SoulCollage™ Weekend


KWAN YIN
Council Suit

“I am the one who has compassion and mercy for all living things. I am the one who reminds you to open your heart to love and compassion, and treat others as you would like to be treated. I am the one who reminds you that peace comes with forgiveness, toward others and toward yourself, I am the one who will offer you a place of peace and rest within your heart, where your spirit may find refuge and only love exists.”

Wow, I had such a wonderful weekend in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains. I drove up on Thursday morning, leaving a little after 5AM from Irvine. I was fortunate not to hit much traffic through L.A. and got to Grapevine in just a little over one and a half hours! I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so was happy to discover a Starbucks. That held me for the rest of my trip up Highway 5 all the way to my old stomping grounds. I drove through Hollister and through my old neighborhood (got lost! there’s a whole new batch of houses in what used to be an empty, brambled, lot and it threw me off!) and remembered my good times there. I miss my garden, which I’d worked on a bunch, and was happy to note that, for the most part, the garden in the front of the house has remained unchanged.

I pushed on to San Juan Bautista, where THE greatest Mexican restaurant resides: Jardines de San Juan. I haven’t been to Jardines in over 5 years now, and was chomping at the bit to sit down and dig into some great enchiladas! I got there a little after 11AM, and they don’t open until 11:30, so I strolled around the main drag, going into little shops and perusing. I remembered how I couldn’t resist leaving with a newly purchased item every time I’d entered these stores in the past, and happily realized that my “compulsive consumerism” is now down to a dull roar . I returned at 11:30 and waited in front of the restaurant for the doors to open (I felt like I was waiting for concert tickets!) along with another group of four, who were traveling from Pismo area on up to Shasta. Ahhhh… I finally sunk my teeth into an enchilada as I sat outside on the backyard patio, sharing with the birds and the roaming chickens (yes, chickens) strips of lettuce and some rice.

I was back on the road and scheduled to arrive in Scott’s Valley in time to settle into the yurt and get back to the main house for the start of the workshop. My breath was taken away by the beauty of the locale. The huge redwoods… and the house is truly a wonder! Selene Vega, who has authored (and co-authored) many books, is truly a great spirit. She was so very generous with her home and her self. She has a peacefulness about her that is tangible. She prepared our wonderful meals and let us freely roam the property. Here’s the link to Selene’s site: http://www.spiritmoving.com — if you click on the Skyote Mountain link, you will be able to take a visual tour of the property (including the outside of the yurt that I stayed in, as well as her home, where the workshop was held).

Twenty six women gathered to learn how to facilitate a SoulCollage™ workshop from 7 different states and Canada. It was an amalgam of personality and (life and professional) experience. Among us were artists, counselors, bodyworkers, teachers, though a little bit of all of us could also be listed as intrepid soul searchers. We met as strangers but left as friends. This was another taste of the potential of the collective consciousness (versus UNconscious). Every time I attend this sort of workshop (and I have done so on several occasions–a shamanic counseling workshop, a Zen-Touch™ and Watsu® retreat, and many others, that were sponsored and/or hosted by The School of Healing Arts — where I earned my massage certificate). I am always amazed by the sense of unity and atunement to each other collectively that results by the end of such a weekend.

Seena Frost is a year younger than my mom was when my dad passed away (it will be 13 years this October 5th). She is incredibly vital and a wonderful presence. Her twinkling blue eyes belie a hint of mischief. I remember thinking back to what my mom was like at around that same age, and coming to realize that while we all have the potential to “become,” we also have free choice, and those choices will either limit or expand the “who” that we “become.” I am grateful for the choices, and my ability to recognize them. I suspect I will be “becoming” until the moment that I expire… I hope I get to where I want to be by then. I feel honored to have been shown this SoulCollage process by none other than its originator. This, to me, is something akin to being taught by the Master versus the Disciple. Namaste Seena.

Kylea Taylor and Noelle Remington co-facilitated this workshop, each bringing their own unique attributes and perspectives to the training. Kylea is an author in her own right, penning a book (among others) entitled “The Ethics of Caring” which was assigned reading for the ethics portion of my massage certificate. Noelle is a nurturing and caring soul, and her website’s name, http://www.lifedoula.com, sums her up nicely.

Up until this weekend, I’d never used SoulCollage in a group setting–it was something I did alone (as I do most of my art and other soul-satisfying work). It certainly is an exceptional way to quickly unify a group, and allow for a safe and honorable way to share parts of ourselves with others. I’d been drawn to SoulCollage from an artist’s perspective, running an Amazon® search on “collage” and coming up with a bunch of hits. Thinking that it would provide one more tool to aid me in accessing the as-yet-unfolded works of art in my head (imagine sugar plums dancing around), I ordered the book. I was surprised by the depth of the process, and made some cards. When I discovered that a workshop was being held to teach how to facilitate the process, I quickly signed up.

I’m sure SoulCollage may be applied in myriad ways as a tool for ourself-growth. For me, it’s a powerful way to discover, and honor, all parts of myself, including the aspects that I don’t particularly like very much (and, boy, do I have many of those!). They can speak in their voice, and let me know that what they have to offer isn’t all bad (or good) and that for each positive aspect, there is a negative potential and vice-versa.

I hope to schedule some intro workshops in the near future, perhaps follow-up with an advanced class, and set up an on-going peer group. And so, my adventures continue.

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