“We have to look at our own inertia, insecurities, self-hate, fear that, in truth, we have nothing valuable to say. When your writing blooms out of the back of this garbage compost, it is very stable. You are not running from anything. You can have a sense of artistic security. If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.” ~Natalie Goldberg
So after journeying to and from Nova Scotia in a five-day span (during which I 'surrendered' my shampoo and facial cleanser barefoot in the customs line to a TSA agent for the good of the country) I can honestly say I am spent but happy that I did it and it was well worth the cumulative 28 hours of travel time. I'm thinking it may become an annual thing...time will tell.
It was, as I had visualized, an amazing group of powerful, talented, kind, strong, brave and lovely souls gathered at the Cabot Shores resort www.cabotshores.com to write the next chapter of their lives. Some were in transition, some were soul seekers, some were healing and some were healers...all were incredible in their own right.
It was a time of exploring the local forests, meandering along cliffs overlooking the ocean, drinking in sun rays while lazing by a bubbling brook--combing the shore for shells and rocks, eating lobster, telling stories around a campfire...singing songs, getting pampered, eagle, beaver, deer sightings; writing, writing and more writing. It was exactly what I needed. Here is the poem that I wrote to try and capture the essence of the experience.
Women of the Words
By CAW 05/24/08
This is the moment that has been coming for the ages.
Down through spiral galaxies, through each star, each void in the sky that opens;
Pinpricks of light shining through from other places, other times.
This is the message from those other times and places.
You are the first women, the only women, the last women and
All the women in between these holes in the sky;
There are no gaps in your connection.
It is seamless, timeless, ageless, nameless.
It is now and here and before and then and yet and still and always.
Fingers twining, souls divining,
Nets of words ensnaring and enchanting;
Binding and freeing.
There is power in the silence.
There is power in the spoken.
There is power in the written.
All are tools to enter the weaving and the dreaming.
All are crochet hooks and pens and needles and feather quills
Dipped in the indigo ink of the deepest nightsky.
Along the way you will find helpmeets to translate the messages,
Keeping the essence from spilling or leaking away.
Greet them with openness, trust them implicitly.
Write your deepest purpose there in the shimmering places
Where truth lives and breathes and howls and weeps
And softly, ever softly IS.
This is the heartwhisper that is letting its softness work through you;
A melting wax of words,
Shaping and reshaping, cooling then hardening,
Warming and softening
With each fevered or frozen beatsong.
This rhythm in you echoes for the ones who have not heard their own drumbeat yet…
The ones who have forgotten how to listen.
It is up to you to help them remember.
It is not simply a responsibility, purpose, mission, vision or path.
It is your privilege and your payment for the gift inside you.
Use it wisely, love it well, nurture it always,
Through time and space and holes in the sky
Through tears in the fabric of pain; tears that cleanse these rips,
Rendering them whole and holy again…
As it was in the time before time;
In the place before place; in the word before words.
We are the women of the words,
Carrying our light across the worlds
Into other dimensions seeded with grace and joy.
We write ourselves into kindness,
Out of birth and rebirth and death and life’s unending renewal.
We spring eternally now and evermore
From the loamy soil beneath us
Where wild women grow best.
Also---for some very cool Wild Women products check out my friend Linda Hogan's website: www.wildwomen-ent.com
Stay tuned for an overhaul of the Lipstick and Thong book site www.lipstickandthongbook.com and a tandem linked site to be launched this summer to get the virtual LOoNyBus tour up and running for the fall. I found a craigslist tech angel programmer dude who is helping me rebuild and revamp. I'm also looking for a logo design for that site if anyone wants a groovy portfolio piece. I can barter chocolate and gratitude until Oprah calls. :) I've been gathering lovely letters of recommendation and testimonials from the Department of Mental Health, Wellesley High School, Samaritans etc. and am working on networking with colleges and other mental health organizations to line up more gigs. I'm anticipating I'll be pretty busy and I'm grateful that I just had this trip to find ways to remember to incorporate balance and 'busy'ness. It doesn't feel like being 'busy' so much but more like being 'on purpose' and 'in flow'. I get so energized from these talks and readings and workshops and I just love being able to connect with people and plant seeds of hope while making them laugh. I truly believe it's why I am here.
To invite Courtney to come and speak or do book signings based on her her memoir, "Lipstick and Thongs in the Loony Bin" (www.lulu.com/content/1076267---also available for download) mental wellness, and her journey from Rock Bottom to Rock ON! to your high school, college, company, treatment center, church basement, book group, country club, private jet, mansion by the sea, (hehe) etc. contact her at email@example.com
Keep on growing, keep on rocking, keep on listening to the heart's innermost voices. Feel free to comment or drop a line...it's always nice to hear from you and it makes this process seem less solitary. :) Also---as always feel free to pass along the youtube link (www.youtube.com/courtneyawalsh) to anyone you think might benefit who hasn't seen it yet.
My favorite L&T story this month? A woman whose husband is on dialysis was looking for something to read while he gets his treatments and so she came across my book and wrote to me asking me to send her a signed copy. I love thinking of my chattery pink book helping take her mind off her troubles if only briefly. Makes it feel more real to me than wondering about how to increase web traffic or sales figures or whatever. I just want to keep connecting to people and their stories. The rest? Will take care of itself. I know the right people will find me and the book and it continues to grow in these lovely pops and bursts here and there. I do believe that eventually one of these sparks will catch and the fire will start to really blaze. In the meantime...I am truly enjoying the building phase and getting ready for the increasing warmth as the flames catch and dance and spiral outward, inward and upward.
Rockin' into the next question mark with eager excitement...wishing you playful looniness, fun, laughter and peace.
Labels: Cabot Shores, Cape Breton, mental wellness, Nova Scotia, Wild Women Writers Retreat, Women of the Words