Meant to Be – rediscovering the true self you bring to the world
Theory/Idea: Each person comes into the world with treasures within as well as a purpose. We are like seeds of potential. We lose sight and awareness of this as life happens to us and we listen to negative messages or expectations from others or the over-culture. We conform to something that may not be who we really are meant to be. We may not be in touch with who we really are. This process is a way for people to be reminded to embody the real part of themselves that is inviolate and has purpose. We are making a clearing for mindfulness about the true self. As we make it visual we are integrating our inner and outer life to align more to that original true self.
I invited 3 friends to do this 13-step workshop with me and also a friend of one that I didn’t know. We ended up with three women participating, plus me. I hosted it. I had them bring brushes, paints and a large canvas and I supplied extra paints, brushes and things like paper towels, plates for palettes, etc. and charged them only $45 as an “introductory price.” I provided coffee, chocolate, and snacks and asked them to bring snacks to share. We would bring our lunch or order out for pick up.
The theme and flow were what I designed for the curriculum assignment and I refined it and added readings to it that I felt were appropriate for this group at this time.
They were unfamiliar with Intentional Creativity, but were open to finding their content within. There was no resistance to visioning or ritual. Resistance was more to trusting and going boldly through each step, especially color blocking and darks and lights! This was surprising to me and I couldn’t always tell what step they were on by looking at their painting. We talked quite a bit about the critic, perfectionism, the need to release at each step, etc. They were all rogue enough I couldn’t tell if I was clear on directions. I had it all scripted out with the steps so I felt I was explaining the instructions, and I told them to ask questions or get input whenever they needed to. I did express that I could support them better if they kept boldly doing each layer as we went. They really seemed to be getting a lot from the journaling and inquiry so I felt they were following the steps for what they needed along the way. This was our process, in brief:
I invited them to place an object that spoke of themselves on our altar table which I had set with a painting, candles, ball of red thread, scissors, large flower and other things. (I asked them to bring something for this in an email prior to the workshop.)
We sat in circle for an introduction to the Red Thread and our time together. Our opening circle inquiry was: “What’s one thing you came in with? As you think about who you see yourself to be, what’s one word you would say that is representative of who you’ve always been?”
Before visioning I read from Shiloh’s Tea with the Midnight Muse: the poem “Not Enough.”
The visioning was down a spiral staircase to a store room to meet the Muse and to notice familiar pieces from our past story and then journal about it.
We put our intention for our time together into the canvas and blessed it with rose petals and water before painting a portal and background color. The essential seed of our story was painted and milestone marks and tragedy marks were added around it. Then we painted over the seed and marks, burying the seed in the dark that it may grow new life.
They watched me demo the iconic 20-line face and the face map before practicing it several times.I asked them to write what message each face held for them.
Then they chose one of the faces or a new one to draw on their canvas.
Next was color-blocking shapes between lines. I was hoping to get through the rest of the steps to the integrating glaze, but we stopped a bit short of that to end with a ritual.We wrote what we would like to release and put the strip of paper into the bowl of water with the roses.
We started the next morning with some movement to music (Send It Out to the Universe by Samantha James) as we continued to release and open to what was coming.
Our next visioning had two parts with journaling:
-Think back at a time when you know you were really being yourself, not what was expected of you from without. How old were you? What were you doing? Notice anything about the scene. What elements or people were involved? How did it feel?
-Now let yourself identify a time when you felt you were being your best self with others. What were you doing? Who were you helping? How did it feel?
At the canvas we considered symbols that wanted to be added as we are awakening to our true self. We continued on through our steps with more inquiry and listening. I demonstrated illumination with stars, biophotons, rays, etc.
Each participant gave her muse the pen and received a message. They titled and signed their work and shared their message and any of their symbols, etc with the rest of the group. There were tears and laughter. It was very touching and everyone was resonating with what was being said. After each person spoke we replied, “You are witnessed.”
Our closing was a beautiful blessing by John O’Donohue. We finished on time and cleaned up, then had toasts with champagne or sparkling water and coconut macaroons. They all hung out to extend the celebration and visiting for another 2 hours!
Testimonials came from a questionnaire that I asked them to fill out after closing.
J.P.- “It was an experience of growth. Not all was easy. I appreciated the self-inquiry the workshop led me through. I had “aha” moments of discovery of what I consider important in my life. For a non-practiced artist putting paint, color, symbol onto canvas is magical. I highly recommend it to everyone!”
M.A. – “Good way to spend the weekend! I’m not sure I would have known where to begin a painting on my own. The format—structure was helpful. It did help me take another look at how I became me. The technique was good for beginners, too. I would recommend it because it’s especially good for people afraid of being creative if they over-judge themselves and art. This is unlike the local beginner’s art experience where everybody paints the same thing, a design by the teacher, It helps break the ice, but I don’t see the value. This was making art!”
J.D. – “This group, this workshop, and this person, Jenny-made me think of something a friend once said to me, “Be careful, your heart is showing.” So, in our time together to explore ourselves through this process, I did not need to be careful, but my heart was showing me to me. I constantly had many “ahas.” For me, even from the beginning, I knew we were creating a wonderful bundle of memories shared by all of us in our group.”
Reflecting back: I had asked one person to come early to set up the easel she had loaned me and she got lost and came late and then took a long time to set up. This and a couple of other unforeseen glitches caused us to begin late the first day and added to our not getting to the glaze step. It was frustrating, but the next day we made up time somehow.
I learned that hosting and what it required beforehand to get the house ready was a lot of work. To keep dishes washed and ready for the next day’s set up was a bit more than I want to do without a helper since I spent time scrubbing carpet, walls and windows (in my mom’s condo!) from paint splatter the first evening. I also didn’t sleep that night so day two needed to go well!
I was hoping the time would work out if we just kept stepping through on Day 2. I kept an eye on the time and was ready to condense steps if necessary, but we covered it all.
Keeping an attitude and an atmosphere of it being a sacred space helped keep things on track. The people felt honored and like something special was happening. Even though I didn’t always think they were following directions, they were getting a lot out of it, so I am thankful and satisfied. My inner wisdom says the process worked and their paintings are wonderful. I know at least one will continue work on her painting as she thought the whole time together was so amazing and transformative. She told me again a couple of days later she can’t wait to work on it.