Heading to New York – To The United Nations!
Dear Bright Souls,
Guess What? I am headed to New York to the United Nations. But I am not just sitting in the audience. I get to talk. I get to share. I get reveal the power of the work that is possible with women through working with image and word. Really? yep. It speaks to me of destiny. (see stars sparkling in my eyes of gratitude and hope)
I have been invited to come by the Women’s United Nations Network. I have followed the work of WUNRN for over 6 years now, it is my news source. They report all day long about the status of women worldwide – and I have connected with the coordinator, Lois Herman, over these years and she has shared my images and poetry worldwide. And invited me to come. Wow.
WUNRN addresses the human rights, oppression,
and empowerment of women and girls all over the world.
WUNRN is my spirit news feed. My connection to the pulse of our world. They report on something as specific as one rape in South Africa, to worldwide statistics about the status of women overall. All day long. It is this – that informs my paintings, my prayers, my work and my writing. This connection with what is truly happening. If you have followed my work you know I am a being of LOVE and POSSIBILITY and BIG DREAMS. But you also know that I don’t ascribe to the thought that ‘it is all good’ and that ‘there are no mistakes’. To the contrary. I know it is not all good, and yes, there are millions of mistaken acts, by misguided souls, happening every single second. 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
What I am sharing here with you is my own exploration, and is in draft form. Like all of you, I am just experimenting with what works and following it where it leads. So here goes. I don’t have an editor on staff today and so you are going to get it raw, the unplugged version. I will polish it for you later.
Worldwide, the statistics of crimes against the innocent are increasing. How can it be ‘all good’? How can we even say, that when something bad happens, it is that person’s path? It becomes their path once it happens – but the ‘occurrence’ is not always because of that person’s path, sometimes yes, but in a world where we our government allows the poisoning of our food and water supply right before our very eyes – how can we say…the person who falls ill from it, has called it to themselves? On some grand scale, yes, we as a people, as a United Nation of beings, have allowed this to happen. That is a different story than that of the individual who is harmed and then ends up harming others. There is work to be done on the physical plane to mend our ways – and it starts with how we live inside of these bodies, what we believe and how that shapes the way we behave in our lives. It is through changing how we view ourselves and the world, that revolution can happen, starting within, starting with one person. Gandhi is so right to say, You must BE the change you wish to see in the world. But how?
What is there to do about where we are?
I don’t really know what it is for others. I just know what I have come to believe, from having witnessed working with thousands of women. Which is that we each must answer our own calling and live our lives from that place. The work IS to discover and live out the calling, to let that place within us guide us towards what it is we are supposed to be doing here. This thought, does not address all ailments, there is not one solution, but this is one of them. Because when we do the work to heal and then are directed from within towards our work in the world – most often, that work includes being a blessing for others in some way. A Healed or HEALING HUMAN desires to bring healing to others. That is our natural state. To give. We have come so far from that place within us – and the situation worldwide would weigh so heavily upon us, I don’t know how those of us who are awake, could stay awake, if not for following the “soulfire” of their calling. It is this connection with the internal fire – that keeps me, and those who serve, rising up to greet the day with hopeful hands and eyes that truly see.
I feel that we each must answer our own call to serve – that place within our hearts that longs to bring relief to the suffering. And in some way it needs to be specific about what we truly care about as a soul – connected with our unique calling. Otherwise, there can be burnout, and too much sacrifice to stay the course. When one follows their calling – we are renewed from within. The courage to follow where that calling leads us…and mine has led to me art and to lead women in the creation of art. To use creativity as the way to access their interior “being-ness” – to discover what is within us, through going inside, through creativity. WHEN we access that interior, the internal guidance system within us that has been tracking our story since our incarnation, has information for us. Has healing remedies stored up, that begin to express themselves on the pages of our lives if we let them.
There is much healing, and medicine inside of each soul, somehow, our precious souls have HELD TRUE the imprint of who we are and who we could be, even if we have been harmed and abused. IF we can get to that place, access some of that sacred space within ourselves, where we are who we are, and that is miraculously intact, and express it, healing slowly happens. Not saying I know how or why it works, but I do know, that it works. The more we express and learn about ourselves and our stories, the more transformation comes to us, over time. That is the work of the Color of Woman Method where we teach the teachers – that is the work of Cosmic Cowgirls where we hold each other in community towards our dreams, with CREATIVITY as the primary vehicle. It seems my life has marshaled itself to being in service in this way to others. To invite creativity as a method of healing. So that is what I wake up to do each day and somehow, how I will craft my message to the UN.
I want to share with you too. I have evidence of what this looks like. Within a few days I will share with you an opportunity for you to see images of healing created by women worldwide…so watch your inbox for your invitation to ‘SEEING’ just what it is I am talking about regarding the healing that happens inside of creativity. You will see the work of 40 women artists from across the world who are doing this work with and for themselves and with and for others.You can sign up to see the slideshow and the online gallery show here, in addition to my 3 part video series called Soul-Fire.
And so this, in some way, is what I shall share at the United Nations, at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women. I shall not speak of many of the things I truly care about, like so many of us do, although I would want to. I shall not speak of food and shelter and prevention. I shall not speak of God, violence or the state of the world. I shall not speak of sorrow or statistics or point any fingers or present any graphs.
I will extend a sturdy red thread. I shall speak of healing. Of what can be done with the wounds that we are nursing here in the dark. I will attempt to show how beauty is the antidote to violence without even speaking the name of violence. I do not know how this world will be healed. I do not know how it will all turn out. I know that we each must do our part that is ours to do, our piece of the red thread. And this work I am engaged in with close to 200 other women inside of Cosmic Cowgirls is to bring others into the sanctuary of their own soul through acts of creation. And to invite others to the miracles this work is bringing to us. When this work started – I had no idea what my ministry would be. I studied to be a Reverend, but had no idea my flock would not be in a building for Sunday services, feeding the hungry with soup. The flock I lead rises with brushes filled with red paint. We sprinkle glitter on the dark places, knowing that the magic is inside of the prayers we whisper as we spread the light through tiny particles of love. We whisper our dreams into our canvases. We light the candles on our altars for ourselves and the suffering and pour our tears onto the pallet. We ask our muses to transform the voice of the critic – instead of YOU are NOT ENOUGH, we begin to hear, “you can do this”…but go to the canvas, to the dance floor, to the poem, so that this work takes FORM. We CREATE with our hearts and hands so that we might heal our selves and the images that have been used against us, which can no longer be our reference for ourselves as women, as families.
On one side of the spectrum we have women used as a weapon of war. On the other side we have women selling sports cars and watches and every other consumer driven thing we should buy from the pretty lady. Contrast that harms. One one side we have girls starving themselves to be thin by the age of 8, and on the other side we have poisoned food being fed to us, literally and figuratively. How do we find ourselves in the midst of all of this? How do we find an IMAGE of self that actually represents who are to ourselves and gives our children something to live into? So much resides in how we think about ourselves based on what has happened to us and how the world has treated us and our experience of that. It is clear, oh so clear, that our relationship to ourselves, our VERY IMAGE of ourselves, informs our choices. If we do not feel worthy, we will not practice acts of self worth.I will be speaking more about this in my upcoming video series Soul-Fire where I talk about my own story and how I got started after years of creating mediocre art and not feeling like I had anything of value to say.
There are many modalities our healers have been working on for generations to lift us from this great plight of “nobodyness”. And since so much of this infection of how we treat ourselves, and then how we treat others, lives inside of our VIEW of who we are. My ministry has become one of changing our view of ourselves, through re-imaging ourselves, and our relationship with the Divine. How does all of this lead to the end of violence? Well I will tell you this – my own lifework came OUT of a desire to end violence against women and children and families. It ROSE out of that. Here’s what I know.
When a human being is connected to their core, who we truly are, we can be informed from within instead of misguided from the over-culture which continually tells us we are not okay as we are. We can learn to think and act for ourselves, the way we relate to the information around us is transformed. Inherently we know it is wrong when we are treated poorly or treat others poorly, we KNOW it. IF WE CANNOT listen to the spirit within us, which is a divine spark from the original spark, we do not know how to protect ourselves and others, we do not hear and listen to what is good for us. However, when we can be connected and listen, we can act on our own behalf, we can say no to allowing ourselves to be harmed and we can say YES to seeking healing. This is how it can work in prevention, for those who KNOW they have a choice. BUT, for most of the world, women and children do not have this choice to REMOVE themselves from harm. So how this works for those who have already been harmed is through giving them a voice, and a way to share their experience in FORM. How they get to their story and where and how it is stored, in a most direct and amazing intuitive way, can be through creative acts. And acts that do not require skill, this is not about being a good artist and rendering well, but about ‘letting out’ what is held within in any way we can. How it is stored in us, is part of what keeps the patterns of self harm, and allowance of harm to stay intact. Creative acts engage all of ours senses, and our senses have taken it all in and stored it away in our internal filing system. When we re-engage through those senses, we are yielded up medicine from within our soul that helps us chart a course to healing. Understanding. Forgiveness. The silence is broken, and it can be SEEN because it is written down, and painted out, and photographed and videod and the modalities of art give the silenced a way to speak, and be heard and be seen. And from here we can begin a new dialogue with ourselves, one that we are directing, instead of allowing the voices of harm, inside of ourselves and in the world – to tell us who we are.
I am so motivated by this work and how it works. Because I have seen the results. When I am in New York I will be teaching a Workshop on Finding your Calling – you can find out about it HERE.It is on March 2 at the Open Center on East 22nd between Madison and 5th. Then I will be speaking at the UN on March 4 at 4:30 – yes you can come if you want to!
I am SO grateful for my communities of women who walk besides me and do this work with me. The Cosmic Cowgirls, The Color of Woman School Teachers, The Red Thread Nation and The Red Madonna Sisterhood. IN these sacred places, we are discovering the alchemy of healing our own souls, and may we each go forth and share the gifts we have been given. And yes, we are.
Sending you blessings today for your life and right where you are. Whatever you are going through, I want to remind you, that you have a part in the great unfolding of the Universe. Your own unique part – and we need you to say yes to it. I am right there with you.
With more love than can be contained in ten million words, with unspeakable joy at being alive, with gratitude for Lois at the WUNRN for helping me articulate how this work really is contributing to the ending of violence, and most of all, with LOVE for you.
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 57 – Panel
Arts & Film For Women’s Activism, For Rights, Against Violence
777 United Nations Plaza – NYC March 4, 2013
Ms. Nayla al Khaja – United Arab Emirates Film Director
Ms. Tiffany Hsiung – Filmmaker – Comfort Women: China, Philippines, Korea “Within Every Woman”
Femicide & Forced Abortion Film “It’s A Girl” – Ms. Reggie Littlejohn, Director & Advocate, Women’s Rights without Frontiers
MADRE Director Ms. Yifat Susskind – Power of Documentary Film
Ms Elahe Amani – WIN – Women’s Intercultural Network – Global Circles Chair – WNN Reporter
Artist & Poet – Ms .Shiloh Sophia McCloud – Healing Violence Against Women through Art & Poetry
WUNRN – Women’s UN Report Network – Power Point on Global Activism through Art, Poetry, Photography, Film –
Ms. Lois A. Herman, WUNRN Coordinator
Moderator – Ms. Lys Anzia – Founder/Editor-at-Large, WNN – Women News Network