Shall I zoom into the future?

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,


8 thoughts on “Shall I zoom into the future?

  1. Carol Scott

    Hi Cat….seems like forever since I have seen you..I miss you! I really wish we could do the circles in your wonderful little studio..I think it brings out something in everyone that Zoom will not do. However, considering how things are right now, it may be the only way possible to get together and discuss. it won’t be the same but I know you would make it work…let me know what you decide..
    much love, Carol

  2. Teri Petz

    I don’t know how good it would be on Zoom, Cat. There are many challenges but as we discussed before, it is better than nothing. I would definetely miss doing poetry with you.

    1. mysteriesunfolding Post author

      I think zooming will be the way to go. Better than nothing is still something. And if we’re still not getting out much, it might be appreciated. But I miss my old life. Thanks for responding, Teri.

  3. Charlie Burns

    Cat – I think this social distancing thing will be with us for some time – I suspect till at least the middle of 2021. IF there is a vaccine this year, the first doses will go to front line workers (e.g., docs, nurses, EMTs, fire, police, bus drivers) then it will slowly spread across the rest of the population that desires to be vaccinated. That is also as we compete for doses of the vaccine along with every other country on earth.

    I’ve found zoom to be a pretty good platform – although I’d use a chunk of the first session to go over some ground rules and how to use the technology – i.e., how to not talk over one another. I suspect with a small crowd looking to create some intimacy – it might be easier – but some practice the first session is probably helpful.

    Stay well my friend – good to see you!


    1. mysteriesunfolding Post author

      Thanks for your input Charlie. Yeah, I’m thinking that I need to be clear from the beginning how we’re going to do stuff — ask people to make sure they’re not going to be disturbed, not talk over each other, that sort of thing. Actually just getting people’s attention onto one thing is the most important thing, to be here, now. Unfortunately, I think you’re right about the timing for a vaccine. On top of that, several of the women who have participated in my offerings before are older . . . over 70, and have difficulty driving at night, as well as all the tendencies to want to stay home on dark winter nights —- I should take it as a great affirmation that so many have braved all that and come anyway over the past 3-4 winters.

      It’s so good to “see” you, too! Thanks for following my blog! Love, Cat

  4. cathypearl

    I hope you go for it! I’ve been in small and large circles on ZOOM. I think all your offerings sound great, and with a small group I think it would be especially nice. Even though it’s not as intimate as in person, it can still be very nice and nurturing.
    Cathy White


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