We are very excited to host the 20th anniversary offerings of Michele Cassou’s Creativity Rediscovered: Zero Point Painting in May and September 2018. This has been one of the most popular workshops ever offered at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. Although an injury to her both of her hands in 2016 and rehabilitation after subsequent surgeries have prevented Michele from traveling to Taos to teach the workshop in person, her students continue to learn and grow from her teachings via remote connections to Michele and support through her co-facilitators, Cherie Ray, Anna Billings, and other support staff. Below is a brief interview between Mabel Dodge Luhan House General Manager, Julie Keefe, and Michele Cassou:
Julie: It is such an honor to celebrate your 20th year of teaching your Zero Point Painting workshop here at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. Please share about your early workshop experiences at Mabel’s.
Michele: What was it like? It was like finding a home for the work. It was my dream to find a place where we can come back again and again and keep exploring our lives.
Julie: Your workshops are very popular. How did they grow to include as many as 35 students at a time?
Michele: People told their friends, word of mouth connection. It happened very fast.
Julie: We notice that so many of your students return to Mabel’s each time you offer the workshop. Why do you think people keep coming back year after year?
Michele: They had unique experiences with the bonus of a community developing around the work. The sharing, the communication and the insights are very potent and precious.
Julie: Would you like to share anything else about your long history with the Mabel Dodge Luhan House?
Michele: Quickly it became the best place to teach for me and people loved it. I love going there. The spiritual context of the land itself supports our work and Maria Fortin (now retired) and the staff were always so welcoming, helpful and appreciative of the work; it felt like the ideal place to do this work. Plus we had excellent conditions to paint and meet and laugh.
Julie: Twenty years is a long time and we know you have so many other venues, many closer to your home, from which to offer this workshop. Why do you love coming to Mabel’s?
Michele: I love its inquiring and transcending atmosphere. It’s spiritual, open, lively and affectionate. People develop many insights during the workshop and these precious times make them come back and bind them to others through understanding and affection. I love to see the changes in people and how happy they become when finding their way and transcend after moments of struggles. These experiences are fully new for them; it is a wonderful gift to witness.
Julie: What makes Mabel’s different from other retreat centers where this work is offered?
Michele: It is reserved for only our workshop, which allows higher creative concentration. We feel embraced by the unique environment. The staff is always unusually helpful and supportive. The environment supports going in-depth easy and obvious. They can let go and be open in a truly safe and understanding place. There is no need for distractions.
Julie: Following your injury, how are you finding new ways to teach workshops?
Michele: After my accident, the only option left was the web, since I did not have to use my hands. Then I discovered that I could send my message about creativity more strongly because people would listen very attentively to understand what I was talking about and I gave myself fully to that contact.
Julie: How has your understanding of the process deepened?
Michele: As time passed, I have realized with more and more clarity the subtle transcendent role and function of pure intuition and how to find its depths and power. Having taught for so long, I urge myself to find new ways, easy to convey, where it is clear to see the amazing working of creativity from a larger point of view. I also can now explain the forming of creative blocks so people can avoid them. I just wrote a booklet with graphics to explain how it works so students have a new way to see the whole of the process and find power and inspiration. My teaching moves faster and in more simple ways. The connection with spirit is also becoming obvious. The students find means to reach the essence of the work quicker and always want to move toward the purity of the work since it is the direction of the flow.
Julie: After teaching this workshop in person for so many years, how is connecting with your students different when teaching remotely?
Michele: Students seem to pay more attention to my words when seeing me on the big screen. They also feel more responsible for their own process and more eager to understand and to contact pure intuition. They are happy to rely on themselves through understanding. When on the web, I give all I have. I express the essence of the work with a passion that touches them. I help them understand that 100% creativity is a living process that they can feel through me and my enthusiasm.
If you would like to register for either of the 20th anniversary workshops offered May 11-19, 2018 and September 14-22, 2018, please contact Mabel Dodge Luhan House Program Assistant, Vanessa Fortin, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be happy to answer any questions.