Struck With Passion – A Letter from Shiloh Sophia

Shiloh Sophia with rose and wire lasso

Me with rose in teeth, cowgirl hat and wire lasso for catching ideas and wrestling them into shape!

Dear Ones,

I want to to talk about Passion. About the importance of TRULY FEELING. About not being asleep to possibility. About how cultivating passion can keep us awake in life. Sometimes years go by and we are just so busy keeping up with our lives that we forget, or don’t consider it important to feel passionate! What????

I am talking about any kind of passion, the definitions according to the dictionary is:

passion |ˈpa sh ən|
1 strong and barely controllable emotion
• a state or outburst of such emotion
• intense sexual love
• an intense desire or enthusiasm for something
• a thing arousing enthusiasm

She Begins To Pray by Shiloh Sophia McCloud - Acrylic on canvas with prayersThat being said, I want to focus on the whole enchilada of sensation called passion. For me it equals being profoundly inspired. To take passionate action… And at the root of a healthy passion is profound care for something or someone. Profound care. So what is it you CARE ABOUT?

I will be honest. Care is what inspires my whole life. It is a passionate large scale ‘care’ about our world and the status of women and children in this world. That care does not always translate to the small things of life, sometimes I do not do what I say I am going to do – not because I don’t care but because there is SO MUCH I care about that I cannot get to everything. This could make me feel badly and actually make me feel like I cannot do big things well if I cannot do small things well. That is just a mis-truth actually. They say if you cannot do something well, may as well not do it all all. No so. We do what we can do and that is sometimes all we can do. And we just keep trying. Release your inner perfectionist and you will find you get more done, well enough. When we are passionate and visionary, and think in big sweeps, sometimes we miss the dust bunnies at home.

So at the root of all I do. Every painting, Every e-mail. Every passionate action is my care for the health, justice, safety, education, empowerment and creativity in our world. I want to see changes here, on spaceship earth and so I am going to tell you the secret about keeping my life filled with passionate action.

I punctuate my daily activities with big sweeping action steps about twice a month. I reach out beyond my immediate circle and I try something I haven’t tried before about what I am passionate about. Sometimes, it results in amazing incredible things and sometimes, nothing happens. BUT expressing my passion for life and love even if I don’t get the result I was trying for, keeps me awake, alert, truly passionate and engaged. I have EXPRESSED MY passion and it happens through e-mail, phone and in person and in paintings and writings. I feel the fire in my heart and it makes me feel a part of all that is, grateful to SPIRIT for igniting my soul with love, and it gives me a desire to keep serving.

Co-Creating By Shiloh Sophia McCloudAn example of this is when I applied to teach at a college. Did you know I don’t have a college degree? I approached Judy Grahn and Dianne Jenett, two of my personal sheroes who run the women’s spirituality department at New College, but now our program, Women’s Spirituality, is now is at the ITP, The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto. I was told on many occasions I would not be able to teach at the college level if I did not have a degree. I didn’t listen. I got told that again this week at a new school, and I didn’t listen either. (Well, actually, I listened, but I didn’t let it stop me.)

Well, after my first session, which was to just be one itty bitty class, the students wanted me back. And based on my life experience of making a living doing my art, I was grandmothered in and that was 7 years ago. I ADORE being a part this program more than words and images can express. Working in the same program as visionary women leaders that include: Deborah Grenn, Vicki Noble, Luisah Teish, Anne Bluethenthal, and Max Dashu. My reaching out to this program was a passionate act to reach women in college and offer my gifts of art as sacred practice as well as visionary business for women. That was an unreasonable move. Hundreds of students later…teaching in the program is one of the favorite parts of my art and teacher lifework.

Another example is that on Monday a woman named, Laurie Isenberg contacted me about using my image in a program of Mujerista Theology for which she is the Director of Community and Continuing Education at the Pacific School of Religion. I said yes, but I didn’t stop there. I then asked her if she would consider my teaching in that program. A passionate bold act.

What passionate action are you going to take? Today?

Another example is an e-mail I sent this morning, I sent it to Lois Herman at the Women’s United Nations Report Network, after I got this in my inbox…

Why are the women of Afghanistan, under varying controls of captive forces or sovereign dictates, so invisible, so rarely viewed or heard through transparent media.

Why does Afghanistan continue to have the highest Maternal and Infant Mortality Rate in the World, realizing that this is a Millennium Development Goal? UNICEF has stated that Afghanistan is the most dangerous place to be born?

Why do women of Afghanistan sometimes choose self immolation or other forms of suicide when they see no alternatives to rampant abuse and other violations?

Why are girls of Afghanistan allowed, even facilitated, to be married as child brides, for a bride price for the parents, for a drug debt of the father, when seen as a liability for the family vs. a blessing. Why is there continuing preference for boys in Afghanistan, even infanticide of girl children, and constant human rights abuses that favor the male gender and their control over women?

Why are Afghanistan women, as research has shown, the primary victims of poverty, the economic crisis, the food crisis, the lack of political representation, the access to international linkages?

How are women, through their own voices, surviving and linking for agency and empowerment, for advocacy and action, during exceedingly challenging, even dangerous times in their country, that continue to make headlines through international agendas and media filters? What are their success stories in creating authentic programs to take care and empower each other, by women, of women, for women?

Where do we hear about the resilience of the Afghan women, their commitment and success for courageous, effective social action?

Why are women isolated, and this is not an issue of the burka or clothing coverage; but why are women and girls not educated or kept so often removed from social interaction?

Why are women of Afghanistan responsible for carrying the burden of morality and virtue, as in issues of honor killings?

Excerpted in parts from:

Women’s United Nations Report Network


UN PANEL CONCEPT STATEMENT – UN Human Rights Council Session 14 – Geneva

BTW if you want to KNOW what is happening with women and girls worldwide, sign up for WNURN announcements, but prepare to be stuck with grief daily, and hopefully, struck with passion. Here is what I wrote her this morning.

Dear Lois,

I have a crazy idea.

And I have no idea where it will lead but – thought I would put it out there

and see if it sparks something.

I am sure you have been hearing about all of these amazing calls where women are teaching and 17,000 folks from all over the world are on the calls…. it is about women’s power, abundance, etc…VERY important, but very privileged as well, that is the audience generally so it makes sense…

Mine are no exception, except that I want to mobilize the privileged to act on behalf of those who are not. Working on this.

As I write this tears are FILLING my eyes and heart.

What if we could work with WUNRN to host a call/call series where different women spoke that you select about what was happening in our lives and in women’s lives around the world and folks contributed…
there are HUGE amounts of money to be made this way for causes near and dear to us.

The women don’t have to be FAMOUS to the world – just women who are acting/speaking/working on behalf of women, but I could get other famous women on there if we wanted –

The goal:
RAISE awareness about what is REALLY happening.
RAISE money to address change.

Just imagine if we had 10,000 folks on the call and we asked them to give $10 and we got only 25% of them – still, it would be something.

Lois – the US women and CANADA many women I know and love don’t really know what is happening around the world at large…and I don’t know enough about it either, and it is driving me crazY!! (not really) They will want to know and want to help but they are just so busy keeping up with life

I am really feeling this, but maybe I am just fired up….

just dreaming big dreams…

love love love


And, she wrote back to me from the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva but that, for now, that is between us.
The Creation Song

As for me, I have some very exciting passionate things in the works, and I am sure you will hear about those soon enough.

My answer to feeling alive and awake? LOVE hard. FIND SOMETHING TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT if you don’t have one already. IF YOU DO already have something, TAKE ACTION ON IT TODAY!! Don’t let the sun sit without taking one passionate action. Want to share what you did or play to do with me? I will answer all responses of passionate action…

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