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Photos provided by CCtive ReTREATers, LiveinLove Photography + Nici Derosier + Carole Barnhart

JOY! Personified!

August 31, 2016

 

My ReTREAT story starts like this...

In 2013 I was introduced to the Author SARK-Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy. I found her book “Succulent Wild Woman: Dancing with You Wonder-FULL Self.” I was entranced. They were colorful pages filled with doodles and handwritten notes and poems. SARK wrote about how to dive into creativity and how she used that to find healing in her own story. I was so inspired by this colorful, playful process of self-love.

 

In the summer of 2013 I found myself sitting at a women’s circle. It was a new experience for me, sitting soulfully in a circle of women who were so open and loving and willing to share their experiences and stories and they were also willing to listen to mine. This process was very important for me in that time in my life, and I was in love with the power of sitting in a circle with other women.

 

At some point, there was a woman in that circle who invited me to the Creative Collaborative ReTREAT and she steered me to the website. I couldn’t believe my eyes! “And this is in Cincinnati?! Right down the street from me?!” I thought. The vibe and playfulness of the retreat resonated with so much of me and reminded me of those pages I adored in SARK’s book. I had to go.

 

I only knew one person, Tina, who invited me to the Creative Collaborative ReTREAT. I immediately felt so at home and the beautiful grounds of the Transfiguration Spirituality Transfiguration Center drew me in right away. There were women who offered me welcoming, warm hugs, women were singing and jumping and had huge smiles on their faces as they moved into their rooms. I could feel the magic immediately.  

 

That first retreat weekend was probably the most refreshing 72 hours of my life. Right away,  it had an influence on my perspective, my artwork, and my relationships. Of course, I had to come back.

 

That second year, I offered a workshop where we made our own goddess figurines out of air dry clay. I also had the opportunity to share the artwork and drawings I had begun making of goddesses, particularly voluptuous bodied goddesses. I so loved teaching that workshop and the support I received for my own artwork fueled me.

 

Over the course of the next year, my artwork became more focused. Suddenly, I knew I had to make CHUBBY LADY GODDESS MUGS! It was a spark that ignited and I know that flame was initiated and kindled by the Creative Collaborative ReTREAT.

 

Now, I have a successful online Etsy business, Amanda Joy Pottery. There, I sell my chubby ladies and chubby mermaid pottery. I also sell my curvy ladies at Booby Booths around town. I am in love with the work I am doing and I am so grateful my life lead me to the ReTREAT. It gave me the fuel and confidence I needed to flower.

 

At last year’s reTREAT, I got to attend with my mother. That was an equally magical experience sitting in circle, playing, and creating with my own Mom. The magic I’ve experienced from the retreat is really unmeasurable and this year I am so honored to help with the planning process for a weekend that I hold so dearly in my heart. I look forward to all the brilliance that is about the unfold this year at the 2016 reTREAT.

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