~ Editor’s Note from Shiloh Sophia: I would like to introduce you to Susan Rossi, friend, artist, co-teacher and a leader in the Red Thread Nation. Susan is a graduate of the Color of Woman Method and I so appreciate her approach to the work we are doing. Her experience in the therapeutic arts, as well as her rich history with Shamanism gives her an understanding and a language for what is possible in understanding how to use art to “save lives”.
I invited Susan to share her recent interview with Cindy O’Connor from East Brunswick public television in this talk, Passion With Purpose. I hope you enjoy this interview with Susan and hearing more about her approach to the methodology and how it has woven with her existing practice. I had the pleasure of painting with Susan this weekend and in each exchange with this powerful healing woman, I felt a surge of gratitude to be understood. That the truly deep and profound messaging that comes through the painting process would even work with someone who is as ‘clued in’, so to speak as Susan Rossi. She knows her stuff. She has been doing this kind of work her whole life, and she herself says that this work can save lives, can offer, Passion with Purpose. When we create with intention – it is indeed, passionate. Meet Susan from Flying to the Heart.
I have been a shamanic practitioner for close to 20 years, working with the BIG questions that people have – how to heal from emotional and physical traumas, how to find meaning in life, and how to be of service. Answering these questions through shamanic ritual and ceremony has shifted my life into a creation that feels full of goodness. Then, in 2011, I walked through a portal into a whole new dimension when I fell down the rabbit hole into Shiloh McCloud’s Leading a Legendary Life on-line painting class.
Through this work, I have become a Revolutionary Woman. For the most part I am a peace loving, go-with-the-flow sort, let’s just see what happens and let things take their course. Now, I’m all fired-up, heart blazing with a mission to save lives and compost wounds to life-giving seeds with a drums, rattles and a paintbrush. My paintings were part of presentation given by Shiloh Sophia McCloud at the 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Shiloh presented paintings created by women of the Red Thread Nation, a tribe of visionary creatives who believe that Art Saves Lives.
As a teacher and shamanic practitioner, I have been looking for a way to open the door of possibility for clients, of finding a new story to tell. The images in the UN slideshow line the passageway into a new way of working, joining the ancient traditions of image making as a path to soul and the shamanic methods of journeying into places beyond ordinary reality.
In this strange new land, I found that making art is a creative spiritual practice. My shamanic work brought up images, symbols and stories that held transformation, but I had never before birthed these powerful elements in “ordinary” reality. They remained in “non-ordinary” reality, rich with power and meaning, but never took on physical form. By painting them, but giving them presence in ordinary reality, I brought these images – holding my own inner wisdom – into sacred space onto the canvas. Looking at these images shimmering in paint, I feel the power that they hold for me and the teachings they impart. They are my connection with and my entry into the great transcendent wisdom that lives in all of us.
My inner critic had a lot to say about this process when I first started. The Critic nattered on about lack of creative ability, wasting time and all those catchy things that Critics say to hook us into stopping before we enter into the Dangerous Territory where there are no maps to Comfortville and Safety City. The Critic does not hold sway in these places, and NEVER want us to go there. Slowly, a new totem arose – The Muse, she who guides me into exploring what it feels like to bring my soulwork images to life, to bring Beauty (with a capital B) into being. And she doesn’t always mean what’s pretty to look at, because we go into the Dangerous Territory of the Shadow sometimes, where the only way out is through. The Beauty lives in the transformation of the old stories – the ones that trap me into places I don’t want to be – into Healing Stories of Infinite Potential Possibilities held in the container of the images they create themselves.
In this work, we understand that the Muse lives in the Right Brain, the place of imagery, metaphor and poetry – the link to our unconscious, our knowingness, our bright wisdom and radiance, the part of us that is always whole and undamaged. So my passion about the shamanic work I do with clients now includes a new purpose – to guide them on the way into their own brilliance and knowingness, the part of them that knows what needs to happen in order to invite transformation to the dance of Life. When they look at what they create on paper and canvas, the portal swings open to a new way of seeing, of perceiving the richness in their stories. I call this sacred practice of creation Soul Work Lab, the next step in the shamanic guidance they seek. It feels like a leap forward in the work I love – being a Wake-Up Artist and Guide to the Way In.
I am a Practitioner of Shamanic Arts, a Wake-Up Artist and a Guide to the Way-In at Flying to the Heart. I work with Soul-full People seeking to creatively travel the sacred path into the Heart of What Matters Most. My core belief is that each of us holds inside the seeds of creativity, healing and transformation. My passion is helping clients and students discover how to nurture roots, fruits and blossoms in the garden of possibilities, to align with their unique purpose and calling, and to shine their own brilliance and beauty in the world. I use traditional shamanic techniques as well as the process of intentional creativity to guide clients to bring healing stories and symbols into form through shamanic journeying and art as a creative spiritual practice.
This journey is not for the faint of heart. It requires the willingness to look deeply at what might seem impossible or frightening to change. It calls up the courage to paint the images of connection and write the healing stories that reshape lives, relationships, families and communities. It is my privilege to be a guide through the portal of creativity on this journey to joy, transformation and healing.