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.
In January, I had the extraordinary opportunity of collaborating on the creation of a mural with international muralist Benjamin Swatez. He visited Teotihuacan with a group that came to experience the energies and wisdom teachings held within the indigenous tradition of the 2000 year old pyramids and surrounding archaeological site.
The leaders of the group had asked me to suggest a place in the area to create a mural beneficial to the local community. Despite some initial doubts, I chose to see this as a beautiful opportunity for me to learn from an expert, a great artist, and to stretch beyond my own artistic limitations. I presented the idea to the principal where my son Marco attends, “Escuela Ignacio Manuel Altamirano” in the village of San Sebastian Xolalpa. She loved the idea, with a request to include an anti-vandalism message in the theme of the mural. The village, especially its schools, has seen a surge in vandalism and graffiti recently, so this message, which became, The Voice of Respect, seemed perfect.
I asked the principal to select about 20 kids, but not just the “good” students. Given the theme, it seemed especially important to include the kids who are the “problem” students, the ones who are overlooked and never chosen for something special, the kids who are perhaps most likely to commit acts of vandalism down the line. She chose the children accordingly, two or three from each grade, 1st through 6th.
While on the way to Mexico from a project in Uganda, Benjamin had sent me a list of supplies to gather. This consisted of 1 gallon of white latex house paint, 2 liters of black, 1 liter each of red, blue, yellow, green and magenta. From my studio, I collected brushes, red oxide acrylic paint, jars, a bucket, masking tape and plastic drop cloth.
Upon arrival, my mother-in-law walked him over to my house, and when I opened the door to meet him, all my worries fell away. It was like meeting an old friend! He came into my studio and we immediately started pouring through books and magazines of Teotihuacano murals and symbols. We talked about the history and mythology and mystery of the images created by the ancestral masters of the pyramids, and how important it was for the children here today to understand and respect their own heritage. Then we began brainstorming the visual elements we wanted to include in our mural and sketching the basic composition. It was a true collaboration that flowed easily and effortlessly.
The principal gave us the thumbs up on our design, and we begin plotting it out on the wall with charcoal using a small digital projector. The projector was brilliant – it fit in the palm of a hand, had about 2 hours of battery life, and connected to a phone. We took pictures of the drawings on the phone and projected them on a much larger scale onto the wall and traced the lines in charcoal and then with black paint.
It was an epic task to complete in just a few hours. Benjamin also painted a large-scale face of a beautiful little girl in his trademark realist style at lightning speed. I was fascinated to see how quickly he worked. By the time the kids came out to help us at 1 p.m., we had our lines, we had paint mixed into cups for them, and we had marked a dot of color in each space so that the kids could essentially “paint by number.” The American adults from the visiting spiritual group that had initiated the project joined us shortly thereafter, coming straight from the pyramids to the school to help.
We included a typical Teotihuacana figure in the mural with a “noble speech” symbol coming from her mouth and holding an aerosol paint can directed at a huge eye, to convey this idea that respectful expression, vision and creation lies at the center of a unified harmonious community.
Benjamin speaks Spanish so he introduced himself to the kids (and their parents who had come to watch), and I gave them a brief motivational talk about the theme of the mural – about the vandalism problem and how reconnecting to their ancestral roots and taking pride in their heritage can help the youth learn to express themselves creatively in a way that is positive, beneficial and beautiful in their community.
The hour and a half with the kids was wild, exciting, and chaotic, as we had kids of all ages and in any given second I had a little boy or girl tugging at my apron asking me for more paint or a new color. I was relieved when our time was up just to take a breather but also in love with what the kids had so earnestly painted. We had a lovely surprise then – the parents of the kids who had participated had prepared a meal for us! They invited us all into the school yard where they had set up tables and they served us a typical regional meal of chicken mixiotes, rice and beans, with the intention that we “break bread” with the kids. So beautiful. Luc, a friend and colleague of Benjamin’s on his “Goodness Tour,” a global community mural and music mission, shared some songs with the group, and both Benjamin and I had the opportunity to talk in more depth to the kids and parents about the message of the mural.
When the meal wrapped up and the kids went home, Benjamin and I stayed to continue working on the mural. There was a huge amount of work to be done still, and time was running short. We spent much of the rest of the afternoon making adjustments to the areas that the kids had painted. In their enthusiasm, they had covered over many of the outlines we had marked and made their own unique, albeit abstract, creation out of our carefully plotted corn. We chose what to keep and what to adjust, and the end result has some crooked but clear corn stalks made by the kids. We painted until late that day.
I love the metaphor of the crooked corn stalk symbol – like a child’s life, it may have gone astray but righted itself again into alignment and positive growth toward the light of the sun!
The following day, Tuesday, we both arrived early in the morning, knowing that we had to paint like the wind to wrap it all up that day, as Benjamin had a flight to catch at 5 pm. I have never painted so fast in my life. We battled with the rough uneven surface of the wall, trying to get clean lines and clarity in all of the bumps in the porous surface. There were moments when I struggled with technical things, how to portray a shadow correctly, or a hand, and Benjamin never hesitated to take a moment to help me, in spite of the time pressure. In fact, he remained calm and tranquil throughout our hasty painting, never letting on if he was stressed or nervous, never losing his patience. His friend Kosar, an Iranian woman and immigrant to the U.S., helped us out with retouching lines all day, which was a huge support. My son Marco also stayed for hours after school each day to help out with the lines and retouching. Benjamin reminded me frequently to go stand across the street to get a better perspective on our work. So funny, because I often tell my own students this in the studio, to stand back from the canvas for a better view, but I forgot all about that sage advice with the huge scale of the mural.
We added in the title of the mural “Voz del Respeto” – “Voice of Respect” and signed it with our names and the name of the group that dreamed the project into being – High Vibe Tribe. We painted right up to the very moment that Benjamin had to go hop in a taxi to get to the airport. He literally went running down the street with the longer of the ladders we had used, hoisted on his shoulder like a true soldier of Intentional Creativity, to deliver it back to its lender before racing to the airport. I stayed at the school with my son plodding along on the finishing touches till late. On Wednesday, I felt rather lonely without Benjamin as I returned for a final day of completing the mural. This involved cleaning up any more lines and details, applying some final symbols to the sky, filling in some uneven color, and finally, applying a coat of sealant to the entire mural to protect it from the elements, the sun, and from potential graffiti from anyone who might not have understood the message – we hope that never turns out to be the case, but we wanted to protect it nonetheless.
It was fascinating throughout the painting process to be so fully in the public eye, with many members of the community stopping to observe us and ask questions. It was a beautiful opportunity to share intentional creativity and the importance of teaching especially children and young people that there is a way for them to find outlets for expression that are grounded in respect and honor of their own history and cultural heritage. Creative expression can allow them to make positive contributions to their community, beautifying their village, raising consciousness, and unifying the people. The very final touch on the mural was a little banner honoring the children themselves and their participation. It is my prayer that those kids see the mural in ten or twenty years and remember how they are a part of “Voz del Respeto.”
Emily K. Grieves received a BFA degree in art from the University of Montana in 1993, followed by study of art history in Berlin, Germany, as a Fulbright scholar. She lived in San Francisco, California, for 10 years where she began exploring symbolism, mythology, and ritual in her artwork, drawing inspiration from the celebrations and mysteries of life. She has been a practitioner of shamanic healing and hands-on energy work since 1997.
As of 2004, she makes her home in Teotihuacan, Mexico, where she has painted murals at the Dreaming House spiritual retreat center and has created a body of artwork influenced by the cosmological imagery left in the ancient pyramids and by her relationship with her Muse and the Divine Feminine. In 2014, she opened her studio Taller de Arte El Refugio, in Teotihuacan.
Emily is a certified Intentional Creativity Teacher in the Color of Woman Method developed by Shiloh Sophia. She is also a member of the Intentional Creativity Guild, an international organization that promotes intuitive artistic expression as a way to make positive change in the world. Visit her at www.EmilyKGrievesArt.com
Olivia Oso shares her teaching journey of remembering our innate beauty and wisdom.
We gathered together in Eugene for the Sacred Tree Workshop and had an amazing time together. In the beginning of this painting process, all the elements where brought in to create the background. I asked the group to consciously listen to how each force lives within, earth, air, water and fire. A mark for a seed was added, representing the beginning of each person’s inner Tree of Life. We brought in the unavoidable tragedy line, as well as consciously acknowledging all the blessings and triumphs of our lives as well. A symbol to the Indigenous nature we EACH carry in own lineage and/or from the place where WE now live was added.
I brought in ritual each day using Palo Santo, sage and rose quartz, with each participant receiving a gift of their own stick of Palo Santo along with a journal. I offered other oils from the plant nations to bless their canvases, lavender, cedar, and sage. Each person was also invited to bring a symbol of their sacred intention and we created a community altar together.
My teachings involved information from the different spiritual traditions and I shared different perspectives as they connected to what it represented for them personally. I also used the symbol and parts of the Tree as aspects of our own body such as, roots, truck, core, branches, leaves, flowers, inviting inquiry into what they represented in their own lives. Poetry was also used along the way.
In a guided visualization, I took them down into the roots of the tree to the core of Mother earth and up their spine with the chakra points, to a connection with Her, a woman who was a spiritual presence for them.
When I illustrated my Composition, I was guided to bring both the Feminine form and the Tree of Life. Attendees could choose whatever they wished or were guided to do, specifically a tree or a Being, along with the Sacred Tree.
Over the course of 2 1⁄2 days, my Beloveds were so wonderful to be with. As feelings of fear, grief, being stuck or blocked and being terrified were expressed, in spite of these emotions, there was such trust and openness to the process. As a facilitator of the Intentional Creativity process, It was a wonderful gift and blessing to witness the break-downs, breakthroughs, aha moments, celebration and expression of Creativity. It is always so amazing to remember why I do this work. It makes such a difference in the world. We all got to witness as the energy of the group shifted, as things got released, new stories created and joy expressed.
My passion is to guide others toward their inherent gifts in creative process. I love witnessing the Beauty of the earth in all Her many forms. I facilitate workshops and classes using Intentional Creativity in Portland, OR and beyond.
Find out about Olivia’s upcoming workshops and art at www.gypsyheartstudio.com
The Empress symbolizes humankind’s ability to extend and receive love.
A beautiful day spent with amazing women. Oh, how I love when women gather, good things happen. We had it all… laugher, story, heart tears, wisdom, homemade soup, gluten-free cake, painting, painting and more painting!
Using Intentional Creativity, we spent the day painting and exploring our personal Empress, who represents Love with Wisdom. In the Tarot, the year 2019 is the year of the Empress. She symbolizes humankind’s ability to extend and receive love. She is Demeter, the Earth Mother and Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Creative Power. We layered our paintings with personal symbols, planted seeds of desires, acknowledged and bowed to the story of our past, and envisioned and moved in the direction of our Empress.
The Empress knows the importance of, as Shiloh often says, giving from our overflow. She is a benevolent leader. She is feminine, sensual and passion. She is the creative spark, and to me a beautiful balance of the right and left brain, with the action to bring her ideas and desires to fruition.
As a teacher, I felt more freedom when I let go of the internal expectation of having to be the expert on the empress, and it was even more magical. I still held the space and held each woman, but inside I was able to let go of inner thoughts that I had to know it all. Instead I shared with the group WHY I was interested in the Empress. Just as the tarot has other symbols on each card, students explored symbols important to their own lives. I led them on a visualization thru the underworld gathering their gifts and knowings, then up to the upper world and eventually to their own throne on the mountain top surrounded with pomegranate and blooming flowers.
I loved how the women supported one another. It was a beautiful class. At the end I had each woman introduce their empress to each other. I wanted to cry from the wisdom they shared and I felt such deep love for myself knowing that I was brave enough to create and hold this space for these women to explore their inner Empress.