How this vision in connection with creativity started for me…
You have likely heard my story about this before. I was wedging clay that Sue and I had dug straight from the ground weeks before. I was joking that I wish we could buy clay from the store because it would be so much faster. Then Sue asked me what I cared most about in the world – and I said, “Ending violence for women and girls.” That moment and what followed, changed the course of my life and is foundational to the formation of Cosmic Cowgirls, LLC and MUSEA : Center for Intentional Creativity.
Here is an excerpt of that story from my recent book pre-release, The Feast Table of Love:
While the Student is wedging, the Teacher is speaking.
“Put your love into the clay as you wedge.
Imagine the women that you care about in the world.
Feel the sensation of love you have for them.
See them, really see them, and feel them.
Put that love right into the clay, and see the love flowing from your heart, brain, and body right into the actual clay.
You care. This is love. This is happening right now.
Now, imagine that the love is going out, yes right now, to women in the world. See it. See it? Good.
Now, believe. Believe the love is going out to the women in real time, because it is. It cannot be otherwise. Yet the love is also going right to you and right to me. This love is real.”
My family working to end violence and raise awareness goes back a long way. It is more than the origins of Intentional Creativity, it is part of the origins of my own upbringing. Here I am reading Gyn/Ecology by Mary Daily to a child when I am just barely more than a child myself. Sue looks on as if to say – “that’s right, tell the girl-children the stories”.
“Every woman who has come to consciousness can recall an almost endless series of oppressive, violating, insulting, assaulting acts against her Self. Every woman is battered by such assaults” ― Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism
Through the work of Mary Daly and many more scholars of the time, my family learned and then taught me, that we must not spend all of our energy ‘reacting and responding’ to what was taking place in the war against women. For then we are unwittingly becoming a part of the trap. This is VERY IMPORTANT to this work with creativity. As we might be tempted to think, how can creativity truly serve women in recovery from violence?
“Another kind of transcendence myth has been dramatization of human life in terms of conflict and vindication. This focuses upon the situation of oppression and the struggle for liberation. It is a short-circuited transcendence when the struggle against oppression becomes an end in itself, the focal point of all meaning. There is an inherent contradiction in the idea that those devoted to a cause have found their whole meaning in the struggle, so that the desired victory becomes implicitly an undesirable meaninglessness. Such a truncated vision is one of the pitfalls of theologies of the oppressed.” Mary Daly
I know there are relevant exceptions taken with some of her work, yet it remains a powerful part of the formation of my way of working and serving women and children. In the beginning, I worked more on the ‘front lines’ of DV and in advocacy – but soon enough I realized something different was called for within me. I was inspired to provide a pathway of recovery from violence. Violence within our lives and culture, but also the violence we carry in our image of ourselves and our story, the internal violence that must also end. Creativity post-trauma can truly help shape a new sense of identity, purpose and interconnection. Women gathering in circle is truly at the center of all of our educational curriculum.
Shiloh Sophia’s current work in progress for Ritual 13 Moons Course. Her inner world dialogue is shown on the right of the canvas.
I know and you know that women continue to experience violence in every country across the globe. In my past 7 years participating in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women as a presenter and advocate, I am always stunned when I hear the statistics. Every year a revelation. Every year a heartbreak and a desire to serve. Every year a deepening of my commitment to continue, fervently, with love, to act on behalf of women and children!
According to a recent publication by the World Health Organization: