February 10, 2019

A Workshop, A Yoni, A Book

The weekend of April 8-9, 2017, marked a turning point in my life. It was the weekend I really understood that life could be more than just a daily grind, the weekend a world of possibilities opened up for me. It was the weekend that I attended a Spring Creativity Infusion workshop hosted by Kathleen Hamilton.

Kathleen’s invitation to the workshop opened like this:

Ready to embrace the energy of Spring? Give yourself the gift of two days to explore simple yet powerful creativity tools to help you unearth and renew your creative spark, spur your imagination, capture new ideas, and discover emerging layers of your creative expression. Expect to leave the weekend enlivened, strengthened, and moving forward with a fresh new version of yourself.

It then went on to say:

The Spring Creativity Infusion is for you if you want to…increase your confidence…tap into an ever-replenishing source of creative energy, ground that energy in a way that satisfies you, gain insights into the best next steps for you, and experience a weekend of women’s community.

Well, that sounded like everything I wanted so I signed up. The workshop proved to be a magical experience, and for the first time in a long time, I felt consumed by creative fire.

One of the items on the weekend agenda was yoni art. This sounded rather alarming given that I had no idea what a yoni was so I did what I always do in these situations: I asked Google.

Wikipedia: Yoni is a Sanskrit word that has been interpreted to literally mean the womb and the female organs of generation. It also connotes the female sexual organs such as “vagina,” “vulva,” and “uterus” or alternatively to “origin, abode, or source” of anything in other contexts…It is a spiritual metaphor and icon in Hinduism for the origin and the feminine regenerative powers in the nature of existence.

“Good Lord,” I thought. “I have to draw my nether regions?” I started worrying about how I’d do that given I’ve never spent a lot of time examining them. Normally I like to be prepared, but in this case, I decided against getting the hand mirror out and twisting myself into a pretzel.

Instead, I chose to wait and see what was in store at the workshop. I’m glad I did. It turned out that no specialized knowledge of female anatomy was required. All I had to do was colour a yoni and participate in a related discussion.

The yoni exercise included some questions. As I wrote the answers in my journal, things I suppose I always knew about myself became more obvious: I love crystals, stones, crosses, flowers, butterflies, pink and purple. I prefer meeting people one-on-one and am bored by superficial conversation. My favourite mode of expression is writing, and I’m learning to speak my truth. I’m also beginning to realize my worth and have started to listen to whispers of inner guidance even if it means moving outside my comfort zone.

In my journal I also wrote: My yoni had a lot to say today, especially that it’s time to wake up. Perhaps you could say I’ve been yoni-inspired. And someday, I suspect that inspiration will find its way inside a pink and purple book cover, graced with flowers and butterflies, and the name Heather Séguin.

Since that workshop in 2017, I went on to take three memoir-writing workshops from Kathleen. Each one built on the other and taught me so much. More than that, however, these workshops helped me to lose guilt and shame I’d been carrying around for a long time. As a result, I ended up contributing three stories to a collection of women’s memoir called href=”https://www.amazon.ca/Deep-Water-Pearls-Collection-Womens/dp/1773660225/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549212708&sr=8-1&keywords=deep+water+pearls” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Deep Water Pearls. (Shameless promotion: The stories in this anthology are fantastic, and the beautiful cover alone makes the book worth buying.)

Not only were these workshops the best therapy I’ve ever had, they also gave me the confidence to begin a year-long intensive writing program under Kathleen’s direction. By the time I finish, I’ll have a publisher-ready manuscript of my full-length memoir. On another exciting note, this program also includes two retreats in 2019 one of which will be held over ten days in September on a magnificent Greek island!

Who would have thought that walking into a workshop almost two years ago would set me in this direction? It seems to suggest that even seemingly minor things can have a huge and lasting impact.

Although I plan to spend another nine years in the workforce, I’m already making retirement plans that involve writing and earning an income from it. Not only did the Spring Creativity Infusion workshop light a fire in me, it began the process of defining my second act. And what a second act it will be.

Reflection: What will be your second act?