Last Saturday I christened my “Wild at Heart Studio” with six lovely women who came to explore, create, play and shine.
It was wonderful!
On November 19th, I am leading my first workshop @KensingtonArtSupply – a huge step for me – to offer an art workshop outside my own safe space! In this case, it is an art journalling workshop — Art Your Heart Out! Colour me excited!
There was a time when I said I couldn’t paint. I had no artistic ability.
And then, I discovered how wrong I’d been about something I’d told myself all my life. (I was in my mid-forties when this revelation came to me!)
Hmmm…. I wondered. If I’m wrong about that, what other limiting beliefs am I holding that might be keeping me in place, stopping me from doing things outside my comfort zone?
Delving into artistic expression has been a life-giver. It has created space for me to explore my world in all its many colours, textures, shades and shadows. And, it’s enriched my life by giving me the inspiration to create opportunities for others to find their own creative expressions.
Years ago, when I first started working in the homeless-serving sector at a large adult homeless shelter, I started an art program. A church had donated funds for art-making that had sat unused for two years. I went out, bought some supplies and then invited clients of the shelter to join me on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons for creative play.
That program connected us in ways we could not imagine. It shone a spotlight on our humanity, our shared human condition and our capacity to create even in the face of abject poverty, sadness, loss. Providing space for others to delve into their creative core in the otherwise stark and soul-crushing world of homelessness was healing, affirming, possibility-filled.
That space was an opportunity for everyone to reconnect to that which homelessness crushes down — our humanity. Rather than being identified as the label “homeless”, both participants and those who volunteered in the studio, who came to our art shows and other productions were connected through the creative process to that which makes our world more caring, kind and beautiful — the creative expression of our human condition.
That program gave me a creative outlet and an opportunity to invite people to engage with individuals experiencing homelessness in more positive and supportive ways. It also taught me about my own human condition; its frailties, blind-spots, glory.
Just as back then when I started that art program I did not know where it would lead, (it resulted in some amazing other projects and creative expressions I could not have imagined if I hadn’t simply stayed present to the possibilities), I do not know where my creativity workshops will lead me. I do know, I’ll go nowhere different if I do nothing.
Yesterday, as I reorganized my studio and then spent time playing, I felt myself coming home to myself with all my being present to the beauty and wonder of the moment.
This morning, as I sit at my desk in my studio, looking out at the snow-covered grass, the bare branches of the trees lining the river, the sun shining on the waters flowing past, I feel myself connected to the amazing ordinary grace of this moment.
I breathe deeply into the wonder and awe, revel in the ordinary and extraordinary life that flows through me and say a prayer of gratitude.
Ah yes. This is life.
Beautiful. Joyful. Filled with awe and wonder, inexplicable moments of sadness and sorrow, breath-taking moments of radiance and light.
This is life.
How blessed I am to feel it flowing through me, connecting me to this world of limitless possibility.
Thank you JT, JD, JR, SC, WC and BB for creating such glorious magic in this space.
As part of the workshop I created mini art journals for each participant and then demonstrated how they could create their own. As well, eveyone painted salt dough hearts I’d prepared and spent time just playing with ink, paint, water, paper and medium. What fun!
… I do know, I’ll go nowhere different if I do nothing… I am contemplating writing fiction — I’ve had the base of this story in my head for decades — but now I’m nervous and I wonder what will become of it if I do write it. The questions I have are endless and I’m not sure — of anything. But last night I created a private blog to write in so maybe I’m taking a tiny step forward.
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Woo Hoo! That’s a wonderful step Bernie — to create a place to write – I started blogging in 2007 for that very reason — I needed to instill the discipline of writing every day. It worked. having written a couple of novels, (Fear of rejection kept me from trying to get them published) one of the most exciting parts was not knowing what would happen next! I too have started writing fiction — and am off this weekend for a two day NaNoWriMo workshop (which I’ve never attempted before) at the writer’s guild here. In my estimation, every step counts — regardless of its size. 🙂
Poor timing in my part. Would have loved this workshop. Instead I spent several days with 54 women at a quilting retreat. The creativity blows me away every time. However, your workshop, would have been the quiet, thought-provoking exercise. Both are good for the soul and heart.
BTW I have determined that the two snowstorms I experienced in Calgary is enough for this adventuresome soul from the Middle Kingdom (aka Ottawa) so therefore the Middle Kingdom will have none this winter!
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It would have been such a lovely gift to have had you here Iwona. Glad to hear the quilting was fun and inspiring.
As to snow… I’m opting for your decree in the Rocky Kingdom too! 🙂
Hell yeah bloody exciting indeed
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Thanks Joanne! 🙂
Coming home to ourselves is what it’s all about. 🙏
Having an organized creative and dedicated facilitator for others to find this place ….. is simply awesome.
Enjoy every moment 💕🙏💕
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Thank you Val. I love how your words are so encouraging and affirming. I am currently working on the template for the journals we will use in the workshop — and the entire process is meditative and very enjoyable! Hugs ❤