Here is the road: the light
comes and goes then returns again.
Be gentle with your fellow travelers
as they move through the world of stone and stars
whirling with you yet every one alone.
The road waits.
Do not ask questions but when it invites you
to dance at daybreak, say yes.
Each step is the journey; a single note the song.
-Arlene Gay Levine from Bless the Day, ed. by June Cotner
I have returned from an amazing week. For the last six days my teaching partner Betsey Beckman and I have been immersed in our Awakening the Creative Spirit program with 11 beautiful and amazing women who traveled from across the continent for this experience. It was the first time Betsey and I have offered this program in a weeklong intensive format, the last two years we have taught it over six months in 2-day sessions here in Seattle. I have to admit going into this week I was nervous about maintaining my energy for an entire week of teaching as well as wondering how strangers gathered together in one space for that long would fare with each other.
And while I also expected wonderful things, grace entered to make the week magical. We were able to create a space of trust quickly and we gave each other permission to take care of our own needs and to explore new possibilities within ourselves. One of the gifts of being together for a week was sharing meals and down time together, as well as seeing how the participants started using the tools we provided. I was especially moved by all of the poems that were created in quiet moments and then shared with the group.
Last night Suz, one of our participants left this comment at the previous post: “I just returned from Christine and Betsey’s Intensive and it was just wonderful. They are excellent teachers, which I am sure doesn’t surprise anyone. The other attendees were a warm and gifted bunch. As an added benefit, I got to meet the delightful Pam but I missed meeting Tune in person. I just can’t say enough good about the experience!”
Below are the masks we created to close our week together.
This was a week of saying yes to all of the invitations we were given. Saying yes to creativity, saying yes to our own self-care, saying yes to the support of each other in becoming our most authentic selves. The biggest gift for me was the unfolding of a creative community and experiencing again the possibilities when we allow each other to encounter the sacred in our own ways and give expression to that. There is so much more I could say, but for now I am out of words and need to simply hold the gifts of the week in my heart and my imagination.
Being someone who seeks still and silent places, I am grateful to have the week ahead to enter into my own space of Thanksgiving and reflect more deeply on the gifts shared.
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts
I’m very late commenting on this but almost thought I had done! I love the masks, and I’m encouraged to see them, as I had this idea for one of my Enneagram workshops. It’s delightful to see yours and they speak so strongly of the temporary community you built.
I love your comments about “willing strangers gathering together!” Indeed.
Thank you Sue, lucy, and Dawn! It was a wonderful time and I am definitely glad to be back home. lucy, this definitely gave me more hope for the world. Wish you all could have been with us.
What a wonderful experience to remember. Glad you are all back safe at home. I love to hear stories of fellowship and new friendships, even if they only take place for small amount of time. The feeling lingers and supports.
welcome back, christine! it sounds like a blessed week. i never cease to be amazed at the magic that occurs when willing “strangers” gather together. it gives me hope for the world. you truly are a gracious teacher and hostess and i know the participants were greatly blessed by yours & betsey’s presence.
Those masks are great! Reading this post was like going for a nice refreshing swim (excuse the most-likely unpalatable analogy considering your own weather, but it’s stinking hot here :) I wish I could have gone!!!!
That poem is just divine. Thanks :)