‘Centaur Becoming’ painted by Sue Hoya Sellars for my sister, Shannon Cinnamon McCloud
This painting, to me, is astonishing. Just take a moment to pause and look at it. The expression on the horse’s face, the hills, the mist, the hands, the extension of the hair… the untold story of my sister and her red roan…
April 20 was the 83rd birthday of my teacher and the mother of my heart, Sue Hoya Sellars. She has been gone from this dimension since 2014, yet remains in my cosmic soul dimension as a constant presence.
I want to share her with you a bit today because Intentional Creativity, my sacred work in the world, is alive because of her and what she taught me. Sue and my mother were best friends, and shared the same week for their birthday. In the last Red Thread Letter I shared about my mom, and in this one I am sharing about Sue. I wish to honor them the best I can, as I honor the origin of their arrival on earth.
When I think about the gifts she gave me, it is beyond imagining. The grief appears unmovable, a part of who I am now. I used to want it to go away, but now I know this is what love really feels like. To love someone so profoundly, and to experience the loss of them from this known life, is the bittersweet gift. I feel she lives on in another place in the great mystery. If I believe she came to find me….then I can believe that one day I will go to find her again. Somehow.
What’s more, is that one person could have such a profound impact in the life of another, to the degree that without her I KNOW that I would not have chosen this life path. I KNOW I would not be teaching painting the way I do. I KNOW I would not have created Intentional Creativity. BECAUSE the information she gave me informed all of these choices so powerfully, that they are forged from her energy and intelligence. As if her ways of knowing built the matrix upon which I stretched my own awareness like a canvas ready for the brush. Sue built the frame, the container. My mother Caron wove the canvas, the context. I bring my own content, yet fully informed by the two of them. I am so grateful.
To try to speak to it, feels futile. Like trying to describe the magnificence of a forest. Impossible. I bow in great thanks to the Creator of all, for Sue coming into my family in the years before I was born…and staying so close to us for so long.
I give thanks to her teacher, Lenore Thomas Straus, who gave Sue what she gave to me, that I give to all of the women I serve with Intentional Creativity.
Happy Birthday my great teacher, American Master Painter, Sue Hoya Sellars 1936-2014.
“Pay attention to what is happening at the end of your brush”
“We are standing in the cosmos”
“Who lives in here?”
~ Sue Hoya Sellars
An invitation to give thanks…And so one of my reasons for writing to you today is with an invitation. An invitation to reach out to someone who has taught you…someone who has guided you…shown you the path…and to thank them. Living or not…who comes to mind?
How about a letter, phone, text, speaking to the stars. There are so many more things I wish I had gotten to say to her. I feel I speak to her, apologizing for certain things over and over…and giving thanks for certain things as they arise…a continual dialogue that is part of the grief journey – an ongoing reconciliation. If your teacher, guide or mentor is living…why not give a shout out or do a social media post.
This weekend I got to deliver a message, on Jesus and the Women in His life at Woodside Village Church. It was wonderful to be serving with my friend Rev. Pastor Ama Zenya again. For many years we worked together at the First Congregational Church of Oakland. We also hung an art show there of my paintings of Mama Mary and Jesus and the Magdalene. I got to see new and old friends, and meet women who work with me online that I might never get to meet otherwise. #showingup
So dear one….if you read this far, thank you for your care, for your listening time, and your presence in my life. The red thread of connection continues to weave us.
With great heart,
p.s. My email is changing soon to [email protected], so if you can add that to your address book. We will also begin to communicate more as MUSEA : Intentional Creativity in the coming months. More on that soon – I just like to give myself a long lead time on important projects…
I wanted to share this writing with you today in honor of my Mama’s birthday. She loves trees so it seems just right. It arose as a response to one of the Intentional Creativity Teachers asking me to share the ‘structure’ of our work. I tried to say it in normal words, but it just failed. I feel I could keep editing and refining this for hours…but here it is in draft form. A story told. A body of work.
Blessings on your day. Get a cuppa’ tea and enjoy. If you have been curious about our work this will shed some light…
Tree of Transformation
The Evolution of my Body of Work through Intentional Creativity®
By Shiloh Sophia
I dreamed a seed of hope…
The seed of hope growing within my 23 year old self was encoded with a prayer to end violence against women and girls. To change the face of the feminine image in popular culture in my lifetime. To gather community in an act of revolution that would last beyond my generation. To awaken the sleeping to rise into consciousness through a culture of creativity. Living these prayers is my sacred assignment, my devotion, and my ministry.
The original seed arose out of a context of creative content that came from the wild wisdom shared with me through my mother, Caron McCloud. She is the Poet Mother, my birth mother, and the most beautiful person I have ever encountered. She taught me context, content, curriculum, and container as my vocabulary. The Painter Mother, Sue Hoya Sellars, came into our lives before I was born, adding her unique cosmic framework and imagery to the context of my family. She is the mother of my heart. Sue also brought the gifts shared by her teacher, Lenore Thomas Straus. Their work, their love, their art and writing informed who I became, as did all the women in my family. (1970-1993)
I was created to create, so my own art making and writing grew as I grew. A glowing warmth nurtured the seed as I shared what I was learning. With time, the seed that arose from my desire was planted in good compost in good ground with great love. When the seed sprouted and broke ground we named her Color of Woman. I felt the power rising from the sprout. A potential was making itself known. I followed the call from the city to the mountain to dream freely. There I found language and image for what was growing. I studied the medicine from the two mothers as a form of healing for myself and others through painting and poetry, pottery and prophecy. (1993-1995)
The sprout grew towards the sky and the story roots hung out in rich soil keeping company with creatures often hidden from light and sight. The sprout reached up tall and focused, tender leaves mingled with the dew and the stars. A connection between heaven and earth lives in all trees. Through books, circles and classes I shared what I knew about the the emergent tree and the the information that was coming through. The women who gathered affirmed what they saw, felt, and created in the presence of the shared tree wisdom.
The little tree came to be tended by many gardeners. Especially my family, Eden McCloud, Shannon McCloud, Janet Seaforth and Bridget McBride. And the musician who sang the love for the me and the tree for 16 years. The women who gathered declared themselves Cosmic Cowgirls. Then along came the Muses who would stay with us from the beginning until now, Elizabeth Gibbons, Mary MacDonald and Jenafer Owen. There were many others who came and went, too many to name in this telling. Some stayed and played and told stories. We held fast to the red thread of connection between all us. We enjoyed such good company and lots of dancing! Spirit Warrior, Carmen Baraka chanted for us and we are certain the grandmothers heard our call. (1995-2004)
We came to know the soil through working it. We asked questions of the ground and spoke into it, and wove poetry between the sparkling particles. We called that ground Intentional Creativity and knew that the tree sprout we originally called Color of Woman grew in a good place. Awareness of “where” something grows creates context. This kind of soil is located all over the world; yet many do not know how to find it. This is part of our work, to let the others know about the context of the ground beneath their feet.The Cosmic Cowgirls are fond of saying we have our head in the stars and our feet on the earth. We began to tell the legend of the tree and the ground far and near. Many came to learn and discover their own ground. Claiming the language for what we experienced would become one of our primary creations. Developing paintings that told our story would be at the heart of our evolution. As time went on, those roots spread throughout the earth and the young sturdy tree became stronger and taller and lovelier. We were all so grateful to see the trunk so strong. (2005-2009)
With our attention the tree grew many branches. We began to understand that the tree held the information for the collective, not just a few of us. Self expression would become the way we understood and intuited the content that was arising. We curated conscious community and celebration!
The women who studied the tree and the ground became Intentional Creativity Teachers. The branches that move out from the center are the teachings and are tended by women once they graduate, and become the Intentional Creativity Guild. The branches together, with the leaves, are the canopy that create the keepers of the collective wisdom. We make shade and beauty and color and light for each other and our Beloveds. (2010-2012)
I remained a primary gardener, but tending the tree was a great work as the borders of the garden expanded. I entered into joyous union with another gardener who knew about permaculture and how to work the soil in new ways: Jonathan. He made it possible to share the harvest with many who could not come directly to the birthplace of the tree. We went quantum and the stars were happy with our leap into the cosmos. His sacred assignment is to “carry the medicine” on the Mothership. (2012-Ongoing)
To you, those of you who are graduates, the Intentional Creativity Guild, I say,
“You are a bright bird, coming from your own land with your own information. You joined us for an initiation. You came to preen your brightly colored feathers and develop your wingspan and flight pattern. You had to test your winged eye in good company with those who see between the worlds. You came to find your voice and chirp or cluck or sing along with the other birds. You came to bask in the shade and to sit in the light. Your wingspan grows strong and you know you can fly wherever you want. In time, you will fly off to your own tree and plant your own garden. Some of you come back to sit in the shade and share our company for a while. For others, this tree is home. We all know it is big enough for everyone to gather around. In community is a humble belonging. Some of us who are bright birds, also become gardeners.”
With our songs and our company we bloom. When there is abundance, we share those flowers and fruits. We cannot pick everything. The harvest, should the tree choose to give one, is the offering of our gifts to our Beloveds. The philanthropy of the Intentional Creativity Foundation is an offering of our own abundance and this offering is a gentle gathering over time. This offering is measured with focus on the health of the tree, and the ground from which it grows. Not designed for speed or production – but the long term vision. (2017)
When have become a healthy enough tree, we can name our own garden. The garden is yet another context besides the ground or the tree, the larger framework in which it is all happening. Each awareness expands the context in which we understand ourselves. Naming is bestowing a power of knowledge upon a being. We named the garden, MUSEA, meaning many muses and many museums. This is a quantum garden that supports this tree and many other trees. The wind sends her seeds airborne to other gardens, where other life rises. (2018)
Many have asked for a map to the garden and discovered the magical Red Thread Cafe just past the garden gate. As our tree and our garden has flourished it has become known further and further afield. Many people come to see what is growing here and to sit in the garden a while. As we bask in the beauty of our magnificent tree, we see red thread tied to her branches with messages which flutter in the wind. They float intentions, placed by many souls and circles. Souls we know, and by others we haven’t met. When tragedies or blessings happen, we reach out and pull on those threads. Some of us become Red Thread Guides and call the circles.
As she has matured, our tree called Color of Woman has become known as a Tree of Transformation where the creatives in the land come to learn. We love our tree with an incredible might! The trees which are grown from our one tree will be so many different kinds of trees! Each bird and every gardener chooses her own garden space, and tends her own trees. Yet, we still gather here at the original Tree of Transformation. (Now)
Our Lineage of Intentional Creativity ancestors shines on us from the sun and the cosmos. Their prayer for us to thrive as creative beings resonates in our bones and our homes. Finally we know truly that we are stardust as we splash our canvas with the awareness and memory that this knowing brings. Flowing around us are the rivers of life that nourish us. The loving water from forever ago has been moving toward us for such a long time.
When you feel the call, you will find us, leaning up against a great tree of transformation, grown from intention and love in action. You may also find us dancing a jig in the garden, under the broad branches when the moon is full and yellow gold. Or at the salon by the sea, speaking the philosophy of muses. You will find our sketchbooks are in our hands, taking note of the universe and our easels are sprinkled throughout the world with our images and stories.
The Tree is magic and is wherever we are, the tree and garden is. The one contains the many and the many contain the one. Seeds are like that. The Tree is everywhere we are. We love the company of the others who know the story of the Tree of Transformation. We have our own stories, and then we also have our together stories. The Tree of Transformation is a together story. You are welcome here, we are glad you found us, and that we found you along the red thread.Me? Oh, I am just one of the gardeners. Come sit awhile…I will make us some tea harvested from tiny flowers that grow at roots of the Tree of Transformation sweetened with honey from the bees in our abundant garden.
I share this story today as a record of where the philosophy, ethos and practice of Intentional Creativity came from. I share it on my mother’s 82nd birthday. This writing also reflects the organic nature of our emergent business structure. April 25, 2019
Happy Birthday Mama Cloud! Our community loves you SOOOOOOOOO MUCH and we are so very grateful that YOU were born!
My mama is so brilliant, so beautiful and so encouraging. Her love for me made it possible for me to grow as a woman and an artist. I am so grateful to be her daughter.
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
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.
I am an artist. Everything I see, do, create, think and love is connected with beauty and transformation through creativity. The Alchemist’s Brush will be my first one woman show since 2010. My first show since my teacher, Sue Hoya Sellars walked on into the cosmos. My first show focusing on and featuring my teaching paintings. My first show since being with my husband, Jonathan who I met in late early 2012. My first show to include this many paintings!
You are invited to join us in person on Friday June 1 for my Art Opening in Sonoma, or by special request you can join us for the Virtual Art Opening behind the scenes look before everyone arrives.
We are here getting ready for the show this weekend. There are helpers everywhere busy with paintbrushes and hammer and nails. I am saying to myself:
Let yourself arrive. This is what success looks like. It doesn’t look like what you thought. It is way better than you could have imagined. Claim this. Share this.
When the economy started changing in 2007 I could feel it and see it before it landed. Times were changing. I had owned my own gallery since the age of 28 (that’s twenty years ago now), so I could sense the threads of our world stretching. Paintings for many years before that flew off the wall and I felt so blessed to be a working artist.
Paintings flew….My Co-Curator Mary MacDonald and I would put a painting up, light a candle, say a prayer and wait and sure enough – here came the person who that painting belonged to. It was magical and good work and connections were made. But there was something else. There was a need. Now I had felt this need for many years…more on that to come…
Girls on film begins….Then in 2008 with our move to Healdsburg from Mendocino we started my video career (insert Girls on Film song as background for reading). I had never imagined being on film. I had made other movies before but nothing like this. Mary suggested we just turn on the camera and see what happens. And so we did. And the rest is history. Our first class, LEGEND was a total success and these many years later we are still running it with hundreds of graduates a year. And LEGEND is a pre-requisite for our Teacher Training, which I launched in 2010 to really bring this work to life in the hands of many. I could only reach so many…but they can reach thousands who really need this work.
Complicated beginnings….Thousands of hours of videos later and we are still at it. Something else was happening much more important than a star being born 🙂 There was a need, a request, for women to connect with their own stories and image. To heal. To grow. To transform. I had what would meet that need, and I knew it. They actually told me themselves! There was a need beyond having a healing image that celebrated women – they had to remake their image for themselves. The re-imagining came right in my front door, sat down, had a cup of tea and wouldn’t leave until I said yes, I will show you. But it was more complicated than that.
You see, I was married for 16 years to an amazing person, but for his own reasons, the full extent to which I will never know – he didn’t appear to want me to share my gifts of Intentional Creativity as a teaching. At first it was protective energy. And further, it was integral to our actual income! What might happen if I showed everyone my magic sauce of how to make a painting, even if you don’t know how to paint. Would our collectors become students? How to bring intentional heart and soul into your creation to alchemize the very particles into medicine. Later, he said he protected me until I was strong enough on my own. I feel that and trust that. And there came a time when I couldn’t contain it anymore for myself. I am so grateful for his careful stewarding and many many years of support. I could not have gotten to the place I was without his support and belief in my work.
The sales slowed way down….it was like a whole new career and need to create income. They did and I did stop showing/selling. My focus was elsewhere mostly. But after creating a million dollars in art sales by the age of 40 it was kind of a big deal to share it in this way. It was scary sharing everything I knew and the way I made a living. I was taught by my mama Caron McCloud and Sue Hoya Sellars and I felt I was holding so many gifts – and they didn’t feel like they belonged to me, but to everyone else. This wasn’t a feeling I made up – it came through me.I felt I was a messenger. In a vision with the Mother Mary, I was actually told I would give it all away. She didn’t mean for free, but give away all the teaching She gave me. At the time, I didn’t now what ‘it’ was. But soon enough I would know it was Intentional Creativity. We have had 229,000 viewers over 5 years for our classes! Thanks to Jonathan’s support we were able to bring the media to the world starting in 2013, 5 years ago. That is why you can join us on Friday: https://portal.shilohsophia.com/art-opening-stream/
I wasn’t proud enough to share them…until now. The reason for this story today is that I haven’t shown this work because they were teaching paintings. They didn’t feel like my own in a way because they were shaped to meet the need of the class or the student. It has my heart and soul in it as an offering – but not my ‘style and content’ in the way I would have done it if I was painting for myself. Over the past ten years there are a rare few I have done without it being in a class. At times my students have heard me whine about it – about not painting for myself. But honestly – this has been SO MUCH MORE INCREDIBLE than just selling paintings to individuals. Now thousands and thousands of incredible healing and gorgeous paintings are released in the world. Homes, offices, hospitals, studios are all holding the beauty of the feminine that never would have existed if I had kept my gifts for myself and a few select clients.
So in a way I wasn’t as proud of the paintings as actual PAINTINGS of my own. But now with about 100 of them here I guess it makes up a body of work worth sharing lol. MY mom, Caron believes they have such a special energy and presence because each one was an offering – some of which were the guide for over 1000 women to paint! I also believe they have magic in them. And I would love for my community to have them instead of store the body of work until I am long gone. Makes a nice story, but you having them makes a much better reality. At this point I tell all the Intentional Creativity Teachers (over 200 of them) that they need to reclaim their paintings for themselves RIGHT after the class! Don’t wait ten years!
The hand numbered 33….We have a special set of 33 that are all 13 step based, which is a teaching we offer in Intentional Creativity and all are hand numbered and coded with a gold circle with a red thread circle around it to connect them. And there are many more from other classes. I have donated them to the Intentional Creativity Foundation which will receive 30-50% of each sale to help fund our first program, Red Thread Connect, which provides 2 free calls monthly for women to connect, and hopefully will finance our Red Thread Connect App. After the show this weekend and our Cosmic Cowgirls 13 year gathering, we will make what remains available at www.shilohsophiagallery.com and let you know so you can come take a look. Many of the paintings were left as they were after the class, and others, I have brought to full completion.
I wonder what my life would have been like if… At times I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t gone this route of teaching. How my paintings would have evolved and how I would have evolved as a painter and writer. I know that my painting style and skill haven’t evolved like they would have and yes, sometimes that makes me sad. As in most of the classes I am teaching basics that others can work with to find their own image. As at my truest heart, painting and writing are what I love the most. Who knows what the future holds. I am a little painted out at this point ha! When I paint I am in bliss, teaching or otherwise.
If there is a teaching in this Red Thread Letter it is this. Follow the thread of love where it leads you.
I was lead here by loving others, who crossed my path and called me forward. I am here to say this has been better than I could have imagined. I am in a community of thousands who are truly connected through creativity and love.
And so here we are, and while we are here, let’s celebrate! Turns out there was a big need for this work and with my community the Cosmic Cowgirls and Mary and Jenafer Owen – we brought out our gifts to share.
Join us Friday in Sonoma (doors open at 2pm) or watch later – for a preview of my show. If you are local, come on by to 75 Fremont Drive. Cake is at 5. Because a gathering without a cake is just a meeting. Followed by dancing.
“This seems like all I have ever done. When I was 23 and left the corporate world, and I entered my world of art making as a full time working artist under the mentorship of Sue Hoya Sellars. I feel like I have barely lifted my head up from the drawing board, the easel, the pen. I see everything through the eyes of the artist. Even my activism, my family and the curating of community are seen through the tip of my paintbrush. Sometimes I wonder what I might have missed. Other times I cannot believe my good fortune.
I have always felt my images were the antidote to the worst things in the world, offering medicine for the wounded stories we carry and create.
Truly, my work is lived out. My inner world reflects the world I live day to day. There is complete reconciliation. Sure there are things I still long for, but in many ways, I feel complete and this show, the Alchemists’s Brush, brings that into focus. The patterns of all of my Intentional Creativity teachings, my archetype philosophy, the painting as prayer ideas, the symbolic legendary mythos, and the idea that each of us has our own information and must learn how to find it for themselves, is here, a codex of my body of work.
As I look back over the many years of teaching I have done I find myself surrounded with paintings that I could keep for our estate long after I pass into stardust, but why? Why not have them living in the homes of my community? When I started teaching, I stopped focusing on gallery sales. Sure I have sold many paintings to those who happened to be in my gallery or studio – but I haven’t offered any work online for sale for years in any organized way. 8 years ago I had a sold out show and since then I have just been teaching. I didn’t feel motivated to sell the work because they were teaching paintings – containing so many elements of things I wouldn’t have done on my own. So in a way individually they didn’t feel complete. yet together, I see they have formed their own body of work. And I am proud of that in a different way. I would love for our community to have this body of work in their homes and businesses. Each one is hand numbered 1-33. There are also a few more that are not in the numbered edition.
Here we go. A body of work completed. Following this I don’t plan to sell my teaching paintings anymore. This is a cycle of ten years. This show represents the full circle. I still plan to paint, and sell paintings, but they won’t be like these. They will be my own. These ones belong to and in, the collective.
I am grateful my community, Mary MacDonald and my mom Caron, are coming together to gather and experience and celebrate this milestone. And to my husband Jonthan who has supported this work with absolute loving attention.
This show is dedicated to all of my students, and my teachers.
Signed with red paint and shimmer sauce,
.::press RELEASE::. artist SHILOH SOPHIA art opening & show, june 1st
Attend in Person – Cosmic Cowgirls Studio, Sonoma CA
Greetings! We are pleased to announce the Estate and Private Collection works by world renowned Artist Shiloh Sophia offered for the first time at her studio and gallery in Sonoma, CA. The artist is selling her ten year collection! The pre-show will open on June 1 with an in-person gala beginning at 2pm – 5pm. Friends of the Artist are welcome to stay for cake cutting and music to follow.
Address: Cosmic Cowgirls 75 Fremont Drive, Sonoma 95476. No need to RSVP, just come!
Shiloh Sophia Gallery is offering access and sale of the estate collection comprised of The 33 Teaching Paintings. In an unprecedented move the artist is donating the paintings to the Intentional Creativity Foundation Inc,, a not for profit co-founded by her and her husband, Jonathan for the purpose of funding educational programs for women.
They are currently being offered at a special price point from the gallery list price. There are additional paintings not in the collection, available by request that are either recent or have a special meaning to the artist.
From Cowgirls to Madonnas, Priestesses to Painters, Angels to Matriarchs, Oracles to Medicine Women, the collection features the feminine archetypes as taught by Shiloh Sophia in her groundbreaking 13 step Intentional Creativity® Method. Each painting is hand-numbered by the artist to represent her body of work as a whole. Further, many of the paintings were painted alongside her mentor in the arts, Sue Hoya Sellars (1936-2014).
If you have ever wanted to own a Shiloh Sophia original, this is the time. Shiloh’s mom Caron McCloud says this:
“These paintings are a truly special body of work as they have served thousands of women since my daughter painted them to teach others, they are not just teaching paintings, but hold the stories of those she painted them with and for.”
Shiloh Sophia’s work following this show will be more than doubled in price bringing it to Gallery List pricing. Her long time Sales Manager, and the Curator for Alchemist’s Brush, Mary MacDonald of Toronto, Canada, has been selling her work for over 13 years and says:
“Shiloh’s work speaks to the heart of the feminine in which thousands of women continue to resonate with. Her art is a remedy for the images that women are confronted with on a daily basis that marginalize their body image and their experiences as a woman. Each piece Shiloh creates is a sacred prayer for the person who buys it and on a global perspective for the healing of the world.”
Please email Ms. MacDonald at [email protected] for a Price List (so you can see the price ranges) or to inquire and get your name in for interest. Payment plans are available.
This is the pre-show announcement but photos will not be made available yet. Priority is given to those coming in person on June 1. Once we know you are interested we will follow up with you!
ALCHEMIST’S BRUSH 13 STEP AND TEACHING PAINTINGS
1 ~ Born to Glow
2 ~ Shelter of the Sacred – SOLD
3 ~ Chief Soul Fire – SOLD
4 ~ Sacred Story
5 ~ I See You
6 ~ Molting My Archetype
7 ~ The Author of My Legend
8 ~ Illumination – SOLD
9 ~ Daughter of the Milky Way – SOLD
10 ~ Wheel of Holy Fire – SOLD
11 ~ She Receives Grace – SOLD
12 ~ Lives Into Legends
13 ~ Keeper of Stories – SOLD
14 ~ River of Light
15 ~ Magdalene’s Gift – ON HOLD
16 ~ Within the Creation
17 ~ Clan Mother
18 ~ Renewal – SOLD
19 ~ She Perceives – SOLD
20 ~ Enter the Inquiry – SOLD
21 ~ She Owns Her Own Magic
22 ~ Lady Moon – SOLD
23 ~ Open to Love – SOLD
24 ~ Keeper of Hidden Stories – SOLD
25 ~ Crucible
26 ~ Connected to the Mothership – SOLD
27 ~ Beyond the Veil – SOLD
28 ~ Sacred Space
29 ~ The Mystery School
30 ~ Captain of the Possible
31 ~ Awake to Her Path
32 ~ Becoming a Point of Access
33 ~ First Moon ~ SOLD
Artist & Poet Shiloh Sophia: Curator & Co-Founder of Intentional Creativity
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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