“Part of that beauty I found was in the faces of the women who looked at their own Legendary creations. This told me everything I needed to know. I was carrying medicine, and my medicine activated their medicine. My soul-work was to spark their soul-work. And so it began…”
Today I am sharing my story of creating my own Rites of Passage to get through one of the hardest times in my life, and what arose from the experience. Get a cuppa and spend some time with me in the Red Thread Cafe?
Filming Legend : MYSTIC earlier this week
Red Thread Letter #826
Calling Your Own Rites of Passage
I had just turned 40 years old when my 16-year marriage ended overnight. I was beyond devastated and in shock. I had never, ever imagined being separated from this relationship. We had said, and truly meant, forever. Forever changes quickly at times.
At that time our business had already made, and in a way, lost millions of dollars because we re-invested everything into the business instead of into a more secure future for ourselves. Classic young entrepreneur scenario. I had an expensive gallery on a main street in downtown Healdsburg with high rent at the beginning of a recession, and I was single for the first time since I was 23 years old. I had zero dollars in my checking account, and I had a gift that needed to get out into a very hurting world in a new way.
My own heart was deeply wounded. One breath at a time kind of pain. I am sure you have felt this a time or two? I am truly sorry any of us have had to feel this way. (sending a hug)
I invite you to watch this video, as it will give you a glimpse into how I chose to mark this change in my life. I decided to create my own chosen Rites of Passage and ribbon cutting. It took me five months to plan, and it was worth it.
During this time of healing and planning, I was working on two projects that were connected – my own Rites of Passage and the Color of Woman Intentional Creativity® Teacher Training. This will be our 11th year of offering this training, and we currently have over 400 graduates around the world! Color of Woman was being created almost simultaneously side by side with the Rites of Passage ceremony. Interesting, isn’t it?
If a woman calls a Rites of Passage for herself, what will she be making room for in her life?
As she lets go of the pain of the past, what possibility will she be opening herself to?
Maybe you want to call your own Rites of Passage?
Here is what I learned about planning my own Rites of Passage.
1. I could not do it alone. I needed support from my community.
2. It had to be beautiful to honor myself and others.
3. There had to be cake!
4. I chose to invest time and resources and be very mindful with my planning.
5. I wanted a ‘big event’ to make it real to ME, as I desired to be witnessed by others and have them participate.
6. I had to document it to make it matter long term, and so I could be reminded of it when I most needed the reminder!
A Rites of Passage summons the essence of who you are becoming in a big way. It brings you into the present moment of that becoming. Here is some exciting news: We at Musea Center for Intentional Creativity are going to create a Rites of Passage experience WITH YOU during the VIVID 2020 gathering.
In fact, VIVID is pretty much a Rites of Passage 101 that you will engage in with over 100 other women. I giggle with joy when I think that you have a built-in audience of kind-hearted loving women who are doing the work along with you. (I have to say that writing that just gave me a thrill – that we can even do this online feels like a miracle, and that you will be witnessed in a potent way. This will mark a change. I am ready for it myself!)
In the design of my own Rites of Passage ceremony back in 2011, I had the incredible support of my community, namely Sue Hoya Sellars and Mary MacDonald. I was also supported by the amazing Roberto de Perdomo, our Gallery Manager and Producer who was a long time friend, collector and art dealer. It was his idea to invest in having a video made, and I am so glad that I did! That video, to this day, helps me remember that transformational experience. We all worked together to make this 16 year Retrospective video – Sue and Mary by my side getting the art ready to share and offer. Then my mama, Caron, and step-father Jim joined us to make it happen. It was an EPIC and emotional experience.
Sue, me and my mama
Mary and me
To heal, my beloveds knew I needed not only a powerful focus, but to step out of the past and into the future. The whole community of Cosmic Cowgirls were in on it. So instead of only licking my wounds, I went to work planning my Rites of Passage, AND preparing to invite women to learn what I knew.
What did I know then? I knew about MAGIC. Nothing less than magic. And I knew I had a magic paintbrush.
My paintbrush was my little light, and I could light other brushes on fire with my spark! Spark to spark, hand to hand, sacred feminine image to sacred feminine image.
Women with no painting experience or very little could make a painting that would most often open their heart, and as Sue would say, ‘knock their socks off’. It was a singular experience for each person who painted their Legendary Self or the Virgin de Guadalupe. An experience that many women believe was the very thing which changed their life – catalyzing them to charter a new course. It was their own rites of passage that had them moving away from the past and towards their desired future – into the realm of possibility.
At the time this video was made, I had taught Legend in person and online only once. Then, my dear friends Amy Ahlers, Christine Arylo, and Mary MacDonald had a bright idea for how we could save the company – Offer what I know in a Teacher Training program. It was an astonishing idea to not just sell paintings that transformed women’s lives, not just teach them to make paintings that had them see themselves for the first time, but to TEACH others to teach this. WHAT!! Who was I to do such a thing? We called it COLOR of WOMAN after my first gallery and my first book.
Summoning the Guides painting from the 2018 Color of Woman Muse Gathering
The truth is, my previous partner, who helped me grow my business from the ground up, did not want me to teach. Reflecting on this, I believe he was simply trying to protect me, as many people were coming towards me ‘wanting what I had’, as he would say. My response to this was different, however. I thought, ‘Well, if I have it to give, and it doesn’t belong to me, why wouldn’t I share it?’.
We had many exchanges over how a person shares their gifts appropriately. It is one thing to teach painting, and another entirely to ‘teach others to teach’. Further, if I taught people to paint like I did, would revenue from the sale of my paintings decrease? There was a lot to consider as people began to fall more in love with their own work, and less in love with mine – lol. It was humbling and transcendent.
Needless to say, this man was a powerful presence, a teacher on all levels. I never would have been able to grow this business without his labor, wisdom, insight and tending of me and the work. (Wherever he is, I send such gratitude)
After just a few months out of my marriage, I began to create the Color of Woman Intentional Creativity® Teacher Training. I was initially afraid to do this, but I persevered. I recognized that lingering fear in me – that if I shared my gift, it would be taken away. It felt like life and death, and I still sometimes feel it. The fear of sharing the feminine mysteries and calling women forward into being the mystics that they are. Women have been burned and tortured for less dangerous things than this in the past. Enough said.
I chose to share my gift with women everywhere, even if it meant death. Maybe you have had an experience like that? Something that felt risky, but you did it anyway and found yourself more alive than ever? That is what happened for me. Two years after my launching Color of Women, the training and my business was thriving – as if it had just been waiting for me to show up and say ‘yes’. I am so lucky that I had Sue and Mary to support me from the get go, then Jena showed up, followed by Sarah!
Here is what I know – healing from heartbreak is hard-grueling-grief-diving impossible work. I did a lot of process painting and discovered in it the power of creativity to catalyze deep healing. I would later come to call this Medicine Painting. There is much more to the story but I have already shared more than I thought I might :)
Curator, Shiloh Sophia
Ten years later, here is a photo that my beautiful husband Jonathan just took of me during the filming of LEGEND 2020, called Mystic (or Legend 7.0!). Our Cosmic Cowgirl community has developed and offered a Legend Course every single year since the beginning of Color of Woman – it is our signature course and to this day continues to be one of the most transformational painting experiences for women that we offer.
I share all of this with you today to remind you of the beauty in the breakdowns – if you look for it, you will see it. When you are right in the midst of suffering, it may be hard to find. Just keep looking – it is there, Sarah.
Part of that beauty I found was in the faces of the women who looked at their own Legendary creations. This told me everything I needed to know. I was carrying medicine, and my medicine activated their medicine. My soul-work was to spark their soul-work. And so it began. I invite you to witness the powerful Legend paintings from our Intentional Creativity students here.
I also share my story with you today to invite you to reflect on the parts of my story that resonate with your own, and to ask…
Are looking to design your own Rites of Passage?
Are you ready for a big change that delineates the past from the future?
Do you know you are carrying sacred gifts that want to come forth?
Do you desire to learn to hold sacred space online for individuals and groups?
Does the idea of creating a cosmic self portrait of your bad-ass mystic self excite you?
If your answer is YES to any of these questions, I want to personally invite you to join us for VIVID, our weeklong global online gathering of women, featuring the current LEGEND Mystic painting course, as the main event! This LEGEND painting is the pre-requisite for our Color of Woman Intentional Creativity® Teacher Training.
If you think you would like to bring your gifts forward in the world working with and through the power of the feminine image in a step by step format, this teaching training may be just the thing for you, and the VIVID gathering is the place to start!
If you would like to register for this year’s Color of Woman Intentional Creativity® Teacher Training, we are swinging the BRIGHT RED DOORS OPEN!
Our 2021 focus is supporting our teachers to guide online experiences. For enrolled students, we will be hosting a Daylong Seminar working together with you to design HOW to teach Intentional Creativity® 13 steps online via zoom or other online platforms. We will provide you with all the tools we have gained over the past 10 years to lead creativity online with large or small groups, or one-on-line clients. Including how to create sacred space during online experiences. You won’t get this training anywhere else!
If you have questions about Color of Woman, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
If you have questions about the VIVID : LEGEND 2020 Gathering, you can contact email@example.com for support.
Our amazing team is here to help you navigate your path forward!
With thanks for the Blessed Mother
When I was just 23, right at the same time of my first marriage, and the revealing of Intentional Creativity, I had a sacred encounter with the Blessed Mother. The message was:
I will give you everything you need to address trauma in the world. And then you will give it all away. And then I will give you something else.
I said yes.
I am still fulfilling on my promise.
With Color of Woman opening today, and the VIVID gathering coming up very soon, I am taking the next 5 days to focus on resting and the development of the next pieces of the Legend journey. The painting itself, is a journey to discover how to bring your hidden self into coherence with the self you share out in the world. There is great potency here – I can feel it.
You visit the Mountain of Musea to get strong, to heal along with your sisters, then off you go into the woods to find your own sovereign path.
This is my prayer and my hope for you all. This is why I am willing to give it all away. This is the beauty I see has come from my breakdowns.
With a sturdy red thread from my little red coat, hold on….
photo taken during filming for Legend MYSTIC