From UNCSW 2014….

Shiloh united nations
Declaring Women’s Rights As Human Rights

By Shiloh Sophia, Special Commentator for WNN
Read full article on Women News Network

(WNN) Santa Rosa, California, UNITED STATES, AMERICAS: I loved everything about New York. The taste of lox and bagels. The Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station. The call of the vendors. The conversations of the street sitters. The brash beautiful light shining on everything. The honking of horns and ringing of bells.

But it was the sight of the United Nations flags that called me to the very core of my hope-filled heart and rocked me. I made it. In the strangest possible way I felt home. I have no information as to why I felt that way other than I knew I was supposed to be there. All my life I have wanted to be a part of ending violence against women and I seemed to feel that I had landed in the epicenter of what was possible regarding the thing I cared most about.

On the last day of the UNCSW – United Nations Commission on the Status of Women I found myself in the UN gift shop in where I was amused and blessed. Amused at the ridiculous almost ‘camp’ import products including shot glasses with the logo for the UN proudly displayed in gold (yes I got two), and the bright blue to-go coffee mugs, (yes I got two) even though there was not a cup of coffee to be found in that place.

And I was blessed to find just the right number of copies of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I bought every copy I could find. Gathered them up like treasures. I was grinning so wide that the lady at the counter treated me as though I was rather crazy. So I told her: I am teaching at a conference just a few days later with 40 women and girls back in California at our school and we are going to read the Declaration out loud in a circle.

I felt a sense of true joy at acquiring this most sacred of documents. Precious indeed. Clutching them to my breast I felt I was a part of something bigger than myself and could bring that back to my community. Yes, there was hope. Pride bigger than my own country patriotism. I was standing on sacred ground – the very geography that represented the NATIONS, not just the United States.

Ours was a declaration which every country had signed that says such powerful words as: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Yes. Yes. Even though we weren’t living up to that standard in our world, there it was, written in black and white for all to see and agree, a standard by which we would measure our behaviour.

I was there to participate in the 57th year of the Commission on the Status of Women. In a panel hosted and sponsored by WNN – Women News Network, along with MADRE, WUNRN (Women’s UN Report Network) and WIN (Women’s Intercultural Network) as contributing partners, I shared a video that showed the work of 43 women artists from across the world who have been creating artwork by and about women. This artwork was designed to highlight the work they had done toward personal healing and intentional creativity. The video demonstrated how healing art post trauma was working to transform women’s lives who are now re-visioning their personal life stories.

This is my own personal work, to guide women to revision their experience of themselves and their stories through image and language. It is critical that we take responsibility for how we experience ourselves, speak to ourselves, and ultimately how we behave in life. All of this is designed to give women the tools to speak about as they image themselves on the deepest levels.

My experience at the UN and what I was learning from the presentations was lighting me up and re-igniting my desire to be a part of the global movement of healing and ending violence against women. I felt the possibility all revolutionaries live by – that change is possible if we stick with it and don’t give up. On my last day at the UN I was able to attend one of the larger sessions and as I sat behind a country placard with no one in the seat, I listened and imagined, What would I say to Madame Speaker if I was given the chance? I pretended she would call on me and I would say my point.

But what would I say?

To find out what I would say, keep on reading this article over on WNN.

To Sign the Petition – A Movement to Revise the Declaration of Human Rights to be Gender-Inclusive, click here.

Your signature will help bring this cause to the United Nations.

Project Revision is A Movement to Revise The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be Gender Inclusive.

Project Revision
ONCE you sign – please share from the Avass.org site with your friends. I would be so honored if you would share this with at least ten friends. If everyone on my mailing list signed and just shared it with 2 other people we would have more than 25,000 signatures. Will you be a part of the movement that honors women’s rights as human rights? I hope so because the woman who was the chair on the committee to draft the Declaration tells us this:

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

                                                                                          ~ Eleanor RooseveltUN Flags

Greetings Dear One!
I am so excited to share this with you. Since going to the UN last year I have been so lit about about creating this petition and feel so blessed to work with Lys Anzia at WNN to make it happen. Jonathan and I will be attending this year as WNN Press due to our articles and photos showing up in WNN.
As an artist, poet and activist it feels ridiculously important for me to work on projects like this – and the Color of Woman Graduates, who are called the Red Thread Nation are a part of making it happen.
I will keep you up to date on our progress as the time unfolds on this journal to transform this sacred book to benefit the language and lives of women, and the men they love. AND FYI at the roots this in not a women’s cause, this is a human cause.
I am up super early, 3:30 am and was filled with a desire to tell you about this. I lit the fire and cuddled up with my ‘foofy” which is my fuzzy blanket and my new stuffed elephant, from Jonathan (he named him Wooley Booger, not me), and while on the way to save the world something soft and fuzzy caught my eye and so here I am enjoying comfort, while reaching out to YOU to walk with me to bring more balance into our world.

When I was a young advocate I had my angry times, my rants and raves. I am not operating in any form of anger when I work for what I believe. I am am truly operating from a ridiculously hopeful LOVE.
Interesting Image

P.S. I will be teaching on March 22 & 23 in New York, I rented a giant artist loft in Little Italy, if you want to come and paint, write, red thread circle and explore the hidden TABOOs in your life over bowls of spaghetti and glasses of red wine then come on over. I will also share with you about my journey to the UN since we will be there starting on March 19.

Join me in New York for TABU:  Story Painting with Shiloh Sophia
 
TABU Header

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The art of Shiloh Sophia impacts us at the level of the heart and soul in a way that opens us up to new possibilities of healing, wholeness and connection.

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Exploring Energy – Red Talks with Molly Indura

My trip to the UN and meeting Marie Claudine

My story of going to the UN and meeting Marie Claudine

photo

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

 

 

What is Intentional Creativity? A Red Thread Letter

Is there a love story or a war story happening in you?
The Red Thead Cafe Letters Headers
This is the un-plugged version and should not be viewed without a word of caution: Silliness and swearing may occur.

A Seaweed Love Story –
the jumbledeydup story and the future possibility story meet on the beach.




Is there a story that needs to be released or transformed with you?
There always is for me and the women I work with – so we play with story and how it lives in us all the time with painting using intentional creativity.

Recently, while at the beach I found myself playing with seaweed. Yep. My Muse picked up these two differently shaped pieces and they started to talk to each other. No it is not boredom – it is absolute muse-infused ridiculousness. So I pulled out my trusty Mac and hit record. I had been thinking about how to capture this concept about how story lives in us to share with my Color of Woman graduate teachers.

There is a longer more coherent version of the “Moving A Story Teaching” video below the – What is Intentional Creativity Teaching.
For close to twenty years I have worked in the arts in my own creative practice and in the lives of thousands of women who have a desire to heal themselves, and heal others, and, find sparkle and play in the healing journey.
Most healing starts with a story.
The story of what happened and what we made it mean.

Sharing this with you is a part of my story and how this movement got moving. This is my ministry – to share intentional creating with those who have a desire to heal, and transform their stories into legends.
What is The Intentional Creativity Movement?
by Shiloh Sophia
There is a movement moving through our world right now with a vision of healing. A movement where the individual and their story can be transformed from the inside out – not from an outside source or external medicine/healer. This transformation happens by the choice of the one telling the story in the first place. The one who is at cause for changing it in a way that works for the creation of their lives. Through choosing to create with intention, we become empowerd to be the author of our future.
We are a tribe of creative beings causing our own movement in art and image that is created with intention. I have worked in this creative technology for close to twenty years and thousands of women have participated in this work through making their own images and stories. A gathering is happening… the image of the feminine is changing in our own hands. A movement can happen when a quantum mass of people begin to gather and create around a specific theme or vision. Here is a little offering about the story of Intentional Creativity as taught in the Color of Woman and in the revolutionary educational work of Cosmic Cowgirls University.

It all begins with a story, just like everything does.

I believe that story lives in image inside of our memory banks. So when we experience trauma or beauty, that story ‘lives’ there and can be replayed by us – by choice, and also not by choice. The ways in which memories rise for us are often out of control and we form negative thought patterns around these loops which, over time, get even more ingrained in us. Like a groove that we keep falling into even though, at some subconscious level, we know the groove is there. Knowing it is there doesn’t do much to change how it operates in us – though, yes, getting it conscious helps, but there is more to be done if we are to transform how our stories live in us. Trauma can get stored not only in the spirit memory, but also in the body memory and it becomes patterned into us in ways that we have very little control over. There are ways to gain some control, as well as some participation in our stories and that is what intentional creativity is about.

For the stories to change we have to change how they live inside of us, how they are stored and how we relate to them. Working with our wounds through therapeutic tools is powerful and healing and has given a voice to the unspeakable stories. However, many of the stories – which are related to differently than before simply by witnessing and sharing them out loud – don’t change in us that much in the way they operate and, also, our stories don’t change their domination over us just by getting them conscious. A lot of the grooves of how our old stories work are connected with how our brains work. We can learn to work with our brains to heal our stories and by repatterning and yet there is still so much will and mind needed to truly change the patterned grooves. That is why so many powerful healing remedies which are based on body, breath, art and heart work have come to rise to bring us new information about how we function as humans, and how we can heal.

How do we change how the story lives in us?

We can change how our stories live in us. That is what intentional creativity is about – first we get the story conscious and then we ‘move’ how it lives in us. To do this we need to change our relationship to the story physically, spiritually and through ‘form.’ (Yes, the creation of form in the physical universe.) The memory was created through witnessing and experiencing a form based incident – it was physical. So to change how it ended up ‘storing’ itself inside of us, we need to have access to all three levels:
  • Physical Body Memory – meaning our own body form and where the story is lodged physically.
  • Spirit Memory – meaning the way the story lives inside of our spirit.
  • Creation Memory – meaning associating a new story in the physical and spirit world regarding that story.
The actual space and time continuum where the incident occurred, where the story ‘happened’, is what the brain and body use as their mechanism to form and inform their existing patterns. Again, we have very little ‘choice’ as to where and how the experience lives in us. Our victory is that we survived. How to get the story changed and adjusted in the physical and spiritual realms is often our missing piece in healing story. Over time, as we work with each core story and how it has harmed and helped us along, we can create an overall wholeness experience, a conscious reweaving of the fabric of who we are. When we work with intentional creativity, the individual gets access to the stories that have shaped them and to their beliefs and they can begin to ‘narrate’ in the future how story lives in them and how an incident is stored up and handled by the body-mind-spirit connection. But, they also get to go back and deal with each of the primary stories of hurt and breakthrough so that they can more intimately work with the wounds, which often become tools for transformation in the authoring of their future.

Image is the key to transforming how we view ourselves

Image is the way to change the story. But, not just image that yousee though that is a part of it. If a woman experiences a physical assault, images of women victims will trigger her own wound – this we know. If she sees an image of a woman of power, she can gather strength from that image to rise from her own story. But this only takes her so far. She can create an entirely integrated archetypal image of her own self image, through working with the image of the feminine, which she creates from within instead of continual external reference points.

How this began in a therapist’s office
In the beginning of my career as an artist I studied with Artist Sue Hoya Sellars exploring the long hidden and lost images of the feminine. Following my first art show, I began to work with a female therapist who worked at a mental health agency. She asked me to photo copy images of my drawings so that she could share them with her clients who had experienced sexual abuse and other kinds of trauma. She said that there were no image references for them to use to ‘heal’ their images of themselves as wounded women. I transferred the images I drew of positive, feminine, empowered, whole, holy women onto stones and she would lend out the stones to the women clients so that they could look at the image and, in some cases, place the stone onto their body or heart. This was just the beginning of a movement that has now spanned close to twenty years of working with women to heal how they experience themselves.

After much urging from her, Aletheia Mystea, I created my first Coloring Book, Color of Woman Journal, and the therapists went wild. I could not keep the copies in stock. I had painted and signed each cover so it was personal from me and off they went to do their work. (At the time I didn’t know that ‘coloring’ could break a psychotic loop.) The books are now used in lockdown facilities for women in the psyche ward as it helps them to stop the pattern they get into that they cannot get out of themselves. In addition, it helps them to increase their ability to memorize. I began to wonder if they colored in a breast or a hip with ‘love’ for themselves were they memorizing a new relationship to that part of them?

How making our own image is healing

Further on down the road I began to be ‘asked’ by moms to teach their daughters. I began to see the results of working with a feminine image that they created themselves – regardless of whether it was perfect or pretty – because they identified with it as being ‘them’ and their self image began to shift. Over time, and thousands of books and students later, I studied the trends and patterns that I witnessed in my students both online and in person and discovered what I consider to be breakthroughs in the arena of how image is a profound tool for healing and reshaping ourselves. We have known this for a very long time and still, in some ways, we are still at the forefront of just how powerful this can be in the recovery process. When we are hurt our image of ourselves is altered and it is a long road, as anyone in the self help or healing worlds knows, from I don’t feel good enough or I am ashamed of my body, to I feel like myself or I am well or even, I am in love with who I am. This long, long road, through intentional creativity can become a journey of a lifetime – an awakening to what is possible for our lives and who we are. This is why I started the Color of Woman Teacher Training and we are now in our fourth year!

So if making our ‘own images’ can help us change the internal image of how we view ourselves within, might that change how we relate to negative external images and how we let those images inform our view of ourselves and what we purchase and what relationships we have and how we treat our body and how we walk in the room and take up space? All of these things are based on images we have seen and the things we experience visually and physically. As beings of ‘sight’ our perception of who we are is informed greatly by what we ‘see’ out there which shapes how we ‘see’ internally and then how we see ourselves. But we have largely been bystanders as to how this “seeing” works. We have very little clue, no matter how smart or enlightened we are, about how we structure this human design to receive informational stimulus from outside of us and how we let that inform our internal experience of ourselves – which informs all of our choices. Our story of ourselves, who we experience ourselves AS, is what creates our life – if we don’t believe we deserve love we allow ourselves to suffer with less love. If we believe we deserve to be loved, we will continue to look until that feeling in us matches an experience of that.

Many of the images of the feminine are representative of women that we do not identify with and yet, since those are the icons of ‘what to be,’ our chance of knowing how to shift that is rather intellectual – and most of us do not succeed in not comparing ourselves to other women. In addition, the images of the feminine that existed for the past 50,000 years have often been hidden from our view and for many years we didn’t even know that there were images of the Goddess previous to the past 5,000 or so years. The movement of the ‘divine feminine’ has gone a long way in helping us to see ourselves as included in the creation. Even though we give birth we still needed to SEE the images of the Goddess to see that we are life-giving enough to identify with it as powerful part of who we are.

These soul-full findings are why I began to really teach this work to other women, and to teach them to teach it to themselves and other women through the Color of Woman. This work lights up my soul fire and from that space of passionate action my own life dream is being fulfilled. When I was just starting out on this journey it was my ‘piece of the red thread’ to transform the way the feminine is viewed in my lifetime. I had NO idea at the age of 23 how that could or would become possible, but now I know.
Here is the video I made where I share about how a story moves in us and how it lives inside of our brains.


How does making our own image change how we see ourselves?

There are several things that happen when a woman begins to create her own images. First, remember that almost all of us created when we were little children. Crayon and paper were not just given to those who showed a propensity for creativity, they were given to all children. So, at some core level, there is an understanding deep in the culture of our people that little people should experience drawing, which we do long before written language. Drawing is our first language beyond sight and sound that we make ourselves that is not really in response to anything external – we are not drawing a house out there, rather we are making scribbles on a paper, however incomprehensible in the beginning – it is our own language.
I have worked with children and asked their parents to let me do their first drawing class when it was time for them to move beyond the marks on paper stage – I take their little hand and draw a circle over and over and then they do it, over and over, and their experience of having control from within begins with that connection point. This occurs differently than having them draw something outside of themselves where they can notice it is not really ‘like that.’ Teaching internal referencing can be profoundly powerful for the development of the individual child and human of any age. Teaching them how to lead with the right brain instead of the left as the origin of a particular action could go a long way towards keeping tiny soul fires lit throughout a lifetime.

To step out of the over-culture that dominates our lives internally and externally what is needed first, just like healing, is to consciously choose to explore our story about how we have been living and operating inside of our lives. Then, we begin the change through intentional creating that brings us across the abyss to what and who we could become.

Is this just spiritual stuff or is it more than that?

We all know that the right brain and left brain function at different levels and capacities. Most of us are left brain dominant with some right brain sprinkled in. To change that, and include more of the flow and image and color and light and insight of the right brain, we have to choose it consciously. The left brain thinks nothing of using the right brain in service to the desire of the left to make shape into form that makes sense and fits the boxes it needs to in order to sustain structure. The right brain, however, doesn’t always know it needs to connect to the left brain to make its thoughts and dreams manifest – hence why it is so hard to change our patterns even though we so desire it and also how hard it is to create a life that reflects who we are. The right brain needs to learn how to include the gifts of the left, but to employ that we have to consciously choose how to use the right brain – to ask it to employ the left brain gifts in service to its dreams instead of just the dominant other way around. It is helpful to think of the voice inside of us when thinking about right and left and to imagine that the critic lives in the left hemisphere and the muse dwells in the right. When the Muse is given the power to employ the left, the choices and results are different and often more balanced with the soul desire and sustainability of that human.

There is a lot of nueroscientific backing to these thoughts, connected with how the brain works and functions so that we can study it and talk about it. Most of all, that we have the capacity to learn how it functions just enough to participate in how we see and think and therefore act upon our lives. Through giving image and language of our own story we begin to understand what role we might have in the work of authoring our own future instead of just being at the effect of a life happening “to us.”

Working with art to transform our stories involves a process not dissimilar to transference. It is helpful in this case to think about a talisman – the creator of the talisman is literally ‘transferring’ their energy INTO the physical object. When something is transferred, there is an open space in the psyche.

When we create with intention we are making: Talismans

Talisman comes from the root word in Greek teleo which means “To Consecrate.” The meaning of it has to do with the person who makes it, charging it with powers, blessings and/or healings through choice. They are charging it up, in essence, with prayers, hopes and dreams. Legend has it that the more specific one is with what they put into the creation of the ‘thing’ – the form – the more direct the response is from the Divine. So often it is used in manifestation, calling in or awakening that which we choose to bring to our attention. The process can create an opening in us. Then we have access to information that we did not have before. Just as significant as that is the concept of transference. That we could MOVE a mind-body-spirit based story ONTO a physical surface (canvas) with the intention of changing how that story image lives in us. Finally, there is some psychic space around the gripping patterned synapses that have been living within us for so long.

The making of Talisman/Taliswoman is different than making an idol of something as we are not worshipping what we made or confusing the thing with the divine. The act of making it itself is what makes the opening happen in the universe for the information, the in-form-ation, to come through and is what brings our awareness into alignment and harmony with what it is we are choosing to focus on. It is not uncommon in the act of creation, whether that be a song or a dance or a painting or a sculpture or a soup or a garden or a necklace, for us to receive information, be in-formed by the process because we are focusing and paying attention with our deep listening. In anticipation we seek to be informed.

Over only the past 3 years close to 80 women are graduates of thisColor of Woman training. I never dreamed that this could be possible – that I would be sharing this most exquisite of gifts with women worldwide and teaching them how to bring healing to other women through the transformation of personal image. The feminine rises as each woman inhabits her own fullness – and all of us benefit.

Bringing our intention to the canvas

This kind of working is called Intentional Creativity and asks that you bring your story to the canvas and into the paint strokes. Layer by layer, a call and response begins with the canvas and what lies just beyond the physical realm into the mystical. We always begin a painting with an overarching intention. Then each step is a revelation in both consciousness and in design that creates the breakthrough (they just begin to happen there in the subconscious without effort.)
The effort becomes the act of creating and is driven from another place within us that we all have – the desire to express ourselves, to be seen and heard and loved, to belong to ourselves and to each other. When we create we are often creating from this place whether we know it or not. The choice to create with intention sets our brain into the track to access and employ memory and longing but we don’t then have to dominate the breakthrough – it happens organically by being carried by the original intention coupled with the creative actions that are based ultimately in movement, since we are moving when we add paint to a canvas.
Connecting your intention is like finding a clear signal on a radio that is tuned to a specific frequency that opens channels to the subconscious and unconscious that we are ready to deal with. The layers of consciousness then yield up into the creative process that which needs to be worked with next. Layer by layer new space is created. Once the story is transferred to canvas it lives inside of us differently – the way it used to operate is now dis-lodged and we can consciously choose what to do to work with the space we have now cleared up inside of our internal story pattern.

What is fascinating is that creating art is always good for us – but whether or not it is truly healing (because our brain and body choose to engage in that healing process), is through one specific thing… Our choice to engage ourselves in a conscious act of creating, instead of just creating. Many artists don’t experience their art as healing, although many would call it cathartic or life saving. Still, the capacity to use it as a tool to know oneself is dependent on one’s intention to do so – that is why we call it intentional creativity.

My own origin of intentional creativity began with a day in the studio of the Master Artist, Sue Hoya Sellars. I was wedging clay and complaining about how hard it was, how many bubbles and stones there were and how my hands were hurting. She is a chop-wood-and-carry-water teacher so we had spent a long time digging that clay and mixing it to make our own. I simply wanted to throw a pot, not make clay out of the mountain.
As I complained, without looking up from stirring her tea she replied, “You have to put your intention into what you are doing.”
She then asked me, “What is it that you truly care about?”
I said, “I care about ending violence against women and children.”
She said, “Put THAT desire into the clay as you wedge.”
My whole life changed in that moment. I was set upon my path at the age of 23 catalyzed from that moment after a lifetime of my mother teaching me how to choose how I view the world and what my experience of it would be. And so I was trained and ready to have that thought about putting my intention into my work transforming not only how I worked, but how it felt to work. And that not only changed the outcome of what was created, it changed the purpose that thing held and what its vibration was.

The image above is from my very first art show in 1995, a combination of illustration, acrylic transfer and photographs of trees, clouds and roses that I took – this very image was one of the first three images that TRANSFORMED my entire view of myself, and do I dare say, THE UNIVERSE? And, Her.

And so this is how this movement moves, one woman at a time. Through putting the tools of creation into her very hands.
In a world ravaged by war, and an all out attack on women and children each of us must choose how we will respond to ‘what is’ and how we will navigate the terrain of being called life. Making art and offering it as healing to others is the way I choose to respond. I respond in beauty. I choose to hold my piece of the red thread and to be a blessing to those I am called to serve. This is my story and the one I am creating.
What story are you creating or calling in? What is ready to brought forth from within you?
Signed in A Red Thread of Hope. They say that those who are supposed to meet are connected by an invisible red thread since before birth….and so we meet…and meet again.
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If you want to learn how to paint using the Color of Woman Method there is most likely a teacher or a workshop happening in your area – check the tabs above for dates and offerings.
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For Immediate Release – Transformational Art Shown at the United Nations

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

An Art Collection of 42 Transformational Artists Shown Today at the United Nations

THE UNITED NATIONS PLAZA, New York – March 4, 2013

Contact: www.redthreadnation.com / [email protected]

Today in New York the paintings of 42 women artists will be shown at the United Nations. This series is called The Soul Fire Collection and features 126 images in acrylic painted by women around the world. The Founder of the Color of Woman School, Shiloh Sophia McCloud will be sharing the works as a part of her presentation at the CSW 57 – The 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. McCloud is a part of the panel Women and Violence: Human Rights Activism Through Arts and Film sponsored by the Women’s United Nations Network (WUNRN) and the Women’s News Network (WNN).

“This series is a testament that healing and transformation are possible through intentional creativity,” says McCloud. Just 2 years ago none of these paintings existed. Eight out of 10 of the women did not even identify as artists. And look what they have created. These paintings were made with the Color of Woman method based on intentional creativity and intuitive painting in which the artist looks within for images and draws her inspiration right from the heart. These images are not only a healing journey, but the painting itself becomes an icon of what’s possible for her life and for her own self-image.

To see The Soul Fire Collection yourself, you can visit www.redthreadnation.com.

The theme for the show is soul fire, which is a metaphor of the process of waking up to one’s life and one’s calling. The Color of Woman School asserts that to risk being self expressed is to risk being fully alive. McCloud says, “There is much work that needs to be done to end the violence, and while we are doing that it is absolutely essential for us to provide tools for healing that really work – that put the tools directly into the hands of the woman herself.”

The Legend Lives In Her Heart

The Legend Lives In Her Heart by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

McCloud started teaching this style of visionary painting called the Color of Woman Method in 2004, and is scheduled to speak at the 57th UN CSW today at 4:30pm EST at the United Nations. She will speak on the healing power of creative acts, and particularly painting, on the lives of women and how this kind of work can be employed for women post trauma to bring healing into their lives.

“Many of us have spent our lives trying to hide who we are and silencing our voices and images in order to be safe. But safety is an illusion when we cut ourselves off from who we are. The heart of this work is about learning how to navigate our internal guidance system. We are such complex beings and not many of us know how to truly think. For example, to think a thought we haven’t thought before. Or to make choices that are not based on past wounding, but instead are based in our inner promptings, our soul longings. Through intentional creativity, with practice, anyone can learn how to listen and act from an authentic, core place within themselves, and art is the way to make that happen. In the Color of Woman Method we employ techniques like Jung’s Active Imagination, as well as intuition, intention and communication with our internal self, our Muse. When we begin to express ourselves through creativity, a natural progression of healing becomes possible,” says McCloud.

McCloud has worked in the arts for close to 20 years, starting her career as a professional artist at the age of 23. She has represented hundreds of women through her Northern California galleries. McCloud asserts, “It is shows like The Soul Fire Collection that will help us continue to move across the borders and boundaries, through our common language of image.”

There is also something unique about this show, beyond how inspirational the images are. These women included in the collection did not just study to become artists at the Color of Woman School, each one trained to teach the method, and is leading her own workshops online and in person across the globe. With the current potential of online education, the reach of these teachings is enormous and expanding.

Says McCloud, “There is an uprising of creative beings happening around the world now and we are a part of gathering them together. We confirm what people already know – there is relief from suffering through creative acts. This kind of work is a witness to the power of beauty and story as an antidote to negative self images and the suffering caused in our lives when we don’t believe in ourselves and who we are.”

This showing is the core part of McCloud’s presentation at the United Nations. She was invited to speak by WUNRN – The Women’s United Nations Network. The UN Commission on the Status of Women conference can be traced back in 1945. Today, the Commission has been asked by the UN General Assembly to develop its role in mainstreaming a gender perspective in United Nations activities, among other initiatives. In addition to invited delegates, the conference is expected to draw over 4,000 women from diverse global regions. These women and the general public are invited to hear the delegates – including Shiloh McCloud – and other speakers who will be part of the event sponsored by the Women News Network (WNN) and the Women’s United Nations Report Network (WUNRN).

Shiloh McCloud is a visionary artist and poet. Her gallery, Shiloh Sophia Gallery, is located in Northern California. Through her work with Cosmic Cowgirls University, Color of Woman School and now the Red Thread Nation, the education they offer serves over 300 women per month in online and in-person courses, and reaches upwards of 15,000 viewers worldwide on a monthly basis. McCloud has published seven books, teaches at Sofia University and can be found most mornings in her studio, painting her prayers.

The Soul Fire Collection is dedicated to lighting the soul fires of human beings.

To see the Collection yourself, you can visit www.redthreadnation.com.

Here’s a note from the 15-year-old son of one of these artists, a graduate of the Color of Woman Teacher Training that he asked his mom to share with us: “Thank you to all who helped clear the road of life for my mum. Before you came I could see that mum wasn’t sure what way to turn, then you all came along to help her. You cleared the fog and paved the road as best as you could. Now I see my mum with a beautiful smile whilst she is heading in the right direction. I thank you again a million times more for bringing spark to her divine soul and thumping heart. Thank you for the divine feminine!”

Here is what this Australian mom, now an artist and a teacher, has to say: “How I interpret living in a ‘fog’ is how I felt from the impact of domestic violence and abuse, those frozen moments, too scared to leave and too scared to stay. Finding my voice through these paintings, coming into an awareness of the sacred, my empowerment, the knowledge that resides within us not usually available through conventional means, but accessible through this work, harmonizing my voice with the voices of women in all the world.

“I changed my reactions and created stronger boundaries, with love. Not able to change others, I had to stand up and be the change for my well-being, my children’s, my partner’s, and that of my community. My vision is now stronger and this has impacted my personal life, through to my family, including that of my partner who was stuck in his cycle of childhood trauma. We are communicating and choosing peace, one step at a time, and for me, by continuing with one trusting brush-stroke at a time.

“The journey of one painting led to an awareness of issues affecting girls and women in the world today. This work has enabled my spark and light to begin a change and healing in others, like all women and those in the Color of Woman, we all have our story, and through our experiences we can share and light the spark, the inner light and soul fire of others.

“I am just at the beginning of my journey with teaching The Color of Woman Method to others in my community, but my expression is already on its way to reaching others whose lives have been impacted by violence, abuse, or who need a little help or reassurance to trust their own power and visionary creative being, which exists in each and every one of us from the day we were born.

The Soul Fire Collection from Color of Woman

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