A Dream Workshop as seen thru an attendees eyes!
I contemplate all the time finding blog writers. I get so bored with myself! So my recent workshop gave me the perfect opportunity as one of the attendants dream was to write and blogging was on her list. So here it is in her very own words the story of ‘The Dream’ Workshop held here last weekend! Enjoy….
On a biting cold Saturday in January, a multigenerational group of women sat in JoAnn Adams Altonelli’s studio on the beautiful grounds of the Martyn House in Ellijay to share their dreams. What brought these women from Atlanta, Blue Ridge and Rome together to express their passions, roadblocks and lives with each other? Could a one day workshop unlock the power and motivation to move us in the direction that our inner critic might mock, but our heart desired?
I was one of those women, prepared initially for the exploration with a backpack full of cynicism, fear and questions and a prewritten, one day description of what a “dream day” would look like for me. Seated around an antique farm table, each woman had chronicled their dreams onto loose leaf notebook paper, into leather bound journals or simply typed on plain white computer paper complete with web captured pictures to portray what was lurking, bubbling under the surface. To bring these dreams to light meant we had to read these dreams out loud to each other and we felt silly, exposed, excited and some even felt like “posers”. But we read, we cried, we effused and we grappled with the validity of wanting to lead authentic and exciting lives. It was powerful. And powerful in a way that I did not expect.
Stories were shared about dreams of buying land, organic farming, winning industry awards, living in Manhattan (with a live-in Chef/Boyfriend, no less), writing/finishing a novel, developing a culinary school and building a business based upon a family recipe for sausage. I’m not sure what the connection was about with all the food related dreams, but I am clear that living a creative life was definitely a theme.
After listening to each dream, JoAnn thoughtfully probed to identify what was keeping us stuck. She drew colorful maps on an easel for those more visually inclined or simply led an animated discussion with some ideas to help us gain momentum. Her style was no-nonsense, but not intimidating. She provided hope and real world ideas on how to move to the next step. For some that had placed their dreams as a futuristic, “perhaps when I retire” notion, she asked why. Why would you wait to do something you love? JoAnn wove her own story into ours, recounting her past successes/failures and her current dreams and how they were coming to fruition.
But my surprise came when I saw the value of sharing these things in a group setting. We helped and encouraged each other through the process by offering suggestions of great books to read, locations to buy antiques, leads on land for sale and mentoring suggestions. But the unexpected came in the form of the burgeoning comradery that has resulted in post-workshop Facebook Friending and encouragement. We plan to revisit these relationships by attending her next workshop, The Plan, in February. http://cli.gs/wc03bsv
The backpack that I arrived with that day was emptied and refilled with hope, some concrete ideas, and an accountability pact I made with JoAnn. I left behind my stagnation and the ridiculous notion that I didn’t deserve or have the capacity to live a larger life. One participant, in an impromptu and symbolic ceremony, burned her dream at a campfire site just outside the studio as she realized that what she thought was her dream, was not.
So perhaps, in a not so distant future, I may be typing these words in a Manhattan apartment as I feast on some sausage balls sent by FedEx from my friends in Georgia from their B&B/organic farm. (I hope my Chef/Boyfriend doesn’t get jealous). Next to my computer is a copy of an article written about a successful culinary school/yoga studio that is being marketed by an award winning social media expert. And next to that is a newly published memoir from a Louisiana born author. Having my dreams collide with others will make for a very good day, indeed.