Threads of Joy Amidst a Lap Full of Angst-Annette Wagner



Winds of Change by Annette Wagner, 2009

I woke up this morning with a heart full of angst. It feels like a storm blew through and dumped it in my lap like a black, muddy, puddle of glop.

What is the angst about?

Well it goes like this. A friend asked me to visit a dear friend of hers who’s been very ill. This man looks 20 years younger then he is, even being seriously ill. A very unique individual who has traveled the world for years and now he is bedridden and the ills are not healing. The question is why?

I’m a shamanic practitioner and usually I combine my intentional creativity teaching with my shamanic work. In this case, it was a bit more shamanic then creative and yet, it was both.

Here was a person angry at his loss of freedom, oozing crap out of his body and holding grief as a barrier to love, deep in his body. I listened and watched his body tell me what was going on. I offered him threads of joy to hold on to and felt when he grabbed on to the other end. It is deep work only just begun.

I walked away from this visit musing on how we humans in this culture of ours suffer so much from lack of love, from not knowing how to heal ourselves. Not having the tools necessary to unravel, re-weave, and grab back onto the threads of joy in our life. It is always incredibly painful for me to muse on this suffering we experience, and yet I must.

All day I could feel the questioning and the rolling over of stones. The asking of myself: Can I not do more? This opened the door to critic who, of course, decided it was a good time to point out my less than consistent methods of promoting the work I do in the world, and a myriad of other things. Painting instead of writing a newsletter? Who ever heard of such a thing!

That was when the black storm of angst began to blow in and I could feel my body round her shoulders and lean into the wind. Slipping in the mud and muck. Getting chilled to the bone. Angst storms suck.

Black Madonna of Paris

Black Madonna of Paris

When I woke up, I dredged myself out of bed and did my mom duties and got the kiddo off to school. Then I took myself and that lovely critic voice along with the load of mucky angst and went off for a walk in the local bay lands. On the drive there, I started unraveling the threads of the angst. This is what my work IS; to walk the patterns recognizing, unraveling, and re-weaving.

It all begins with the critic telling me all the places I am going wrong with my life, the choices leading to spending too much money, the paintings that don’t sell, the time spent on writing articles like this. The critic makes it sound like my choices and what I have built up in my life are all bullshit. That I’ve built a facade of fantasy and it’s time to give up on this and get a real job. About now I feel pretty damn worthless and the angst is much more than ankle deep.

I pull the threads apart as I drive by asking myself these questions. You may want to ask yourself too-

Am I happy right here, right now living and working as an artist?

Do I want to return to a high paying, high stress, no time for creativity job?

Whose life have I impacted positively today?

If I could choose to do anything I want, what would I do?

And so on. Add your own to the list.

Contrary to popular opinion, the bullshit is NOT about me building a fantasy wall around me because I made a life choice to live my life the way I do. It’s about the messages our culture dumps on me for choosing to live my life the way I do.

The messages telling me it is wrong to choose to paint love, create healing and write connection.

The messages saying making money, winning the game, and being famous are the only important things to live for.

And that, my friends, is bullshit.

So many of us get lost here in the darkness of angst, butting our heads up against the cultural facade trying to hem us in on all sides. What the hell do we do?

And, if you think this is simple to do in the face of angst, think again. It is the hardest thing you will ever do. Make no mistake. To continue to walk forward while life dumps rivers of angst on your head is not pleasurable – it is damn necessary.

It is how we change the culture around us. By making choices no one else is making. By not stopping what we are doing. By plowing our way through the bullshit with no looking back.

Today, make one choice that changes your life even if its a very tiny one.

One choice all your own connecting you to a thread of joy. Then sit back and see what happens. It might not be pretty – it might however be awesomely, gloriously freeing.

creatively yours,



Annette Wagner is a visionary artist and spirit guide who walks the patterns of connection with you to bring you into a closer connection to source. Her work is devoted to sharing the tools of Pattern Walking, Visioning, and Intentional Creativity to help you live the life your spirit is calling you to live!

Her paintings are portals into visionary realms asking the viewer to shift the way they connect to this world. She paints in the Contemporary Symbolism style and works extensively with symbol and color.

Annette is a certified instructor of the Color of Woman Method developed by Shiloh Sophia McCloud. She has a Masters degree in Women’s Spirituality with a certificate in Creative Expression from Sofia University. Her background includes over 25 years of hi-tech experience including 21 patents.

She invites you to visit her at:

My trip to the UN and meeting Marie Claudine

My story of going to the UN and meeting Marie Claudine


Photo of Shiloh Sophia by Jonathan Lewis

I wandered through the sacred halls of the United Nations in awe. I am beyond tourist, I feel surrounded by sacrament. Like these halls are hallowed. I am here for the once yearly event when women and girls get brought front and center. CSW58 – The 58th Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.

I didn’t come to the UN as a diplomat or delegate, I have come as an artist and a poet. A witness to herstory unfolding at the worldwide level.

At first I don’t know what is I am really doing here only that I was called to come despite my fears and that my name badge says that I am Covering CSW58, thanks to working with the Founder of WNN, Lys Anzia this year to flower into my journalist self. I met Lys last year at the UN, and have been under her wing all year trying to grow my journalist self. I love the idea of journalist, reporting on worldwide women’s issues but when it comes down to it I end up looking at everything from the eyes of an artist.

When I put the two pieces together, to ‘cover’ and to be an ‘artist’ and the status of women my role begins to take photoform from the inside out. It starts with this ache in my heart to ‘belong’ to the cause of making change, to be a part of the healing. I get it. I am here to witness the UN and the CSW happenings. Just like in Quantum Physics how what you witness is altered by your witnessing of it, I imagine the UN is altered by my observation of both her beauty and how hard her edges.

Thankfully, everything fascinates me, this is my view of life. Einstein says that there are two ways to view life, either as if everything is a miracle or nothing. Having chosen the everything is a miracle I find that just looking at the flags of our countries flying brings tears to my eyes. I am a sentimental activist who, regardless of the issues believes in the goodness held within these walls. There are conversations everywhere about the thing I care about in our world – the status of women.

I attend panels and listen to the hearts and souls of these speakers being poured out before us. I look around at how different the people in the side and parallel events seem to be than the ones in the official CSW58 events. Are there delegates over here too? Are they listening to the women who run the NGOs around the world. Or are the NGO sponsored events preaching to the choir into a room filled with other service based women. Are the policy makers here? At the end of most of the talks, the speakers are rushed, mostly it seems by those who need help themselves, and desire for collaboration around ’causes’. It feels very different over in the UN Chapel – where women are gathered together, and a token group of men, to discuss and educate on what women are facing ‘on the ground’ in the world.

Shiloh Sophia and Marie Claudine in the United Nations Chapel – Photo by Jonathan Lewis

I attended a panel in a topic I am very interested in, which is Empowerment of Women and Girls through Social Media – and I met Marie Claudine Mukamabano who is a survivor from the Rwandan Genocide. She agreed to talk to me and I share that with you above. Our conversation of course started with me asking her about how they heal the trauma of the orphans, how does it work and what is working and if they have art supplies. Of course I want to know – do these survivors have access to art supplies because in my world, art supplies equal access to healing. Our conversation continued for many days and continues now.

As I attend days of panels today on violence against women and other topics so near and dear to my heart, and our cause. I cannot NOT think about the art influence and how it applies to every single trauma based situation. So after interviewing Marie Claudine I invited her to come to our workshop in New York, and to my delight she came and spent the weekend painting with our sisterhood of the Red Thread, pictured here below.

New York Tabu Workshop – Photo by Jonathan Lewis

There are a million things I wish I would have done differently, like printed up fliers about revsionthe petition, Project Revision, or gotten signatures, asking the UN to change the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be gender inclusive. I did stand up in a panel on the worldwide status of women’s mental healthy, however and ask the speakers what they thought of the Declaration as it relates to women’s mental health. What do they think women feel like being called man or brother and how does that inform that woman’s vision of herself and her image. I asked them if they thought it was just a historical document, or if they actually thought it still mattered. I am still digesting their response, and may write about that another time.

Next year I will tie red threads on doors and wrists.  Each time I come I learn more and I am fascinated by everything, which makes it all so interesting. I am in love with everything United Nations, just being there is like being a part of the great weave of the universe as it moves and shifts and transforms itself into a safer place to be.

Cross your fingers with me that what needs to happen in 2015, will. I only know I am supposed to go back. I keep thinking of this as a research mission. Neither of my human rights mentors are here this time, they were with me last year, so I feel so strange wandering around in my straw cowgirl hat gawking at everything.  I just know I am a part of this great unfolding story, here at the United Nations, representing the Red Thread Nation, a tribe of creative beings.

One of the great gifts of my visit was of course, meeting my new friend, who feels like one of those lifelong friends, Marie Claudine. It feels like a miracle but this wonderful woman who is a survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda and I connected our Red Threads, and rumor has it she is going to come out here to see us and even teach a livestream with me, so stay tuned on that front. She wants to teach on, you guessed it, forgiveness.

Shiloh Sophia