Leaning into Tragedy – Learning Loving Resilience when Social Media is the Messenger

What do we do when tragedy strikes?
How do we not become over-whelmed and numb?
Is there anything we can do?
Do you have a process for navigating?

Yesterday after hearing the news about the Texas church massacre I was of course devastated. Since the time of Standing Rock I feel there has barely been a moment where I haven’t felt like I was tracking disaster using online media as my news source. It can be exhausting. I am sharing some of the things I do to help me not turn away from suffering, and yet protect myself so I can stay strong. I wanted to post – praying for you – thinking of you – but it felt like I had done that so many times. What else could I do. So I wrote this post.

Yesterday, right before the news hit, I thought: What would my life look like without being connected to social media? I would find things out eventually but it would be later – and I wouldn’t be able to respond quickly to those I have been called to serve at least at this time. Responding is part of my work. We are the antidote. And where I can, teaching how to navigate the tough terrain of being awake during such challenging times.

Let’s let one another have our own experience, shall we? Sometimes when I share these posts about ways to respond, people write me back and tell me I should focus on gun laws and petitions and other aspects of the work at hand. Let me be clear here – it is not that I don’t take action in the world. Rather, I don’t expect my community to do what I am doing – so my choices are personal. Not everything I do personally is a teaching or offering for my community. One of the things I have to do is to stay focused on how I can support and empower the circles I have called. My sacred assignment is clear. Each of us must choose what each of us must do. What is right for me may not be what is right for you.

Resiliency actions are just as needed as activist actions. To be a peacemaker I must first have peace within myself. From there, I can take informed action.

I hope you will take the action of sharing this – it IS helping as people are already using it to open hearts and set boundaries. You can either share the post, OR you can copy and paste – feel free to also download the images.

Yours in loving kindness and presence,

~ Shiloh Sophia

 

Please feel free to share the Facebook post and image.

This practice is an exploration in how to not turn away from suffering happening ‘to others’ in ‘other locations’. Clearly if it is in our family and town, that is a whole other thing and responses and actions are different. This is for things where we may not be near in proximity but we have learned the hard news and are often feeling helpless.

In time, if we can choose not to be helpless but helpful, we will actually experience greater resilience, but first we must feel. From the space of being able to ‘be with’ what is, we can then discover how to show up without either being numb or a savior. This is an invitation to choose to consciously engage with how we lean into tragedy. This is not intended to simplify grief, but rather give us a chance to practice and learn as we continue in this great unfolding.

All of us process information differently and each of us has to choose how to moderate the news of what is happening in our sweet world. It is hard to avoid while on Social Media – so this post is focused on that aspect of the unavoidable.

Note – This post is not about lobbying or contacting your government for change – that comes AFTER you process your initial shock. By managing your experience consciously – you *may* then have more space and information to take informed action. Use what is useful for you or modify. (We will continue to edit as more useful information comes forward)

Feel free to share.

1. Awareness: You see the thing announced – Allow yourself to feel what you feel – knowing there is more to come. Following that first wave of what is natural to you to feel, consider pausing and breathing – before doing a full search online. Just get the headline confirmed so you have the information available. Be with what happened in your awareness.

2. Self Care #1: Pray how you pray, meditate or breathe – do your thing that you do to get grounded. Connect with your own source, strengthen up your own connection, move slowly. It will all still be there in a few minutes so you don’t need to rush. Get yourself as ready as you can to know more. Remember the only appropriate action is the one that is right for you right now.

Then read what you need to read to be informed – but don’t read tons of things if you can help it. Find your own trusted news source for these kinds of happenings and go there as opposed to frantically searching. This may not be on social media.

3. Community: Reach out to loved ones you know are close to what has happened, gently, and without a need for immediate response since they are likely being bombarded right now with inquiries. Be present without being invasive. And whatever you do – try your hardest not to tell anyone in that proximity what they should do – example – hurricane: you should leave etc. Let the person make their own decision – if you have a story to tell that might help, tell it.

4. Connect: Connect through your heart with those who are harmed or in harms way. Perhaps in this connection with those hurting, allow in more space to feel what you are feeling. Shock moves into grief. Compassion is powerful. Let tears come. Don’t fight the anger or sorrow for a time – let your experience be your experience. Feeling something that didn’t happen to you directly is an experience of LOVE.

Send your love – as if you can see it going right to the location and those impacted. Keep that love flowing as long as you feel you can. Put it on your altar in some way. Those of us who paint, write, dance etc. – include it in our work.

5. Self Care #2: Just because others are in worse shape doesn’t mean you don’t have your own experience. You do – and if you don’t let yourself have it because you are comparing, you will have to deal with it more later.

Intentional Creativity® through journaling and or drawing could help here in any part of this process to move energy and receive insight into how you really feel.

Gently, choose, if you are called, to not to let this experience ‘stay’ in your body but rather move through you – even see it ‘moving’ through. Choose consciously to try to not let this experience trigger and then compound existing trauma. This will not always be possible. That’s why this is a practice. Keep your mindful attention on your breathe. Following, your self management in how you relate with this, you may be more prepared to take empowered actions.

6. Mindful Posting: MOST important following your self care is how you can contribute. This part is up to you and your posting patterns and ways and spiritual tradition. Connect with your intelligent heart so you are coming from the most helpful compassionate place for you and others. Think how what you post will impact others, out of respect.

If you are called, post a prayer or action or insight or inquiry on social media or the best online link to the information. Saying what you feel is part of your own story of connection to others. Following the initial news, if you are strong enough to provide support, do that. If you need support, ask for it and be specific with your needs.

Many also use common trending hashtags to show solidarity and to be able to find the others who are working with the same thing.

We are the antidote when we choose.
Imagine if those of us who are the love senders stopped
because we thought it wouldn’t work?

7. Gratitude and Sharing: Count your own blessings. Go find someone near to you and give them some love. Let yourself feel love and keep the energy flowing.

 

Artist Shiloh Sophia
with supportive ideas from the collective.
Intentional Creativity Foundation

Sparked by Texas Church Massacre

 

Intentional Creativity 7 Step Process for use during natural disaster recovery

Let’s stay connected to what matters the most.

 

This process is here to use and adapt for those recovery or crisis from natural disasters. It can be done personally, yet is written from the perspective of someone guiding the experience.


SCROLL DOWN TO RE
AD PROCESS

If desired you can print out a PDF HERE and share as many as you would like.

If you are part of the Northern California Fires and seek support from women – join us here

We invite you to share the process with others using this link: Share The Elements HERE.


THE ELEMENTS

An Intentional Creativity 7 Step Process for those impacted by natural disasters related to Fire, Water, Earth, Air

This Intentional Creativity® process is designed to support individuals in coping with losses from natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods. Our hope is that this tool will help those impacted by such events enter into recovery, integrate the trauma and transform their experience and also provide a tool of service for those who desire to support. This process can also be modified for personal use.

We are focusing on the power of imagination to help change energy and move out of survival and into an experience of their participation and co-creative capacity to know how they feel and to do something about it.

We wanted to offer a process that was simple and effective that used a small quantity of materials. In our community of Intentional Creativity we use red thread, but you can use ribbon, string or fabric of any color.  If you can afford to, provide a journal and pens that you can leave with them at the end. If you have a table, great, if not, make sure you have a hard surface for them to work on like a clip board or journal. You will go through the process with them, working at the same time. You can also do it one-on-one or in a group. Some parts of it could be over a phone or video stream.

Remember that everyone processes trauma in their own way, in their own time. When doing any healing processes, meet the individuals where they are. They may not yet be able to write about their feelings or experiences, there may be some things that feel overwhelming. Be present with them, holding space and witnessing but not probing. Be gentle with eye contact. Let them participate according to what feels safe to them and adjust as needed. You can do this at a shelter, café, home, office, street side, park and some parts of it can be done over a phone or online streaming like zoom/skype.

Please note that creativity, because it is often uncomfortable, can cause more discomfort at first, but stay with it, and this anxiety is like a crucible that can transform into calm. We send you all blessings for the journey ahead and for those you choose to gather.

Shiloh Sophia
Co-Founder of Intentional Creativity

 



Introduction to the Elements

7 Step Intentional Creativity Process

 

Provide an overview of the process and agree with your guest/s how long this process is going to take. A half hour to several hours depending on what space you have. You can also just do one part of the process.

Introduce the overall idea as if it is a prayer or blessing on the energy you are carrying. Something like: “This is an invitation to become present and embodied during difficult times, and to integrate what has happened.” Based on what you are dealing with, this invitation can change to what feels appropriate. After each process, invite them to share if they want to, or not. *You demonstrate sharing and vulnerability, but with strength. You are the place of compassion.

Materials:  red thread, 4 pieces of paper, pens (not sharpies), scissors

Set the materials out in a sacred manner. As if it is a small simple altar. For each exercise, use both sides of the paper. For the free-write side, consider drawing a simple border of containment: one line going all the way around, choose a different style of border for each page.

1. INTENTION: Have everyone state their intention for the experience as they receive the Red Thread. The intention for you as the leader can be something like: To hold space and witness for [the element you are working with]. Your guest may be uncomfortable with sharing in the beginning, so you can just ask them to share what they are noticing or present to. Each person shares their intention and receives a part of the thread to keep with them or put on their wrist. Tie it on for them with tenderness.

2. ACKNOWLEDGE: Invite your guest to free write on the first piece of paper about the part of the experience that feels most impacting for them right now. Loss, fear, anxiety, stress, unknown, anger, isolation, panic, etc. You can provide a few choices if they seem to be drawing a blank.

3. ACTIVATE: Invite in the element connected with the situation. Free doodle drawing that includes elemental event (ie. fire, flood, earthquake, etc.) on the other side of the paper. Give a demo so they can see what that element looks like.

Share about the element in such a way to diffuse the fear around it, so that we come to a space where fire is not evil, the earth is not punishing us, the water is not raging against us. Be mindful of your thoughts on how you contextualize this idea. You don’t want to negate their experience but guide them into their own empowered ideas about it.

If appropriate, this can be a good time to share about the healing aspects of the element being worked with – and/or to bring in any/all of the other elements. OR you can ask them what each element represents for them inviting a positive representation. As the leader, you are making an effort to help neutralize the element and activate the positive energy of it.

Possible interpretation: Fire: Transformation, Will and Change ~ Earth: Home and Grounding ~ Water: Renewal and Cleansing ~ Air: Breathe and Communication.

4. SAFETY: Acknowledge current situation on the second piece of paper, this is done with some gravity from you and perhaps a contextualization of the current environment.

Ask a few questions about where they are experiencing now: Are you safe? Are you with loved ones? Do you have what you need for the next day? Focus on right now and put these inquiries into context with where you are during the process. Of course, if they are at a shelter be sensitive to that, distinct from if they are in an office, or a home.  Free write on this topic and acknowledge what feels true. Grief and gratitude do dance together and work better in tandem when acknowledged.  i.e. glad to be alive, yet filled with fear. Acknowledge that the paradox is normal. People often have a hard time reconciling the two things, but they can exist side by side and can be healing.

Turn the paper over and draw a feeling of safety, even if that safety is temporary (give demo if guiding), perhaps with circles or tracing their hands or a symbol of their choosing. Circles that intersect are good here. The act of asking them to draw a feeling stretches the imagination to a new place, and while uncomfortable, is often calming.

If you are called, use body movement to integrate drawing/painting and accompanying feeling of safety into physical body – ie sweeping motions, swinging arms, big wide movements, embody the elements.

5. CONNECTIONS: Create blessings and prayers for the community on the third piece of paper. Rip or cut the paper into smaller pieces, and write prayers or blessings or wishes for others. This step acknowledges that others are having the same experience and is a move towards broader consciousness and compassion. Getting out of our own story and moving our gaze towards others is necessary for healing. Service can be one of the most transformational aspects of working within a tragedy.

One idea is to tie them together on red thread like a prayer rope or string. If in community, this can be a group process OR have them wrap red threads around the messages and hand them to others. Depending on the location you are in, the messages can be hung up/showcased in the space and more messages can be added. That way the person you are guiding has a job to invite others. These prayers, blessings, messages can also be gathered in a bowl with strips of paper instead of tied.

 6. AFFIRMATION: On the fourth piece of paper, invite them to write an affirmation of how they will choose to show up and stay centered during this time.  Although it may be too soon on their path for a true claiming – practicing this gives a sense of power. Invite them to keep this piece in their pocket, in their bra, in your purse, and remember it when they get scared – to read it.  On the other sides they could create a connection from their past to their future – with them being in the present moment – like a bridge, or a journey.

7. SHARING: Consider inviting them to share a variation of this project with another person in need. You can guide it, change it and use it to work with others who are experiencing trauma. You can even give them a handout with this process and empower them to move into being the guide.

With the paper they have, they can tie it into a scroll with thread, and or fold it up and keep or, or let it go.

Blessings for the journey ahead. Thank you for being willing to hold space for those in need.

NOTE: Working with trauma can be very sensitive and complex. If you don’t feel experienced or comfortable, keep the process more general and just enough for them to receive some comfort and empowerment. A little love through Intentional Creativity goes a long way.  People can and will be triggered but we cannot let that keep us from sharing.


Basic process created by Shiloh Sophia, with input and ideas and editing from members of the Intentional Creativity Guild.

Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

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.

 

guild-of-intentional-creatives-logo

 

 

 

 

 

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

press_rel

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!

peace1

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?

revsion

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/

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