The One You Seek

The One You Seek- mixed media on 18 inch square canvas. SOLD

THE ONE YOU SEEK

The one you seek 

is already here.

The one you seek

always was.

The one you seek

is within you-

is you-

is.

Susan Korsnick 2016

Monks Walking: collage on paper

I took a chance with this one, stepping outside my comfort zone to explore new techniques & a freer style of painting.  I have to admit that I’m pleasantly surprised.  Not all of my experiments go well- that’s what makes them so exciting.  But when they do, it makes up for the many that don’t.  Besides, is any experiment ever a failure?  Or, is the failure in not taking the risk in the first place?

Monks Walking is an original collage- acrylic paint & bits of magazine images on 18 inch by 24 inch mixed media paper.

Monks Walking gently reminds me to be present & mindful.

Monks Walking is an original collage on 18 inch by 24 inch mixed media paper.  If you look closely, left of center is a small section of the magazine picture that inspired my piece.  I love the bold colors, strong natural sunlight, and exotic architecture in the photo- so I used similar colors and painted enlarged versions of the patterns and motifs with loose brushstrokes, creating a piece both strong and contemplative.

Notice the intent focus of the Buddhist monks on their simple act of walking, reminding each of us to focus on the present moment and be mindful of every step we take.

Visit my shop on Etsy to view the art I currently have for sale.  www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

Red Tent Reality

York PA's first Red Tent Event on March 15, 2014

The first Red Tent Event comes to York Pennsylvania

 

On March 15th, twenty-three culturally-diverse women, representing every decade of life from their teens to their seventies, honored the call from deep within themselves to gather in York, Pennsylvania’s first Red Tent.  Coming from as far away as Philadelphia, these women gave themselves the gift of time– time to connect with other women & precious time to reconnect with their authentic Selves in a safe, nurturing space.

The actual Red Tent event only lasted a few short hours but the vortex of positive energy it created affects me on a profound level to this day.  Responses from many of the women, through an on-line survey I sent out after the event, show that it was powerful, provocative, & nourishing.

The space was transformed from the ceiling to the floor.

The space was transformed into an exotic locale in the middle of the city.

 

INSPIRATION

 

After leading women’s groups for years using curricula such as Cakes for the Queen of Heaven & Rise Up & Call Her Name, I’ve since created my own workshops for both women & men under the name Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Selves.  As I researched topics that I thought would stimulate thought & discussion in a women’s spirit circle, I came across  the film, Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories from the Red Tent.  This documentary by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost records the grassroots movement of Red Tents popping up all over the country.  “A Red Tent is a red textile space where women gather to rest, renew, & often share deep & powerful stories about their lives.”  It sounded exactly like what I wanted for the group.  I watched the movie at home several times, secretly wishing for  a Red Tent in my community, before sharing both the movie & the vision with others.

One evening last fall, I offered a “Red Tent movie night” with a discussion to follow.  So many women wanted to attend that I had to offer it twice!  Both times, the most popular question asked was, “When are we going to have a Red Tent here?”  That confirmed what I had been thinking.  The time was ripe to join the movement that was fast becoming an international phenomenon.

There’s a saying that if no one presents you with an opportunity, you have to create your own.  Despite being in uncharted territory & having a healthy dose of fear, I created the opportunity that I wanted all of us to share.

The Sacred Wisdom Circle where women could gather & share in a large group.

The Sacred Wisdom Circle where women could gather & share in a large group.

 

 

VISION

My vision was to provide a safe, nurturing environment where women could find what they need to rejuvenate body, mind, & spirit.  I wanted to create a place where they could be in the company of like-minded women, reconnect with their higher selves, & disconnect from the outside world for just a few hours.  No demands, no obligations, no expectations.  After organizing the overall format for the day, I stepped back & let it be what it needed to be.

As facilitator & host, I took my cue from a phrase often heard in education, “Better to be the guide on the side than the sage on the stage.”  This was OUR Red Tent not MY tent.

Creative Space:  materials were provided so women could explore themselves through art or writing.

Creative Space: materials were provided so women could explore themselves through art and writing.

 

A space set aside for intimate conversation away from the larger Wisdom Circle.

A space set aside for intimate conversation away from the larger Wisdom Circle.

BALANCE

From the day I committed to organizing this event, I had to consciously maintain a healthy balance between the logistics required to plan such an event & the sacred intention that would make this more than “just another women’s group”.  I had high expectations for myself & the Tent.

When I prepare for my Pure You spiritually-centered events, creativity workshops, & circle groups, I like to plan the structure (agenda) while recognizing the need for fluidity.  I envision a membrane freely breathing in & out, a living organism that moves the spirit as opposed to rigid schedules that shackle the soul.  The right amount of structure supports; it doesn’t stifle.

Exotic accessories, my artwork, & images of the Divine Feminine filled the space with an energy that honors women.

Exotic accessories, my original artwork, & images of the Divine Feminine filled the space with an energy that honors all women everywhere.  Chocolate wrapped in silver foil glittered here & there because… well… because chocolate is always a good thing to include in a women’s gathering 🙂

 

SYNCHRONICITY

Synchronicity is when the universe hears your prayers & answers them in mystical, mysterious ways.  I never could have organized this Red Tent event without the many kindred spirits who offered their support.  The space was graciously loaned to us by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York & its staff helped promote the event.  Wonderfully artistic women helped create the space & several men offered their appreciation for what we were doing for their wives & girlfriends.  (Eventually, I would like to do more for their daughters as well.)  You know you are on the right track when doors open & someone is there to meet you on the other side.  I am humbled & grateful beyond words.

 

The collage honors women of all ages & cultures.

The collage honors women of all ages & cultures.

 

Each woman lit her flame & put it on the altar to join the flames of everyone else in the Tent.

Each woman lit her flame & put it on the altar to join the flames of everyone else in the Tent.

 

REFLECTION

I deliberately scheduled the first Red Tent to coincide with the Vernal Equinox, a time rich with symbols of new beginnings.  It seemed the perfect time to start a new event for the community.  Thanks to the feedback generously offered by many of the women, I have a better understanding of what they enjoyed about this event & what they would like to see different for the next one.

While many Red Tents don’t have a “theme”, ours did.  I chose “Embracing Change” because so many women expressed that they were in periods of transition– new babies, empty nest syndrome, caring for aging parents, & facing choices as they start new chapters of their lives after retirement.  Someone once said, “The only constant in life is change.”  By sitting in sacred council with one another, more of us clearly saw that what we were experiencing was not new & that we had sisters in our midst who had gone before & had wisdom to share.  We ALL had wisdom to share.

Raw emotions can appear & old wounds can reopen when women gather in a safe space & share their stories.  I made it clear in the beginning that while we are here to listen & support one another, this is not an event that can take the place of talking to a professional.  I had a small table near the exit for business cards, brochures, & emergency numbers of resources available to women in our city.  Whenever I lead a group for spiritual or creative exploration, I take my responsibility for the women’s health & we;ll-being seriously, preparing as much as possible for the unexpected.

Yes, I created a sacred space for women to gather in community with one another but it was the women who created the magic.

I look forward to our June 21st Red Tent Event where our focus will be “Refilling The Well:  Ways To Nurture & Nourish Your Self”.

 

 

Authentic Selves

Can we be our authentic Selves all the time?  This question came up with a friend as we discussed our spiritual journeys & how we try to live our truth in a world where religious intolerance leads to family rifts on a personal level & war on a global level.  (Yes, we get into heavy discussions sometimes.)  She said she’s at a point in her life where she is comfortable being who she is & will not compromise that for anyone else.  I, ashamedly, have to admit that I’m not there yet.  I was raised with the belief that you never talk about religion, politics, or money in social situations.  If people agree, there’s no point to the discussion & if they disagree, there’s still no point.  These conversations rarely lead to a change of heart.  They more often lead to arguments, judgement, misunderstanding, & hostility.

Call me a chicken but I play it safe.  I sense the climate in the room & make the decision whether or not to voice an opinion.  Is that compromising my authentic Self?  This can be a real struggle for someone in the minority– be it race, religion, politics, sexual orientation, or social status.  Too often the majority squelches the individuality of those in the minority.  We give up our authentic Selves so we can belong.  But there’s the dilemma.  We’re being accepted for who we aren’t.

So when do we take the chance?  When do we say, “This is who I truly am?”  Sometimes we make that decision & other times, someone forces our hand, making the decision for us.  My boyfriend did that to me this weekend at a friend’s cookout.  He told some of the guests about my spiritual practice before I felt comfortable doing so.  I’m relieved to say they were very accepting & curious.  As we talked, they saw the similarities between my beliefs & their own.  What began as a tense moment for me, waiting for the hammer of criticism & judgement, became a great opportunity to be my Self & share my spiritual philosophy with them.

Another dear friend uses the term “universalism” to describe the commonalities that many religions & spiritual practices share, such as loving one another, honoring nature, & believing in something greater than ourselves.  At the cookout, we celebrated those similarities & connected at a much deeper level than we had before.

So many interesting topics came up during those conversations that I want to share them with you over the next few weeks.  In addition to my artwork, I’ll be writing about dream imagery, a need for community, soul loss, ritual, honoring life & death, energy work, & love.  I hope that you’ll reflect on the questions below & share your thoughts with me.

1.  Who is your authentic Self?

2.  Have you been authentic in your interactions with others?  Why or why not?

 

Seeds of Change

I recently heard “You can’t plant a 100-year-old oak tree because seeds of change take time”.  That saying connects to my last post where I referred to Janus, the Roman god of beginnings & endings, who had two faces- one looking to the past & one looking to the future.  The perfect guy to inspire “January”… the month of reflecting while facing a new year.  Hmmm, perhaps my name should be Janice as I, too, spend time learning from my past & trying to improve my future… (sometimes to the detriment of enjoying the present).

Don’t get me wrong; I’m wholeheartedly grateful for the many blessings in my life… there are so many!  But I want to continue to grow… which takes us back to the “seeds of change” metaphor.  Seeds need nurtured with patience & tender loving care.  In other words, good things just take time.  I think back on skills I’ve mastered like drawing & organic gardening.  I was patient with myself & kept trying (even as I made many mistakes).  I also think back on the seeds I didn’t cultivate like being fluent in a second language & learning to dance.  We have to be patient & persevere as we decide what to plant & how best to tend it.  It will pay off as we watch our seeds grow into saplings then mighty oaks.

With 2012 fast approaching, ask yourself what seeds do you want to plant?  What do you want to cultivate in your life?  I hope to nurture my important relationships, adopt a rescue dog who needs love as much as I need to give it, & spend more time doing the things I enjoy.  I look forward to sharing more artwork with you as well as news about a womans’ spirituality workshop I’m leading for the first time this spring.   We are, at once, the gardener tending the seed & the seed itself.  May your roots hold you close to the earth while you reach for the sky.

What’s An Art Journal For?

My art journal is a visual diary, quite different from the many sketchbooks of various shapes & sizes I have scattered about my house.  While the sketchbooks contain doodles, ideas for future compositions, color experiments, & sketches, my art journal helps me delve deeper into my soul, interpret my dreams, & chronicle my life.  It’s far more intimate than a sketchbook.

Lately, I’ve been doing some soul searching but have found it difficult to put my feelings into words.  Finally, I realized that I’m most in touch with my Self when I create visually.  I cut out pictures from magazines & used bits of paper & found objects that spoke to me (including a few fallen feathers from Bella, my parakeet).  I just let my heart talk & shut off the mind chatter.  What you see below is the result.  Not sure if there is an answer in this collage but you can surely see that I’m questioning.

Searching: An Art Journal Entry

Detail from Searching

Searching: Every figure in this is a part of my Self

Searching: possibly searching within... not sure yet