September 7, 2013

Building A Movement

It seems like just yesterday that I began my Color of Women Training but actually it has been six months. This training has informed every part of my life as an artist and the projects that I continue to create. This is the last month of training and tensions are running high. 

Everyone wants to do their very best and give it their all to finish graduation requirements that include painting and lots of writing. It has been an extraordinary experience to say the least. While it has been fun, it has also taken a tremendous amount of time and energy. I am so glad that I made the decision to be seriously committed from the beginning. 

You see this training is not all about painting. On the contrary! What I have learned through my painting and writing assignments... and video rants is that my contribution to the world matters. I have learned to open myself up, to begin talking about painting and spirituality and the transformation that occurs when I practice intentional creativity. Defining  what intentional creativity is, has been a bit of a challenge for me, but I have come to know it as a practice that allows me to connect to my soul. 

Oh so challenging to define and also to describe. If you stay with me I promise I will do my best. As I sat in my art studio one day I acknowledged the women in each painting I created using The Color of Woman Method. I realized that I am surrounded by a tribe of women from Rio Abajo Rio. This is a place described in the book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. 

The author writes:

" Each woman has potential access to Rio Abajo Rio, this river beneath the river. She arrives there through deep meditation, dance, writing, painting, prayer making, singing, drumming, active imagination, or any activity which requires an intense altered consciousness. A woman arrives in this world-between-worlds through yearning and by seeking something she can see just out of the corner of her eye. She arrives there by deeply creative acts, through intentional solitude, and by practice of any of the arts. And even with these well-crafted practices, much of what occurs in this ineffable world remains forever mysterious to us, for it breaks physical laws and rational laws as we know them."

These words by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes are the best way I know to explain what intentional creativity is and what happens when I practice it. 

I am also surrounded by a group of women who as a collective are daring to dream, daring to dismantle negative images of the feminine, and daring to build a cultural artistic movement! 

As I prepare my Soulful Dissertation for becoming a Certified Color of Woman Teacher I reflect on all of the requirements my mentor Shiloh Sophia has asked us to complete. Recently, I shared with her how valuable these assignments are to building a serious body of artwork and team of teachers that represent the visual artwork that will define Contemporary Symbolism and the meaning of Intentional Creativity. In my humble opinion, this is the way to build and sustain a movement of such positive, societal, and global potential. The transformations are occurring individually and communally all around the world.  

This certification is not just another something with my name on it to add to a collection...this work has my soul imprinted on it! My work is part of the Contemporary Symbolism school and Intentional Creativity philosophy.  

I think to a future time when we are all long gone, where the world really did become a better place because of the work we are doing now. I imagine a young woman reading the following excerpt from the COW-pedia, as she prepares to enter the halls of Cosmic Cowgirls University:

"Contemporary Symbolism is a cultural and intentional creativity movement that began in the early 1990's, and is best known for its visual artworks, changing the view of the feminine image, and increasing the awareness of art as a tool to heal. The words Contemporary Symbolism were coined by Shiloh Sophia and first appeared in The Color of Woman Teacher Training where she trained a school of artists to include..."

My name will be on that list! 

1 comment:

Misty Frederick-Ritz, Raven Hollow Studio said...

Very well written and heartfelt, Sofia...and as I read your words, I felt you'd read my mind as my experience has mirrored yours in so many ways. I am so glad our paths crossed at Shiloh's "SoulFire" course in NYC. Your beautiful spirit touched me then and I knew you were special. You are meant to do this work and you are changing the world already. Keep on writing! Keep on painting! Keep on inspiring others...