• Using Our Creativity As an Act of Survival
  • Charla Jones
Using Our Creativity As an Act of Survival
Women of the Chontalá weavers’ artisan co-op thrive.

As many of you know, the Eu2Be journey begins with the belief that beauty is so much more than glamourand when we talk about beauty, it’s as a creative force for our wellbeing.

After all, creativity is not just the force that drives artists, poets, musicians and writers.

I am awed and humbled by the beauty they give to our world, but I believe creativity is all of ours to claim, and it’s as nourishing to our wellbeing as food is to our bellies — and as water is to our skin.

You see, for some of us, creativity is essential to our survival, and for many women around the world, among the ancient cultures from which our skin care ingredients are sourced, the existential urgency of this statement rings true.

Mango butter, avocado and sunflower oils are culturally prized in Mayan culture for their skin care benefits, and in places like Chontalá, Guatemala, Maya women used their creativity to subvert the military’s machete-wielding terror.

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After the government’s terrifying scorched earth campaign of the 1980s, in which their husbands and fathers were murdered, these women banded together to create and sell their intricate, jewel-toned weavings — some which take as many as 30 days to complete — as a means of supporting their families.

In Maya tradition, a weaving is seen as a new life, a procreation drenched in a language of symbols chosen by the weaver where each color, each image tells the larger story.

A weaving is a book being written for future generations and through their creativity, the Chontalá women found a wellspring of resilience, courage and hope.

The Chontalá women found a wellspring of resilience, courage and hope

Three decades later, the Chontalá weavers’ artisan co-op thrives, not only providing sustenance and housing but also scholarships and access to education for the weavers’ children and grandchildren.*

As we celebrate the achievements of women this month, let’s take a moment to appreciate the many ways women have used creativity as an antidote to the terrors around and inside us, as a way to claim our right to be in this world — and as an essential act for our survival.

That’s why ‘Be the Guardian’ is our battle cry for protecting what is precious, starting with daily care for our skin and honoring the creativity that nourishes our deepest connection to one another through rituals that have been handed down to us from who protected us.

The power to create — in both grand and quiet, everyday ways that allow us to refocus our internal lens — is our beauty from within calling us to exercise our birthright 2Be alive.

* The Chontalá weavers co-op can be found online through the fair-trade group Ten Thousand Villages (https://www.tenthousandvillages.com/ruth-naomi). The Chontalá weavers group is just one of many co-ops that formed as a result of the Maya genocide in the 1980s.

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  • Charla Jones

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