SoulCollage® Community Update
December 2018
Season of Innocence Reborn 
 By Marti Beddoe

The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy. -Abraham Maslow

Dear Friends,

Guardian of Innocence
(Council Suit)

by Marti Beddoe

I Am the guardian of your innocence, Who watches over your spontaneity, your openheartedness, and your trusting nature. I remind you that near that barn full of manure is your very own pony waiting just for you! I Am One Who keeps your optimism alive, even after seven decades. Keep hold of your deep knowing that Life is GOOD!

This month, I am delighted to share how contemplating the archetype of the Christ child helped me reclaim the Spirit of Innocence and cultivate inner peace amid an often cynical and challenging world.

Early January 1987. Huguenot, New York. It was the first week of the first session of the Human Capacities School. I'm sitting in a crowded dining hall with several of my thirty-something friends, enjoying delicious soup and salad while commiserating over our many funny-sad holiday stories, sharing our sorrow that the true meaning of the season has been lost to consumerism. Tears were shed as we told tales of disappointing family events and members. Stories sputtered out about the meanness of civil discourse and ongoing political corruption ( does anything ever change?) Yada, yada, yada. Oh, how above it all we were...

The next week just before dusk, I was among 130 students (including Seena B. Frost) who gathered to walk the 11-circuit Chartres-style Labyrinth that the staff had heroically stamped out amidst two-foot snowbanks. The School's Director, Jean Houston, said to us, "As you walk the labyrinth tonight, I invite you to ponder the symbol of the Christ child. Think about the true meaning of the past season. What does he represent to you personally?  Transcend religion for now. Consider your own direct experience. Not what someone else has told you your whole life that he means, but rather what does the Christ child mean to your life now? How closely do you embody his meaning and message? How distant are you from living into it?"

As the sun set, the sky became drenched in glorious shades of pinks and lavenders; we walked the path illumined solely by the tiny flickering lanterns we carried. The only sound was the slow rhythmic strides of two hundred sixty feet crunching through the snow. Then, halfway through the Labyrinth walk, I heard a child's voice softly chanting a mantra in my ear: "Reclaim your Innocence, Marti. Reclaim your Innocence." For the next 11 months, I pondered how to heed this message. The archetypal consciousness that Jean Houston had invited us to consider had spoken to me in an actual child's voice.

December 20, 1987. East Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois.
"You are invited to an Open House to celebrate with me the Season of Innocence Reborn. Please bring a gift for a child in need."  

My guests gathered to feast, rejoice, and tell funny stories about their absolute delight in shopping for gifts for their imagined child in need. Some confessed also to buying a gift for their own inner child! For years to come, I heard how some of these guests adopted a similar tradition for their own family gatherings!

Thus began my annual ritual of reclaiming for myself the meaning and message of the Christ child. A central component of his message is about bringing to life the true nature of Innocence. Thirty years ago Innocence reminded me to keep the faith-to believe in the essential goodness of life; to be willing to love and welcome the stranger; to keep inner light shining for all those who struggle in life's stormy seas; to stand firm with the certainty that life will improve despite evidence to the contrary; to continually commit to be the change I want to see in the world.

I admit that some days it's hard to vivify Innocence, to keep the inner light shining, and to ward off the culture's preoccupation with despair, dystopian thought, fake news, and insidious Seinfeldian cynicism.

And on those days, that child's voice still chants, "Reclaim your Innocence, Marti. Reclaim your Innocence."

December 2017, Naperville, Illinois.
In addition to driving around and enjoying the seasonal light displays, here is another way my husband Harry and I celebrate Innocence: On Thanksgiving weekend, we decorate our eight foot tall Solstice Tree with mini-lights, gold and purple ribbons. Then we add ornaments, each representing one of our loved ones: on top, birds for our parents, then tiny birds for the next generations, and butterflies for our friends. It's so much fun to create this living remembrance of their goodness. Not to mention an excuse for us to awaken the Innocent Child part of our being!

Harry H. Hitzeman , photographer
Harry H. Hitzeman, photographer

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is often difficult to find space for quiet reflection. I invite you to set aside time this year to contemplate what the spirit of innocence means to you. Innocence itself -- far beyond belonging to any one religion -- is a vital aspect of our being, our very nature as living creatures. Settle down under comfy quilt on a Solstice night, bring out your favorite goodies, and perhaps browse through some images and create a SoulCollage® card that expresses this energy for you.  

May the Spirit of Innocence be reborn in your heart this year and may it be kept alive throughout 2019!

Marti Beddoe trained as a Facilitator with Seena B. Frost in October 2007; in 2017 she reviewed the Training with Catherine Anderson. She's been Associate Editor of the Neter Letter and co-chair with Anne Marie Bennett of the 2011 SoulCollage® Facilitators Conference; founded a still-thriving peer circle in 2005; and mentors and supports Facilitators, including those bringing SoulCollage® to prisons. Currently, Marti writes a monthly essay "On Contemplating the Beauty of..." and leads "Walking the Beauty Way" retreats.

For your FREE Harmony Self-Assessment, click here.

Keep your SoulCollage® cards with you, make notes about any card, share your cards, and do readings on the go.
Giving Voice to Your SoulCollage® Cards:
Sound Music & Image CD

Images want to speak, move, and make sound and music.  By listening to their full range of expression, Art Therapist and SoulCollage® Facilitator, Audrey Chowdhury, demonstrates how vocalizing can enrich your personal SoulCollage® practice and offer fun and insight to your workshop participants.

Each Pack
contains 12 - 8"x5" quality blank mat board cards, 24-pack of Clear Card Sleeves, a Pioneer glue stick, a SoulCollage® logo pen and a SoulCollage® mini-frame.
Listen to Seena Frost discuss how her work with Jean Houston in the Human Capacities Program inspired her to adopt the term "Neters" to describe the allies, guides and challengers found in our SoulCollage® decks.
 From the SCU Archives
As 2018 winds down and we wait in anticipation for what the new year may bring, read what Facilitator Trainer Catherine Anderson had to say about "The Season of Silence" in the December 2013 SoulCollage® Community Update.
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*No degrees or certificates are required to attend the SoulCollage® Training. The purpose of the Training is to prepare people to share SoulCollage® with others. The pre-requisites for  the SoulCollage® Facilitator Training are your own active practice of SoulCollage® and your enthusiasm for sharing it with others, as well as taking at least one introductory SoulCollage® course, reading SoulCollage® Evolving by Seena B. Frost and listening to her CDs: Introduction to SoulCollage® and  Facilitating SoulCollage® in Groups.



CEs (up to 24) may be available
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Information on SoulCollage® as a therapeutic method:

Some SoulCollage® Facilitator Training events may be able to award CEs to LMFTs, MSWs, LPCs, nurses and psychologists  in many states (but if so, only by pre-arrangement with your SoulCollage® Trainer.) Please inquire about the availability of CEs for a particular Training or a particular license or a particular state by writing to your Trainer. Most Trainings offer them, but not all.
Before attending a Training, we want you to read SoulCollage® Evolving by Seena B. Frost, to have a SoulCollage® basic workshop experience with a trained SoulCollage® Facilitator or listen to a recorded class  Fundamentals of SoulCollage®, make some cards, do the exercise, " I Am One Who...", with your cards and do some SoulCollage® Readings, letting your cards answer at least one of your questions.
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