Chrysalis: Art of Being Winter Retreat

Posted by Maeve Hendrix, LPCA

Chrysalis ~ 

1. The process of developing, the journey between the cocoon state of a caterpillar through to the transformation of a moth or butterfly.
2. a protecting covering; a sheltered state or stage of being or growth

Last weekend, a wonderful group of women gathered in community to celebrate embodiment and bravely invite their VOICE to be expressed through art, movement, speech, rhythm, song, and play.  Deeply immersed in the belly of the pulsing forest during the New Moon in Pisces, we created a safe container to dive into the depths of our own birthing process. The symbology of a silken chrysalis inspired our process in utilizing art, movement, and community to contain and support our experience as we unfolded deeper and deeper into our inner world. Learning to sense deeply and listen to the wisdom of the body, we used expressive arts processing to explore and discern what qualities and truths were emerging and what misperceptions were dropping away.  

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Honoring Movement as Medicine

Yoga, freeform movement, somatic inquiry, playing, feeling and holding shapes can settle the body into its natural state of being, bringing balance to the nervous system, which enables the body to activate its own self-healing mechanisms.  Exploring the subtle articulation of movement, breath, and letting go invites an internal focus of centeredness, balance, and attentive movement.  Softening energetic straining or effort towards an end-goal is of primary importance.  Learning to allow, learning to unwind, learning to listen deeply to the language of the body and opening to symbolic messages attunes us to our intuitive body and somatic (body) intelligence. 

Ritual is marked by intention, focus, and meaning. 

Expressive arts processing celebrates connection to self, community and nature through RITUAL.  Ritual can be infused into the tiniest, seemingly insignificant interactions, re-framing the way we relate to ourselves and the present moment.  Tending to, and embracing ordinary activities with reverence and intentionality automatically transforms the experience into a SIGNIFICANT and MEANINGFUL interaction.  

Exploration: Personal Ritual

Consider carefully, the ordinary personal rituals in your life.  Which of your daily habits could become a ritual for you?  How would your attention shift to make this practice a more intentional part of your life? Write or draw about a ritual experience in your life and imagine what it would be like to have ritual become a daily experience for you. 

Tasting the Moment.

We are the meaning makers, the magicians of our lives.  Every breath, every gaze and expression through our voice and movement is a work of art, an expression of divine manifestation unfolding and rippling out in this very moment.  What happens when we engage in the divine discipline of tasting the moment? Through anchoring our attention to this moment, we heighten our senses and discover delight in the simplicity of savoring our breath. We feel the vibration of music and song in our body, see the deep richness of color, texture, movement; smell the temperature of air; feast upon light and the mysterious beauty of shadow. 

The Gift.

After a mere 24 hours spent together, we parted ways with a deep bond of sisterhood that will continue to carry and sustain our integration process and evolution.  We bring back many gifts to the community, more gifts than we are aware of or can give a name to.  

The gifts I feel coming forth include a heightened awareness of my body as a divine instrument through which I have the joy of infusing presence into; creating a precious work of art through every breath, every word, and every movement. I feel empowered to embrace my voice, gaze and body language as sacred symbols that express the raw beauty and agony of being alive. I am discovering that seeing beauty in the dark, rich murky depths allows me to integrate all of my parts, leaving no part disembodied, rejected or ignored.  Those dark and shadowy parts are exactly what I have been seeking. They are the diamonds in the rough. They are allowing me to claim my truth more fully, to remember my intrinsic wholeness and see the world through the eyes of my heart. 

Special guest, Virginia Rosenberg joined us for the retreat.  Virginia is an Intuitive Astrologer and Sacred Movement Artist.  She offered a Silk-Reeling Spiral Power Qi Gong session to our group, which is a moving meditation practice that is gentle and fluid, opening all the major joints in the body from top to bottom, inside and out.  She offers individualized Intuitive Astrology and Akashic Records Readings in Asheville as well as Qi Gong classes in the community.

To check out her current offerings, visit:


Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,

she took me back so tenderly,

arranging her dark skirts, her pockets

full of lichens and seeds.

I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,

nothing between me and the white fire of the stars

but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths

among the branches of the perfect trees.

All night I heard the small kingdoms

breathing around me, the insects,

and the birds who do their work in the darkness.

All night I rose and fell, as if in water,

grappling with a luminous doom. By morning

I had vanished at least a dozen times

into something better.

-Mary Oliver