Exploring our Ecological Relationship and Learning to Integrate

“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”

~  Terry Tempest Williams, from ‘When Women Were Birds’

This week’s zine introduces our monthlong exploration of our relationship to Ecology, which is our interrelatedness and ‘kincentricity’ with all other organisms in our ecosystem and our place in the vast web of life. We will also share about the significance of integration work in our Intentional Creativity practice, to be able to take pause, honor what is arising, and make space for change to happen!

Use the jumplinks below 👇🏽 to Choose Your Own Adventure

“Rooted in Northern Latitudes”,  painting by Renate Roske-Shelton

Intentional Creativity Community Highlights

The Value of Integration

by Jessica Richmond and Amber Samaya

Integration Painting Step by MUSEA Member, Shelley Hines, as part of Maverick Painting Journey

This week we wanted to speak about the importance of integration work in our Intentional Creativity framework, and provide witness and awareness to those in our community who are actively working with the practice of integration.  We’ve seen so many posts from members in the iMusea App over the last few months speaking of integration, whether as a painting step (often included in some of Shiloh Sophia’s painting journeys) or as a personal action of conscious focus and attention to new insights you desire to create healthy and more permanent neural pathways for in your brain and heart. When we arrive at a new and significant insight, if we don’t take time to integrate or process, it can actually slip through the cracks and into oblivion once again! For that reason, making time for integration work is a very important part of any Intentional Creativity experience, and any area of our lives in which we desire new learning to take root within us.

We often hear the word “integration” mentioned across many sectors, but what does it mean within the context of Intentional Creativity and why does it matter? Well… as humans, we seem to long for integrating information and experiences. The “why” of this can be expansive, but the “nutshell” version is our minds need to make sense of the world. There are entire schools of thought and theories within psychology devoted to studying this need. Gestalt theory stems from the concept that every “whole” system is the sum of its parts. Marriage and Family theory views counseling purely from a systemic framework, always asking how an individual functions within the system they are a part of. Internal Family Systems can be viewed as a pairing of these two theories supporting that we all have different parts of our psyches that represent different roles within our families or archetypal roles within our larger culture that all need to be acknowledged and integrated.

When we are in Intentional Creativity practice, we often dig into insights around those aforementioned archetypal roles, seeking to understand what is  operating in the background and how it is impacting us. When we create and step into a flow state, we often receive insights about these hidden aspects, particularly when we are holding a conscious intention or question seeking clarity in these areas. When we receive those ‘skeleton key’ revelations that could potentially help to unlock many doors in the room of our psyche, it is very important to make space to consciously focus on what has been revealed, and document or work with it in a way that will allow it to become useful, applicable, and memorable.

So, you are probably wondering what integration looks like, and although we wish we had some easy formula to offer that is one size fits all, integration comes in many forms! Within our community and our Intentional Creativity work, integration can be as simple as taking time to slow down and write your insights in a journal that you can reference time and time again to re-Mind yourself of what you’ve learned. It can also mean taking a good, long pause after a painting session where you have been listening to teachings that have really resonated with you, and quietly breathing, allowing that resonance to expand, rather than rushing to the next step or next video. Integration, as a mental image, is very much like the mixing of two watery paint colors together. Time is needed for one to settle into the other and a new color is formed. The final part of the integration equation is witnessing and being present to that new color – to the change that has occurred. Integration is creating space for the acknowledgment and witness of what has been added to us, or what has been revealed to us, and how we have been changed or altered by it.

On the contrary, without integration, it becomes very difficult for our systems to be fully operational and our minds to grasp the important insights that are coming to us. This is especially true when we’ve had experiences that continue to feel disjointed over long periods, when we are rushed or stressed, or when we are flooded with too much information we don’t have the time or capacity to process. When this happens, we can not make sense of our world. We cannot, in a sense, allow change to happen because there is no space to acknowledge or even notice it. Therefore, creating even small pockets of time for integration wherever you are receiving new information, ideas, or insights is key to it becoming a more permanent and embodied part of your experience.

As Musea transitions into the theme of exploring your relationship to Creativity to your relationship with Ecology, the Member Zine Team is inviting you to take some time for integration this week of your creative insights from last month, in whatever way works best for you. As part of the process, we also encourage you to spend some time observing connections you may find between the two.

In closing, we would also like to offer a few general tips about some of the core elements that can support integration.

  • prioritize your self-care (this basically informs your nervous system that help is on the way)
  • allow time for self-reflection (our brains need time and attention energy to process information)
  • gift yourself time to be slow and still
  • find space for allowing some sensory deprivation (blackouts for information, conversation, & visual information overload)
  • engage in one of the many complimentary Intentional Creativity offerings available to you as a member (our personal favorite, as IC can support integration of what is arising for you, as much as it can bring new arisings!)

We also want to invite you to take all of the information we are offering here in the Zine in the spirit of choosing your own adventure or as an a la carte menu. It is not necessary to read every section, just pick and chose what most grabs your attention. We know that attention is pulled in so many directions these days, and is actually one of the things that prevents focus and integration from being possible for us. So, we hope that you will read what truly sparks your attention and interest, and then, when you’re done perhaps consider going outside, pausing, and integrating what you’ve learned!

~ Amber and Jessica

‘Pro Logue’ Artifact Painting by Color of Woman Student, Catherine Solomons

Member Letter

Exploring our Ecological Relationships

by Amber Samaya Gould

‘From Her’ painting by Amber Samaya

Dear Musea Members and Guest readers,

Today marks a threshold crossing from our March monthlong exploration of our relationship with CREATIVITY, to our next relationship exploration in the area of ECOLOGY. What does it to explore our ecological relationships?

Let’s first explore the dictionary definition of Ecology.

1: a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments
2: the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment

As you can see ecology is actually the science of the interrelationship of organisms with their environments. As human beings, we are in a direct relationship with the environment around us. The earth is literally our life support system, providing us with air, water, food, warmth, shelter, beauty, and all that we need to survive and thrive. Human culture and creativity is only possible because we are sustained and invigorated by the natural world. We are in a kincentric relationship with nature, completely interrelated and interdependent, and fully participating at all times, whether we are aware or not.

In exploring your relationship with ecology – i.e. your place in the web of life that sustains you – you are able to offer a more conscious witness and acknowledgment of your interdependence with the natural world. This April our Museum is hosting the Mother Tree Museum Show and TreeSisters Fundraiser on April 20, and many nations around the world will also be honoring Earth Day happening April 22. We felt that focusing on our relationship with ecology and the environment this month would be a wonderful exploration to do in community supported by these events and the cultural shift towards honoring the earth!

The Mother Tree art call invited earth honoring artwork from women, expressing their love and advocacy of our global forests. Art is one of the many languages that can be used as a medium to communicate our love and gratitude for the earth. Consider how many artists since the beginning of time have painted, carved or sculpted the landscapes, animals, birds, sea creatures, or mountains that so inspired and informed them at a soul level. Have you ever been to a place out in nature that touched you so profoundly that you feel the need to honor it? Perhaps you leave an offering, say a prayer of gratitude, take a photo to share and celebrate it, or maybe you yourself have gone home to draw or paint what you saw – bringing witness to it through the creative work of your own hands. This is a month in which we encourage our members to to really pay attention to what is calling to you in the natural world. This is as simple as standing outside and listening to the rain, watching the birds fly, feeling the sand between your toes, watching seedlings spring up, buds blossom, leaves decay, worms wriggle – simply being present and fully aware of the beauty, power, and interconnectedness of nature and your place within it.

In many indigenous cultures, there is no distinct word for ‘nature’ that is separate from human beings. The word ‘nature’ arose in the English language connected to a culture of domination which included in its ethos the idea that humans could be separate from nature, and could overcome or rise above its constraints. On the contrary, for many indigenous cultures across the globe, this idea is antithetical to human life and wellbeing. Within our MUSEA community, many of us are seeking to repair our relationship with the natural world, healing the disconnection and fracturing that occurred so long ago in history, with the impacts of the agricultural and industrial revolutions and rise of technologies of ecological control. Many of us are practicing land acknowledgments, learning about and building relationships with the indigenous stewards of the lands where we live, as well as learning about the plants, animals, waterways, and all other living beings that are around us in our ecosystems. In doing this, we are establishing our ties of kinship to the natural world around us, re-integrating with it, and learning to be in reciprocity.

To support us in taking positive loving actions toward the earth, we have started a fun community-wide #ecoartchallenge for the month of April in our iMusea App. We are inviting members to share with us the art products, practices, tips and tricks that are earth honoring and ecologically sound. If you are already an iMusea App member, you can read the post explaining it here, and consider what want to share with us!

I am excited to see how we will collectively honor the earth this month!

~ Amber Samaya, Intentional Creativity Foundation President


Visit our Guild-Led Event Calendar below for a list of upcoming Intentional Creativity events you may enjoy! 

What’s On at the Museum!

Claim your Complimentary or Donation Based ticket to the Mother Tree Museum Show and Exhibit Opening. The show will feature curated artwork from the Mother Tree Global Call for art, weaving together a powerful visual story of women’s love and advocacy of our global forests through multimedia art.

This Museum Show and Opening for the Mother Tree Exhibit will take place LIVE online on April 20, 2022, in honor of the upcoming Earth Day. The show will be hosted by MUSEA Curator, Shiloh Sophia, Mother Tree Art Call Jurors, and special guest TreeSister Artist Liaison, Kathleen Brigidina, who will share about TreeSister’s women-led global reforestation work and how artists are involved!

At the show we will share the Mother Tree Exhibit Presentation – a celebration of the artwork and the co-creation of global reforestation, as well as an honoring of the Earth and the Mother Trees that keep our forests alive.

This show is open to the public and will also serve as a fundraiser for TreeSisters, with donation options included as a part of the ticketing process.

If you do not plan to submit to the art call and would like a way to support our goal of raising $5000 to plant over 90,000 trees, you can donate for your ticket. There are $10, $20, $50, and personalized donation options via the Eventbrite Ticket page!

All of our Museum Shows are Complimentary and open to the public! We encourage you to invite your friends and family to the show. Simply copy and share this link on your Social Media, email or text! https://imusea.org/attend-an-event/


Become a Member today of one of the world’s largest and most well established Art Movements – MUSEA : Intentional Creativity!

“Gather with us. Be a part of our movement. While we can’t yet be together in person, we don’t need to be isolated from one another. Every place a MUSEA Member is, a MUSEA IS, so we are all over the world! Being a member is something to feel good about and connected to as a part of each of our individual stories, as well as our collective story.”

~ Shiloh Sophia, MUSEA Curator

Curator, Shiloh Sophia (center), with Musea Guild and Staff Members at the Vivid 2021 Gathering! 

Have Membership Questions?

Contact Member Coordinators: Chatelle Jeram at chatelle.jeram@musea.org or Marnie Dangerfield at marnie.dangerfield@musea.org.