There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist. It is not your business to determine how good it is. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
-Martha Graham.

Collages and Writing by Group Participants

Autumn Equinox

When I look at this collage I am overwhelmed by the images. Difficult to focus or decode so many. This is very much the way I feel right now—jumbled, jangled, overstimulated.On reflection I believe this collage is speaking directly to me about myself at this time of life. I am nearing my 70th birthday, the autumn of my life. Here are images of the harvested bounty of summer—the productive season—collected and hanging in the shed waiting for the winter season. Some will be canned, preserved, cured down in the cellar or simply left to dry in the barn. The seeds are the orbs of promise. Waiting in hope for another season. This is the natural order of things, even though it can look messy, chaotic and burdensome in the first moments of gathering. The hint of “drying out” is also apparent in the two desert scenes. One a gathering of vehicles around tents. Preparations are being made, under cover.

Impossible to know what will transpire. The other is an archeological dig. Bones are being carefully unearthed. Something hidden and dead is being exposed. Other things may be hidden in the chests and baskets. Preservation of secrets in the dust of time. In my own life there are the hidden and secret parts that have been “canned, cured or left in the barn”. Now is the time to reveal myself completely.Two ideas in juxtaposition here are: the bringing out and the going down. Both pilgrimages to new places. The boots show possibility of ascent and the mindful, quiet figure shows descent into inner realms. The yin/yang of life at every stage, brought into great contrast on this Autumn Equinox when the day is equally light and dark. Balance is required at all stages of life. In my own life I am pulled to go down to listen to my own heart, its hidden longings, just at the time my family circumstances require that I gather my bounty to be shared fully and publicly. This is my balancing act. A perfect chore for a Libra. Another chance to sort the seeds of life in preparation for the last act—winter. I must stay alert and focused, like the little bee, to make honey out of all this chaos.

Age 70
September 23, 2011

Remnants of a War
by Jane Ann Person

A bomb explosion
A plane crash on a distant shore
A wife wanting to die from grief
A father with a wrong sexed child
Dead in the sea
The infant born in a deep and dark pit
All emotions drowned in tears
A husband, a father, forever absent
Light shining through the heart of a forest
Clear water tumbling over rocks
A grandfather fishing with the child
A girl child in brown braids
One War
One Child
How many more

Fish Out of Water

Haiku for the Artist Within

Twirling with passion I’ll keep dancing till I drop. And maybe beyond.

Are you an artist?

Birthday Celebration for a Friend

Breath moving through me–inhale expands through my being,
into expression on my exhale.
celebrating my friend on his 60th birthday.
Images choose me—even jump out at me—
that are like me and also remind me of my friend—
powerful, vital, creative, sensual, impulsive, earthy.
Volcanic forms came to me in sensing my lower body.
I am delighted to find two devil-like masks with horns—representing
our dark forces.
From the middle of my breath-body
I sense a transformation my lower-bodied earthiness into my Self–
a strong but softer power—my personal space.
Images appear of pearls as essence,
and lights through my spine,
through a frog camouflaged on a tree.
I sense how my friend lives from his essence of Self.
Other images support the upper part of my body
where I sense breath transforming through Self
up into my heart and spirit—
with birds, feathers, flight, sun, moon, sky, ethereal beings, lightness.
All these qualities also remind me of my friend.
It occurs to me that these organic forms, forces, and flows
are not only personal and individual to me
they are also universal, archetypal.

Birthday Celebration for a Friend by Margot Biestman
For me, creating collages is an experience of allowing breath to move me through my body, which include emotions, thoughts, and spirit. I always begin by physically sensing breath movement so that I am in a state of oneness. Without plans or concepts I approach images, tear from magazines, compose, and paste the pieces together into a whole collage.
Images choose me—even jump out at me—that conform to my sense of my lower space (below my navel to the tips of my toes), which are often volcanic in nature, earthy, animal-like. There are some that conform to my middle space, (navel to sternum, including lower ribs) where breath transforms from a gross power to one of Self, a strong but softer power, which bring up pearls as essence, nests that hold it, persons, etc. Other images support the upper space (sternum to top of head, including upper ribs, neck) where breath transforms from Self into heart, spirit, with birds, feathers, flight, sun, moon, sky, ethereal.
I am usually surprised when I am finished. Things are not what they seem. Opposites attract. Some support me to make shifts in my relationships. Things are different from what I first saw. New images emerge, and keep emerging, meaning different things to different viewers. They are often like seeing things in caves or deep in the earth or occasionally light—the spores of different pollens in the natural world. Since my breath is mirroring the laws of nature, my collages are organic, natural, both personal and universal.
Yes, I create from sensing breath through my body that I allow to move through me.
~Margot Biestman

Radiant Radiation

The receptionist didn’t look up when I gave her my name. Instead she slid a photo ID card under the glass partition and told me to scan my arrival and proceed to the changing room. I was now a bar code. It was my “simulation” day: A dry-run for the 35 radiation treatments I was facing in a war that cancer was winning.The table was cold, my head and legs immobilized, and a rubber device placed in my hands to keep them from moving. I was so panicked at my own panic that I could hardly breathe. “Stay perfectly still” the technician warned, as “mapping points” were tattooed on my skin. Tears slid down the side of my face and pooled in my ears. I felt so alone and vulnerable… I could not protect myself anymore. I was deserting my own body.

I had tried hypnotherapy, an alternative healer, calming herbal remedies, massage and healing spiritual work in a desperate attempt to help control my radiation terror. Nothing could touch the deep fear and hopelessness that I felt.

At dawn the next morning I took a walk, passing through a eucalyptus grove that announces itself with that distinctive eucalyptus scent that follows you home on the soles of your shoes. I stopped and ran my hand along the smooth, raw bark of one of those stoic giants, and I thought about its roots, so deeply anchored in the earth. Then I lifted my head and looked up, and what I saw took my breath away.

Tens of thousands of tiny leaves were trembling with such force, each one vibrating wildly in their individual dance with the wind. It was something so beautiful and powerful that it made my heart ache. The enormous energy was palpable and it swept me up until my stomach fluttered along with the leaves.

Suddenly I had this thought: Radiation is nothing more than energy! I closed my eyes and allowed my spirit to be held in the intense energy vibration of all those leaves. I felt intimately and completely connected to everything.

This was exactly what I had been searching for.

Each day when I went into the radiation room I asked that the music be turned off and the lights dimmed. As the whir of the machine started up around me, I visualized that canopy of millions of tiny vibrating leaves working together with the radiation beams to re-balance my body. Re-balance me.

My fear was completely gone.

Childhood Dreams