An Eye on Intentional Creativity:: Voz del Respeto

Emily Grieves – Teotihuacan, Mexico

In January, I had the extraordinary opportunity of collaborating on the creation of a mural with international muralist Benjamin Swatez. He visited Teotihuacan with a group that came to experience the energies and wisdom teachings held within the indigenous tradition of the 2000 year old pyramids and surrounding archaeological site.

The leaders of the group had asked me to suggest a place in the area to create a mural beneficial to the local community. Despite some initial doubts, I chose to see this as a beautiful opportunity for me to learn from an expert, a great artist, and to stretch beyond my own artistic limitations. I presented the idea to the principal where my son Marco attends, “Escuela Ignacio Manuel Altamirano” in the village of San Sebastian Xolalpa. She loved the idea, with a request to include an anti-vandalism message in the theme of the mural. The village, especially its schools, has seen a surge in vandalism and graffiti recently, so this message, which became, The Voice of Respect, seemed perfect.

I asked the principal to select about 20 kids, but not just the “good” students. Given the theme, it seemed especially important to include the kids who are the “problem” students, the ones who are overlooked and never chosen for something special, the kids who are perhaps most likely to commit acts of vandalism down the line. She chose the children accordingly, two or three from each grade, 1st through 6th

While on the way to Mexico from a project in Uganda, Benjamin had sent me a list of supplies to gather. This consisted of 1 gallon of white latex house paint, 2 liters of black, 1 liter each of red, blue, yellow, green and magenta. From my studio, I collected brushes, red oxide acrylic paint, jars, a bucket, masking tape and plastic drop cloth.

Upon arrival, my mother-in-law walked him over to my house, and when I opened the door to meet him, all my worries fell away. It was like meeting an old friend! He came into my studio and we immediately started pouring through books and magazines of Teotihuacano murals and symbols. We talked about the history and mythology and mystery of the images created by the ancestral masters of the pyramids, and how important it was for the children here today to understand and respect their own heritage. Then we began brainstorming the visual elements we wanted to include in our mural and sketching the basic composition. It was a true collaboration that flowed easily and effortlessly.

The principal gave us the thumbs up on our design, and we begin plotting it out on the wall with charcoal using a small digital projector. The projector was brilliant – it fit in the palm of a hand, had about 2 hours of battery life, and connected to a phone. We took pictures of the drawings on the phone and projected them on a much larger scale onto the wall and traced the lines in charcoal and then with black paint. 

It was an epic task to complete in just a few hours. Benjamin also painted a large-scale face of a beautiful little girl in his trademark realist style at lightning speed. I was fascinated to see how quickly he worked. By the time the kids came out to help us at 1 p.m., we had our lines, we had paint mixed into cups for them, and we had marked a dot of color in each space so that the kids could essentially “paint by number.” The American adults from the visiting spiritual group that had initiated the project joined us shortly thereafter, coming straight from the pyramids to the school to help. 

We included a typical Teotihuacana figure in the mural with a “noble speech” symbol coming from her mouth and holding an aerosol paint can directed at a huge eye, to convey this idea that respectful expression, vision and creation lies at the center of a unified harmonious community.

Benjamin speaks Spanish so he introduced himself to the kids (and their parents who had come to watch), and I gave them a brief motivational talk about the theme of the mural – about the vandalism problem and how reconnecting to their ancestral roots and taking pride in their heritage can help the youth learn to express themselves creatively in a way that is positive, beneficial and beautiful in their community.

The hour and a half with the kids was wild, exciting, and chaotic, as we had kids of all ages and in any given second I had a little boy or girl tugging at my apron asking me for more paint or a new color. I was relieved when our time was up just to take a breather but also in love with what the kids had so earnestly painted. We had a lovely surprise then – the parents of the kids who had participated had prepared a meal for us! They invited us all into the school yard where they had set up tables and they served us a typical regional meal of chicken mixiotes, rice and beans, with the intention that we “break bread” with the kids. So beautiful. Luc, a friend and colleague of Benjamin’s on his “Goodness Tour,” a global community mural and music mission, shared some songs with the group, and both Benjamin and I had the opportunity to talk in more depth to the kids and parents about the message of the mural.

When the meal wrapped up and the kids went home, Benjamin and I stayed to continue working on the mural. There was a huge amount of work to be done still, and time was running short. We spent much of the rest of the afternoon making adjustments to the areas that the kids had painted. In their enthusiasm, they had covered over many of the outlines we had marked and made their own unique, albeit abstract, creation out of our carefully plotted corn. We chose what to keep and what to adjust, and the end result has some crooked but clear corn stalks made by the kids. We painted until late that day.

I love the metaphor of the crooked corn stalk symbol – like a child’s life, it may have gone astray but righted itself again into alignment and positive growth toward the light of the sun!

The following day, Tuesday, we both arrived early in the morning, knowing that we had to paint like the wind to wrap it all up that day, as Benjamin had a flight to catch at 5 pm. I have never painted so fast in my life. We battled with the rough uneven surface of the wall, trying to get clean lines and clarity in all of the bumps in the porous surface. There were moments when I struggled with technical things, how to portray a shadow correctly, or a hand, and Benjamin never hesitated to take a moment to help me, in spite of the time pressure. In fact, he remained calm and tranquil throughout our hasty painting, never letting on if he was stressed or nervous, never losing his patience. His friend Kosar, an Iranian woman and immigrant to the U.S., helped us out with retouching lines all day, which was a huge support.  My son Marco also stayed for hours after school each day to help out with the lines and retouching. Benjamin reminded me frequently to go stand across the street to get a better perspective on our work. So funny, because I often tell my own students this in the studio, to stand back from the canvas for a better view, but I forgot all about that sage advice with the huge scale of the mural. 

We added in the title of the mural “Voz del Respeto” – “Voice of Respect” and signed it with our names and the name of the group that dreamed the project into being – High Vibe Tribe. We painted right up to the very moment that Benjamin had to go hop in a taxi to get to the airport. He literally went running down the street with the longer of the ladders we had used, hoisted on his shoulder like a true soldier of Intentional Creativity, to deliver it back to its lender before racing to the airport. I stayed at the school with my son plodding along on the finishing touches till late. On Wednesday, I felt rather lonely without Benjamin as I returned for a final day of completing the mural. This involved cleaning up any more lines and details, applying some final symbols to the sky, filling in some uneven color, and finally, applying a coat of sealant to the entire mural to protect it from the elements, the sun, and from potential graffiti from anyone who might not have understood the message – we hope that never turns out to be the case, but we wanted to protect it nonetheless. 

It was fascinating throughout the painting process to be so fully in the public eye, with many members of the community stopping to observe us and ask questions. It was a beautiful opportunity to share intentional creativity and the importance of teaching especially children and young people that there is a way for them to find outlets for expression that are grounded in respect and honor of their own history and cultural heritage. Creative expression can allow them to make positive contributions to their community, beautifying their village, raising consciousness, and unifying the people. The very final touch on the mural was a little banner honoring the children themselves and their participation. It is my prayer that those kids see the mural in ten or twenty years and remember how they are a part of “Voz del Respeto.” 

Emily K. Grieves received a BFA degree in art from the University of Montana in 1993, followed by study of art history in Berlin, Germany, as a Fulbright scholar. She lived in San Francisco, California, for 10 years where she began exploring symbolism, mythology, and ritual in her artwork, drawing inspiration from the celebrations and mysteries of life. She has been a practitioner of shamanic healing and hands-on energy work since 1997. 

As of 2004, she makes her home in Teotihuacan, Mexico, where she has painted murals at the Dreaming House spiritual retreat center and has created a body of artwork influenced by the cosmological imagery left in the ancient pyramids and by her relationship with her Muse and the Divine FeminineIn 2014, she opened her studio Taller de Arte El Refugio, in Teotihuacan.

Emily is a certified Intentional Creativity Teacher in the Color of Woman Method developed by Shiloh Sophia. She is also a member of the Intentional Creativity Guild, an international organization that promotes intuitive artistic expression as a way to make positive change in the world. Visit her at www.EmilyKGrievesArt.com



An Eye On Intentional Creativity:: Belonging

Olivia Oso shares her teaching journey of remembering our innate beauty and wisdom.

We gathered together in Eugene for the Sacred Tree Workshop and had an amazing time together. In the beginning of this painting process, all the elements where brought in to create the background. I asked the group to consciously listen to how each force lives within, earth, air, water and fire. A mark for a seed was added, representing the beginning of each person’s inner Tree of Life. We brought in the unavoidable tragedy line, as well as consciously acknowledging all the blessings and triumphs of our lives as well. A symbol to the Indigenous nature we EACH carry in own lineage and/or from the place where WE now live was added. 

 I brought in ritual each day using Palo Santo, sage and rose quartz, with each participant receiving a gift of their own stick of Palo Santo along with a journal. I offered other oils from the plant nations to bless their canvases, lavender, cedar, and sage. Each person was also invited to bring a symbol of their sacred intention and we created a community altar together.

My teachings involved information from the different spiritual traditions and I shared different perspectives as they connected to what it represented for them personally. I also used the symbol and parts of the Tree as aspects of our own body such as, roots,  truck, core, branches, leaves, flowers, inviting inquiry into what they represented in their own lives. Poetry was also used along the way.

In a guided visualization, I took them down into the roots of the tree to the core of Mother earth and up their spine with the chakra points, to a connection with Her, a woman who was a spiritual presence for them. 

When I illustrated my Composition, I was guided to bring both the Feminine form and the Tree of Life. Attendees could choose whatever they wished or were guided to do, specifically a tree or a Being, along with the Sacred Tree.  

Over the course of 2 1⁄2 days, my Beloveds were so wonderful to be with. As feelings of fear, grief, being stuck or blocked and being terrified were expressed, in spite of these emotions, there was such trust and openness to the process. As a facilitator of the Intentional Creativity process, It was a wonderful gift and blessing to witness the break-downs, breakthroughs, aha moments, celebration and expression of Creativity. It is always so amazing to remember why I do this work. It makes such a difference in the world. We all got to witness as the energy of the group shifted, as things got released, new stories created and joy expressed.

My passion is to guide others toward their inherent gifts in creative process. I love witnessing the Beauty of the earth in all Her many forms. I facilitate workshops and classes using Intentional Creativity in Portland, OR and beyond.

Find out about Olivia’s upcoming workshops and art at www.gypsyheartstudio.com

An Eye On Intentional Creativity:: The Empress Within

The Empress symbolizes humankind’s ability to extend and receive love.

A beautiful day spent with amazing women. Oh, how I love when women gather, good things happen. We had it all… laugher, story, heart tears, wisdom, homemade soup, gluten-free cake, painting, painting and more painting!

Using Intentional Creativity, we spent the day painting and exploring our personal Empress, who represents Love with Wisdom. In the Tarot, the year 2019 is the year of the Empress. She symbolizes humankind’s ability to extend and receive love. She is Demeter, the Earth Mother and Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Creative Power. We layered our paintings with personal symbols, planted seeds of desires, acknowledged and bowed to the story of our past, and envisioned and moved in the direction of our Empress.

The Empress knows the importance of, as Shiloh often says, giving from our overflow. She is a benevolent leader. She is feminine, sensual and passion. She is the creative spark, and to me a beautiful balance of the right and left brain, with the action to bring her ideas and desires to fruition.

As a teacher, I felt more freedom when I let go of the internal expectation of having to be the expert on the empress, and it was even more magical. I still held the space and held each woman, but inside I was able to let go of inner thoughts that I had to know it all. Instead I shared with the group WHY I was interested in the Empress. Just as the tarot has other symbols on each card, students explored symbols important to their own lives. I led them on a visualization thru the underworld gathering their gifts and knowings, then up to the upper world and eventually to their own throne on the mountain top surrounded with pomegranate and blooming flowers.

I loved how the women supported one another. It was a beautiful class. At the end I had each woman introduce their empress to each other. I wanted to cry from the wisdom they shared and I felt such deep love for myself knowing that I was brave enough to create and hold this space for these women to explore their inner Empress.

Terre Cerridwyn Busse brings Intentional Creativity to women in her community of Davis, CA. Find more about Terre’s classes at www.Twigsandtwilight.com.


An Eye On Intentional Creativity:: Body Embrace

What is a story you’ve held onto, that is no longer serving you about your body and beauty?

With this potent question came Ally Markotich’s vision to introduce an Intentional Creativity process to a community of intergenerational women. So it was, that this powerful group of women came together for Ally’s Body Embrace Workshop. Attendees ranged in age from 14 to over 60, including a mother and daughter, all ready and hungry to explore their narratives around body & beauty.

“I gave permission for people not to filter themselves and to be as honest as they needed to be.”

Each person wrote an intention to hold for themselves, and the level of sharing during the circle was intimate and deep. 

This work is about the process, not the end result.

Ally explains, how part of her job as a Color of Woman Teacher is to help guide students to recognize the voices of the Muse and the Inner Critic. Activating the voice of the Muse, helps diminish the voice of the inner critic.

A gallery style walk in closing, allowed each person the space to speak powerfully about their creations and what they were awakened to after connecting deeply with themselves through this work.

Find Ally Markotich’s Classes and Art at https://soulkindling.com

I feel incredibly honored to be doing this work in the world. I’m very grateful to be able to share Intentional Creativity in the community where I live. I firmly believe this is revolutionary and very needed for all the weight people carry.

I offer a creative spark of word and image where beauty is noticed, space is honored and inquiries are asked. Join me on my quest to live with loving intention!

An Eye On Intentional Creativity:: Finding the Flow

Color of Woman Teacher in-training, Milagros Suriano-Rivera, held her first Tea with the Muse Workshop with her daughter-in-law and her mom in San Antonio, Texas. Inspired by Shiloh Sophia McCloud’s Unleashed Feminine Flow exercise, the steps weave together intention-setting and paint to hone in on taking action towards that which we are passionate about. Milagros shares, “I just love talking about Intentional Creativity and how women respond when I explain how it works. I can attest to the magic and opportunities that present themselves for me and others. I witness the universe responding to me, when I show up and let my Muse show up as she desires.”

An Eye on Intentional Creativity:: Our Black Madonna, Protector of Charlottesville

We are woven out of the fabric of Her robes,
and she embroiders us like millions of fibers of light
and glowing threads into the stars on her cloak.
We are always intertwined, and She gives birth to our true spiritual essence 
~Hobby Parent

Just over a year ago, I began a journey in painting called The Black Madonna Pilgrimage. This study was centered around the indigenous images of the Black Madonna, inspired by her legends throughout the world, teachings about her, and music dedicated to her. Stories and her traditions throughout the world were part of the curriculum, having been passed from generation to generation, some hidden in mystery and others changed in history.

For 33 days we held a container through an online circle listening for her message to each of us. Our paintings expressed the unfolding of our relationship with the Black Madonna in a process of discovery. We explored the symbols of her image throughout the world, and were guided on a sacred pilgrimage of the heart as we heard her voice within us. Sue Monk Kidd wrote of a Black Madonna her in book, The Secret Life of Bees, as well as her memoir, Traveling with Pomegranates. It was a journey in seeking the Divine Feminine for each of us as well.

As I began this painting of Mary, a churning of turmoil and violence arrived in our city of Charlottesville, VA. I wrote these words on my canvas as I listened to headlines of racial strife and civil unrest erupting in the streets of the small college town where I listen to music on Fridays, eat lunch with colleagues on the Downtown Mall, and raised my children. As the day progressed, the chaos increased, and I tearfully painted 19 prayers in red for the people who were injured in the clash of white nationalists and counter protesters on the streets of this historical place I’ve called home for many years. More trauma and an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” ensued as the hours passed, and the progress of the painting captured my impressions of the happenings that day.

 I was not a brave person in so many ways. I was not prepared to be present in a situation of that magnitude. My heart went out to the people much more valorous than I, who showed up and were witness to what was happening. My activism was expressed on my canvas, in the brush strokes that held the prayers for those who came to represent their beliefs and values, as well as those whose hearts were filled with anger and rage.

In reading and research, I found words by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author and activist: The Black Mother lights the treasure forward from the dark… dark that others might call chaos…And further, to strengthen ourselves to push back in ways within our reach… …that Our People, Our Nations on Earth Be Not Divided, Rather Be United.

So I continued to paint. Symbols of my spiritual journey, a line in connection to Infinite Wisdom, marks representing the Divine Feminine, and more prayers. Processing what was happening in our town, our country, our future. I painted more prayers in white for healing, love and compassion, and the grace to be able live in diverse harmony. And one, in reverence to the memory of Heather Heyer, who lost her life in the chaos. The days and weeks passed. I would paint for hours on some days and other days, my painting languished. I would look at the strokes and feel a sense of loss, of change.

She wanted to be a composite of color and light, symbolic of diversity and connection.

This method of painting I’ve studied is called Intentional Creativity, developed and taught by my teacher and mentor, Shiloh Sophia. There are many steps associated in this process, each layer a representation of the conversation between spirit and mind, painting and writing. As I write words on the canvas or in my journal, I listen to what comes up in my thoughts, and then I use paint, color and brush strokes to represent what I have pondered. It is a dance between Divine Intelligence through my consciousness to the brush onto the painting. A process of being mindful, listening to what shows up, and paying attention to the brush as it moves through me onto the canvas.

The next impression I received was a medicine wheel. A symbol in ancient cultures of balance and harmony. Contemporary representations of the medicine wheel emphasize the quest for harmony and balance, both within ourselves and with all communities and creatures on earth. The wheel also symbolizes a graphic reminder that change is inevitable, that development is a life process, and completing a circle of wholeness is a goal worthy of our attention. It seemed to be an answer to the many prayers and intentions that I had painted onto this canvas, for myself and for our community. And then the shape of the Madonna wanted to appear. I saw her image filling the circle and began to make the sacred marks that would bring her into presence. I’ve painted faces over the past few years, learning to shape the nose, brows, lips, neck, hair, and eyes, and her lines began to take form. More than that, her expression began to develop as I worked. It was a surprise and I was curious as the color and lines revealed her presence. The medicine wheel became a circle of light illuminating her from behind. Her spirit became more apparent as I progressed and she began to come to life. I typically don’t paint images in a realistic way, my interpretations tend to be more abstract and symbolic. But she wanted her expression to represent the sadness, the pain the Charlottesville community experienced in August of 2017 and the aftermath of changes that followed.

She wanted to be a composite of color and light, symbolic of diversity and connection. A blue eyed woman of color. My intention was to be mindful of the strength she embodied, her vulnerability in this madness, and the pain that has continued to divide people from fear, long held beliefs, and the misuse of power, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, heaven, and intelligence. She was making her presence and intent in protecting the people Charlottesville with wisdom and loyalty in response to the negative media surrounding the events that happened. Her message was also telling me that she wanted to hold all the people, ones were injured, as well as ones who spread violence and separation, those who were harmed, the ones who stayed home, and especially, the woman and men who died. And I listened to her voice, painted all who came, with differing intentions, who she holds in her embrace.

This process has motivated me to use my art for social justice and positive activism. In addition, I am very honored and humbled to have Marianne Williamson share my painting, Black Madonna of Charlottesville, on Instagram!

Hobby Parent is an artist, Intentional Creativity Coach and Teacher. She lives and works in her home & studio West of Charlottesville, Virginia, in view of her beloved Blue Ridge Mountains, enjoying nature and its vast sources of artistic inspiration. She works in acrylics, watercolor and mixed media, as well as graphic design. She began painting, drawing and illustrating in high school, although she has been an artist for as long as she can remember.

Reprinted with permission from Hobby Parent at https://creativesouljuice.wordpress.com/

An Eye on Intentional Creativity:: Early Childhood Educators Finding the Flow

Color of Women Teacher Jo Laurie has boldy introduced Intentional Creativity in a training with Early Childhood Educators!

Jo’s workshop took place in Parkes, New South Wales, in the center of Australia.  Jo deftly explains how the two worlds of Intentional Creativity and teaching bridge together,”through practicing Intentional Creativity, we gain access to the magic of Mindfulness and Intention for ourselves, and the children we educate.”

Attendees connected through the sharing of a red thread ritual, exploring gratitude and intentions for their individual creative art pieces.

Content for the program included the framework of how left and right brain learnings weave together for greater access to information and understanding. Jo expanded upon this through a guided meditation, inviting the women to envision walking down a path, where they entered a room on the left (brain) with angular shapes etc, and a room on the right(brain) with soft flowing shapes etc, returning along the path of Intentional Creativity – intention, mindfulness, focus, imagination, language, symbol, and creativity.

 Jo Laurie is so grateful to be out there doing the dance of Intentional Creativity! Attend a Workshop, Meditation, Women’s Circle or Retreat with Jo or find out more by visiting the Intentional Creativity Teachers site here.

An Eye on Intentional Creativity:: Life After Loss

Ilona Lantos recently completed fellow Color of Woman Teacher Catt Geller’s, Teach the Teacher Cosmic Smash Book training. Originally from Hungary, Ilona now resides in Virginia.
As a member of her local artist community Ilona held her first workshop at the Gallery Clarendon using this Smash booking process. Everyone really enjoyed this process and their creations. “I fell in love with the texture, the creative freedom and finding beauty in what might look ugly. I came up with the idea of the Petite Smash Book using a tiny notebook and innovative painting media and techniques to create a cute little companion to process topics and issues as a daily routine.”

I always held art and self-expression close to my heart but with a lock on it.
Ilona describes how the creative process sparked her own healing as a “warrior mamma” after her son Chris died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 12. At a painting workshop for bereaved parents, “colors became live in front of my eyes”. Ilona continued painting, and found Shiloh Sophia’s Intentional Creativity method along the way, becoming a Color of Woman Teacher in 2017.  Ilona founded the Chris Lantos Foundation to help kids and their families on the pediatric cancer journey. The foundation has granted 185 iPads to kids and hospitals. Kids with this type of illness spend numerous hours, days, weeks, sometimes months in hospitals and clinics and at home in isolation and an iPad can help them to connect with the world.

 

 

Playing with paints unlocked my creativity
“Both the Color of Woman Training and Cosmic Smash book programs have contributed to my life tremendously. I am confident that for me this journey is the way to healing my grief. My journey has been similar to many of the brave women who dare to pick up the paint brush. I have always loved art and it has been part of my personal and professional life in the form of photography and digital art creation and teaching. Having taught and tutored kids and adults in English and Hungarian languages, art, computer graphics, and music for about 40 years, I am a teacher at heart.”
Ilona Lantos
View Ilona’s Art and upcoming In-Person/Online Classes and Workshops at Mindful Art Creations

 

An Eye on Intentional Creativity:: Maria Do Rosario Souza

Intentional Creativity has its first Red Thread Circle in Brazil!

 

 

Maria Do Rosario Souza gathered with a small wonderful group of friends for an afternoon workshop, Painting the Future.  Colorful flags were created following the steps of Intentional Creativity, and inspired by the prayer flags of Buddhism.

“Our intention while creating was to create a container for our highest aspirations, helping us focus on co-creating the future. It inspired me very much, because it’s something that anyone can do in a couple of hours  I enjoyed every minute and had great feedback from our group. Thank you Shiloh for supporting my dreams!”

 

 

 

 

I had the access to the Red Thread Circle some years ago, through the Red Thread Cafe Classroom Facebook group and had the idea of sharing it, and finally had this opportunity now. A group of friends had been curious about my painting process. Submitting my application for the 2019 Color of Woman Teacher program was the push that I was waiting for! It all came together, to put out the invitation to do this workshop.

 


I’m an educator, researcher of Brazilian culture, especially Native groups and Brazilian Popular Culture. I have a degree on Graphic Design and started to paint canvases in 2002, but Intentional Creativity gave me the right tools to progress. Find me and my art on my Facebook page, Maria Flor

 

 

An Eye on Intentional Creativity:: Finding Joy in the Chaos

Amanda Abreu shines her light in this beautiful example of how Intentional Creativity empowers us to stay centered and supported, as life events are experienced in all shapes and sizes. Amanda’s keen ability to stay mindful and attuned to her intuition in trying times, demonstrates the very framework of Intentional Creativity in motion. Holding space for members of her community as a teacher, while witnessing and honoring her own feelings, truly brings home both the theme of her workshop, Muse the True You and her aptly named website, Find Joy in the Chaos.

 

Amanda, while finishing her final weeks of Color of Woman Teacher training, recently lead a 2-day workshop, Muse the True You, an Intentional Creativity journey behind the masks we wear, to discover our truest selves.

“When women discover who they truly are on the inside, they become comfortable in their own skin and love themselves deeply. They come to know how they want to show up in the world.Throughout our journey into womanhood, we often aren’t taught how to become fully integrated, authentic female beings. During this process, students navigate old stories and gain access to new information. Becoming reacquainted with the woman who lies dormant within, awakened to your truest potential.”

 

 

 

Held on two consecutive Sundays, the flow of the 2 class days, and Amanda’s resilience were tested, when gas explosions in the area called for immediate evacuations. Pregnant and with her husband and two young children in tow, compounded the individual stress and chaos of being thrown into such a sudden life event. Returning to the house after several days, electricity was turned on, but no hot water, heat or gas, yet Amanda carried on with the workshop as scheduled.

 

“I told the women during the workshop that the evacuation really helped me tie into the theme of the workshop. I had been having a really hard time with being displaced and not having access to our home. Everyone kept telling me to be grateful, it could have been worse. And I told the ladies that leaning into the theme of the workshop, and in being my authentic self, it was ok if I wasn’t 100% positive.  I had a right to be imperfect and have meltdowns and be “too much” when I needed to be. I didn’t need to fix myself because other people thought I had the wrong perception.

 

 

Ultimately, gathering together to paint with them, it showed me I didn’t have to be perfect for them either! I didn’t have any refreshments or even tea to offer them. It was pretty bare bones. I also didn’t get to plan out my thoughts for the day, like I did the first time, and all of that was okay. I was legitimately doing the work alongside them, as Shiloh says, and IC gave me the courage that I was enough just as I was. No masks, no preparation. And it was a beautiful feeling.”

Find Amanda’s musings and upcoming class information at www.findjoyinthechaos.com

 

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