I arrived in the middle of the night to Swasti Eco Village and the moment I walked into my room I saw a very large Klimt tree painted on the wall.. in fact they were everywhere I looked, Swasti has made a version of it their logo. (I started painting trees like those in 2009 and was mesmerized by their spirals and patterning) ... so I guess that felt like a bit of a nod from the Universe that I was in the right place.
On the Friday that we were all to gather.. and have an opening dinner that evening... I glanced down from my balcony at some stage to see a bunch of women with suitcases arriving... and it was Flora!! and her buddies from Portland.. Kelly Rae Roberts was amongst them!!! It was so exciting to see two ‘shero’s’ just walking past my line of sight all the way from the other side of the world. (I didn’t get to speak to KRR... I got the feeling she was having a big special time with her friends and I didn’t feel to invade her space... I reeeaaaalllllyy wanted to... and usually I would follow that urge.. but... this time... I didn’t.)
The opening dinner finally arrived... most of the retreat’ants had arrived from their various places from around the globe... most from USA, and Australia. Bam... all descended on a little resort on an island in Indonesia... we each received a sweet gift on the table, that’s always a great start hah.. presents haha!
... anyhow... chats, eats.. and excitement settling down into .. being there... and we gathered afterwards for an opening circle.. we each had an opportunity to call something in and to let something go.. I called in ‘Bravery’... and let go of ‘my story about not being able to articulate myself well enough’.
Flora and Lisa Mae were the most gracious and calm of hosts and I think we all felt completely at ease within a very short time.
I awoke each morning about 6 to gather a cup of tea.. meet at the pavilion to meditate with the group at 6.30.. then meet back there for 7.30am yoga til a bit after 9am. I hadn’t done any yoga classes for a few years and so I was pretty stiff and shaky for much of it... and just plain had to give up on the down dogs they made me feel nauseous and yuck... but yoga is all about honouring your body.. listening in etc. so I kept on showing up each day and really loving the teachings Lisa Mae wove into her class, she’s a delight and a great story teller, she had also bought along an assistant whose gentle hands could sometimes be felt easing our limbs into a more aligned pose.
... and you might be thinking... WHAT ABOUT THE PAINTING??? yes... I was pretty excited about this too!!!
We gathered at about 1.45pm (along with some heavy rain clouds) and were treated to our first session with Flora... she shared some wisdoms and guidance for our week ahead and proceeded to demonstrate how to get our first layer happening.
This is a many layered process and boy did I realise how much I dislike the fugly middle layers!!! it was interesting and at times painful to observe my feelings about what I was making on my canvas... and I thought later how this could be of great assistance to others to hear... actually ... EVEN though I am proficient at painting my own style that I have been honing for the last 12 or so years... when it came to immersing myself in Flora’s method... I was really challenged, somewhat lost, floundering and not much as ease with it at all!!! I still have to let that all simmer inside to glean all there is to glean from the whole experience... but these notes are what I am noticing for now.
I did not take naturally to this method of painting... I found it challenging and frustrating and often felt really disappointed with my efforts.. that was a big learning lesson for me.. and taught me a few things and reminded me what it's like for beginners in art... it can be quite scary!!! I also had a realisation that some structure, and clear instruction is super helpful for beginners too... they are then free to take what they will, use what they like, but they feel they are making a choice, not just making attempts and feeling inadequate. Flora's example and encouragement were fantastic, she's a born teacher from what I could gather, I was amazed at how calm and courageous she remained throughout the entire week and her painting demonstrations were sublime to watch.
Making new friends, and time with my Nik was Wonderful.
So... what a big week or so it was!!! I suspect it's a gift that will keep on giving... I've met people who will continue to be in my life.. and learned techniques that will take some practice and may also make their way onto my canvas's, who knows.
Ever so grateful... and now that a week has passed since I returned home, I'm feeling a lot better and more integrated... taking yourself right out of your comfort zone can tip the scales out of balance for a few days ya know.
bye for now,
love Denise xo
Books I Love
“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”