Twenty-five years ago in May of 1995 I was going through my own private world shaking time of upheaval and change.
I had just ended a long term intimate relationship, made a professional decision to not pursue licensure as a psychotherapist after having been in school for 10 years heading towards that goal, and I needed to find a place to live. I was also 42 years old and feeling like I had failed at everything I had hoped to achieve at this point in my life.
I remember saying to a close friend at the time “ I feel like I’m back to ground zero.” And her wise response was, “ You have no idea WHERE you are.” Which proved to be the more accurate truth.
Another friend had just rented a large Victorian house in a lively and funky neighborhood in Oakland California and was looking for a roommate. I remember the day I went to check it out as a place for me to live and walking up the walnut stained staircase to the second floor where the bedrooms were, thinking… “ Wow! This place is so drab and depressing. It’s OK for now, but I can’t forsee myself being here for long.”
I was grieving not only the loss of that primary relationship but the fact that I was 42 years old and had never been married. After the break-up I had planned to spend that summer listening to a bunch of sad music, writing in my journal endlessly and taking long melancholy walks around the lake that was just across the street from the house, before I got back into the dating scene again in the fall.
There’s that wonderful saying, “If you want to make the goddess laugh, tell her your plans.” Which was more true than I could have ever imagined during that pivotal moment of monumental change in my life.
Within two weeks of moving into that antiquated, dark Victorian house, instead of my planned moping around, I got together with the love of my life, began Creative Juices Arts as a business and started teaching my intuitive painting classes.
Tim and I got married in 1997 and lived in that house for another 6 years before we bought our own home a few miles away. But we kept that ancient, creaky Victorian as a studio because by this time my classes and workshops were thriving and my creative community was growing in a gorgeous and organic way.
That old house has seen a lot of creative healing over these 25 years and has gone by many names… The Mothership, Hogwarts for Creativity and simply The Studio. And it became a sacred creative home for hundreds of my students.
I have faithfully held weekly Wild Heart Intuitive Painting classes, women’s creativity groups, weekend painting workshops, and four day retreats in that warm, funky and welcoming space.
My community and I painted our wild hearts out as a spiritual practice, painted the invisible, combined shamanism and painting, dance and painting, tarot and painting and got in touch with and named our unique inner goddess archetypes and expressed them in all kinds of wild and creative ways.
We made breast masks and face masks and adorned them with paint and glitter and feathers and sequins. We painted our faces and our bodies. We fashioned our inner critics out of papier mache and did a profound process around healing our relationship to those cranky inner voices. We built our own unique spirit dolls and treasure boxes and constructed thunder drums and magical wands and queens crowns. And then used everything we fabricated and assembled as part of sacred rituals and ceremonies that we created together as a community.
We drummed and rattled and meditated and went on medicine journeys into the depths of our souls. We wrote and sang and danced and told stories about our lives and our loves. And honored our intuition by painting endlessly!!
There were many, many, MANY potlucks over the years celebrating birthdays and other important rites of passage and I became famous for my roasted butter and rosemary chicken that always showed up at one of these events.
We honored the divine feminine by sitting in sacred circles of women over and over again sharing our deepest wishes and hopes, secrets and fears, grief and longing and holding space for all of the wisdom that was spoken from the heart of each incredibly brave soul.
We created an environment of profound emotional safety where there was total permission to fall apart, cry buckets and buckets of tears, rage gloriously, be wildly powerful, and boldly speak our truth. We laughed until we were gasping for breath and supported, encouraged, celebrated each other joyfully while loving each other unabashedly.
The house didn’t look like much from the outside but inside it was an enchanting otherworldly portal posing as an art studio filled with easels and paint and brushes and smocks and anything you needed to paint, paint, paint with total abandon. There were altars everywhere reminding us of our creative spiritual connection to the source of all that is. And the walls and nooks and crannies of that place were deeply imbued with the courage and creativity of the hundreds of women that stepped through the front door looking to bring themselves more alive by daring to become more creative and more fully and wonderfully themselves.
It’s been a truly wondrous journey filled with the most astounding creative magic and I am deeply honored to have been the stewardess of that sacred creative space for so long.
But because of the pandemic, I’m announcing with a heavy and sorrowful heart, that it’s time for me to close the doors of The Beloved Mothership. To say goodbye to The Studio. And to bring this magnificently mind-blowing and heart opening creative era to an end.
Just to be clear … I am NOT retiring! I plan to die with my rhinestone studded boots on and a paintbrush in my hand, holding space for just one more moment of creative unfolding in one more precious student.
But at least for now the work will be continuing in a different form. I have a number of robust Wild Heart Intuitive painting classes and weekend retreats that are under way online. And the creative healing that is happening in those Zoom rooms is rich and powerful and profound.
The plan is to hopefully find another studio in 2021 if it is safe to do so. And I’m confident that me and Tim and my wild hearted women community can create something truly wonderful and healing in another physical space.
This time that we’re in is a time of extraordinary radical change. Change … even welcome change… is inevitably threaded through with loss. And those losses need to be acknowledged, felt and honored.
So this missive is me paying tribute to the wild and wacky, creaky and funky, miraculous and mystical Creative Juices Arts Studio, where this whole extraordinary 25 year creative journey was held in the holy container of emotional safety, creative permission and boundless love.
I am grateful to the old girl (the house was built in 1902) for being such a wonderfully magical creative sanctuary for this abundantly long period of time. I will never forget you, dear studio. You were and are legendary. And you will live in my heart and the hearts of my creative community always and forever.