Nineteen years ago in October, I embarked upon the most transformative and healing journey of my life when I began my Creative Journal Expressive Arts (CJEA) training year with Lucia Capachhione. She and her work and the beautiful CJEA community she created supported me through the deepest grief of my life when Cameron died the following spring.
It is with a heavy heart that I now grieve Lucia’s passing on Monday, November 28, 2022 at age 85.
Last night, some of us in the CJEA community gathered on Zoom to process our grief through clay work. The process and the two pieces that emerged helped me to express and release my emotions. The pieces themselves spoke volumes about the power of this work.
Lucia, I am forever grateful to you for all that I learned from you and for all the healing and growth your work brought into my life. May this beautiful community you created continue to thrive and may the powerful body of work you created continue to bring healing and growth to the world.
Go in peace, Lucia. It’s time to shine your light in other dimensions. The seeds you have planted here will continue to bloom in your memory.
The clay felt cold and hard when I began, and as I breathed my emotions into the clay, it became oh so heavy in my hands. I felt I could not hold it. I felt desperate to set it down.
I asked the feelings, what do you need most right now? And the answer was
To be held. To be honored. To be accepted. You know how to hold me now because she taught you to. What a gift.
My feeling continued, telling me its name was “Letting go,” and that it felt heavy, lifeless, cold, inert. It didn’t want to be here again at grief’s door. It didn’t want to feel grief again. The feeling told me that when things are too heavy, I can let go. It asked me to soften. It said, “Hold me. Let IT go, but hold me, coz I’m your sweet child.
And, of course, this is the core of Lucia’s beautiful body of work – the journey of healing and loving my own Inner Child. It is the Inner Child who feels grief – and all the other emotions – and that Inner Child just wants to be loved and accepted.
After wetting and softening my working block of clay, I broke it into two chunks and began to mold and shape one of them. This piece represents and holds my current feelings.
As the first clay piece began to emerge, it fell easily and naturally into the form of a mother and child, although the figure’s face was very bird-like.
I asked, who or what are you? And the figure replied:
Mother Bird. Your safe nest. Be still. I am always here. Let me soften your landing place. Let me be your resting place. You are safe. You are loved. I will hold/absorb your pain and emotional stress. I will give it to the earth so that, when you are ready, you can fly.
The second piece of clay represents a supportive quality that can help me through these feelings of grief. The chunk of clay that had been torn away from the original block was so misshapen when I began, but had a vague body and wings, like a thick, fat butterfly. I sharpened and detailed that form. It became a bird or a butterfly still in the process of unfurling its wings. The message I received was to know that everything is always in the process of transforming, a process that is never complete. I noticed and reflected that one wing seemed heavy and stuck to the table, while the other was lifting. A figure caught between Earth and Sky, a balance of Heavy and Light. That’s the nature of life, I guess. We are here to find the balance between. This piece told me it is ready for whatever is to come next.
Can you see? I am poised for flight. The wind is already lifting my wings.
I am so grateful to have known Lucia, this remarkable woman. To have been given these tools for inner work. To have found a creative way to live and to grieve and to heal. To know now how to comfort my own Inner Child. To find grace and balance between feeling grounded and allowing the wind to lift my wings.
Fly free, Lucia. You have my deepest and undying gratitude.