He couldn’t focus. He bounced around the room engaging anyone who would pay attention. But his bouncing and words were challenging in tone and tinted with violence, not welcoming. It’s the only way he knows how to communicate.
Many children walk through the classroom door each morning as victims of neglect and violence. The levels to which they experience this range from five year olds having to heat up their own 7-Eleven burrito for dinner to actual un-welcomed and undeserved physical contact.
In many schools teachers are frontline first responders each and every morning of their lives. I retired from such a school this past year. It is heartbreaking, stressful, and exhausting work, but deep down I knew I was making a difference.
Struggling to find answers, school administration make choices that seem like the magic pill, but seldom deliver. Teachers are caught between curriculum and programs that do not come close to meeting the direct needs of the children they teach.
I stepped away from this a few months ago and into a new way of reaching children that changes how they think. As a Red Thread Guide I can now offer ways of helping children move from the fight, flee, or freeze response of the brain to the heart space where wisdom resides.
He ignored my call to sit on the floor in a circle. Most of the rest of the class eagerly gathered, minus a few who waited to see what he was going to do.
Red Thread circles offer a way to connect. It is story, something children understand deeply and love. So I told them about myself and my intentional creativity painting and my red thread circles and the little girl from their very own school who wears a red beaded bracelet from her grandmother in Poland given to her when she was born to keep her safe.
The boys settled together on the floor, half listening, half conducting their own business in an attempt to draw our attention to them.
I continued with talk about the brain and the amygdala. Something they are familiar with as part of their social/behavioral program they do to combat bullying. But then I talked about the heart and how the heart holds wisdom. It is the heart that really tells us what to do. I drew a picture of an anatomical heart on a large piece of chart paper and called it The Wisdom Keeper.
The whole class was listening. Even the boys.
We talked about how the heart leads our brain to make better decisions. Instead of hitting or arguing, the heart can give us a better way. But we need to learn how to listen to it. After all, it is the loving part of ourselves we forget to listen to.
In the Red Thread circles we weave a ball of red thread around our wrist passing it to the next person until we are all connected. In an elementary school that is not a safe option. Restroom needs, wiggly bodies, and emergencies are a priority.
Instead, I use my singing bowl. Having been trained in a mindful practice at this school where I taught, I have lots of tools in my tool box. So instead of wrapping the thread around their wrists, the students get to ring the bowl. I explain how to hold it or place it on the floor to get a nice sound. After they ring it they answer a simple inquiry question.
He LOVED ringing the bowl. So did his friends. It was enough to keep them engaged until it was time to go to lunch.
This is just the beginning of the red thread circle. We can inquire about many things: what do we love about ourselves, what do we love to do, etc. We listen to others who have similar stories to our own. We realize we are not alone and, yet, we are special, and that we are only responsible for the piece we hold. Yes. They got that part.
In this particular classroom we followed up with an Intentional Creativity® activity using the supplies they had in their room to draw our Wisdom Keeper. That voice inside our hearts that is always there to give us love and kind words.
He and his friends drew amazing Wisdom Keepers and were able to share with the group what their keeper told them about how wonderful they are and how much they are loved.
There are always tears from the adults listening.
Children are very open and honest. The are also very brave and I learn a lot from them.
Message from Co-Founder, Shiloh Sophia about Art, Christchurch and what you can do to support two artists on the ground…painting night and day on a mural of intention, healing and community. Plus a letter from Jonathan McCloud to the community.
Thank you for pausing with me to give awareness and honor to the 50 lives lost in Christchurch, NZ. I know you have so many things you are working on and focusing on and sending love and resources to. I know I do. So thank you for your time to check this out. In just a day of returning from New York I find myself in a community in crisis. Not every person, not in every way. But it is big, feels like a mountain of pain.
I wanted to let you know in advance, this letter has typos. It is not the polished request of a seasoned NGO – but the immediate response to a need. So forgive the typos and thank you to Annette, Kate, Sarah and Jonathan for responding asap to my call for action, now.
There is a lot going on. We have community members with partners dying. Family members in health crisis with test after test and no results to back up what they are feeling. Local community without resources to make ends meet. Global community with children in the hospital. Many of us feeling sick and not sure why. Our waiter for lunch needing counsel on how to talk to his mother in law about the child coming into their life. What I learned that breaks my heart at UNCSW about women and girls. Then there is the whale that washed up with 100 lbs. of plastic inside that I can’t get out of my mind…and then…you face it everyday.
My direct community are on the ground in New Zealand making art in the midst of the country’s first terrible senseless shooting. Something the US is quite familiar with unfortunately. They are making a grove of trees…you can read about it below. For a few years I have been making ‘marks’ in my paintings for the lost, and this week my community, teachers of my Intentional Creativity method are there, making marks for the lost lives on the Grove of Intention – painted murals designed to support and uplift the community.
Like I said, I know you have a lot you can focus on and because you are connected with me and Intentional Creativity, I am asking you to focus on this. Are these women going to survive this experience? Of course. And do I want to show them how important art is in the middle of crisis – and how much it matters to us, I sure do. Can I personally fork out the cash to cover what they need right now, yes I could, even after a financially taxing trip to NY for two weeks on a mission which we personally finance. I am trying new things with the mindfulness of our NGO status – I am asking you to work with me to make sure these artists on the ground not only feel our support energetically but through our resources. We want to cover their materials and food for the project. Do that here now to show your support. $5 or $10 or as much as you are called to.
Your donation is tax deductible. That is why we created an NGO – to support the arts. This is that call to action. You can get a tax deduction and 100 percent goes directly to the artists. We are sending funds in advance and will reconcile post funding. We have already sent funds, will you join us here?
The project was funded by NZ – but the budget has run out and is taking way longer to complete due to weather, tragedy, and sadly, graffiti. Imagine during this crisis, to have your art in process, defaced. Sigh. So much to learn as humans huh?
Here are these wonderful women, whom I have known for over 5 years – and worked with over and over in serving our community. Rosie Mac, Kerry Lee, we love you.
It is my first work day after two weeks in New York at UNCSW and I have all kinds of things to share with you but that has to wait, Kerry, Rosie and Christchuch come first today.
Please take the time to learn why the Grove of Intention matters to all of us and to a country in crisis. Art doesn’t save the world, but it does help save our minds and hearts when we don’t know where to turn.
~ Shiloh Sophia
I am so sorry this happened during this horrific experience. My heart, time and resources go with you…
A message from the Intentional Creativity Foundation:
Intentional Creativity Teachers, Kerry Lee and Rosie Mac, are currently working on ‘The Grove of Intention’ project in Christchurch New Zealand, where the mass shooting took place just last week.
As you can imagine, creating something like this at a time filled with so much sorrow and devastation is important healing work. Kerry and Rosie are doing all they can to bring public awareness to this project and are asking for any support we can give.
We are including the press release here with more information. If inspired, there is a link for you to donate financial resources, which will support the completion of this project in time for the unveiling Saturday March 23, 2019: 12 – 3pm at 145 Westpac Lane in Christchurch. ALL ARE WELCOME and there will be interactive activities with the Grove of Intention trees.
If you are able to share the press release with media contacts or on social media, here are the links:
Donate NOW to cover resources for our IC Member artists on the ground in NZ – all donations will go 100% to the artist’s cause, and are tax-deductible. Give what you can, even $5 as each donation is connected to exponential energy. Let’s let Kerry Lee and Rosie Mac KNOW we are behind them.
The Grove of Intention ~ A Healing Place for Contemplation, Connection & Community, Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand: The Grove of Intention, an experiential mural for healing, contemplation, connection, and community is being created in Christchurch Central. The 8’ x 75’ project is a collaboration between two women and two communities from the United States and New Zealand coming together to bring transformational beauty.
The image design was inspired by Gustave Klimt’s style of the Tree of Life. Shiloh Sophia McCloud was sparked by the spiral design as the foundation for the Witness Tree at Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, CA in which thousands participated. Kerry Lee was part of the project and documented it on her blog here. Starting with the first tree of this kind in our community created in 2010 at Self Love Day in which many created leaves with their intentions and wishes. So many trees all over the world!
Artist Kerry Lee took the project to the next level with her 12’x16’ The Intention Tree mural at the First Street Artist’s Alley in Napa, California. Following these actions, this work became a part of Christchurch’s Enliven Places Programme because of Rosie Mac and her involvement with Intentional Creativity and her own community.
Originally designed as a way to spark conversation, the mural soon became a healing balm for the recent tragedy, the first mass shooting in New Zealand. The project was designed by two Intentional Creativity Teachers, Kerry Lee of California and Rosie McCarthy of Christchurch. The mural is an interactive work of art consisting of seven symbolic and metaphoric golden trees.
Each tree has a theme and a related inquiry including:
The Wish Tree What is one big wish you have for yourself
The Peace Tree What is one wish you have for the world
The Wellbeing Tree What nourishes your soul?
The Connection Tree Where in Christchurch is your favourite place to be in conversation?
The Witness Tree How do you help improve the world?
The Wisdom Tree What is something you know for sure?
The Gratitude Tree What are you grateful for?
Unique Contemporary Symbolism at the base of each tree ties into the overall themes including simple whimsical houses symbolizing connection, triple spirals representing balance, triangles symbolizing change and circles representing humanity and our oneness and more. Native New Zealand birds grace the branches and the general public’s responses to each tree’s inquiry are painted on the branches for viewers to recognize our commonalities and encourage conversation. Given the tragedy, the artists are adding white thumbprints to The Connection Tree representing each person who lost their life.
The Artists were minutes from going to work on the mural, located in between the two shooting locations, when they received notice of the attack. They continued to paint the three week project on the days following the shootings.
Kerry Lee states: “An indescribable dark cloud of sadness and silence has come over this beautiful city. I have become very familiar with the sights and sounds of Westpac Lane where the mural is coming into form. Right now there are few people and few of the background sounds of humans going about life. And those who do come by seem to be extra present for others. As an American, where shootings are not unusual, however certainly not the norm it feels like New Zealand has had a major cultural shock. Much like 9/11 was in the US. And yet from this horrific experience I am also getting to witness the deep and broad love the Kiwis have for each other and for all.”
In support of community healing the unveiling of The Grove will take place on Saturday March 23, 2019 from noon until 3pm at 145 Westpac Lane in Christchurch. All are welcomed to participate.
“It is our hope that The Grove of Intention will provide a place where love and compassion for each other can continue long after the memorial flowers at the Botanical Garden are gone.” ~ IC Teacher and Artist Kerry Lee
“One of the primary features of Intentional Creativity” says Shiloh McCloud, Co-Founder, ”is that it gives us a capacity to respond to what is happening all around us, providing resiliency and enough hope to keep going. Instead of just thinking about what is happening, we are actually doing something about it to benefit others and manage our own experience. Thousands of us around the world are standing with Kerry Lee, Rosie Mac and the whole of New Zealand. We aren’t new to this kind of tragedy in the United States, and in response our creative community, in addition to activism on gun laws, began to add marks and dots and prints into our paintings to honor those whose lives were lost.”
Will you be a part of supporting the project?
Due to rain, sun too hot to paint on mural, graffiti and schedule changes, the project and the creators could use a boost in resources. Contributions are appreciated and can be sent here.
The unveiling will be on Saturday, March 23, noon until 3pm. Learn more on Facebook and Instagram @ The Grove of Intention.
Rosie and Kerry have also been supported by a small village of people in Christchurch helping to complete the mural due to being hampered by the weather and, of course, the shootings last Friday when the city was in lockdown.
About the Intentional Creativity Foundation:The Intentional Creativity Foundation is a community dedicated to creativity, connection, conversation, collaboration and change. We come from different geographies and genealogies. We seek to discover what makes us the same in the most basic ways and how we can be a part of something larger than ourselves while not lose sight of our individual visions. The Foundation is a place where we choose to participate in defining and developing a culture of heart and creativity – and how that has the capacity to transform our stories. The Intentional Creativity Foundation, Inc. is a Federally (USA) and State (California) recognized 501(c)3 organization.
Message from Jonathan McCloud to the IC Guild – This is our internal call but thought we would share it with you too….
Recipe for Love and a Call to Action. Not now…. RIGHT NOW.
What is it then, that we really do? Teach a class, move some energy, perhaps?
Watch as the eyes of a woman, a veteran, an elder, a girl, maybe even a son… a human being wells with tears when they stand face to face with the story of truth that comes from within themselves as they move a stump of charcoal or pencil across a page.
This magic of a method that you all know and love and live, it’s our way. You said it. You professed it. It’s here to knock on your imagination of the day when it would arrive. Hello.
Our team is in need. Now. Rosie McCarthy braved the good fight and got a grant from her government to bring Kerry Lee to New Zealand to bring the message of Intentional Creativity and hope and peace and healing to a country tossed by the might of Earth and respectfully, softly healing with love and kindness towards one another.
There are stressors in life that catalyze, through fear, the best and/or the worst in us. Let us not focus on the event, nor the actor. Let us focus on what it is that we, The Intentional Creative Foundation and you, it’s heart and soul bring to this moment, this lifetime of every soul, voice and hand.
Be a part of this solution. For us, by us, and by our own hands. The same way it was when you stood before that canvas on the first day of LEGEND. This is you. This is Us. We are caring for our own and in the process, loving in forgiveness the entire being that makes this humankind.
Let’s give these ladies, daring in the face of this adversity, at the front face of where creativity can and will heal, the ‘green stone of love’ as they say. Mighty in our connectedness, you stood for this, stand for it now. This is the Guild.
Every bit goes directly to them as an Earmarked Donation to the ICF. We will make sure that you get full acknowledgment from the ICF, Inc. for your tax deductible contribution for this identifiable member(s) benefit from YOUR own Guild.
Have I told you today, how much I love you? Jonathan McCloud
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!
You are invited to join the Intentional Creativity Community for a free online class and Red Thread Circle on October 21. Can’t join us that day? The videos are yours to keep and download so you can do it in your own time. We will have a completing call in November so you have time to do the process. You will be supported by Intentional Creativity Guild members.
Let’s gather together in solidarity across the world to cause our own healing to move to the next level…bringing healing into our own hands…
How much power do we really have to set ourselves free?
More than we think, I feel. Yet there is often a process if the feeling is to really create a change. It is more than just thinking about it. You have do actually do something more than in the mind. Ritual, creativity, movement, a circle….something to mark the change.
I have been thinking of you, and of all of us – and especially right now my sisters in the US who have been so impacted by the recent happenings. I don’t think I need to spell it out – regardless of what you think about it – it was traumatizing for most of us it seems. I could feel it and see it in ways I haven’t for a while. Like wow – where do we live? I looked at the images of the people involved ands sent them love – all of them. All of them. And I felt I had to DO SOMETHING to serve – hence Colorful Scars – a class for us as a community. I asked what I could do? I had already painted the painting above – and so it was clear – colorful scars it would be. Claiming our wounds and bringing beauty to them. Covering them in grace – not hiding – but lifting up.
I try to be mindful of sharing spiritual beliefs without assumptive behaviours which are so often rampant. Even just – ‘everything happens for a reason’ is a rampant spiritual belief gone unchecked that a lot of us don’t agree with. Including me. So in this cycle I am writing to you with permission to set yourself free from the way you have been carrying what has happened to you.
I share this writing and class for those who still think they are to blame for their abuse. This is FOR YOU. For us to heal.
With respect to those in the sisterhood that truly believe they agreed to their own harm at the level of soul, I hear you. And. What is true for you might be true for you. Yet I might add, do not assume it is also true for everyone else. This teaching is too common and in my view, assumptive and often unconscious.
Now, having worked with so many women I am a stand for freedom from self blame – and the idea that we caused our own harm as part of our path or soul agreement. Not that there aren’t times we have put ourselves in danger and harm’s way. Each story has it’s own arc of blame and shame.
I stand for a story where no woman blames herself for being harmed in ANY scenario.
I woke up this morning with the collective grief pouring through me. I thought, is there a bright side? And of course, the bright side is that the stories are being told and that hopefully those who do the harming will think again instead of become even more aggressive, which is often the case. Yet, bright side, felt too optimistic. Shadow side is obviously playing itself out before our eyes in the US and many other places. But the colorful side, is also here. Finding our freedom from suppression and silence – finding self expression. Why is this important – because if we are self expressed, we won’t bottle up the energy and turn it on ourselves.
Expressing it lets it out – and in that, changes it as it moves from within to the page/canvas/dance floor. We will talk more about this in the Colorful Scarsclass. Consider calling women together to gather with in person for this event in your home, studios or office. Consider hosting a red thread circle. The videos will be yours to keep and download but it woudl be wonderful to spend the day together on October 21 doing the work.
Thinking of you and however you process what you are feeling. Let us walk this road together in the best way we can. I am about to lead a Red Thread Circle in the morning mist and will be thinking of you and including you with us.
Colorful Scars: Free Intentional Creativity Class
Hosted by the Intentional Creativity Foundation
Taught by Shiloh Sophia
with support from the IC Guild
Amanda Abreu shines her light in this beautiful example of how Intentional Creativity empowers us to stay centered and supported, as life events are experienced in all shapes and sizes. Amanda’s keen ability to stay mindful and attuned to her intuition in trying times, demonstrates the very framework of Intentional Creativity in motion. Holding space for members of her community as a teacher, while witnessing and honoring her own feelings, truly brings home both the theme of her workshop, Muse the True You and her aptly named website, Find Joy in the Chaos.
Amanda, while finishing her final weeks of Color of Woman Teacher training, recently lead a 2-day workshop, Muse the True You, an Intentional Creativity journey behind the masks we wear, to discover our truest selves.
“When women discover who they truly are on the inside, they become comfortable in their ownskin and love themselves deeply. They come to know how they want to show up in the world.Throughout our journey into womanhood, we often aren’t taught how to become fully integrated, authentic female beings. During this process, students navigate old stories and gain access to new information. Becoming reacquainted with the woman who lies dormant within, awakened to your truest potential.”
Held on two consecutive Sundays, the flow of the 2 class days, and Amanda’s resilience were tested, when gas explosions in the area called for immediate evacuations. Pregnant and with her husband and two young children in tow, compounded the individual stress and chaos of being thrown into such a sudden life event. Returning to the house after several days, electricity was turned on, but no hot water, heat or gas, yet Amanda carried on with the workshop as scheduled.
“I told the women during the workshop that the evacuation really helped me tie into the theme of the workshop. I had been having a really hard time with being displaced and not having access to our home. Everyone kept telling me to be grateful, it could have been worse. And I told the ladies that leaning into the theme of the workshop, and in being my authentic self, it was ok if I wasn’t 100% positive. I had a right to be imperfect and have meltdowns and be “too much” when I needed to be. I didn’t need to fix myself because other people thought I had the wrong perception.
Ultimately, gathering together to paint with them, it showed me I didn’t have to be perfect for them either! I didn’t have any refreshments or even tea to offer them. It was pretty bare bones. I also didn’t get to plan out my thoughts for the day, like I did the first time, and all of that was okay. I was legitimately doing the work alongside them, as Shiloh says, and IC gave me the courage that I was enough just as I was. No masks, no preparation. And it was a beautiful feeling.”
You are invited to join the Intentional Creativity community for a series of free calls designed to support women right where they are on their path. We will create a container with Red Thread connecting us from across the miles. Bring your stories, your ideas, your challenges, your prayer requests, your love for yourself and others in need and let’s gather ourselves together.
Sign up to receive more information about how to join our circles. We will include poetry and creative process with each conversation, so bring your journal! These calls will not be recorded at this time to respect the privacy of the women.
We feel called at this time, to call you! Resiliency can be created when we together choose to stand side by side.
When women are in conversation, healing happens.
This project is made possible by the Intentional Creativity Foundation Inc.
A 501(c)3 Corporation as registered with the IRS and the State of California.
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.
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