I wanted to write you today to encourage you to go to art shows, and apply to art shows in person and online. This message is for my students, but is good for all artists too. Go to art shows and festivals to SEE what other artists are making and what they are doing – learn – and also purchase their art to support the arts. It is a great experience.
Apply to online shows – this isn’t about whether you get famous or sell work, it is about prepping and learning how to show. How to participate and build your CV. To learn to promote. To go beyond your comfort zone.
My entire career and my first truly successful month at 30 years old was due to art festivals on street corners and big festivals. The interaction is so valuable and the mailing list!!! To follow up with each person is so powerful and MANY of the people who signed up from art shows ended up purchasing for years to come.
Don’t be too proud for the cafe or the street corner. I would wear stretchy pants, and my hats and arrive as early as possible. Set everything up, with support, then put a long table cloth over the table a blanket and pillow underneath so I could rest a bit before the fanfare. AH the good old days!
My booth in contrast to the other booths was so colorful it was always a show-stopper. It takes time and resources to get yourself going if you are going to do actual walls etc, but a 6 foot folding table and easels is a great way to start and get excited.
Don’t wait for the market to come to you -– bring yourself to the market!!
As MUSEA : Intentional Creativity Foundation, we will be doing juried shows soon and it is very exciting to learn the process – for something I have participated in most of my art career.
I say, not to be too proud, but at the same time, choose where to assert your value. I am often invited to ‘decorate’ an event. But no, that isn’t the context I show up in. The language I choose is the featured artist for the event. I request signage, a complimentary vendor table, and to be added to the website. I request to be introduced at the opening of the event so people can see me and talk to me.
I am including a few links to learn about shows. The process teaches you so much. There is a lot to sort through. For artists, just keep show up.
The stories we are telling in our lives is part of what runs our lives. So let’s learn to tell a story of healing.
We are returning to the United Nations for the 6th time to bring Intentional Creativity to the table. This year, we are bringing Native American women with us to share their ways of telling and talking story, educate on the often missed status of Native Women in the United States and share the power of Intentional Creativity.
Many of us who serve, find ourselves traveling all over the world looking for those most in need to support with our time and resources. How about here at home, for those who live in the United States, the Native women are asking for our attention to be brought close to home. We have a serious need here to focus on.
Will you join us?
Herstory is being made as we speak…
How this connects to my path is shared below…
~ Shiloh Sophia
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is coming up in March!
Our Intentional Creativity community is headed back to New York for our 6th year and you are invited to join us one way or another – online or in person.
Please take the time to read this message, it’s important….
If you can join us for our free event at UNCSW or our longer workshop – HURRAY! And if you can’t, we are still inviting you to ‘join us virtually’. Below, learn how you can be a part of it from afar…and most of all…
WORK WITH US TO BRING NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN’S VOICES TO THE TABLE AT UNCSW by being a Support Sponsor
The HERSTORY PROJECT
Hosted by MUSEA : Intentional Creativity Foundation with Shiloh Sophia and Jonathan McCloud. In collaboration with Carmen Baraka : Spirit Warrior and Denise Wreden and Alexis Estes of Native Hope
2 Ways to Participate in Person:
Join us for a 5-Day NY Workshop March 220.127.116.11.12 to experience HERSTORY and celebrate women artists who have come before us – including seeing the museum shows together for Frida Kahlo and Hilma Af Klint. Our time will also include Post Trauma Healing Art Practices and the Transformation of Story.
Attend our FREE UNCSW Event open to the public: Post Trauma Healing Art Practices and the Transformation of Story. March 12, 10:30am – 12pm 4 W 43rd Street, Aqua Room – no need to RSVP – come join us. If you want join us for ritual and lunch following, then please register here to hold your spot.
We are SO excited to partner with Alexis Estes Woksape Ole Winyan (Seeks Knowledge), Donor Care and Social Media at Native Hope, who will be joining us: www.nativehope.org. Consider being a part of bringing her work as a storyteller and painter to the UN.
Carmen Baraka, Spirit Warrior, will be joining us for the second time to share about the reality of Native American women and children in the United States. She will also lead ceremony and circle along with her partner in life and ceremony, Denise Wreden.
The last time we were there, the participants admitted to being shocked to learn about the status with Native Women in the United States. They said they didn’t know – well we are coming to tell them.
“We stand firm in our commitment to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression, including artistic and creative expression. In addition to being an integral part of the protected human right to freedom of expression, artistic and creative expression is critical to the human spirit, the development of vibrant cultures, and the functioning of democratic societies. Artistic expression connects us all, transcending borders and barriers.”
~ This quote has come from a joint statement made by 57 State Members at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and delivered by Ambassador Janis Karklins, the Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations on September 18, 2015.
Sponsoring a Native Youth and Elders to attend UNCSW63:
This is our first Intentional Creativity Foundation sponsorship invitation for CSW since we began traveling to the UN in 2013.
All donations will go towards financing bringing a Native youth, elder, and staff from our Intentional Creativity Team, to the United Nations with us to share their stories and teach about story. This includes airfare, lodging and meals for three women (around 10k in total costs). Once those expenses are covered, remaining funds will go 100% towards the media sharing we are preparing for you.
Shiloh Sophia and Jonathan McCloud cover their own expenses and finance all aspects of the trip from personal funds each year. This is the first time we are saying, would you like to be a part of making it happen?
We’ve received requests from our community asking how you can be involved, even if you can’t come in person.
The minimum donation is $55. You can also purchase more than one sponsorship in another woman’s name and/or honor, and we will reach out to confirm her name. Simply change the quantity from ‘1’ to the number of sponsorships you want to purchase to 2 or 3 or more.
For questions or large sum donations, you can contact Sarah Mardell, [email protected].
We will be creating a video documentary from our UN experience focused on Intentional Creativity and storytelling.
Support sponsors will be listed in our documentary credits by name or business.
The Intentional Creativity Foundation, Inc. is a fully recognized 501(c)3 Charitable Organization in the United States. Your donations will be earmarked for UNCSW and are tax deductible.
Today I am sharing part of my story with you and why this work and the Native American thread is so important to me. I would be honored if you would take the time to have tea with me for this Red Thread Letter.
When I arrive at the United Nations and see those 180+ member flags fluttering in the wind – my heart flutters. It isn’t that I think we are going to make some huge difference, but rather, that we DO have a voice at that table. Bringing art and storytelling to the UN has become one of my most cherished trips and experiences. I learn so much each time and I become re-inspired about our work with Intentional Creativity.
Jonathan and I are thrilled to be going to New York again for our 6th year supporting the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. It is such a JOY and gift to attend this event and be part of such important work happening in the world for women, girls and creativity. Many who have attended our gathering come to show us their red thread from the year before…and after our events, people say – they are so glad we are here because we provide some of the ‘positive’ stories and images.
There’s a spoken and unspoken connection when I’m there – as most of the women and men you see in the neighborhood of the UN are there on behalf of women. Something sacred passes between us as the streets and cafe’s filled with those who serve others with their life work. A smiling into healing between all of us. It feels SO AMAZING like being held in a cosmic colorful embrace. And the ‘outfits’ of the global women make me so happy!
I’ll never forget when I was first invited back in 2013 by United Nations Report Network and one of my mentors, Lois Herman, to speak and share my work through art and image and poetry – and to participate in powerful global conversations about issues affecting women. I wanted to share how creativity can be used as a healing modality for girls and women, post-trauma. THAT was a huge moment for me, like a full circle effect of the work I’ve been doing my entire life – a dream come true for seeds planted long ago in how I was raised.
For my presentation, I knew I wanted to share our community instead of just my work. I knew that one woman sharing her story wasn’t capable of demonstrating what was possible, so I chose to share the work of my students, over 40+ Color of Woman Graduates. My presentation was very well received and shared before thousands who were gathered in person and online – an epic moment of YAHOOO!
Here I am shaking in my boots and also very proud of the women of Intentional Creativity…
Here we are in 2016, when Spirit Warrior, Carmen Baraka smudged the United Nations Member Flags, asking for an apology for Native Peoples of the territory that is now known as the United States. You can read the article here. Suffice to say, there’s never a dull moment when the Cosmic Cowgirls are in town!
Healing the scars with our Native American sisters, brothers and this land is part of my personal path.
With everything happening in our sweet sad country I can’t help but look at the old wounds and crimes. We are built on the bones of occupation, colonization, slavery, racism and massacre. We know this. If we do not apologize in a proper manner, following the lead of Australia and Canada, to the first nations people of this territory…can we truly heal?
In a personal relationship, if an offense has been committed in the past, even if we think we are ‘moved on’ it just festers and it will come back; it is the natural cycle. Not like karma, but like nature. The buried toxicity will come out of our pores, and out of the earth pores, and out of the energy pores and be woven into DNA. This is like that.
We have a past relationship wound that needs healing. There is no moving on because how we started with our invasion here is STILL GOING ON THROUGH FOCUSED attacks on the Native Americans of this land and the land itself. ((((TEARS))))) How can it be that a nation as ‘developed’ as ours is not tending to this reality?
If we don’t heal the wound with the Native Americans of this land we will not have healing in this land. Let’s heal. This is my stand.
And if we do not have healing in this land, at least each one of us can take responsibility for healing our own relationships with the earth and each other. With a focused intent, not on feigned inclusion and looking good kinds of diversity. I am talking about relationships where there is something at stake between you, and the native peoples of the geography in which we are living.
In my heart of hearts, every time a crime happens here, this is where my thoughts go – we can’t heal if we won’t heal the past. The treatment of the children and families crossing the border is an extension and perpetuation of the exact same behavior that got us here in the first place.
It is not lost on me that guns were introduced by the foreigners to the Native peoples and now it is guns by common broken citizens that are showing us who we have allowed ourselves to become. We are in a cycle here, let us NOT miss this. Other kinds of senseless violence stir us and our hearts – but the gun kind has a maddening impact – the senselessness – even the lack of clear motive baffles us. We can’t understand this – but then how can we if we don’t even know where we LIVE. These ‘shooters’ are human beings showing us how sick we are. I pray for them and their families too. Will we just judge them as crazy and malicious instead of looking to the patterns they are revealing through their violence?
If a child in a family grew up to to be violent would we not first look to the parents and siblings for evidence, or reason? Think of the United States as a family who crushed another family and then tried to act like we had rights to do so. Why are we not looking to the roots of the violence here in the US? I know many are, but I am talking about your average every day American wanting to find the reason and change it within themselves and their country. When we look, we will find first the Native Americans closely followed by the enslavement of other peoples. And the never to be missed violence against women in any and all cultures, settings and time frames of the past 5000 or so years.
This story has duplicated itself over and over, having been to Hawaii and Corsica – two places that are occupied not unlike the US is occupied – you can feel the rumblings beneath your feet.
Who are we as a country has to begin with who we are as individuals since leadership right now doesn’t seem to represent most of those I know…(and if it does represent you, you too are welcome with the rest of us to keep waking up and taking action.)
Now I know that this conquering, raping and pillaging has happened all over the world since the beginning of time. Take over, crush the people before you and take their stuff. And I hate it. I don’t care if it has been happening since the first dawn of creation, we are done done done with this kind of power over mentality and reality. We are all suffering. Even those who would allow it, are suffering. Jesus says to forgive them when they know not what they do. But what about those who do? I will work on forgiving them too, but first, I ask forgiveness of my sisters and brothers of this territory in which I live.
“I am so sorry. I am standing watch with you to protect this earth. Please forgive me and my ancestors. I am seeing the ways of our ancestors and the harm it has caused you and continues to. Let’s move forward together. This is a start. I am here to learn from you.”
We keep trying to address these injustices through marches, lobbying, gathering, policy, social media, protests and on we go but there is a bigger force than that behind, that this barely touches. This is where the despair comes in and we feel like we aren’t making a difference. We have to show up and FEEL the solidarity and caring and bring as much change as we can to keep showing up to these things.
Yet I also know that the ENERGY and collective memory of the connection with the first peoples needs our attention. This is not just a policy fix, but a mending in the energy field of this planet. The Native teachings KNOW about energy and how it works. SO KEEP SHOWING UP. BUT also know that each one of us can, first in our own soul, apologize and FEEL this sorrow move through you like a rushing river. And become aware even a little bit, about what is happening to our people of the United States. I know it is a big ask and big for me too. This is my start.
Don’t know how to say I am sorry authentically? First say it to the air. Say it to the ground. Say it to the water. Say it to the trees. Say it to the creatures. Say it to the sun and stars. Say it to your sisters and brothers who are Native Americans. FEEL IT. Don’t know any? Go find ways to contribute without taking over their stuff. Ask yourself why you don’t have those connections. Don’t go with an idea to save anyone: They don’t need saving. They don’t need us foreigners: We Need Them. Ask for counsel on how to proceed. Don’t posture or feign or beg. Just be yourself in how you actually feel.
I was smudged before I was baptized. Since my early twenties Native American teachers have showed up, literally on my path, in my path and taught me. Saw me. And I am so grateful beyond measure. Gabby. Choquoush. Anton. Tonantzin. Carmen. Thank you. My teacher Sue was also part Blackfoot. My Grandmother Eden said we were part Cherokee but it doesn’t show in the DNA. So I am here as a foreigner and requesting conscious forgiveness. And conscious collaboration on behalf of our earth and peoples.
I also know my ancestors were fleeing persecution and domination where they came from. I am sad that they could not, would not, be a part of co-inhabiting this land in a beautiful way. I am sorry for them too. When I do this work in the spiritual realm through writing, prayer, painting and circle, I also speak to those in my family line who have gone before me. It isn’t that I am angry with them. It also isn’t that in my apology I think I am healing all the past. Or that saying sorry is going to do it. I know it won’t but I know it is a start, forgiveness is always a starting place for transformation. It changes the one asking, for one thing. Changes your heart and humbles you and makes you more supple. Mostly it is about acknowledging the past and creating a different future where conquering is no longer an option. I have spoken.
What is an apology if it can’t be heard and felt and is not backed up by action to protect and preserve and change our ways? http://indianlaw.org/node/529
Repairing these individual relationships with consciousness is how we will survive these times. Start somewhere. Start with prayer, even if you don’t know how.
This is my personal experience offered up. You have your own experience. Speak that. Have corrections? I will make them. I am not supposing to get this right but to be part of the story. But in trying to get it right and be politically correct with the to date stuff, many of us are being silent.
“Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence” – Mourning Dove Salish
Here is the slideshow I shared during my 2013 presentation ~ The Soul Fire Collection comprised of works from 42 Color of Woman Graduates in 2011 and 2012. A testament that healing and transformation is possible through Intentional Creativity.
When I travel to the United Nations, I LOVE being in person with those of you who can make the journey, including members of the Intentional Creativity Guild and Cosmic Cowgirls. This gathering makes us feel so proud and see the bigger picture of our work.
Each year we host an event or two in New York, where we can be in circle together and connect red threads and this is how we often finance the journey. This year’s workshop, starting on International Women’s day, has a focus of HERSTORY ~ looking together at our own stories, the stories of the pioneers of the women’s movement, and to women painters that we consider ‘intentional creatives’ – in that they told stories intentionally with their paintings and coded them with personal mythology.
You can join us for the full 5 day workshop. Festivities begin on March 8 and complete with a celebration luncheon following our event at UNCSW on the afternoon of March 12. The workshop also includes journey’s to explore the work of women artist’s Frida Kahlo and Hilma Af Klint at museums – how cool that these shows are in NY right now!
Or, just join us on the 12th for the free event at UNCSW. You can choose to register to attend the luncheon afterwards ($45) or just come to the talk/circle at 10:30
And…if you’re inspired to support our journey…please do. Be a part of making this happen with us.
Most of my Red Thread Cafe times with my Muse and my husband Jonathan for the past few months have been focusing on this one topic, the Critic and the Muse. The riddles, the science, what others have taught about it, why it is so compelling, why more change isn’t happening and really asking myself deep questions about it in relationship to my work. Because if we can’t get access to the critic, it is very challenging to hear our true inner voice.
I keep thinking I have a solution, but in truth that solution takes time, because it requires rewiring the brain. But I am going to give it a try.
For most of my adult life, I have been working with women and the exploration of their self expression. I have gained insight and understanding into the actual ‘function’ of how we speak to ourselves through witnessing thousands in their creative process, and trying out new ideas.
Through the years and the research I have arrived at some pretty interesting conclusions. And many of them are not what is widely taught about how the critic works. Because to understand and transform how it works, you need to dive into a bit of brain science and come eye to eye with the dominatrix of the prefrontal cortex.
The transformation self help culture we live in today is rich with many potent teachings that have guided us along our path regarding finding our true voice, living out our authentic self, and even the expression of the soul. You may discover one thing is working for a while and then find yourself seeking another solution. We can be impulsive transformation addicts looking for a fix. I am no exception. Yet there is one thing that ROCKED my world and changed everything, and it was very surprising! I will share some of that with you here.
I am not a fan of speaking to the pain point to make a point. Yet for the sake of this particular conversation, articulating the phenomena could be helpful. It is in NOT being able to see our default settings, programmed into the brain, that can make it so harmful. We begin with getting it conscious. Let’s take a look.
Self confidence and self doubt continue to plague us even after an awakening! Many of us, even after we come to terms with our life as it is, still secretly nurse ideas of our version of having it all. We are sold the idea that we can have it all and if we aren’t experiencing that, something must be wrong with us. And so begins the endless loop of self-doubt and criticism which infects every single relationship we have.
We may find ourselves wondering – Where is the pot of gold, the dream life, the perfect mate, the fountain of youth, the treasure chest, or even the magic bullet to stop all the bad thoughts? What is wrong with me that I don’t have it? And in the same moment, feeling like we don’t deserve it, aren’t worthy or are too ashamed to reach. This isn’t a new monologue and you aren’t alone. Yet the paradox of ‘wanting’ coupled with feeling ‘not worthy of having’ facilitates a life culture of disillusionment and dissatisfaction. We try to convince ourselves why we should be so grateful, and we are, so what’s up?
All of our relationships with every area of our life, love, money, family, work are impacted by HOW WE SPEAK TO OURSELVES and HOW WE SEE OURSELVES. When this one essential relationship is healed, everything else is informed. Who is speaking to you, from within you and how? You already know this. I am talking about your relationship to your ‘hidden inner self’. I call it hidden for an obvious reason, in that you can’t really ‘see’ this self and to make matters more challenging, most of us can’t ‘hear’ this self. Does it even exist?
“The day is coming when I fly off
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?
Who looks out with my eyes?
What is the soul?”
Without our inner voice and vision being aligned, much of the transformation work doesn’t even make sense for long lasting integrated change. Without this sacred partnership as the framework for curating your future, your story keeps reverting to an earlier default setting. Now you would think once you know about this self and begin to listen to it, that everything would be different, and perhaps for a while it is different. But something still isn’t working quite right. No matter how many times you do your affirmations, try to meditate, get on the mat to stretch and be kind to your neighbors, you find yourself being mean to yourself in the same old ways, with the same old stories and limiting beliefs. Now you can hear your critic even louder since you are listening to your inner space – and could it be that the critic has even upped his/her game? Yes, the ‘critic’ is highly intelligent.
So what’s going on? So why isn’t it working? How does it work? Is there a method of approaching how to deepen this relationship with our inner voice that is more consistent? This is what we are going to explore in our upcoming mini-workshop: Seduce Your Muse and Tame Your Inner Critic, but let’s explore a little more now.
The dominant culture enforces a paradigm of ‘head’ and ‘thinking’ so much so, that most of us think that is where we live and have our identity. The rebels, revolutionaries, and dissidents like us have stepped out of that constraint, we know we are more than we appear. With the developments of quantum physics, consciousness and neuroscience, we are getting closer. We have moved out of just thinking we are a mind and body. But there is more, so much more, that seems to remain just out of reach. We hear something, often a cry for help from deep within, but we don’t know how to truly answer with our whole life. How do you get IN to find out? This is where Intentional Creativity comes in and where metacognitive drawing is one of the ways we can retrain our brains in relationship to how we speak to ourselves.
Clearly each person must discover this access to the voice and vision of the soul for themselves. No one else can really teach it or grant us access. Yet. There is a first step that can be revealed. A clear first step that in my 25 years of teaching has made the most difference in the lives of those I serve. So obvious and yet so hidden, it is almost like a riddle to solve. You can learn more about it in the free mini-workshop, as well as in my upcoming 7 week online class, The Dance of the Critic and the Muse. I will also be sharing more about the neuroscience aspect in the upcoming Red Thread Letters.
I know you have a lot of choices for what you read and how you spend your time. So I just want to say, thank you for taking this time with me. I am honored to be a part of your Red Thread Cafe as we explore this awesome universe within, and all around us.
If you would like to share from my Artist Shiloh Sophia facebook page, you can find my post about it here
I have been working on articulating the inner workings of the soul voice and how it connects with the concepts of the critic and the muse for so many years, this is the first time I will be sharing it outside of the Color of Woman Teacher Training.
Seduce the Muse and Tame Your Inner Critic Mini-Workshop
Join me on Saturday, January 26
During our time together you will discover
How the inner critic has been with you since childhood and why most of your attempts to break free are doomed to fail
A powerful tool you can use to seduce your critic into being your ally
Where the Muse hides — and how to invite her out
How to listen to the Muse and hear what she’s been wanting to tell you
Experiential practices to awaken your self-expression
How unleashing your creativity can help you rewire your brain
A 7 Week Step Initiation Into the Voice and Vision of Your Soul
Coming Soon! Registration isn’t open quite yet! I have a 7 Week online class coming up called The Dance of the Critic and the Muse, and guess what? For once it isn’t painting, I am working with pen and paper! We will be experiencing and illustrating 7 gates of initiation. This isn’t about talent with drawing, but we will be moving the pen with what I call ‘metacognitive drawing’. I have been working on this class for months, but really my whole life! This technology is sacred to me because it impacts all of our lives in such deeply profound ways – and it is truly time to transcend the constraints of that critic and fall in love with the muse!
I am collaborating with a local yet global education and evolution community, the Shift Network to bring this message to our mutual communities. They are located in Petaluma and many of my friends past and present are on that team there. I was delighted to be invited and to share quantum space with this spicy topic.
Save the date and we will follow up with registration!
I want to celebrate a few members of our 2018 Intentional Creativity team!
Thank you especially to Tania Magennis for her incredible tending of this environment, truly a blessing! And gratitude for Sarah Mardell, Hobby Parent, Jonathan McCloud from the Intentional Creativity Guild and Foundation (501c3) and Annette Wagner, Tina Greene, Mary MacDonald and Jenafer Owen of Cosmic Cowgirls, LLC. This is the team working with us to curate both this space, our communities and the Red Thread Connect calls.
These projects take considerable investment in time, resources, finances and focus. That we are able to offer these services for no cost to our beloved guests of the Red Thread is an honor and a pleasure. The above list are the people who made it happen this year and who were on staff. 💓 www.redthreadconnect.us
Thank you to every single Intentional Creativity Guild teacher, who once a week volunteered and womaned the Red Thread Cafe classroom to provide encouragement, art doctoring, guidance and support. Their presence is what continues to make this space what it is, and how it feels – even when we aren’t on the page here, we FEEL the reality of the red thread and the connection. And thank you to those of you who volunteered and taught on the Red Thread Connect calls, our 2019 calls are shaping up!
As a community, we offered tens of thousands of scholarships in 2018 in our Intentional Creativity trainings, as well as free offerings to many thousands, many times. We also put close to 100K back into the community through independent work for women entrepreneurs who are part of our IC Guild community.
When you join us for our paid offerings, which many of you have, you contribute to providing work for others, as well as making our free offerings possible. Thank you and yahooooooo to our Intentional Creativity student participants in 2018! At whatever level you played, we are so grateful you ‘love’ this work as much as we do. That you share your time and resources here. We know you have many choices and we are very blessed to share this space with such an incredible circle of women worldwide.
You can find all of your upcoming curriculum for Winter 2019 here www.cosmiccowgirls.com – the next courses starting in January if you want to hop on board are LEGEND: The Cosmic Cowgirls Course and HEART of GOLD : Medicine Wheel of the Madonna and the Quantum Christ. In February we have an in person Apothecary and online Dance of the Critic and the Muse.
A special shout out to Jassy Watson Earthist and Louis Reed with Gisela Pineiro, Jo Laurie and Tania McGinnis for their work with Red Thread and IC in Australia! We were able to visit many of our students there and host incredible programming. I love that they are continuing the work with hosting Color of Women events!
Our other community, Red Madonna, we are so grateful for Havi Brysk Mandell, Kayleen Asbo, Emily Grieves, Susan Daniel, Mary Ann Matthys, Wil Gafney and my mom Caron McCloud – they are blessing the sacred container for our virtual ‘church’ temple.
Big heart shout out to Mary McCrystal who taught the first Red Thread Guide with me – so that other women can learn to curate red thread space as well both online and in person.
And to so many others, of the Intentional Creativity Guild including Jeri, Jennifer Bowers, Nadya King, Sepha Nisbet, Leslie Nolan, Caryn McLaine, Phyllis Anne Taylor, Simone Oliver, Lavender Grace Cinnamon, Elizabeth Gibbons, Trish O’Malley, Jo Laurie, Semerit Strachan, Kerry Lee, Terre Cerridwyn Busse, Tammra Harrison, Sandy Green, and Mandisa Amber for their work on our teams this year.
There are more too! For Amy Ahlers for helping to steward my IC business teachings in Radiance. Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici of Woman Unleashed, and Heidi S. Moondancer of Come to the Fire and Catt Geller of Cosmic Smashbooking for their incredible work with culture and inspiration of Intentional Creativity to tens of thousands of women! This is good work, aren’t we so luck to have found one another on the red thread?
I also want to say a big YAHOO to Jessica Enevold Duncan, Kate Langlois, Grace Steenberg, Ilona Lantos, Asia Morgenthaler, Gisela Pineiro, Evelyne Verret, Uma Mulnick and Emily Grieves for launching their first online courses with the guidance of Jenafer Owen and Giddy Up, her class for Color of Woman Grads to bring their work into the world!
And always to Carmen Baraka, our Native teacher and elder who leads our community in ceremony with Buffalo Woman, Denise. We are so blessed to be in your company.
To my incredible husband and best friend, Jonathan McCloud – who rocks my world in all ways, always, who surprises me all the time with his intelligence, playfulness, bravery, love, innovation and feeds me so well!!!
There are many many more hands that go into the work of Intentional Creativity. I just wanted to honor these ones this year, for their love, devotion, patience, presence and especially their teachings.
And finally. To the women who made this possible.
Caron McCloud, my mother who taught me that creativity was essential and that I mattered, Eden McCloud, my grandmother who taught me creative writing and sewing and inspired us all with her art and innovation, Lenore Thomas Straus, Sue’s teacher, sculptor, poet, wood carver, illustrator, and Sue Hoya Sellars, Painter, this is our lineage of Intentional Creativity.
This is a beautiful and powerful culture of creativity.
I wish to personally thank the Great Lady, who guides me in all that I do.
Thank you for reading and in so doing, taking the time to acknowledge the team with me. Sending you gratitude and blessings at the turning of the seasons and the year…
Signed with the light of the full moon, red paint and a red thread,
“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” ~ Martha Graham
Color of Woman 2018: Dreamwalking Graduation & Guild Gathering, Maui HI
I am delighted to bring colorful news to the world! It is an honor to announce the Color of Woman Graduating Class of 2018 – the NEW Intentional Creativity Teachers! YAHOOOOO! These women have journeyed together on a 9 month Vision Quest. These creative souls have been diving into the depth of their being to discover, articulate and reveal what lay hidden in their deepest soul and bring it forth in living color!
I am here in Maui, with Graduates and Guild who were able to come in person, to gather and have our graduation celebration. The rest of our sisters have had a gathering online in the cosmos to celebrate.
Each woman created a body of work in the form of paintings and writings featuring the articulation of her own personal content and teachings. She taught classes when she was afraid, she became bold as she discovered what she already knew. Through sharing, she learned more of who she was as a teacher and a wild feminine soul. She now knows how the power of creativity can heal and transform! She has gathered others into her Red Thread Circle and will continue to do so as a Certified Intentional Creativity Teacher.
She explored 5 primary archetypes to prepare herself for guiding others in transformational intentional creating. She became her own oracle, realizing what she already knew, but in a new image informed way. She shed previous archetypes and stepped into a new one – a design of her own making!
As the founder of Color of Woman Intentional Creativity Teacher Training, I am beyond amazed at the gift of serving through this work for over 25 years. The rigor in the training connects directly with calling forth what each woman is here to cause and create. The commitment to forge one’s self into being a teacher is a great and mighty work. KAPOW! Each woman has initiated herself into the lineage of Intentional Creativity and her own lineage.
May these women be a ‘danger’ to the establishments they wish to transform. May they be mighty in the creation of the curriculum of the future. May they be audacious in the creation of their work in the world of form. May they deepen into their primary relationships with loved ones, family and their Beloveds. May they, with all of us in our circles, bring images of wholeness, beauty, transformation and revelation to the places that need it the most.
WE TOGETHER ARE TRANSFORMING the IMAGE and EXPERIENCE of the feminine on the earth. Starting with our own image – and calling other women to create their own images. A restoration of much sacred information that has been lost, has been brought current and forges the path to the future.
Intentional Creativity is one of the mighty tools in the medicine basket that they have agreed to carry. Most of these women were already solidly on their path – but knew that their own creativity was needed to bring their work to the next place – and in that – desired to bring that creativity to the world. When women enter COLOR of WOMAN it is a weaving of bringing all the parts that once seemed separate into wholeness. This is healing. This is action. This is now. We give thanks to our teachers and the Intentional Creativity lineage who made this possible – went before us and forged a path where we understand what it means to ‘bow to the stone’.
Past Intentional Creativity Teachers join our ongoing conversation and community called the GUILD. These women teach in homes, hospitals, schools, shelters, clinics, corporate, social work settings as well as in cruise ships, at retreats, art centers, colleges and museums.
I am so proud to announce these Intentional Creativity teachers to you and to the world! Together let us cheer them on and support their work! WOMEN’S leadership is so needed, especially as it can be guided by women who are awakened and dedicated to loving service.
How does reading this, seeing this, knowing this, make you feel? Tune into THAT. Let’s be that joy together. Here we come world!!!
With great love and gratitude, tears, and BLISS within my heart at the pleasure of your company,
I want to acknowledge and extend so much gratitude to my husband, Jonathan McCloud, the Color of Woman Team and the Intentional Creativity Guild for your commitment and service to our students and the work of Intentional Creativity.
A share from 2018 Graduate Dr. Neesa Ginger Mills:
Another educational journey has come to a close and a new beginning opened yesterday with this beautiful graduation ceremony in the Maui sunshine rich with Aloha spirit. What an incredible honor it has been to be immersed in learning with this amazing group of waking women.
I am now an official teacher of Intentional Creativity, a lineage of women artists who are committed to using the tools of creativity to support gentle and real transformation, connection to self and nature, and community building that returns us to our original nature as creative beings woven into a fabric that honors the unique piece of the life thread we each carry.
These tools are deeply self-nourishing with an eye for cultivating the radiance and wholeness in all beings. With the “shit” getting real out there in the world, I see these ways of creative expression as critical for me to stay afloat and to hold others along the rocky path of modern living.
I’ve spent the last few years mostly inward. I am now ready to reemerge as the magical practitioner and teacher that I am, holding a strong space of joy inside to inspire and support with my overflowing medicine basket of witchy goodies.
A deep bow and gratitude to the entire Color of Woman team and our recent graduates.
Graduation Ceremony at Palace of the Palms.
Thank you to Guild member Elizabeth Gibbons for opening your home to us!
Thank you to Jonathan for filming the video.
We also want to thank these Guild members for their onsite support: Amber Bonnici, Dominique Peters, Shelley Duarte, Semerit Strachan, Mary MacDonald, Jassy Watson, Tina Greene, Ellison James and Trish O’Malley.
What would it feel like to be held in a sacred container for and with a circle of wild and soulful women?
The Intentional Creativity Foundation is pleased to announce the graduates from our 2018 Red Thread guide Global Certification Program. These women have together learned the way of the red thread, how to hold space for circles and rites OF PASSAGE, to lead with intention, and to be guides for those who cross their path.
Red Thread guide 2018 GRADUATES
Amber Samaya Gould
Lisa R. Cohen
Stella St. Rose
Photo by Jessica Bowman
We all walk a sacred path. Some of us don’t know it. The power comes when we consciously choose to walk in a beautiful way. And how wonderful to find others there on the path with us…
I send you greetings and invite you into presence and community.
There is a lot going on the world right now. Whether you are a sensitive or not – you can feel some part of it and it could be causing fear, concern, restlessness, betrayal, anger and the list goes on.
Let’s create resilience through creativity – which is what called us into this circle in the first place. Creativity.
As you know, it is important to let ourselves feel what we feel, see what we see and know what we know – YET – it is also important to move it ‘out’ of our physical body so it doesn’t get trapped and create the resulting other experiences which could range from anxiety to irritation to depression. You can move it out or dissolve it by choice. If it can move, it will.
As this world unfolds, each of us has our part, our piece of the red thread, and so we want to be ‘fit’ enough to manage that. Self care for the mind and heart involves some language usage because we are currently experiencing what we are experiencing in the realm of story. So story can help us move it.
I wanted to just create an opening here – since we do consider ourselves a global circle woven with red threads, to acknowledge the happening that is happening. (This is not intended as therapy.) Here is a simple Intentional Creativity Process you can do to move some energy and become conscious about your co-creative capacity.
Clearing Stuck Feelings
Materials: 3 Pieces of Paper and Pens
1. Intention (to move energy, get clear, tend the self, etc.)
Write your intention. Doodle a bit to get the energy flowing.
2. Discover what is causing the most angst or discomfort through journaling with big looping words. Might need more pages! ‘Draw’ the feeling inside you. What is the shape of that feeling. By drawing it, intend to MOVE it or free it.
3. Clear: Request out loud, of yourself, to create a clearing in your consciousness, to be an open space you personally are in charge of tending. Write a letter ‘from’ that clarity to yourself. Draw an open shape representing this feeling and image. This open shape will a reference poin you can return to in your mind.
Moving story is more potent when image is used, as well as process. Let’s be at cause for creating our own internal spaces and tending them.
The images above is not my image, but this is a good one that can be used if you want to take it further. If you want to comment on some or any of this process please do so here.
Big love, and lots of pens and paper from the Red Thread Cafe,
What do we do when tragedy strikes?
How do we not become over-whelmed and numb?
Is there anything we can do?
Do you have a process for navigating?
Yesterday after hearing the news about the Texas church massacre I was of course devastated. Since the time of Standing Rock I feel there has barely been a moment where I haven’t felt like I was tracking disaster using online media as my news source. It can be exhausting. I am sharing some of the things I do to help me not turn away from suffering, and yet protect myself so I can stay strong. I wanted to post – praying for you – thinking of you – but it felt like I had done that so many times. What else could I do. So I wrote this post.
Yesterday, right before the news hit, I thought: What would my life look like without being connected to social media? I would find things out eventually but it would be later – and I wouldn’t be able to respond quickly to those I have been called to serve at least at this time. Responding is part of my work. We are the antidote. And where I can, teaching how to navigate the tough terrain of being awake during such challenging times.
Let’s let one another have our own experience, shall we? Sometimes when I share these posts about ways to respond, people write me back and tell me I should focus on gun laws and petitions and other aspects of the work at hand. Let me be clear here – it is not that I don’t take action in the world. Rather, I don’t expect my community to do what I am doing – so my choices are personal. Not everything I do personally is a teaching or offering for my community. One of the things I have to do is to stay focused on how I can support and empower the circles I have called. My sacred assignment is clear. Each of us must choose what each of us must do. What is right for me may not be what is right for you.
Resiliency actions are just as needed as activist actions. To be a peacemaker I must first have peace within myself. From there, I can take informed action.
I hope you will take the action of sharing this – it IS helping as people are already using it to open hearts and set boundaries. You can either share the post, OR you can copy and paste – feel free to also download the images.
This practice is an exploration in how to not turn away from suffering happening ‘to others’ in ‘other locations’. Clearly if it is in our family and town, that is a whole other thing and responses and actions are different. This is for things where we may not be near in proximity but we have learned the hard news and are often feeling helpless.
In time, if we can choose not to be helpless but helpful, we will actually experience greater resilience, but first we must feel. From the space of being able to ‘be with’ what is, we can then discover how to show up without either being numb or a savior. This is an invitation to choose to consciously engage with how we lean into tragedy. This is not intended to simplify grief, but rather give us a chance to practice and learn as we continue in this great unfolding.
All of us process information differently and each of us has to choose how to moderate the news of what is happening in our sweet world. It is hard to avoid while on Social Media – so this post is focused on that aspect of the unavoidable.
Note – This post is not about lobbying or contacting your government for change – that comes AFTER you process your initial shock. By managing your experience consciously – you *may* then have more space and information to take informed action. Use what is useful for you or modify. (We will continue to edit as more useful information comes forward)
1. Awareness: You see the thing announced – Allow yourself to feel what you feel – knowing there is more to come. Following that first wave of what is natural to you to feel, consider pausing and breathing – before doing a full search online. Just get the headline confirmed so you have the information available. Be with what happened in your awareness.
2. Self Care #1: Pray how you pray, meditate or breathe – do your thing that you do to get grounded. Connect with your own source, strengthen up your own connection, move slowly. It will all still be there in a few minutes so you don’t need to rush. Get yourself as ready as you can to know more. Remember the only appropriate action is the one that is right for you right now.
Then read what you need to read to be informed – but don’t read tons of things if you can help it. Find your own trusted news source for these kinds of happenings and go there as opposed to frantically searching. This may not be on social media.
3. Community: Reach out to loved ones you know are close to what has happened, gently, and without a need for immediate response since they are likely being bombarded right now with inquiries. Be present without being invasive. And whatever you do – try your hardest not to tell anyone in that proximity what they should do – example – hurricane: you should leave etc. Let the person make their own decision – if you have a story to tell that might help, tell it.
4. Connect: Connect through your heart with those who are harmed or in harms way. Perhaps in this connection with those hurting, allow in more space to feel what you are feeling. Shock moves into grief. Compassion is powerful. Let tears come. Don’t fight the anger or sorrow for a time – let your experience be your experience. Feeling something that didn’t happen to you directly is an experience of LOVE.
Send your love – as if you can see it going right to the location and those impacted. Keep that love flowing as long as you feel you can. Put it on your altar in some way. Those of us who paint, write, dance etc. – include it in our work.
5. Self Care #2: Just because others are in worse shape doesn’t mean you don’t have your own experience. You do – and if you don’t let yourself have it because you are comparing, you will have to deal with it more later.
Intentional Creativity® through journaling and or drawing could help here in any part of this process to move energy and receive insight into how you really feel.
Gently, choose, if you are called, to not to let this experience ‘stay’ in your body but rather move through you – even see it ‘moving’ through. Choose consciously to try to not let this experience trigger and then compound existing trauma. This will not always be possible. That’s why this is a practice. Keep your mindful attention on your breathe. Following, your self management in how you relate with this, you may be more prepared to take empowered actions.
6. Mindful Posting: MOST important following your self care is how you can contribute. This part is up to you and your posting patterns and ways and spiritual tradition. Connect with your intelligent heart so you are coming from the most helpful compassionate place for you and others. Think how what you post will impact others, out of respect.
If you are called, post a prayer or action or insight or inquiry on social media or the best online link to the information. Saying what you feel is part of your own story of connection to others. Following the initial news, if you are strong enough to provide support, do that. If you need support, ask for it and be specific with your needs.
Many also use common trending hashtags to show solidarity and to be able to find the others who are working with the same thing.
We are the antidote when we choose. Imagine if those of us who are the love senders stopped because we thought it wouldn’t work?
7. Gratitude and Sharing: Count your own blessings. Go find someone near to you and give them some love. Let yourself feel love and keep the energy flowing.
Artist Shiloh Sophia with supportive ideas from the collective. Intentional Creativity Foundation
An Intentional Creativity 7 Step Process for those impacted by natural disasters related to Fire, Water, Earth, Air
This Intentional Creativity® process is designed to support individuals in coping with losses from natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods. Our hope is that this tool will help those impacted by such events enter into recovery, integrate the trauma and transform their experience and also provide a tool of service for those who desire to support. This process can also be modified for personal use.
We are focusing on the power of imagination to help change energy and move out of survival and into an experience of their participation and co-creative capacity to know how they feel and to do something about it.
We wanted to offer a process that was simple and effective that used a small quantity of materials. In our community of Intentional Creativity we use red thread, but you can use ribbon, string or fabric of any color. If you can afford to, provide a journal and pens that you can leave with them at the end. If you have a table, great, if not, make sure you have a hard surface for them to work on like a clip board or journal. You will go through the process with them, working at the same time. You can also do it one-on-one or in a group. Some parts of it could be over a phone or video stream.
Remember that everyone processes trauma in their own way, in their own time. When doing any healing processes, meet the individuals where they are. They may not yet be able to write about their feelings or experiences, there may be some things that feel overwhelming. Be present with them, holding space and witnessing but not probing. Be gentle with eye contact. Let them participate according to what feels safe to them and adjust as needed. You can do this at a shelter, café, home, office, street side, park and some parts of it can be done over a phone or online streaming like zoom/skype.
Please note that creativity, because it is often uncomfortable, can cause more discomfort at first, but stay with it, and this anxiety is like a crucible that can transform into calm. We send you all blessings for the journey ahead and for those you choose to gather.
Shiloh Sophia Co-Founder of Intentional Creativity
Introduction to the Elements 7 Step Intentional Creativity Process
Provide an overview of the process and agree with your guest/s how long this process is going to take. A half hour to several hours depending on what space you have. You can also just do one part of the process.
Introduce the overall idea as if it is a prayer or blessing on the energy you are carrying. Something like: “This is an invitation to become present and embodied during difficult times, and to integrate what has happened.” Based on what you are dealing with, this invitation can change to what feels appropriate. After each process, invite them to share if they want to, or not. *You demonstrate sharing and vulnerability, but with strength. You are the place of compassion.
Materials: red thread, 4 pieces of paper, pens (not sharpies), scissors
Set the materials out in a sacred manner. As if it is a small simple altar. For each exercise, use both sides of the paper. For the free-write side, consider drawing a simple border of containment: one line going all the way around, choose a different style of border for each page.
1. INTENTION: Have everyone state their intention for the experience as they receive the Red Thread. The intention for you as the leader can be something like: To hold space and witness for [the element you are working with]. Your guest may be uncomfortable with sharing in the beginning, so you can just ask them to share what they are noticing or present to. Each person shares their intention and receives a part of the thread to keep with them or put on their wrist. Tie it on for them with tenderness.
2. ACKNOWLEDGE: Invite your guest to free write on the first piece of paper about the part of the experience that feels most impacting for them right now. Loss, fear, anxiety, stress, unknown, anger, isolation, panic, etc. You can provide a few choices if they seem to be drawing a blank.
3. ACTIVATE: Invite in the element connected with the situation. Free doodle drawing that includes elemental event (ie. fire, flood, earthquake, etc.) on the other side of the paper. Give a demo so they can see what that element looks like.
Share about the element in such a way to diffuse the fear around it, so that we come to a space where fire is not evil, the earth is not punishing us, the water is not raging against us. Be mindful of your thoughts on how you contextualize this idea. You don’t want to negate their experience but guide them into their own empowered ideas about it.
If appropriate, this can be a good time to share about the healing aspects of the element being worked with – and/or to bring in any/all of the other elements. OR you can ask them what each element represents for them inviting a positive representation. As the leader, you are making an effort to help neutralize the element and activate the positive energy of it.
Possible interpretation: Fire: Transformation, Will and Change ~ Earth: Home and Grounding ~ Water: Renewal and Cleansing ~ Air: Breathe and Communication.
4. SAFETY: Acknowledge current situation on the second piece of paper, this is done with some gravity from you and perhaps a contextualization of the current environment.
Ask a few questions about where they are experiencing now: Are you safe? Are you with loved ones? Do you have what you need for the next day? Focus on right now and put these inquiries into context with where you are during the process. Of course, if they are at a shelter be sensitive to that, distinct from if they are in an office, or a home. Free write on this topic and acknowledge what feels true. Grief and gratitude do dance together and work better in tandem when acknowledged. i.e. glad to be alive, yet filled with fear. Acknowledge that the paradox is normal. People often have a hard time reconciling the two things, but they can exist side by side and can be healing.
Turn the paper over and draw a feeling of safety, even if that safety is temporary (give demo if guiding), perhaps with circles or tracing their hands or a symbol of their choosing. Circles that intersect are good here. The act of asking them to draw a feeling stretches the imagination to a new place, and while uncomfortable, is often calming.
If you are called, use body movement to integrate drawing/painting and accompanying feeling of safety into physical body – ie sweeping motions, swinging arms, big wide movements, embody the elements.
5. CONNECTIONS: Create blessings and prayers for the community on the third piece of paper. Rip or cut the paper into smaller pieces, and write prayers or blessings or wishes for others. This step acknowledges that others are having the same experience and is a move towards broader consciousness and compassion. Getting out of our own story and moving our gaze towards others is necessary for healing. Service can be one of the most transformational aspects of working within a tragedy.
One idea is to tie them together on red thread like a prayer rope or string. If in community, this can be a group process OR have them wrap red threads around the messages and hand them to others. Depending on the location you are in, the messages can be hung up/showcased in the space and more messages can be added. That way the person you are guiding has a job to invite others. These prayers, blessings, messages can also be gathered in a bowl with strips of paper instead of tied.
6. AFFIRMATION: On the fourth piece of paper, invite them to write an affirmation of how they will choose to show up and stay centered during this time. Although it may be too soon on their path for a true claiming – practicing this gives a sense of power. Invite them to keep this piece in their pocket, in their bra, in your purse, and remember it when they get scared – to read it. On the other sides they could create a connection from their past to their future – with them being in the present moment – like a bridge, or a journey.
7. SHARING: Consider inviting them to share a variation of this project with another person in need. You can guide it, change it and use it to work with others who are experiencing trauma. You can even give them a handout with this process and empower them to move into being the guide.
With the paper they have, they can tie it into a scroll with thread, and or fold it up and keep or, or let it go.
Blessings for the journey ahead. Thank you for being willing to hold space for those in need.
NOTE: Working with trauma can be very sensitive and complex. If you don’t feel experienced or comfortable, keep the process more general and just enough for them to receive some comfort and empowerment. A little love through Intentional Creativity goes a long way. People can and will be triggered but we cannot let that keep us from sharing.
Basic process created by Shiloh Sophia, with input and ideas and editing from members of the Intentional Creativity Guild.
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
This painting is what I have been working on during this Eclipse cycle, completed just now. And the writing, got me up out of bed after a rough night of not very much sleep. When I did finally sleep, dreamed I was writing a letter to the Intentional Creativity Guild – as we had a big gathering at Terra Sophia and we were arriving at night by caravan.
This painting, Cantos of Reclamation, will be a book cover. It was created to honor the feminine evolution – creating an image of the ancient and the future of our work. The image was sparked in response to the inquiry – what is the new feminine evolutionary? Inspired by the book by that title, featuring many women writers by Flower of Life Press. There is still a bit to do to get the painting and writing just right, but she wanted to be revealed today. So here she is.
Another time I will tell you about more of the symbolism of light and dark – of honeycomb and binary computer code – and my reasons. The two colored eyes are to represent women of many colors. Light and Dark and in between and the integration. Embracing the paradox. Suffice to say I prayed during the entire painting for our planet and for women everywhere to wake up and stand up and speak up. Thank you for witnessing it.
And yes, people are already asking, prints will be available in the Fall with the release of the book, more on that soon….