For many years
I have said that our healing arts work could prevent a
mid-life crisis and turn it into a mid-life awakening. But now that I am here, 51 years in, I must rub my new tiny whiskered beard and ask myself…with loving yet direct sarcasm…
“Well, McCloud, what exactly IS the difference? Do tell!”
Like my new green hat? I get a new hat for filming every year and give the old ones away. This one is for Maverick. Photo by Jonathan with a toast of champers and my reading glasses. Yountville, California
START JANUARY 1, 2022
Join us, not because you need another project.
But because you want to have a clear focus that uplifts you and your world. We got you at Musea.
Paint with me every month for a year and make a painting that will knock your socks off, Maverick.
Join Jonathan and myself for a healing art journey into the somatic sciences that leads to certification, Prisma.
- MAVERICK Yearlong Painting Process Gone Rogue with
Shiloh Sophia musea.org/maverick All are welcome – men and gender non-comforming! Only one ticket per household needed. There is still time to go to the store and get your big-ass canvas and black gesso! with journal collage process from Jenafer C. Owen.
- PRISMA Intentional Creativity Practitioner Certification Training Guided by Shiloh Sophia and Jonathan McCloud https://prismatraining.com/ This is ideal for those who are healers and guides working with private clients and small groups virtually and in person. BOTH above the above offerings offer Education Credits in our future Musea University plans!
Red Thread Letter
Mid-Life Awakening #869
Here’s the thing. No matter how much we do our spiritual practice, meditate or practice a positive resilience outlook, stuff that is hard is going to keep on happening. We know this.
Yet. For some strange reason one of our most common responses is often “why me” or “what did I do wrong” or “maybe I deserve this” or “someone else is to blame” You name it, we have our excuses ready to rock-n-roll the minute something happens that seems wrong/bad/shouldn’t be happening. We just make up stories about all of it, but are not very good storytellers most of the time.
We all know that ‘something is wrong’ outlook creates suffering.What do whiskers and eyebrows have to do with not having a mid-life crisis? Because so many changes are going to keep coming, and while losing your eyebrows might not seem like that big of a deal – and it isn’t, not really; it is just a sign that you are at mid-life and it is time to look around and take inventory of where you have landed. Do you like where you are? Does it feel good? What is missing? How can we continue to create what we want while accepting what is going to happen anyway. Let me try to explain.
All this stuff that hurts is going to just keep happening. There is no stopping it. Yet alongside all the hard stuff, there are glorious happenings. This is a both/and world ya’ll. The real power we have is HOW WE RELATE TO IT. Right? You know that.
Let me be clear, I am not saying that there isn’t something wrong. There is. A place where we allow our water and food to be poisoned and pretend to live in a democracy when we don’t, not really – has issues. Something is wrong. Yet in this moment I am talking directly about HOW we curate our interior experience of the more anticipated challenges of life. Death, disease, despair, doctor visits, etc.
We do have a choice. Most of the time. Not all the time. But most of the time. It takes practice to choose, over and over –
So what are our choices? We have them, but we have to look.
I remember the day about ten years ago that my dear friend, Mary MacDonald told me that as I aged my eyebrows would disappear. I almost didn’t believe her. Joking, I asked her where the hair went – she told me that I didn’t want to know. Well, Mary aka Stell Mac – I know now. My inner thighs, my nose and my chin – and yes my eyebrows are looking thin, and I may have to draw them in soon enough. Purple eyepencil anyone?
Why is this wrong/bad/crisis/ happening to me?
This shouldn’t be happening and so on
How can I be with the straight up truth that things are going to keep on happening that demonstate I have very little control on the outer circumstances?
OR something that sounds more like your version of personal choice. The point is, we can choose our framework. Shape our narrative. Inform our consciousness. Choose the way forward amidst the odds.
What I have, what each of us has, is a choice in how we curate our way of thinking and acting. Once again – not so easy.
Choosing our framework is the choice we humans have been given.
A choice that has to be CHOSEN over and over that leads to being more awake then we were when we were blaming everything else.
Honestly, I feel like the thoughts I am having COULD be a mid-life crisis. My parents are gone. My big ole’ school has been empty almost two years. I have staff all over the world but no one to work with in person. Many of my friends and community are sick. I had a serious scary illness recently. I didn’t have kids, so who am I going to pass this musuem collection onto? I have all these books written but publishing is too expensive. What is it all for? My future looks way different than I ever imagined – do I want the one I have been planning on? Not so much. Blah blah blah. And all of it makes me truly sad. I give myself room to breathe and grieve. And then I make art.
I realize that growing up and old and death and despair is actually how it has always been and may be for a long time to come. The way I choose to have power in the matter is to be a co-creator. I turn my crisis energy into choice energy and choose to wake myself the ‘f’ up. I usually do that through art and writing and video work. I have a medium. I invite everyone to join me in the mix and the mess with their chosen medium.
Each year I start a big ole’ canvas that scares me. Each year I begin again and choose my framework to be at cause. I won’t be having a mid-life crisis today, not because things don’t suck – some things really do. I will be having a mid-life awakening because choosing consciousness in each moment is awakening. And being awake means I can choose to look for, and find, the beauty that is everywhere.
Beauty is everywhere we look. If you don’t see it, keep looking. Go outside and hang out with the trees, the clouds. Make a cuppa tea and stare out the window. Get a pad of paper and draw how you feel. Change your state by choice. I don’t mean to be flippant, but beauty is a saving grace and we do need to seek it.
The warm afternoon light is glowing out the window and I am prepping my studio for next year’s yearlong courses with gratitude for my focus. You can join me for MAVERICK 2022 if you want to go rogue in your art. Or join me and Jonathan for PRISMA if you want to train in the healing arts: https://prismatraining.com/ Your creativity matters. Being with community matters. We are here for that.
The difference between a mid-life crisis and a mid-life awakening is choice.
Wherever you are in the world, whatever you are navigating, I pray you have the chance to CHOOSE your framework for how you view the coming days, months years. Uncertainty is here to stay, and I don’t want to resent that. I want to respect that reality. And voyage forward in good company with many good tales to spin…
Whiskers and all.
With love along the thread, always and may this new year changing of the threshold be trodden in the way you choose,
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all.”
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot is a poem my mother Caron made me memorize when I was 12 or so. TO me, if the one who settles a pillow by her head says ‘that is not what I meant’ – then I would have missed it. My mother wanted to be sure that I could share what I really mean. And I am trying.
I miss you ma. And pa. Thanks for all you both taught me. I am carrying on. I am making a cup of tea. I am remembering you, and remembering me.