The Courage To Love #26 Love Letter

May we find comfort
when we feel discouraged.
May we reach out for each other’s hands
when we feel alone.
May we find the courage to love
even when we feel it is a risk.
Most of the time, truly loving, is a risk.
And well worth it.
May we find the sweet cup of forgiveness
so we can be set free.
May we create space to
make love
make art
make music
make good food
make tiny gardens
make writings
make relationships work
make possibilities
come to life.
May we make conversations happen
about what is important.
About loving.
True work.
Growing closer relationships.

Let’s talk about…
Finding abundance when we only have a little.
Giving when we don’t feel we have to give.
Living, when we don’t feel like living.
Reaching out, and reaching in, when we are tired.
Giving bountifully to ourselves when we are able.
Believing that we are held in the heart of the Divine.
That Creator is Love.
Let’s talk about giving up our bad attitudes.
Giving up our need to be right. Surrendering.
Going forward
when we feel like turning back.
Going deeper in our compassion. Our loving.
Our dreams. Our visions.
This all takes courage.
We all know that.
But sometimes, it feels like it “takes” to much.
What is it all for?
Who has not asked that question?
Right now,
I ask another question:
Who is it all for?
It is for us. For each other.
For our children. For our future.
For our Creator. For our earth.
We continue because it is for every one of us,
and each of our lives can contribute
to every single other one of us.
(When you think of the “who”
the “what” makes more sense).

And so in this moment,

Let us find the courage to love
and share it with our loved ones.
There is joy here,
and peace.
And possiblity.
And good feelings.
And inspiration.
L O V E.

Shiloh Sophia McCloud 2008
“Love One Another” Jesus

Dear Ones,

As always during the Holy Days I think of you. I think of your lives and your families coming to see you.
I think of those of you who are alone.  And I think of how to make this time more meaningful.  Many things come to mind, of course, doing art is always one of them.  I remember a few years back a grandma bought different journals of mine for her children for Christmas; boys and girls, adults and little ones, and she brought tons of art supplies. She gave them the books at the beginning of the day, and she said that the entire Holiday was transformed into an act of art. Of creation. Of connection. My mom was a caregiver for her ailing husband, that is how she found out about the books. She called us the day after Christmas to tell us how it was the best holiday they had ever had because of art. Because of art.

Those of you who are familiar with my ministry know it is art and creativity focused. A virtual call to create and be legendary in all that we possibly can. Today, yes, this very day, we are hanging my new show at a gallery in Healdsburg my business partner Dori Etter are opening, Electric Rose. Right now, my Cosmic Cowboy husband is finishing up the framing for five new peices of art designed to go into vintage metal frames salvaged from old churches and abandoned buildings.  It is unreasonable to stop and write this newsletter. Just like it is unreasonable to open a new gallery dedicated to inspiration, reveleation and celebration. Just like it is unreasonable to love beyond our comfort zones. To love past the places it hurts. To create art in the midst of chaos.

I think, that in order to do more than just survive, but thrive, we have to choose things that uplift our spirits, that challenge us to go to greater heights and deeper depths and into places we never thought we would go. There are new levels of creativity – and loving – available at all times, all the time. But we have to have the courage to try it. See what will happen if we go beyond where we have been living, and LIVE more profoundly. We can’t do it all the time. Sometimes may be sufficient.

I was talking to one of my college girlfriends the other night when I was painting a halo on my new paining, Our Lady of the True Vine. She said with all of life that was happening she didn’t have enough time with her sweetie. I asked her to do me a favor – that night to take her lover in her arms and tell her the deepest truths and depths of her love. It only takes a few minutes, but it means the world to both people. She said she would. She was excited to do it. Sometimes we need to remind each other that we can do this. In my immediate circle of close friends, several are going through divorce.
Several are struggling in unhappy relationships, several arestruggling with addictions. Friends – who were the most together – have lost their homes to forclosure. Layoffs are happening.  Finances are tight. We can hear it the news, hear it in our homes, hear it in our heads. Trouble is on the horizon. They keep talking about “this economy” – I like to call it, our economy, and say with as much love as I can. SO, during “this time”  – the only thing I can think of that will help, is to stay connected.

Whenever  I write, I think of how much I have, and how many who are reading this may not have as much…when I write about my husband I think about those of you who have written who have lost your husbands and wives…and then I wonder how can I write something for you when I have no idea of how to touch your loss. So please know, that I am not in the dark about the suffering, I am not one who thinks it is “all good.” When I write, I write for our possibilities, and my prayer is that something in these newsletters touches some little part of you in a comforting or inspiring way.

To make ones living as an artist is the hardest ongoing thing I have experienced/attempted.  I am not saying it even comes close to other hard experiences. And yet, it is my life. My struggle, my experience of doing this that makes it possible for me to teach, and to work with others to heal through creativity. I have risked every penny and every relationship and every day to make paintings and words and galleries and creations that are a comfort for people. This is my ministry and I am grateful beyond words for having a chance in this life to even “TRY” to do it.  From the heart of my ministry my painting are born as offerings.

The painting for this month, “Courage” was inspired by my love for young women, and my hope to reach out to them through workshops and books we are creating. I keep thinking, if we can be less isolated, and share where we are, we won’t have to feel as if we have to do it all ourselves. I remember being a teenage girl, and how much I really did not feel comfortable in my skin. How it all felt so unreal being here. How I felt like an outcast.  It was throught the comfort of my friends that I had any sense of being “ok.”  I had a kind of dependency on my friends, and they on me, to affirm that we are in this together. As I grew older, friendships changed, and became more casual, less, somehow urgent at the level of sharing. This is good, and also not so good. At this time in my life, I find myself wanting friendships to be more like when we were girls, and had slumber parties and painted each others toenails and drew unicorns together. Right now I am working towards strengthening my relationships, that is my Thanksgiving prayer.

Every quarter I write a special note to the Cosmic Cowgirl Membership, and it is not open to the public. But for the purpose of this newsletter, the theme is the same, the following excerpted from the Fall 2008 Constellation Newsletter. I have never done this before, and I hope it will be okay with the 130 Cosmic Cowgirls that I share it with!

I want to encourage us to stay close to one another as we travel through these valleys. To communicate with honesty as we struggle through things we never thought we would experience. A willingness to be transparent with each other, and to listen to one another as if it REALLY mattered HOW we listen. I find myself wanting to share at all new levels with loved ones. I don’t want to have the same conversations year after year. I want to talk about how to THRIVE. How to set up creative space in our homes. I want to ask you about what you have always wanted to do. To write. To paint. To sing. I want to ask you HOW DO YOU THINK WE LOVE MORE DEEPLY?

Right now. Without more healing needing to happen. How does the heart open in the space of pain? How do stop processing so much and MOVE INTO THE FUTURE as if we are whole even when we feel broken?

Yesterday I had a revelation. I have been in a growth spurt in my own marriage with my love, Isaiah McCloud. We have been married for fourteen years. WE TRULY COMMUNICATE. To the point where we tell all of it because we do not want to “harbor” anything – because we love being as close as humanly possible without any resentments poking us in the eyes when we are trying to “gaze” into eachother’s eyes. Those of you who know us, know that we love hard and true and that we have our fair share of struggle.

I think the revelation was sparked by my friends who are in divorce conversations – what I hear the most is what they want the other person to say or do that they are not saying or doing. The love is not usually in question, but communication IS in question. So. In my love and suffering for my girlfriends, I contacted a deep longing for my husband.

This is hard to put in words my friends, but I am trying because it IS my Thanksgiving Prayer. Saying I love you is great, and it is not sufficient unto itself.  I am not telling you something you do not know – but perhaps I can spark you to a new place about the topic of CONNECTION and LOVE. I think we all want to feel wanted, and to truly BE wanted. And so, in my heart I prayed and asked, what IS IT I AM NEEDING TO COMMUNICATE in this deep love for him? How do I put it into energy followed by words of truth and courage?

What came up?
I want you.
I want my husband.
I don’t want anything between us.

I am sorry for everything.
(repeat 3X)

It sounds kind of simple – even obvious. Of course we WANT them otherwise we would not be together. But admitting it in this way- somehow brought up a kind of primordial longing to be one with my beloved in spirit. To feel the oneness, the connection. The reason we are together. Our connection with Creator.
Our reason for being. For sticking it out. For being IN love. I did tell him. But first we fought. And I cried.  And I said that I wanted my mother. That she was the ONLY one I felt safe with. It even felt good to FEEL how much I wanted my mother. And after all that,  I said it. Mind you – we are very verbal all the time. But this was different. I contacted a way of saying it and a way of being it that got through to him. So in the night – we held eachother. I went to a new place of loving and it felt amazing because it existed side by side with the continuing struggle to create a solid happy marriage. It existed side by side with the past and the future struggles. But it also moved beyond “situations” – and I took a stand for love. And he returned it. He said it back. He affirmed how it felt to be loved that way – wanted.

I wanted to call all of my girlfriends and their husbands and wives and tell them: don’t let go. I wanted to call the friends who estranged from their mothers or fathers
and encourage them to to find forgiveness in their hearts, I wanted to call my sisters and cousins and sing of my love for them – to try my hardest to tell them HOW deep my love is for them. Beyond words.

And on and on…and so that is what I am doing on Thanksgiving. It is just going to be Isaiah and I in our cozy Healdsburg home on the knoll overlooking the vineyard.  Our kitty, Shiniate whom we have had for most of our marriage will be our only guest, besides the hundreds of birds we see out all of our windows. I am going to call or write letters the people I love and TRY to tell them how I feel about them in UNIQUE ways – things I appreciate about WHO they are. What is special about how we love each other. I want to ask about their special projects and their art and ideas. I am going to journal and to paint, and to have a day of prayer and thanksgiving.

I put a call out to you to open your heart to your loved ones. To open your mouth to SPEAK of your love. To risk not being heard. To risk looking foolish even, for love. To go BEYOND your comfort and access the possibility for greater love and thanksgiving than you thought was possible. It happens in a flash. It may take a
lifetime sometimes to get it out – but once is it flowing, the divine love,
there is no stopping it. MORE love is available right now. What if you
proposed a topic at the dinner table right at the beginning of sharing
your gratitude for each other? or just share about gratitude or abundance?
YOU WOULD BE amazed at what happens when the rednecks, the hippies, the
uptights, the artists, the old ones, the young ones, the cowgirls and the
divas, the truck drivers and the punk rockers, the agressive ones, the
drunk ones, the lost ones, the found ones, the precious ones and the ones
who do not know that they are, the righteous ones and the humble ones, the
Christians and the Buddhists, the rich ones and the poor ones, and all the
ones in between that compose the families living in the United States, you
will be amazed at what they say they are grateful for. Try it.

This is how we will thrive in all circumstances. Through loving. Through
risking loving.

Through being love. In my faith practice, Creator is love, and calls us to
love one another. Bliss is there. Healing is there. Forgiveness is there.
Moving on is there.
We are here. Let’s love.
First Corinthians

Though I speak with the tongues of people and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.