OK . . . as some of you know, I aim to walk my talk . . . like many of us, I often don't manage it, one faltering step forward, then two steps back and so on . . . sometimes able to skip, sometimes almost dancing on the tightrope, and sometimes barely able to stand . Like many of us, I keep showing up, keep hoping and keep trying . . .
Approaching the other end of 50 and feeling a sense of dissatisfaction with my life and its current trajectory, last September (16) found me in a conversation with myself that led to a determination to switch up my life. Beginning 2017 with an artists residency.entitled Bravery School
(http://www.braveryschool.org/the-birthing-of-bravery-school), currently investigating the possiblility of a 3 part course for women with Bravery as its main subject, a process that is, as one might expect, intermittently shaking me up and causing me to wobble about . . .
As I write, read, discuss and plan, I begin to realise that if I was really committed to this idea, if I was seriously going to ask others to step into their own bravery, inviting myself and others to take a look at some of our beliefs around courage, then the very least I could do was to mirror that process for myself, put myself into that position and attend someone else's workshop. As luck would have it, one had recently popped up on my Facebook stream, it was relatively local, imminent, promising a range of processes for looking into those dark and forgotten corners, it seemed to exactly fit the bill., except in one vital regard, it was run by a chap!
Why was that an issue I hear you ask? Well . . . having just added my name to the ever increasing number of women writing #MeToo on their timelines as part of the growing wave of truth telling post the recent Harvey Weinstein story, attending a potentially transformational workshop run by a chap, felt like a bit more of a stretch than I wanted to take at this point . . .
As some of you know well, I am an ardent feminist. Feminist in the true sense of the word, wanting full equality of opportunity and experience, no more, no less . . . but, having had my formative years both 'up north' and in the sixties and seventies, my life experiences did not afford me such parity. In fact, like many women of that time, I carry the legacies of familial sexual abuse, partner rape, sexual discrimination, sisterhood competion and denial, etc.
Perhaps inevitably with the more damaging aspects of the patriarchy as both a frequent lived and inherited experience, not to mention the wider cultural narratives in mainstream religion, politics, and entertainment, it is hard, as an older woman, not to become cynical and prejudiced. So, it was with a great leap of faith, I booked my place!
And now, after my weekend workshop, as I sit here reflecting on my experience and the merits of Mr. Jamie Catto as a workshop leader. I find, for the most part, I can only praise . . . Whilst, as one familiar with delving into my own shadowy depths through various means, I wasn't surprised by the content of the material presented, it was neither new to me, nor revelatory, however what I really enjoyed was the re-packaging of this work in a way that I found both very accessible and enjoyable. Jamie's style, and the lightness with which he holds this work was a joy to behold.and clearly not just by me, it was reflected and evidenced by the laughter and warmth generated within the group. Jamie is skilled, clever, funny and eloquent and importantly, he has clearly done a considerable amount of his own personal homework (for want of a better phrase), an essential requirement if one is going to share it.
So if you are looking to gently sweep out some of your own dark corners and more importantly, challenge your own narratives I can unreservedly and wholeheartedly recommend Jamie's workshops. And if you can't manage a workshop, I have just bought the audio version of the book . . . https://www.amazon.co.uk/Insanely-Gifted-Demons-Creative-Rocket/dp/1782118039
So thank you Mr Catto, and to all those present for a rich, amusing and thought provoking weekend, and most importantly, for helping me to keep challenging my narratives and changing my stories, onwards . . .