Monday, September 28, 2009

An Inner Wisdom Workshop

Your Body Speaks: An Inner Wisdom Workshop
facilitated by Courtney Putnam, MFA, LMP

There exists a universal, intelligent life force that exists within everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, an inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.

- Shakti Gawain, Developing Intuition

When: Sunday, November 22, 2009; 1:00-4:00pm

Location: Rising Bird Healing Arts: 6316 9th Avenue NE (Seattle)

What does it feel like in your body when you resonate with an idea, thought, or feeling? How do you know when your body is giving you important information?

In my work as a bodywork practitioner, I use my intuition in virtually every one of my sessions. I sense energy through my hands; I feel physical sensations in my own body in response to my client; I receive images and colors in my mind's eye; and I feel connection and empathy in my heart. Sometimes words will come to me or even a phrase or string of dialogue.

In my daily life, I have also learned how to tap into my inner wisdom. I find self-insight much more challenging than my work intuiting others, yet I find it tremendously rewarding. When I am able to listen to myself truly, deeply, I realize that I really do have the answers I am seeking right inside my very own being. And I believe that you do, too.

In this inner wisdom workshop, we will explore the power of our sixth chakra, the chakra of intuition and inner knowing. Using writing, guided visualization, sensing exercises, muscle testing, and pendulum work, we will tap into the body's hidden wisdom.

Come join me for an afternoon of intuitive play! Pendulums and refreshments provided.

Please bring a journal and wear comfortable clothing for relaxing.

Cost: $70 (Cash, checks, and credit cards accepted.)

To Register: Email Courtney at or reserve your spot by clicking on the PayPal button below.

Transforming Loss Workshop

Transforming Loss:
Altering Photographs

facilitated by Courtney Putnam, MFA, LMP

When: Sunday, November 8; 1:00-4:00pm

Where: Rising Bird Healing Arts: 6316 9th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98115

No matter what type of loss(es) we have experienced — the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a companion animal, an aspect of ourselves, a home, etc. — we carry with us images in our minds and feelings in our bodies of those losses. We remember who we once were before loss changed our lives and who we have become as a result of these loss experiences.

Using mixed media collage techniques, we will transform our photographs in order to make meaning out of the losses we’ve experienced in our lives. We will adorn our photographs with meaningful symbols and colors as a way to reckon with our losses, to celebrate those who have meant a great deal to us, and to find peace and redemption in our strength and resiliency.

I will be sharing my personal journey with this powerful healing art throughout the workshop. During my father's illness and after his death in 2008, I created a series of altered photographs as part of my grief and healing process. Creating altered photographs continues to be a source of healing for me and I look forward to sharing this process with you.

You need not have any art experience to participate in this workshop. This is a day of meaningful and creative play, with process as our focus. We will be remembering, transforming, and making lovely artistic messes in a safe and nurturing setting.

To Register: Email Courtney Putnam at or reserve your spot using the PayPal button below.

Cost: $70

What to bring: a notebook to do some brief journaling and personal exploration; photocopies of photographs you wish to alter (color or black and white copies); any meaningful images that you’d like to use in your mixed-media creations. Please bring at least one copy of an image of yourself.

I will supply all other art supplies, including a wide variety of collage images. I will also offer light snacks and tea, and comforting music. Two very understanding and comforting cats may be joining us as well.

Art piece above: “My Father: Prince of Action” by Courtney Putnam

Intentional Desires Workshop

Intentional Desires: An Abundance Box Workshop
Facilitated by Courtney Putnam, MFA, LMP

Saturday, October 17, 2009



Rising Bird Healing Arts
6316 9th Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98115

Abundance [n]: great amount or supply; bounty, fortune, plenitude, prosperity, thriving.

What do you want to actualize in your life? Abundant creative energy? Exceptional health? A job you love? More confidence? Strong and enduring relationships? Financial security? More life-work balance? Greater spiritual fulfillment?

The possibilities for abundance in your life are great and many. All you need to do is dream a little, listen to your gut a little, plan a little, and take action a little. Take your first action steps with me as we create boxes that will represent our desires and house our aspirations.

Join me for an afternoon of envisioning your own abundance. In this hands-on workshop, you will explore your dreams and goals and create an abundance box as a visual representation of what you wish to manifest in your life. This is a time for thinking big, pulling your ingenious ideas out of the cobwebs of your mind, and giving life to your desires!

The purpose of an abundance box is to channel your intentions, goals, and visions into a symbolic artifact. Inside this box you will place small objects that characterize the things you wish to actualize. Think about what aspect of your life you would like to give a little positive intention. Are there goals and dreams you are ready to make real? Are you ready to take a significant leap?

In addition to decorating our boxes, we will also explore some basic principles of Feng Shui, which may enhance or inform the intention and placement of our boxes. Using a Feng Shui bagua (map) as your guide, you will determine where your box is best placed in your own home.

Come for an afternoon of creativity, positive intention, and play!

To Register: Email or secure your spot via PayPal below.

Cost: $50 (checks, cash, & credit cards accepted); space is limited to eight people so register early!

You bring (if you wish):
Any significant images, symbols, or objects with which to 1) decorate your box, and to 2) place inside your box.

I provide: Boxes of varying shapes and sizes, art supplies, collage supplies and decorative papers. Tea and light snacks will be provided, too!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dreams Opening

Dreams a-Flutter, encaustic, 8" x 10"

I've had several conversations lately with wise women about actualizing dreams, and what I've come to realize is that dreams become real when we consciously open them and when we are energetically open to them.

There is both an active/doing and receptive/listening aspect to actualization. Visualization and dreaming are essential--we need to explore in our minds and hearts what it is we really want. But we also need to take action--physical steps that bring us closer to our dreams.

Many of us don't take the physical steps because of fear of failure or fear of having chosen the "wrong dream." In other words, what we thought we wanted we don't really want. Without action, however, we wouldn't know this.

When I was in massage school, I started with a class of fifteen. By the time I graduated, we were down to eight. That's almost half attrition. And the surprising fact is that several people dropped out right before the end. It took almost the whole experience for them to realize that this was not what they wanted. This could (and did for some) feel like a real blow. But it can also be seen as a blessing of the active side of actualization. It's movement. It's experience. It's progression. It's a mirror, reflecting to us what it is we do not want. Without it, we stay safe behind our thoughts and our "what ifs."

So I am going to ask you the same question I am asking myself right now as I swim in the river of dreamland: what is it that you want to do and how are you going to engage with both your receptive and active sides to open yourself to your dreams?

In the art piece above, the hand is the doing side and the butterfly wings represent the receiving side. The hand sculpts the world, the butterfly opens its wings to meet the world as it is.

When are you the butterfly and when are you the hand--and when do you know when to take active steps toward your juicy, dreamy land of possibilities?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Transitions with Soft Hearts

Embrace the Softness, encaustic on mat board, 8" x 10"

I wasn't feel very good today. I'm fighting a little cold and some anxiety was surfacing, too. I took it easy today, including sleeping in until 10:00am! I took one outing in the afternoon and that was to my local used book store to see what book might call to me. Within minutes of being in the store, I located Transitions, Julia Cameron's book of wisdom about dealing with life transitions. I could use this, I thought to myself, imagining the coming of fall and how each year this transition startles me a bit, but I also thought, we could all use this.

So here is an excerpt from the beginning of her book:

"All change can be expansive potential. The choice is ours. As I open my heart to accept change, my heart softens and grows larger. Every experience carries the seed of transformation. Every even can bring blossoming and wealth. My personal will can resist change or embrace it. The choice is mine and determines the life I will have. Today I choose to embrace change. I open my heart to its hidden but abundant blessings."

--Julia Cameron, Transitions

I love how she describes her heart softening and expanding when accepting change. The image of a soft heart soothed me today. A soft heart is malleable, able to change with ease and grace.

May we all embrace the changes that fall before us -- or the changes we actively choose -- and may we feel ourselves becoming soft and expansive as we fly like the bird in my art piece above. May we feel light and open to the sky of possibilities.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Wisdom of Listening

A while back I purchased a book of essays called The Wisdom of Listening and now and again I read an article to help me evolve as a compassionate listener in my practice.

Just tonight I opened to an essay called "Feeding One Another" by Anne and Charles Simpkinson and I am swimming in the realization that many of us do not feel nourished by many of our conversations or may not feel heard at all.

The Simpkinsons begin their article with the following: "Listening and being heard are important psychological nutrients that we need every day." Do you feel like you receive these nutrients on a daily basis?

I want to share a longer excerpt from this article now:

"Have you ever wondered why some conversations -- friends and family -- are emotionally unsatisfying? Do you feel that hardly anyone is listening to you or understanding what you are saying? When you aren't heard, do you wonder if the other person cares about you? If you find yourself contemplating these things, you are not alone. As a nation, we have the technical expertise to create a vast web of communications using highly sophisticated technology, but as individuals our exchanges with each other are often primitive, unsatisfying--even unhealthy. Many people live every day of their lives in a state of chronic psychological malnourishment and don't even know it."

I want to extract the following statement from the excerpt for further exploration:

"When you aren't heard, do you wonder if the other person cares about you?"

How defeating to feel as though the one whom you've chosen to speak with does not care about you due to the fact that they are not fully listening to you -- that they are not noticing what you say (and what you don't say), as well as all the nonverbal clues that good listeners pick up on. In essence when you don't feel heard you feel invisible.

In my view, having nourishing conversations involves reciprocity. For a time one person speaks and the other listens. All the while, the speaker has an awareness of audience--that their friend is attending to them and may need some attention as well. With this awareness, the speaker can then pause from their own speech and turn their attention to their friend, who now has a chance to receive the gifts of attentive listening. Think of relationships you currently have which have this lovely reciprocity and which do not. What do you do and how do you feel when you give the gift of your listening ears, but do not receive the same gift in return?

In addition to reciprocity, there is a clear exchange of words and an equal exchange of cues indicating that listening is happening: eye contact, nonverbal gestures like nodding, reflecting back what one has said, asking questions, etc. When these cues are not present, it is hard to know if one is actually listening at all. What do you do when you don't receive these cues? Do you stop speaking? Speak louder?

I want us all to feel nourished by being heard. Being heard is validating and also healing. When we receive recognition, care, and conscious presence from another we feel less lonely, less isolated, and more, well, alive.

Try this:

Make a list of those in your life who give you the gift of authentic, true listening, where reciprocity and attentiveness reign. Next to these names write a few notes about how you feel when you are with them. These characteristics can now become your guide as you discover nurturing listening-centered relationships.