I am so in wonder of Ahava and A Year to Love. It has helped me to create an entirely different relationship with my creativity and released me from a lot of inner turmoil and torment in doing so. In this space with no pressure, a lot of love, acceptance, support and most importantly recognition, I have been able to find a lost part of myself that I thought I would never reclaim. .
I have the deepest gratitude for this time & space, and never imagined I would get this much from this year. I learned that I can completely trust my creative process, that I can stop questioning my creative choices. I can trust what materials I am drawn to and what I want to do with them, without needing to intellectually justify these choices.
Thank you Ahava for this amazing year of release and for the finding of buried treasures at long last discovered.
Jane Mackenzie, Fabric Artist and Poet
A Year to Love opened the doorway to possibilities that were untapped, stored away deep within. It was good to enjoy creating again, returning to quilting and fiddling with fabric, trying new things, and writing.
I have never kept a journal so this was an interesting insightful process for me, how a question could often produce so many more questions.
Learning to touch my heart and saying, “stop” when I am having unkind thoughts about myself. I will take this with me for the rest of my life.
Always welcoming, warm and kind, encouraging and skillfully guiding everyone to explore their creativity, Ahava, because of your generous spirit, you have created the opportunity for women to explore their lives with curiosity, openness and compassion.
Judith Barnett, Quilter and Writer
When I received a new gate every two weeks, it was like opening a little present, chosen with care for me. Your poems, your own experience as a learner in life, and the questions you asked, Ahava, were always thought-provoking.
I often didn’t know what I was going to say as I started writing, and then ended up being surprised about what had happened. My journal became a companion who would always listen to me without judgement. And it became a vehicle for my meanderings about the art exhibitions I saw and my photographic projects.
I loved the warm and heatfelt atmosphere at our retreats, and the food, cooked by our chef Gregory, was delicious! Thank you, my companions of this journey, for your listening and sharing.
And thank you, Ahava, for your gentle attention and guidance.
Denise Okan, linguist, photographer and traveller
My growth happened around changing my personal story from one that was about weakness, fear and ‘stuckness’ around my creative process to one of strength, joy and having a vision for myself. Knowing that I am a writer has led to discovering the sheer joy of pen in hand and watching with awe what flows onto the page. The transformation to my inner soul is quite remarkable. I’m now exploring becoming an illustrator.
I loved being pulled into other women’s creative process and hearing how we all approached the very same prompt was wonderful and rich.
Ahava, you have this wonderful ability to listen and then reflect on what I shared with you. Always, whatever it is you said or challenged me to do, it was just right. You are really good at creating a safety net for fragile creators, there is no judgment, no shame, no blame, just celebration of whatever little steps I took towards opening into my bigger self, thank you.
Rineke Jonker, Writer and Storyteller for Adults & Children
As my creative mentor, Ahava encouraged me to find imaginative ways to address the places where I felt stuck creatively. She offered me the opportunity to explore a variety of areas using my own artistic means of expression: words, collage, poetry, painting.
There was always an ease in working with Ahava that felt like a collaboration. What I like most about working with her is that she encouraged me to see the possibilities rather than limitations.
Through A Year to Love, my creativity was freed. I could play and feel great with the results, without judging myself or waiting for others’ approval. I realized just how important it is for me to tell stories, to help others tell theirs.
Ahava was open to listening to where we are at as individuals, respecting our own process, work style, and whether we wanted to share. She was encouraging, playful, flexible. Working with Ahava is working from and in the heart.
Sam Barlow, Writer, Photographer and Multimedia Collage Artist
Driving up to Butterstone Farm for an afternoon of writing and sharing with a dynamic and interesting circle of women has been a treat for my soul. As the car pulls up the driveway the big beautiful gates slowly open to receive us. It is like a warm embrace drawing us into an intimate space of beauty and peace where we explore our passions, pain and promises about life and living.
We emerge at the end of the afternoon feeling lighter, inspired, nourished and joyful from the experience of exploring the inner spaces of our hearts, our minds and our souls through our writing. I am deeply grateful to Ahava for being a caring catalyst in the unfolding of who we are as authentic women.
Thank you for a sweet and deep creative journey of A Year to Love. I felt so loved and embraced by your kindness. I learned how to give my story the time and attention it deserves, so my audience could be drawn into each living moment. You have an amazing gift for listening and co-creating poetry with music, movement, props and thoughts.
Thank you for expanding my creative consciousness, helping me to appreciate my golden years and turning my straw into gold and my dreams into reality.
Premilla Pillay, Poet, Writer and Dancer
I couldn’t have planned anything better for me to be part of A Year to Love.
Writing and journaling and discussing my process of grief has been a very healing and loving journey.
I am so very grateful to Ahava and each woman in this group for their loving support.
Charlene Wolff, Filmmaker and Weaver
What I valued most was the way you gave me permission to not know what would happen, to explore and discover what was possible, what was needed moment to moment.
You believed in me and communicated this through your words and your actions, helping me believe in myself and my writing project.
You brought the heart of a brave companion, and the intelligence of an experienced writer, together wrapped in love and curiosity.
Lynda Monk, Memoir Writer, Life Coach & Founder of Creative Wellness
Ahava created a space to know myself, love myself, honour myself, to move inside creatively, honour my vulnerability, reflect on my work, to witness and value what I’ve done and step into more of my creativity. Through her presence and creative mentorship, Ahava brings out the genius in others.
I am so inspired from this group to continue on my path of creating a world for myself that allows me to play more, risk more, and most importantly believe in myself more. I feel like I am standing straighter, like I am honouring myself and my unique ideas.
Your creative mentorship helped me re-connect with myself. It brought clarity to what I love, and who I am. I always loved the beginning of taking time to just breathe, and come in, as this gave me a great place inside myself to start from.
Ahava, you are incredible at listening to others and then repeating back what you hear, and then either sharing your own wisdom from experiences or posing interesting pointed questions to help us with where we are at.
Julie Howard, Painter, Writer & Energy Healer, Heart Space Healing
Thank you for creating this space in which I can be open-hearted and playful, explore who I am and what I want to be doing with my life.
The periods of transition are the hardest times in my life. I grasp for the things that give me security, like the past. Ahava offers a tangible tool that’s giving me a way to move through this challenging time. Instead of beating myself up or falling into despair, I am learning to use this time of transition to learn new ways of being.
When I move through the gate, it’s like a transformation.
Ariana Salvo, Writer, Farmer and Social Media Marketer
What Ahava does is hold my hand. Ahava knows that I know the way, and so she gently reminds me that my own wisdom lies within me. Ahava has taught me a new way to see and to listen. To be able to witness her beautiful, playful way in the world has been such a blessing in my life.
My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t feel like I belonged and that I would feel inadequate. I also feared the criticism that I might continue to give myself. The group allowed my to express these fears and to hear other women with similar fears. I now feel supported and know that these are all normal fears and insecurities. Knowing this has somehow given me strength in further pursuing my vision. I have more trust in myself and other people.
Ahava, what I really loved about you as a facilitator is that you really do just go with what is happening at the moment. You really trust the moment and you work with it and this helped me to relax and open up to the experience too. I also love to see that you are learning about yourself along with us. I see that you are just as much a student as you are a teacher. It feels good to know that we are offering you gifts in your journey- things that you will probably offer to future students!
You are also a bit silly- and I love that!
Odette Graham, Dancer & Floral Artist
Ahava, I loved your spontaneity in facilitating our group this past weekend! The benefits I received were many and varied:expanded creativity, greater confidence in following my own unique path and deeper insight into my truest gifts.
The warmth of your loving guidance brought out the best in us. With gratitude, I basked in the beauty of all that is feminine. Circles within circles…a playful and moving experience. Namaste
Sheila Sayer, Poet and Performer
You gently guided us as a mother teaches her child to walk, encouraging us to abandon our fear as we move toward expressing freely the words already written on the heart.
Thanks for lovingly and freely giving of your time and talent. Since taking your workshop, I’ve been able to unlock and set free the words that were trapped within.
Judy Dios, Fabric Artist
Ahava helped me to ditch the self-sabotage talk, to do away with that attitude. It’s a confidence, self-worth thing.
Ahava set a tone with her voice and the space that was very calming and relaxing. She is easy to talk to and very open-minded, like a soul sister. She encouraged us to look at our ideas with fresh eyes and a fresh approach. It was very exploratory and rewarding.
It was also inspirational to see how other women are creating their lives.
Amy Gessinger, Leather Worker & Owner of Bareback Leather
It was perfect and gentle and just what I needed. After having a business for ten years, I really needed to shift and reevaluate what is important. Ahava provided that new perspective on things.
My most valuable learnings were how to examine my fears, how to re-create my vision without the old story getting in the way and how to value what I do in the world. I feared that my ideas or offerings would not be good enough or compare to the other women’s background.
Ahava showed me that there are no right or wrong ideas, that we all bring to the world what we are best capable of offering in the most pure and joyful way because we are all so unique. The value was in hearing the stages of growth and struggle and what worked and what didn’t work for the other women. I liked the day-time meetings with the varied group where it was very supportive and non-judgemental, very equal feeling and nurturing.
Rachel Ogis, Weaver and owner of Iridescent Arts
Your mentorship helped me to slow down and pace myself through my process. I appreciated this as it helped me to go deeper into my journey. I feel more relaxed now that I took the time to explore and listen into my ideas in a deeper way. I loved gathering with woman in a heart-centred container. I enjoyed hearing where other people were at on their journey as it was a great reflection of my own journey and process.
I liked your calm centred presence, and the way you held the space and stayed in a very Open place of listening to the needs of each person. I also appreciated your enthusiasm, excitement and humble presence. Thanks Ahava for this wonderful experience. It was enriching in so many ways.
Kari Mathieson, Writer, Painter & Food Alchemist
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