I am a Color of Woman graduate of 2012. My process of unfolding within Intentional Creativity® has been profound and spellbinding, and of course, absolutely unexpected.
I thought I would start teaching and designing websites for myself; instead what has emerged is a design for my dream life so much better than what I could ever have thought up myself. Let’s start at the beginning:
I had seen Shiloh’s paintings in the backdrop of my mind’s eye for many years and greatly admired them. Two years before starting my Color of Woman training, a friend invited me to a fundraiser for African girls presented by Alice Walker. Shiloh had donated a gorgeous painting and her flyers were on display. I brought one back with me to Mexico promising myself that if I ever moved back to the states I would do everything to take a course with Shiloh.
It was a “heart-deep” wish, but I couldn’t see how I would be able to do it. I kept checking in on her website and one day I saw a message about Color of Woman training and the possibility of a scholarship. I stretched out my hand and started writing on the first thing at hand, a torn-off restaurant paper tablecloth. I got accepted and was awarded a scholarship. This was clearly meant to be!
My Phone interview with Shiloh was mesmerizing. At the time we were living in southern Mexico in one of the most violent states of the country. We were what the media likes to refer to as “victims” of the war on drugs and related violence.( I strongly reject this term, on the grounds that NOBODY should triumph over the spirit of families shouldering the pain of a nation, by labeling them as victims.) Between going to marches, searching for missing persons and living in an atmosphere surrounded by the images of unimaginable human degradation, I started Color of Woman training.
It went surprisingly well on my first painting, Queen of my own heart, once I stopped over-thinking the process. On the second or third painting the feelings changed. I was stuck and the more I painted, the more I had symbols come up which I didn’t want to look at. The pivotal point came when I had to look at the fact that “my Lady” was crying big unstoppable tears into a river. I was also reading more and more of the forum discussions and one day it hit me: almost every one of the ladies in the group were facing pain, loss, sadness and challenge, and they were FEARLESS in confronting and painting their way through it with grace.
Somehow it brought home to me, that my sadness, my pain was not of greater value, than anybody else’s. Many people have been through incredible challenge and shoulder it with such grace and strength it illuminates you to observe them. I found the Color of Woman group to be filled with many such strong and inspiring women. Being able to follow the journeys and inquires of these strong and fearless souls in such a supportive and intimate setting was priceless.
At the time I was working as a language arts and yoga teacher and continued my studies and inquiries into how to use IC in that kind of setting. Our living situation during the time was very stressful as I became more and more concerned with the physical integrity of my family.
At this time I signed up for Red Madonna and went into a year long in-depth inquiry around my faith, beliefs and it’s place in the world. This was not always a smooth ride as I am a Sikh by religion and Red Madonna is geared towards a more Christian out look. The year I participated, we were also being instructed by Havi Brysk Mandell, a wonderful teacher, painter and therapist who shares the mysteries of the Jewish faith splendidly.
My COW and best friend, Gurukiren, and I had long discussions on points of faith and worship all through the Madonna year. I was often surprised myself, at the strength of my feelings around my faith. It was a year of painting and redefining the points of religion. The last painting of the cycle is the painting of mine with which I have most resonated.
Our living situation was becoming more and more unsustainable. The daily level of violence coupled with growing social unrest was taking a heavy toll. One day I had one of those thunderbolt realizations: This was no longer acceptable. Here comes the miracle: shortly after this we got a phone call out of the blue offering us a job in India at an international boarding school. It is located in Amritsar which is the holiest place of pilgrimage for the Sikh Religion. Something like the Vatican for Sikhs!
I usually teach a visioning workshop once a year around New Year’s. We are a small school with students from twenty different countries. My daughter is now fully bilingual and both my husband and I have challenging and deeply satisfying jobs. We get long summer holidays which we have been blessed to spend in Sweden and Greece, both places where I grew up as a child. I feel convinced that it’s our blessing to be here living this life, and it’s the work of intentional creativity, which has deepened and refined my process to give place to the magic, which allows us to live a life even better than the one I could ever have dreamed up for myself!
I am ready and excited to continue working in the red thread circle which why I am in IMAGINE this year. Can’t wait to see what magic will be unleashed through this process!
What I learned through being in circle with the IC sisterhood:
- Everybody suffers
- My pain is not of a higher importance than other people’s pain
- Joy is an act of conscious resistance
- Seek silent witnesses in other dimensions
- Examine your faith inside and out and sculpt it into an offering for your soul
- Trust the process
~ Gurukirin Khalsa, Color of Woman Teacher
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