Saturday 12 May 2012

Life-Coaching through Story at the Wise Woman Weekend: Interview with Ruth Marshall

Ruth Marshal enthralls audience at Wise Woman Weekend

Ruth Marshall, storyteller and life coach, will facilitate a self development workshop entitled: Coming Down to Earth at the Wise WomanWeekend in Dromahair May 25th -27th 2012.

“This year my workshop at the Wise Woman Weekend is an exploration of an ancient story 'The Hymn of the Pearl' that tells of the soul's journey to earth. In the workshop we will look what gifts we brought with us into this life on earth; we'll notice the habits, foods, practices that encourage us to forget what we came here for; and we will hopefully discover what helps us to overcome these so that we can wake up again to who we are and strengthen our sense of purpose; and finally we can reclaim our 'robe of glory'.

“Overall, I'd have to say that my main area of interest and expertise is "creativity and personal transformation". Over the past 20 years my work has been about helping people - mostly women - empower themselves, find their creative voice and express themselves. This has been through creative writing groups, personal development groups, The Transformation Game, reiki and other energy healing, storytelling, Life Coaching and as editor of Network Ireland holistic magazine. This has of course been in parallel to my own growth: my own transformation through creativity - which is an on-going process, always a journey, never getting 'there'! For me this has largely been expressed through writing. Another strand in my colourful rope is my interest in the power of the voice and the spoken word. We have the power to heal and bless. As a poet and storyteller, I am conscious that I use my voice as an agent of healing. I believe we all can use our voices, how we speak, the words we choose, more consciously in our everyday conversation too. What a difference that would make! Imagine, speaking with kindness, compassion, not just to lovers, family, but also to those we do not care for much, or even to ourselves in our self-talk. And of course there is knitting.... my constant metaphor for a joined-up life, my mindful meditation, my way of connecting to the great web, of connecting heart and hands through the creation of those heart-shapes stitches - and the satisfaction of knowing that what I have made keeps someone warm... I'd hope that applies to my writing too - that my heart-words carry warmth to the reader/listener.

“Back in the 1980s I helped organise the first Women's Health Fair in the north of Scotland. What we did back was very similar to what the Wise Woman Weekend is about: a choice of empowering workshops for body, mind, spirit, and room for dialogue with other women about the issues relevant to the day. When Wise Woman Weekend started, Pauline (the founder) contacted me as editor of Network Ireland holistic magazine, wanting help to publicise the event. I found myself nostalgic for the 1980s and I offered free advertising for WWW. As each year passed, I wanted to attend the weekend, but it usually clashed with my work commitments. Pauline continued to invite me to give a workshop at the event, and eventually, 3 years ago, I managed to do this, with my "Knit the World Better" workshop (which initially I was going to call "knit your own Sheelagh-na-gig"). Last year I gave a workshop on building trust. This year, in response to the theme of 'growing deeper', my workshop is called "Coming Down to Earth".
“I love the  forethought, energy and commitment that goes into making the Wise Woman Weekend it happen. The way the vision group works together to create an event that nourishes women - and all voluntarily - that it is a gift, given in love. I love how, at the weekend, each woman present contributes to its success - whether as a volunteer, facilitator, participant, it doesn't matter.  We all benefit from coming together to share our wisdom.

“Now that Wise Woman Ireland has become a charitable organisation, I would hope that it goes from strength to strength; that it continue to thrive even in these times of belt-tightening. I also look forward to the great ship Wise Woman coming loose from its moorings in Sligo/Leitrim and setting sail. I think that the Wise Woman Weekend has had wonderful early years care in Dromahair, and is now ready to travel around the country, visiting each of the provinces, drawing on the strengths of women in each area, involving more women around the country”.

When asked what other workshops at the Wise Woman Weekend appealed to her, Ruth replied: “I'd like to go to Niamh's shamanic rattle-making workshop. I remember swapping a set of my home-made knitting needles for Niamh's instructions on how to weave raw fleece on a peg loom. I could see that we shared a passion for natural materials and craft. So to keep my hand in, I'd want to join her workshop on Saturday morning.
”I would join Meroveee's workshop on rooting our intentions, but it takes place at the same time as my workshop. The last time I joined her workshop, I went home with a painting that looked like a Monet - didn't know I had it in me! And similarly to Niamh's, I think this workshop involves using our hands to create something magical. And I'm also curious about Claire's Biodanza workshop. I'd like to experience a taste of this.”

”I spend too much time in my head, too much time online and I'd like to be capable of being more present in my body. I think we all need that essential balance of head, heart, hands. I think there is a danger these days of  getting lost in the virtual world, putting screens of one kind or another between us. I'm not a technophobe. I use the technology - but I think sometimes its too easy for people to get drawn out of themselves into an electronic fantasy and mistake it for something real. So my gem of wisdom might be: Be here now. Breathe. Practice presence. Use your hands: make clothes, grow food, do it yourself. Sing more, learn to laugh at yourself. Grow deeper. Come down to earth.”

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