I’m flying high – figuratively and literally – 30,000 feet up somewhere between Phoenix and Charlotte, after completing a week in workshop mode. This has to have been the very best professional meeting I’ve ever attended.
You might wonder what could make this one so good. Was it the speakers – breakout sessions – location – all far beyond my expectations?
It was the individuals I met, the new friends I made. In addition to a stellar program, I loved meeting the other people all sharing a passion, inspiring each other to stretch and grow as a result of our paths crossing.
Some of us had met online. Words on a computer screen next to a very small picture are poor substitutes for being face-to-face. It’s easy to assume a lot. When a student asked who she was, the leader Kay laughed saying, “Nobody’s professional headshot looks like the real you!”
I had shared courses and conversations online with Betsy, Carolyn and others – each a true artist in the fullest sense. Betsy’s work journal was filled with illustrations as fine as a Sufi master and intricate collages of her notes and illustrations. Carolyn’s poetic workbook used with her therapy clients as well as workshop participants was just one of her published books. To illustrate her points she sang her own verses to familiar tunes.
Jean, a vivacious Atlanta social worker and teacher starting her own business based on her creative work with young women with cancer, found me in the crowded room. Although I had seen her name and read her helpful comments on-line, I never connected her to my own neighborhood at home. She leaned over my shoulder with a copy of an article about my work in The Columbia Star Newspaper in her hand and said, “I think your husband helped me get the greatest job while I was in college many years ago.”
My own early morning dream groups allowed me to contribute to the conference. Several new friends got up with the sun to share their dreams and honor each others process to catch a glimpse into the depths of their psyche and soul.
I’m already looking forward to next year, April 2015 in Asheville, North Carolina!
The first half of the week was produced by the Therapeutic Writing Institute and sponsored by the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy. The last half of the week was the 34th annual conference of the National Association for Poetry Therapy.
Confronting Your Clutter and other books by Carolyn Koehnline, MA, LMHC
Jean Rowe, LCSW, CJT, President of FS Consulting LLC. Contact her at [email protected]