Refill The Well: A Red Tent Event

“Refill the Well” was the focus of the 2nd Red Tent Event that I held in York Pennsylvania this past June.  Women, across several generations, came together to experience techniques & share their wisdom regarding ways to take care of ourselves so we have more to give– refilling our wells.  I believe that nourishing & nurturing ourselves isn’t selfish or self-centered; it’s self-preservation.

An inviting place to gather with women & share our stories.

An inviting place to gather with women & share our stories.

 

Each Red Tent Event that I host strives to be a balance between quiet time to reconnect with one’s highest self through meditation, journaling, or art as well as social time to connect with other women in a safe, sacred space.

Spaces for women to gather in community or take time to be alone with their thoughts and feelings.

Spaces for women to gather in community or take time to be alone with their thoughts and feelings.

 

Part of the social piece is a Sacred Wisdom Council.  We gathered together in a circle to share our experiences on the topic of self-care, each of us walking away with at least one new idea.  Among the suggestions were…

1)  Visualize a sacred space within yourself.  Here you can dance, connect with ancestors or other spirit guides, and tap into your own intuition.

2)  Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal.  For some, this daily practice is enlightening and often points the way to solutions.  It also lightens the heart & spirit by putting concerns on paper rather than dwelling on them.

3)  Take time to be in nature.  I shared that I occasionally set “intentional” walks with my dogs.  One morning, I may decide to focus on the sounds around me; another morning, I might focus on the sights in the neighborhood.  This practice keeps me grounded & present.  It feeds my soul.

4)  Try yoga.  It connects body, mind, & spirit through a variety of postures.  Some find this calming while others find it energizing.  All that tried it expressed it’s benefits in their lives.

5)  Schedule an appointment with a Reiki practitioner.  Reiki is the exchange of universal life force energy through light touch or a hands-above-the-body approach.  As you can see from the picture below, I set up my Reiki table behind some red curtains so that each person could experience it for herself.

A secluded area in the tent for Reiki sessions.

A secluded area in the tent for Reiki sessions.

Magic happens when we stay present in the moment.  

Without any prompting, women seemed moved by the moment & offered their gifts to one another.  One woman gave bodywork consultations, another gave individualized yoga training, and another gave Tarot readings!  The beauty of the Red Tent lies in the beauty of each woman who enters with her own unique blend of experience, wisdom, & talent.  By sharing these gifts with one another, we lift each other up in loving arms of support & encouragement.  Throughout the day, we were each teacher & student, safe to be our authentic selves.  The cornucopia of positive energy & acceptance overflowed.

I’m looking forward to our next event in September, when the focus will be “In Celebration”, celebrating what is unique to each of us & honoring our beauty inside and out.  Details can be found on this website under “Events” or on my Facebook page.  Also, we are now registered on http://www.redtentmovie.com/red_tents_near_you.html .

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Stretching Creatively

I guess it’s been almost 20 years since I tried writing a poem longer than a Haiku.  For some reason, the words never seem to flow as easily as images in my visual art so when the opportunity to take a one-evening workshop on creative writing came up, I seized it.  While I could easily slide into a groove, producing a body of artwork that is distinctly mine & similar in style, I like to stretch creatively– pushing the boundaries of my imagination & ability, growing as an artist.

The writing activity that inspired me the most was one called “If I were…”  The facilitator finished the phrase with words such as “a piece of furniture”, “a sound”, a color”, “an animal”, ” a food”, & “a place in nature”.  We numbered a piece of paper from 1-16 & finished the phrases as quickly as possible so our subconscious could override our active, logical, over-analyzing minds.  From words including “rocking chair”, “purr”, “lapis blue”, “lynx”, “chocolate fondue” & “a bed of moss under a tree”, I shaped nonsensical sentences then turned those sentences into a poem.  Here’s the result of that exercise…

The Odalisque

Lynx languidly reclines on her mossy bed beneath the firs.

Holding court, she coyly swirls figure eights

in the melted chocolate with her lustrous tail.

“Infinity”, she purrs, “Infinity.”

 

 

Dainty paws pluck from her plate

fears carefully considered then…

Dunked in decadent darkness & swallowed with satisfaction.

Demurely dabbing at puddles of chocolate caught in the corners of her smile,

“Fearless”, she purrs, “Fearless.”

 

 

Lynx stretches luxuriously in lapis-tinted twilight.

Harpsichord hammers out a haunting refrain

as rocking chair sways in time.

“Sing your song”, she purrs, “Sing your song.”

 

 

Her seductive Siren call lures me into the fondue.

Like amoeba evolving from primordial ooze,

I emerge from my chocolate baptism,

enveloped in warmth, reborn & reminded,

“Simply be”, I purr, “Simply be.”

Haiki-Inspired Art

Japanese bookbinding is a beautiful technique & one that I enjoyed using to make this little golden sketchbook with the bright red thread.

The special little book that inspired a new way to express my creativity.

It took a few months but I finally decided to try something totally new… Haiku-inspired poetry & calligraphic line drawings.  It challenged me to keep the work simple, focusing on the essence of my subjects.  I enjoyed this project, stretching myself as an artist.

My dancing zinnias-

Every day

a garden party.

Spider plant’s job?

Easy gig.

Sit there & look pretty.

Poised on my finger,

Free from his cage,

Eddie considers his options.

Insatiable Hunger for Books

My hunger for books is insatiable right now, perhaps it’s the lazy heat of summer.  For the last several days, I can’t get enough time to read.  Do you ever feel that way?  As I type this blog post, there is a beckoning stack of books on my nightstand, another stack calling to me from a bookcase in the living room, & an invisible stack piling up on my Kindle.  I won’t venture too deeply in the “paper book versus electronic book” debate but suffice it to say they both have merit.  My Kindle is light, easy to carry, & a great way to get any book at a moment’s notice.  Paper books will always hold a special place in my heart– the colorful shiny cover, the crisp pages just waiting for me to underline something or make a note in the margin, the smell of newness (or age), & the sound of each page as I fall deeper & deeper in the experience.  Fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter.  At different times, I need different books.

I plan to read all of these… except the dictionary & thesaurus 🙂

What I read depends on where I’m at with my life & how I’m feeling at any given moment.  For example, while I was immersed in my women’s workshop this past spring, I read such titles as Creating Mandalas by RA Johnson, Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood by M Stone, & Wise Talk, Wild Women by G Mazer, works that fed my need to unite creativity & the divine feminine.  As I prepared for a spiritual retreat at the Omega Institute, I devoured Soul Retrieval by S. Ingerman & Shamanic Reiki by L Roberts.

A rich variety that helped me be a better workshop facilitator & more well-rounded spiritual woman.

Needing a break from non-fiction, I turned to The Tiger’s Wife by T Obreht (complex yet beautifully written) & Haunting of Maddy Clare by S St. James (suspenseful escapism).  Today, I’m savoring Tolstoy & the Purple Chair by N Sankovich.  She writes, “… all the great books I was reading- were about the complexity & entirety of the human experience.  About the things we wish to forget & those we want more & more of.  About how we react & how we wish we could react.  Books are experience, the words of authors providing the solace of love, the fulfillment of family, the torment of war, & the wisdom of memory.  Joy & tears, leisure & pain: everything came to me while I read in my purple chair.”

It’s not a purple chair but it’s a wonderful place to read on a summer afternoon.