Love Activism for Tender Artists—10+ Ways to Heal, Nurture, and Make a Difference Through Art

by Hillary Rain

Art moves us. Art inspires, evokes, and speaks with an influence that can’t be ignored. As artists, we have a powerful opportunity to help shift collective consciousness. We have the alchemy to make someone see, feel, understand, and be haunted by something which can elicit lasting change.

Consider this: if we were having a conversation, I might tell you, “So the other day, there was this woman who stood in the street as cops came at her with guns.” 

Or I could simply say, “Look at this.” 

Which makes you feel more? Which stirs your senses? Which wraps flesh and blood around a moment you’ll never forget?

Creating the life you long for includes the world you live in right now. A world aching for peace. There are many powerful and gifted people on the front lines organizing events, making a difference through activism, speaking up and out. But when we are soft-spoken, sensitive, introverted, quiet and tender introspective artists…how? What does our brand of love activism look like? Whether our community is in pain over a tragic event, or the oppression of fellow humans is out of control, or our best friend is grieving a loss, as artists we want to make a difference. 

Artists, we need you. We need each other. 

As an artist, you are blessed with magic because you are brimming with all kinds of creative gifts: your ability to move someone. The way you can use your words, your camera, your paintbrush to leave a lasting impression. The way you can share a message that cannot be ignored. The way you can both disarm and provoke through art. You can be an effective and powerful love activist who uses your creative gifts + authentic truth to heal, evoke and inspire.

Writer? Write.

If you are gifted with the written word, you are in an incredible position to make a difference. 

Fiction1984 and The Fountainhead are just two powerful classics that still impact our world today. The art of telling stories is a way to move, evoke, inspire, and challenge someone to examine what they think, how they live, or what they believe. Stories help disarm us, help to put us in someone else’s shoes. Write a novel and share your truth. Make us feel something. Make us remember something. Make us want to change something. 

Non-fiction—Write your own story. Write your memoir or start a blog sharing your life. What experiences have shaped you? What brought you to where you are today? What do you want others to know? Why are you passionate about change? What do you believe? What have you learned? If you had a microphone, what would you say? (Quietly, in a book, of course.) Write the stories of others. Interview those who have dwelt in the shadow of oppression all their lives. Give them a voice. 

Other non-fiction—We live in the age of social media. It’s true that just sharing relevant hashtags doesn’t do much by itself, but if you’re on social media anyway, lending your voice and spreading awareness can go a long way in the collective conversation. Share your story. You can also share your beliefs in posts, tweets, comments, re-shares and more. Or write articles for journalistic publications. Start a new website for your cause. 

Bonus: What is your favorite inspirational book? Share in the comments below!

Photographer? Help others see.

If you have a camera, you are equipped with a powerful way to create change through visual evocation. What do you want others to see? What is your creative mission? Beauty? Truth? The stories and experiences of others? Living conditions around your city? The faces of those in need so others can see themselves reflected in haunted, hungry eyes and be challenged to do something? 

You don’t need expensive equipment or a sleek website. Start an Instagram account sharing what you see so others can see it, too. For inspiration, check out Humans of New York on Insta. 

Use your photography to document injustice. How will history unfold through your lens? Help us remember. We need to remember. 

Artist, you must create. Dare to make art. Your defiance and determination are energy which fuels the collective consciousness. Share your work wherever you can. Let others see you living a beauty rebellion where you are so hungry for what is beautiful that your art itself becomes a revolt.
— Hillary Rain

Painter? Art journaler? Multi-media artist? Dancer? Move us with something provocative.

Your gifts of noticing beauty, of movement, of grace, and your talent with the pen, the brush, the light leaks and the layers are all sacred ways to nurture and heal. Offering something beautiful to look at, to feel, to see, and to experience is necessary for the world to become a softer, more compassionate place. You provide relief. Hope. Ways to transcend the ache or grief. To remind us there is more, there is better, there is another way. 

Artist, your medicine is soul medicine. Be a beauty activist. This is the sort of rebellion that makes flowers burst through cracks in the sidewalk or lays gold in the lines of a shattered vase to repair it. Beauty is a healer because it moves us to another way of seeing, feeling, thinking, or being. By making beauty you are silently showing the world a better way.

So you must create. Dare to make art. Your defiance and determination are energy which fuels the collective consciousness. Share your work wherever you can. Let others see you living a beauty rebellion where you are so hungry for what is beautiful that your art itself becomes a revolt.

Bonus: One of my favorite creative beauty activists: Jade Beall. Who are yours?

Make your own Guerilla Art

Use your talents to spread a message of love, hope and ways others can facilitate change. Here is how:

  • First, choose the size you want to create (a credit card makes a good template, or choose a 4x4 square) and create a foundation. 
  • By hand—Paint, draw, or splash coffee on card-stock for a creative background. Digital—Use a photo or layer textures and colors.
  • Next, brainstorm simple sentences, phrases or words that inspire and evoke. Write or type them onto your background. Let them be your love notes to the world, your wake-up call, your plea.
  • Finish with any printing, cutting, or shaping of your art. Carry them with you and secure them on community bulletin boards or other creative places.

Bonus: what would your Guerilla Art say? Share below!

Listen well

The art of listening is one of the kindest gifts you can give someone in pain. Especially when it’s the kind of pain you’ve never felt and may not understand. Hold space with compassion. Don’t rush to respond. Don’t interrupt. And especially don’t jump in with your own story. Let your loved one cry, vent, and repeat their account. And be the one who believes them. People in pain or who are processing injustice may be used to having their experiences or emotions dismissed and invalidated by others. Be the one who looks them in the eyes with earnest acceptance. You might not understand exactly what they are going through, but you can believe them. This is a powerful way to help someone else find words and process their experience. “Telling and listening to stories is the way we make sense of our lives.”—Dr. Thomas K. Houston (Source)

Recommended resource: Listening as Healing

Connect

You’ve probably heard this. Maybe you’ve even said it: “When my mom died I found out who my real friends were.” Or, “When I went through my divorce, he was there for me.” Be that one. Whether the pain is personal or communal, show up. Maybe you can’t fix what happened but you can be there. Don’t run away. When someone is grieving, angry at injustice, or heartbroken, stay with them as they process their emotions and express their truths. You can be a soft place to land. Reach out in person if you can—wash their dishes, rub their feet, call. Or write letters. Bake a loaf of fresh bread, chop vegetables for healing soup, and show up at their door. Send flowers. Ask how they are—really. Be a shoulder to lean on. Offer to babysit. Take them to dinner or pay for a healing massage. Let them know they are not alone. Sometimes this is the most healing of all.

Start an artist collective

If you’ve ever felt powerless, alone, or uncertain how to make a change, you can be sure others have felt the same. What skills, passions, and resources are available in your niche? How can your collective utilize communal strength to emphasize what you are for? Many cities have gathering space in local coffeeshops, public parks, used bookstores and more. Put out a call on Craigslist, through Meet-Up, or design flyers to post around town. (Be safe! Always meet in public and don’t go alone.)

Here are some ideas for your collective… 

Organize a peaceful protest + art revolution. • Make an area of your city beautiful. • Hold a free art camp for kids. • Plan an auction for art / services and give the proceeds to a cause you’re passionate about. • Host an art-journaling + awareness workshop. • Plan a community picnic at a public park and share love, food, music, peace and flowers. • Have shirts made and wear them as you hand out flowers + cards or handmade ‘Zines directing people to your website. • Arrange a local meet-up and use the time to write letters to local and national leaders asking what they are doing to change an oppressive system. • Start a local meal service to organize home-cooked food at births or bereavements, protests, rallies, or other events within the framework of your cause. • Work with your local library to start an after-school art program teaching kids the power and potential of creativity. • Do random acts of beauty. • Write love letters to your city. Post them publicly. • Hand out water bottles or cups of cold water during protests. • Offer cool washcloths for hot, sweaty faces during events. Bonus: have refreshing, chilled aromatherapy mists available, too. • Make energy cookies and hand those out. • To invest in the longevity of your work, stay updated on local laws + regulations. • Hold a creativity + awareness workshop for adults who don’t know where to begin learning how to make art.

Be a safe place

Grief is vulnerable. When someone is pressed close to tragedy, injustice, abuse, heartache, or any other pain, it’s hard to know who to trust. Grief slices open the sacred interior of things and leaves us hanging out, exposed, our gaping wounds bleeding and weeping in the sudden rush of light. Be a safe place. Be the one giving your friend unspoken permission to fall apart, knowing you will protect their dignity. That you’ll be there to catch them. That you will support, protect, and stay. That you won’t betray them on social media or to others. As an artist, an empath, a healer, you are especially equipped to hold and behold the undulant layers of grief. It takes your intuition, your wisdom, your infinite ability to observe, listen, and feel.

Dear artist, you doing you is sacred work.

Remember, we need all kinds of people. Activists on the front lines, creating change. Artists, creating the world they long for. Healers, mending the wounds. You are needed. You, with your unique gifts, insights, and way of being in the world, are invaluable. Don’t let others shame you for not being like someone else. Don’t buy into the shame of “You’re not doing enough.” 

Be guided by being authentically YOU and bring yourself to the ache of the world. Maybe you stumble over the spoken word but can write a killer, unforgettable essay. Maybe you have panic attacks in crowds, but are a breath of fresh air after, cleaning and healing the space. Maybe you know how to cook for an army and can support the energy and stamina of those who organize events by preparing delicious, nourishing food. There is a perfect place for you, whoever you are, with your own personality and gifts. Be willing. Be creative. Love actively. Show up. 


Hillary Rain is a writer, artist + gentle guide who works with women to create the lives they long for. Learn how you can have a life you love by connecting with Hillary one-on-one through the The Alchemy Sessions—spiritual + holistic mentorship—and her creative programs, HeyCurvyGirl.com DearArtist.co. Read more on HillaryRain.co.

Instagram: HillaryRain.co

PINSPIRATION // PEACHY ROSE

Pinspiration via bohocollective.com

Inspired by the beautiful peachy rose colors in this rug from Ecarpetgallery.  I have been so inspired by their rugs and just love creating collages around them.  They have a killer selection right now that makes my heart beat fast! 

All the shades of peach and rose have stolen my heart this past year.  I'm so drawn to this color palette. 

Visit my pinterest for these pins and more! 

Check out Ecarpetgallery's rug blog for more home styling inspiration.  Also, get an extra 20% off your first rug purchase with the code ECGBLOGBOHO.

The Cabin Diaries: Sex After Baby

Q:

Dear Cabin Diaries,

I am a young mama of a 2 year old. I have been in a relationship with my partner for almost 5 years now. The past two years have been extremely tumultuous.

I have struggled a lot with becoming a mama at a young age. My son is a very easy baby, and for that I feel blessed, because if it was any harder I may have had a complete nervous breakdown by now! The sort of themes I have been struggling with revolve around: fear of commitment, longing for my youth, resentment towards men in general, questioning my sexuality, complete loss of sex drive, and bouts of various shades of depression (boredom, loneliness, apathy, identity crisis). My partner has been very loving, supportive, stable, loyal, and adaptable to the psychological craziness I have exhibited throughout our coming into parenthood. I feel very lucky to have him.

Though it has been super rocky and we have nearly broken up a few times, we have worked through a lot of our communication issues and are now able to be much more empathetic and flexible for each other. I have been going to a therapist and that has been immensely helpful. I feel closer with him than ever before and am now at a point where I do feel committed to and in love with him again, BUT there is one thing that is still missing- My desire for him sexually.

I have spent about the past year treating it as a problem to be solved, something pathological. I stopped breastfeeding about 6 months ago, I take herbal supplements for libido, I have worked on our relationship to feel closer to him, I take a relatively sufficient amount of "me time" for myself (could probably use more, but it’s difficult with a toddler, of course). I know the lack of sex has been bothering my partner for a while, but last night he confronted me about it and expressed that he doesn't know how much longer he can physically stand being in a almost sexless relationship. So now I'm definitely feeling some pressure to figure this out.

I feel hesitant about partaking in obligatory, maintenance sex because it feels degrading. But I also want him to feel loved and satisfied, and not to leave me in pursuit of a new sex goddess. Any idea of how I can make my relationship better, without compromising my physical boundaries? Is there something wrong with me for not wanting sex to have sex with the man I love?

Thank you for your time.

Love,
Lost My Inner Sex Goddess

 


A:

Dear LMISG,

Alas, you write to me with words shared by women far and wide. You are not alone my dear, and though these are tricky (very tricky) waters to navigate, remember that nothing is permanent. Quite simply, there is nothing wrong with you for not wanting to have sex. However, there is also nothing wrong with your partner for wanting to have it.

The conundrum of not-wanting-to-have-sex-after-baby is not unique. It is, to the devastating frustration of many men and women, incredibly common and should—I think—be discussed at length by partners before they have a baby. I know that not all pregnancies are planned, and so this isn’t always possible. From what I can gather through conversation and reading, this happens to everyone, regardless of age. Babies are distinctly non-sexy, as Esther Perel notes in her Ted Talk, “The Secret to Desire in a Long Term Relationship.” Have you watched this, or heard of Esther Perel? If not, dive in. Her research and theories will be helpful to you at this time. In fact, as I was researching your letter, I found that she was also interviewed by Lewis Howes on The School of Greatness podcast. The topic? Sexual desire and successful relationships.

I think the general assumption is that after about a year, the libido usually returns, and things will “go back to normal.” In my experience, this can often be untrue. It sometimes takes 3-5 years for women to get their libido back, and we never return to “normal” because we are now mothers. I had a baby so young that I can hardly remember what it was like having sex without worrying about making noise, or that my child would wake up, or if the door was locked; and sex since motherhood for me has often been laced with guilt for taking that time to myself.

What I’m saying here is that you have to create a new ground zero: that sex goddess you used to be? She’s transformed now, and you have to become familiar with the new one. The one who is a mother, who has given birth, who has unlocked the infinite wisdom of motherhood, and the one who know has to care for an extra human with all of her time, energy and being. Letting go of your former sex goddess will be sad, there’s no doubt about it.

Now, let’s look at these questions:

"I feel hesitant about partaking in obligatory, maintenance sex because it feels degrading. But I also want him to feel loved and satisfied, and of course to not feel driven to leave me in pursuit of a new sex goddess. Any idea of how I can make my relationship better, without compromising my physical boundaries? Is there really something wrong with me for not wanting sex to have sex with the man I love?"

I did a lot of research to try to answer this the best I can. From what I’ve read and learned over the years, some kind of compromise will probably be what resolves this for you. Sex columnist Dan Savage adamantly believes that “sex” is not limited to just intercourse, and there are several other ways of pleasing a partner. Have you considered getting creative to satisfy your partner’s needs and also uphold your boundaries? How firm is your boundary, and why do you think it’s there? Here’s a podcast with Dan Savage and Jane Marie where they talk about sex after baby. If you have an hour at home or in the car, listen to it. At the very least, it will give you some additional context for where you are at.

Because children are, by nature, libido-depressants, it’s important for you and your man to spend some time away from your child! Do you have a babysitter fund? Start one. Schedule overnights where a grandparent or friend takes the kid so you can spend the night alone together, waking up on your own accord. Better yet, on those alone nights, get a hotel room or go on a short trip to spice up your surroundings and free yourself from the trappings of parenthood and a house full of baby accoutrements. Letting go and chilling out is important and something we work on constantly after our babies are born. It’s very difficult. Stress is a primary prohibitor of libido.

Laughter is good, anything that loosens the two of you up in a connective way. Also making sure you connect physically in other ways as a maintenance practice is important. Maybe once a week you give each other a massage or a foot rub. Using our bodies as a way to connect is an important and powerful practice that often gets neglected as we get sucked into the stresses of everyday life.

Remember that your libido will continue to change. All female libidos ebb and flow. As your child approaches 3, then 4, you will feel yourself coming more into your body and being able to tap that river of sensuality that’s in there.

Above all, talk to more women about it. Ask anyone who will talk to you about their experiences. Storytelling around this topic is incredibly connective and informative and healing. It will make you feel less alone. If you have other mama friends, bring this up over tea. A lot of moms are afraid to talk about it because there can be shame around it, but I think the more it’s talked about, the better.

Practice compassion for your man and for yourself. Remember that one of our basic human needs is to feel desired, especially by those we love. Are your needs being met? Are his? In youth, we often make hasty decisions where we might be able to actually be more patient with a little extra effort and awareness. At the same time, you need to connect with your inner voice and make sure you make decisions from your heart of hearts. It's a spiritual matter just as much as it is physical. 

In any relationship, baby or not, we must maintain our sense of self so that we do not lose ourself to the relationship, waking up one day in a pile of mush. At the same time, we must maintain our sense of self within the construct of that relationship in order to keep our relationship strong and loving.

Last but not least, I want to end with the old adage that a good man actually *is* hard to find, and so I’ll leave you with your own sweet words as food for thought:

"My partner has been very loving, supportive, stable, loyal, and adaptable to the psychological craziness I have exhibited throughout our coming into parenthood. I feel very lucky to have him."

Good luck.
 

Love,
Sadie Rose

P.s. Here’s a list of books for further reading. And I highly recommend reading The Bitch in the House which is a stellar collection of essays by women who are all trudging along through life, marriage, work, motherhood, partnership, and female sexuality. It’s a wonderful, impactful read.


Sadie Rose is a writer and creative organizer. Most of her work revolves around helping women make their dreams a reality. Learn more about her here or follow her on Instagram here.

Read more Cabin Diaries here.


CRAFT MOROCCO COLLECTION BY WORLD MARKET

This post is proudly sponsored by one of my all time favorite places to shop for my nest, Cost Plus World Market. All opinions stated in this post are my own.

This month, World Market® is re-launching its CRAFT program to become a single-region focused collection of artisan crafts beginning with Morocco.

Already well-known for its unique and authentic imported crafts and decorative accessories from around the world, this new program is an extension of a belief that has been with the company since its beginnings as an imported goods store in San Francisco in 1958.

Almost like walking through a souk or bazaar, this capsule collection contains over 60 items from the Moroccan cities of Fez, Marrakesh, and Safi and includes pottery, hand painted accent furniture, woven baskets, poster prints, slippers, and more. Highlights of the offerings include a Star Accent Table that has been hand crafted and painted by a master artisan in Marrakesh. The hand painted designs on three accent tables from the collection date back to the Almoravid and Merinide dynasties. The coastal city of Safi, Morocco is known as the “Pottery Capital of Morocco,” and customers can find unique, handmade pieces crafted by skilled artisans using techniques that have passed down through multiple generations.

Several woven baskets with vibrant colors are included in the collection. Woven by women in the Atlas Mountains, a mountain range in Maghreb, these baskets are used to store anything from household goods to the traditional round flat bread known as khobz. The collection would not be complete without a few accessory items including the traditional Fez hat and Babouche slippers.

The new CRAFT program will change countries or regions every few months and gives World Market customers exposure to an area’s rich cultural history while discovering artisan crafts, which may inspire new global décor in the home or even travel abroad.

To see the entire CRAFT: Morocco collection and read more about the unique stories behind each item, go to www.worldmarket.com/morocco.


A FEW OF MY FAVORITES FROM THE COLLECTION

Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market
Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market
Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market
Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market
Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market
Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market
Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market
Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market
Moroccan Craft Collection by World Market

I love the bold colors and patterns in this collection. I tend to lean towards very earthy colors, but I could see any of these pieces making a beautiful statement with a pop of color in my home. I especially love the mint green hand painted spice rack. Such a unique piece to adorn your kitchen with. I wish I had enough wall space for one! I am so excited that World Market is bringing their CRAFT program to the store in this way, featuring special hand picked pieces from a specific region every few months that are created from the artisans there. A wonderful way for you to be able to bring a bit of culture into your home if you are not able to travel yourself to these beautiful places. Now I need to get a pair of those pink leather babouche shoes on my feet so I can pretend I am walking the cobblestone streets of Fez el Bali!


SHOP MY FAVORITES

PINSPIRATION // SUNSET

via bohocollective.com

Today's Pinspiration is all about golden hues.  I've always been drawn to the shades of a sunset.  I'm crazy about this golden rug from Ecarpetgallery.  They have several similar ones right now.  I could see it cozied up under this amazing sun mirror designed by Justina Blakeney that I have been coveting ever since she announced it's being.

Visit my pinterest for these pins and more! 

Check out Ecarpetgallery's rug blog for more home styling inspiration.  Also, get an extra 20% off your first rug purchase with the code ECGBLOGBOHO.