My studio, where I offer my Story Circles

Hello dear friends,

At around noon today we moved into the New Moon. My journal for this Lunar Month is filled with orange papers with a side of yellow for this probably hottest month of 2020. 2020 — the year we won’t forget! For me, there are two aspects of the Social Distancing mandate of Covid 19 that have messed with my groove: both trainings that I would have had with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes in June and October have been cancelled, and the ubiquitous presence of the video conferencing app “zoom”. Considering how others have been seriously inconvenienced or harmed with the whole coronavirus, though, my family has been very fortunate.

I’m in the process, at this New Moon, of thinking of my Fall/Winter offerings and how to make them happen. Since it is unclear whether or not we’ll be able to freely socialize by September, I’ve been wondering whether I should postpone, or not offer my Story Circles at all, or. . . .. (drum roll, please) deliver them over zoom?!?!?

As most of you know, I love working in small groups. By small, I mean between 4 and 9 people, sitting around my big table in my small studio, writing and sharing in person. With that small number of women, there are all the advantages of getting feedback from others yet still being able to create an intimate, respectful circle where we can share deeply. It’s as close to a “safe community” as humans are able to create, and the results are beautiful and powerful.

I’ve loved the in-person “vibe”. As facilitator, I can watch body language, where people’s eyes are moving, whether someone is upset or uncomfortable, and intervene or shape the next prompts to help all the members feel included and comfortable enough to share whatever has come up for them. My groups have often become smaller as the winter has gotten darker, colder, and more icy, or the seasonal illnesses kept people from attending in fear of passing the viruses along.

So shall I move the Story Circles to zoom? I’d like your thoughts on whether you’ve been able to create or partcipate in Sacred Circles online. How much intimacy is lost? Is it possible to bond and grow with others, online? Personally, I see how much I would miss by not being in physical proximity, and am hesitant to move it all online. Thoughts? Ideas? What might be the best number of participants? Or should I keep the number from 4 to 9 persons? (That’s my idea for now.)

I appreciate your input. You can respond here on my blog or on Facebook, or privately by email: catcharissage(at)gmail(dot)com.

As a quick preview, I’m thinking of 3 different Story Circles this year, each once a month (on a Wednesday evening) from September through June, 10 months. One topic will be “Telling Truths: Writing Free Style Poetry and Poetic Prose”. Two others will be “Dream Wanderings: Wondering about the Stories We Tell Ourselves” and “Making Meaning, Making Soul: Depth Dimension Practices for Knowing Self and Soul.” Responses will be either in prompted writing or simple art processes. (For those in the ongoing Poetry Circle, we will continue on as well.)

Thank you for whatever feedback you have for me.

Much love and many blessings,