Acrylic on Canvas, (c) Cat Charissage a.r.r.2016

Dear Friends,

Happy first New Moon of fall! After a frenzy of work, I needed some down time, and increased pain, especially in my rotator cuffs and shoulders, led me to some rest and pondering. Good idea —– except I tried to do it at home, in the midst of daily life happening all around me. Well, I guess you can imagine how all that went! I had hoped to be the little me, surrounded by gold shimmer in the painting above finding some deep truths, represented by the large woman under the earth. Alas, I am just the little me looking and looking, not able to dig deep. At least I’m still surrounded by gold!

In other news I’m applying to this intriguing course from Bayo Akomolafe, “We Will Dance with Mountains: Let Us Make Sanctuary” https://course.bayoakomolafe.net/, and the application itself has these questions: “Tell us about some of your ancestors and teachers. Feel free to include ones outside of your bloodline and species.” “Tell us the tiniest bit about the histories that are being lived through you and the land.” “Please write a brief Statement of Intention, expressing your hopes for your participation, your personal goals, and why taking this course is important to you.” “Please share 3 questions that are alive for you and why these question matter to you.” “What communities are you a part of? Here, we think of communities as a group of beings you are in ongoing relationship with.” I admit I love it when even the application for a course starts me thinking new thoughts!

And finally, I am preparing for my Story Circles. The Poetry Story Circle is filled, but there is room in the second one. For your information:

“Regarding my own Offerings, I’m going to be offering two Story Circles on zoom. They are once a month (Sept. through June), 2.5 hour zoom gatherings on Wednesday evenings. I’ll step into zooming slowly, while also continuing to keep on with writing my book. My main mission in life is to assist others in the exploration of life’s Depth Dimensions and to self-expression in the service of self-sovereignty, healing, and intentional creation (of a poem, of a organisation, of an idea that changes the world).

“The first, “A Poet’s Words”, is close to full already. It’s the continuation of a group that’s been going on for 3 or 4 years. There might be a space or two that opens up, though, so again, if you’re interested, let me know. “A Poet’s Words” is a chance to help the rest of us learn to love the poetry that you love. At each meeting, one of us in the group presents a sampling of poetry, usually by one author but sometimes the poems are chosen according to a particular theme such as “poems of authenticity”, or “poems of encouragement written by women”. Whoever is the presenter gets to choose the theme. We have time for about 10 – 15 poems. The presenter also prepares 3-4 writing or simple art prompts, the goal of which is to help the rest of us move more deeply into the poetry presented, laying our own lives alongside the message of the poet. So the evening goes back and forth between reading poetry and responding to the prompts, sharing our writing or simple art responses, and discussing the poetry presented. This group has proved to be a positive, joyful, and supportive exploration into new (to us) poetry plus deep insights both into ourselves and into our fellow (soror?) members of the group. This group meets on the second Wednesdays of the month, starting Sept. 9 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. Cost: $150/10 sessions. If that is prohibitive for you I am open to barter or other ideas.

“The other group, “Bad Poetry and Mediocre Art: Why you should try some!” is a low-pressure, fun and explorative circle for poetry writing and simple art making. I call it “Bad Poetry and Mediocre Art” because unless you are a very experienced poet or artist (and perhaps they, too) those of us who want to try self-expression in these mediums often find that there’s a gap between our aspirations and our results, between our good taste and what turns up on the page. (see Ira Glass on the Creative Process https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2wLP0izeJE&t=28s) Many of us become discouraged and quit. I want to create an environment where we are given full permission to produce the worst writing and art in the universe, but to encourage our efforts with the same humor and compassion as we would encourage our young children in their efforts. We have to try and try again to develop the skills to produce work that matches our aspirations, and we are helped tremendously by a space where we’re comfortable and encouraged to pick up the pen or the colors again and again. And what do you know? You’ll most probably end up producing quite pleasing and quite meaningful work, worth saving and building upon. This is open to beginners as well as more experienced artists who might want to try a new direction. I will facilitate each meeting, introducing prompts and instructions/suggestions for writing or using the art mediums of watercolor, collage, and blind-contour drawing. You will have the choice each meeting to respond to the prompts as you want, with pen and words, or colors and images. You will be invited to share whatever you produce with the rest of the group in a supportive environment. Limited to 8 participants. The last Wednesdays of the month starting Sept. 30, 7- 9:30 p.m. Cost: $200/10 sessions. If that is prohibitive for you I am open to barter or other ideas.”

That’s it, dear friends! A little advice: if you need a retreat, schedule one somewhere away from home! 🙂

With much love and many blessings,

Cat