What do whimsy, wonder, and spiritual direction
from Dr. Seuss all have in common?
Why, healing the world, of course.
As Cosmic Cowgirls we look at status quo, and say, What if? We don’t accept, we create. We don’t conform, we imagine. We look at life through a Legendary lens that says: Making a difference is not just words, but words do make a difference. We ask, sometimes over and over, not why – but… How? What? And then, we gaze at each other across the cosmos and say again: what next?
We’ve heard that balance is overrated. Unachievable: a myth. Maybe so or maybe no. But the questions remains, what are we balancing, and how are we holding these seemingly opposing forces in our tiny hands?
Can we allow ourselves to bring spirit into matter? Can we bring our art and expression to affect healing, and will the world allow it? We hold the balance, we walk slowly and carefully, both hands full. And then we take a deep breath, brace our feet in the earth and offer them both to the world: to the way things are, to the way things have always been done and we say: how about this?
Rachel’s work as child welfare lawyer caused her to ask, “IS there such a thing as life work balance?” She said, “I loved what I was doing and knew it was important, working for the children that were involved was something that came from deep within. But as much as I loved my work, I felt burned out. My body was suffering, taking too much on. I did the usual, I vacationed a lot, but when I went back to work I was still exhausted.”
“I wasn’t releasing it, the work with violence and abuse, it was staying in my body.
Yoga and meditation do help, but for me it wasn’t until I allowed myself to practice art that the healing began to integrate. When I found Shiloh Sophia and her Intentional Creativity method the huge shift finally happened. Through art and mindfulness and writing that it worked on the different levels I needed to pave the way to balance.”
“I knew I had to bring this to the people who I think are doing incredible work in the world so children and families can thrive. And a big piece of it is about honoring the work of social workers, who don’t often get a lot of positive feedback for the hard work of going into family situations and asking them to do things differently. I wanted and needed to say: “I see you”.
And strangely enough, she said: “When I got to be serious about it, that is when the humor and whimsical animals and characters started coming forward. They carried a strong message that I needed to balance the heaviness of the subject matter through whimsy and art.”
Rachel found she could in fact do what might seem unthinkable, and deal with the darkness and heaviness through opening the light-filled doorway to owls and aardvarks and flowers, happy doodling, and soulful paintings – all which carried within them somehow the powerful potential to heal.
As Rachel says, the proof is in the pudding. And so, she went about making some pudding. In fact she has already brought her Healing the Healer and other Intentional Creativity art programs to hundreds of social workers, child welfare advocates of all kinds, organizations and individuals in California and is seeing the healing brought into the weave of society in a way that is already growing in outreach and affecting the lives of those who serve and those they serve, for the better.
Maybe, like me, you want to know, but what brought Rachel to this work? And here again, we find a universal truth. Not Balance, but it’s often trickster-like cousin: Trust.
Rachel: “I had this felt sense that I was meant to do something more. This connection to spirit and family and community in a certain way. Through listening, but also sometimes begin knocked on the head. Feeling it in my body, feeling the contrast between opening to my work and feeling heavier.”
“I didn’t realize it until later, but there was abuse in my family, not in my immediate generation, but further back. I wondered why I was going into this work when I myself wasn’t abused. And I realized it’s generational.
There is an ancestral need for healing around families and children. My soul was calling out in a way that I couldn’t put into words or consciousness – there was an inner knowing that I needed to do it. To bring a larger legacy to help the world to heal.
In a family there may be an ongoing history of violence unless people made a conscious effort to stop, which happened in my family. So I knew it could be changed. It was possible.
I’ve seen my sister become the most amazing mother with her thriving family, flooded with love, and have the idea they can be and do anything and be anyone they want to be in the world. Through us, the family legacy has shifted.”
“This gave me a deep understanding of how the healing will perpetuate down the generations. When we shift a family it impacts everyone down the line after that, because we know things from our history within ourselves, whether we realize it or not.
I saw that this was the story of every family.
Justice is not about who wins, it’s what’s happening in the trenches and how can we protect children and reunify families with children or if the parents are unwilling to change, for the children to be adopted by loving parents. We don’t want children to grow up later to feel unwanted and unloved, because the only way their (and our!) gifts can come through is if they are nurtured. At that time I didn’t have words for it. But I realized this is a crucial thing that needs to happen – children and teens need to be seen as having great value in the society in order to bring healing to the earth and society.”
And the missing link here for all of this?
Understanding that those who serve
those families and children in our society
must feel nurtured and seen, too.
And so Rachel shows us that one very effective way to support those that serve them is through the very healing modality that children know well themselves. Through imagination, creativity, and art.
Yet, the question we must ask Rachel
(and let’s all say it together, just for fun):
But, what if I’m not an artist?
Rachel: I had resistance at first to art. Before I began my work as a lawyer I kept getting an internal message to do more “spiritual work,” though I wasn’t sure how. And every time I sat down to write I wanted to do art, like doodle and draw. It was a bit of a shock since I’m not an artist. I meant to sit down to write, and I just kept wanting to art. I’m not a technical artist, and yet, I would feel the time fly by when I allowed for what would come out, and I felt more and more myself every time I did that. It felt healing, though I didn’t know why. I have a left linear brain that serves me well, and so I was convinced I wasn’t an artist, even though I was so drawn to art and museums and movies and the realm of the arts, I always thought it wasn’t me.
Art schools enforced the fear for me. But the visuals kept coming up. I felt so parched, it was like taking a drink. Not just appreciating other’s work, but creating for myself. Now I love it and don’t have to identify as an artist. It’s not about being judged and studied or especially about being graded. It’s about community and connection and caring and love, and the beautiful messages that I’m getting. That’s where deep integrated healing comes from. That’s how healing can radiate out to others.
Every session I’ve done so far has been amazing. The sky-high energy, working with people who are also in love with the idea of helping, and doing important work in the world.
But most important is the idea that I can work with Intentional Creativity in my own way, loving humor, being goofy, fun – that has been the greatest gift from Shiloh through my training in Color of Woman and learning her Intentional Creativity method. I’ve felt supported, to not only be teaching, but teaching in my own way.
I feel absolutely lit up by working with the social workers and the new teachers coming through the Color of Woman teacher training program – so we can each grow and be who we are, no small task but something I learned from the great Dr. Seuss:
Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
That’s what we’re on the planet to do. Whatever it is, to each express it in our unique way.
Rachel Invites Us to Float on a Mote of WHIMSY
Cowgirls, as I’ve spent time with Rachel the most amazing things begin to occur. First, you want to start talking in rhyme. (Or to say words like Gazowza, which I’m not sure I spelled right.) But also, the whimsy in her work begins to glow its way into your heart. For real. Here’s something to try to feel it for yourself.
Rachel sent me this image in the middle of a hectic day, deadlines approaching, phone calls scheduled, tasks enough to fill a bathtub – sans bubbles. But when I saw it, I felt my being pause. It sank into me, I began to feel happier. More peaceful and suddenly, began to type. Here is what happened in response to her image:
At first, I wasn’t sure what to do when the owl landed on my head. I felt her strong feet, but they didn’t bother me much, and after a while she felt kind of warm. Still, I felt nervous, what does one do with an owl? I know so much more about sheep.
But she was quiet and she didn’t seem to mind and I didn’t mind and so I said in a low voice, just for us, ‘Hello, owl.”
The strong feet shifted just a little and I worried she might fall off. I waited, and nothing. Several of the other sheep went by. I could tell they were trying not to look, but then they did and I could see in their eyes they felt, you know, sheepish about it all. But still, owl and I sat.
When everyone settled in for the night, she was still awake. I could feel her feathers ruffling about so I wasn’t sleeping much either. I think she liked being awake at night….though my eyelids were starting to feel heavy.
And just before I dozed off I heard it, softly, on the breeze with a ruffle of feathers turquoise in the moonlight: “Hello, sheep,” she said, her quiet voice full of light and wisdom. And then, we slept.
Does this story have a greater meaning? Maybe. Is it important? No. My best work? Er, one hopes perhaps not.
But what it did do? Was shift the interiority of my structure, the whimsy came into my body in a very visceral way. I felt lighter, and I’m sure the stress responses that may have been scheduled for later that day were sent to the break room for some tea and cake, and the potential and unwitting recipients in my life got a whole new experience of being with me that day. I sat a bit more and began to consider how much I’d like to draw that little white deer with golden eyes that often leads me through my dreams. And finally went on to work from a place that was truly more ‘me’.
Will this make a difference?
I say yes, it will – all the difference in the world.
Rachel asked me to share this in the spirit of asking: Now will you take a moment to do a little diddy around the image above? What can you imagine, just for a minute? Can you feel the shift?
Rachel will be sharing this and more on her WONDER blog coming soon on her Healing the Healer website. AND as a special sneak peek YOU ARE INVITED!!!! to come and see the exciting and amazing seedling of Rachel Bavis’ work in the world here in her almost-time-to-be launched website: HERE.
Don’t forget to sign up and be notified so you can get her coloring book, too! (Really, can it get any better?)
Thank you, Rachel!
Cowgirls we’d love to hear from you and tell your story in the Round Up! Contact me at DannaClare@gmail.com.
With Great Heart,
Danna works with creative women entrepreneurs and artistic beings who love to express themselves and assists them to reveal and celebrate their unique vision through the specialized lens of the internet world. She guides her beloveds through the journey so they have a vessel to connect effectively on-line and engage with their community in a way that feels right for them. Danna welcomes adventurous women ready to open to wonder and create with her in her vision-quest style of website design at InspiredEyeCreative.com and through her private mentorship program Queen of Your Domain for learning to create your own space on the web.