(c) 2015 Cat Charissage
I’m in the process of learning how to extend my reach further than my geographical locale here in Southern Alberta, looking specifically at conducting individual sessions by video call. While that is in process, I wanted to share SOME of my plans for the coming academic year.
In addition to individual sessions, ,my most transformative offerings have been the Story Circles I’ve facilitated here in my home studio. These are one evening a month, for 10 months September through June. After much pondering and reflection, I’ve decided to offer 3 different Circles this year, plus a monthly Open Studio for art activities. I would be honored if you could join me in one or more of them.
The Sheltering Soul Story Circle will be reading selected chapters from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves, the best-selling book of stories of the recovery of the wild woman archetype. Dr. Estes has been my teacher and mentor for the past 6 summers, and her book has brought depth, spirit, and treasure to those of us who have sat with the stories and commentaries, and then laid down our own lives alongside those archetypal stories of the initiations, challenges, and transitions in a woman’s life. It’s a map of how to live a healthy, soulful life, and how to recover health and soul when these have seemed to be lost.
The Untie the Strong Woman Circle will be reading selected chapters from Dr. Estes’ other major work, Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul. These are more personal stories from Dr. E’s life, stories of the challenges and gifts of responding to the call to love, fully and unconditionally, and the transformations in our and others’ lives when we can heed this call. Most importantly, it is filled with stories of how this Love is always, always available to us. We will be discussing how our own lives have challenged us in similar ways, and how we have come to know the archetypes of Holy Mother and Limitless Love through our own life’s journeys.
The third year-long offering is Nighttime Wanderings: Wonderings about Dreams. As many of you know, I have been recording my dreams for over thirty years, and studying dreams and their possible meanings and influences in our lives for as many years. With further training in analyzing dreams, I’m excited to facilitate a group in which we will learn more about these nighttime journeys and have the opportunity to explore our own dreams with the help of the others in the group. You don’t have to be a regular recorder of your dreams in order to participate; in fact, you can participate even if you don’t yet remember your dreams. The book we will use as resource is Jeremy Taylor’s Where People Fly and Water Flows Uphill: Using Dreams to Tap the Wisdom of the Unconscious.
Each of these circles will meet from 7 – 9:30 on one specified Wednesday night per month. I have not yet decided which group will meet on the first Wednesday, which on the third, and which on the last Wednesday of each month. The format is that after a brief check in, I offer writing prompts and a few minutes for each of us to write in our journals in response. The prompts give each of us a chance to take in the stories on a deeper basis and allow us to examine its impact for ourselves. Then we go around the circle and each participant has a chance to read some or all of what we’ve written, or to otherwise comment on the question. Sometimes very fascinating discussions take place, and in any case, it’s never been boring!
These groups are offered on a “By Donation” or “Pay what you can” basis — I will have my little “Abundance Box” present at our meetings. The whole issue of charging for this work is very fraught for me, as it truly turns out that many of the women I am most inspired to work with are not usually bringing in big salaries, and neither do most have lots of discretionary income. I am deeply committed to making this work available for those who desire and are willing to actually do the work. Yet at the same time, I, too, need income and/or an energy exchange that recognizes the amount and value of the work I offer. This is not a hobby for me: it is my life’s work, and I’ve prepared for this work with all the energy, time, and resources I’ve had.
So my policy is to offer some programs and individual sessions that I do charge for, and I’ll be sending out the brochure of those workshops in early September. Then other offerings, such as these Story Circles, are by donation. Please don’t let lack of funds stop you from participating in the groups — when you “win the lottery” or get that huge inheritance we’d all like to be waiting for, consider sharing the wealth then! Yet also don’t minimize the power of a dollar or a few to pay for expenses like tea, photocopies, and the help to keep the bathroom clean and the walks shoveled! Conversely, if your situation is fairly comfortable, please consider donating the amount you’d spend on a comparable course or activity.
The first meetings of these groups in September are for all participants to check things out and see if it’s a fit for you. For those who decide to continue, because of the cumulative positive impact of these Story Circles, I am asking for a commitment to make every good effort to attend all the meetings during the year. Of course I totally understand that life intrudes, people get sick, and the unexpected does happen, and you may not be able to make each meeting — I’m simply asking that you take this endeavor seriously and make it a priority if it’s a fit for you to be here.
And finally, on the afternoon of the last Saturday of the month, I am offering OPEN STUDIO, a time to join myself and others in different art activities. All supplies are provided, and I clean up the mess! I will have the topics for each month listed in my brochure coming in September. These afternoons are “By Donation”.
If any or all of these Story Circles are calling to you, please let me know of your interest. Seating is very limited (a maximum of 7). Check out the books and their reviews on amazon.ca
, or feel free to ask me more questions. To find out more about my background, education and training, please check the “About” page of my (in construction) website, www.catcharissage.com
. And please pass this on to any of your friends or colleagues who you think would be interested.
Looking forward to laughter and deep conversation,
With much love,