Susan Keeping and Violette Clark have reunited to create a new Embrace Your Passion workshop.

Susan Keeping and Violette Clark have reunited to create a new Embrace Your Passion workshop.

Helping women ‘find their mojo’

Local workshop encourages others to embrace their passions.

Violette Clark has a sure way of evaluating a course or workshop.

“She says ‘where are my ‘gifties?’ – that’s what she calls them, ‘gifties’,” said longtime friend and collaborator Susan Keeping.

Something you get to take away and keep – some novelty or road-map or workbook that provides a recall cue to the insights received – is always vital, Clark believes.

“Where’s my template, where’s my workbook for what’s next?” she said.

Rest assured there will be plenty of ‘gifties’ for participants in Clark and Keeping’s upcoming one-day Embrace Your Passion 2014 workshop for women, Saturday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Ocean Park Community Hall, 1577 128 St.

It’s aimed as a recipe to “get your mojo going in 2014” for all women, but particularly for women who may be ‘Boomers’ or reaching mid-life and are in the process of recreating themselves.

“Both Susan and I are transitioning in our lives,” Clark said, noting that they have known each other more than 20 years, since the days when they co-founded the anti-poverty Newton Advocacy Group Society.

Both have since become well known both locally and further afield – Clark through her distinctive art and lettering style and her journaling workshops, and Keeping as a community advocate who has stood as both a federal and provincial NDP candidate.

It was 11 years ago that they presented their first successful Embrace Your Passion workshop, but they see the need for it as even greater now, both personally and for the women they want to help.

“We have aged and matured and are coming from a different place now,” Clark said.

“We hear our contemporaries lamenting that they want something in their life – but they don’t know what. They want to embrace their passion, but they don’t know where to start.”

More than part of a New Year’s resolution, the new Embrace Your Passion workshop is intended as a gift for women who may spend so much time caring for others or working full-time that the idea of spending a day finding and following their “bliss” is a rare luxury indeed.

The agenda for the day, which includes a light lunch and coffee or tea, is simple – and it’s all about the participant for a change.

Each woman will create a journal (workbook included) to provide a road map for her personal passions; indulge the opportunity to explore herself by creating with felt pens and pencil crayons (and nobody has to be an ‘artist’ to participate); learn how to add colour to life, literally and figuratively, through ‘mind-mapping’ and ‘dream-boarding;’ and, above all, focus on having fun.

All supplies are included, Clark and Keeping said, adding that no experience is necessary – just a willingness to play.

“All you have to do is bring a desire to find your own passion,” Clark said. “How wonderful is that?”

Clark said she recently had to go through the process herself, discovering that she needed to transition out of simply teaching art techniques and into inspiring others to discover their potential.

“I was starting to lose my passion, but I realized that I love teaching and inspiring people – I’ve done it all through my life and it comes naturally to me,” she said.

“People need to ask themselves ‘what’s the core element in my life – what do I love to do?”

Life is all about evolving and adapting to change, particularly as we grow older, Keeping said, noting she has just become a grandmother, but at the same time has moved her own mother into the family home to facilitate caregiving.

A workshop of this kind can help build resilience, take perceived negatives and make positives out of them through the kind of creative play Clark is skilled at facilitating, Keeping added.

“It’s like women need permission to use glitter and make a mess – it’s a wonderful opportunity to do something nurturing for your soul.”

For more information, or to register, call Keeping at 604-833-9646, or Clark at 604-536-5158, or visit