Be--and yet know the great void where all things begin,
the infinite source of your own most intense vibration,
so that, this once, you may give it your perfect assent.
To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb
creatures in the world's full reserve, the unsayable sums,
joyfully add yourself, and cancel the count.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, “Sonnets to Orpheus”, II:13, translated by Stephen Mitchell
Those stanzas of poetry distill the spirit of Casi Cielo Salon that is going to delve into present awareness, ordinary rapture, and shared writing starting March 8th.
"Unmuffle yourself; come close to the hearth. Come into the circle of home," intones the portable quotable online I Ching.
Come from wherever you are whoever you are. You don't need to book a flight to a deserted island to be. You don't need lots of eccentricities or 'character' either.
I'm currently living in the edge of the suburbs in the Mojave desert. It's not the kind of atmosphere that I normally find inspiring. There's an constant urge to say, Not this, not now. To postpone to perhaps some other place, some other time.... later, when it's better, or shinier... rather than be and write from here as just me.
"The Mojave is bleak even by desert standards, it lacks the whimsy of cactuses, yet becomes truly beautiful if you start to pay attention to it. If you take a walk with Katie there at sunset, the warm wind seems like a caress and the rocks are subtle in their shades of brown and yellow and black and red, and the shadows are blue. She will lead you up canyons to places where hidden water drips and you might begin to see the desert as kind and believe her when she says it was her teacher."
Bleak, or not (that's an interpretative layer anyhow...).... it too is Wholeness. So are you. "Unmuffle yourself; come close to the hearth. Come into the circle of home."
Casi Cielo will have a free, public, online component as well, but if you really want to jump into the sandbox with us....
WHAT: Facilitated Intensive Salon of peers interested in living in present awareness, ordinary rapture and sharing their everyday writing. Loose and structured. Loose in that you decide on your topics of rapture and length and style of writing--erotica or renku or brochure or video game or watercolor sketch....; structured in that there are optional daily prompts (excepting Sundays) and I'll nudge you to submit something to the private group shared space if we don't hear from you in a while (i.e. no spectators).
WHEN: Seven weeks March 8th-April 24th. (Sneak start for early-birds starts March 1st.)
HOW MUCH: Seven weeks for $40 covers all daily prompts, feedback, facilitated online group (private and cozy as most writing circles are). Included as a bonus if you subscribe to Encanto newsletter+pilgrimage ($25/month). Register Encanto+Casi Cielo here. Register Casi Cielo Intensive Salon here.
ART CREDITS: Leonard Knight painted the hills at Salvation Mountain and it's now a "National Folk Art Shrine", photo via Life magazine; Kelso dunes in the Mojave photo by Cami Renfrow