Just returned from a fabulously juicy weekend on a course near Totnes, Devon called “Passionate Presence” given by Katheryn Trenshaw. It was held in the beautifully serene setting of Ruggadon in Landscove. It was so blissful to be in the Devon countryside again and I can’t believe I’ve not escaped for a few days R&R down there earlier this summer.
Passionate presence is about becoming more aware, more present to our true selves and about uncovering the masks that we use to conceal or reveal ourselves. It’s not about self-improvement but more about coming home to yourself using a blend of movement, meditation and art therapy.
We began on Friday evening with an introductory circle and saying why we were there on the course. For me, it was to give myself a breather from an incredibly intense year, and also to see what difference a deeper connection with myself would have on my creativity. We also got to select a card from Katheryn’s tarot deck, created from her gorgeous artwork. I chose “the heart of compassion” which speaks volumes to me about having more compassion for myself, spending more time in nature and stillness and rest.
Saturday began with tuning into ourselves and a sharing circle. After, Katheryn told us that what we transmit has an impact on us, others and our environment and that that we need to take responsibilty for those transmissions. And the areas where we are more vulnerable are where the greatest treasures are to be found. By allowing that vulnerability we become fully engaged with our true selves and become who we were meant to be. And by having a strong internal focus we don’t lose ourselves and also become more trustable as others detect our transmission of truth. By denying our truth, we deprive ourselves and keep ourselves from shining. We also deny others and the wider world the gift of who we truly are.
She then led us in a meditation to meet our inner masks. We all have many of these within us – the person we are at work, the person we are with family, the person we are with lovers and the masks that hide our true self from ourselves. We then got to create a representation of these masks with red clay. I was very shocked to meet my “inner dictator” in the meditation and realise just how hard I can be on myself. Interestingly the mask I made kept falling apart so it seems to be time for me to take off that mask of invincibility and allow myself to be more forgiving and merciful with myself.
After a scrummy picnic lunch we went on to discover what we wanted to bring into that space left by releasing those masks. To bring in a way of being that is more sustainable. After thinking of these new qualities, we then wrote a 7 line poem about them….here’s mine, it’s called Re-born.
Rising and falling like the swirling seas,
Diving deep in it’s fluid caress,
And riding high on salt-stung crests
My love flows with playful curiosity
Supporting my freedom.
I am re-born from shallow insincerity
Plunging into an abyss of bliss.
Then working in twos we got to face paint these qualites on our partners. Chrissie did a fabulous job on me complete with glitter of course, and I was surprised at just how much I got into the face painting on her. I’ve always thought “i don’t do art” so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that perhaps I do!
On Sunday we had another sharing circle and dancing the qualities of our “new faces”. We also got to write about these qualities some more and then an exercise in appreciation for the partners we were working with. The day finished with a closing circle and a late lunch before we all grudginly had to leave. I found the course invaluable in re-connecting to my source and was delighted to discover a more playful and creative side to me. Katheryn did a great deal to make the group feel secure and held the process well. She’s an experienced therapist, prolific artist and a passionate about helping people to “participate fully in their own consciousness”.