United Nations : Join us virtually or in NY

The stories we are telling in our lives is part of what runs our lives. So let’s learn to tell a story of healing.

We are returning to the United Nations for the 6th time to bring Intentional Creativity to the table. This year, we are bringing Native American women with us to share their ways of telling and talking story, educate on the often missed status of Native Women in the United States and share the power of Intentional Creativity.

Many of us who serve, find ourselves traveling all over the world looking for those most in need to support with our time and resources. How about here at home, for those who live in the United States, the Native women are asking for our attention to be brought close to home. We have a serious need here to focus on.

Will you join us?

Herstory is being made as we speak…

How this connects to my path is shared below…

~ Shiloh Sophia

United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is coming up in March!

Our Intentional Creativity community is headed back to New York for our 6th year and you are invited to join us one way or another – online or in person.

Please take the time to read this message, it’s important….

If you can join us for our free event at UNCSW or our longer workshop – HURRAY! And if you can’t, we are still inviting you to ‘join us virtually’. Below, learn how you can be a part of it from afar…and most of all…

WORK WITH US TO BRING NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN’S VOICES TO THE TABLE AT UNCSW by being a Support Sponsor

The HERSTORY PROJECT

Hosted by MUSEA : Intentional Creativity Foundation with Shiloh Sophia and Jonathan McCloud. In collaboration with Carmen Baraka : Spirit Warrior and Denise Wreden and Alexis Estes of Native Hope

2 Ways to Participate in Person:

Join us for a 5-Day NY Workshop March 8.9.10.11.12 to experience HERSTORY and celebrate women artists who have come before us – including seeing the museum shows together for Frida Kahlo and Hilma Af Klint. Our time will also include Post Trauma Healing Art Practices and the Transformation of Story.

Attend our FREE UNCSW Event open to the public: Post Trauma Healing Art Practices and the Transformation of Story. March 12, 10:30am – 12pm 4 W 43rd Street, Aqua Room – no need to RSVP – come join us. If you want join us for ritual and lunch following, then please register here to hold your spot.

Participate from AFAR

Support us virtually by being a Support Sponsor to bring the voice of Native American women in our community to the table. This is VERY important for reasons you can learn about below.

You can share with your friends on FB

Our healing begins with storytelling. And that’s why we tell stories.
~ quote from the Native Hope website

Watch this wonderful video about their work here.

We are SO excited to partner with Alexis Estes Woksape Ole Winyan (Seeks Knowledge), Donor Care and Social Media at Native Hope, who will be joining us: www.nativehope.org. Consider being a part of bringing her work as a storyteller and painter to the UN.

Carmen Baraka, Spirit Warrior, will be joining us for the second time to share about the reality of Native American women and children in the United States. She will also lead ceremony and circle along with her partner in life and ceremony, Denise Wreden.

The last time we were there, the participants admitted to being shocked to learn about the status with Native Women in the United States. They said they didn’t know – well we are coming to tell them.

“We stand firm in our commitment to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression, including artistic and creative expression. In addition to being an integral part of the protected human right to freedom of expression, artistic and creative expression is critical to the human spirit, the development of vibrant cultures, and the functioning of democratic societies. Artistic expression connects us all, transcending borders and barriers.”

~ This quote has come from a joint statement made by 57 State Members at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and delivered by Ambassador Janis Karklins, the Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations on September 18, 2015.

Sponsoring a Native Youth and Elders to attend UNCSW63:

This is our first Intentional Creativity Foundation sponsorship invitation for CSW since we began traveling to the UN in 2013.

All donations will go towards financing bringing a Native youth, elder, and staff from our Intentional Creativity Team, to the United Nations with us to share their stories and teach about story. This includes airfare, lodging and meals for three women (around 10k in total costs). Once those expenses are covered, remaining funds will go 100% towards the media sharing we are preparing for you.

Shiloh Sophia and Jonathan McCloud cover their own expenses and finance all aspects of the trip from personal funds each year. This is the first time we are saying, would you like to be a part of making it happen?

We’ve received requests from our community asking how you can be involved, even if you can’t come in person.

This is how…

BECOME A SUPPORT DONOR

The minimum donation is $55. You can also purchase more than one sponsorship in another woman’s name and/or honor, and we will reach out to confirm her name. Simply change the quantity from ‘1’ to the number of sponsorships you want to purchase to 2 or 3 or more.

For questions or large sum donations, you can contact Sarah Mardell, [email protected].

We will be creating a video documentary from our UN experience focused on Intentional Creativity and storytelling.

Support sponsors will be listed in our documentary credits by name or business.

The Intentional Creativity Foundation, Inc. is a fully recognized 501(c)3 Charitable Organization in the United States. Your donations will be earmarked for UNCSW and are tax deductible.


Today I am sharing part of my story with you and why this work and the Native American thread is so important to me. I would be honored if you would take the time to have tea with me for this Red Thread Letter.

When I arrive at the United Nations and see those 180+ member flags fluttering in the wind – my heart flutters. It isn’t that I think we are going to make some huge difference, but rather, that we DO have a voice at that table. Bringing art and storytelling to the UN has become one of my most cherished trips and experiences. I learn so much each time and I become re-inspired about our work with Intentional Creativity.

Jonathan and I are thrilled to be going to New York again for our 6th year supporting the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. It is such a JOY and gift to attend this event and be part of such important work happening in the world for women, girls and creativity. Many who have attended our gathering come to show us their red thread from the year before…and after our events, people say – they are so glad we are here because we provide some of the ‘positive’ stories and images.

There’s a spoken and unspoken connection when I’m there – as most of the women and men you see in the neighborhood of the UN are there on behalf of women. Something sacred passes between us as the streets and cafe’s filled with those who serve others with their life work. A smiling into healing between all of us. It feels SO AMAZING like being held in a cosmic colorful embrace. And the ‘outfits’ of the global women make me so happy!

I’ll never forget when I was first invited back in 2013 by United Nations Report Network and one of my mentors, Lois Herman, to speak and share my work through art and image and poetry – and to participate in powerful global conversations about issues affecting women. I wanted to share how creativity can be used as a healing modality for girls and women, post-trauma. THAT was a huge moment for me, like a full circle effect of the work I’ve been doing my entire life – a dream come true for seeds planted long ago in how I was raised.

For my presentation, I knew I wanted to share our community instead of just my work. I knew that one woman sharing her story wasn’t capable of demonstrating what was possible, so I chose to share the work of my students, over 40+ Color of Woman Graduates. My presentation was very well received and shared before thousands who were gathered in person and online – an epic moment of YAHOOO!

Here I am shaking in my boots and also very proud of the women of Intentional Creativity…

Here we are in 2016, when Spirit Warrior, Carmen Baraka smudged the United Nations Member Flags, asking for an apology for Native Peoples of the territory that is now known as the United States. You can read the article here. Suffice to say, there’s never a dull moment when the Cosmic Cowgirls are in town!

Healing the scars with our Native American sisters, brothers and this land is part of my personal path.

With everything happening in our sweet sad country I can’t help but look at the old wounds and crimes. We are built on the bones of occupation, colonization, slavery, racism and massacre. We know this. If we do not apologize in a proper manner, following the lead of Australia and Canada, to the first nations people of this territory…can we truly heal?

In a personal relationship, if an offense has been committed in the past, even if we think we are ‘moved on’ it just festers and it will come back; it is the natural cycle. Not like karma, but like nature. The buried toxicity will come out of our pores, and out of the earth pores, and out of the energy pores and be woven into DNA. This is like that.

We have a past relationship wound that needs healing. There is no moving on because how we started with our invasion here is STILL GOING ON THROUGH FOCUSED attacks on the Native Americans of this land and the land itself. ((((TEARS))))) How can it be that a nation as ‘developed’ as ours is not tending to this reality?

If we don’t heal the wound with the Native Americans of this land we will not have healing in this land. Let’s heal. This is my stand.

And if we do not have healing in this land, at least each one of us can take responsibility for healing our own relationships with the earth and each other. With a focused intent, not on feigned inclusion and looking good kinds of diversity. I am talking about relationships where there is something at stake between you, and the native peoples of the geography in which we are living.

In my heart of hearts, every time a crime happens here, this is where my thoughts go – we can’t heal if we won’t heal the past. The treatment of the children and families crossing the border is an extension and perpetuation of the exact same behavior that got us here in the first place.

It is not lost on me that guns were introduced by the foreigners to the Native peoples and now it is guns by common broken citizens that are showing us who we have allowed ourselves to become. We are in a cycle here, let us NOT miss this. Other kinds of senseless violence stir us and our hearts – but the gun kind has a maddening impact – the senselessness – even the lack of clear motive baffles us. We can’t understand this – but then how can we if we don’t even know where we LIVE. These ‘shooters’ are human beings showing us how sick we are. I pray for them and their families too. Will we just judge them as crazy and malicious instead of looking to the patterns they are revealing through their violence?

If a child in a family grew up to to be violent would we not first look to the parents and siblings for evidence, or reason? Think of the United States as a family who crushed another family and then tried to act like we had rights to do so. Why are we not looking to the roots of the violence here in the US? I know many are, but I am talking about your average every day American wanting to find the reason and change it within themselves and their country. When we look, we will find first the Native Americans closely followed by the enslavement of other peoples. And the never to be missed violence against women in any and all cultures, settings and time frames of the past 5000 or so years.

This story has duplicated itself over and over, having been to Hawaii and Corsica – two places that are occupied not unlike the US is occupied – you can feel the rumblings beneath your feet.

Who are we as a country has to begin with who we are as individuals since leadership right now doesn’t seem to represent most of those I know…(and if it does represent you, you too are welcome with the rest of us to keep waking up and taking action.)

Now I know that this conquering, raping and pillaging has happened all over the world since the beginning of time. Take over, crush the people before you and take their stuff. And I hate it. I don’t care if it has been happening since the first dawn of creation, we are done done done with this kind of power over mentality and reality. We are all suffering. Even those who would allow it, are suffering. Jesus says to forgive them when they know not what they do. But what about those who do? I will work on forgiving them too, but first, I ask forgiveness of my sisters and brothers of this territory in which I live.

“I am so sorry. I am standing watch with you to protect this earth. Please forgive me and my ancestors. I am seeing the ways of our ancestors and the harm it has caused you and continues to. Let’s move forward together. This is a start. I am here to learn from you.”

We keep trying to address these injustices through marches, lobbying, gathering, policy, social media, protests and on we go but there is a bigger force than that behind, that this barely touches. This is where the despair comes in and we feel like we aren’t making a difference. We have to show up and FEEL the solidarity and caring and bring as much change as we can to keep showing up to these things.

Yet I also know that the ENERGY and collective memory of the connection with the first peoples needs our attention. This is not just a policy fix, but a mending in the energy field of this planet. The Native teachings KNOW about energy and how it works. SO KEEP SHOWING UP. BUT also know that each one of us can, first in our own soul, apologize and FEEL this sorrow move through you like a rushing river. And become aware even a little bit, about what is happening to our people of the United States. I know it is a big ask and big for me too. This is my start.

Don’t know how to say I am sorry authentically? First say it to the air. Say it to the ground. Say it to the water. Say it to the trees. Say it to the creatures. Say it to the sun and stars. Say it to your sisters and brothers who are Native Americans. FEEL IT. Don’t know any? Go find ways to contribute without taking over their stuff. Ask yourself why you don’t have those connections. Don’t go with an idea to save anyone: They don’t need saving. They don’t need us foreigners: We Need Them. Ask for counsel on how to proceed. Don’t posture or feign or beg. Just be yourself in how you actually feel.

I was smudged before I was baptized. Since my early twenties Native American teachers have showed up, literally on my path, in my path and taught me. Saw me. And I am so grateful beyond measure. Gabby. Choquoush. Anton. Tonantzin. Carmen. Thank you. My teacher Sue was also part Blackfoot. My Grandmother Eden said we were part Cherokee but it doesn’t show in the DNA. So I am here as a foreigner and requesting conscious forgiveness. And conscious collaboration on behalf of our earth and peoples.

I also know my ancestors were fleeing persecution and domination where they came from. I am sad that they could not, would not, be a part of co-inhabiting this land in a beautiful way. I am sorry for them too. When I do this work in the spiritual realm through writing, prayer, painting and circle, I also speak to those in my family line who have gone before me. It isn’t that I am angry with them. It also isn’t that in my apology I think I am healing all the past. Or that saying sorry is going to do it. I know it won’t but I know it is a start, forgiveness is always a starting place for transformation. It changes the one asking, for one thing. Changes your heart and humbles you and makes you more supple. Mostly it is about acknowledging the past and creating a different future where conquering is no longer an option. I have spoken.

What is an apology if it can’t be heard and felt and is not backed up by action to protect and preserve and change our ways? http://indianlaw.org/node/529

Repairing these individual relationships with consciousness is how we will survive these times. Start somewhere. Start with prayer, even if you don’t know how.

This is my personal experience offered up. You have your own experience. Speak that. Have corrections? I will make them. I am not supposing to get this right but to be part of the story. But in trying to get it right and be politically correct with the to date stuff, many of us are being silent.

Inspired to comment?  Come on over to my Artist FB Page.

“Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence” – Mourning Dove Salish

Jonathan and I during our United Nations visit 2013

Here is the slideshow I shared during my 2013 presentation ~ The Soul Fire Collection comprised of works from 42 Color of Woman Graduates in 2011 and 2012. A testament that healing and transformation is possible through Intentional Creativity.


NEW YORK HERSTORY EVENT DETAILS & REGISTRATION

BE A SUPPORT SPONSOR HERE


When I travel to the United Nations, I LOVE being in person with those of you who can make the journey, including members of the Intentional Creativity Guild and Cosmic Cowgirls. This gathering makes us feel so proud and see the bigger picture of our work.

Each year we host an event or two in New York, where we can be in circle together and connect red threads and this is how we often finance the journey. This year’s workshop, starting on International Women’s day, has a focus of HERSTORY ~ looking together at our own stories, the stories of the pioneers of the women’s movement, and to women painters that we consider ‘intentional creatives’ – in that they told stories intentionally with their paintings and coded them with personal mythology.

You can join us for the full 5 day workshop. Festivities begin on March 8 and complete with a celebration luncheon following our event at UNCSW on the afternoon of March 12. The workshop also includes journey’s to explore the work of women artist’s Frida Kahlo and Hilma Af Klint at museums – how cool that these shows are in NY right now!

Or, just join us on the 12th for the free event at UNCSW. You can choose to register to attend the luncheon afterwards ($45) or just come to the talk/circle at 10:30

And…if you’re inspired to support our journey…please do. Be a part of making this happen with us.

All details to join us or sponsor can be found here.

May you feel the spirit of connection flowing between all of us. May you remember your own unique piece of the red thread truly, deeply, matters. That which is YOURS to cause and create.

with gratitude for work I love, with people I love…


There is an uprising of creative beings happening

We confirm what people already know –

there is relief from suffering through creative acts.

We are a witness to the power of circle, beauty and story

as an antidote to negative self images

and the suffering caused in our lives

when we don’t believe in ourselves and who we are.”

~ Shiloh Sophia during her first visit to the United Nations, 2013


Making art is more than intention, it is about communicating with the self

Artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Artist and teacher Shiloh Sophia McCloud paints on the floor of her studio near Santa Rosa, California, U.S. Image: Jonathan Lewis

Part of this article were previously published in WNN http://womennewsnetwork.net/2013/05/07/making-art-communicating-with-the-self/

In the global upsurge of world creatives finding their way to the camera, the canvas, the clay pots as a means of not only creating art but of healing themselves and the world, women are creating art as a tool for personal and collective transformation. Women, regardless of income, heritage, or geography are intentionally seeking an experience with art-making as a way to recover from a history of violence, trauma and broken lives.

The impact of hardship for women worldwide often causes both men and women to silence ourselves as we no longer speak of what has happened to us or how it feels. Over time this impact continues to harm us and our choices unless we can find a way to express ourselves, to transform and release the damaging images we hold inside us. Often, the most damaged image for women is the one too many women hold of themselves.

In a step toward creating a better life as we ‘dream our world’, we must first make use of intentional creativity. This means we have to literally create around our intention. Making art in this way is not about being talented, gifted or artistic. It’s not predicated on someone identifying themselves as an artist, or even feeling creative. This way of working comes from the therapeutic art realm and is all about establishing communication with ourselves.

Knowing how to articulate what we think and feel is a journey toward recovery for ourselves and everyone else in our world.

Let’s look at humanity

To create a context for how art has shaped and informed humanity, let’s look at the significance of how art objects, artifacts, throughout history document the culture of a people, their textiles, agriculture, geography, family life and spiritual traditions. Art is a record of knowledge, culture and meaning sent down through the ages through image, symbol, song, dance, poetry, recipes and stories.

If artists do not create, how will we know who we were 100, 1000, 10,000 years from now? What would we know of Egypt’s advanced spirituality and geometry without the Sphinx or Pyramids? Or the Maya without their great codices? Or early Christianity culture without icons? Buddhism without the Buddhas? The art of humanity is the very thing which helps us to understand the history of who we are and who we have been

Studying our creations from the past gives us the opportunity to explore the global mistakes we’ve made together as part of humanity. With a new chance to mourn the loss of disappearing cultures as we ‘hopefully’ choose to become co-creators of a new sustainable future.

We must be free to express ourselves because it is from that place of authenticity inside of each of us that we will build a future worth living. We think of freedom of expression as an essential human right from which all the other rights are drawn.

Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democratic rights and freedoms,” says the Human Rights Education Association, which provides an online resource to promote understanding, attitudes and actions to protect human rights, and to foster the development of peaceable, free and just communities.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 59(I) stating, “Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and…the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated,” in its very first session in 1946, before any human rights declarations or treaties had been adopted.

The right to self expression through freedom of information is what we usually talk about, yet few of us really think about our human rights. The right to understand and know how to access self expression is a human right.

So, what do we truly think and feel? Art-making can be a direct path to knowing one’s self as we express the knowledge of who we are – instead of just accepting, or resisting, the ideas of our dominant ‘over-culture’. Experts agree governments and the powers-that-be have often found it too dangerous for us to think for ourselves.

Feeling Free to Express

With the rise of today’s technology our freedom to express ourselves is changing drastically. It’s now happening to all of us in ways that are both beneficial and devastating.

In a thousand years will an I-Phone indicate the truth of an ancient people? Can we finally get how Venus of Willendorf describes her own people from 24,000-22,000 BCE?

According to UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, between 15 and 76 percent of women throughout the world will be targeted today under physical and sexual violence during their lifetime. It’s no surprise that many global women are trying to work through personal and ancestral experiences by actively seeking channels to improve their lives. When a woman gains the language of her own story through art she has a new ability to transform how the story affects her life and her choices.

Paintings are stories captured in image. They reflect emotional, physical and spiritual experience – especially for those who aren’t trained in the arts. Trained artists can manipulate image to their desires. While those just beginning have access to images that are often serve as vehicles of transformation, because they are untrained, the images are raw, truthful and revealing. The artist themselves becomes the hero of their own story.

Art has the capacity to give us the tools to reinvent our own images. It also helps us build a framework to see our stories differently as we put them to use in our lives. Past pain becomes future strength. Even the most challenging experiences can be put into the service of reinventing ourselves, and working with others who have had similar experiences.

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