Today I am sending you blessings for your day! I can’t stop thinking about you and what you are experiencing as I move through my days. I finally got to rest a little this weekend, and as I rest, my thoughts often turn to you. Today I am writing sharing a personal practice that is helping me navigate such uncertain times through devotion. In this Red Thread Letter you will find a writing with a story about me being a big event woman, a story about Jonathan and I, and an invitation to explore making your own big event with devotion. I may lead a class on this – yet for now, I am sharing a video I just made for you with an Intentional Creativity Practice.
Get a cuppa’ tea and a few pieces of paper and join me. There is no rushing through my Red Thread Letters, they are meant to be a slow down and pause moment. Enjoy!
Red Thread Letter #821
A Bridge Between Trauma and Devotion
Navigating The Big Events of Life
A Time for Blooming by Shiloh Sophia 2010
Trauma is a big event. How can creating other ‘big events’ that matter in your life lead to recovery?
When trauma happens, a big event is taking place in your life. This event impacts every area of your human system during and after, sometimes for years. We all live with varying degrees of trauma and our capacity to navigate it is becoming increasingly important as we continue to adjust to more and more challenges! What a ride! Let’s hold on together.
For many, it may feel challenging to clear trauma, even after many years of practice and focus. Add that the trauma continues to mount in our world, and the call to become skilled at self-tending our wounds become even more relevant. We may be experiencing compounding right now – where it feels like there isn’t very much more room to ‘take anymore’.
One of the reasons it may be so challenging is that the ‘trauma event’ lives, literally and energetically in our human system. Impacts are felt in your body, brain, heart and field. For example, it may be challenging to heal, based on how many different places the trauma may be ‘stored’. And how mysterious it is for us to find those locations! Where to look? Indeed we are a mystery!
This writing is an offering that arises from my love for you, for our sweet world and the intricate beauty of our human system. I am not a therapist, or a doctor, or an energy practitioner. I am an artist and a writer who studies the positive impact of self-expression in my own life, and of tens of thousands of women in over 20 years of art practice with groups. So I am paying close attention to what works, and how I can serve and what innovative approaches we can work with to expand our capacity to navigate trauma.
My intention here is an invitation for you to explore forging a conscious bridge between the unchosen big event of trauma and the big event of chosen Devotion. My inquiry for you today is – What are you devoted to? Can you increase that devotion in such a way that it becomes ‘bigger’ than the experience of trauma? Even for an hour a day? To practice big emotion, and big devotion, in safe ways, as a way to get energy moving along or open to other possibilities?
Below you find an Intentional Creativity practice to deepen your inquiry and provide a process for exploring ‘turning towards what you deeply love’.
Turning towards what you deeply love, saves you.
Here I am, with that rosing smoke in the background, yet celebrating the 10 foot roses anyway and putting them in my hair – the hug, that’s for you!
My Story of Being a Big Event Woman
I was once told by a healer that I occur as a ‘big event’ for people. In dating men, my being a big event was endlessly exciting for them when we were together (best first date of my life, etc…). But then afterward, they were afraid of me. She told me when they were with me, it was all lights on and all systems go, but then they got ‘short-circuited’ if you will. When they were out of my presence they didn’t know what hit em’ and weren’t sure they wanted to return, even if they felt drawn! Confusing all around. I had to laugh out loud at that! Danger girl…well I admit to being dangerous to the default setting and proud of it!
The healer said that women, on the other hand, non-romantic interests, friends, colleagues may also experience me as a ‘big event’. Yet, that women are often seeking big events as transformational happenings! I laughed again. Yes, I understood that. Women definitely seek the work of Intentional Creativity out when they are ready for a big change! Because focused self-expression can indeed be a liberation!
Big event women seeking other big event women!
This helped to see how I was occurring for others. And helped me to see and keep in mind that I come from a family of big event women! People have rarely met anyone like us before….or so they say!
Well, my husband Jonathan, is also a big event kind of man! Our first date was for both of us, the best ever. We were connected, no question, and he even spoke to it, saying that his entire life led up to this moment.
Then…..drum roll, please…I didn’t see him for a year and ten days.
When he came for that second date with a borrowed suitcase from a former lover, and nothing but a book of Rumi, a cup of instant soup, a pillow with a yellow pillowcase and a hand-made designer tuxedo, he never left. He asked me to marry him three days later, and to my surprise, I said yes.
We created a big event that first night and we short-circuited each other. Yet there was a red thread that kept us connected until it was time to attempt another visit. To make a long story short, he wore that tuxedo to our wedding. So this big event woman met a big event man and they lived happily ever after.
But first, a little healing.
Soon after we got together, as adults, married before, we had to do the work of unpacking our stories from a lifetime of trauma, abandonment and not being loved enough, by someone safe enough for long enough. Sound familiar?
Yet we had something of that first night running through us…that big event energy and commitment. Neither one of us hid our bright lights or shadows, and in time, it was as if our past trauma dissolved in the bigness of our connection and our devotion. We tend the past from time to time, but mostly we don’t, not because we are ignoring it, but because it didn’t belong in our future.
Honestly – he was the author of the way our devotional experience was initiated – as a dedicated pararescueman, a chef and an artist, his human nature is devotion, and this gave us the spark we needed. I honor him for this – and without it, we might not have made it through. But we did, thank the Creator!
I have experienced devotion, from my first love, and from Sue, and two friends, Mary and Elizabeth – so I knew the feeling and reciprocated it. I had also been in a devoted spiritual practice and creative practice most of my adult life, so anything short of devotion wasn’t really going to register for me! Not because I am needy and seeking acknowledgment, but because I didn’t want to live without the fullness I knew was possible. With Jonathan, devotion was something big that I could feel – and yes, it felt dangerous and mysterious. And my art practice is pure devotion, almost worshipful in my reverence of how I do my work.
We met artist to artist and chose devotion as our love language.
Devotion is love in motion. At one particularly challenging moment – one where we almost didn’t make it, he wrote me a note….”I will learn your love language”. And six years later, I still quote that line to him when I feel he isn’t picking up what I am putting down! He is always willing to learn, and I love that about him. (Sometimes I don’t want to share our love because I don’t want people to feel sad…if they don’t have it…but then I hear that it gives hope…so I keep sharing)
We are big people, and this is a big life and we both love big events and have overcome big trauma. Well, the advent of years of fires and evacuations is also, a big event. We navigate that through romantic love, self-care, plenty of conversation in our daily cafe and… creating big events for others in our life. We founded a school and a museum and have traveled the world sharing our gifts and inviting others to do the same…it’s big.
This is where the devotion comes in. Healing from trauma may call for other big enough good experiences, that are equal to or balance out the challenges that produced our stories of trauma. Is it possible? HECK YES! What will it take? A little time and focus – and first, awareness.
Are you a big event person? Then you might need to find some other big event people to hang out with :) cause we just blow the hair back on everybody else! I know a few right here in this circle.
Big event people and creations are not to be mistaken for drama. Rather, It’s essential for big event people to have a circle that desires to experience life to the deepest and fullest and desires the same for YOU to experience it too! Otherwise, we may not feel gotten. Big event people might not be extroverts by the way – big events also happen in very quiet ways. Many of my big events take place within the spaciousness of my own hidden temple.
Below in the video and practice, I am sharing with you the process I have been working with to choose devotion and navigate ongoing trauma.
For me, my devotion is woven with my marriage, my relationship with the Divine, and my art. Yet truly during this cycle, it is my devotion to my business and my community that has been my biggest blessing. And part of that has been through offerings like Motherboard and Radiance – places I share my gifts. My marriage, the Divine and my art, all moving into the service of the community. This feeling, this love, for you, for us is HUGE for me, gets me up in the morning, keeps me reaching for you even if I am reaching through the fake news, smoke and my own fear to find your hands. And by giving to you, I am also receiving your love. It is reciprocity in motion, I feel it, you feel it and this….is a big event.
With love along the red thread,
As part of my devotion to my community I am teaching the gifts I have to share. This includes sharing the support I have to guide women to KEEP their business during challenging times.
I have been teaching women to create a one page business plan for over 14 years – and tomorrow we offer it for FREE with my good friend Amy Ahlers.
How about devoting some time to your business tomorrow? Join me and Amy for this potent and relevant experience if you are a woman entrepreneur!
These are the notes I read from in the video – but here they are if you would like to read them.
Intentional Creativity Practice – Choosing Devotion to Navigate Ongoing Trauma
Materials: Pen, 7 Pieces of Paper and about 15-20 minutes
1. Acknowledge: Let the trauma that you are working with become present for you. Receive it tenderly. When it is conscious…begin to move a pen just being with it…honoring it without resistance if you can. Move the pen slowly without needing to make an image and just watch the tip of the pen move. Then when you are complete, write a sentence that arises naturally, honoring that you have heard the trauma story enough for today.
2. Inquiry: What I am devoted to at this time? On another piece of paper, move the pen as you gently ask the question, matching the energy of the pen’s motion with the energy of the inquiry. Surrendering what it looks like or trying to draw a picture. When you feel complete write down what arises. Try not to edit it and just see what arises.
3. Explore: Now, ask yourself, how can I commit in a bigger way to this devotion? What devotion feels big enough? My relationship with work, family, spirit, writing, painting, community? Allow for it to be somewhat narrowed down so that you can focus. Being able to name it can be helpful. Even if you aren’t clear yet, just move the pen, but this time instead of just following the pen, put yourself in the seat as if you are driving. When you are complete, write down the thing which you are willing to be devoted to.
4. Practice: Design a simple practice that will allow you to begin to channel your energy into this devotion on a daily basis. Saying an affirmation, chanting, singing, praying, working on your business, your paintings, your health. Whatever it is you need to feel it – to want it – to want to turn towards it?
5. Alchemize: Here is perhaps one of the most important parts – where you let your entire human system know – this is going to be a way to create personal resiliency to tend yourself and your trauma. You can say something like – Dear One, all aspects of myself are invited to this moment. I am going to practice this new devotion (insert name) as a way to create resiliency and navigate my challenges. Every time I do this practice I am not only healing my trauma but moving into the space of what is possible with my devotion. Use your own words of course.
6. Claim: Draw a ‘poster’ which has your commitment in it, decorate or doodle it, making an image of this choice, feel it in your body. Make this practice, a big event, important, and claim it for yourself. Put it in place, how can you begin right now
7. Begin: Put in place. Begin now. Add it to your calendar. Honor yourself for making the commitment.
Filming for Red Madonna: Psalms for Creation