Holding Hands With Angels
Despair has visited my house this season.
Has it come to your house also?
Has one you deeply loved gone over to the other side?
The other side of love, of life, of reason?
Many souls have departed. More than ever before.
My Grandmother just left for Paradise
in a blue dress she made herself.
And my Mother tells me
that nothing will ever be the same.
Like Rachel mourning her children,
our cries are heard throughout the land.
How shall we be comforted?
Angels glean fragmented wisps
of my ‘wrestling with God’ prayers.
In the thin night, an invisible wing
brushes my cheek. Just in time.
One is at my shoulder, pulling golden strands
from Grandmother’s handmade shawl,
and bright colors from the end of my paint brush,
mango, marigold, watermelon, and sea foam blue.
Do you wonder what it is all for? Why it has turned out this way?
Rilke asks us to love the questions themselves.
Eliot assures us that indeed there will be time.
Rumi calls us to come. “It doesn’t matter
if you’ve broken your vow a thousand times,
Come. And yet again, come.”
Leonard Cohen tells us,
“Though your promise counts for nothing,
you must keep it none the less.”
Robert Herrick advises,
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”
Alice Walker counsels us, “Hard times require furious dancing.”
We are told to listen to the birds singing.
We are reminded to breathe, to not give up. You have
heard all that already. You know all that already.
I have something else to say. Though I have said it countless times.
We must create art.
We must heal through beauty.
It is unreasonable to believe that beauty can heal.
We must be unreasonable. Love must be at the center of all choices.
Each of us must define for ourselves
what those unreasonable actions are to be.
It is personal.
We know it when we find it. Because it seems
like the most important thing in the world.
There is bliss.
For whole moments at a time. And
we commit art. It keeps us going.
It keeps the “open” sign on our heart. Yet,
we wonder at its value, wonder at its worth.
Is it time well spent? Does it count?
Through our days of despair and our nights of perplexity,
our works of art must continue. Our commitment to beauty
must continue. Even when it is too dark to see.
We can reach out for each other. We can court the Angels.
Angels pull notes from my husband’s
spell breaking songs and heart breaking rants,
and use them to put healing in place.
His harmony joins the great symphony of transformation.
Suffering will always come. Not just because
childhood’s wounds are yet unhealed, or because
we cannot make ourselves think good enough thoughts.
Suffering will come until every one of us can know
that we are forgiven and whole, and can act
in accordance with that knowledge.
Think how different life will be
when we are able to come, not from pain, but
always from love? But, until then,
dancing in the moonlight is not for nothing!
It is to remind us that we have been given life!
The grace to see us through! And the ability to create!
We do not create art for the sake of art.
We create art for the sake of life!
We create for each other. We create for Angels.
Angels use what we create for our sakes.
How the Angels use our music, our art, our writings
our dancing, our gardens, and our prayers, we do not know.
But we know that they employ our poetry on our behalf.
I know my prayers reach all the way around the world.
We continue in art, for the mother
who cannot sleep at night, the father
who holds both ends and cannot make them meet.
For the child who has no mother, and the mother who has no child.
For the monk who has lost his peace. For the warrior who has lost her cause.
For the dog friend buried at the foot of the Goddess this Spring.
For the cat friend, who somehow lost her way home last Winter.
We continue for those who cannot continue all over creation.
And for all who continue to stand against oppression,
and for all those who are able to choose happiness amidst the chaos.
And still, we wonder, “What is this continuing…worth?”
We cannot see through the veils. And still, we create beauty anyway.
We manifest generative life substance,
and when despair comes to our door, we have something to do in response,
something to offer Angels to work with. A glistening wisp.
Our art. Our heart. Our compassion. Our presence. Our friendship.
We will not be taken out by a broken heart,
but be taken IN by a love so great that it must be expressed.
The ones who guard and guide our lives reach through the veils to us.
We hold hands with Angels. And we continue.
Shiloh Sophia McCloud © July 2008
Why I Call This A Love Letter
Greetings Beautiful People!
I have been thinking so much lately about what it means to have an awakened heart. What it means to be “awake” at all. What it would mean for transformation at the level of the heart to take place. Is it a journey? An arrival?
When I had what I call my ‘awakening’, my heart broke and fell in love all at the same time. I suddenly had a passion for folks I do not even know from all over the world. From the check out girl with stars on her fingernails to the women in Africa that Alice Walker and Pratibha Parmar taught us about in Warrior Marks.
I began thinking about…
Men who had no father at home to show them the way, men who had a father who was not able to set an example. Women whose mother had to work two jobs and was not around, women whose mother was not able to keep them. Suddenly, all these other hearts were in my heart. I was stunned, to say the least. So much love – and yet the suffering I felt was so great I felt I would be crushed.
Those of you who have read my other letters have heard me talk about this before ~ but it bears exploring. Because if our hearts are not open ~ what kind of life are we able to live? What is the quality of our life if we cannot live from love? Even in extreme hardship – our love for our family and ourselves will keep us going. Some might call it our survival instinct – I will call it love.
An unreasonable love that comes from the mystery of the soul.
Jesus spoke of the peace that passes understanding, and loving our neighbors as ourselves, and even, loving our enemies. When my mountain top experience (which did happen on a mountain top) happened, I was so overcome with emotion! With tears. With anger. With passion. It was indeed like a third birthing. One was my physical, two was when I met Jesus, and this was the third birthing! I felt absolutely myself, only more. I felt I HAD to DO something to be a blessing to others, to heal the world! And it was clear to me that one of those things would be art and teaching. I was 22, I am now 38. And I am still living into the revelation of that experience.
And it is the intention of my life work, workshops and intentional community, that my work will be a support and an inspiration for all of us who love in unreasonable ways. The workshops themselves are designed to invoke experiences of heart opening.
I remember one day, teacher and author Lucia Birnbaum, asked me about my awakening experience. I created the cover for a book she sourced, ‘She is Everywhere’. We then had a great dialog about HOW it was possible to “cause” an awakening – to create an environment in which people had an experience of the Divine Mother, of their awakened heart, of their life purpose.
Since that moment I have not ceased to ask myself that question and work towards creating it with my own work. Can a TRULY catalytic and transformational space be created in which women will be able to access a deeper understanding of themselves, and awaken to the call of their heart?! I believe so!
The unreasonable loving continues to grow and create new openings. What Sue Hoya, my teacher, calls the intelligent heart continues to bloom. The love one feels in this kind of experience has GOT to be expressed, otherwise I think things happen that can cause a turning in on oneself. The expression of our gifts is a natural outpouring from LOVING. This is not just ‘soup kitchen service and marching in the streets love’, although it is that too. It is a love that is a part of the Creator at work in us. A love that informs our decision making. A love that seeks to be shared no matter what.
This has been a challenging season as my writing above indicates. And through it I have felt my heart wax and wane and wax again. I have turned to my friends and family. I have turned to the canvas and to the marigolds in my garden. I have worked on books and made plans. Even in my darkest hour, miracles were occurring. And believe me I was watching for them. Wrestling with God (Ma and Pa Divine) about all what was going on.
So in whatever you do – or whatever you are going through. Reach for art, for spirit. For soul nurturing. Just this morning a friend called who was in need. A seemingly hopeless situation with big decisions in front of her. I did not know what to tell her. I searched my heart. Then I told her this:
Offer the Question/Situation up to the Divine.
Set a specific time in which you are requesting a clear
yes or no, like, by 4 pm today.
Get a big canvas or watercolor paper. Begin to paint.
Paint with the intention of KNOWING and listening.
Paint to become centered and calm.
Then at 4pm stop painting. Look at the painting.
Meditate in a quiet place.
Ask your spirit to deliver your YES or NO.
And act on that wisdom.
When we use our creativity as a tool to access our internal wisdom, it often unveils the mystery just enough. An answer or solution comes. We anticipate it. Look for it. Reach for it.
We ask our Angels to reveal it to us. We give thanks. In this moment I send you hope – possibility – and my prayers from my heart to yours.
I call this a love letter because I sent it to you with love.
Because love will save us. Because love is saving us right now.
I believe. Will you be in unreasonable love with me?
I hope so…