DSCN0131I’m reflecting on my sixth year teaching Arts & Spirituality summer workshops in one of my favorite art studios ever, at the Pendle Hill Contemplative Center.  We add a bit of poetry, a dash of mindfulness, stir in fantastic students who come ready for community and adventure, simmer in inspiring group conversation and plenty of Mod-Podge, then sprinkle with bits from the Magic Scrap Bin (see poem below)– and we’ve made the recipe for co-creating a whole lot of transformative, nourishing goodness.

It’s hard for any of us to describe what happens in these workshops… and why it matters so much to practice creativity, awareness, presence, and self-acceptance in good company.  This year’s students said:

Limits I didn’t know I had were released.

I came to renew my spirit & my creativity, and to reduce the power of fear in my life.  I have.

The workshop helped me to slow down and take a deeper look at myself.

This program helped me connect with others, re-examine my direction in life and my priorities.  I got to dive deeper into my spirit and express that with art.

We found it relaxing, playful, friendly, inspiring, and creative.

Come only if you are ready to explore, be present and GROW in a safe, holding environment.  You will be delighted.

If you dream of exploring/freeing/engaging your inner artist or long for a fresh way of engaging your creativity or your faith or the sacred– try this out.

Come to learn, to play, to be transformed!

I deepened my perspective and insights.  I feel nourished, rested, and deeply hopeful.

It’s true, our lives change as we work and play together.  One student, Dawn Stewart, blogged powerfully about her meaningful experience: see “Let Your Light Shine.”

Our surprise guest student Israa from Iraq broke our hearts open with stories of her homeland, and then filled us with hope by sharing her deep courage to choose life and a future.  She changed my worldview, yet again.

Did I mention we have a lot of fun, too?  Trudy Kleckner wrote a spontaneous, funny poem to honor one of my favorite elements of all of my workshops:  the Magic Scrap Bin– a collection of art paper scraps recycled from previous projects by my students from New Mexico to Pennsylvania!

Magic-Scrap-Bin

Ode to the Rag Tag Band
 (To be read in a snobbish, very cultured voice)

You know, my dear, it’s common knowledge,
those residents of the magic bin–
I mean the Magic Scrap Bin, of course–
why they’re nothing but remnants,
discards, quite frankly the left for dead.
And probably just as well, I hear
they are dubious characters, who lay around
in idleness and total want of use.
They are, quite understandably, rejected
in favor of their smooth, whole, and
perfectly beautiful cousins.
After all, they are rumpled, crumpled,
and oddly sized.  Who needs them?
What?  What’s that you say? Treasures?
Hidden treasures?
And you only have to dive in and
dig deep?

–Trudy Kleckner

I celebrate our courage and meaning-full play.  It’s my joy and privilege to serve these wonderful people, who in turn touch the world with their renewed spirits and creativity.

We invite you to join us!  See the Creative Reflection winter retreat, December 28, 2014-January 1, 2015 and mark your calendars for next summer’s Pendle Hill workshops, August 14-16, and 16-20, 2015.  More information coming soon…  watch my Events page or sign up for my eNewsletters on the Contact page.