Paint & Poetry {April 2013}

group tree pose ~ grow your branches long, your roots deep and sway with the wind whenever given the chance.


What a fun-filled day of artistic expression we had in April’s Workshop. It was filled with poetry, painting, and illustration; topped only by the incredibly glorious, sunny springtime day that surrounded us in the Presidio. Our focus on poetry was perfectly timed, with the celebration of National Poetry Month and Poem in your Pocket Day.  For me,  I wish every day could include poetry. Beauty, inspiration, emotions, picturesque moments. All waiting to be captured and shared with listening ears and inquisitive minds.  

Our day began with gathering in our sacred circle ~ letting our individual “word” for the day find us, tucked below the handmade cushions. Embracing the unknown, the mystery. Isn’t it fun when we have a surprise hidden beneath us? Perhaps revealing an attribute of ourselves that has been long forgotten, or ignored for a bit. The girls were asked to contemplate their words, and to journal a little about how that attribute is appearing in their lives. “Deep down inside I know”…was their prompt. Words included grace, truth, wise, brave. Each girl had the opportunity to share their words in the circle, if they were so inclined. These young ladies continue to inspire me, they are so wise, sage and thoughtful.

Next, it was time to create a colorful painting which would serve as a backdrop for our yet un-written poems. It was a very joyful and bold time, exploring new colors and techniques and having the chance to be brave and play in an artful way.  We used brayers and foam brushes. Dribbled and splattered. Got messy and used our fingers and hands. Music was our muse, swaying and dancing rhythmically to allow freedom to enter our souls. There was no space for those terrible inner critics to show up!

The sunshine and beauty of the Presidio beckoned us to journey outside. Amongst the eucalyptus trees, Janelle led the girls in a very inspiring yoga class. The sun streamed down, and we gave gratitude through the sun salutation. Incredible and full of awe. Rounding out our yoga time was a group Tree Pose ~ the girls made a ‘forest’, building unity and cooperation. They were strong, flexible and resilient. It was the perfect reminder to::  Grow your branches long, your roots deep and sway with the wind whenever given the chance!

The outdoor beauty proved to be the perfect backdrop for some mindful listening and observing. Living in the city, we are under constant assault by noise, and the Presidio allowed for a little respite. It was glorious to see the girls observe through sight, sound, touch. The simple act of ‘stopping’, of breathing and noticing the here and now; who knew how profound it could be for a ten or twelve year old.

A little mindful walking exercise led us back to our studio, and with our senses acutely tuned, the girls began scribing their poems. Inspired by nature, the unfolding essence and glory of Spring, and the wonders all around us. Quiet and contemplative, they wrote and wrote. Little pencils moving with anticipation of the poems that were coming to life. Each unique. Each beautiful and expressive in their own way.

And, once the poems had been mulled over and final drafts were prepared, it was back to the colorful paintings to illustrate. Inspired by the work of the incredibly talented Sabrina Ward Harrison the girls learned how to use pen, nibs and ink to scribe their poems. “Imperfectly perfect” is one of our Gather phrases, and so the intentional unevenness and random mix of lettering was, well…perfect.

Painting. Poetry. Nature. What more does one need for an absolutely glorious day? I know I was inspired by these creative girls who were able to trust their own unique voice and tell her story! How about you?

with gratitude,





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