Photo ©Catherine Just
If I told you that I spent 6th grade jumping into World War II bomb craters, perhaps you could imagine my heels grinding into dirt, the springing of my red canvas sneakers, the free fall under the spotted diffused light of autumn sun as it shimmered through broad branches. Imagine the soft powdery landing into decades of dry decaying leaves, as the forest sloughed off its used skin in an eternal cycle of converting the useless into rich compost, fertilizing the minds of young dreamers. I lived in a dream, in a cement high rise built on the edge of the forest, on the German side of the border to France, writing poetry and clinging to trees, talking into the rough texture of bark under my fingers, running from dogs and digging tunnels in the earth, under the moss, under the world. If I knew about unexploded ordinance from the 1940’s, I must not have feared it. I believe the forest knew what it was doing. I believe I was cared for by the presence that always ran along the edge of my dreams, along the tree line, along the crows settling in for the early night as I watched from my balcony, shadows and sunrays rushing with equal urgency to meet me.
I have spent my life on borders, living between cultures, between countries, between languages, between races, between religions, on the edges of things, walking between worlds. Moving to Mexico in 2004 and marrying into a village at the edge of the 2000 year old pyramids of Teotihuacan gave me a name for my border-straddling, bridge-building life – Ometeotl, the Divine Energy of Duality Merging into Oneness.
I make it my business, in my art and in my writing, in teaching and in guiding groups, to honor differences and to find union. I am guided at every turn by the presence I first sensed so long ago by the bomb craters, holding my hand along the tree line, sheltering me in the shade of the wood. I now know Her to be the Divine Mother, whom I call by all Her names, recognize by all Her faces, and love above all as the Virgin of Guadalupe, She who embodies union across division in such a palpable way in my adopted country, the home of my heart, Mexico.
I gather up the years of my life into my medicine basket, pulling in the BFA degree in Art, the Fulbright Scholarship in Art History, the Massage Therapy certification, the shamanic studies, the years in forgettable corporate jobs that help me project manage and proofread and dot my i’s, the aerial dancing and creative movement, the healing, the journeying, the dreaming, the pilgrimages, and the learning how to be present. I bring it all to my heart as an offering to you. I offer it as an Intentional Creativity Teacher, in the spirit of developing intuitive creative expression, as the way to cross borders, as the way Duality merges into Oneness.
Photo ©Catherine Just