG

IMG_0743.JPG

IMG_0744.JPG

IMG_0745.JPG

Delicious.  

Of course, I had to look up the meaning of the CYCLOPS to see why she was appearing:

Blind, yet seeing.  Ego vs spiritual enlightenment.

CYCL: the circle, the wheel.

HERE WE GO.  More magic!  How appropriate that the words in the chant we sang on the way to the sanctuary last night were:

We’re spiralling into the circle, the circle of our wheel.

We’re spiralling into the circle, the circle of our wheel.

We are the weavers, we are the woven ones,

We are the dreamers, we are the dream.

We are the children, we are the chosen ones,

We are all part of the web.

Aaaaaah-mazing!

IMG_0748.JPG

Screen shot 2014-10-24 at 8.02.50 PM

We also journaled around the matrilineal question: What was your mother’s name?  And if you know them, your grandmother and your great grandmother’s names? What are some qualities you or others associate with each of these women?  This was a great way to “set the scene” for beginning the Symbols Way process.

IMG_0829

10429307_10205165631922562_6745334469178054888_n

I read MORNING LAUGHTER  by Gwendolyn MacEwen

Screen shot 2014-10-24 at 8.19.59 PM

See more of the poem at: link

Stay tuned for Part 4: The
Symbols Way

IMG_0240

My retreat journal Part 2 of 6: Into the labyrinth

I experienced a life-changing weekend as I co-facilitated Creativity and Connection Retreat October 17-19, 2014 on Bowen Island with Laura Mack at Xenia Retreat

IMG_0248-0

Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

Recall: PART 1 October 17, 2014 FRIDAY INTO SILENCE

Part 2 October 18, 2014 SATURDAY MORNING:

Photo credit: Xenia on Bowen Island
Photo credit: Xenia on Bowen Island

6:30 AM The darkness did not overwhelm me last night.  The porch lights from next door were enough to illuminate to make me feel calm.  At times my heart wanted to race but I breathed through it.  Amazing.  

My sleep was like skipping stones though.  Perhaps tonight I will feel safe to fully fall asleep.  

Laura woke everyone up with a GONG!  We are still in silence.  The breath I felt in the sanctuary was one of the best moments of silence- felt like the deepest heart-est breaths.  

Laura just came back with a surprise cup of coffee. Bliss.  

At 7 am we have breakfast in silence then at 8 meet for walking to the labyrinth (still in silence) then to the yurt for opening circle…  

Before breakfast I walked with my coffee to the yurt.  I keep being pulled to it.  Set up the archetypes using iPhone compass to fully align with NSEW directions.

I then stood for a long time leaning on the fence looking out over the meadow, feeling Mamma and Pappa.  

10710826_10205184387311435_7094382628111483885_n

Ready to let go of pain and unhappiness.  Just allow the joy of my childhood to be what now lifts me.  I am loved and I am deserving.  I am a daughter.  A woman in very aspect.  I am “the mother.”  There is no power or fear in that.  I full step into me.  Let go and start fresh yet carry on.  To be in this childhood summerhouse-type setting is powerful.  I have a ball in my throat and tears behind my eyes that need to burst forth but sitting at breakfast now.  

Kitchen in the lodge.  Photo by Laura Mack.
Saria at work in the kitchen in the lodge. Photo by Laura Mack.

Recalling dinner by Saria last night.  Exquisite.  Shepherd’s pie, mixed salad (with everything from the garden), beets in orange juice and vinegar… baked glazed pears with whipped cream, fresh muffins.  I just want to keep writing but I need to pause.  Grab a cup of coffee and make sure I eat.  The breakfast spread: everything including grilled avocados with egg.  I had muffins, granola, yoghurt, fresh fruit.  A participant sits beside me.  Voraciously reading about the history of the property.  I love her curiosity, and tireless quest for knowledge.  A kindred spirit that needs to ingest, to feed on life through research.  

This experience is intensely safe.  Comforting.  Excited about the day ahead.

"Xenia Retreat. Feeling full. Awed. Peaceful. Expanded. On purpose." - Laura (Walking to labyrinth, we paused at Opa.  Photo by Laura Mack.)
“Xenia Retreat. Feeling full. Awed. Peaceful. Expanded. On purpose.”
– Laura (Walking to labyrinth, we paused at Opa. Photo by Laura Mack.)

The labyrinth walk in silence.  Profound.  The walk in, I had scattered thoughts, breathing into this early morning musings by the meadow.  In the centre, I felt peace and clarity and white light.  I cried throughout the walk outward, grieving, mourning, letting go.  Holding, releasing, allowing.  

IMG_6421.JPG

 “The poet Marianne Moore famously wrote of ‘real toads in imaginary gardens,’ and the labyrinth offers us the possibility of being real creatures in symbolic space…In such spaces as the labyrinth we cross over [between real and imaginary spaces]; we are really travelling, even if the destination is only symbolic.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Photo by Laura Mack
Photo by Laura Mack

I picked up two mottled leaves as I started to walk outward.  They represent Mamma and Pappa as they entered the last few days before their hearts stopped.  

20140113-205214

But did they stop?  Did the family not just pick up the beat as we synchronized with them?  I had my ear to mom’s chest as her heart stopped.  But I beat with it and carried it on for her.  

How could I not consider this life that I have truly miraculous and worth living?  Truly miraculous and always worth living.

IMG_6426.JPG

Opening circle and breaking silence in the yurt at 9 AM.  We reflected on our dreams, our experience in the sanctuary and at the labyrinth.  Laura introduced the Symbols Way and the 4 archetypes that we will focus on this weekend- encouraging us to ask ourselves: 

Where are you now?  

What archetype are you not so in touch with? 

Our first art-making session included mark-making and revisiting the labyrinth by tracing our steps on top of my drawing.  Delicious.  

IMG_0735.JPG

“Show not what has been done, but what can be. How beautiful the world would be if there were a procedure for moving through labyrinths.”
― Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

IMG_0738.JPG

IMG_0746.JPG

Stay tuned for Part 3: Saturday late morning- Cyclops Goddess and the Matrilineal question to set the stage for Symbols Way…

“THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP is at the headwaters of every woman’s health. Our bodies and our beliefs about them were formed in the soil of our mother’s emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. To become optimally healthy and happy, each of us must get clear about the ways in which our mother’s history both influenced and continues to inform our state of health, our beliefs, and how we live our lives. Every woman who heals herself helps heal all the women who came before her and all those who will come after her.” – Dr. Christiane Northup

IMG_0731

And for information on more workshops and retreats!

IMG_0238

My retreat journal Part 1 of 6: INTO SILENCE

I experienced a life-changing weekend as I co-facilitated Creativity and Connection Retreat October 17-19, 2014 on Bowen Island with Laura Mack at Xenia Retreat

A HUGE THANK YOU TO LAURA FOR PROVIDING THIS OPPORTUNITY FOR ME.

SPECIAL THANK YOU Saria, and to Angelyn, Loretta, Fran and Lorena

10646724_10205178866373415_3580036456908410373_n

Here are some journal excerpts so you can get a small glimpse as to how powerful the experience was for me.

PART 1

October 17, 2014 FRIDAY

Sitting in the kitchen at Xenia with Laura as Saria makes Shepherd’s Pie.  We took the 11 AM ferry- lunch at Artisan’s Square then to Xenia to prep and settle.  Expecting guests at 6:30 and the large Yurt is all set up.

10730810_10205184849882999_595140312459270231_n10659366_10205184361070779_1066126665967708379_n

1506861_10205184368510965_5443393047755710602_n

Later…

Everyone has arrived.  Angelyn comes to visit as we wait for dinner and talks about the history of Xenia.  

Opening circle after dinner (checkins, intros, intentions, expectations, What is the crossroads that you find yourself at this time?)  We chanted and sang as we walked in the rain to the Sanctuary.  

Photo source: Globe Dater
Photo source: Globe Dater

Laura read a beautiful quote on LISTENING.  We then went into SILENCE (to end at 9 AM opening circle on Saturday after breakfast).  We sat in silence for many many pregnant minutes.  Ok- so THIS is indeed SILENCE.  

img_0518_0

We walked back to the lodge and ate dessert.  I walked to the yurt to get my journal and enjoy the space for awhile.  I am now back at the Maple Lodge (sharing it tonight with Laura)- prepping for bed.  

10702186_10205184375071129_5240459618968564584_n

I had panicked at the sanctuary- that familiar trigger as the darkness felt like a black pool of ink floating above me and descending.  But I found I could stay with it.  I breathed deep breaths in time with my heart and I was right back to being with my parents at their last breaths.  My heart beat with theirs and as theirs slowed mine carried on- carried on beating for them.  

But I am now feeling angst come up as I anticipate turning out the lights.

1016943_10205184779081229_8014263195899654853_n

Xenia is inviting me to feel safe.  Enveloping me in magic.  And I am ready to see it, hear it, experience it and give myself to it.

Recall seeing two deer– gentleness, move through life and obstacles with grace, sensitive, intuitive, ability to change directions quickly, to be in touch with life’s mysteries.  

Recall seeing the little frog trying to get in through our door at Maple Lodge.  

“As symbol of transition and transformation, this spirit animal supports us in times of change. Strongly associated with the water element, it connects us with the world of emotions and feminine energies, as well as the process of cleansing, whether it’s physical, emotional, or more spiritual or energetic.” [source]

I took the frog as an invite to dive into creative process- and as a reminder that this weekend is a leap of faith on our part. He was a small frog- ie. small steps, take it easy.  Recall that Laura drew the Aine: Leap of Faith goddess card yesterday and I drew it today… [I drew it again on Sunday!]  Hello!

“Allow yourself to trust that the Universe will support and guide you where you need to be. Virtue recommends going on a nature walk, meditating, or praying to aid in making a decision upon what your heart truly desires. Once making that decision, the Universe will provide for you! You will begin to see helpers come your way, sudden opportunities opening up for you, or even books that can help you along your journey. But none of this will happen if you do not take action steps and get started on fulfilling your dreams. Do not get overwhelmed. Breakdown your goals into smaller tasks to complete over a period of time. Be gentle and kind to yourself, but remain focused.” [source]

It was interesting falling into silence— very liquidly somehow.  Texting, mumbling, writing may not be full silence- but hey one step at a time.  OK- lights out.  Be still my heart.  The deer and frog protect.

Stay tuned for Part 2 Saturday morning…

1780774_10205184356270659_3419583369794239173_n

And for information on more workshops and retreats!

IMG_0238

“I am wandering awed… gnawed trees breathe a delicate air.” Creativity & Connection Retreat Oct 17-19, 2014

Connections

CREATIVITY AND CONNECTION RETREAT WITH LAURA AND KAT

Retreat Flyer

We will provide you with tools for gaining insight and shifting perspective using inspiring themes such as archetype symbology and shadow-work.  Self-reflection activities will take you deeper into your own journey while group experiences expand your mindset.

Laura will share authentic leadership exercises to assist you in gaining perspective on your personal and professional challenges.  Kat will guide you through creative process and expression and will facilitate those precious aha moments we all love to celebrate.

What we’re offering you is a weekend of Safety, Gentleness, Nurturing, Discovery and a wee bit of Wildness!

Retreat Flyer

labyrinth-door

IMG_0250

FACILITATORS: 

Laura Mack

My mission is to create opportunities for inspiration & transformation.”

Laura is a business consultant, facilitator and writer. She has a broad understanding of both the rewards and challenges of entrepreneurial life as well as the corporate and non-profit sectors. Laura is an associate consultant with ViRTUS, and Authentic Leadership Global, Inc.   She brings a variety of facilitation, strategic planning, team building and leadership tools into her practice. Known as a connector, Laura is passionate about sharing her experiences with ‘netweaving’, actively connecting those with similar interests and activities. She also is a volunteer facilitator of restorative justice with the North Shore Restorative Justice Society.

Katarina (Kat) Thorsen

My mission is to awaken creative expression through global art initiatives.”

Kat is a Vancouver artist, craftivst and therapeutic art facilitator and is passionate in her belief that art can heal and build connections.  Kat facilitates arts and crafts workshops for all ages across the Lower Mainland and coordinates Frames Film Project, an arts-based program providing life- and employment skills for local at-risk youth.   Her popular interactive art events and street art encourages participants to become part of the creative process.  Kat published her first book, Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art in 2013. Her next book is a true crime analysis and graphic novel based on her research into a historical Vancouver murder mystery.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT LAURA MACK: EMAIL

IMG_0241

Some previews of what you will experience:

IMG_9122

IMG_0249

IMG_9125

046

IMG_0245

The Labyrinth is an Archetype, a divine imprint found in spiritual traditions in various forms around the world. By walking the labyrinth we are discovering a long forgotten mystical tradition which becomes a metaphor for our own spiritual journey. The walk is a shared journey – an activity which communities can do together to coalesce and unify vision. The labyrinth is a mandala that meets our longing for a change of heart; for a change of ways in how we live together and for the energy, the vision, and the courage to become agents of transformation.

Xenia

IMG_0243

IMG_0035

IMG_0208

I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them.
― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

IMG_0240

IMG_0117

IMG_0242

IMG_0244

RETREAT LOCATION:

Experience self-discovery, connection and the glorious insights that being in nature provides as we embrace the gorgeous BC rainforest and island setting of Xenia Centre.

Screen shot 2014-09-20 at 9.40.35 AM

opa

sanctuary_0

img_0518_0

Xenia Creative Development Centre

You will be nurtured by amazing fresh food and our Xenia host Saria will be available throughout the weekend to provide healing sessions.

Why Xenia?
“Xenia” stands for the cross-pollenation of ideas between guest and host.  It means hospitality and being friends to the stranger. Xenia has always opened its doors and heart to whomever finds their way down here.
Xenia Centre is a gift to humanity, evoking service, she offers back peace, presence and a direct experience of ones true nature. Through so much love and attention being poured into her, Xenia has impacted the lives of thousands from around the world. This is truly a sacred place, a place that brings us home. In 1994, a young widow with a small child risked all to convert a dilapidated old sheep farm into one of the worlds most beautiful and unique sanctuaries. Against all financial advice, she followed her souls yearning to service this mission, the dream of Xenia called Angelyn to its birth.

XENIA CENTRE

IMG_9117

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pricing:
$650.00 for shared accommodations or
$750.00 for private.
A non-refundable 50% deposit will secure your room selection & possibly roommate selection if you’re sharing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT LAURA MACK: EMAIL

IMG_0238

IMG_0254.JPG

Human Connection, Creativity and Health- @bridge4health free workshop with @parentasleader and @KatThorsen

Human connection

Would you like to spend an evening exploring the healing power of human connection through a gentle introduction to netweaving and creative expression? Bridge for Health and the Burnaby Public Library present this free workshop by an authentic leader and facilitator Laura Mack, and therapeutic art facilitator Kat Thorsen.

Laura Mack is a business consultant, facilitator and writer.  She has a broad understanding of both the rewards and challenges of entrepreneurial life as well as the corporate and non-profit sectors. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with ‘netweaving’, actively connecting those with similar interests and activities.  She also is a volunteer facilitator of restorative justice with the North Shore Restorative Justice Society.

Katarina (Kat) Thorsen, is a Vancouver artist, craftivist and therapeutic art facilitator and is passionate in her belief that art can heal and build connections.  Kat facilitates arts and crafts workshops for all ages across the Lower Mainland and coordinates Frames Film Project, an arts-based program providing life- and employment skills for local at-risk youth. She published her first book, Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art in 2013.

Authentic human connection is paramount to our well-being and general overall health, and we can actively seek out it out through netweaving.  Netweaving is the evolution of networking, allowing for more authentic connection, genuine communication and caring interaction.  During this two-hour workshop, you will open your heart and experience the healing power of interaction through netweaving exercises, hands-on tools, group discussion and gentle creative expression. You’ll have an opportunity to meet some really amazing people, share what you’re most passionate about, and have some fun & laughter.

Registration is required. Please to register call 604-436-5400 or register online.

screen-shot-2014-09-10-at-7-49-40-pm

screen-shot-2014-09-10-at-7-50-59-pm

Where From Here? Creativity Workshop June 29, 2013!

I am honored and delighted to be be working with my dear friends, Jennifer Lyons and Nancy Kirkpatrick on a new creativity workshop series!

943642_10151685939595987_1874522550_n
Event poster by Nancy Kirkpatrick

Our first workshop: WHERE FROM HERE? JUNE 29, 2013!

Do you long to connect with your creativity, rekindle your passion, fuel your purpose and evolve your career but do not know where to begin? 

If you answered yes, this workshop is uniquely designed for you!

Allow us to guide you to open yourself up, dig in deeper, reflect and take action in a safe and creative space.s

During this three part workshop you will:

SNAP into vulnerability and open up with ease as I guide you to the heart of where you are now.

img_8422

CRACKLE as you dig into the root of your current situation and imagine infinite solutions as creativity facilitator/multimedia artist Jennifer Lyons holds space for awareness of where you want to be.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

POP with vitality and clarity as you reflect and identify tangible action with facilitator/photographer Nancy Kirkpatrick.

Photo collage by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo collage by Nancy Kirkpatrick

You will leave with:

An inspiring art project
Tools to reduce stress and anxiety
Action steps to maintain your creative process
New connections

644499_10201052479056311_408191243_n

More Details:

Saturday June 29, 2013
Registration (meet and greet)
9:00 AM
Three hour workshop
9:30 AM-12:30 PM
325 Main Street, Vancouver [Main and Cordova]

$65/person [Art supplies included in fee]

Ages 16+

REGISTER AT: WHERE FROM HERE 

994278_550150191694641_2096468195_n

An ode to @stephenfry. #portrait

My daily regiment must always include a dose of Stephen Fry.  It balances me.

China Marker on Newsprint 18" x 24"
China Marker on Newsprint 18″ x 24″

Screen shot 2012-12-28 at 11.08.10 PM

Screen shot 2012-12-28 at 11.10.06 PM

I used many times to touch my own chest and feel, under its asthmatic quiver, the engine of the heart and lungs and blood and feel amazed at what I sensed was the enormity of the power I possessed. Not magical power, not all that Carrie teenage telekinetic wank, but real power. The power simply to go on, the power to endure, that is power enough, but I felt I had also the power to create, to add, to delight, to amaze and to transform. Yet I was unwanted, rejected and unthought of. My mother, yes, she believed in me, but everybody’s mother believes in them. No one else believed in me.

Principally of course—oh how one sees that now—myself. Principally, I did not believe in me. I believed in ghosts more than I believed in me, and take my word for it, I never believed in ghosts, I’m far too spiritual and emotional and passionate to believe in the supernatural.

– Stephen Fry

source

Drawing on 50… journaling series Part 3. More cave time sans culpabilité. #solitude

I have a strong need for “cave time”, for cocooning, for processing.  And now that I’m 50, I plan to work on allowing more of that time WITHOUT GUILT.  For truly, the time spent alone with gentle input and voracious creative output is time VERY WELL SPENT.

Today’s dream statement:  I will spend more time on my private island.

I just spent a cozy hour on my bed, surrounded by research, writing in my journal, drinking my coffee and just being. Trust me, it helps soothe those racing thoughts that always threaten to vice your heart when you first wake up.  I know we are all in different chapters of our lives, with a variety of people and things that need our attention and time the minute we open our eyes.

But now that I’m 50, I savour this moment- having worked inordinately hard for so many years to simply get to spend this particular hour deliciously alone- RIGHT NOW, on a Sunday morning.

I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.  A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will. – Thoreau

See also:

Drawing on 50 Part 1: dream collaboration

Drawing on 50 Part 2: dream participant: Maud