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“When we gather at the table, it’s a safe space with a focus on the state of our hearts, bodies, [and] minds,” Suzanne says. “As witnesses to each other, we name what needs to be named, release what needs to be released, and we encounter new life and the possibilities within.” Suzanne’s gatherings include monthly creativity circles of what she calls the “wise tribe,” monthly creative clergy circles, birthday celebrations, and other tribe circles upon request. She hosts groups who want to gather for meaningful conversation, to mark times of transition, to bless a birth, or to reunite after significant time apart. Each circle is different and unfolds organically under Suzanne’s delightful and intuitive guidance. She does not lecture; she reminds and provides the experiences necessary for opening new pathways to the remembering of Self. “When we give ourselves permission for soul care, we find goodness. Pure and simple.” Suzanne begins her circles with breath work, energizing the space with the collective intention to witness self and other. She then taps into the creative flow by inviting her gatherers to build altars representing themselves. There is an intersection of listening and sharing in this process that creates fluidity between participants and expands their capacity to be present with one another. A question then surfaces and a reflection follows, deepening as the gatherers engage in some form of artistic expression— mandalas, spirit dolls, shadow boxes, to name a few. As gatherers create, Suzanne protects the space and integrates stories and poetry to further open participants to healing and remembering. Speaking of her varied gathering experiences, Suzanne says, “I like having relationships that are open enough that we can tap back in whenever the need arises ... we

might meet one time or we might gather every month. In either case, what we experience is complete. We leave more refreshed, more grounded. Somehow, we find what we need, even if we didn’t know what that was coming in. We just have to give ourselves permission to pause and experience it.” For those outside of Richmond, Suzanne invites you to connect with her on suzannelvinson.com. A gatherer of stories, she wants to hear yours. You can check out her art on silvertreeart.etsy.com. She takes commissions, as well. (I have several pieces of hers that inspire me and my family everyday.)

Silver Tree Art table gathering

Further, Suzanne travels widely to lead retreats for varied groups. Her experience includes working with adult cancer survivors, healthcare staff, musicians, faith-based community groups, and bereavement groups. “My desire is to spread love, hope, courage, and delight in small, generous artful acts, moments, and services. I am showing up with hands ready to move, an open heart, and trust that this whole enterprise makes ripples in this wide world.” Like so many, I feel your ripples, Suzanne—each one a renewing baptism of possibility, of human goodness, of Love. And so it is. An educator by trade, Nicki Peasley is a student and storyteller of life and a teacher of love, both inside and outside of the classroom. She lives in Richmond with her husband, three children, and their chocolate lab, George Bailey. www.exploreawareness.com

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piedmont

For Suzanne, gathering people around the table is art in its truest form, a creative banquet and dynamic process of exploration, healing, and appreciating—together. Suzanne holds a welcoming, sacred space for gatherers to lay down their burdens and fears and begin to engage in authentic self care. A sensitive and gracious facilitator, Suzanne utilizes guided meditation, visualization, mindful creative practice, poetry, body movement, and storytelling as primary tools to engage both the intellect and the human spirit. Suzanne helps to gently open the heart to empower, encourage, and feed the individual and collective soul.

Awareness Exploring Spirituality January 2017  

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