Driven or drawn

—Cat Charissage, 2018, collage.

owl artwork from Judith Shaw; antlered woman, artist unknown

Dear Friends,

For this first New Moon in January, here is my latest piece of artwork, a collage for the new year, incorporating my word (phrase) of the year, “Driven?  or Drawn?”.  It’s to remind myself that what I LOVE, what I’m drawn to, is what I “ought” to do and to be.

For too much of my life I’ve done what I’ve thought I ought to do.  Which on its face is actually a very good plan.  Yet, as a good Catholic girl I was thoroughly indoctrinated that the very best thing that one could do is to “offer up” what you love most, to God, for the good of . . . whatever/whoever.  That is, to give up and to deny ourselves what we most want is the greatest sacrifice of all.  You know:  if you aren’t dead yet, you haven’t given enough.

I could write a book or three deconstructing that terrible, false, limiting belief.  Actually, it’s social/religious brainwashing.  Where were the ideas that we “ought” to do exactly the good that we are inspired to do?  That we are uniquely gifted with attributes where we can joyfully offer who we truly are for the betterment of ourselves AND the world as well?

Yet old ideas, especially when inculcated young, and when they have to do with being good, or are about survival, or pleasing “God”, sometimes are rooted so deeply that it seems they’ve become part of our DNA.  These are old beliefs that have harassed me for a long time.  In early December I constructed a simple ceremony, with intention, the elements, using all the senses, and also including image and writing.  It has really helped to release these final remnants.  This collage is another way to reinforce this release.

On the collage, you can just barely see a man whipping a figure (me) to “do more, do more” — it’s on the left, on top of the honeycomb, where the upside down “U” is the curled whip.  Then there’s the present figure of me (just above my photo) walking arms out toward what I love, represented by the golden sun.  The owl and the antlered (shaman) woman are the companions I choose to help me with this, based on their ancient symbolisms.  And the quote is from Rumi, the 13th century Islamic mystic who radiated love and joy.

Creating these types of simple ceremonies is also part of the work I do with others.  Feel free to contact me for more information.

May you move into the year with joy, spaciousness, and “enough”.

With much love and blessing,

Cat

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