The fine art group exhibit LAYERS featuring members of the Women’s Caucus for Art, Peninsula Chapter, will be on display at the Los Altos Hills Town Hall from September 2019 through March 2020. The expression of this exhibit proves that works of art have many layers: layers of interpretation, meaning, emotion and sometimes layers of color and materials. The women who create these works have underlying layers of understanding that are revealed in the process.
One of the artists in this exhibit is our very own Annette Wagner. Annette is an IC Teacher as well as one of our Art Doctors in the Color of Woman Training. She teaches Earth Prayers – a mix of Intentional Creativity with the ink practice of sumi-e. Sue Hoya Sellars first put a sumi-e brush in her hands and she continued to deepen this thread by working with Taiwan artist May Shei. Annette has three paintings in the show, two of which are from her Grandmother Ocean series.
The artists’ reception, free and open to the public, will be held on Sunday, September 15, 2019, from 2:00 – 5:00 pm at Town Hall, featuring live music by Rebecca and Gary Lee Parks. Refreshments and wine will be available.
An art walk-and-talk tour of the exhibit, also free and open to the public, will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2020, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at Town Hall.
Los Altos Hills Town Hall 26379 Fremont Road Los Altos Hills, CA, 94022
CODEX, the 13 Moon Painting Journey led by Shiloh Sophia, Founder of Cosmic Cowgirls and Intentional Creativity®, started in September of 2018.
Little was I to know HOW this experience as a Cosmic Pilgrim on a Flight of Fancy was to turn my life upside down and impact my business and my life and how it would support me when I packed the whole house ready to move interstate and it never happened!
Awakening can be curated by choice ~ Shiloh Sophia
It was during the 4th Moon of this wondrous adventure, both on the canvas and in the journal that I danced with the Critic and the Muse one auspicious evening and “awoke” to a painting I had done nearly 9 months earlier, Called PRISM. In fact I had done this painting in the presence of Shiloh when she visited Melbourne, Victoria in Australia earlier in 2018.
Suddenly, I could SEE the message of my painting SOOO clearly. At the time, I had simply called it THE OBSERVER, but now with the new Cosmic Map I was wearing, the light that I was inviting in with the expansion of consciousness and being present to my Muse and entering into the domain of my hidden mysterious self through CODEX, I saw for the first time, that this image represented a SEER in fact, a SEER of my own HEART…..
I LOVED the play on words with this realisation and it wasn’t long after, that I realised, in a whole body feeling kinda way, that I needed to change my business name to this: SEER OF THE HEART. And rather than being an oracle for others, it was my piece of the red thread to SHOW my beloveds how they can be the SEERS of their own hearts too – through the magical process of Intentional Creativity®
OMGoddess! In just over a two week period, I changed the name, the colour scheme, the vibe and wording on a website that had taken me 4 months to birth and create!
New perspectives spilled out everywhere – within me and around me!
Ohhhh this is what I had been waiting for all this time! The wrestling I had been doing with my Critic over whether or not I had been procrastinating, what was I fearful of, why hadn’t I started fully immersing myself into creating and running classes? The answers all spilt out during the Moon Chapter of CODEX called : The Observer…..
I felt sooo SWITCHED ON and kissed by the moon! – I could feel the vibration of energy I was conjuring and how I had, fallen into a river of love that was the current of my own Soul ~ Clare Dubois
Nearly immediately, I started filming my first online class called, Curator of Curiosity – embracing the Intentional Creativity® teachings of creating and designing the life you truly wish to live, creating spaciousness and consciousness for thinking and having presence, and accessing the sacred information that the Muse holds for you to hear – when you are ready to practice that DEEP LISTENING to your Heart’s whisperings……
Through the ALLOWING and SURRENDERING to this flow, the “current of my Soul,” I was able to step into the beauty of myself as a Creative Being but also to “let go” of being so caught up in my thoughts on the canvas too. I found myself following the brush more rather than directing it, and rather than building and construction my painting, I found myself consciously de-constructing and fully immersing myself into every stroke I was making. As I witnessed the canvas, I could see and feel it witnessing me!
During the first 5 months of 2019, my husband and I had decided we were going to make a move of residence, not just shift house but to shift interstate, up north to New South Wales in Australia. By May, I had the whole house pretty much packed and we were living around piles of stacked boxes and had the one plate each, one set of cutlery and one bath towel etc that we were managing on. The only art I still had out was my paints and brushes and my CODEX painting…. I had been trying for weeks to apply for part-time jobs and had filled out so many rental’s for applications for rental houses – I felt like our personal information was spread out across the whole of the Coffs Coast area.
At the end of May I just broke down in tears – I couldn’t do it anymore. I was exhausted, it was dead end after dead end, I was sick of not having my things out and it was doing my head in seeing a sea of cardboard all around me all the time. I had put on weight and was starting to have associated health problems.
The re-orientation I thought I was doing to be able to make the move of course, came up in my CODEX process….in Moon 9 – when I summoned forth my WISDOM and distilled this from my cosmic well of alchemy, I realised that my idea of “moving forward” was not a physical move but rather one of perception….and I soon found myself unpacking all the boxes! Ohhh the relief!
Resilience requires rigour ~Shiloh Sophia
Through my CODEX process I realised I was right back where I started my journey, but, in fact, I was no longer the same person that I was when I started!
In amongst these feelings of disappointment, resentment, second-guessing my intuition and feelings of being stuck came….the beautiful Rose of Resilience – as I painted this big pink bloom on my canvas, I felt these feelings melt away and found myself moving from longing to Be-longing to the place where I am now, feet planted firmly on the ground.
The healing of the rose energy, literally (bathing in the essence) and metaphorically was incredible…..as I know without this process called Intentional Creativity®, it could have been quite easy for me to, fall in a heap.
Instead I rose, I rose through the pain, the confusion and blossomed on my canvas and in my sense of place.
This journey has been one of the biggest adventures in my life. I feel like I entered the Colour of Woman Teacher training as a Maiden, I used my Mother/Creatrix energy to birth my business and website but it is with CODEX that I fully claimed my Sovereignty!
By “making my mark” in my CODEX process, I have been really able to feel into and claim my cosmic address of, “Who lives here!”
My hands created magic as I danced across my canvas, from my mind I felt totally open to new possibilities and expansion, celebrating that I was made from stardust and I can choose to cultivate my consciousness, as informed by my heart……and that from this experience I now carry a higher perspective and use imagination and creativity as keys to unlock all the potential I hold inside of me….I am forever in gratitude for Shiloh Sophia and the lineage of women before her, for this way of living called Intentional Creativity®
Welcome to A Cup of Tea with the Universe, a video blog by Intentional Creativity Coach Svetlana Pritzker with creative collaborator Alexandra Isaievych. Their visual journeys guide individuals on living actively, while involved in the universal flow of co-creation. This episode is about finding the freedom in the splashes of paint and the importance of intentional layers within the creative process.
Svetlana describes how the weaving of Intentional Creativity Art and Coaching reveals a direct link to the Cosmic DNA code, a Personal Cosmology hidden within. Students receive both the language for communicating with and about it, as well as practical applications for the creative expansion within every dimension of their life.
Discover more of their incredible video blogs and classes www.insightfulcolor.com
An incredible three-day Group Show show featuring Intentional Creativity Teachers and Artists, was held at Mirada ART, a gorgeous gallery space in Half Moon Bay, California.
Color of Woman Teachers, Neesa Mills and Jane Sanguinetti curated their show as a way to introduce their local community to both their Intentional Creativity paintings and Art as Medicine classes.
To complete their group, the two then invited Color of Woman Teacher Erica Starks, long-time Intentional Creativity student Paige Sawyer, and local student Karenna Lynn. Neesa shares that Karenna, an accomplished painter, is loving the personally transformative approach taught in our classes.
Creating everything as a team was a wonderful experience. The event was a huge success, with streams of people moving through over the weekend, both invited guests as well as public viewers. Visitors appeared to truly enjoy the powerful and integrated show. We grew the interest for our Art as Medicine classes due to the positive response to the transformative work we showed.
Check out more art and class offerings from Neesa Ginger Mills, Jane Sanguinetti and Erica Starks in the Intentional Creativity Foundation’s Teacher Listings
I responded to a call for Hungarian Artists and submitted 5 of my Color of Woman 2017 paintings (Legend, Artist, Alchemist, Visionary and Black Madonna) to participate in an art exhibit at the Baltimore Washington International Marshall Airport. I felt very excited about this opportunity. The exhibit is organized the BWI Marshall Static Arts Program and the Arts Council of Anne the Arundel.
People can immerse themselves in art while waiting before their flight departure.
Many American airports display artwork, but the level of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport commitment to making their customers travel experience more memorable and less stressful through its art displays is unparalleled.
The BWI airport features local, regional, and even international art year round in its art galleries located throughout the facility .
On May 9 a very festive artist reception was held at the airport and remarks were delivered by Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan, Adjunct Faculty, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and Ricky Smith, the Executive director of the BWI airport. Other dignitaries from the Hungarian Embassy and Kossuth Foundation also attended.
It was very lovely to meet other Hungarian artists living in the area and to share the healing energy of my sacred paintings with potentially millions of weary passengers.
The show is hanging in the International Art Gallery (Concourse D/E Delta Departures) April 23-July 23.
In May, I ran my first Intentional Creativity residential retreat in the south western region of Western Australia at a lovely airbnb. I have been teaching my Inner Wise Woman Workshop in day classes for nearly a year now and it is very popular. The theme of it being that we connect with our own voice of inner wisdom for guidance in our lives.
Why do we need this?
You may spend most of the time second guessing yourself. Or perhaps you see things quite clearly for everyone else, but not so much for yourself. If there’s a loud internal voice telling you all that you’re not doing right, while faintly in the background you hear a soft voice, your inner wisdom, calling you, pointing towards adventure, I think it’s time to make a change.
The retreat was absolutely wonderful. Having a whole weekend with the ladies gave lots of time for unwinding and relaxing as well as learning. We had home cooked meals and two cosy wood fires. There was time to meditate, do some Chi Kung and we even had a belly dancing class to get us all moving. In the evenings we did tea leaf reading and played with oracle cards to keep working at listening to that inner voice.
All the ladies loved the process of Intentional Creativity. None of them had painted before. ‘ I never thought I could paint, but I can!” Selva said to me.
I am racing to gather my thoughts for you before the words fall away. I have just returned home from a week in Oaxaca, Mexico, where I co-facilitated the “Awaken the Great Mother Within” journey, and I am so filled with images and impressions, colors and sensations, that I wonder how I can gather them all to share with you. I will begin by saying that Oaxaca is a blessed land, a rich fertile land, a land of art and an innate creativity that seems to grow from the soil itself like corn for tortillas or agave for mezcal. It is a powerful but sweet energetic vortex. The people are noble, proud indigenous people who dignify their roots, their traditions, their languages, their beliefs, their ecology, their culture and their artwork. I have never seen a people so peacefully and lovingly present and grounded in their identity. The lilting sounds of Zapotec sing through the market place as braided women in embroidered aprons and woven huipil dresses sell their creations and negotiate their wares.
As we sat in our opening circle for the journey, and the women who had gathered shared stories of their lives and what had called them to journey to Oaxaca to explore their connection with the “Mother” (physical, real, earthly, imagined, divine), I listened to my own story. I heard myself say that I struggle with the discipline of a practice. I have trouble keeping up with a regular way of maintaining my devotion. All my best efforts to pray the rosary or to meditate or to chant mantras end up falling by the wayside after a few days or weeks. Even as those words fell from my mouth, I realized the frequency with which I call a deep circle of women together to pray and explore Life and the Divine Mother. Every three months or so, I create a journey or retreat like this, and I realized that this is my practice. This is my body of work as an artist. This is my way of keeping my connection alive, of reconnecting, of cultivating my devotion and fulfilling the Mother’s mandate for me, the mission She has given me – to live in Her embrace and to help other women find their way home into Her arms.
We entered into the dark underground chambers of the 2000 year old Zapotec temples at Mitla. Mitla was created as a representation of the Underworld, where the Lord and Lady of Mictlan ruled over death and the afterlife. I had never been to Mitla before, and my co-facilitator had told me that one of the chambers was tomblike and had a dark heavy energy that was hard to shake. As I entered the tunnel leading to the chamber, I was struck by the fetid odor and the pressure of the air. My friend was choking on her breath, and whispered “isn’t it so heavy, like death?” I felt into the energy and while it took me a moment to put my finger on it, I suddenly had a sense of recognition and certainty. This was the energy of birth. This was the stain of amniotic fluid, blood, labor pain, tears, piss and shit, placenta, the pushing of life through a dark passageway toward a point of light. The energy of birth and death are essentially the same. I looked at the symbols carved into stone all around me on the walls. They were all symbols of water. Water, the stuff of life. We are born into it. And when we die, water flows in the tears that are shed for us.
The ancient peoples of Mesoamerica seem to have universally held the belief that death is but a birth into the next life. They often buried their dead in the fetal position. They buried babies and small children in clay pots as if returning them to the womb. Symbols abound representing the death gateway as a birth gateway. When we emerged from the “tomb” chamber at Mitla back into the blasting sunlight, we moved to another set of downward stairs that led into another chamber in the middle of which rose a great pillar of rounded stone known as the “Column of Life.” This was a place that held an energy of joy and light, almost ecstatic as it rippled across my skin. I realized that this column of life was a phallus, rounded at the tip as if penetrating the vulva of the subterranean chamber itself, entering into the Earth herself and inseminating the spark of new growth, a new life. I felt as if the cosmic ovum choosing cosmic sperm could be each one of us taking part in a greater whole. The integrity of life depends on our choosing, on our saying yes to life. Ultimately it doesn’t matter on what side of the life/death coin our experience falls, but rather on our answer to the question that always is: are you saying yes?
After our visit to Mitla, we visited a natural wonder of petrified waterfalls called Hierve El Agua. If our excursion at Mitla took us into the Underworld, Hierve El Agua took us into the Upper World, into celestial realms, but with the continued experience of water as the primary symbol and reminder of life. Imagine waterfalls that have flowed laden with minerals for millions of years, slowly calcifying into hard rock formations that look like boiling water. Imagine this place honored as sacred in pre-Hispanic times. Imagine that at the top of the cascade, rivulets of water still bubble through cracks in the hard surface, pooling and flowing in a million year old urge to birth from the inside of a dark Earth into the Light. I stood in soft water at the ledge where a vast expanse of valley and mountain opened before me and felt the sky hold me at the meeting place.
One of the highlights of our visit to Oaxaca was a journey to Teotitlan del Valle, a village famous for its indigenous rug weavers. We had the opportunity to visit the home of one of its most illustrious families who have maintained the art form throughout generations. They still make all their own natural dyes.
They still card and spin the wool by hand, and labor for months over a single rug woven with an understanding of the meaning of each symbol. Learning about the plants, flowers, minerals, and insects that gift their color to the dyes and watching the working of the shuttle through the loom made me realize that the people here on this land literally weave the Middle World, our experience in this physical reality, into being. They stand at the passageway from the Underworld to the Upper world, and make their existence by hand, investing their time and labor and expertise and knowledge into the tapestry of life … not just for themselves, but for all of us. They live a life of careful attention.
They live a life of intention. They honor the magic in their work and understand the privilege of alchemy. They live a life of devotion to the tradition that binds them to the elements of the Earth. They pulled strings of white yarn from a metal pot of sickly greenish-yellow liquid with a big two-pronged wooden fork, telling me that the dye was indigo, from a plant grown on the Isthmus. With the glee of little boys, they told me to watch carefully, that as soon as the air hits the yarn, an oxidation process would begin to affect the dye. I noticed a color change, as the yellow turned to green, the green to turquoise, and the turquoise then began to darken and take on bluish hues. In a matter of just a couple of magical minutes, the color settled into the beautiful rich dark blue we know as indigo.
All things come full circle. I had dreamed the idea of painting on shawls, called rebozos, months beforehand for this circle of women in inquiry of the Mother. The rebozo is a quintessentially female garment. It is a multi-faceted garment that accompanies women throughout their entire life – it rocks babies, carries children, warms the shoulders in winter, covers the hair at mass, and wraps the masks of the dead. It is useful and beautiful and inextricably linked with femininity. The first time I wrapped one around my shoulders many years ago, I immediately felt like a goddess, and I felt like my female ancestors must have felt, sitting around the fire telling stories or stitching the hem of a dress or moving the soup in the pot. I felt a connection to the ancient world, to traditions that had been forgotten, and the shawl was there for my remembering. I felt like Mary. I felt Biblical, as if I could sit in an olive grove and hear my sisters talk of God. I felt indigenous, as if my Celtic and Germanic foremothers whispered into the weft of the fibers across centuries of tilling the soil and brewing herbs into medicine that I was one of them. I was of the Earth.
As I dreamed the painting of rebozos into reality, I thought of Mari, an indigenous Nahuatl-speaking woman from Atla, Puebla, who I had bought some blouses from a few years ago. She makes gorgeous hand-embroidered blouses from natural woven muslin and come down from her village to sell them around the pyramids here. I remembered her having some lovely rebozos, too, thinking their simple cream color would provide the perfect blank “canvas” for our painting project. I imagined that if the women gathering for the journey could paint an image or symbols of the Mother on a rebozo, then wrap it around their shoulders, it would feel like the Mother Herself was enfolding them in an embrace. I hadn’t seen Mari in a long time, but as soon as I thought of her, it was as if I conjured her up by magic and she soon crossed my path. I ordered a bunch of rebozos without embroidery from her, just woven natural cotton with the hand-knotted fringe, and she had them ready a month later.
As soon as I had the rebozos, I started playing around with painting them to see if the project would work with my group. I quickly realized how difficult of a task it would be. The open weave and natural cotton absorbed too much paint, in spite of the special textile paint I had gotten. Painting an image of the Mother would be beyond technically challenging for beginners as I myself struggled as a seasoned painter with decades of experience. I dreamed back into the idea that had sparked the project and remembered that what was important was the sensation of being held by the Mother when we wrapped the rebozo around our shoulders. I realized that if the shawl was a color other than white, then it would be easier to make intentional marks and symbols representing the Mother as we experienced Her presence.
I decided to dye the rebozos indigo, a process that took me weeks. I felt the rebozos should be blue as this color is so often associated with the Divine Mother’s mantle, visible in painting after painting of Mary in particular. In the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, her dress is red to represent the earth, and her mantle is blue as symbolic of the heavens. We seek all our lives for connection between heaven and earth, and I felt that indigo blue rebozos would help us bring that connection a little closer. This was long before I ever imagined that I would see the actual process of natural indigo dye in Teotitlan. I bought indigo dye at the fabric store and carefully dyed each rebozo individually, boiling big pots of water, rinsing the starch out of the fabric that Mari had used to keep the fabric crisp and smooth. I stirred the dye and moved the bubbles. When I finally pulled each rebozo from the indigo water to rinse and hang them, I was horrified that the hand-knotted fringe had become a tangled mess. I worked for a long time to slowly and carefully unravel the tangles on each garment. Once the freshly-dyed rebozos were dry, I painstakingly ironed them as best I could.
As I reflected on the entire process of creation, from Mari’s efforts of weaving and my work to dye and iron and prepare them, then the work of the gathering women to paint them, I was reminded of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ writing on the handmade life. “The handcrafted life is very much like this. It takes a lifetime to accomplish. It emerges from a small and infinitely exquisite piecing together of one’s inner and outer lives, these being crafted, played, woven together every day, every week, every month, come summer, come winter, the same. The overall magnificence takes many years. It cannot be fast-forwarded. So, when there is a hunger in the psyche because not enough love or nourishment is forthcoming from the outer world, then there is a temptation to seize at things that might relieve some of the suffering. But the shortcut, the easy way, always falls apart. Then one returns to the handmade life. One has to pick it up painfully, and piece it back together, holding the overall pattern in one’s mind, but working patiently, piece by piece.”
The day before we were to paint the rebozos in the garden of our host casa in Oaxaca, I was out exploring the city. I tried to withdraw money from an ATM, but the bank system didn’t work. As I walked the streets hunting for another bank, synchronicity led me to see a sign on a building ahead of me. It was the Museum of Oaxacan Painters advertising an exhibit called “Arte Empoderando a las Mujeres” – “Art Empowering Women.” For 23 pesos, I had to see what it was all about. My jaw dropped to the floor when I climbed the marble staircase and peered into a gallery of 100 rebozos, all painted by women with images of women’s experience, of women’s life. The dreaming thread that led me to the painting of rebozos in Oaxaca had woven us into a common tapestry of life and of the land, a Mother who welcomed us all into the colorful folds of Her shawl. I sent my circle of women to see the show for inspiration right before we painted our own rebozos. We gathered then at rented table under the bougainvillea blossoms and meditated deep into the sensation of the Mother’s arms wrapped around us. Each woman painted her symbols quietly onto the indigo fabric, listening to the singing birds nestling around the terrace, pulling needle and thread into simple embroidered shapes of stars and roses, moons and suns, and even the words “Amor.” We sat by candlelight that evening, hugging our shawls close and feeling loved.
On my final morning in Oaxaca, I visited a church down the street. I walked into a hand-carved ornately adorned sanctuary, bathed in gold and light. A woman patiently worked on restoring relief sculptures and columns high on a scaffolding to the left. I turned to the right into a chapel that called me and found myself standing in front of the Virgin of the Rosary. A shaft of sunlight beamed through a side window, illuminating my hands as I raised them in reflection of the Virgin’s hands, delicately holding Her mysterious circle of beads. Every time I stray from devotional practice, I find my way back to Her. She calls me back into Her devotion and reminds me that the rosary is not about how diligently or how frequently I say specific words of prayer to Her. The rosary is the circle of Her heart. The rosary is the pillar of light that runs from Underworld to Heaven, wrapping our Earth into a round embrace. The rosary is the circle of women that I called to remind myself, to remember collectively, that we are Her daughters. The rosary is the circle of birth, life, death and rebirth that is Her greatest gift to us. The rosary is an art form, a thread of color, a woven tapestry, a prayer spun on our every heartbeat and beyond. My rosary, my body of work, my devotion, my art, is to connect to Life, to be in and of its Creation.
I receive the knowing
that I am part of all things in this world.
My direction is toward the doorway
in between all things. My experience is to allow
myself to stand in certainty
in that doorway between worlds,
to be as present as I can. The doorway
is a gate to dreaming the in between.
How do I stand there firmly? I am a pillar.
A pillar of light. I consume the darkness.
The shadow is my meal. I offer the plate
served with soil and worms and gravel and clay.
I offer the dish of divine compost into the fields.
May they grow ripe corn, glittering like citrine
on the stalks. May the leaves lie cupped like hands
against the shaft, holding nourishment
to the light. May we walk together with eyes
open to the gleam of sky above, sun raining
kernels of light into our cells. May our cells open
like embryos to the insemination of life
into our souls. I stand on the brink of skyward
shores, leaping into vast landscapes of Sierra Madre
mountains, my mountains that have bound me
to the heavens all my life. But here they have sprung
waters for millions of years that run laden
with minerals, turning flow to stone, so that I may walk
on water in my final days. I am doing this not
only for myself but for you, for your mother, and all
the mothers who came before us. Mother, may you
feel the healing I am becoming. I remember
the time before the land formed, before
the ancestors walked upon it, and I remember
the end, when all was released back into water
and fire and powder of earth, dissolving into air.
The end is at the beginning. I have always said, death
is a birth, the passage the same, the rush of water, the pressing
of matter, the bursting of breath. There is air at the end.
Respiration. Inspiration. Spirit.
Nothing and All.
Copyright 2019 Emily K. Grieves
As of 2004, Emily K. Grieves makes her home in Teotihuacan, Mexico, where she has painted murals at the Dreaming House Spiritual Retreat Center and has created a body of artwork influenced fy the cosmological imagery left in the ancient murals and by her relationship with her Muse and the Divine Feminine. In 2014, she opened her studio, Taller de Arte El Refugio, in Teotihuacan.
Emily is a certified Intentional Creativity Teacher in the Color of Woman Method developed by Shiloh Sophia. She is a member of the Intentional Creativity Guild, an international organization that promotes intuitive artistic expression as a way to make positive change in the world. Visit her at www.EmilyKGrievesArt.com
In March 2019, we spent the weekend exploring what it takes to be balanced as a women in today’s busy world. Breakdowns were had, breakthroughs were achieved. Good food, tea and chocolate was a plenty! It was a pleasure to run this workshop, to see the shifts in the sisters and experience their transformation throughout the weekend.
I was joined by 4 powerful sisters. A mix of creatives; some of whom had not picked up a brush for years and others who had never approached a canvas before. We journeyed deeply into our own stories using Intentional Creativity. In meditation we met our internal guide of balance and bought her through onto the canvas.
On day 1 of our journey we looked at commitments that didn’t serve us, were holding us back or were imposed on us by society and/or family (without any real meaning for us personally) and made a conscious choice to lay some of that down. In doing this, we created space to bring forth things that had meaning to us, gave us joy or bought pleasure into our lives and then wove them into our canvases as a reminder of what to focus on.
Day 2 of our journey brought us to really connect with our visual work and receive a message from our painting that would guide us going forward. The sisters received powerful wisdom from their inner selves and felt excitement for bringing this into their lives. The workshop concluded with a sharing experience of the journey and an honouring of their paintings.
Jacquie is a Color of Women 2018 Graduate and a Priestess of Transformation through the Creative Arts. She has been painting for therapy and her own healing since experiencing a breakdown in her late 20’s. Hundreds of paintings and images later she still believes it is one of the best ways to move stuck energy or thought patterns and connect with the inner world. On a mission to create wholeness in her own being, Jacquie serves women who wish to reconnect to their creative essence, remember passion and discover the freedom of self expression.
Find out more about Jacquie’s work in the world www.harmoniousbeing.co.uk
I was contacted by Farah Alaradi, a fifteen year old Art Student, about interning with me for her work-study assignment. Farah said that she had always been told how to create art in school, and was curious about Intentional Creativity. She was pleased with the opportunity to work with me, learning to create in a more intentional way and think differently about art.
My Medicine Basket Workshop was held prior to the Work study with Farah. I invited her to join to experience the Intentional Creativity process first hand and get a feel for the sort of work I do.
I’m starting to offer Red Thread Circles here in Bahrain- for sharing Intentional Creativity and creating community. While interning for the week, Farah helped me create ads and organize materials for my upcoming Gratitude workshop.
She also spent some time researching IC and doing a Q&A with me in the end. Farah got a taste of creating an intentional workshop by planning out a class for teens who are getting ready to go off to university. She said she never thought art could be used like this, to heal and work through school stress. I told her she may want to consider becoming an IC teacher one day!
Come find Rien’s workshops, art and more : www.riencassidy.com
To summon the inner outlaws won’t take extraordinary measures for they are always listening at the gates waiting to break free, break in, break out
Once they hear your voice respond to the cries from inside, they won’t stop asking Give them a pen, a paintbrush, a bell, a drum a slim volume of verse or an invitation to tea
Don’t expect niceties, though words will be said Don’t expect apologies or exhortations Give them some room to expand into being They carry medicine for our too-tame-times
Those who have been accused before Who clamor within for a position at the front Will soon enough be enchanting you Stories from the edge of time will be spoken
So if your inner outlaws are bending your ear… Listen up…Listen in…
I am writing today to explore an idea about healing that has been on my mind and heart a lot lately. As you likely know, I work with a lot of women, so I hear a lot of stories. 25 years of stories. What I find is that so many of us need an invitation to get more free, more self expressed, less apologetic and have more access to our intuition.
I don’t find a lot of women who are too big for their britches, think they are ‘all that’, have ideas way too out of the box, or that are just too wild for words. I don’t see much of inflated egos actually. I see us becoming more and more conservative as we seek to survive in our current paradigm. Trimming the edges and the hedges to be more invisible, call less attention to ourselves, and to not invite further attack, the ‘you don’t see me’ posture. There are good reasons for that, and I too have an invisible cape as needed.
The challenge is, hiding has become habit. Even when we don’t need to hide anymore, like in our women’s circle or a place we feel safe, many of us still keep most of our colors under wraps. Or when we are at the canvas or at the drum or at the writing desk, we STILL don’t self express in our own personal space. We aren’t free in ourselves. Ouch. Not free in front of others is one thing, not free in our own soul space is what I am exploring here.
Let’s be clear, we have done a lot of healing to get our sh*t together and I applaud us for that. But something is bugging me… I wonder, if aspects of that healing have left us thinking that a good life means that nothing is out of place? Nothing wobbles, nothing worthwhile is in the shadows, and that novelty and curiosity are optional and occasional.
Have we put the great mystery out with the compost?
What’s up? What’s down? What’s coming through for you?
Certainly this silencing of the wild self is not in all cases, all the time. And it is not just my personal experience I am speaking to – but what I see and hear a lot. And certainly continued healing is needed, but after the initial healing journey, where is the invitation to dance with shoes off, hair flying, heart out and colors flying? I am suggesting that after the ‘return home’ from any quest and some cleaning up of our messes – there is something to be considered about our own authentic self expression and the role that plays in healing as a whole, in living out our healing in our day to day lives.
I am concerned that some of our healing practices may result in curbing our wildness too much. Our desire for the ‘ever illusive balance’ may be dimming the spectrum of our eccentricities. Clipping the wild wings that long for freedom. Trimming up our jagged edges where the magic resides. Dulling the colors of our inner landscape. Fogging out the vibrancy and calling it normalcy.
Originality lives within each of us, but is often only celebrated by those who are ‘talented’ in expressing their originality. The rest of us may be seeking conformity in a desire to fit in, be loved, and survive. We may be dumbing down our own original voice as an act of self preservation. Yet that original voice may soon insist on an audience. It may come out in ways you do not expect. This part of you, may turn on you (as the critic) or turn on someone else (blaming others for your being unhappy). If we are lucky or perhaps clever, the inner outlaws will arrive on our doorstep laden with possibilities we didn’t dare consider.
Each person must define for themselves what healing looks like. We know this. Yet authoring this awareness needs further curation. We don’t learn early enough that our journey is very unique to our own being, and that discovering it for ourselves may be essential. One size does not fit all. What if nurturing these untamable parts of ourselves is part of the key to staying alive? What if ‘staying weird’ is part of the medicine? Just how weird, may be the question…just how wild is allowable?
Our contexts demand the adjusting of wildness in children, almost from the beginning. We wonder if the child is ‘socializing well’ and define for them what we think that means. Meanwhile, the inner world of the child often goes neglected after ‘imagination’ turns to homework. Should the backpacks of children become so heavy so soon after the crayons are put away in the kitchen drawer and the art is removed from the fridge? Too often, this transition is NOT well narrated.
We lose access to the hidden domains too soon. It may be a long time before we get back “in”. Yet the desire to return will always be with us, because vivid imagination lives on in us, even if we aren’t making use of it, in the way that we could.
Our imagination can help us heal from trauma. As we know, the impact of trauma goes everywhere in us (mind, body, spirit, field, story), so trying to heal it through talking, energy work, or body work without those being somehow linked, is a long road. We do our best to link modalities, to find the thread. Imagination can help us link the modalities and create a context for the journey. The one who is capable of telling the healing story needs nurturing, and that one is often hidden from view and is connected with the wildest part of who we are.
I believe each soul has their own information. I know that access to that information is often hidden for much of our lives. I hold dear the experience that gaining access to that hidden, albeit often swampy terrain, can be life saving. I am also aware that some of us can get stuck there and not be able to come back out easily. Yet it is TIME for us to try harder and work smarter to link up the modalities in fresh ways AND invite the realm of imagination to play the key role. Trauma lands everywhere in us, but so does our imagination permeate everywhere in us. Yet we have to ‘ask and engage’ with that imagination for it to turn on.
How can we keep accessing the richness, the fertile darkness, the unexplored, the usefulness of the hard stories in the past, the light from the wound? I believe healing the imagination is one of the pure links to healing trauma that can keep the channel open to wildness. Yet this way of working with ourselves and others must be chosen. This awareness, to value the wild, is not a default and no longer obvious to many of our systems and structures. The Indigenous communities on earth have always known this, according to the mythologies we learn from them.
I feel like one of my essential and beloved invitations is the call to the wild that has gone dormant. The invitation is to come home to our innate creativity. The re-awakening of the edges that both cut and define. The summoning to the slumbering poet, artist, singer, storyteller, actor, chef, jeweler, potter, visionary. The makers I call! Yet all are makers.
Many of our mood drugs turn down the volume on the circumference of our deep seeing. Much of our ‘programming’ enhances the dream of ‘keeping up’ as primary. Some days, when the seeing of this paradigm weighs on my psyche, it all feels very enforced. This severing of our original voice, inner knowing and seeing. Is it a systematized, organized enforced reality? (This moving towards beige.)
I know it is not everywhere. Not all the time. But enough to make me wonder and ask. How do we maintain the wetlands of consciousness in the healing journey? How do we honor the badlands of our stories?
One of the hopes for recovery for the sleeping self, is to include all that has happened, to make it relevant and even useful to our current story. Not to make it go away, be dissolved or so transformed to the point we can no longer recognize the teachings. We need to honor the part of us which is resistant to domesticity and compliance. Note that I do not suggest that bad things ‘had’ to happen. Yet they just do happen, don’t they? We make what we will make of it.
Innovation, authenticity and resiliency are functions of a healthy imagination. I want to pay closer attention to the link between imagination and true well-being. Not a tamed version of ourselves that fits into societal structures. This means, that one of our collective assignments is to cultivate communities where there is enough space for the unplanned, imperfectly glorious spontaneous wild card.
When we first encounter this often hidden part of ourselves, crazy and messy and loud may be the most visible parts. Give us some time to see what may exist just beyond the initial outbursts. Give the wild ones a little more space within yourself and circles. There will be plenty of time for boundaries and protocol once the intelligence of rewilding has rejoined itself into the presence of being. Who knows how long this will take? No one. We just know without the wild ones, our circle of chairs soon ends up in squared, neat ordered rows.
True selves in hiding can become unruly. They do act out. Over time, we are taken out by them, and our addictions, or we stuff them down. We may even promise a return one day, but that day rarely comes.
Courage is called for. This is that call. From my heart to yours, creativity is the act that will forge the pathway to the inner world that waits. Maybe you have heard the cries from there before…Maybe you even answered and now you guide others to listen…
If you do not have a creative space in your home for you, your children or your grandchildren, please make one.
As for pleasure, and even bliss, engaging in one’s own creative flow can be one of the most satisfying experiences in our lives. For me, creating is pure presence, embodied access, when I feel the very most me. Feeling good can be a rare experience for many of us. So when transformation and feeling good are linked, that’s a really good thing.
When we become too tame, we naturally fear the wild self. When the wild self is too far underground or behind lock and key, we may find ourselves very disconnected. The wild self seeks consciousness at every crossroads. This is one of those crossroads collectively and individually. Let’s continue to do the work of waking up.
By wild self I mean the person who is sovereign. Who thinks for themselves, has cognitive awareness, is able to access their inner world, knows largely what they think and feel. A person who can break free of systems and is willing to not follow popular thought when it doesn’t feel right for them. You define your wild self for yourself, that is pretty wild right there.
Feel free to Share. Comment. Suggest. Inquire. Here
The most important part of this whole Red Thread Letter is right here – to ask you the questions….
Has your healing journey made YOU too tame and in what ways? What about others you know? Children? Lovers?
Where did this story resonate or dissonate? And do you know why?
Is there an ‘inner outlaw’ trying to get out?
Is there a form of self expression calling to your wild self?
Do you have some wisdom or story to offer on this topic?
If you want to comment on my Artist FB page, I do read all the comments on posts like this 🙂 Comment here
Thinking of you. Truly. Lovingly. Holding you, and all of us, in my prayers.
P.S. Looking back I can see that this inquiry was a huge part of my choice to call women’s community as Cosmic Cowgirls – women who incorporate both/and.
From our research in the Intentional Creativity Foundation with over 500 participants about their experience with creativity:
93% experience creativity as a mindfulness practice
89% include creativity as a part of their spiritual practice
89% felt a sense of connection with the Divine
86% felt that their creative practice positively impacted those closest to them
92% feel that creativity influences their compassion for themselves
83% experienced compassion for others they did not know through stories they heard
80% said they would suggest creative process to others who experience depression
87% consider themselves self expressed as compared to before they were creating
86% said they have experienced breakthroughs and aha’s during creating
90% said they have experienced a shift in their default thinking
89% bring insights into their life discovered in creating
85% said they experienced an expanded sense of self
79% noticed an ease of physical symptoms while creating
93% experience creating as a relief/break that benefits their overall well being
90% have experienced a shift in recurring emotional pain through creative process
90% said that creativity helped them maintain a healthy outlook
“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.”
— Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
Please note : 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…