Hello dear soul friend. I’m glad you’ve found your way here. My name is Ally. I’m an artist. A creative minister. A teacher of Intentional Creativity.
What are the bends in my path that led me to work with others through the magic of drawing, word, reflection and inquiry? Below I share a personal glimpse of my experience where sacred and creativity meet. I invite you to grab a cup of tea as I share the essence of who I am, where I’ve walked and the values I hold. Many blessings to you on your path.
ME. I am a creator.
I’ve walked a long path to return to this inherent truth. This bold claim.
As a child, there were many days I spent coloring and drawing. As a teenager, art and writing were my safe haven of expression. But, along the way, I lost my connection to the purity of creativity. During my college days as an art major, I got bungled up in competition with peers. I was insecure in my ideas. I worked hard to attain the end product with lack of enjoyment in the process. After I was let go from my first job at a design firm shortly after I graduated, I lost confidence in myself as a creative being. I took on many toxic beliefs that weighed me down: Artists can’t make a sustainable living. Artists work isn’t “worth” as much as others’ work in the world. Artists are dangerous and strange. Some people can create well, other’s can’t. Slowly, I moved further and further away from my innate way of being in the world to become what others wanted me to be. Worst of all, I no longer saw myself as creative.
With the work of Intentional Creativity, I’ve done deep healing work around identity to reclaim myself as creator. Nowadays, I know deep in my soul space we are all creators made in the image of a Creator. I believe creativity opens us to the revelation of the Divine if we are willing to try. Creativity with pen, markers, paint, song, word, dance is for all people. Somewhere along the way, many of us have lost our connection. We’ve believed that “some” are creators, and others aren’t. I work with people who ready to reconnect with themselves as creative!
Opening to Divine Love
BE. I show up for spiritual practice.
In 2014, I found myself driving toward the mountains of North Carolina for my first class in Spiritual Formation (Columbia Theological Seminary). I knew nothing about Spiritual Formation, what I’d learn or who would be there. I felt radical for taking a leap toward such an unknown. When I arrived, the place and people deeply resonated with my heart. Over the next four years in this program, I reconnected with Christian mystics, elements of ritual and spiritual practices I’d been longing for in the institutional church. Classes on Sabbath, Spiritual Formation and Metaphors of the Psalms (among others) gave me the gift of understanding Christ as one who lives out radical forgiveness, hospitality, justice and wholeness. Spiritual practices gave me permission to explore faith in a creative way. I realized living faith didn’t have to look like reading a book and discussing it or reading devotions each morning. Instead, spiritual practice invited all my senses to be part of the living way of Christ. As I experimented with different practices, my pace slowed and I noticed my ordinary surroundings as sacred. I had a profound shift of insight – I didn’t have to “do” for God. In “be”ing, I opened to the ever-present love of the Divine
In my gatherings, I regularly invite all the senses to be engaged. Whether lighting a candle, dipping fingers in water to bless oneself or taking deep breaths to ground, there are simple ways to bring awareness to the sacredness of each moment. By bringing attention to what is before us and naming it sacred, healing happens as our sight shifts to inclusion. I love inviting others into this contemplative way to BE in the world. I work with people who desire to explore sacred practices and open themselves to the love of the Divine.
Healing the Feminine Wound
SHE. I am a woman who upholds feminine equality and teachings.
As a teenager in the Catholic Church, I struggled with the fact that women can’t be priestesses. The lack of equality struck me as deeply disturbing. However, the image of Mary, elements of ritual and stories of women mystics brought me solace even as I felt the divide. As an adult, I left the Catholic Church for the Protestant church. Initially, I fell in love with the abundance of God’s love called grace. However, as I traveled the road of the Protestants, I became sensitive to the language inside the walls – God was consistently spoken and sung of as Father, Lord, King, Shepherd. I looked for any sign of feminine presence and only saw glimpses.
As I reconnected to creativity as a spiritual practice, the Sacred Feminine wooed me to her. She revealed herself as Wisdom, Ruah, Sophia. She spoke to me as Eve, Mary, Magdelene. She is a Divine form of the mother who has been forgotten. Her sensibilities are creativity, collaboration, voice, ritual, teaching, birth, celebration. Many systems have forgotten her: families, churches, culture as a whole. Individuals rarely speak of her. For me personally, I’ve experienced this deep loss of the feminine in the institution of the church and I mourn over many aspects of her taboo.
Part of my work in the world is to guide myself and others to re-member the lost feminine. Honoring the feminine is a deep aspect of the gatherings I hold. This comes in my teachings through encouragement, ritual, hearing from each voice and re-capturing the essence of sacred women who’ve been villainized, abused and/or forgotten. Witnessing one another and allowing each voice to have their truth/perspective is imperative to bring healing to the stories we carry. Another aspect of my work is holding space for grief of sacred institutions. I welcome work of the shadow. When we name and honor the taboo/shadow that we see (even if others don’t), our personal healing can begin. I work with people who desire to connect with the feminine and heal grief from institutions. I work with organizations and institutions who are open to having honest conversations about their shadow side and shift to bring more feminine discernment into their spaces.
Curiosity is Key
SEE. I am a visionary.
Curiosity is key to transformation. Exploring ideas and asking questions guides my path. I have a natural ability to critique what isn’t working to bring a healthier format to the table. I’m not afraid of change. In 2015, my friend, Kristen, encouraged me to begin a blog. Since that time, I’ve continued to nurture, shift and vision my way through varying thresholds to launch myself as a creative entrepreneur of Soul Kindling LLC. I regularly reflect and make small tweaks to hone what I offer. In my experience, when I take one small action on an idea, doors open. I bring this imagination and way of seeing into family and community life.
I’m fierce in my becoming and love to work with people and organizations who are ready to cross over into imagination and blaze colorful trails. Transitions often bring up fear and grief. Curiosity is a natural way to see what we hold within and envision change for ourselves. This visual way of working allows for healing the past to be an aspect of the work, yet moving forward with hopeful anticipation. I work with people who are ready to vision.
Wisdom Guides My Way
FREE. I am a creative adventurer with my fingertip on the pulse of the sacred feminine.
In Proverbs 8, it reads, “Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? At the highest point along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand.”
I take my stand at the crossroads of creativity and the sacred. I believe we are all creators. I believe in the power of creativity to bring transformation. I believe we are all sacred beings who are loved beyond beyond by the Divine. I believe in the resurrection of the feminine qualities of ritual, collaboration and celebration. I believe in spaces and traditions that honor the masculine and feminine. I believe art is a prayer. I believe in the inclusion of all the living. I believe in spoken and written words of inclusion. I believe there are many sacred paths that lead to the Divine.
I give great thanks to my teacher, Shiloh Sophia, for sharing the transformational gift of Intentional Creativity® with me and the many women who are part of this revolution. I am proud to be a supporting guild member of Musea, a matriarchal creative lineage of a global movement.
Ally Markotich is passionate about sparking the creative flame that lives within each of us. She’s an artist, poet and Intentional Creativity® teacher. For over a decade, Ally has traveled a rich road of spiritual “Ahas!” Along the way, her eyes opened to the divide within church, family, cultural systems as well as herself. She longed to heal this divide, but traditional ways of engaging faith didn’t satisfy her thirst.
A turning point occurred when she took coursework in Spiritual Formation through Columbia Theological Seminary (GA) which reconnected her to the gifts of ritual, spiritual practice and Celtic wisdom. During this period, she was challenged by a friend to consider her art as prayer. This felt provocative. She sat down with watercolors, colored pencils and a sketchbook. Poetry poured. Color flowed. Her inner kindling was set aglow. From this point forward, she continued to make room for silence and creativity. Her exploration of spirituality through color and word led Ally to find artist, Shiloh Sophia, and the movement of Intentional Creativity®. This process gave her sacred tools to delve deep with intention into her personal narrative to transform and heal.
Ally is the founder of Soul Kindling (LLC), a workshop-based business designed to awaken participants to their inner well of wisdom with paint and inquiry as the sacred tools. In November 2018, Ally received certification as an Intentional Creativity® teacher with artist, Shiloh Sophia’s, Color of Woman School to guide participants to tend their personal story with inquiry and paint. She is now a member of the Intentional Creativity® Guild. In Summer 2019, Ally served in a support role for Shiloh Sophia’s Red Thread Guide program to provide feedback and encouragement for the women who took the course. In August 2017, she completed a Certificate in Spiritual Formation from Columbia Theological Seminary (GA) where her creativity was reignited and the sacred ordinary was discovered. She has her BFA in Graphic Design from Alfred University (NY).
Ally’s painting, The Rising, received an honorable mention in the Moore County Fine Arts Festival (NC/August 2019) and her piece, Wild Reverence, was shown at Litmus Gallery in downtown Raleigh, NC as part of the Anything Goes exhibit in October 2018. She’s been featured as the “Monk in the World” guest post on Abbey of the Arts in October 2017 and October 2015. In April 2017, she placed second in the Weymouth Writer’s Competition (NC) for a non-fiction piece entitled, The Illumined Path. In the same contest, she received an honorable mention for a poem entitled, Years Gone By. Ally has served in a variety of volunteer leadership roles. Her favorite have been those where creativity has no bounds and deep conversation is encouraged.
Ally Markotich is in the lineage of artist Shiloh Sophia and a member of the Intentional Creativity® Foundation. This artistic movement is a worldwide momentum to raise consciousness with intentional inquiry, drawing and painting as the sacred tools. This collective of women artists, healers and teachers are on a mission to guide others through creative process to bring healing to our stories and our world. The Intentional Creativity® philosophy holds that all beings are inherently creative and that through creating we can gain access to greater wisdom, healing and empowerment.