Cantos of Reclamation

The Making of a Painting

 

Cantos of Reclamation

She is the quickening

Standing at the threshold of now

She doesn’t perform alchemy

She is the embodied alchemical process

She doesn’t need to create legacy by design

She IS the legacy, as it reveals itself

She certainly isn’t waiting to be discovered

The Lady has already discovered herself!

She is not persuaded by readings of the almost future

That hold prophecies of prescribed delivery or doom

She carries the codes of the tree of life in her blood

She prays to be ready to receive the fullness of the teachings

She need not constantly seek to heal what is wounded

She carries holy wholeness in her unbroken soul

With supple shimmer, she slips out of stories worn old

Gliding from hidden worlds into the joy of pure presence

She is woven of the ‘matter’ of mysterious darkness

A daughter of Wisdom, whose radiance never ceases

She is at the intersection where light enters the prism

Surrendering unnecessary struggle, heralding an age of beauty

Her true lover is not her opposite, nor her reflection,

What they are, who they are, is still being in-formed

She is one of the many messengers of the ancient future

First re-membering, and then creating with intention

She is a shelter for the sacred, a call to action for the lost

The revealing of an archetype from the celestial eclipse

Her creativity, marks out the atlas of possibility

Dissolving duality, tending to reclamation and refuge

Where paths meet she takes her stand, a vesica piscis view

weaving technology and biology as stardust methodology

She knows from whence the gifts come, from the Creator,

She chooses the narrow path of the one called The Way

The lineage she carries is carried by all people

Yet often lays hidden under suppression of consciousness

She calls a council to gather, Mystics, Poets, Painters, Cantors,

Scientists, Dancers, Wisdom Keepers and Christos Seekers

As an initiation they reclaim language, image, code, seed and sound

A new mythos is revealed, already carried in the codex of the soul

Together they explore the intersections that have divided us

Offering up a view of generosity, prosperity and justice

She shrugs off continual apology for self and projections from others

With acceptance and forgiveness for self and others, she emerges

She steps out of systems of any kind that do not support life

Simultaneously stepping into structures of divine design

She is the scribe and curator of her own becoming

Guided by her call to the ministry of refuge and reclamation

She accepts with gravity, her responsibility to the great unfolding

Nurturing herself, she discovers the nurturing for those she serves

Her unreasonable prayer is a song for the wellness of all

An offering of love, comfort and an invitation to the quickening

She hopes that this reading may be a Blessing for you,

as it has been for Her, in the writing and the revelation.

The writing of one’s own Cantos of Reclamation

can be a ritual towards the awakening.

Join me at the council of the sacred?

We will be there, waiting and ready to dance!

Shiloh Sophia

Cantos of Reclamation by Shiloh Sophia, 2017

Inspired to share this image and writing, go here

This painting is what I have been working on during this Eclipse cycle, completed just now. And the writing, got me up out of bed after a rough night of not very much sleep. When I did finally sleep, dreamed I was writing a letter to the Intentional Creativity Guild – as we had a big gathering at Terra Sophia and we were arriving at night by caravan.

This painting, Cantos of Reclamation, will be a book cover. It was created to honor the feminine evolution – creating an image of the ancient and the future of our work. The image was sparked in response to the inquiry – what is the new feminine evolutionary? Inspired by the book by that title, featuring many women writers by Flower of Life Press. There is still a bit to do to get the painting and writing just right, but she wanted to be revealed today. So here she is.

Another time I will tell you about more of the symbolism of light and dark – of honeycomb and binary computer code – and my reasons. The two colored eyes are to represent women of many colors. Light and Dark and in between and the integration. Embracing the paradox. Suffice to say I prayed during the entire painting for our planet and for women everywhere to wake up and stand up and speak up. Thank you for witnessing it.

And yes, people are already asking, prints will be available in the Fall with the release of the book, more on that soon….

yours in red thread,
Shiloh Sophia

Founder of the Intentional Creativity Movement

Intentional Creatives Guild & featuring some of our awesome teachers!

We are excited to announce that our community has come together to form a focus group of Color of Woman Teacher and Coach graduates called the Intentional Creatives Guild. Together we will work towards bringing a global calendar of Intentional Creativity to provide this education where it is most needed and wanted. We will keep you updated as our calendar and our projects begin to unfold. To find a teacher in your area, just go to the Teachers tab!

Our work combines inquiry, intention, imagination and actions to bring about stories that provide insights and awareness.

 

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Color of Woman graduates have a chance to participate in a global Guild of Intentional Creatives post training. We thought it might be wonderful to  feature a few of them with you that actively have classes happening as well as art work developing! Some of these sites are in process, but we think it will be enjoyable to see them and see the diversity of how Intentional Creativity can be used.

 



emily-grieves-painting-process
Emily K. Grieves

I approach my art making as an opportunity to embark on a journey, to open doorways and to walk along that fine line that separates the visible and invisible worlds, attempting to build bridges of connection between the two.

 


nadya-king-painting-pictureNadya King

I am passionate about helping individuals & groups discover core truths, move through transitions with more ease, & live Legendary lives! As we change our stories, we can change our lives, and that ripples out to our families and communities.

 


maryann-mathis

Mary Ann Matthys

Each and everyday you have the choice to make a difference in the world. What will you do with this day? Choose to make a difference.


asia-m-painting-processAsia Morganthaler

To create with intention: to let go of the old stories that no longer serve us, and to think of our lives as legends that we create, and not allowing life to just happen to us.

 


cat-charrisageCat Charissage

Open to Mystery, Explore Life’s Depth Dimensions, Deepen Our Freedom


jassy-watson-painting-processJassy Watson

My desire and intention is to share what I have gained and learned from my life long experiences as an artist and as a trained Colour of Woman teacher and Intentional Creativity Coach with a growing tribe of women who are seeking to explore and express their inner artist.


carole-thomassy-groupinstudioCarole Thomassy

Playful Creative Exploration with other women nurtures you as we connect with others. You discover, as you relax, renew and rejuvenate, that we all require useful tools and techniques to find clarity in our life and define our authentic purpose.


elizabeth-gibbons-classElizabeth Gibbons

Elizabeth leads her students on vision quests and creative adventures utilizing universal sacred symbols and archetypes and the Jungian process of “active imagination”.

 


 kerry-lee-painting-processKerry Lee

Kerry Lee is a transformational catalyst in community guiding artists and “non” artists in Intentional Creativity, where introspection ignites innovation through group retreats, corporate team building and individual coaching.

 


cristy-coates-painting-processCristy Coates

The approaches we use to help you find a deeper sense of self through embodied practice are dedicated to bridging the intersection of science AND mythology, neuroscience AND theology, creative practice AND ancient changework tools that actually work.


cynthia-harrisCynthia Harris

Through my work I endeavour to make the invisible visible. To assist in the understandings of the illusionary world. Exploring what is behind the veils to see the space between the spaces.


rachel-bavis-painting-processRachel Bavis

Art’s ability to awaken the internal muse  – or inner voice—and quiet the inner critic was revolutionary to me. I want to bring that out into the world and back to the professionals who ensure the safety and health of children and nurture healthy families.


lotuswisdomtinagreene

Tina Greene

I am a woman who has always believed in the web that connects all life and the innate worthiness of every living being.  This belief has helped me find the good – the lessons  – in the many challenges that life has brought my way.



art-doctor-in-session
Annette Wagner

I create with the intention of honoring the earth upon whom I walk as well as providing opportunities for others to step into a deeper connection with their heart and their planet through art doctoring and intentional sketching.


heidi-moondancer-site-photoHeidi Sequoia Moondancer

Imagine a safe community of women who believe in you, support you, and challenge you to live loud and on purpose… a tribe of women in a safe and nurturing space to be honest and wildly creative, all without judgement.


brunehilde-site-photoBrunehilde Yvrande

The thing is I don’t really create anything, I just listen. I listen and I follow. With any media at my disposal. Music. Movement. Poetry. Canvas. My job is to open spaces where life can be expressed freely, where emotions can be moved, where I can find my identity, where connection can happen, starting with my body.


denise-daffara-site-photoDenise Daffara

I believe that women gathering in circle is an opportunity for an extremely nourishing shared experience.  Creating with intention and making time for the sacred inside the ordinary are some of the gifts my workshops offer.


uma22llare5_opt-1
Uma Mulnick

You have such great capabilities, such great potential and one way to explore your creative genius is to allow the artist in you to come out.


rm-hdr_-04-16Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici

is an intuitive creativity coach who helps exhausted women unwind, have fun and recreate the lives they want by teaching them to access their creative power.


suzannegrace-header-turquoise-web2-resized-image-960x462Suzanne Grace Michell

I am devoted to helping women connect with self, spirit and creativity and to consciously choose to take charge of how they are telling their stories – to themselves and to the world.


 kate-langlois-headerKate Langlois

At the heart of my images I’m investigating our interconnectedness, compassion and the expansiveness of Love.


  havi-site-headerHavi Mandell

I am a Shaman Muse for the Soul and HeARTist.

My work, my passion, is to clear away the “I’m not creative, I don’t matter” self-imposed limitations to living fully and freely.


eileen-nash-header Eileen Nash

Eileen Nash is a Visionary Path-Finding Artist, Nurse & Health Professional who Loves working with Nurses & Healers to help You find the Source of Your ‘Mojo’!


flora-aube-siteFlora Aube

Our feminine flow has a rhythm all it’s own, but the busyness of the world makes it easy to disconnect. I can help you re-member how to deeply listen – feeling when it’s time to move and when to be still, when to charge forward, and when to sit in our breath.


crystal-charlotte-easton-siteCrystal Charlotte Easton

Visionary Art is just as astonishing to the Artist as it is to the viewer. This much is certain: the work does not come from the artists… it comes through us.



catt-site-pictureCatt Geller

Maybe you don’t feel creative. Or that artful play is worthwhile. Maybe you’ve tried art journaling or painting before. I am here to say to you that so many things that are good, and nearly everything that is necessary, starts with resistance.

Making art is more than intention, it is about communicating with the self

Artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Artist and teacher Shiloh Sophia McCloud paints on the floor of her studio near Santa Rosa, California, U.S. Image: Jonathan Lewis

Part of this article were previously published in WNN http://womennewsnetwork.net/2013/05/07/making-art-communicating-with-the-self/

In the global upsurge of world creatives finding their way to the camera, the canvas, the clay pots as a means of not only creating art but of healing themselves and the world, women are creating art as a tool for personal and collective transformation. Women, regardless of income, heritage, or geography are intentionally seeking an experience with art-making as a way to recover from a history of violence, trauma and broken lives.

The impact of hardship for women worldwide often causes both men and women to silence ourselves as we no longer speak of what has happened to us or how it feels. Over time this impact continues to harm us and our choices unless we can find a way to express ourselves, to transform and release the damaging images we hold inside us. Often, the most damaged image for women is the one too many women hold of themselves.

In a step toward creating a better life as we ‘dream our world’, we must first make use of intentional creativity. This means we have to literally create around our intention. Making art in this way is not about being talented, gifted or artistic. It’s not predicated on someone identifying themselves as an artist, or even feeling creative. This way of working comes from the therapeutic art realm and is all about establishing communication with ourselves.

Knowing how to articulate what we think and feel is a journey toward recovery for ourselves and everyone else in our world.

Let’s look at humanity

To create a context for how art has shaped and informed humanity, let’s look at the significance of how art objects, artifacts, throughout history document the culture of a people, their textiles, agriculture, geography, family life and spiritual traditions. Art is a record of knowledge, culture and meaning sent down through the ages through image, symbol, song, dance, poetry, recipes and stories.

If artists do not create, how will we know who we were 100, 1000, 10,000 years from now? What would we know of Egypt’s advanced spirituality and geometry without the Sphinx or Pyramids? Or the Maya without their great codices? Or early Christianity culture without icons? Buddhism without the Buddhas? The art of humanity is the very thing which helps us to understand the history of who we are and who we have been

Studying our creations from the past gives us the opportunity to explore the global mistakes we’ve made together as part of humanity. With a new chance to mourn the loss of disappearing cultures as we ‘hopefully’ choose to become co-creators of a new sustainable future.

We must be free to express ourselves because it is from that place of authenticity inside of each of us that we will build a future worth living. We think of freedom of expression as an essential human right from which all the other rights are drawn.

Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democratic rights and freedoms,” says the Human Rights Education Association, which provides an online resource to promote understanding, attitudes and actions to protect human rights, and to foster the development of peaceable, free and just communities.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 59(I) stating, “Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and…the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated,” in its very first session in 1946, before any human rights declarations or treaties had been adopted.

The right to self expression through freedom of information is what we usually talk about, yet few of us really think about our human rights. The right to understand and know how to access self expression is a human right.

So, what do we truly think and feel? Art-making can be a direct path to knowing one’s self as we express the knowledge of who we are – instead of just accepting, or resisting, the ideas of our dominant ‘over-culture’. Experts agree governments and the powers-that-be have often found it too dangerous for us to think for ourselves.

Feeling Free to Express

With the rise of today’s technology our freedom to express ourselves is changing drastically. It’s now happening to all of us in ways that are both beneficial and devastating.

In a thousand years will an I-Phone indicate the truth of an ancient people? Can we finally get how Venus of Willendorf describes her own people from 24,000-22,000 BCE?

According to UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, between 15 and 76 percent of women throughout the world will be targeted today under physical and sexual violence during their lifetime. It’s no surprise that many global women are trying to work through personal and ancestral experiences by actively seeking channels to improve their lives. When a woman gains the language of her own story through art she has a new ability to transform how the story affects her life and her choices.

Paintings are stories captured in image. They reflect emotional, physical and spiritual experience – especially for those who aren’t trained in the arts. Trained artists can manipulate image to their desires. While those just beginning have access to images that are often serve as vehicles of transformation, because they are untrained, the images are raw, truthful and revealing. The artist themselves becomes the hero of their own story.

Art has the capacity to give us the tools to reinvent our own images. It also helps us build a framework to see our stories differently as we put them to use in our lives. Past pain becomes future strength. Even the most challenging experiences can be put into the service of reinventing ourselves, and working with others who have had similar experiences.

Smudging the United Nations – A Native American woman leads the way and it is about time.

My personal story of showing up
and moderating a panel with my sisters
at UNCSW60 Commission on the Status of Women:
United Nations
and afterwards…
ceremony outside for Native Women and Girls and
smudging the 193 Member flags led by Carmen Baraka.

Dear Ones,

Here is a little of my story. Unplugged. Raw. Unedited.
Uncensored.

Share your comments here

UN Carmen walking and smudging

Spirit Warrior takes the UN by storm and smoke. She is asking for an apology for Native Peoples of the territory that is now known, as the United States.

Smudging the United Nations

I don’t sleep the night before.
The energy is too big here in New York.
I eat the big apple one bite at a time,

Especially at the United Nations.
Close to 200 flags wave their consent to Human Rights.
I buzz around the cosmos to see who is really in.
And what it means.

UN Shiloh moderating panel 2016I choose to be part of a nation of people who care.
I don’t feel I can represent the United States as it is now.
I don’t recognize my country.
I see our flag waving and make a silent prayer for justice.

I choose my outfit, red, black and white in the night.
I am afraid 8:30 is too early. Will anyone come?
Our room at 8:30 am on the10th floor at CSW60 begins to fill.

Roses red, and pink bringing beauty to the space.
Sisters, Cosmic Cowgirls, around the room holding space.
Presence. Vibration. Overwhelm translates into excitement.
Must stay grounded with the support of gravity.
What am I really doing here?

What can I really bring?
What could make a difference for these dear ones gathered?
From every nation, they crowd in. Bright colors.
Red, Gold, Green, Blue, Black, White, Amber, Hot Pink.
People sitting everywhere and all over the floor.
I said I would need 100 chairs. They provided 50.

On our table a stack of thick white cardstock and pens.
This is our altar. Must have creation supplies on hand.
My two 30+ slide Power Point presentations summon me to share.
Share facts. Share evidence. Share the work.
Share my months of preparation with others.
Prove the work worthy.

One is our survey on the impact of Intentional Creativity.
259 women from around the work speak to the work.
The other presentation, hand drawn on a digital board,
Showing HOW Intentional creativity works with story.
How stories can be transformed post trauma through art.

We are here on behalf of Sustainable Development goals.
Implementation. I have implemented, and want to show
How it can be done,
How our community can help your community
Use Intentional Creativity to heal.
This is why I am here.

I choose instead, red thread.

I want to give them a tool to use now, right now.
To experience in this moment.
Not a concept of Intentional Creativity,
My life work will have to wait.
I don’t need to talk about it. I need to do it.

I feel the room,
I don’t want to talk about me and my work in the world.
I want something real. Something red. Something they can take home.
Circles of energy to those they serve.
Clients, Beloveds, Colleagues, Students sitting in circle.

Red Thread with over 100 people from around the world spins fabric.

I ask who feels overwhelmed and exhausted by their service.
Hands are raised.
I ask them to share what their piece of the red thread is as they understand it now.
What is theirs to cause and create.
I teach them about seeing the big circle,
then seeing the piece they are holding.
Each get a chance to share a bit of their red thread with another.

They tie the thread on each other’s wrists.
The room is alive with love.
The buzz and hum and thrum of my heart is rising.
Fear combined with hope. Wonder combined with anticipation.
Sisterhood, brotherhood, weaving a tapestry at the UN.

Sharing this unfolding story with my sisters
Who stand for love,
The women who said yes to this experience of a panel
To being in the conversation.
This isn’t the General Assembly, this is a gathering of those on the ground.
Those not-for-profits who give their life for this work.

We begin.
An opening prayer to the grandmothers.
We declare this as sacred space.

Lois Herman, of WUNRN sharing the suffering, to wake us up.
We cannot believe what women are going through, violence, is rising.
She asks us to know. To see what is hard to see. To pay attention.
How poetry can be a part of the healing of women.
I call her the Grandmother to the United Nations.

My sister, Patty Melnice, sharing her oh so tough, Tough Angels story.
The name and laughter of Lady Fair and
her story resounds from Africa to the UN.
Sisters standing together working for a common goal, safety. Justice. Truth.
The room stands to celebrate a woman’s story, Patty,
who has gifted her life for others because she was called to.
The death of a tiny girl inspiring her towards creating a safer future.

UN Carmen blessing UNSpirit Warrior, Carmen Baraka asking for justice for Native Women and girls.
This genocide continues now.
Do we know this is the largest massacre of a people? Indians.
Most don’t know, she tells us, asks us to know. We need an apology.
We need the media to report on Native news in the US.
What are they hiding? Does the US know we are in occupied territory?

Will the UN ask the US to create a formal apology?
How can we create this? The room is surprised by her story.
We are angry. We are women with a right to be angry.
And yet we hold the good red road of anger into action.

We close the circle in beauty with song.
Lucy Mathews Heegaard, sharing a story song for Cancer survivors,
One True Step.
Yes, one true step at a time.
Surviving turns to thriving when the story is told.

One woman speaks out against some of our stories.
I had told her there would not be Q &A, so she just started talking.
In the middle of our panel.
A voice who tries to incite others in the room to her particular cause.
She is mad that our panel of 5 is made of mostly white women.
Because we talk about the challenges facing
women of color in some of our stories.
A thread in our own stories.
Not THE story we are telling.
We are showing up, weaving our stories together.
Not tearing them apart.
She missed the beauty that is happening.

The reason we are called to service is from our hearts.
She judges us. She is also white.
I see she is defending her sisters.
So are we. She slams us on social media.
She is on my thread so I tell her story too.
I know this conversation must be had.

I thank her for her voice. All voices needed.
Yet she has spoken into another woman’s story space in anger.
She has missed the thread in her rage.
And yet I know
This conversation has to be taken to another place,
But it can’t happen now.

My black friend, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide tells us,
I would have liked to tell the woman,
How you do not reject hands that have come to help.
This isn’t about what color the helper is.
You receive.

The room takes a breath.
I search for how to bring us home.
I know I don’t know what is really going on
but trust the unfolding as I try to turn my own anger into peace.

The room is silent as I say something like:
We all have our own piece of the red thread.
And we are here to educate one another and do the best we can.
What she said and how she said it is a letter for another day.
A thread of a different color, many colors.

Time has expanded and stretched for us.
I have so much more to say, but time is running out.

Honoring the lineage must happen.
Of how I got here.
I am looking for a space in my moderation.
Weaving context between each speaker and the whole room.
Trying to create relevance and stitching between stories.

Finally on closing I find the thread.
Sue and Lenore’s names reverberate throughout the UN grounds.
Eleanor Roosevelt you were right to choose
Lenore to create for the New Deal art.
Bringing emotion into art to tell stories.
The preamble to the constitution set in stone
by a woman’s hand in the 30s that we speak of today.
All three of you were in our circle.

My love, Jonathan working technology miracles.
Projector broken. Mic stand won’t stand.
With two projectors, three computers and five presenters’ material.
He makes it work. This is his 4th year of wrangling the technology.
He does so in stoic kindness.
And makes us laugh in the in between.
I want to reach him but there are too many people between us.
The isles have filled, with shoes from soil
from foreign countries toe to toe.

Today we launched the Hoya-Straus Library of Art Education.
A free video collection called A Brush with Healing has begun.
Intuitive art and painting are supposed to be shared.
We choose to share our gifts of Intentional Creativity.
Hundreds of fliers are passed out. Social media buzzes.
The registrations begin to pour in.
We will bring art to those who need it the most.

Spirit Warrior closes our circle with a chant from the ancestors.
The room becomes liquid. Particle and wave become fluid motion.
Time stops. As she chants and drums.
My knees shake. My stomach quivers.
The walls turn to listen.
The world listens. I think the United Nations heard it.
A Native American woman at the UN is calling for justice.
Justice that has not been served or acknowledged.

I remind everyone if you are in this room
you are supposed to be here.
The red thread has shortened the distance
between you and this circle.
I invite everyone to come away with an action, and inspiration.

IC teachers pass out card stock paper.
Ask people to write down an action to take.
I pray the love and power in that space and time expands.
Grows and blesses.

At the end, our speakers are rushed with women from many lands.
Women wait to speak to us,
and give us their stories and information.
Invitations connect threads in Africa,
India, China and the women behind them.
The Chinese women cry at the mention of the red thread.
The legend says that those who are supposed to meet
are connected by an invisible red thread since before birth.
Connections are made
That have been longing the making between worlds.

In our Intentional Creativity community we teach
That we each have our piece of red thread.
That we may be able to see the whole circle,
and because of that, may feel overwhelmed,
but really – all we have to know
Is our part, to name it and live it out.

What is your piece of the Red Thread?

Whispers of, this energy rarely happens here.
This is needed. We feel this. This is what we want.
Most panels aren’t like this. Don’t feel like this.
Not just statistics and facts,
but shared love among those who serve.
Sharing tools, resources, stories.

One of the things I remember is this:

When I say I will not present my report of statistics,
That I will share a tool they can bring back home to their work
They cheer. I hear the room humming with stories
From all nations as the red thread is shared.

We invite everyone to the streets before the flags
To be a part of a ritual on UN grounds (or near)
We hope we won’t be arrested
But we will try to get in as much as we can
Before we are discovered by police.

UN Carmen drumming ShilohSpirit Warrior leads us in ceremony.
She smudges us with sage. People on the street join us.
A man who is filming with his i-phone stops and asked to be blessed.
A woman on the gender continuum journey asks,
is this really a blessing?
I want a blessing.
She asks me what it means.
I tell her it also clears negative energy.
Her eyes get wide. I need that she/he says.
We pass out roses from the Great Mother.

Then the idea comes – smudge the United Nations.
Every flag from every country represented.
We made our own procession
Guided by a Native Woman on whose Ancestors land we stand.
We raise up our hands in prayer and blessing
We sing the women’s healing song as we go.

I can’t help but wonder
Has the United Nations ever been smudged?
We feel the power. The presence.
The work being done on behalf of all beings. All nations.
This day, we have each held our piece of the red thread.
That which is ours to do.

We lunch together, a party of 18, making plans for change.
Plans get set in motion.
Ideas of classes, scholarships, new allegiances are born.
We agree to create a scholarship fund for Native American Girls.
We agree the stories of white women and black women
and brown women working together
is ready for a the next part of the conversation.

We need to open up in new ways.
Standing side by side and saying the impossible words
that will dissolve the invisible and visible barriers,
many of which are created by patriarchy, not by sisters.

If we don’t say the unspoken, who will?
Those who lead from the heart,
don’t help each other from guilt.
We help each other from love.
The story continues and the table is loud and alive.

Later that evening in a little café in Chelsea.
I am exhausted and yet filled with life.
I need a bowl of pasta and red wine.
I talk with my husband over candlelight.

We make plans for next year.
We hope we did a good job.
I pray we offered a blessing.
I pray for all beings.

Holding my piece of the red thread.
AHO!

Shiloh Sophia

Share your comments HERE.

UN CSW60 group in front of sign 2016

Thank you to all the sisters gathered – for their support and presence and a few I know by name….especially Cosmic Cowgirls and Color of Woman teachers.

Lois Herman, Carmen Baraka, Denise Wreden, Patty Melnice, Rachel Bavis, Karen Murphy, Mary MacDonald, Valerie Kravette, Shauna Henry, Elizabeth Gibbons, Carole Thomassy, Leslie Nolan, Barbara Ann Michaels, Christine St. Pierre, Felicia Thompson, Marie Claudine Marie Claudine Mukamabano and more….

“We stand firm in our commitment to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression, including artistic and creative expression. In addition to being an integral part of the protected human right to freedom of expression, artistic and creative expression is critical to the human spirit, the development of vibrant cultures, and the functioning of democratic societies. Artistic expression connects us all, transcending borders and barriers.

Artistic expression can challenge us and change the way we view the world”.

This quote comes from a joint statement made by 57 State Members at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

A Brush With Healing Graphic

Welcome to the Hoya-Straus Art Education Library
at the heart of Intuitive Art & Intentional Creativity.

Our first project, A Brush with Healing provides access to free video classes to be used for self healing and education through the arts for both personal and professional use.

Access the video library here!


We have one more event at the United Nations on March 24 – where we will be showing a film about intuitive art and intentional creativity alive in the world.

Serving Those Who Serve – United Nations

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CSW59: Recharging Our Work as Global Advocates


(UN Council of the Status of Women – 59th Session)

Addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress and Compassion Fatigue

Serving Those Who Serve

March 10, 6:15pm United Nations Church Center

The United Nations: Church Center for the United Nations – International Chapel 777 United Nations Plaza, New York New York

Host, moderator and sponsor Lys Anzia: Founder & Human Rights Journalist, 
 WNN – Women News Network

Many people who have worked in the field of international human rights and humanitarian efforts have witnessed first-hand, and second-hand, some of the most difficult global traumas experienced by women and children. Because of this advocates, journalists, NGO workers and activists can find themselves suffering from forms of Secondary Traumatic Stress and Fatigue (STS). Research shows STS burn-out can stop our ability to work. It can be transformed if the right steps are taken. This year at UNCSW59 in New York, 20 years following the ‘Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995’, attendees from over 100 separate countries will reaffirm their commitment to equal rights & human dignity for all women and children who have suffered. As we reach beyond the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action it’s now time to “serve the server.” Join an international panel that will highlight how to reduce STS through interactive sharing, insight and resources.

PANELISTS

Svetlana Bachevanova: Documentary photojournalist dedicated to global social justice, Publisher of FotoEvidence

Jessica Buchleitner: WNN Human Rights Journalist & Global women’s advocate, Author of The 50 Women Book Anthology Series

Cecilia Lipp: Attorney & Executive Director of International Action Network for Gender Equity and Law, Former Program Manager for Survivors International UCSF Trauma Recovery Center

Shiloh Sophia McCloud: Founder of the Intentional Creativity Movement, Author, Global Educator focusing on art as a path of healing from trauma to transformation for women & girls through the Red Thread.

David Stuart: Former Executive Director of Disarmament Action Network, FotoEvidence Managing Editor

Elahe Amani: Peace Mediator/Activist with Mediators Beyond Borders (MBB) Special Speaker on Iranian women in prisons at UN Human Rights Council Geneva, WNN – Women News Network reporter on Iran, and Chair for Global Circles at WIN – Women’s Intercultural Network.

Follow Shiloh’s Journey to the United Nations and participate in Peace!

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Invitation to Quantum Creativity – Join us for our 7 Week class!

 

Join us for our FREE 7 Week class on Quantum Creativity – co-created with Cosmic Cowgirls University, Red Thread Nation and Shiloh Sophia Studios.
Register here

Project Revision – Have you signed yet?

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Creating Vision from Heartbreak by Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici

Eagle Vision

Eagle Vision

For years I didn’t have time for a vision.
I was surviving.

A couple years ago I bought Animal Medicine Cards. I liked the idea of seeking deeper meaning and having a focus for my day. You pick a card blindly and each animal has “medicine” you can learn from.

I was a mouse.

Mice are about detail and scrutiny. Mouse people appear to be nit-pickers. They pay attention to what is right in front of their nose. They do that and then move to the next thing, and then the next. They are the doers.

As a mouse I was all about survival and doing what needed to get done: cleaning my home, changing my kids diapers, making dinners, doing the laundry, making beds. Each day I would start all over again. My head was down. These things seemed important, only they weren’t. They were important as a mouse but anyone with vision could see they were only survival focused.  

And then I became an eagle.

Eagles are visionaries. They have this awesome sight that allows them to soar about and see the great expanse and possibilities, and still be able to zoom in and see a rodent scurrying below. Eagle vision is all about seeing the big picture. It is about seeing how we are all interconnected, how our choices help shape the lives of others. It is about staying open to possibilities and not getting sucked into the mire of doing.

What if vision comes from heart break?

Sometime we are shaken to our core and our hearts are mashed up. My heart mashing moments: ~ The death of my mom when I was 13 ~ Being sexually abused ~ The miscarriage of my first baby ~ Completely losing myself when I became a mom.

As I started healing myself, I found others who were going through the same heart ache. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry,” I shared my own experience, how I moved through my pain. And I saw it… the big vision –

What if I am here to give a hand and help those who are currently going through my past pain?

What if my pain has some WAY BIGGER meaning than my own personal growth?

I started seeing moms of young children everywhere… moms who were just surviving, overwhelmed, moms who had lost themselves to motherhood. They were tired, worn out and I remember being them. So I started helping, offering tips and advice, voicing the unspeakable so they knew they weren’t alone. They knew someone else understood and that they could move through it.

What would it be like to LIVE the great vision of YOU?

Visionary Mom and Kids

Visionary Mom and Kids

Vision is about looking ahead. It is about looking at our world and seeing something else, seeing something bigger than you. Visions are about expansion. They are about living our greatness, about effecting change and inspiring others. My vision? I believe each mom can live her vision and dreams, find her own happiness and inspire her kids to do the same. That is part of the reason I decided to launch The Radiant Mama – and if you are Mama who has lost herself – come join us.

What’s Your Vision?
Here are 3 steps to finding out.

1) Love yourself up Sometimes we can’t even think about affecting the lives of others. We are in survival mode. We may be giving so much, we can’t look up and give to anyone else. Sucked dry. You want to help others but you’re just dog tired. Time to tank up.

Here are some Tank filling activities: ~ Meditation ~ Nature walks ~ Intentional Painting ~ Journaling ~ Turning off all electronics for a day (yeah, really)

2) Looking at past Heart Ache through a new lens What are the most difficult and traumatic things that have happened to you? What did you learn from that? How could you give this knowledge to people going through the same experience? Write, write, write it all down. Start to see the amazing HELP you can be to others from the gift of your own experience.

3) What’s next? Anything tugging at your heart? Make your heart race with fear and excitement? That’s probably it. Go there. What is the great vision of you that wants to be expressed?

I’d love to hear your vision. Comment below if you want to be witnessed in your vision…

I am listening…

 

Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici

Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici

Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici is an award winning artist, writer, dancer, healer and coach. Her current project is as host of the telesummit The Radiant Mama featuring  global experts and leaders to help mothers find their true purpose, ignite their passion and live their dreams. She offers art, writing, movement, education and support, in order to bring healing, empowerment and inspiration. She currently lives on the Big Island of Hawai’i with her husband and two boys.  www.amberbonnici.com

 

 

LINKS to share!

Animal Medicine Cards http://www.medicinecards.com/
The Radiant Mama www.theradiantmama.com
Intentional Painting with Shiloh Sophia and the Cosmic Cowgirls http://www.cosmiccowgirlsuniversity.com/

The Song of Tough Angels

Patty Melnice of Tough Angels joined our community a few years ago, and when I saw her website and what she was up to I was profoundly moved by her work. I love hearing the stories of all the good work being done by all of these amazing service based organizations, but when it is one woman on a mission I have to say I get fired up. Patty and I have been keeping in touch as time moves along and her vision of working in Africa makes me hold onto that red thread of hope. The song of tough angels like Patty is hope, and it gives us all hope when we hear her story, and the story of the women and children she serves.

Patty and I have been speaking about how to collaborate more in the future – to share the work the Red Thread Nation and our tribeswomen of Cosmic Cowgirls and Color of Woman are doing with bringing self expression into the world. With technology advances and increased access to platforms in Africa, Patty and I talked about being able to bring creative processes of healing through video. This is in the works… Let me share Patty with you… ~Shiloh Sophia

My decision to quit my job as a visual stylist for a luxury retailer . . . to put my belongings in storage . . . to walk away from my home . . . to venture into the unknown and travel alone to South Africa, followed a divorce after 24 years of marriage. My life had to be about something bigger than my divorce, and I couldn’t think of a better way to move through the heartache than to be of service to others. I never dreamed however, that it would change the course of my life so completely. Moreover, I never dreamed my actions would have a ripple effect that would reach further than I ever imagined possible.

After spending six months, independently volunteering in Africa rescuing children that had been raped, I returned to the US driven by a voracious passion for aiding and assisting women and children of violence. I don’t know why I’ve been chosen to do this work, but I do know there are far too many synchronies to deny my life’s purpose. After my experience, I was determined to incite awareness as step one to begin the process of transformation and healing for women and children far less fortunate than ourselves. Surprisingly, along the route, what I discovered was so much more about myself. I found I had the courage to walk away from my comfortable lifestyle in order to dedicate my life to humanitarian efforts. I have recently founded my own non-profit organization, Tough Angels, Inc.

I am determined!

Rescuing children that had been brutally raped and the rate at which it occurred was an incomprehensible experience that I didn’t know I was equipped to handle. I assure you however, I found so much more there than tragedy. I came to know and love these wonderful, strong, forgiving and grateful people that became my teachers.

It would be impossible to illustrate with any accuracy the depths of adversity and hardship that is experienced in this culture. To give you a thumbnail sketch of what I encountered, the youngest rape case, though not uncommon, was a 4-month old baby that died from her injuries. From point of rescue, to the final court proceedings of each case, I worked with the child victims, the police, Child Protective Services, the hospitals, and the judicial system to address what is now an epidemic problem in Africa. The final case I was involved in only days before I left the continent, was an 11-year old girl; stabbed, raped and left for dead on the side of a road after her perpetrator rolled a huge bolder on top of her tiny body. The brave little girl clung to her life and was able to give us the details necessary to track down the rapist. The police officers and I searched for days through the impoverished hills of the countryside for the rapist. High speed chases, guns firing, and attack dogs still did not deter this man. Each day the little girl clung to her life. In the end we did catch him and in the end, she lost her life – oddly within minutes of his capture. Did she fight to stay alive until he was arrested? I always believed she did.

South Africa claims the #1 spot in the world for rapes of women and children and HIV infections. Many of these tragedies can be blamed on a tribal myth that exists within the poverty-stricken communities that believe purification and a cure for AIDS can be attained through sexual intercourse with a virgin child. The work required around education, prevention, and the reporting of the abuse in order to undo this myth is believed by some, insurmountable. I however, believe that by empowering the women to have a voice, to stand for justice, and to refuse to accept this as a way of life for themselves and their children is the way to bring about change. Women rising up . . . this is new for them!

I worked closely with the Zulu people and one woman in particular, named Lady Fair, became my benchmark for grace, gratitude and generosity. Lady Fair is a single Mom supporting her family of 5, in addition to 11 orphans that she has taken in off the streets. She receives no financial help for the orphans and she once told me that if she had 2 potatoes, God would want her to give one away to help others. Lady Fair lived in a tiny tin shack with dirt floors, no running water or electricity. She never complained, nor did she ever ask for help. When I became aware of her circumstances, I knew I could not leave the continent without helping her. I had no idea what that looked like or how I was going to accomplish it but I was determined to create a warmer, safer place for her and the children. Without financial means of my own to achieve this, I pawned my wedding ring and with the help of friends was able to secure land and build Lady Fair a house. She now lives in a home with a secure foundation, and running water for the first time in her life.

That being such a cathartic experience for myself, I started “The Wedding Ring Project” as my first campaign to raise funds to return and build a safe house in the Kwa Zulu Natal region of South Africa. Others can do the same and donate their broken, unused, or repurposed jewelry to Tough Angels, Inc.

I remain in touch with Lady Fair as I’m certain I will until my final breath. She is my sister. She recently told me that she had been in a deep dark hole all her life and many people had stopped by to look at her in the hole. She stated that the change occurred because I believed in her, and the difference being, I got down in the hole with her to help her out. I did not do anything extraordinary. I saw a need and stepped up . . . the same as anyone with a heart would’ve done. The real story is in what Lady Fair has done as a result of being given a chance. We were recently in contact, at which time she told me she had a surprise for me. Within days, I received a letter from an attorney in S. Africa with an attached proposal for a safe house Lady Fair wants to build and facilitate. Can you hear me screaming with excitement and joy?! Her dream was to run her own safe house for children awaiting placement in adoption or foster care once they had been rescued from rape. The name for her proposed site is Ngiwelise, which loosely translated means “crossing over the bridge but remembering where you came from and turning around to help others cross over too.”

Contained in the proposal is the outline of who the safe house will accept and assist. In addition to the children awaiting placement, Lady Fair will care for children of teenage mothers during the day, with the stipulation that the moms attend school. That is where the healing begins and change begins to take place. One by one, life improves and it begins to have a ripple effect. We can all be part of the solution to make a difference! It doesn’t require going to a developing country and volunteering for 6 months, but it does beg us to get involved. Spread awareness. Brainstorm ways to bring about change. We are all in this together.

I keep this photo handy. When I first arrived, I remember riding in the backseat of a police car with this little girl on our way to the hospital for her forensic exam. It was about 1:00AM and the night air was blowing through the opened windows of the rickety police car. She trembled in my arms with her head resting on my heart for the entire ride. We couldn’t speak each other’s language but I wrapped her in all the love and protection I possibly could. Months later, right as I was getting ready to leave, I was at an orphanage and didn’t even recognize her until she came running to me with open arms. She is my “hope” talisman and my reminder that we can heal . . . her body was indeed raped, but as you can see, her spirit was not.

From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of the children and women I serve, we thank you.

Patricia Melnice, Tough Angels

My Journey East – Notes from the United Nations

banner1Here are my speech notes that informed my talk at the United Nations  last week that I shared during the Soulfire Collection Slideshow featuring 126 paintings– If you missed it, I have reposted it below.

For over 50,000 years, images of the feminine have been sculpted, painted and created by the people in honor of what is sacred and important to them. But over the past 5,000 or more, years a dishonoring of women, family, and in particular the feminine image has been systematic, intentional, devastating. The results of this are evidenced in more crimes to the innocents than ever before.

We are an image-based people, as form, as beings, we are in-formed by image itself. Therefore our self-image is often defined by the external images we see around us. Images can be used to dominate, to sell us things we don’t need, make us think and feel we are worthless and to keep us from thinking for ourselves. The revolution we are calling for, right now, is not a fight, or a resistance, it is a revolution in how we see ourselves, and therefore define our lives. We all are in recovery from learning to be invisible. We must now choose to be visible.

What are you called to create in your life?
What is the shape of the longing within your own soul?

The 2013 Annual Color of Woman Art Show: The Soul-Fire Collection is designed to LIGHT up your souls with the fire of what is possible, for you, using the image of the feminine as your spark. We share this collection with a specific intention in mind – a call to action for each of you viewing this show. That the images will inspire and provoke you to consider seeing yourself in a new and powerful way. And to discover the ways we are connected across cultures and geography, through art. Art that reflects personal story. We see these kinds of images, and beauty based therapeutic tools as an antidote to violence against women.

The images you see are not drawn from external sources; They are images called forth from the soul of the one holding the brush – from internal seeing, from getting to know ourselves from the inside out. The results are images that reflect discoveries from journeying to the internal world for information, and together they document a story of an uprising of teachers, leaders, healers, shamans, visionaries, entrepreneurs, dreamers, doctors, poets, change-makers. Our mission is to uplift, empower, inspire, inform and light the soul fires of creativity for women and men worldwide. Each one of these women is an artist and writer in her own right and each one of these women has chosen to teach others what they know about the transformational capacity of creativity to heal story and self image. Artist becomes teacher. Healed becomes healer. Wounds become gifts of transformation. This is the work of Intentional Creativity, a therapeutic approach to healing that combines ‘visionary imagination’ (a type of meditation method that seeks personal language and symbol) with the creative arts of word and image.

When we journey inside to discover who we truly are, we get access to tools for healing our stories, our self-images, and ultimately ourselves. When we dare to believe in ourselves we generate the courage to create lives that reflect who we are and what we care about. This is an invitation to explore our common language of image and provoke self expressed creativity in you!

What self-expression in you is longing to be revealed?
What is the thing in you that wants to light up your soul?

This work is a collaboration of women’s organizations and individuals who have gathered together to express themselves and their voices in the world and we collectively are called the Red Thread Nation. There is much being done, by so many of us who care, to reform the systems that are harming our people. And while we are doing this great work – our ability to stay connected to ourselves and our own unique voices will be a sustaining power for us as leaders, and for those we serve and long to bring living waters to. We cannot forget that we too need nurturing while we go about the daily task of saving the world. We are a movement of artists and poets who BELIEVE that it is time for an uprising.

Through our understanding of the Divine as inclusive of the feminine, regardless of specific spiritual tradition, if women are a part of it, the feminine is a part of it. When the feminine is a part of it, the conversation of wholeness and healing is possible. I don’t need to tell you all the statistics, since you are here, you already know. Being from the United States I often encounter people who don’t think we are still in trouble here – then I tell them that right here, every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted, and that 80% of the victims are under age 30. That one in five women will be raped or experience attempted rape in her lifetime, and that at least half off those women are under 25. Worldwide, the statistics are much worse than that; but I am here to offer hope. I’m here to extend a red thread of hope to you instead of remind you of what you already know, that there is much work to be done.

I want to state this because it is important: To work for women and the feminine is not about being against the masculine in any way. The work we are doing relates to men and women. Women are the mothers of the future, boys and girls. And when the mother is not safe, no one is safe. And of course men need to be included and integral for the true healing to happen – we can include this in the conversation, while not denying the realities. This method of creativity is being shared with men and women globally, and works equally well for both.

The Chinese legend says that those who are supposed to meet are connected by an invisible red thread since before birth. Each one of us is a part of the larger circle of the great red thread that encircles and connects all beings. What is your piece/peace of the thread? We are connecting our own piece of the red thread through image and word and the invitation to Intentional Creativity, our common language.

To be self expressed is the greatest risk and the greatest gift.

When our stories and images are expressed, our truth will be known and never hidden again. Through our understanding of who we are and what we are capable of, we can open the space for miracles to happen. Healing always happens in the realm of miracles. We are creative beings sharing these stories, images and ideas across the world that connect us – this IS the Red Thread Nation.

Report from Shiloh’s Journey to the East – A Quest for the Red Thread

IMG_4715 Dear Ones,

I have been on a week-long quest for the Red Thread on my journey to New York. This is the quest for what lights us on fire from the divine spark inside our hearts. What makes it grow brighter? What extinguishes it? How can we organize our lives so that we’re surrounded by that which sparks; instead of that which diminishes? I came to New York to speak at the United Nations for the CSW 57 – Commission on the Status of Women by invitation from WUNRN, The Women’s United Nations Report Network on a panel about ending violence against women through the arts and films and how creativity and poetry could contribute to this vision.

First a taste of New York

I am writing you from the Red Thread Café on the plane home from New York City. I have to tell the truth, I fell in love with New York. But I heard from New Yorkers that when you are in love, New York is in love with you and when you are broken hearted, everything seems against you. A city sensitive to our emotional state – I like it.

Walking into Grand Central station I cried with the beauty of being in one of our worlds ‘great spaces’. Walking Central Park, eating a hot dog with sauerkraut on a Winter day, I felt a part of everything and as if the bare trees were speaking to me as Trees of Life.  Taking communion in Saint Bartholomews, one of the city’s oldest churches, the Priest spoke of the two selves, the true self and the false self, and I was quaking inside to find a message akin to my own. Having a Waldorf salad at the Waldorf Astoria and a Manhattan in Manhattan. New York was saying ‘taste me’. And I did. We stayed at the Waldorf and enjoyed walking in the halls of ‘legend’ and there was beauty everywhere I looked: Chandeliers to rival a cathedral and live piano music that begged for pinot noir and black hats in Peacock Alley and it just goes on. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was beyond my wildest dreams – and the show, Matisse – In search of True Painting made me ache for my paintbrush and wish so much my students could be there seeing what I was seeing, and, understanding more about what we are doing in our work that he demonstrated in his. He was the FIRST artist to SHOW each step of the painting as a public installation, and guess what? Very much like the Color of Woman Method! O and the lox and bagel with capers (why doesn’t it taste like that at home?)–They promised me they would overnight me a dozen with all the fixings anytime. Our annual Cosmic Cowgirls conference is coming up, shall we order some New York bagels, my darlings?

I felt like I was hungry for this city. I would work until my eyes were bleary and insist on going out at all different hours of the day or night to ‘consume’ New York. One step out the door and the greeting from the cosmic hum of this place resonated in my soul. I understood ‘taking a bite out of the big apple’ though I hadn’t considered that metaphor until toward the end. Similar to leaving one’s heart in San Francisco because the city requires it of you, this city wanted to be tasted- ‘bit into’, and I did.

Touching Red Threads of East and West

We enjoyed an amazing round table evening with Cosmic Cowgirls and a few Cosmic Cowboys from the East on Park Avenue; I lead a workshop there with 17 women, some of whom traveled by bus for 8 hours and flew in from around the country to come to the Open Center and sit in red thread circle. IT was beyond – we really GOT to where we were headed, lighting our soulfires up in a proper blaze of creative love and glitter. Yes, the streets of New York really were glittering because of us. Literally. (That is how you know you have been to one of our workshops: there’s a trail of glitter behind you.)

IMG_6219The work at HAND

I was there to share the work of 42 women artists – to demonstrate through image the power of creativity as a tool for healing. I was invited to share my art and poetry there, but the more I sat with it the clearer I was that it was only a truly effective means of healing on a larger scale if it was clear that the work went beyond just one woman; if it was evidenced in the lives of other women. As I surveyed the content of the works created in the Color of Woman Teacher Training, I found such a diverse offering of images that seemed to truly move beyond culture, geography, nationality. These images were ladies of green, purple, gold, brown, turquoise and Red Madonnnas with symbols that defied known tradition and moved into an expansive voice of the feminine that felt like ANY woman could feel like she belonged to it. I want to say up front, the women’s work that is featured in the slideshow, is the work of artists, but it is also the work of teachers. Women who have said YES to teaching creative ways of healing to others; Women who walk between the two worlds, both serving self and serving the other selves all around them.

I felt you with me

You were with me. I felt myself as if in a constellation of love connected by red thread as strong and expansive as the strength of a spider’s web. I felt held inside of it at all times, as if you were around me in a palpable sense. Pressing in and expanding with my own breath. I knew I went for us. Those of you in my immediate community of Cosmic Cowgirls and Red Madonnas let me know you were there to help continue to spark my fire for the work at hand. You wrote songs.  You made videos. You painted paintings. You posted prayers. You wrote poems. You lit candles. You posted these on Facebook. We were a part of something bigger and we knew it. And I felt it, relied on it, leaned on it, and in my hardest moment during the day at the UN, I let you hold me up and let your voices come through.

IMG_4593What am I doing here, really?

What was I really there for? To share the work we created, and to launch the Red Thread Nation, a Global Tribe of Creative Beings. To expand the conversation between women across the globe through our common language of creativity. And what was the Red Thread Nation, really? It was scheduled to launch on the Monday of my speech and I felt I had been working on it my whole life – in fact it was one of my earliest domain purchases. Now ten years later I finally know. But still. What is it? A Place to say ‘Yes’. A place where the creative beings of the world would see and KNOW that we are united through word and image.

In my presentation I had to touch upon the possibility of creativity affecting women post-trauma; After all the bad stuff has happened, when we are left with pulling the pieces or our lives together to make some semblance of a place we could actually live inside of. I didn’t want it to be flowery – instead I wanted it to have teeth. At some point in my speech I remember saying: ‘…imagine if the tools to heal were placed in the hands of the women themselves, no longer a therapy based on needing someone to lead them through; A method based on showing women how to use tools to heal themselves and their stories, that they themselves were in charge of…’ Finding language for this element of our work felt like a million wings being released into the cosmos. Yes. This is possible. Yes we were already doing it. Yes we would continue to do it, only now it would be available to more women. Starting immediately, the plans are in place to make the technology we are using available in Spanish and Chinese. This is where to start.

The very first course in this method of creativity was taught in Mexico during the very same weekend.

Teaching women to think

IMG_6228 In my talk, I wanted to provide evidence of what was happening in our fledgling global village. Everyone was providing that: Evidence of war, rape, violence, poisoned water, missing children. But I did not want charts or statistics or numbers. I was proud to say that we serve over 300 women a month across the world (mostly US and Canada but with a growing reach). By sharing the work of the women who are living proof of the miracle of this kind of creative work, what kept rising to the top was the concept of being able to teach women HOW TO THINK using their own internal navigation tools. HOW heart-connected image combined with word gives us a WAY to heal. For the first time I ‘got’ this about our community, the keepers of the red thread: Our work is dedicated to raising up leaders, poets, writers, visionaries, healers, dreamers, by first healing ourselves; and from that space of health and connectedness, reaching out to bring our gifts and wisdom to the others in the world…with as much sparkle and chocolate as we can because when we’ve been through hell with our hair on fire any glimmer of hope can happen in the smallest, silly kindnesses. (Yes, we had chocolate at the United Nations. -It was on the altar).

Does the vision lead you or do you lead the vision?

When one is a visionary you set out to cause your vision and, you allow your vision to guide you on your way. Following the threads, circle of stones, raven calls and rose petals. Right? Your heart tells you about where to go and how to be inside of the journey – turn here. Choose purple. Buy that hat. Call that person. Reach out here. Turn this way, NOOO silly, THIS way. Share this tidbit. But often there is a larger vision, that you may or not be aware of that is in the invisible realm, that at times will make itself visible but mostly remains between the veils as something that cannot be viewed directly, so illusive and powerful is it that when you try to look at it, it so big you cannot see it at all because it is the larger context. But it is what is calling your name and waking you up in the night. ‘That’ thing which may have no name but somehow, defines everything.

How does this work?

first_pageWhen I shared the slideshow of the Color of Woman Teacher Graduates and Artists, the faces of the people showed they were right there with me. Heads were nodding and hearts were being held. They saw, in the work, the miracle of what was possible. I told them we drew our images from within ourselves – where the stories of our lives live. I told them how each canvas holds a part of our story that gets transformed as it transfers itself from our psyche onto the canvas. I told them this work could be taught globally to women who are in post-trauma, those who are continually plagued by the retelling of their story but not really seeing that story move to transformation. I told them that neuroscientifically their brain was not designed to change without the tool of image to reshape it. I told them that this was not a spiritual concept, but a scientific reality, about how the right and left brain are part of what will make it possible for us to live inside of ourselves differently by learning how to navigate our inner terrain. I told them about the muse and how she begins over time to transform the voices in our head and how she needs training to do that, and how image and symbol and story are held inside of each being.

At the end the people came to greet me and I was able to give them the newly minted Red Thread Nation business card. One woman said: “This presentation was worth my entire visit to the United Nations.”  A nun from the Philippines asked for a copy of the poem I read. Teenage girls asked to be a part of it, and so much more.

I’ll be back, United Nations!

Still I was searching for the real reason I came; The red thread that was connected right to my heart. The ‘finding’ of that red thread for my journey wasn’t revealed to me until the very last day. We had to get to the airport, and a blizzard was coming in but there was one final thing I had to do. We accepted the risk, left our luggage at the hotel and hopped in a cab to the United Nations Plaza for one last visit.

IMG_4719I walked into the Conference of that day, which was the planning for the 2014 CSW 58. I was clear: I would be back next year and I would find a way to make it happen. Seeing the women sitting behind their placard: South Africa, Kenya, China, Argentina, Europe, each nation with its own placard, It was so mind blowing to SEE it! It was like when I saw VanGogh’s Sunflowers for the first time in person… you see it, but you didn’t really SEE it. My placard I carried in my heart and on my wrist: The Red Thread Nation – A Global Tribe of Creative Beings. I listened to statistics and atrocities, of progress made and not made, about water, sanitation, healthcare, injustices, access to education. As each woman’s nation was called on, she said her peace/piece: that which she had traveled across the world to speak. With each one I sent her my love and back up; that she would have her voice heard. I felt proud of us as a people, as the United Nations. I felt part of it. I felt hope. I felt desperate. I felt love. I felt wonder. I felt loss. I felt, soul fire. I felt ready. I felt …ignited!

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