Crystal Charlotte Easton is a Metis Artist born and raised in Fort St James BC, in Carrier Territory-Northern BC (Canada) and she is currently living & raising her family (6 children) on a farm on Vancouver Island.
She has the opportunity to attend a month long course in Italy in July at the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art. She is very close to achieving her fundraising goal and has 11 days remaining. Charlotte is offering beautiful gifts in return for every single donation.
“As I read about the [Grimke] sisters, I was drawn more and more to Sarah and what she’d overcome. Before stepping onto the public stage, she experienced intense longings for a vocation, crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, loneliness, self-doubt, ostracism, and suffocating silence. It seemed to me she had invented her wings not so much in spite of these things, but because of them.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd
The following is an e-mail from the past, composed 6 years, 11 months and 23 days ago, on April 18, 2007. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org.
(It was delivered via email to me on April 10, 2014, my 45th birthday.)
Happy Birthday Michelle! You are 45 today – wow!
Did you forget about this message? You wrote it 7 years ago. I am sure that a lot has happened in 7 years. I hope that you find yourself in a good and happy place in your life.
At the time of writing this letter you were still feeling some insecurities about some aspects of your life. There were little worries about your marriage. Some hurts and frustrations that you are planning and hoping to work through. Next week you will be meeting with a therapist for the first time in your life. You are nervous about it and also have great hopes. You are hoping that it helps you work through some of your anger and frustration in regards to the relationship with your husband and also with your mother. Oh how cliche that sounds. The archetypal mother-daughter conflicted relationship.
I have had moments of doubt about my marriage making it for the long haul. Sitting here now though and really contemplating the future I see clearly that I want this marriage to work. That is what I envision in my future. I want to know that 7 years from now when I receive this email that my husband will still be by my side. That we will be raising our children together and growing old together. I want our relationship to be solid, loving and fun. I want us to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary this June together.
Not only have you aged but so has everyone else. Your husband is going to be 52 years old in May. And your twin daughters – wow they will be 8 years old in May. Just thinking about such a passage of time in connection with your loved ones brings tears to your eyes.
There are also the fur-kids to consider. Hopefully both are still with the family. Our furry friends just don’t live long enough. The cat will be 17 years old and the dog will be 11. I hope they are still with us. Just thinking of them passing is hard to imagine.
There are also my siblings and my parents. What changes have taken place in our family during this time frame. I know from experience how the unexpected can happen. I’ve already lost two brothers and a fiance in my past.
Are you still working at the same job? You had a good job back then with a great organization. I also know that you are capable of more. You have a lot of creative talents and you can write. I am hoping that you have moved in the direction of putting your creative talents to work and are making a living in that area. You have entered into the world of digital design recently. You love to play with images. Finding the right combination of writing and design would be perfect.
Here are some of my wishes for you in the future.
I hope that you have learned to be more relaxed. I hope that you are more accepting of yourself and your imperfections. I hope that you are comfortable with your body. I hope that you are having lots of fun in your life. I hope that you have a great relationship with your husband. I hope that you and your daughters are so very close and love spending time together. I hope that your daughters are happy, healthy and loving life. I hope that your parents are still alive and that you have a healthy and close relationship with them. I hope you are doing things you love professionally. I hope that you have a close circle of friends and that you still spend time with them. I hope you have found effective ways to take good care of you. I hope you have learned to express your needs to others. I hope your hair looks good -tee hee. I hope you are happy – most of the time.
I was surprised when I received the letter above. It was nearly 7 years ago when I wrote it and my memory of doing so really didn’t come back until I was reading it. It moved me to tears. I loved seeing how my focus was on my relationships, my marriage, my children and my family.
When I wrote the letter my daughters were just about to turn one years old. They are now seven and will turn eight years old in May. My husband and I will be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary in June.
I am still at the same job and just had my 10th anniversary at the end of March. Yet I have made strides with my art and my writing. Back in 2007 I hadn’t even heard of the Cosmic Cowgirls. It wasn’t until October of 2008 that I attended the Bountiful Conference they put on in Healdsburg, California. Being a part of this tribe has let to me writing Mojo Monday posts for nearly four years now. That it turn led to my column in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine which launched in early 2011 and has been going strong for three years. I have yet to make a living with my writing and art, and I don’t know if I will get there, but I will keep on doing what I love.
I am considering writing myself another letter withfutureme.org. I think sending one to myself five years from now on my 50th birthday sounds about right. When I contemplate what might go into such a letter I realize just how much can happen in five years. I grow emotional considering my wishes and hopes for what my life will encompass when I am fifty years old. There is something powerful in stating your hopes and intentions for your future self.
Will you write yourself a letter? Would you want to send it a year from now, five years, or maybe ten years or longer?
Share a little bit about what you are hoping and imagining for your future self in the comments.
Mother, teach me how to see The shining lights of stars, The faces of the Ancestors, In worlds both near and far.
Show me how to welcome The visions appearing to me, Seeing the truth in detail, Unraveling each mystery.
Walk me through the Dreamtime Of altered time and space, That I may share those visions With every creed and race.
Doorkeeper of all dimensions, I seek your Medicine ways Of how to earth my visions, Seeing truth, inside me, today.
~ Jamie Sams from “Looks Far Woman” chapter in The 13 Original Clan Mothers
Wings and fins. They have been appearing in unexpected places lately. I don’t always pay attention to signs or my muse. I get caught up in the daily routine and my focus starts to narrow in on work and a busy family calendar schedule, which has me jetting off to play volleyball on Monday nights and shuttling my sweet twin daughters to softball practices and games twice a week. All of this is after eight hours a day of supporting social workers, families and children at a foster-adoption agency. On many a evening I just want to kick back and do some Netflix streaming with the hubby, in lieu of checking in with the oracles or my muse. Yet if I stray to0 far from the creative energy within things also start to feel off kilter. I know that on a soulful level it is important for me to make time for quiet, for reflection and for pondering. Listening to my intuition and my creative impulses is also key for me to staying in touch with my soul. It is through my writing, my art and the courses I take, that I am reminded of the deeper meanings to life and also of a spiritual web that connects us all.
There are several things that I turn to to keep me connected to the muse and spirit. The first is creating the space for writing and creating, be that painting, collaging or some other form of creative outlet. Fortunately I have writing commitments that require me to write at least three articles each month. Those commitments can be a taskmaster at times (monkey on my back so to speak) but there can be a gift in discipline and accountability. There have been months where the written words have flown easily and sweetly from my mind and heart over to the page. There have also been weeks and months when I have procrastinated and struggled to get the ideas flowing, the stress growing as deadlines loomed over me. In the end it comes down to making the time and doing it even when it feels like work. Even when it is hard I still feel drawn like a moth to the flame, to compose words like music on a page into some form of lyrical story. I am grateful for the results of showing up, even when I don’t always feel like it.
Painting, collaging and general ol’ creativity is another great love. That I may go days and weeks without playing in the art room seems mad, but that is the reality from time to time. If there are extended time frames when I am not playing and creating I now see that this coincides quite regularly with feelings of lethargy, sadness, boredom, general malaise and so on. Here is where being involved in a journaling class can give me the kick in the ass I need. Its like my muse has this wicked sense of humor and entices me to sign up for something, even when the practical office manager in me is saying, “But you already have too much to do my dear, how ever can you make the time for this class? Get real.” Fortunately the muse is very persuasive and manages to lure my inner artist to retrieve the credit card and sign up while the office manager is busy doing taxes or organizing her files. It is so worth it too, for I have loved, loved, loved, the several Storywalking courses that I have taken with Jenafer Owen. The current one began on March 1st and is called Storywalking: A Very Daring Tail. Click here to read more about the intriguing details and take note that the next course begins April 21st. These courses have forced me to be more in touch with the muse, my intuition, symbolism, signs and creative visions.
One of the recent activities we were asked to complete in The Daring Tail course involved an Oracle. If you want to try it out for yourself visit the Oracle here and write down what it has to tell you. Visit it three times in row, recording each cryptic message. Then sit with it. Ponder it. Look up the true definition of key words. Be surprised sometimes to learn that words can mean something other than you thought. After much reflection how have you translated the message of the Oracle? Let me share my recent communication.
It has grown more obvious to me how, when I am closed off and in task master mode, that I can be oblivious to noticing the nuances of spirit. When I slow down and open myself to creative spirit the influx of synchronistic images or words can be profound. In January and February I had felt like I needed a break from any new commitments and had abstained from taking any on-line courses. I was still in the mode of not taking anything new, but at the last minute I signed up for The Daring Tail course, which started on March 1st. There is a theme regarding mermaids and sea life in this course. Once I was signed up I had several occasions to note that mermaids and sea life images had been showing up around me for several weeks, but that I had not noticed. A couple of weeks into the course I also remembered how I had just read the novel The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd only a couple weeks prior. Even in the prior December Storywalking course I was astonished when flipping back a few journal pages to discover the funky mer-creature I had drawn, as well as my companion animal from a guided meditation, which was none other than a whale who had a very specific message for me: “We are going to plumb the depths…and swim among the stars.”
Lastly, one other way this past year that I have seeked out greater vision and communion with spirit, has been by participating in a personal Vision Quest with a spirit guide. One of the inspirations for the journey is the book The 13 Original Clan Mothers, by Jamie Sams. Each month I am to read the assigned chapter and create my shield. My shields took the form of prayer flags and that particular vision came to me the first day I spoke with my spirit guide. There are also additional monthly assignments to complete. The journey began last June and will come to a conclusion at the end of my 13th month. I will admit that sometimes I have felt like throwing in the towel. Sometimes I have felt like an imposter. Sometimes I have questioned if I am doing enough and/or doing it right. Yet I have committed to the journey and have grown to embrace that it is mine and is not to be compared to the journey of another. This Vision Quest has also pushed me to reside in a space of greater spiritual reflection.
What are some ways that you stay connected to source?
Do you have regular creative practices that
feed your soul and keep you inspired?
Have you ever noticed that if/when you drift away
from doing those things that feed your soul
that you start to feel down, blue and disconnected?
Any words of wisdom about how to keep your soul fire burning bright?
“Looks Far Woman is the Clan Mother who is the Guardian of the Fourth Moon Cycle, which falls in April. The full spectrum of pastel colors is connected to the Clan Mother’s cycle, because she carries the Medicine of Prophecy, see the truth in all colors. She is the Doorkeeper of the Crack in the Universe and the Golden Door of Illumination that leads to all other dimensions of awareness. She stands at the Crack in the Universe and safely guides all human spirits taking Dreamtime journeys into the other realms and then, back home, being present and fully conscious of their bodies.
This Clan Mother is a Seer, an Oracle, a Dreamer, and a visionary.
She teaches us the validity of our impressions, dreams, visions
and feelings as they exist within our inner potential.
Looks Far Woman instructs humankind on how to unravel
the symbols found in psychic impressions.
She shows us how to see the truth in every vision we receive
in the tangible and intangible worlds.
In her wisdom, Looks Far Woman assists every seeker
in finding the seeds of personal and planetary prophecy
that the Great Mystery planted inside all human beings.”
This evening I found in my daughter’s backpacks little books and bracelets they had made for me for Mother’s Day at school in their first grade class. The little books had prompts throughout for them to answer questions about me. I giggled and felt my heart melt as I read through both of them. How lucky for me that I have twins and get two I thought. It was also quite eye opening to know how much they observe and know about me. Aubrey shared that I like to paint and go with the cowgirls. That last comment about “go with the cowgirls” made me laugh out loud. Maya also wrote that I like to paint and draw. Both got it right when they stated in their own way that I don’t like to clean up their messes, and that I do like it when they don’t whine. It was sweet to read the things they like me to do for them, as Maya likes it when I read and play with her and Aubrey likes it when I clean up for her and when I brush her hair. Their ending remarks were about why I was special and Aubrey shared it is because I help her and Maya wrote it is because I love her. It just makes your heart melt to be a mama sometimes.
Being a mama can also keep you on your toes and keep your schedule extra full, if you let it. This last weekend happened to be a very full one. It began with me taking Friday off to run a bunch of errands, get the yard in shape and do a few other chores. On the agenda this weekend was my daughters 7th birthday, Mother’s Day and then my hubby’s birthday following up close on this next Tuesday. My twin daughters Aubrey and Maya had requested that in lieu of birthday cakes they wanted pumpkin pies and I had hoped to get those made Friday too. In the end my list ran too long and my husband saved the day and made the pies. Our weekend festivities began with my sister Wendy arriving early on Saturday, as well as my parents, both in their 70’s with three of their great-grandchildren ages 5, 4 and 1 in tow. How they find the energy amazes me. We let the kids play in the backyard in a sprinkler to stay cool and entertained until it was time to head over to a gymnastic center where our daughters were joined by school friends and they celebrated their 7th birthday very energetically with trampolines, a foam pit, a bounce house, balls and climbing ropes. The pumpkin pies were eventually set aglow with candles as we all sang the birthday song and amazingly many of the children requested pie instead of the more traditional cupcakes we had also brought along.
Our busy weekend continued into Sunday with the hubby hopping out of bed extra early to make our daughters, my visiting sister and me special vegan crepes. Nathan surprised me later that morning, after departing on a secret mission, with supplies to add two new raised garden beds to our back yard. I had been talking about it for quite awhile. He built them and as we finally mixed the different soils and such together, I commented laughingly that it was also a gift to our family and the mother of all mothers, our planet, Mother Earth. Gardening always feels to me like a way of nurturing our planet, giving back and being in greater connection with her. We have a huge yard and we are already so grateful to have a variety fruit trees, including a cherry, pear, plum and pomegranate. I have tried to grow veggies in smaller containers, but I have never been all that successful at it. I am excited for us to grow more food on our very own plot of land.
Motherhood can be incredibly exhausting. So can fatherhood. Yet the lessons it can teach us, the growth it can inspire and the joys and gifts it bestows upon us are remarkable and life changing. What are your experiences with motherhood? We all have a mom, though our life experiences with a mom of origin can vary dramatically. What was your experience like with your birth mom? Sometimes other people come into our life to mother us, nurture us and love us unconditionally. Have you felt mothered and nurtured by other people in your life? If you are a mother consider how that experience shaped and/or continues to shape your life. What are some of the things motherhood taught you about life and yourself? Consider writing a letter to your mom or about your mom that could be sent or saved or even burned afterwards. What would you most want to tell her? Two years ago I helped to plan a party for my mom’s 70th birthday. I created a book for her and a slideshow. The book also included letters, memories and quotes from family and friends. Below was a letter I wrote for her and a page I designed to share my thoughts, feeling and memories. If you were to do something similar for someone or something that mothered and nurtured you what would you write, how would it look and what adjectives might highlight the person, thing or experience?
Lastly come read a beautiful tribute to mothers
by Shiloh Sophia called A Mama Day Blessing.
It begins like this:
A Mama Day Blessing
This day we honor and celebrate the women who have given life to us, the women who give life to ideas, the women who died giving life, the women who wanted to have a child, but didn’t get to
Last night while neck deep in writing my latest Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine article I came across something that made me pause and note it down in my journal. I had been visiting the web site of artist and author Kelly Rae Roberts. I have been an admirer of her art for several years now and I adored her book called Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to give your Creative Spirit Wings. I have one of her prints hanging in the living room and I have given many items from her art collection as gifts. The thing that made me stop and pause was her simple, yet very powerful Mission Statement that was tucked into the side panel of her web page:
“My mission is to create beautiful, meaningful artwork that tells the truth.”
I loved the focus, the honesty and the sheer simplicity of it. I had an article to keep writing, but I knew I wanted to return to this topic and this idea of writing a Personal Mission Statement. Now, this isn’t a new idea. In fact if you do a search on-line for that very topic you will find all sort of cool articles, blog posts and creative artistic renditions of these intimate statements of purpose.
If someone was to ask YOU, “What is your personal missions statement?” Would you even know where to begin or would you very matter-of-factly proclaim it, because you just happen to know your mission by heart?
by Courtney Mellinger
If you are still contemplating yours, consider following these step-by-step guidelines by Courtney Mellinger on her web site called BlogGraphicDesignPortfolio.
Create a list of words that describe you. These should be aspects of you that you’re proud of. They could relate to your personality, your relationships, your profession, your religion, etc. The great thing is, it’s all about you so you can focus on anything you want.
Use these words to craft a sentence (or two) that describes your mission in life. It should be a statement that is specific to you yet can be applied to any area or facet of your life.
Type it on your phone, write it down and put it on your desk or screen background or somewhere where you will see it everyday. (Mine is on a note in my phone and a post-it note on my computer.) Having this daily reminder of your overarching goal in life will help you focus more on what really matters to you and less on the trivial things you face.
When you’re faced with a difficult decision or a tough situation, refer back to this statement. If the result doesn’t align with your mission, it might not be the best use of your time and efforts. I’m not saying that every single thing you do from this point forward should revolve around your mission, but it can be a great tool to use down the road.
Go explore other personal mission statements, and consider looking at those of some businesses too. The foster adoption agency where I have worked for over 9 years has this as the mission statement: “To ensure a child’s opportunity for permanence in a safe and nurturing family.” In addition they have selected a core set of values by which the agency is guided and these are: Vision, Integrity, Partnership, Excellence and Leadership. Perhaps an outline of your own personal values will also assist you in formulating your mission statement.
Consider then the Mission of Cosmic Cowgirls:
Our Belief is that each of us has a Vision with a calling and a purpose to fulfill and we believe that, through collaboration with other women, manifestation of that Vision becomes more possible.
Our Structure is comprised of a revolutionary membership-based publishing media house owned by girls and women worldwide, headquartered in the United States.
Our Purpose is to empower one another to live legendary lives.
Our Mission is to establish Cosmic Cowgirls as a powerful community and marketplace where women’s creative offerings equal livelihood, abundance, and recognition.
Our Focus is the gathering of women’s collective wisdom to be shared through the collaborative creation of products such as: art, cards, music, DVDs, film, coloring books, journals, workbooks and workshops designed to inspire, inform, and illuminate the journey of a woman’s life.
Our Intention as a collective of visionary women and girls, is to publish media that will bring education, creativity, and our sacred wisdom to those in need of information, healing, and transformation.
More recently we have seen the birth of The Red Thread Nation, whose mission is to Nurture the Soul through Art and Education. Here are several more examples for you to peruse:
By Donna Miller on Creative Musings
Lastly check out this energetic and creative video slideshow one young teen put together for her personal mission statement.
After some thought have you come up with your own personal mission statement?
Will you share it here?
Now how about taking it and turning it into an art project, maybe a paper altar, or perhaps you can capture it in a photo, or even a video?
This past weekend was the annual Cosmic Cowgirl Member conference. What a journey they are each and every single time. Have you ever longed to be with people who really see you? Who really hear you? Who really believe in you? Who respect you and want to know, really know about your purpose and your vision? Those of us who have found our way to this tribe of women get to experience those very things while in their presence. Even when we aren’t gathered in real time and real space, we gather and connect via other various ways of communicating and interacting such as Ning sites, Facebook, email, texts and conference calls. We take classes or teach classes together. We paint, write, sing, dance, act and share our creative projects with one another. I have been a member of the Cosmic Cowgirl Tribe since 2008. We are all also members of the Red Thread Nation. The Red Thread Nation is a global tribe of creatives and the purpose behind it is to nurture the soul through art and education. Each time I attend a gathering, be it the member conference, a workshop or a class, it rejuvenates my soul, inspires me and reminds me of those things I want to accomplish, the things I want to do to make a positive difference in this world and it helps me to re-energize the soul connections I have with the people in my life.
This year’s conference held the theme of “Born This Way.” We shared a Red Thread Ceremony the first night and began off with a meditative visualization about the theme. We shared what came to us as we considered the answer to the question – “I was born to….” We shared what came to us that first night in our circle. Our main creative project on Saturday was to create a paper altar. It included painting, drawing, writing sentences or even whole letters from and to our younger selves, and then more writing from and to our present and future selves. We created images of our younger selves and then had a playful photo shoot to capture the image of our legendary selves. Some of us discovered that our initial I was born to… statement evolved during the weekend. For others the message stayed true and strong from the beginning. Mine began as “I was born to see the beauty in everything and reflect the beauty in everything and everyone to others.” During a fun verbal exercise of trying out new ideas I came up with many, including I was born to love, I was born to inspire others with my writing, I was born to wear a red boa, I was born to see the Wow and I was born to connect.
On Sunday we heard from Shiloh Sophia McCloud, the mastermind behind Cosmic Cowgirls and The Red Thread Nation, about her recent trip to speak at the United Nations in New York City. You can read more about her experience by visiting this link: My Journey East – Notes from the United Nations The remaining portion of our Sunday gathering was focused around the stunning and emotion filled ceremony led by Carmen Baraka (aka Spirit Warrior.) Carmen led us on a spiritual journey involving drumming, chanting she learned from her Apache grandmother and storytelling. We were each encouraged to look within, to listen to the inner messages of our hearts and guts, to stand tall as warrior women, and to remember our connections to one another always and to turn to our tribe for strength. We all know that the red thread that connects us is not just symbolic, it is very real indeed, and we need only tug on it to remind ourselves that our sisters are there for us always. At the end of our ceremony we each received a key. The selected them with our eyes closed and allowed spirit to choose for us. I learned of the words most women selected later. My own key took me by surprise. The word was “Secret.” I sat with it for a few moments, before a very profound WOW floored me. My mind traveled back to a poem I wrote about my Legendary self during the Leading a Legendary Life course I took two years ago through Cosmic Cowgirls University.
Empa is passionate about Love and Art
Her heart beats to inspire others to love themselves,
and she knows that there is a not-so-secret path
one can take to that very destination.
It is through being a guest in one’s own heart.
It is by creating, painting, writing, dancing, singing, sewing,
and offering prayers that are but a universal song in the heavens.
Empa does not accept a narrow definition of beauty.
She knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and that it ranges far and wide, is varied and eclectic
and is not for one person or one culture to define.
On Saturday the words I finally chose to write on my own altar were I was born to connect. However that key I received during our ceremony led me to share about the significance of it with the other women. I began by sharing how the word secret, in an earlier time in my life, could have had a more negative connotation about secrets and things that aren’t supposed to be talked about. However, in a testimony to the healing work that Cosmic Cowgirls serves up, the word secret instead let me right back to my Legendary story. I read the brief passage above in the closing circle and shared that that I was born to reveal the secret, as are all Cosmic Cowgirls who are going out into the world to teach and share about the healing and nurturing properties of art and education for the soul. Come play along and take a couple of minutes to consider how you would answer the statement I was born to… If you would also like to select a virtual key just as we did during our closing ceremony, just say the word and I will meditate on you for a minute and then pick you a key and respond with which one you selected. With love ~ Michelle (aka Red)