In March 2019, we spent the weekend exploring what it takes to be balanced as a women in today’s busy world. Breakdowns were had, breakthroughs were achieved. Good food, tea and chocolate was a plenty! It was a pleasure to run this workshop, to see the shifts in the sisters and experience their transformation throughout the weekend.
I was joined by 4 powerful sisters. A mix of creatives; some of whom had not picked up a brush for years and others who had never approached a canvas before. We journeyed deeply into our own stories using Intentional Creativity. In meditation we met our internal guide of balance and bought her through onto the canvas.
On day 1 of our journey we looked at commitments that didn’t serve us, were holding us back or were imposed on us by society and/or family (without any real meaning for us personally) and made a conscious choice to lay some of that down. In doing this, we created space to bring forth things that had meaning to us, gave us joy or bought pleasure into our lives and then wove them into our canvases as a reminder of what to focus on.
Day 2 of our journey brought us to really connect with our visual work and receive a message from our painting that would guide us going forward. The sisters received powerful wisdom from their inner selves and felt excitement for bringing this into their lives. The workshop concluded with a sharing experience of the journey and an honouring of their paintings.
Jacquie is a Color of Women 2018 Graduate and a Priestess of Transformation through the Creative Arts. She has been painting for therapy and her own healing since experiencing a breakdown in her late 20’s. Hundreds of paintings and images later she still believes it is one of the best ways to move stuck energy or thought patterns and connect with the inner world. On a mission to create wholeness in her own being, Jacquie serves women who wish to reconnect to their creative essence, remember passion and discover the freedom of self expression.
Find out more about Jacquie’s work in the world www.harmoniousbeing.co.uk
I was contacted by Farah Alaradi, a fifteen year old Art Student, about interning with me for her work-study assignment. Farah said that she had always been told how to create art in school, and was curious about Intentional Creativity. She was pleased with the opportunity to work with me, learning to create in a more intentional way and think differently about art.
My Medicine Basket Workshop was held prior to the Work study with Farah. I invited her to join to experience the Intentional Creativity process first hand and get a feel for the sort of work I do.
I’m starting to offer Red Thread Circles here in Bahrain- for sharing Intentional Creativity and creating community. While interning for the week, Farah helped me create ads and organize materials for my upcoming Gratitude workshop.
She also spent some time researching IC and doing a Q&A with me in the end. Farah got a taste of creating an intentional workshop by planning out a class for teens who are getting ready to go off to university. She said she never thought art could be used like this, to heal and work through school stress. I told her she may want to consider becoming an IC teacher one day!
Come find Rien’s workshops, art and more : www.riencassidy.com
To summon the inner outlaws won’t take extraordinary measures for they are always listening at the gates waiting to break free, break in, break out
Once they hear your voice respond to the cries from inside, they won’t stop asking Give them a pen, a paintbrush, a bell, a drum a slim volume of verse or an invitation to tea
Don’t expect niceties, though words will be said Don’t expect apologies or exhortations Give them some room to expand into being They carry medicine for our too-tame-times
Those who have been accused before Who clamor within for a position at the front Will soon enough be enchanting you Stories from the edge of time will be spoken
So if your inner outlaws are bending your ear… Listen up…Listen in…
I am writing today to explore an idea about healing that has been on my mind and heart a lot lately. As you likely know, I work with a lot of women, so I hear a lot of stories. 25 years of stories. What I find is that so many of us need an invitation to get more free, more self expressed, less apologetic and have more access to our intuition.
I don’t find a lot of women who are too big for their britches, think they are ‘all that’, have ideas way too out of the box, or that are just too wild for words. I don’t see much of inflated egos actually. I see us becoming more and more conservative as we seek to survive in our current paradigm. Trimming the edges and the hedges to be more invisible, call less attention to ourselves, and to not invite further attack, the ‘you don’t see me’ posture. There are good reasons for that, and I too have an invisible cape as needed.
The challenge is, hiding has become habit. Even when we don’t need to hide anymore, like in our women’s circle or a place we feel safe, many of us still keep most of our colors under wraps. Or when we are at the canvas or at the drum or at the writing desk, we STILL don’t self express in our own personal space. We aren’t free in ourselves. Ouch. Not free in front of others is one thing, not free in our own soul space is what I am exploring here.
Let’s be clear, we have done a lot of healing to get our sh*t together and I applaud us for that. But something is bugging me… I wonder, if aspects of that healing have left us thinking that a good life means that nothing is out of place? Nothing wobbles, nothing worthwhile is in the shadows, and that novelty and curiosity are optional and occasional.
Have we put the great mystery out with the compost?
What’s up? What’s down? What’s coming through for you?
Certainly this silencing of the wild self is not in all cases, all the time. And it is not just my personal experience I am speaking to – but what I see and hear a lot. And certainly continued healing is needed, but after the initial healing journey, where is the invitation to dance with shoes off, hair flying, heart out and colors flying? I am suggesting that after the ‘return home’ from any quest and some cleaning up of our messes – there is something to be considered about our own authentic self expression and the role that plays in healing as a whole, in living out our healing in our day to day lives.
I am concerned that some of our healing practices may result in curbing our wildness too much. Our desire for the ‘ever illusive balance’ may be dimming the spectrum of our eccentricities. Clipping the wild wings that long for freedom. Trimming up our jagged edges where the magic resides. Dulling the colors of our inner landscape. Fogging out the vibrancy and calling it normalcy.
Originality lives within each of us, but is often only celebrated by those who are ‘talented’ in expressing their originality. The rest of us may be seeking conformity in a desire to fit in, be loved, and survive. We may be dumbing down our own original voice as an act of self preservation. Yet that original voice may soon insist on an audience. It may come out in ways you do not expect. This part of you, may turn on you (as the critic) or turn on someone else (blaming others for your being unhappy). If we are lucky or perhaps clever, the inner outlaws will arrive on our doorstep laden with possibilities we didn’t dare consider.
Each person must define for themselves what healing looks like. We know this. Yet authoring this awareness needs further curation. We don’t learn early enough that our journey is very unique to our own being, and that discovering it for ourselves may be essential. One size does not fit all. What if nurturing these untamable parts of ourselves is part of the key to staying alive? What if ‘staying weird’ is part of the medicine? Just how weird, may be the question…just how wild is allowable?
Our contexts demand the adjusting of wildness in children, almost from the beginning. We wonder if the child is ‘socializing well’ and define for them what we think that means. Meanwhile, the inner world of the child often goes neglected after ‘imagination’ turns to homework. Should the backpacks of children become so heavy so soon after the crayons are put away in the kitchen drawer and the art is removed from the fridge? Too often, this transition is NOT well narrated.
We lose access to the hidden domains too soon. It may be a long time before we get back “in”. Yet the desire to return will always be with us, because vivid imagination lives on in us, even if we aren’t making use of it, in the way that we could.
Our imagination can help us heal from trauma. As we know, the impact of trauma goes everywhere in us (mind, body, spirit, field, story), so trying to heal it through talking, energy work, or body work without those being somehow linked, is a long road. We do our best to link modalities, to find the thread. Imagination can help us link the modalities and create a context for the journey. The one who is capable of telling the healing story needs nurturing, and that one is often hidden from view and is connected with the wildest part of who we are.
I believe each soul has their own information. I know that access to that information is often hidden for much of our lives. I hold dear the experience that gaining access to that hidden, albeit often swampy terrain, can be life saving. I am also aware that some of us can get stuck there and not be able to come back out easily. Yet it is TIME for us to try harder and work smarter to link up the modalities in fresh ways AND invite the realm of imagination to play the key role. Trauma lands everywhere in us, but so does our imagination permeate everywhere in us. Yet we have to ‘ask and engage’ with that imagination for it to turn on.
How can we keep accessing the richness, the fertile darkness, the unexplored, the usefulness of the hard stories in the past, the light from the wound? I believe healing the imagination is one of the pure links to healing trauma that can keep the channel open to wildness. Yet this way of working with ourselves and others must be chosen. This awareness, to value the wild, is not a default and no longer obvious to many of our systems and structures. The Indigenous communities on earth have always known this, according to the mythologies we learn from them.
I feel like one of my essential and beloved invitations is the call to the wild that has gone dormant. The invitation is to come home to our innate creativity. The re-awakening of the edges that both cut and define. The summoning to the slumbering poet, artist, singer, storyteller, actor, chef, jeweler, potter, visionary. The makers I call! Yet all are makers.
Many of our mood drugs turn down the volume on the circumference of our deep seeing. Much of our ‘programming’ enhances the dream of ‘keeping up’ as primary. Some days, when the seeing of this paradigm weighs on my psyche, it all feels very enforced. This severing of our original voice, inner knowing and seeing. Is it a systematized, organized enforced reality? (This moving towards beige.)
I know it is not everywhere. Not all the time. But enough to make me wonder and ask. How do we maintain the wetlands of consciousness in the healing journey? How do we honor the badlands of our stories?
One of the hopes for recovery for the sleeping self, is to include all that has happened, to make it relevant and even useful to our current story. Not to make it go away, be dissolved or so transformed to the point we can no longer recognize the teachings. We need to honor the part of us which is resistant to domesticity and compliance. Note that I do not suggest that bad things ‘had’ to happen. Yet they just do happen, don’t they? We make what we will make of it.
Innovation, authenticity and resiliency are functions of a healthy imagination. I want to pay closer attention to the link between imagination and true well-being. Not a tamed version of ourselves that fits into societal structures. This means, that one of our collective assignments is to cultivate communities where there is enough space for the unplanned, imperfectly glorious spontaneous wild card.
When we first encounter this often hidden part of ourselves, crazy and messy and loud may be the most visible parts. Give us some time to see what may exist just beyond the initial outbursts. Give the wild ones a little more space within yourself and circles. There will be plenty of time for boundaries and protocol once the intelligence of rewilding has rejoined itself into the presence of being. Who knows how long this will take? No one. We just know without the wild ones, our circle of chairs soon ends up in squared, neat ordered rows.
True selves in hiding can become unruly. They do act out. Over time, we are taken out by them, and our addictions, or we stuff them down. We may even promise a return one day, but that day rarely comes.
Courage is called for. This is that call. From my heart to yours, creativity is the act that will forge the pathway to the inner world that waits. Maybe you have heard the cries from there before…Maybe you even answered and now you guide others to listen…
If you do not have a creative space in your home for you, your children or your grandchildren, please make one.
As for pleasure, and even bliss, engaging in one’s own creative flow can be one of the most satisfying experiences in our lives. For me, creating is pure presence, embodied access, when I feel the very most me. Feeling good can be a rare experience for many of us. So when transformation and feeling good are linked, that’s a really good thing.
When we become too tame, we naturally fear the wild self. When the wild self is too far underground or behind lock and key, we may find ourselves very disconnected. The wild self seeks consciousness at every crossroads. This is one of those crossroads collectively and individually. Let’s continue to do the work of waking up.
By wild self I mean the person who is sovereign. Who thinks for themselves, has cognitive awareness, is able to access their inner world, knows largely what they think and feel. A person who can break free of systems and is willing to not follow popular thought when it doesn’t feel right for them. You define your wild self for yourself, that is pretty wild right there.
Feel free to Share. Comment. Suggest. Inquire. Here
The most important part of this whole Red Thread Letter is right here – to ask you the questions….
Has your healing journey made YOU too tame and in what ways? What about others you know? Children? Lovers?
Where did this story resonate or dissonate? And do you know why?
Is there an ‘inner outlaw’ trying to get out?
Is there a form of self expression calling to your wild self?
Do you have some wisdom or story to offer on this topic?
If you want to comment on my Artist FB page, I do read all the comments on posts like this 🙂 Comment here
Thinking of you. Truly. Lovingly. Holding you, and all of us, in my prayers.
P.S. Looking back I can see that this inquiry was a huge part of my choice to call women’s community as Cosmic Cowgirls – women who incorporate both/and.
From our research in the Intentional Creativity Foundation with over 500 participants about their experience with creativity:
93% experience creativity as a mindfulness practice
89% include creativity as a part of their spiritual practice
89% felt a sense of connection with the Divine
86% felt that their creative practice positively impacted those closest to them
92% feel that creativity influences their compassion for themselves
83% experienced compassion for others they did not know through stories they heard
80% said they would suggest creative process to others who experience depression
87% consider themselves self expressed as compared to before they were creating
86% said they have experienced breakthroughs and aha’s during creating
90% said they have experienced a shift in their default thinking
89% bring insights into their life discovered in creating
85% said they experienced an expanded sense of self
79% noticed an ease of physical symptoms while creating
93% experience creating as a relief/break that benefits their overall well being
90% have experienced a shift in recurring emotional pain through creative process
90% said that creativity helped them maintain a healthy outlook
“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.”
— Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
Please note : My email is changing soon to [email protected], so if you can add that to your address book. We will also begin to communicate more as MUSEA : Intentional Creativity in the coming months. More on that soon…
‘Centaur Becoming’ painted by Sue Hoya Sellars for my sister, Shannon Cinnamon McCloud
This painting, to me, is astonishing. Just take a moment to pause and look at it. The expression on the horse’s face, the hills, the mist, the hands, the extension of the hair… the untold story of my sister and her red roan…
April 20 was the 83rd birthday of my teacher and the mother of my heart, Sue Hoya Sellars. She has been gone from this dimension since 2014, yet remains in my cosmic soul dimension as a constant presence.
I want to share her with you a bit today because Intentional Creativity, my sacred work in the world, is alive because of her and what she taught me. Sue and my mother were best friends, and shared the same week for their birthday. In the last Red Thread Letter I shared about my mom, and in this one I am sharing about Sue. I wish to honor them the best I can, as I honor the origin of their arrival on earth.
When I think about the gifts she gave me, it is beyond imagining. The grief appears unmovable, a part of who I am now. I used to want it to go away, but now I know this is what love really feels like. To love someone so profoundly, and to experience the loss of them from this known life, is the bittersweet gift. I feel she lives on in another place in the great mystery. If I believe she came to find me….then I can believe that one day I will go to find her again. Somehow.
What’s more, is that one person could have such a profound impact in the life of another, to the degree that without her I KNOW that I would not have chosen this life path. I KNOW I would not be teaching painting the way I do. I KNOW I would not have created Intentional Creativity. BECAUSE the information she gave me informed all of these choices so powerfully, that they are forged from her energy and intelligence. As if her ways of knowing built the matrix upon which I stretched my own awareness like a canvas ready for the brush. Sue built the frame, the container. My mother Caron wove the canvas, the context. I bring my own content, yet fully informed by the two of them. I am so grateful.
To try to speak to it, feels futile. Like trying to describe the magnificence of a forest. Impossible. I bow in great thanks to the Creator of all, for Sue coming into my family in the years before I was born…and staying so close to us for so long.
I give thanks to her teacher, Lenore Thomas Straus, who gave Sue what she gave to me, that I give to all of the women I serve with Intentional Creativity.
Happy Birthday my great teacher, American Master Painter, Sue Hoya Sellars 1936-2014.
“Pay attention to what is happening at the end of your brush”
“We are standing in the cosmos”
“Who lives in here?”
~ Sue Hoya Sellars
An invitation to give thanks…And so one of my reasons for writing to you today is with an invitation. An invitation to reach out to someone who has taught you…someone who has guided you…shown you the path…and to thank them. Living or not…who comes to mind?
How about a letter, phone, text, speaking to the stars. There are so many more things I wish I had gotten to say to her. I feel I speak to her, apologizing for certain things over and over…and giving thanks for certain things as they arise…a continual dialogue that is part of the grief journey – an ongoing reconciliation. If your teacher, guide or mentor is living…why not give a shout out or do a social media post.
This weekend I got to deliver a message, on Jesus and the Women in His life at Woodside Village Church. It was wonderful to be serving with my friend Rev. Pastor Ama Zenya again. For many years we worked together at the First Congregational Church of Oakland. We also hung an art show there of my paintings of Mama Mary and Jesus and the Magdalene. I got to see new and old friends, and meet women who work with me online that I might never get to meet otherwise. #showingup
So dear one….if you read this far, thank you for your care, for your listening time, and your presence in my life. The red thread of connection continues to weave us.
With great heart,
p.s. My email is changing soon to [email protected], so if you can add that to your address book. We will also begin to communicate more as MUSEA : Intentional Creativity in the coming months. More on that soon – I just like to give myself a long lead time on important projects…
I am a 2018 graduate of the Color of Woman School of Intentional Creativity, led by Shiloh Sophia and her band of Cosmic Cowgirls. As a newly minted teacher, I am reflecting back on how I was able to FLOW through this program, and I wanted to lend some advice to those who are starting their Vision Quest, particularly with little ones at home.
In July 2017, I remember applying to the Color of Woman School, while having no idea why, or what I wanted to do afterwards. I was a stay-at-home mom of two small children at the time, but like Shiloh says, my heart felt the calling to proceed with my application. My heart also had the gentle nudging of my husband, who made sure I didn’t forget to push the submit button. And I remember during my initial interview, having all the fear in the world about how I would complete this WITH children to tend to on a daily basis. This is how I did it.
For those who don’t know Color of Woman is an Intentional Creativity teacher training certification that takes place over the course of a year. It begins with prerequisite assignments, then students complete 5 major paintings, along with teaching workshops, leading circles, and working on things like a website, promotional materials, and business plan. It is really a comprehensive deep dive into being a creative entrepreneur who is able to then teach others the IC skills to access their own internal information.
As a non-artist myself, it was a huge leap to even apply to COW. When I applied, I had never ever painted on a canvas before. I didn’t have an easel or paints or brushes. I painted with my kids, or in my teeny tiny sketchbook, and called that art. And I should also mention that a month before I was scheduled to begin COW, I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with my THIRD child. Being pregnant, homeschooling my kids, AND doing COW, I had a few moments of “How in the Heck Will I Do THIS??” But amazingly, I did. And it can happen for you.
My tips are what worked for ME, but I am sharing them in the hopes to calm anyone’s fears about taking on a big art program, or personal project, with children underfoot. This is how I did it.
Surround Yourself with Support
I will start of the bat by saying, my husband is the most supportive person in my life. He is my biggest cheerleader and were it not for him, I would not have been able to manage all of it. He watched the kids, gave me space for painting and brainstorming, and to fully immerse myself in this work. He let me process all the things and it was a huge gift for me.
One of the things Shiloh Sophia asked me during my interview was: How is your support system? And I know not everyone is so lucky to have a supportive spouse or partner, but just surrounding yourself with people who believe in you will make a huge difference. Tell your friends or family members, who you trust, who can lift you up. The ones who truly care, who will ask you how it’s going, and who will be genuinely interested in your progress. Share with THOSE people only, if you feel inclined. The rest are on a need-to-know basis.
This is an extremely personal time for you and your own thoughts and revelations need to be cared for and tended to like little babies of their own. You are growing your own ideas and information and folks aren’t quite ready for what’s happening just yet. Because you barely will understand yourself.
Set Up Your Space for Success
During my prerequisite work, I used the time leading up to COW to set up my studio. This was a work in progress, but my family was very supportive. We moved our bedrooms all around so that instead of a tiny closet, I could use an entire room. Having this sacred space WITH A DOOR was absolutely key for me. I was able to close the door during my art time. I had music or a sound machine playing so I didn’t have to hear the kids screaming or arguing downstairs (while under the gentle supervision of their dad). And my family knew, when I was painting, I was WORKING. The 2-year-old still didn’t care, so she was allowed to visit. But she didn’t derail my process.
Let them Interrupt You
I know this is counterintuitive to what you would think. But letting them interrupt you lets them see you in process. In flow. And my kids really enjoyed seeing what I was up to behind closed doors. My daughter (2 years old at the time) was infamous for coming in and GASPING at whatever I had been working on, like she was seeing each painting for the first time ever. It made me feel like the best artist in the world.
My son (5 years old at the time) would come in and name my paintings. He came up with the most beautiful and original names. They were his interpretations, and his own way of connecting to my process. I welcomed his imagination and thoughts, and his indirect love and support of my work.
Paint with Them
One of the best side effects of letting your kids see you paint is that THEY WANT TO PAINT TOO! My son was never a creative kid in terms of actually creating something. He would use his imagination, but give him paper and paint and he was uninterested. I found that letting them use some of my grown-up supplies made a difference for them. Real canvases, real watercolor paints, real Tombow markers. The creativity most definitely rubbed off on them. Kids mirror what they see and seeing me paint in quiet introspection was one of the biggest gifts I gave them through COW.
Include their Friends!
As part of my Initiate Book, I knew I wanted to do a workshop with my children and their friends. We are part of a very active homeschool group and I was able to offer an IC Workshop to them as part of my training. My son LOVED practicing the workshop ahead of time with me, but his most favorite part was doing a Red Thread Circle with his friends. To this day, he still wears a Red Thread on his wrist to signify his connection to his friends – six months later. He knows it’s a powerful tool for connection and he remembers that day every time he tugs on it.
Block Off The Time
As soon as I received the schedule of calls for the year, I put every single one on my calendar and I did NOT miss them. (Well, I actually missed one, but that was a crazy circumstance!)
I attended these calls NO MATTER WHAT was going on. I was lucky my husband arrived home from work around the time the calls would start in my time zone, so I would literally hand the cherubs off to him and shut the door. If I was feeling really loving, I prepped dinner ahead of time. But sometimes, he was on his own for dinner, during calls that would last around 2 hours. Sometimes it meant having a child in my lap for a few minutes during the calls.
But I knew the connections I was making, though quantum and cosmic, were important. My energy was needed in the circle, and my own self was restored, so the calls were non-negotiable for me. And I did not cut them short.
I also made sure to have a day set aside where everyone knew it was my painting time. Each Sunday morning, my husband would take the kids out for breakfast at 7 am, and when they came home they would play outside, or quietly downstairs, until I emerged. I was guaranteed from 7-11 am every weekend where I could catch up, paint, do whatever I needed to do. Sometimes I would squeeze in a second session after lunch, or during quiet time/movie time. But I USED the time I had and did not try to clean, do laundry, make grocery lists, or get sidetracked, like it would have been easy to do. I SHOWED up and STUCK to it.
Beyond that, I would fit in painting as I could. Sometimes during the week, I would paint if I had time, but mostly my set hours on the weekend were enough for me to stay on track.
Let Go of the Guilt
One of the biggest things I had to do was let go of guilt. There were MANY TIMES it would have been easy for me to cut my painting short on account of something else. I could have easily felt bad that my husband was stuck with two grumpy children who needed dinner, while I was upstairs “finding myself.” But I didn’t. I knew that this process would be beneficial for EVERYONE if I completed it. And my husband saw such a difference in me when I painted.
I would emerge like a butterfly coming out of her cocoon. Some days, after painting, I felt like Mary Poppins! It truly replenished my soul. And it would not be safe for me to trade that for the sake of others. My self-care and painting had become so intertwined that I needed it to be a better mom.
It’s ok to be PROUD of what you are doing! I am SO PROUD I am of what I have accomplished. Completing Color of Woman was NO easy task. It was a lot of work – emotionally and mentally – to walk through this Vision Quest. And to do it WHILE pregnant and raising/homeschooling two kids. I am as proud of this as I am about my college degrees. It’s that big of a deal to me.
I want others to know it’s feasible. It’s possible. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. And once you’re done, it’s ok to take a few moments to bask in the glory of what you accomplished and where you are.
I hope some of these tips resonate or help, or at least reaffirm your own Vision Quest reasons.
I wish you so much joy and happiness. Best of luck.
Discover Amanda Abreu’s art, offerings and writings www.creatingher.com
I wanted to write you today to encourage you to go to art shows, and apply to art shows in person and online. This message is for my students, but is good for all artists too. Go to art shows and festivals to SEE what other artists are making and what they are doing – learn – and also purchase their art to support the arts. It is a great experience.
Apply to online shows – this isn’t about whether you get famous or sell work, it is about prepping and learning how to show. How to participate and build your CV. To learn to promote. To go beyond your comfort zone.
My entire career and my first truly successful month at 30 years old was due to art festivals on street corners and big festivals. The interaction is so valuable and the mailing list!!! To follow up with each person is so powerful and MANY of the people who signed up from art shows ended up purchasing for years to come.
Don’t be too proud for the cafe or the street corner. I would wear stretchy pants, and my hats and arrive as early as possible. Set everything up, with support, then put a long table cloth over the table a blanket and pillow underneath so I could rest a bit before the fanfare. AH the good old days!
My booth in contrast to the other booths was so colorful it was always a show-stopper. It takes time and resources to get yourself going if you are going to do actual walls etc, but a 6 foot folding table and easels is a great way to start and get excited.
Don’t wait for the market to come to you -– bring yourself to the market!!
As MUSEA : Intentional Creativity Foundation, we will be doing juried shows soon and it is very exciting to learn the process – for something I have participated in most of my art career.
I say, not to be too proud, but at the same time, choose where to assert your value. I am often invited to ‘decorate’ an event. But no, that isn’t the context I show up in. The language I choose is the featured artist for the event. I request signage, a complimentary vendor table, and to be added to the website. I request to be introduced at the opening of the event so people can see me and talk to me.
I am including a few links to learn about shows. The process teaches you so much. There is a lot to sort through. For artists, just keep show up.
What is Muse Medicine? First of all it is story. Our own personal story that need to shift or heal, making space for new possibilities How do we do we do that? We alchemize the old story, transform it into the energy of potential. Then we bring it into form via the emergence of the inner Muse.
In my recent Muse Medicine class, we examined our limiting stories, alchemizing them into potentiality through writing and painting! The class was filmed by a student at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida and will be part of her senior thesis on art and healing.
We all introduced ourselves within the Red Thread Circle and each person received a piece of red thread as a symbol of connection. The Filmmaker decided to join the class, while her partner filmed. I led inquiry prompts for the painting process, which were to name the story they needed to heal in one word, and their favorite fairy tale. We tied off our red thread around our wrists and moved to the painting room.
We used the idea of alchemy to change the ‘lead’ of their old story into the ‘gold’ of a new one. Creating an ‘alchemical soup’ we sprayed our paper with water and painted 3 colors. Then we activated it by shooting a golden arrow into it using gold paint. Next I talked about Bezoars, an idea I borrowed from Jenafer Joy. Bezoars are a sort of knot of old energy we want to dissolve, creating space for something new. Un-writing our old story into our bubbling alchemical soup did the trick, and as we stirred these in with our magic wand paint brushes, they disappeared making way for transformation!
As our paper dried, I invited them to write, imagining a fairy tale, a possible new story in which they were the heroine potentially filled with witches and ogres, princes and villains.
When we gathered, I asked them to choose one scene from the story to illustrate. It could be done in the Muse and her symbols style or using a simple figure or figures and necessary environment. I demonstrated a 20 line face and a simple full figure. Then were off and painting! I guided them in several loose painting steps and color application. Finally I gave them the option of glazing or not, since time was short. They chose to put their paintings under the veil of glaze after I demonstrated. After the glaze, we added final color and highlights and biophoton highlights and other embellishment. We paused and received the Muse Message (Medicine) in our journals.
We took our paintings and writings to a closing circle and shared portions of our stories (optional, but everyone did), the titles of our painting, and the name of our Muse. This was so powerful. We needed to go for the Kleenex! Even those who had dealt with the same stories before found new levels of healing. Even I, who didn’t dare to go deeply into the process, found surprise insight during the writing which brought chuckles and profound depth and insight into my story and my identity.
Afterward the participants were slow to leave as they continued to share. The Filmmaker told me how complete she felt the process was and how deeply she was affected. She will take what was filmed and other material and create a full length feature for her dissertation. She hopes to share it on our local public access TV station and in the Sarasota International Film Festival.
My love of making and teaching art burned deeply inside, from the time I decorated the stairwell in our home with grease pencil at age 3, to majoring in Art Education at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. In 2015 my path led me to Shiloh Sophia and Intentional Creativity.
Now I continue to explore the landscape of inner space in both its individual and its transpersonal nature as well as continue in the ministry of teaching others to awaken to their own creativity through sharing the Intentional Creativity Philosophy in classes held at Expressive Arts Florida in Sarasota, FL and other venues.
He couldn’t focus. He bounced around the room engaging anyone who would pay attention. But his bouncing and words were challenging in tone and tinted with violence, not welcoming. It’s the only way he knows how to communicate.
Many children walk through the classroom door each morning as victims of neglect and violence. The levels to which they experience this range from five year olds having to heat up their own 7-Eleven burrito for dinner to actual un-welcomed and undeserved physical contact.
In many schools teachers are frontline first responders each and every morning of their lives. I retired from such a school this past year. It is heartbreaking, stressful, and exhausting work, but deep down I knew I was making a difference.
Struggling to find answers, school administration make choices that seem like the magic pill, but seldom deliver. Teachers are caught between curriculum and programs that do not come close to meeting the direct needs of the children they teach.
I stepped away from this a few months ago and into a new way of reaching children that changes how they think. As a Red Thread Guide I can now offer ways of helping children move from the fight, flee, or freeze response of the brain to the heart space where wisdom resides.
He ignored my call to sit on the floor in a circle. Most of the rest of the class eagerly gathered, minus a few who waited to see what he was going to do.
Red Thread circles offer a way to connect. It is story, something children understand deeply and love. So I told them about myself and my intentional creativity painting and my red thread circles and the little girl from their very own school who wears a red beaded bracelet from her grandmother in Poland given to her when she was born to keep her safe.
The boys settled together on the floor, half listening, half conducting their own business in an attempt to draw our attention to them.
I continued with talk about the brain and the amygdala. Something they are familiar with as part of their social/behavioral program they do to combat bullying. But then I talked about the heart and how the heart holds wisdom. It is the heart that really tells us what to do. I drew a picture of an anatomical heart on a large piece of chart paper and called it The Wisdom Keeper.
The whole class was listening. Even the boys.
We talked about how the heart leads our brain to make better decisions. Instead of hitting or arguing, the heart can give us a better way. But we need to learn how to listen to it. After all, it is the loving part of ourselves we forget to listen to.
In the Red Thread circles we weave a ball of red thread around our wrist passing it to the next person until we are all connected. In an elementary school that is not a safe option. Restroom needs, wiggly bodies, and emergencies are a priority.
Instead, I use my singing bowl. Having been trained in a mindful practice at this school where I taught, I have lots of tools in my tool box. So instead of wrapping the thread around their wrists, the students get to ring the bowl. I explain how to hold it or place it on the floor to get a nice sound. After they ring it they answer a simple inquiry question.
He LOVED ringing the bowl. So did his friends. It was enough to keep them engaged until it was time to go to lunch.
This is just the beginning of the red thread circle. We can inquire about many things: what do we love about ourselves, what do we love to do, etc. We listen to others who have similar stories to our own. We realize we are not alone and, yet, we are special, and that we are only responsible for the piece we hold. Yes. They got that part.
In this particular classroom we followed up with an Intentional Creativity® activity using the supplies they had in their room to draw our Wisdom Keeper. That voice inside our hearts that is always there to give us love and kind words.
He and his friends drew amazing Wisdom Keepers and were able to share with the group what their keeper told them about how wonderful they are and how much they are loved.
There are always tears from the adults listening.
Children are very open and honest. The are also very brave and I learn a lot from them.
Message from Co-Founder, Shiloh Sophia about Art, Christchurch and what you can do to support two artists on the ground…painting night and day on a mural of intention, healing and community. Plus a letter from Jonathan McCloud to the community.
Thank you for pausing with me to give awareness and honor to the 50 lives lost in Christchurch, NZ. I know you have so many things you are working on and focusing on and sending love and resources to. I know I do. So thank you for your time to check this out. In just a day of returning from New York I find myself in a community in crisis. Not every person, not in every way. But it is big, feels like a mountain of pain.
I wanted to let you know in advance, this letter has typos. It is not the polished request of a seasoned NGO – but the immediate response to a need. So forgive the typos and thank you to Annette, Kate, Sarah and Jonathan for responding asap to my call for action, now.
There is a lot going on. We have community members with partners dying. Family members in health crisis with test after test and no results to back up what they are feeling. Local community without resources to make ends meet. Global community with children in the hospital. Many of us feeling sick and not sure why. Our waiter for lunch needing counsel on how to talk to his mother in law about the child coming into their life. What I learned that breaks my heart at UNCSW about women and girls. Then there is the whale that washed up with 100 lbs. of plastic inside that I can’t get out of my mind…and then…you face it everyday.
My direct community are on the ground in New Zealand making art in the midst of the country’s first terrible senseless shooting. Something the US is quite familiar with unfortunately. They are making a grove of trees…you can read about it below. For a few years I have been making ‘marks’ in my paintings for the lost, and this week my community, teachers of my Intentional Creativity method are there, making marks for the lost lives on the Grove of Intention – painted murals designed to support and uplift the community.
Like I said, I know you have a lot you can focus on and because you are connected with me and Intentional Creativity, I am asking you to focus on this. Are these women going to survive this experience? Of course. And do I want to show them how important art is in the middle of crisis – and how much it matters to us, I sure do. Can I personally fork out the cash to cover what they need right now, yes I could, even after a financially taxing trip to NY for two weeks on a mission which we personally finance. I am trying new things with the mindfulness of our NGO status – I am asking you to work with me to make sure these artists on the ground not only feel our support energetically but through our resources. We want to cover their materials and food for the project. Do that here now to show your support. $5 or $10 or as much as you are called to.
Your donation is tax deductible. That is why we created an NGO – to support the arts. This is that call to action. You can get a tax deduction and 100 percent goes directly to the artists. We are sending funds in advance and will reconcile post funding. We have already sent funds, will you join us here?
The project was funded by NZ – but the budget has run out and is taking way longer to complete due to weather, tragedy, and sadly, graffiti. Imagine during this crisis, to have your art in process, defaced. Sigh. So much to learn as humans huh?
Here are these wonderful women, whom I have known for over 5 years – and worked with over and over in serving our community. Rosie Mac, Kerry Lee, we love you.
It is my first work day after two weeks in New York at UNCSW and I have all kinds of things to share with you but that has to wait, Kerry, Rosie and Christchuch come first today.
Please take the time to learn why the Grove of Intention matters to all of us and to a country in crisis. Art doesn’t save the world, but it does help save our minds and hearts when we don’t know where to turn.
~ Shiloh Sophia
I am so sorry this happened during this horrific experience. My heart, time and resources go with you…
A message from the Intentional Creativity Foundation:
Intentional Creativity Teachers, Kerry Lee and Rosie Mac, are currently working on ‘The Grove of Intention’ project in Christchurch New Zealand, where the mass shooting took place just last week.
As you can imagine, creating something like this at a time filled with so much sorrow and devastation is important healing work. Kerry and Rosie are doing all they can to bring public awareness to this project and are asking for any support we can give.
We are including the press release here with more information. If inspired, there is a link for you to donate financial resources, which will support the completion of this project in time for the unveiling Saturday March 23, 2019: 12 – 3pm at 145 Westpac Lane in Christchurch. ALL ARE WELCOME and there will be interactive activities with the Grove of Intention trees.
If you are able to share the press release with media contacts or on social media, here are the links:
Donate NOW to cover resources for our IC Member artists on the ground in NZ – all donations will go 100% to the artist’s cause, and are tax-deductible. Give what you can, even $5 as each donation is connected to exponential energy. Let’s let Kerry Lee and Rosie Mac KNOW we are behind them.
The Grove of Intention ~ A Healing Place for Contemplation, Connection & Community, Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand: The Grove of Intention, an experiential mural for healing, contemplation, connection, and community is being created in Christchurch Central. The 8’ x 75’ project is a collaboration between two women and two communities from the United States and New Zealand coming together to bring transformational beauty.
The image design was inspired by Gustave Klimt’s style of the Tree of Life. Shiloh Sophia McCloud was sparked by the spiral design as the foundation for the Witness Tree at Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, CA in which thousands participated. Kerry Lee was part of the project and documented it on her blog here. Starting with the first tree of this kind in our community created in 2010 at Self Love Day in which many created leaves with their intentions and wishes. So many trees all over the world!
Artist Kerry Lee took the project to the next level with her 12’x16’ The Intention Tree mural at the First Street Artist’s Alley in Napa, California. Following these actions, this work became a part of Christchurch’s Enliven Places Programme because of Rosie Mac and her involvement with Intentional Creativity and her own community.
Originally designed as a way to spark conversation, the mural soon became a healing balm for the recent tragedy, the first mass shooting in New Zealand. The project was designed by two Intentional Creativity Teachers, Kerry Lee of California and Rosie McCarthy of Christchurch. The mural is an interactive work of art consisting of seven symbolic and metaphoric golden trees.
Each tree has a theme and a related inquiry including:
The Wish Tree What is one big wish you have for yourself
The Peace Tree What is one wish you have for the world
The Wellbeing Tree What nourishes your soul?
The Connection Tree Where in Christchurch is your favourite place to be in conversation?
The Witness Tree How do you help improve the world?
The Wisdom Tree What is something you know for sure?
The Gratitude Tree What are you grateful for?
Unique Contemporary Symbolism at the base of each tree ties into the overall themes including simple whimsical houses symbolizing connection, triple spirals representing balance, triangles symbolizing change and circles representing humanity and our oneness and more. Native New Zealand birds grace the branches and the general public’s responses to each tree’s inquiry are painted on the branches for viewers to recognize our commonalities and encourage conversation. Given the tragedy, the artists are adding white thumbprints to The Connection Tree representing each person who lost their life.
The Artists were minutes from going to work on the mural, located in between the two shooting locations, when they received notice of the attack. They continued to paint the three week project on the days following the shootings.
Kerry Lee states: “An indescribable dark cloud of sadness and silence has come over this beautiful city. I have become very familiar with the sights and sounds of Westpac Lane where the mural is coming into form. Right now there are few people and few of the background sounds of humans going about life. And those who do come by seem to be extra present for others. As an American, where shootings are not unusual, however certainly not the norm it feels like New Zealand has had a major cultural shock. Much like 9/11 was in the US. And yet from this horrific experience I am also getting to witness the deep and broad love the Kiwis have for each other and for all.”
In support of community healing the unveiling of The Grove will take place on Saturday March 23, 2019 from noon until 3pm at 145 Westpac Lane in Christchurch. All are welcomed to participate.
“It is our hope that The Grove of Intention will provide a place where love and compassion for each other can continue long after the memorial flowers at the Botanical Garden are gone.” ~ IC Teacher and Artist Kerry Lee
“One of the primary features of Intentional Creativity” says Shiloh McCloud, Co-Founder, ”is that it gives us a capacity to respond to what is happening all around us, providing resiliency and enough hope to keep going. Instead of just thinking about what is happening, we are actually doing something about it to benefit others and manage our own experience. Thousands of us around the world are standing with Kerry Lee, Rosie Mac and the whole of New Zealand. We aren’t new to this kind of tragedy in the United States, and in response our creative community, in addition to activism on gun laws, began to add marks and dots and prints into our paintings to honor those whose lives were lost.”
Will you be a part of supporting the project?
Due to rain, sun too hot to paint on mural, graffiti and schedule changes, the project and the creators could use a boost in resources. Contributions are appreciated and can be sent here.
The unveiling will be on Saturday, March 23, noon until 3pm. Learn more on Facebook and Instagram @ The Grove of Intention.
Rosie and Kerry have also been supported by a small village of people in Christchurch helping to complete the mural due to being hampered by the weather and, of course, the shootings last Friday when the city was in lockdown.
About the Intentional Creativity Foundation:The Intentional Creativity Foundation is a community dedicated to creativity, connection, conversation, collaboration and change. We come from different geographies and genealogies. We seek to discover what makes us the same in the most basic ways and how we can be a part of something larger than ourselves while not lose sight of our individual visions. The Foundation is a place where we choose to participate in defining and developing a culture of heart and creativity – and how that has the capacity to transform our stories. The Intentional Creativity Foundation, Inc. is a Federally (USA) and State (California) recognized 501(c)3 organization.
Message from Jonathan McCloud to the IC Guild – This is our internal call but thought we would share it with you too….
Recipe for Love and a Call to Action. Not now…. RIGHT NOW.
What is it then, that we really do? Teach a class, move some energy, perhaps?
Watch as the eyes of a woman, a veteran, an elder, a girl, maybe even a son… a human being wells with tears when they stand face to face with the story of truth that comes from within themselves as they move a stump of charcoal or pencil across a page.
This magic of a method that you all know and love and live, it’s our way. You said it. You professed it. It’s here to knock on your imagination of the day when it would arrive. Hello.
Our team is in need. Now. Rosie McCarthy braved the good fight and got a grant from her government to bring Kerry Lee to New Zealand to bring the message of Intentional Creativity and hope and peace and healing to a country tossed by the might of Earth and respectfully, softly healing with love and kindness towards one another.
There are stressors in life that catalyze, through fear, the best and/or the worst in us. Let us not focus on the event, nor the actor. Let us focus on what it is that we, The Intentional Creative Foundation and you, it’s heart and soul bring to this moment, this lifetime of every soul, voice and hand.
Be a part of this solution. For us, by us, and by our own hands. The same way it was when you stood before that canvas on the first day of LEGEND. This is you. This is Us. We are caring for our own and in the process, loving in forgiveness the entire being that makes this humankind.
Let’s give these ladies, daring in the face of this adversity, at the front face of where creativity can and will heal, the ‘green stone of love’ as they say. Mighty in our connectedness, you stood for this, stand for it now. This is the Guild.
Every bit goes directly to them as an Earmarked Donation to the ICF. We will make sure that you get full acknowledgment from the ICF, Inc. for your tax deductible contribution for this identifiable member(s) benefit from YOUR own Guild.
Have I told you today, how much I love you? Jonathan McCloud
It’s not every day that you get to share your story with one of the world’s most powerful organizations and add your voice to the global conversation.
On March 12th, 2019, Alexis Estes Woksape Ole Winyan (Seeks Knowledge) of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, a member of the Native Hope team, was able to contribute her voice at the 63rd annual session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) alongside Carmen Baraka and Shiloh Sophia of Intentional Creativity.
The topic of the presentation? The healing power of art and storytelling in the context of intergenerational trauma.
Here’s how this incredible event came together.
Meet Alexis, One of Native Hope’s Valued Team
Alexis Estes Woksape Ole Winyan (Seeks Knowledge) is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, which is part of the Oceti Sakowin that includes the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota people.
Alexis attended the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and graduated with a B.A. in Indigenous Liberal Studies and a minor in Studio Arts. She encountered Native Hope last year and became involved in our mission of healing through storytelling. Alexis was a natural fit for the Native Hope team, bringing her love of art and her passion and knowledge about the history of indigenous people to her work as a community builder and a social media advocate through the Native Hope platform.
Since joining the team, Alexis has used her gifts to serve the community, tribe, and indigenous people everywhere. She has represented the indigenous perspective in task force meetings about human trafficking, run mural painting activities and workshops that use Native symbolism to create public art, run in the Dakota 38 Memorial Relay, and spends her time working with the rest of the Native Hope team to advance the goal of sharing stories and encouraging healing for all Native Americans.
The Trip to New York and the United Nations
Alexis was approached by Shiloh Sophia of the Intentional Creativity Foundation and invited to be a contributing voice at a UN presentation entitled “Healing Art Practices and the Transformation of Story.”
It was a mutual supporter, Marilyn M., who introduced Intentional Creativity to Native Hope. Marilyn noticed the similar goals of the two organizations, including the capacity for healing that storytelling brings. It is our supporters, people like Marilyn, that are helping create these powerful alliances to spread a message of healing!
The presentation was sponsored and hosted by the Intentional Creativity Foundation, an organization whose vision is to make creativity accessible and to educate about the importance of creativity in the development of the human being. Alexis joined Carmen Baraka and Shiloh Sophia of the Intentional Creativity Guild in order to address the relationship between healing and art.
In her presentation, Alexis shared her story of reclaiming her cultural identity as a Lakota woman and overcoming intergenerational trauma. Her creative practices of mural painting, screen-printing, and yoga allowed her to find her voice during her search for identity, and she shared about how creative practices may help heal others.
We are grateful for Alexis’ strong voice and story and grateful that she had the opportunity to share her story in a major public forum like the UNCSW.
In a day when many Native American youth are faced with overcoming intergenerational trauma and the trauma of addiction, abuse, poverty, or discrimination, it is important to spread stories and methods of healing.
We’ve shared other stories of young Native artists like Jatonne and Dennis who are using art and story and music to process their story and come to terms with what it means to be a Native American in today’s world.
When one person rises up and speaks out their journey of healing, they offer a helping hand to those who are behind them on the journey or just beginning. We all have a duty and an opportunity to believe there is hope and to speak the hope that is in our hearts into the world.