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Friday, August 24, 2007

Creativity + Women + Retreat = My Dream

A few years ago, I facilitated an eight week creativity workshop which was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. For eight wonderful weeks, a group of about 8-10 women came together to get inspired, share the fruits of their labour, encourage each other, find a safe space to create, try new and daring things, get their hands dirty, and discover that they were more gifted than they’d ever thought they were. For most of us (myself included), it felt like an awakening - an un-shackling. It wasn’t about painting the most amazing, critically acclaimed work of art, or writing that great novel that would launch you into stardom, it was more about giving yourself permission to pick up a paint brush or pen or camera or guitar or whatever your tool of choice may be, close the door on the laundry room, and just create to your heart’s content. It was about acknowledging that creativity is as high a calling as any and there is value in the process even without any astounding results. It was about discovering that, despite what our highly productive society too often preaches, creating art just for the sake of enjoying it is NOT a waste of time.

Last week, while I was blog-surfing, I came across a reference to a “creativity retreat”. Something stirred inside of me. It was that old longing again. A longing to go back to that place where women were safe enough to admit their fears of failure and yet encouraged to find the boldness to try anyway. A longing to once again serve as a midwife to other women’s art-babies. A longing to see the tears well up in someone’s eyes when they gave themselves permission to create. A longing to listen to the whispering of the muse and to help other people hear it too. A longing to see the bold yet terrified looks on their faces as they laid the fruits of the labour before the rest of the group.

I have waited nearly five years for the chance to do it again. I’m done with waiting. It’s time to go back to that place. Who wants to come with me?

Here’s what I want to do. I want to set aside an extended weekend (perhaps 3-4 days) where a group of women can escape to a quiet place to be inspired, to cheer each other on, to make art, to tell stories, to sit in silence, to let the tears flow, to laugh with delight, to birth and share their art-babies, to have a-ha moments, to forget about unfinished laundry, to think bold thoughts, and to just be safe for awhile.

I expect that the time-frame for this will be some time in November. Yeah, I know it’s not the BEST time to be at a retreat centre in Manitoba, but hopefully I’ll find somewhere with a cozy fireplace.

I haven’t worked out the details yet, but I thought I would first “cast my bread upon the water” and see if I can find enough interested women to make this worth the effort. Who’s willing to give it a shot? Anyone is welcome (well, any WOMEN anyway – sorry guys), as long as you can get yourself to the Winnipeg vicinity for a few days. You don’t have to be an accomplished artist, you just have to be willing to open that tiny door to the creative space in your brain.

I’m not sure of the cost yet, but I’ll work that out as I put the plans into place. (It’s not a money-making venture, so the costs won’t be astronomical.)

For now, just let me know if you’re interested. No, I’m not promising you’ll be imparted with great wisdom from a creativity guru or accomplished artist, but I can promise you that, if you are willing to share of yourself and open yourself up to new ideas, you will be inspired. I may not be the most qualified “teacher”, but I do believe I have some gifts in “facilitating” creativity and learning. Most of your learning will not come from me but from the other amazing women who choose to offer something of themselves.

Who’s with me? Reply in the comments or send me an email.

16 comments:

Michele said...

well, i want to say:

me,

or else.

(please don't pick the weekend of november 2--joey's birthday.) i know a great place, expensive but beautiful... the pinewood lodge in the whiteshell.)

if you can handle three wikkerinks, i expect we'll all be interested. and then glenda should come up, as well.

Whippersnapper said...

Oh, I'm so in. I think. It's all about the babysitting, don'tcha know...

Stephanie said...

Oh my goodness! My heart just leapt into my throat at the possibility of doing this, such is the greatness of my interest. I don't know if I could swing it, but if I can I WILL.

Karmyn R said...

I would grab my mother and go - if only Winnepeg wasn't so far away.

It sounds wonderful.

Liz said...

Traveling to Canada in November sounds a bit daunting, but I can say, for now, I am interested.

oshee said...

Oh Wow! I love this idea. I would so be there...if I could, but I couldn't. At least not this time. I hope you will consider making it an annual thing?

Gina said...

I'm with everyone on not knowing if it would pan out for me, but the idea sounds FAB!

Krista said...

Count me in! Sounds fabulous.

Linda said...

This Wikkerink's interested too, of course. However, I have only 1(!) free weekend in November! How's that for a great life eh?

Joyce said...

oh. How wonderful.

First I thought, well... sewing! But then I got a little tremor and I dared to think... Writing?

do I dare to hope that I'd have time and money in November?

Des said...

That would be VERY COOL. I found your site via RobynCausley. I am in Alberta though. But I have heard of things like this, and it would be sooooo great. I am a very crafty person, but I am NOT into everyone making something that is supposed to all look the same. That is why I don't go to scrap booking thingies, because everyone seems to have this unspoken rule that a certain style is the protocal. I think that somewhere between being a 4 yr old, and growing up, we forgot how to just paint a page pink, because it makes us happy, and so without realizingit, we lose a percentage of our creativity.

Accidental Poet said...

I'm commenting because I don't want you to interpret my silence as dis-interest - this is something I *would* be interested in IF I could just show up with my laptop and write all weekend, because at this point in my life, The Novel needs to get WRITTEN.

tlawwife said...

I love your idea however time, money, and distance is not in my favor. Hope it works for you and I look forward to your report of how it went.

Vicki said...

Ohhh it makes me want to go. makes me want to start walking now so I can make it. Makes me want to bring my camera and snap memories of these women as they rediscover themselves and discover a part of myself while doing it.

If it were a perfect world and Money wasn't an option I'd do it. Winnipeg is only a 13 hour drive from my house (Olivia map quested it). .....

If I can work it out I'll be there!

Pamela said...

yeah... I'd grab Karmyn and go...except I'm using up the last of my vacation on grandbabies!@!@

Janet said...

Heather, I would SO like to come, too -- just sure it would work (distance AND available time), but keep me posted, please!

What a FANTASTIC idea!

Janet