Red Thread Letter #862 A Survivor’s Story
Shiloh Sophia’s current work in progress for Ritual 13 Moons Course. Her inner world dialogue is shown on the right of the canvas.
The desire to end violence against women and children is the precious root of everything I do. It links back to that moment when Intentional Creativity came to life for the first time for me. This whole letter is in honor of this vision from my early twenties – I knew I could make a difference with art.
Sumaiyah Wysdom Yates, my friend and colleague and Color of Woman Graduate, has written an article about Intentional Creativity as her source of power as she moved through recovery from intimate partner violence. I am sure there are many women in our community who will resonate with and take comfort in Sumaiyah’s story.
You can read it right here on MUSEA Magazine.
“I am here for me. To heal. To grow. To expand. To walk my Path and fully realize my calling. I am also here for you. To walk with you. To give you the tools of Intentional Creativity for your medicine basket. To witness your healing, growth, and expansion… Let us journey together through Intentional Creativity until we each realize healing and what it is to be healed enough. That’s our goal: healed enough. We may never be fully healed. But we can be healed enough to have the best life we possibly can give to ourselves.”
~ Sumaiyah Wysdom Yates
Sumaiyah embracing her wholeness! We love you wonderful woman! AND she will be in house in SONOMA for VIVID with Milagros, Amber and More!
How this vision in connection with creativity started for me…
You have likely heard my story about this before. I was wedging clay that Sue and I had dug straight from the ground weeks before. I was joking that I wish we could buy clay from the store because it would be so much faster. Then Sue asked me what I cared most about in the world – and I said, “Ending violence for women and girls.” That moment and what followed, changed the course of my life and is foundational to the formation of Cosmic Cowgirls, LLC and MUSEA : Center for Intentional Creativity.
Here is an excerpt of that story from my recent book pre-release, The Feast Table of Love:
While the Student is wedging, the Teacher is speaking.
“Put your love into the clay as you wedge.
Imagine the women that you care about in the world.
Feel the sensation of love you have for them.
See them, really see them, and feel them.
Put that love right into the clay, and see the love flowing from your heart, brain, and body right into the actual clay.
You care. This is love. This is happening right now.
Now, imagine that the love is going out, yes right now, to women in the world. See it. See it? Good.
Now, believe. Believe the love is going out to the women in real time, because it is. It cannot be otherwise. Yet the love is also going right to you and right to me. This love is real.”
My family working to end violence and raise awareness goes back a long way. It is more than the origins of Intentional Creativity, it is part of the origins of my own upbringing. Here I am reading Gyn/Ecology by Mary Daily to a child when I am just barely more than a child myself. Sue looks on as if to say – “that’s right, tell the girl-children the stories”.
“Every woman who has come to consciousness can recall an almost endless series of oppressive, violating, insulting, assaulting acts against her Self. Every woman is battered by such assaults” ― Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism
Through the work of Mary Daly and many more scholars of the time, my family learned and then taught me, that we must not spend all of our energy ‘reacting and responding’ to what was taking place in the war against women. For then we are unwittingly becoming a part of the trap. This is VERY IMPORTANT to this work with creativity. As we might be tempted to think, how can creativity truly serve women in recovery from violence?
“Another kind of transcendence myth has been dramatization of human life in terms of conflict and vindication. This focuses upon the situation of oppression and the struggle for liberation. It is a short-circuited transcendence when the struggle against oppression becomes an end in itself, the focal point of all meaning. There is an inherent contradiction in the idea that those devoted to a cause have found their whole meaning in the struggle, so that the desired victory becomes implicitly an undesirable meaninglessness. Such a truncated vision is one of the pitfalls of theologies of the oppressed.” Mary Daly
I know there are relevant exceptions taken with some of her work, yet it remains a powerful part of the formation of my way of working and serving women and children. In the beginning, I worked more on the ‘front lines’ of DV and in advocacy – but soon enough I realized something different was called for within me. I was inspired to provide a pathway of recovery from violence. Violence within our lives and culture, but also the violence we carry in our image of ourselves and our story, the internal violence that must also end. Creativity post-trauma can truly help shape a new sense of identity, purpose and interconnection. Women gathering in circle is truly at the center of all of our educational curriculum.
A Color of Woman gathering at Big River in Mendocino, 2019
I know and you know that women continue to experience violence in every country across the globe. In my past 7 years participating in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women as a presenter and advocate, I am always stunned when I hear the statistics. Every year a revelation. Every year a heartbreak and a desire to serve. Every year a deepening of my commitment to continue, fervently, with love, to act on behalf of women and children!
According to a recent publication by the World Health Organization:
“Violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive and starts alarmingly young. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women, around 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner – a number that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade.
This violence starts early: 1 in 4 young women (aged 15-24 years) who have been in a relationship will have already experienced violence by an intimate partner by the time they reach their mid-twenties.”
Here at MUSEA, we are standing for the healing of women, for the safety of women and children, and for the transformation of the broken systems that perpetuate the violent and intentional oppression of women. Together, through our Red Thread connection, the power of Intentional Creativity, and the love we access and embody, we are at cause for making the world a safer place for the women and girls in our lives. We are doing this as a community. One of the big ways we are doing this on a day-by-day basis is making women’s own bodies, minds and hearts safer for them to live within. Because we know that when we do not think that we matter, we make different choices for ourselves. Women being at cause for their own lives and the lives of their children is so important to our community. We strive to be a healing place for each other. Sumaiyah’s article speaks to this so beautifully.
Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, I am sending love your way. We have all known or been a woman who has been subjected to abuse. Our hearts ache for this awareness. And we know creativity can help with recovery and contribute to healing in this area – women have told us this!
Today, I invite you to put some intentional paint strokes on your canvas. Making marks for those women who are in the midst of violence and abuse, as a prayer for their healing, and for them to access the courage, the resources, and support they need to get free.
For anyone reading this who may be in a situation of intimate partner violence or in recovery from it, I am holding you along our Red Thread with love and compassion. Today, I invite you to consider working with the Colorful Scars Intentional Creativity Class – a gift from my heart to yours.
Signed with a hope for re-membering our wholeness,
The books shared in this letter are available to order and have for yourself, give as gifts or leave copies at abuse shelters or mental wellness centers for others to find words of solace during hard times.
For women in the United States seeking support for domestic violence, you can access
The National Domestic Violence Hotline at
or Text “START” to 88778
Here is a reading from Colorful Scars book:
The colorful side of all of these storiesis that the scars are no longer only on the inside
Witness by compassionate hearts brings colorto the shadows which house the wounds
The light emitting from our colorful scarsilluminates the path for those coming after us
A warrior mark, a reminder, a tattooof teachings and stories to tell
We won’t forget, yet neither will webe jailed by the past any longer
To those who would harm, we also pray, this colorful lightreaches them to think again and to heal
The freedom to self express is a basichuman right, and we claim this right for ourselves
We won’t proclaim the bright sideWe will not dwell in the shadow side either
We see, claim and are authors of the colorful side
We have become She of the Colorful Scar