To Be Wonderful #26 Love Letter

What if we were encouraged…

to be wonderful?
Heart of Wisdom  ©2008 Shiloh Sophia McCloud
Acrylic on Canvas with Milagros, Prayers of the People and Saint Holy Cards

To Be Wonderful

I have heard
that there are some
who do not condone others being wonderful.
Have you ever felt…not seen?

I have heard that sometimes,
we do not want others to shine.
Don’t listen to those who are light dimmers.
Beware of those who think being small
is somehow being appropriate.
It is not always appropriate to be appropriate.
Have you ever felt
not quite yourself around some folks?
Why is it that
to be wonderful
is not supported by everyone?
Do you ever feel like your being a success,
or just being happy
appears to be threatening to others?
Even those who love you. (And they really do)

I have even heard
the words: “healthy competition”
to explain meanness or pettiness amongst us.
I don’t buy it.
I think it is only when we feel small ourselves
that we have a need to make others feel not so tall.

What if we sought to lift one another up?
What if our way of being included
truly wanting to help others shine?
How do you think that would feel?
What if our culture was based on
leading legendary lives and
encouraging others to do the same?
I am not speaking of pride, or self importance.
I am speaking about living a life where
to be wonderful
is encouraged.
Supported. Called forth.
What if you could
be as wonderful as you feel like being?
Be as big as you want to be,
be as bright as a shining star,
and what if you did not
have to apologize for being blessed?

That would feel good.
The Holy One of All Creation
has endowed us each with
unimaginable beauty of one kind or another.
So we cannot allow others to tell us it isn’t so.
Sometimes we spend a lifetime
learning “I am enough.”
But we already are—
someone tried to tell us we were not.
It is a lie.
We are more than enough.
To be wonderful isn’t something just for special people
because each of us is special.

Times are not so easy right now.
Even if things are okay with you,
they may not be okay with your neighbor,
and so being wonderful might seem, well…
outrageous. And it is.
But I say, if you can be wonderful,
if you can have whole wonder-filled moments,
or hours, or days,
PLEASE! Do it! For all of our sakes.
Shine your bright light my sisters and brothers!

To be wonderful
is a combination of choosing
to let your light shine
and nurturing that light in it’s natural cycle
of waxing and waning.
It is nice if someone sees it—and even says something
like, “My! How nicely you glow.”
But if they don’t,
the Holy One sees it.
And you can see it. If you choose to.
And for what it is worth,
I think
You Are Wonderful.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl.

Instead she puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” – Jesus
Luke 11:33

Greetings Oh-So-Wonderful Ones,

I am writing to you sitting at my new desk in my new studio in Healdsburg, California! Woohoo! Everyone knows how fun and transformational moving can be!  Thank goodness my Mama always told me never to make major life decisions in the middle of a move. There is something about having all your stuff “in a pile” that makes you wonder,

Who am I? How did all this stuff get here anyway? What does it mean about me?

In the presence of a handful of unfinished paintings, a giant peach from the Farmer’s Market and a pile of too many things to do,

I find I must stop and write to you. YOU – all the folks I know and don’t know who have by grace ended up on the other side of my messages and images. Thank you for reading, and for letting me know that this reaches you sometimes “just in time.”

I taught a ‘Heart of the Visionary’ workshop this weekend to a delightful group of women and found myself focusing and teaching a lot on the “YOU.” The people we create and work for.

To create and live a lifework, for me anyway, means there is a YOU. A being on the other side who is the inspiration for our offerings, our work, the expression of our hearts. The people we may not know, but in our hearts we long to bless and connect with. The people from across the world who have different ideas and values, and yet look at the same moon.

Did you SEE that moon! Oh My! Rumor has it that moon was my first word. On the shoulders of Sue Sellars or my Mama Caron, I would see it and point to it and get very excited and start bopping up and down and eventually: moon! moon!? I was also born on the full moon in June!

Long ago when I first started my art career I remember painting a woman I could kind of see in my mind but did not know.

Was she someone from my past? My future? My imagination?

A year or so later, and many paintings later, I discovered that “She” within my own little unfolding story, was what I call the world soul or a collective woman soul.  A collective of hearts and souls that I meet daily—and may never meet – but that I somehow…love. When I ask the question, how do I love my neighbor as myself, as Jesus asks me to, I do not think of it just in terms of my actual neighbor. It is that too of course. But I also meditate on the collective neighbor, those I do not know, but whose life is affected by my life, and vice versa, since all of our actions affect all of us. So to let that unknown neighbor be an inspiration – for the making of a painting, a raw food cafe, a hand-made clay raven, a peace filled cupcake – is what makes doing “work” sacred. We can make any of our work sacred when we bring our intention to making it so. That is also what makes it so rewarding! I feel that big words like “BLISS” are available inside of fulfilling our unique calling or “service.”

Guess what?! Speaking of raw food – we are going to have a raw food chocolate cake at our Grand Opening on September 26, made by chef Alisa Franzone-Davis, who is going to be teaching raw food classes at our space very soon! Stay tuned! And, did you hear that Cafe Gratitude is opening down the street from us? Wellness is a very integral part of our emerging series of workshops here at Cosmic Cowgirls Studio and Gallery! The invitation to join us is below – AND my mom is coming to town from Port Townsend, Washington and she is going to read her poetry to us! Cake, Poetry, Art and Conversation?! My favorite things!

It is our love for one another and our compassion for our respective struggles and victories that keeps us living from our hearts. That has us making decisions that come from the highest good for all. That keep us from “running” away from challenges, and facing the unknown even when we are uncomfortable. Sometimes I think being comfortable can be over-rated. Our fear of being uncomfortable can keep us from taking healthy risks. Because we risk giving up comfort, we do not move forward when we ought to. There are different kinds of fear, and it is helpful for us to learn the differences!

One, which I will call, real fear, alerts us to true danger – and we should listen always to that. The other kind of fear, which I will call, fear of the calling, is the kind that shows up just ‘this’ side of an incredible opportunity that is going to beckon us to move beyond our comfort zone. The kind that alerts us that there is power for us, opportunity for us, education, awakening, if we will just keep reaching. I am not saying it is easy. I am not saying it will always work out. In truth, it will not. And it is important to protect ourselves – and it is also important to learn how to distinguish a ‘real fear risk’ from a ‘fear of calling risk.’ I think meditation and prayer can help with learning the distinctions!

Is there anything you are considering right now? A risk that you are wondering if you should take? Have you taken a whole day, or even half a day to meditate on it, create on it, journal about it, paint it, pray it? Ask for illumination about it? When I spend focused time in intention-based inquiry and prayerful consideration, the right decision almost always reveals itself.

In my case, I pray to Mother and Father Creator and ask them to send the Holy Spirit of Wisdom to inform all my decisions! I ask that nothing that is not of their will and wish for my life would be allowed to flourish! I give thanks for all the answered prayer!

The painting of this month, Heart of Wisdom is a woman who is empowered by the Holy Spirit of Wisdom in her life. She is a healer, a leader, a change maker, a woman anointed by Creator

to do her work in the world. The prayers of the world are all around her, (actual prayers written by people who came into the gallery) and she is calm and ready to move forward. She is full of grace and surrounded by the wisdom of the Saints. She has two doves, love birds who are at her side. She has a door on her heart, with the awakened heart beaming within. She wears a Queen’s crown of beauty, symbolizing where she has come in her life. She sees what is there to be seen. She moves with power throughout her life. She represents wisdom-filled blessings!

My paintings represent women at various stages of creativity and action. They outpicture the bravery and the bounty that is possible. And yes, they too are risk takers that show up wanting to be painted, asking to be heard. They inspire me, and those who live with them, to trust, to move forward.

One amazing risk that I am taking right now is that I am part of creating a Visionary Women’s Conference! I have been planning this for years and years but knew I could not do it on my own!  Finally, I have been blessed with a cosmic team so I can make things happen and bring the ministry of this visionary work and creativity to more folks. I would often think to myself, what if we could gather at least once a year to learn and share?  To work on our visions and our writing and our connections with other visionaries? Cosmic Cowgirls was born out of those questions, and this is our First Annual, Bountiful Conference – which is inspired by the Heart of the Visionary Workbook. We are so juiced up about offering this!  Like most important things, there is RISK involved, but we are doing it anyway!  We have been BLESSED to have wonderful women leaders like SARK, Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy and Caterina Rando join us to create this amazing 3 day weekend to honor our visionary selves. We hope you can come!  If you cannot come to the conference, maybe you can join us for the book signing on Saturday night, with dancing to live music!

There are so many reasons to celebrate, even during challenging times. We can keep planning and visioning and dreaming and praying and playing.  This conference is evidence of our willingness to take risks to make beauty happen! Once one chooses to go forward, the risk itself is a catalytic presence that requires us to take consistent powerful action. To make plans to live one’s dreams is an energizing journey! I love it!

Since I last wrote you many things have happened in my life and yours. Some of you wrote or called and shared them with me, and I want to acknowledge that I KNOW things are not “all good” all the time.  But still. I ask you to take time for creativity. To schedule a date with yourself to THINK, just about you and what you need in order to navigate these times. I sometimes wonder why it is so hard for us to do this. It is so vital – and yet so challenging for us to do it.  Me too!  I am going to book a day for ME right now—I will be right back….. Here I am, I put it on the 23rd of this month, I wrote ME DAY in my i-calendar. Can you join me on that day or evening in your own life?

I hope you have dreams that are coming true right now.
I hope you are taking risks that move you closer to that which is truly important to your heart.

I hope you never give up on your creative endeavors and outrageous plans.

I hope the love in your heart gives you strength!

With Love and Peace,

Shiloh Sophia