Exploring Spiritual Landscapes Through Art
Welcome to this page where CASC/ACSS members are invited to share their artistic responses to our ever surprising and changing world. Inspired by the 2018 conference in Deerhurst which had this title as its theme, we hope to encourage our members to share their creativity and unique perspectives with their colleagues. Art work, photos, poems and stories are all welcome. Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are expected to conform to CASC/ACSS ethics.
March, The adolescent month.
She, he, they awoke March first
fogged and clogged by a late February hangover.
Insolent, moody and in need of a good wash
they slumped and slept
darkly and shiftily for a few days feeling sorry for themselves,
yet getting no sympathy, no pity.
And suddenly, without a hint or warning,
brightness, light and warmth
as winter tired snow drops
once again perked up to greet this promise of spring.
Short lived, this promise, this break,
we awoke to darkness, ice pellets and freezing rain.
As if we were entombed in a glass casket,
trapped in the world, the chaos,
that she, he and they created.
Yet once more the tendrils of warmth began their siege on winter,
one last stand,
one last, not so fond farewell to she, he and they,
as March, the adolescent month
climbed wearily, yet soberly,
into her bed at midnight,
©Ciaran Mc Kenna, March 6th 2022, inspired by, well March of course
Acrylic Flow Paintings
Angela King, a Certified Spiritual Care Practitioner, has recently relocated to Saint John, NB. Angela continues to explore acrylic flow paint pouring techniques, a medium in which she finds her spirit continually surprised, delighted, and refreshed. Here are her latest creations. Thanks you Angela for sharing your art. July 4, 2021
On staggered steps,
like the drunk in Cohen’s midnight choir
we have stepped, and mis-stepped our way
through this past year of this covid maze,
and still we trudge through the sludge of this pandemic.
Hindsight, is 20 20 it is said,
yet it is foresight and fore thought we need,
together, united as one.
Can we do this, can I,
do this for you and your family,
if not then I have let my parents and their parents down.
Can we, can I look in the mirror and say,
I am I doing all I can to keep my neighbor safe.
have I the courage to ask myself why
and to answer it honestly,
as like the drunk in Cohen’s midnight choir
we continue on staggered steps.
©Ciaran Mc Kenna, April 1st 2021, after listening to Premier Ford’s announcement re a month long lock down
In the presence of mystery
Standing among snow dappled giants
I knew I was in the presence of mystery,
and I needed not mastery to embrace her,
no, simplicity, innocence, openness, and grace
for her blessings to unfold,
breath on breath,
step on step,
gently, lovingly, leaning into her truth,
my truth, our truth.
Our truth of returning home,
home to earth,
home to hearth,
home to self and the good other before me,
and seeing, as if for the first time
she has always been here,
waiting, anticipating, my, our return
to her presence of mystery,
to her beautiful, complicated simplicity.
©Ciaran Mc Kenna Jan 3rd 2021. Inspired by a walk and talk with Janet Frood in Weldon Park on a beautiful winters morning
Ciaran McKenna’s reflection on our pandemic experience
Nothing, no expression,
just the appearance of two beads
above a black, multi-colored, designer, hospital blue face mask,
all of us moving in safe lines
secreted behind our masks,
for the introvert, a secret glee,
for the extrovert a suffering experience of isolation
Great armies of us going around en masse,
in our ground hog day like experience
of our daily Halloween masquerades,
masked, muted, mummified,
wondering when The Borg landed saying,
” resistance is futile you shall be assimilated”.
Who could have known,
who could have imagined this, this way of being,
it happened, we adapted, we always do
once more to be counted by numbers,
or discounted behind our masks,
Ciaran McKenna sent in this poem on November.
Retired CPE Supervisor-Educator Michael Chow sent in some of his photographs.
Bio and Artist Statement for Art$Pay (2020)
Michael (Chow Man Choi) lives with wife Bonnie at ‘Edenwilde’, their beautifully landscaped period home in central Kitchener, where he gardens creatively and sustainably with mainly indigenous plants and trees.
Along the way, his love of experiencing the natural world in new and deeper ways led to expressing that world through the blended art of photography and printmaking, a passion shared by both his father and grandfather.
As a self-described “emerging” artist (recipient of a Record Readers’ Choice gold award in 2016; Jurors’ Bronze Award & Homer Watson Gallery Curator Award at KWSA members exhibition 2020), Man Choi draws creative energy from fellow photographers, gardeners, naturalists, intuition, and more formal learning experiences such as articles, books, and workshops.
Inspired by others, but equally attentive to personal instinct, he has captured and transformed myriad images from the commonplace to the sublime – landscapes, nature, portraiture, still life, architecture, events. Many have commented on the Zen appeal and painterly textural qualities of his work.
Mike experiences his evolving art as a “progressive culmination” of his former full-time vocation as educator, pastor, psychotherapist and spiritual healer. He feels that discovering the infinite connections among art, photography, landscaping and spirituality is not only “re-creational” and healing, but also great fun.
He is a member of UpTown Gallery, Waterloo; member of Art$Pay as well as KW Society of Artists. He has exhibited at a number of juried shows (Art$Pay and KWSA); the Art Store, Waterloo; Framing and Art Centre Kitchener; The Crawford Collective, Brantford; and Paula White Diamond Gallery, Waterloo. You can visit his page at www.ManChoi-Chow-Photographer or www.facebook.com/ManChoiChow
1. “Hidden Figures” – A tribute to all those who play critical roles but are never in the limelight; yeah front line workers!
2. “Harmony” – Pastoral scene near Maryhill, Ontario that decries ‘harmonious co-existence’, a yearning in my heart for all.
3. “Tree of Life” – Softening the harsh lines of modern cities. (Downtown Kitchener, On)
4. “Vision of Hope”
5. “COVID 19 Blues”
Kathleen Cairnie-Sorensen, MDiv, from Oakville ON, currently taking CPE shares her creations in polymer clay. She also loves to create individually inspired finger labyrinths.
Angela King from Red Deer AB shared some of her paintings. Angela reports she is having a blast as she explores this medium. Done in “Acrylic Flow” or “Paint Pouring” style, they are striking images which evoke many associations for the viewer. What names would you give these four paintings below?
Angela has some of her work on her walls for inspiration.
“My Name is Eleanor May” is a song made into a marvelous video by Spiritual Care Practitioner Gord Johnson of Winnipeg. Based on his experiences in the hospital it raises themes familiar to all who have “Loitered with Intent”. The patient lives in the historic and gritty North End of Winnipeg and ends up in the core area hospital where, though just “6 blocks from home” she feels a million miles away from the familiar realities of her life. Thanks Gord for sharing your talents with your CASC/CASC colleagues.
While walking on winter’s ground
she sang in creaks and cracks
as beneath my feet were clouds of white
and the sea up in the sky
My winter shadow
stretched long ahead of me
while sister sun warmed my back
and the wind licked and stung my face.
Snow, like feathers
embroidered my coat and boots
and winter diamonds
with winters light
a reflection of the sea sky,
©Ciaran Mc Kenna Jan 7th 2020 inspired by the beauty of a winter’s day
Listen, Listen, Listen
Lady Labyrinth’s carpet
nestles on mother nature’s breasts
fed with story
rotating to and fro
to the center
Lady labyrinth you call us to walk
to be present,
to each other,
to our path,
to our paths
on which we may walk separately
yet we never walk alone.
And she calls
listen, listen, listen
we are one,
we are many
we are on our way
©Ciaran Mc kenna May 28th 2019. I said I would write something and I wanted to honour the feminine spirit of the Labyrinth and this piece came to me about a week before and I feel it captures the spirit of this particular Labyrinth at Belvoir Estate farm in Delaware Ontario. Inspired by the invitation to build a Labyrinth
Mary Tingley offers these works from her spiritual practice of painting/play
that which was transforming into new possibilities.
Watercolour 8×10 Painted December 2018
Based on a photo by Judy Kowalski of her sister Jan on PEI.
Watercolour 12×14 Painted February 2019
Based on the reading of the book “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” by Elisabeth Tova Bailey for CPE.
Acrylic 16×20 November 2018
Jan Kraus sent in a timely seasonal watercolour
Waiting For Spring
Painted March 3/19 in Wilket Creek Ravine in Toronto. It could be taken very literally or in the context of Lent, waiting and longing for all glimpses of new life.
Into the Silence
I found you
Walking your well-worn path
Your eyes glance briefly my way
With eyes gentle and kind
Inviting me on your quiet journey
Who are you, I ponder
As my step joins with yours
To begin the trek
You have taken thousands of times . . .
I have watched you as if we were separate
But now your journey
Is my journey
What thoughts do you think
As we tread the same short path
Over and over and over again
Stopping just once in a while
To enjoy a picture
Or briefly rest
I step into your space
And see barren walls
And empty counters
Bereft of memories
No story for your heart to see
My heart reaches out to yours
On this desert road
And though I long to talk
I choose to enter with you
Into the silence . . .
By Kathleen M. Brown, CPE Student
(Currently in 2nd Basic Unit, Edmonton, Alberta) posted Feb 19, 2019
The Haiti heist
The Haiti heist
empty of spirit
drained of hope
longing for relief,
hoping in the belief
will see that this man made
tsunami of crisis
is not our error,
it’s outcome our ongoing terror.
This volcano of struggles
these fears are ours.
Eyes open. Eyes closed.
Eyes open. Eyes closed.
You choose, I choose, we lose
In this Haiti heist.
©Ciaran Mc Kenna. Written on Feb 17th 2019 in response to the ongoing events in Haiti
By Diane Holmlund
In response to the Toronto van massacre on April 23, 2018
whatever you feel
right now, where you are
Feel your bones,
Feel your blood,
Feel your warmth,
Feel your eyes,
Feel your ears,
Feel your mouth,
Feel your body,
this good body you have been given
to carry you through your days
and guide you through darkest nights
Feel your lightness,
Feel your depth,
Feel your tears,
Feel your fear,
Slow your pulse
to slow your thoughts
Breathe for your life
Breathe for others’ life
Breathe for those who have lost life
Breathe for those who hang on to life
Breathe for those who have lived terror
Breathe mercy for those who cannot rest
Breathe hope for our beautiful, worn world