My Medicine Basket

I love the idea of the medicine basket being the symbol of a container of healing that we bring to our beloveds and to the world. I think it would be an encouraging process for anyone who wants to explore or reaffirm their own gifts. It is simple enough to accomplish in a couple of hours or a little less, or even longer if more sharing or ritual is involved.
My overarching affirmation statement is:

I am a woman who brings beauty for healing and transformation.

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The gifts I decided upon for the basket are:

  • I create environments of beauty and welcome.
  • My creative mind envisions the unseen.
  • I create sacred space for contemplation and connection.
  • I am passionate about releasing self expression.
  • I bring healing art for your soul.
  • My heart is loyal to my friends.

The symbol that is represented in the space under the handle is a rose, which speaks of beauty and transformation.

I noticed that I had an uncomfortable feeling about the way my affirmation of my gifts in the basket sounded. Something like, “How dare I write such glowing affirmations?” Shame alert! This tells me that my beloveds might feel the same and be reluctant to be super positive and affirming about their own gifts. I want to note to give them permission to not edit and to be quite affirming about what they bring!

Soulful Story Cards

How do you transform existing beliefs that are limiting? One way is to use creativity as a vehicle to cause a shift in thinking. The Soulful Story process uses watercolor paper and paint to create cosmic flashcards with a theme like “release and claim.” And they are indeed flashy with color and glitter!

I found doing this process to be helpful in identifying negative beliefs about every area of my life. Coming up with believable soul-affirming antidotes to the negative beliefs pushed me (in a good way) to enlarge my thinking. I found new possibilities that could shift the stories I usually default to, to help me move away from judgement and discouragement. One of the over-arching themes I began to see related to the struggle to trust myself to make big decisions. I’m imagining how much courage I will gain as these beliefs shift!

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Painting the page

 

I think the process would be good for a longer workshop. The physical hands-on part of ripping the cards took quite a bit of time and was hard on my wrist. I might try lighter weight paper next time. I wonder if there is a way to work in pairs that could make it easier?

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Ripping the cards

Otherwise the inquiry and the painting were powerful ways of engaging with the theme and I can see that this could be done with a number of themes at different times.

 

 

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Title phrases

 

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Affirmations

 

 

 

 

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Cover and red thread tie

My First Red Thread Circle

I incorporated a Red Thread Circle into the flow of my final Art Lab class for the spring session. This is a group that has bonded, shared their hearts and their creative experiments over the last two seasons, and some of them for even longer. It seemed a good time to introduce the idea of the red thread. They already felt connected to each other and were very open to this ritual.

We began with a time of centering, focusing on the healing rhythm of ebb and flow of our breath, then moved into a meditation on the wisdom of the seasons and healing rhythm of blossoming, fullness, letting go, and rest.

I told about the meaning of the red thread, some of the various legends, and a couple of the ways it shows up through Scripture. There was a lot of openness and interest. I explained how we would pass the red thread around and each take enough to wind around our wrist as we shared from the inquiry. holding-threadI based the question on the meditation about the seasons in which I had led them to look for a place of winter in their life that still needed tending. So I shared first a place that needing tending in my life and passed the red thread. When the thread came back to me, we passed the scissors, cut it and helped each other tie it onto our wrists.

We moved into our exploration time of our topic where the class participants reflect on written questions before we begin our art time. The art comes out of a soul place of listening. The art portion is always an enjoyable time of working through the creative steps of the process for that week. One person hit a snag in their creative steps and I told them they could tug on the red thread for support, so they did and they received some encouragement. I think we’ll probably be able to refer back to that from now on.

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We closed the Red Thread Circle with a share about a place in our life where we are open to new blossoming. I read a part of the poem “Remember You” from The Way of the Red Thread. We also had a final share of showing the art we had worked on for the night. The whole thing lasted a little over two hours.

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Making art while wearing the Red Thread on our wrists.

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One in our group put the Red Thread into her art.

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Final share of art for the night.

My Legendary Self

legend-final-herrick-smInto the canvas:
I am leaving behind always being in conflict with myself about making decisions. I leave behind not measuring up. I leave behind feeling like a failure because of my primary relationship, no matter my other successes.

Some of the takeaways:
There is a resilience from continuing to show up.
The tears are cleansing.
I am held and okay, no matter what.
I know that there is something more to aim for. It’s not all over.
I feel a resolve to push forward into freedom and into what’s ahead.
I can embrace and support my body, as it has supported me all these years.
I’m perhaps at a turn in the path which is leading me closer to my goal, though like walking on the Labyrinth I can see only a short way ahead and may not be able to accurately say how close I am to the center.
I can pursue and express my passion.
My vision and heavenly connection have been a consistent source of strength, and now my connection to earth and to myself will deepen and will cause an increase in effectiveness and wider service.
Community continues to be so important to me and I will be able to be more vulnerable and allow myself to receive more—not just give. Becoming more visible sharing my own creative expression through paintings and teaching will also keep me on a vulnerable edge.

Bringing form:
What I see in her: She is firstly connected to the Divine as her Source, with the Holy Spirit illuminating her spirit, and yet a crown is prominent on her head because she is sovereign in her person, in her ability to make decisions for her life and trust her inner knowing. She does have a scepter—a large paint brush to paint stories and create transformation, to call beauty to come forth.

She is awake. Her eyes are open as she watches and intently notices all around her and within her. She is also full of vision that connects to her creativity, her ways of knowing, epiphanies from on high, and even to future imaginings. She trusts her vision based on her spiritual path and past experiences, and the purpose that calls her forward.

She is starting to hear her own voice grow louder and more powerful and is aware that it affects others’ lives in healing and empowering ways. The passion blazes in her heart and emits warmth and light that radiates outward far into the field around her, though that is a result, not a goal she sets. Her sovereign throne is rooted deeply—into the waters, the oceans, and the ancient life-giving River that is never dry. She finds nourishment there as well as in the quiet dark earth and in the mountains which make her feel small, yet secure and belonging within the whole.

She has always been one who walked between the worlds, not quite fitting fully in the world of her peers. This is hard for her because she values relationship so deeply. In the dark spaces there are pools of pain, sorrow, disappointment, and tears. She knows her age and wonders if there is still time. The old story says, “I’m old. It’s too late.”

Though there are definitely feathers that have fallen out, she realizes they are making way for fresh healthy brighter colored feathers to replace them.

She remembers her father called her “Rose” while she was growing up. For no reason. He just made it up as one of his names for her. There is something old about it and something new.

My muse says to me:
Always wear ears of listening.
Always look for the new bud growing after the long winter, pushing up out of the dark.
Remember you are the Rose—that was not a mistake, but an endowment.
The new Rose is mature, fragrant, and expressive, not hiding or ashamed.
The thorns and the tears are transformed.
Be wild, be bold.
But you will also have great equanimity.
It is part of your nature, and will help your heart and your head to work together.
Trust yourself.
You have much to do.

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Originally posted March 27, 2017

A Letter to My Source

Creator God, three in one, You are my source.  Even before I knew you, you were there. I am grateful that you set me on a road to spiritual transformation at age 18. I know you differently now, more fully, and yet am sure of less as the mystery becomes larger. You teach me “upside down” concepts that I may walk a path of love. They each seem to contain paradox: ‘Die to live’, ‘beauty from ashes’, ‘surrender to be free’, ‘peace in chaos’, ‘choose love when wronged,’ ‘worthiness is bestowed—not earned’, ‘leading is serving’, and so many more.

There’s no way for anyone to know how you have kept me alive. You wanted to join me on the road, to listen to my story, to speak to me in heart languages I didn’t even know that I had, and you have kept me moving toward a new story of peace and joy. You have always been Beauty and Love to me. You show yourself through all my senses, through caring friends, through writers that speak so clearly to my heart and mind, and in moments of grace where I catch a glimpse of the Really Real. You want me to be free. Your water falls over me when I am immersed in the natural world in awe or when I’m holding small children or sitting quietly. I feel like I’m holding hands with you when I’m creating.

You are coming alive to me in a new way as the Feminine is called forth to lead in a different way from this world’s system. I’m reminded that I am made in your image as feminine as well as masculine and that it’s all a circle dance and not a hierarchy. When I was first stirred toward equality for women in the 70’s, you were showing me a better way for both men and women to fully operate in their giftings and support one another. I have moved away from patriarchal structures, and yet am committed to You and my faith community. Help me to use exploration and transformation through creativity and contemplation to bring healing and connection with you and each other. Give me courage to point out where dignity is not yet restored, where there is abuse and where voices are not heard or valued. My heart is especially for women, for full equality, freedom to be who you made them to be, with full expression and empowerment to bring their gifts of healing to the world.

Mary is a new divine symbol to me in reverence. This exploration of Mary and what she is coming to mean to me is exciting. Pondering Mary Magdalene as archetype, and thinking of my own grandmothers back through the ages as wisdom keepers, are gifts from You. I am open to receiving all that you have for me, as surprising as it may be! I seek your guidance, Spirit, and rest in your Presence as close to me as my breath. I rely on you as Source for each day of life, and for each experience of creating that I am blessed to enter into. You show me my Muse, you show me my soul voice. Let’s create together.

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Originally posted March 29, 2017

I’m On a Quest

Recently I did a brief IC exercise of authoring my own story in paint. Through the layers the new declaration simmered down to “I am open to living in truth and joy.” These two things are significant to me and have to do with rewriting my old story which is full of sadness, disappointment and (out of fear) being reluctant to show up fully and speak my truth and be all of who I am. I believe this vision quest will touch these areas and challenge that old story even further as I go on this journey with a willing heart.

I am questing for wisdom—for my own life and for the lives of those who gather with me.
I quest for healing of those places which haven’t met healing yet, and to become more of a healer in my sphere of influence.
My quest includes a desire to develop a spontaneity that takes risks. I expect this training will provide plenty of opportunities to test that!
I seek to become a sturdier oak that stands in the storms and winds and whose roots are comfortably secure deep below the surface.
I quest to develop the visionary gifting I already have and use it more fully to stand alongside my community with discernment and insight, and in teaching and servant-leadership.
I am questing with curiosity for what I will see that I don’t yet see that will lead me along my path and that will connect me with others—with those who share the desire for transformation using simple tools of paintbrushes, prayers, inquiry, and reflection. We will fan each other’s flame and be amazed at how we upset the status quo.
My quest is to be led by the Spirit and not to say “No”, because there’s no time to waste.

Originally posted March 25, 2017

My Intentional Creativity Lineage

When I think about IC Lineage I think about my creative lineage which goes way back.

Both of my grandmothers and my mother and father were creative. My dad and his mom expressed their love of beauty primarily through gardening and landscape design. My dad was amazing in what he could do and he was tireless at it. Everyone he knew marveled and asked for advice. He also could build anything he put his mind to. I just found out recently that my dad used to draw a lot when my mom first knew him. My mom won awards arranging flowers and could paint and decorate and “make things.” It was a natural part of my life to see creativity and a love of beauty on a daily basis. My mom’s mom is the one I have a special bond to and I see her as a Renaissance woman for her time. She was a city girl who graduated from college (unusual at the time,) taught home economics, taught in a school for the deaf, and ended up living in a farmhouse in the country after marrying. She made beauty happen out of “nothing” because they had very little. She sewed their clothes, cared for chickens and other animals and had a small orchard, grape vines, and a wonderful cutting flower garden with unusual varieties. She provided flowers for the church she attended. She had a quest for knowledge and in her later years continued to take correspondence courses. She loved me unconditionally and shows up in my visioning quite often.

In college I studied fine art and majored in black and white art photography. My main teacher studied under Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, the painter and photographer and professor in the Bauhaus school. I was also somewhat influenced by Man Ray of the Dada and Surrealist movements. I think one of the most important things I learned during that time was to see light, the way it fell on objects, and the way it created tones and layers of depth of exposure onto film and photographic materials. It was magic to me.

I didn’t really follow other teachers after that, but worked in graphic design and photography. I was always doing creative projects, but in the last 10 years drifted toward mixed media, collage and photo-montage. I then began to look around online and found art journaling and tutorials in that direction. The more art workshops I led myself, the more ideas and techniques I found online that I liked and wanted to morph into some of my workshops after I tried them. I also began to paint again, but in spurts with no real direction. I later took longer online workshops with Lisa Sonora, Shelley Klammer, and others I found through different “summits” with a variety of artists. These included Amber K., Shiloh, and also I found Jenafer Joy through Cosmic Cowgirls link. I am not even sure of the chronology, but in looking back at my photos this seems to be the trail of dots.

Enter Intentional Creativity –
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Here is my very first IC painting. I had never done journeying or visualizing quite like this when creating pieces. In art school you don’t journey or deal with your issues 🙂
(In this one I saw my grandmother hand me a carved wooden box.) This was around June 2015. I learned about leaving “glow” during this one!

I continued to sign up for classes with Shiloh and was more and more convinced through my own experience that this was a healing process. In workshops that I led, I had long had the mantra “Art Heals” and I wanted my facilitation with others to be as healing as possible. In 2016 I painted my prayers and pain and spiritual devotion into my Cathedral of the Heart painting in Red Madonna for the year. It was transformative. I thought about Color of Woman training as soon as I found out about it, but waited and used the Cathedral of the Heart experience as a time of discernment. It was a big leap of faith for me to sign up for the 2017 training in terms of timing and finances, but what I was sensing and stirred towards was too strong for me to back down. People around me get excited as I talk about the training and what I want to do and they are anxious to sign up for a workshop, so that is a good sign!

With everything in me that is committed to women, to community, to beauty and healing, I am believing that this is the next step on my path. I open my heart to receive what I need to move forward and take things to the next level. And yes, I am quaking in my boots.

Originally posted March 25, 2017

Envisioning Future Teaching

I am walking up to the big stone barn with its doors wide open. It seems to be a place in the country like my grandmother’s land south of Atlanta, but I don’t recognize the barn, but it is perfect for this workshop with lots of windows with natural light. It’s glowing inside with light and candles and I can see women walking around and talking and laughing with each other. The room is large and buzzing with excitement and anticipation. I can see easels set up for 10-15 people. There are large vases of fresh flowers and eclectic music is playing in the background.

Our theme is “knowing and expressing your voice.” I long to help people discover who they are within, find their voice and express themselves.

I feel so excited within, to be there, and to be part of this. I am so happy for this to happen for my beloveds; for there to be a dedicated space that makes them smile just to to enter. I enjoy creating a sacred space in which to journey, to enter into the process, to inquire and explore…and to heal. I think, too about how we will feel even more connected by the end of the workshop, and look forward to the work each one will share with the group.

And now the time is here. I am filled with anticipation.

Originally posted March 15, 2017