As we gathered in a circle to check in where everybody was at, I burst into tears! This moment exploded despite my trying to hold back my emotions. All of my efforts and planning and inviting hadn't produced many participants so I was not only disappointed in myself but feeling like I'd disappointed Chris Flynn, our guest instructor who'd driven all the way up from CA and was obviously well-prepared for a big turn-out.
Of course, Chris didn't miss a beat reassuring me that, "Wherever you're at is perfect for this moment and perfect for this workshop. I know you put a of lot of effort into making this happen and I am so grateful for all you've done. Now we're finally here and ready and it's time to relax and enjoy ourselves surrounded by this beautiful environment as we gather together as creative goddesses." At least that's what I heard her say. I'm sure those weren't her exact words but the feeling permeated me that I could indeed at long last relax and really take a deep breath. Or two.
After wiping up the tears and stating our intentions for the day, we began by checking out the 'spread' of materials, dolls and other goodies that were neatly arranged around the room, kitchen, bedroom and porch. Literally every surface was covered with bins of wonderful treasures!
She is a magnificent doll, even better in person--colorful, regal and proud and she lent the whole room her Spirit of 'possibilities of layers and layers, fierce love and a shining breast plate that shields her heart from the arrows of expectation.' Perfect for starting out a workshop based on the Goddess Spirit.
Next stop lay an elegant arrangement of finished goods Chris had lovingly made including beautiful journal covers showing off her sewing skills, wisdom books, prayer sticks and more. Getting to touch the things I usually only see on Etsy really brought them to life.
The kitchen held bins of crystals, faces, shards, pendants, shields, buttons and beads. We'd won the lottery! Chris kept emphasizing that we could use whatever we wanted and if something was speaking to us that we should set it aside. I had my hands full in a split-second and I could hardly wait to get started!
And so I finally arrived at the place where I could focus on the 'now' and release all my anxiety, worries and fears. I allowed myself to unfurl, little by little, a blossom under the sunshine of Chris's compassion and coaxing. I opened up to new possibilities and different ways of approaching my art. Having all those new and foreign art supplies from which to choose also impacted the results.
I also made a "he" Spirit Doll in the main workshop. The moment, the environment from which he was created and the unfamiliar materials brought out an unexpected side of my psyche, allowing me to explore a fantastic and satisfying realm of my inner universe. New techniques presented by Chris helped push my art to the next level. I feel more powerful expanding my knowledge and I can't wait to see what surfaces in my next Spirit Doll and the next.
I love working with paper: folding, ironing, coloring, measuring and sewing. We made both fabric and leather bound books, each using a slightly different technique so I walked away with two little treasures that day and another way to express my creativity!
After helping Chris pack up and load her van, we all sat down and visited, reflecting on our time together, what we'd learned and what we'd take away from our experience. As with all workshops I've attended, I left with the feeling of an explorer who'd just safaried in the deep jungle, making unexpected discoveries, dodging fierce and unknown creatures and reveling in deepened relationships, including the one with myself.
Chris has already planted the seeds for another workshop. She is returning to WA in the Spring and she's ready to teach! If you're ready to open the door to life and explore the universe of your mind and heart, please let me know. I'll be creating a new page on my website for sign-ups. After the dust settles, of course!
You must never slacken in your efforts to build new lives for yourselves. Creativeness means pushing open the heavy door to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the hardest task in the world. For opening the door to your own life is more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe."
Daisaku Ikeda, peacebuilder