Rae Luskin

Rae is the founder of Art and Soul Connections and The Winning Adventure. A lifelong learner she has studied with Mary Morrissey, Lisa Nichols, Jack Canfield, Janet and Chris Atwood (certified passion test facilitator) and Brendon Bouchard to name a few. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, a Masters in Urban planning and a PHD in life experiences.

For over fifteen years she has been a leader in using creative expression to nurture self-worth, resilience, healing, and social change. Sharing her personal story of child sexual abuse she inspires and motivates people to turn their pain into purpose. Community partners have said “Rae is passionate about her work as an advocate for healthy children and families…her transformational work has the potential to prevent abuse across the world. “ She is the author of Art from My Heart and a contributing author to Shine the Light, Sexual Abuse and Healing in the Jewish Community and Learning from Failure.

Her new book is The Creative Activist: Make the World better. One Person One Action at a Time. It contains thirty-six stories from people who have embraced their personal power and creative gifts to create change in the world around them. In these pages are also practical exercises and journal questions that will help you to; find your voice to speak your truth, discover your passion and purpose, build successful collaborations, turn your gifts into positive action, and become a confident leader. This book lights a path to help you see, understand, and believe in all you were meant to be.

It does not matter what job or position you hold, where you live or how old you are, everyone has a sphere of influence. You have your own unique gift and talents, ideas and solutions. The world needs your voice and vision.

1. You are the founder of Art and Soul Connections and The Winning Adventure, can you tell us a little background about these organizations and how did you come up with their vision and mission?

I began Art and Soul Connections in 1999. I believed that being immersed in the process of art was healing. It was never about the final product…in some ways it was my answer to Julia Cameron’s Artist Way which emphasized writing morning pages. I suggested people begin a visual diary. The Winning Adventure came to me after I published Art From My Heart in 2010. I did not want to work with families and children anymore….so I waited for a whisper. I kept hearing this voice that said interview 100 leaders and I did. I was interested in how they defined leadership. Who were their role models? How you got other people to step up and lead, creativity and the legacy they wanted to leave. In other words what made their lives and their work a winning adventure. Again it is the process, the journey of life not the results.

2. You’re a Fine Arts Major, how do you express yourself through art? Do you draw, paint or create sculptures?

Well over the years I have mostly painted and created collages. I also love photography…taking pictures of flowers and nature…looking through the lens observing children, doors and windows…wondering what story they tell. I love to write. I have written vignettes, poetry and of course my new book, The Creative Activist: Make the World better, One Person, One Action at a Time.

3. Your personal story of child sexual abuse is something that’s very fragile and sensitive, what made you decide to share it to people?

For many years I said why me…but that did not get me very far in life. It was a vicious cycle of victimhood. When I finally decided and it is a choice, to make this experience count for something I knew I had to tell my story. It still took time because I did not want to hurt anyone in my family so I kept it to myself. The first time I told my story I had organized a day of healing at my local health club. I wanted people to know there was more to health and wellness than working out and diet. Afterwards a young woman came up to me and said “You saved my life.” I knew then I had a responsibility to share it on a bigger stage.

4. You’re an advocate of using creative expression for self-worth, resilience, healing and social change for over fifteen years. What’s your inspiration to promote this advocacy?

I participated in traditional talk therapy for a very long time…I survived but I really never thrived until I made a decision to take healing in my own hands and explore numerous modalities. Creative expression, beginning with scribbles and doodles changed my life. As I expressed myself on paper I noticed I felt better, the depression, sadness and anger had a place to release. I started studying expressive arts, music, sound movement, writing and I knew I was healing. People said you seem different what did you do and I started sharing the things I had learned.

5. How can this creative expression be a medium to empower women?

I believe that the answers we seek are inside us. We just need the right tools to access that information. Through the creative process, we can find deeper meaning in our lives and experience true joy. It connects us to our authentic self.

Whether you like to paint, journal or are unable to draw a straight line with a ruler, there is an artist within you just waiting to be set free. Each of us needs to play, explore and experiment to tap into our intuition and imagination, experience insights, and break though limiting beliefs.

6. How can a woman protect herself from the long term consequences of abuse?

Education is key. Know that it is not your fault, no matter what happens. Get help from a trained professional. Find supportive people you trust. Find ways to express the trauma. Children, youth, adults, the elderly can all participate in creative/artistic expression. It is a way to express thoughts and feelings that are too big or difficult to put in words.

7. Can you tell us about one failure that taught you so much about life?

In 1993 I was going to write the first memoir of a woman who had been sexually abused as a child, The Odyssey of Healing: from Survivor to Thriver. I included stories, poems, and my art work. I shared it with the respected personal development leaders of the time. They said it was not enough I needed other people stories. Disappointed but determined I went home and wrote an eleven page questionnaire and got 150 responses. Then the voices kicked in” Who do you think you are? What do you have to contribute? You are not good enough” and I never wrote that book. I eventually figured out how to handle that voice and write two of my own books and contribute to several others. I realized there were people waiting to hear just what I had to say. That my fears were not as big as my desire to be of service to make a difference in the world. I learned that failure is just feedback it does not define me. In addition I needed support to go through the process…I could not do it alone. I hired several coaches and participated in mastermind/brainstorming groups.

8. How can women discover their personal power?

It means taking time for reflection and self-discovery. We are all so busy taking care of everyone else, children, parents or co-workers we seldom stop and spend time in inquiry. You can begin with looking at five areas of your life, health, relationships, finances, creative expression and spiritual/personal growth.Where do you feel discontent or longing? Where have you been living your life based on other people’s expectations for you? Does your life resemble the dreams in your heart? Then spend some time visioning what you would like…what is your heart’s desire? On my website you can get a  free report on visioning: four steps to take you from where you are to where you want to be http://winningadventure.com/visioning-and-goal-setting/

9. What’s your personal advice to women?

  • Center your life around your passion, purpose and values.
  • Turn your challenges into opportunities.
  • Use your gifts and talents to make the world a better place.
  • Step outside your comfort zone and take a risk.
  • Tap into your creativity, imagination and intuition.
  • Nourish your body, mind and spirit.
  • Remember failure is just feedback.
  • Create a bold vision for your success
  • Find your tribe and connect and collaborate.
  • Be a role model, a mentor, a volunteer
  • Celebrate how magnificent you are.

10. Can you tell us about your upcoming creative retreat and latest book?

The Creative Activist book is an inspiration toolbox for seekers of all kinds.  It contains thirty-six stories from people who have embraced their personal power and creative gifts to create change in the world around them. In these pages are also practical exercises and journal questions that will help you to; find your voice to speak your truth, discover your passion and purpose, build successful collaborations, turn your gifts into positive action, and become a confident leader. This book lights a path to help you see, understand, and believe in all you were meant to be. You can buy it on Amazon.

The retreat will be held at the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago, located at 656 W. Randolph, Suite 3W in Chicago, on Fri., Sept. 25, 2015, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The agenda for the morning is a panel discussion with five notable creative activists from the Chicago area. They include Maaria Mozaffar, founder of SkinLess Project; Mary Bonnet, founder of Her Story Theater; Eva Niewiadomski, founder of Catalyst Ranch; Mark Papdas, founder of I am 4 Kids; and Tom Walter, a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur who invests in his employees’ start-up companies. In addition to the panel, there will be opportunities to network with like-minded people and work together to make Thank You cards for veterans. In the afternoon, participants find out how to define their mission and vision and create a vision board.

It is an intimate affair limited to 60 amazing people so sign up today http://www.thewinningadventure.com/creativeactivistretreatspecial.php

Creative Artist Retreat