During our opening circle of this Point Zero Master Painting workshop, Michele asked us to share our names, home places and motivation for coming. At dinner earlier, I’d “sussed out” that most of the participants are regular attendees at either this, the Esalen, or Michele’s San Francisco workshops and as such, this is a “homecoming.”
As fate would have it, despite the circle starting across the room thereby suggesting I’d be speaking midway, I was last to share what I described as “sitting in the bigness of the moment” of finally having arrived at this first ever Taos Master Class with Michele …after having held intention and strategically designing the steps over several years. A woman hit the big Native drum in acknowledgement and I claimed my “YES.”
The Art of Pilgrimage’s seven chapters follow the “universal round” of the sacred journey, progressing “from The Longing to The Call that beckons us onward, then the drama of Departure, the treading The Pilgrim’s Way and beyond to The Labyrinth and Arrival, before coming full circle to the challenge of Bringing Back the Boon.” (xxvii)
Sensing a longing, I had read. Heeding the call, I had searched and flown to Ontario to attend three earlier prerequisite workshops. Sitting in the moment, I felt the fullness, bigness of the drama of my arrival and departure, as no sooner had we met in circle, when we moved down the hill to the studio to begin to paint.
What is the ultimate purpose of creativity, of Point Zero painting, where process is valued over product?
From a lifetime of experience and experimentation, inquiry and reflection, Michele concludes creativity is the surrender to the Unknown, to the great Mystery. This practice with its principles creates a crack to allow the Unknown to come through and flow through us, so all is in movement, all is flowing.
“To finally know that I don’t know who I am, so I can stop being who I think I am, and be who I am.”
You might be curious to see what I’ve created. Because we paint and then put our paintings away I won’t be including them here. Instead, some photos of our retreat centre, the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.