It’s the second Wednesday of the month!  Well, it was yesterday but I wanted to share that as my reason for profound gratitude. The second Wednesday of the month is always guaranteed to be one of the best days of the month.  Why?  The second Wednesday of each month is when the Juicy People’s Creativity and Camaraderie Group meets. (I alluded to this in my first Mandala Monday and promised I would explain at some point.)

I probably need to digress just a bit here to explain a bit about the name Juicy People. The name is taken from the works of Hildegard of Bingen, a twelfth century mystic, who “counseled her spiritual directees to be ‘juicy people,’ folks who are so filled with wonder and curiosity, with lusty appetites and high spirits, that they embrace life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with a burly, grinning bear hug.  To be juicy is to be: a fearlessly joyous optimist, a troublemaker tirelessly afflicting the comfortable, a passionate lover of good talk and tasty food, an anonymous prophet hovering over the cosmological riddle, a frequent violator of the ordinance against indecent exposure of the heart, and a guerilla in the insurrection against Dream Molesters everywhere.” 1     Who wouldn’t want some of that?!

For the past 3 ½ years I have been part of this diverse group of 11 women who gather on that Wednesday to share how they have been creative, how they have fulfilled the directive from Hildegard, over the past month.  It is a fairly simple formula.   The simplicity of the formula belies the depth and profusion of what transpires as a result of this monthly gathering.  At times we have noted the air of sacredness that often hovers around our time together. There also exists a sense of accountability to “do something” each month as well as the excitement and anticipation of having a supportive and encouraging group with whom to share.

We’ve learned that creativity is not just about making art but is about the art of making our lives. 

The list of creative acts is far too long to note here but includes poetry writing, watercolor painting, adventure creating, book writing, trapeze hanging, recipe inventing, self-caring, care-giving, fundraising, print making, laughing, crying, and on and on.  JPCCG is, most definitely, greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Oh, and there’s food!  What started out as a suggestion to bring light snacks or hors d’oeuvres to share has become an amazing eclectic feast each month.  It is always a treat to see the variety of offerings that arrive to feed our bodies as well as our souls with all their flavors and smells and colors and textures.

JP is where I became interested in mandalas and if you’ve been paying attention on Mondays, you have an inkling where that led.  JP’s inspired and pushed me to finally create my Inner Aperture note cards that combine my photography with unusual and inspiring quotes.  JP inspired me in countless ways to work more towards getting my art out into the world.  JP is pretty much the reason I am now comfortable with the title of artist.  JP’s have inspired me to try things that I never would have thought to try or didn’t have the courage or knowledge to try, many of which have nothing to do with a traditional notion of art.  They have encouraged me, cheered me, supported me, mirrored back my best self to me and helped me to live into me.   For that I am grateful beyond measure.

Now, the only problem is I have to wait 27 days for the next second Wednesday of the month and another dose of Juicy People.

Daybreak Within: Living in a Sacred World by Rich Heffern  

The original Juicy People’s Creativity and Camaraderie Group_©GSHaile, Haile Fine Photography

Update: 5/19/2014

We just celebrated our fifth year as a group!  There is now a guide book, The Creativity & Camaraderie Club Handbookwritten by our fearless leader, Mary F. Mathews, that shows how you can create your own creativity group.  Check it out here if this post has made you want a bit of this energy and creativity in your life.