Red Rocks and Scottish Crags

Red Rocks

Red Rocks

I am so used to riding in the desert – but what would it be like to bike in a damp place. Flagstaff can be cold, but it is rarely damp.

I rode in Sedona today, and it was a little cold with some wind. I thought of this video when I came across a section of trail that could only be done by hiking the bike (which is what I did) or bunny hopping up the segment.

The riding and the place in this film is stunning, breathtaking, and in some places, scary as shit.

Happiness Jar – A Repost By Elizabeth Gilbert

I play all kinds of games with myself in order to remain optimistic. When I remember stuff, I usually cycle through the things that have made me sad or angry first, before I see the bright side of the situation (and I usually do see the bright side of even the darkest stuff – eventually . . .)

I came across this post by Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s a great exercise in gratitude and awareness – and I can think of at least half a dozen people who could use this idea – so I am sharing.

HAPPINESS JARS!
Dear Ones –
Here it is the end of the year, and I thought it might be a good time to re-introduce to you all the concept of a Happiness Jar.
Here’s me with mine!

Elizabeth Gilbert with her Happiness Jar.

Elizabeth Gilbert with her Happiness Jar.

What is a Happiness Jar? The simplest thing in the world. You get yourself a jar (or a box, or a vessel of any kind) and every day, at the end of the day, you grab a slip of paper and write down on it the happiest moment of the day.
Even on lousy days, you do this. Because even on lousy days, there is one best moment (or at least, one least-worst moment.)

You stick that little piece of paper in the jar.
Over the years, you have a record of your happiness.
On bad days, I will thrust my fist in that jar and go fishing — pulling up a handful of great moments that I would have utterly forgotten, had I not documented them.
I’ve been doing this practice for years, and I love it.
If my house ever caught on fire, this would be the one material object I would grab before I ran out the door…because what’s inside this jar? THAT’S WHERE IT’S AT — the whole point of this life.
Over the years, my Happiness Jar has taught me much. What continually amazes me is what ends up on the slip of paper every day. Not awesome events, not huge achievements — usually just a small and tiny thing, a moment of awareness…that moment when you step outside and between the house and the car you get hit on the top of the head with a beam of sunlight, and suddenly feel awash with gratitude simply for being alive, and you think, “Yes. This is it.”
It’s usually something that small — and something that grand.
I know that many of you have started this practice, too — and I love seeing the pictures of your jars, and hearing how you have adapted this to your own lives. I love the woman who put one in the middle of her dining room table, and she and her kids each put an entry in there every day — what a cool family practice! And I love the woman who wrote to me last week saying that she had the hardest year of her life, but she kept her Happiness Jar practice going the whole time, and today — on the last day of the year, she’s going to pull out each piece of paper in the jar, to remind her that even now, even in hard times, there was always one good moment a day.
So if anyone wants to begin this practice tomorrow, a New Year is always a great place to start!
Sending love, and, of course, wishing you all an abundance of Happy Moments in 2015!
ONWARD,
LG

A good way to start the New Year!

Om shanti om.

Holly

Taking Time and Navigating the Mundane

I haven’t written in a while – but this is a start. As fall was settling in, and since my sister’s death, I’ve retreated. This has been an assessment period. My energy has been low – and I’ve been looking at where I need to cut back and stop leaking energy.

I know I have been branching my energy out far too wide for years. Anger and grief are showing me where my energy drains are. There is a shift in my awareness.

One of my biggest energy and money sucks sadly has been yoga instruction. Teaching a one hour class (which in itself is just weird – way too short) – was costing me about three hours of time for each class. A few classes a week plus a full-time job were cutting into my personal relationships, my creative energy, fun, and just plain old rest. While I love teaching, the return on my time investment alone isn’t worth it anymore. Maybe that will change, but for now, my practice is personal.

Who am I spending my time with? In the last couple of weeks I realized there are some people who I just don’t need to be around. I don’t have to like everyone I meet. I can walk away and do other things with my time rather than be around people I dislike. I don’t have to analyze the situation further than that. This is a difficult one for me. Usually I can glean something from any connection, any point of view, but sometimes enough is enough. If after spending time with a person I feel agitated/anxious/drained/angry – that person, or our combination of personalities, is toxic. I don’t need to change that person’s behavior – I can choose to change my own behavior, and at this point, rather than argue or put up with negativity, I can leave and do something else (like riding my bike, or writing, and hanging out with a real friend).

I really like the people I work with – and I like my job. 40 hours a week is a lot of time. And, with not getting paid for lunch, it’s actually 45 hours a week. My perspective about my day has to stay positive.  I don’t make enough money to “move ahead” in life, or have an accident – basically I live paycheck to paycheck. No matter what, I will always do my best at my job. No matter whether I make just enough to survive or more than I could ever imagine, it’s important for me to: connect with the people I work with, always do my best, inspire others to do their best, laugh everyday, and learn something new everyday. Currently, all of those things happen for me at work. They are important. I am grateful. They keep me from thinking about work when I am not there. I am also aware of my value – compensation for my time is a new focus in my thinking. Over the next six months to the next year I will work with that focus and see what kinds of changes I can create.

rosemary (c) Holly Troy 2014Those are some of the big things that are in my awareness right now. What am I willing to continue and what am I willing to release? What is of value to me and how can I be of most value to others? Allowing myself to live “one day at a time” while having a loose plan about where I’d like to be is helpful. I don’t have to be constantly productive, though I do like having the time and energy to follow through on my creative ideas.

What’s important in my life? The shortlist: Love, connection, creativity, learning, higher learning, cycling, nature, literature, art, good company, good food, being outdoors, health.

The process is slow. Energy flows in short bursts right now. I’m learning to use the energy while I have it – and the low energy is a lesson in conservation. It is never wise to squander resources. It’s good to replenish the stores. Let’s see where my resources take me.

 

 

 

Checkin’ In

Penny Dog lickin' her Chops.Finally had a chance to just be alone today. Took Penny Dog for a walk in the woods. Thought about my sister. She would have liked the walk.

Talked to my mom on Wednesday, she sounded tired but a bit more at peace. I can’t imagine how my mom feels, but I was relieved to hear her say she feels like she is surrounded by a white light and that she feels my sister is in a good place now.

And I feel okay. too.

Spooky conditions . . .

Of course, live is the real deal . . .

You are Beautiful and I Love You

My sister died today. Though it wasn’t a big surprise, I am stunned. When the phone call came today, I knew it was bad news before I picked it up.

It’s not like she was sick, per se, I mean she was sick, but not in the conventional sense. When I say I wasn’t surprised, I meant, she’d been dying for years. She was in a lot of pain for a long time, and actually had reasons for the pain. But, drug addiction is cancer of the soul – and Goddamn – just God-Fucking-Damn-It, all you can fucking do is helplessly wait for death to come. It’s like – ok, this-is-what-happens-which-we-knew-was-going-to-happen-and-now-it-has-happened.

So this sucks.

For most of our lives, our relationship was strained. But, we had some amazing times, too. We drove across the country together in her 65 Mustang when I was 18 years-old. I stayed in Flagstaff on that trip! We were amazed by the pine trees and how fresh the air was. And the red rocks in Sedona were like nothing we’d ever seen! I’m glad she saw them.

heather circa 1989

Heather, 21 years old. Just before our drive to California – circa 1989

When we returned to New Jersey, our relationship fell apart. For 24 years we couldn’t get our shit together to just be sisters and love one another.

Until this last year.

I am grateful that for the last nine months, she and I were communicating in a good way. I reached out to her last winter while I was going through a hard time, and, she was so fucking clear. She helped me walk through the dark. She was fierce. She told me I was good, and generous, and compassionate, and I decided to fucking believe her.

We made a pact. For three months we tried an experiment. We decided to write to each other every day, “You are beautiful, and I love you” – just to get used to it, ya know, just to get used to how it feels to be loved. And we promised each other that we would not put up with not being cared about and loved by the people in our lives – especially in our romantic relationships.

And it really helped. A lot. It meant a lot. Coming from her from my fractured family, it meant a lot.

Anyway, after three months, we just kept writing to each other.

Love is good. Why stop?

Have some heart!

aspen (c) 2014 Holly TroyWe are moving on to the heart chakra in this session of Writing the Energetic Body. I’ve been really busy this last week – healing from a cycling accident and having changes come up at work. Getting to the heart, for me, is perfect timing right now. The little video is a good reminder to slow down and breathe.

Om shanti.

The prompts I’ve given this time are:

Forgiveness

Write about the color green without mentioning the word green.

Write for fifteen minutes on “I love”, and then fifteen minutes on, “I don’t love.”

Getting deep into Autumn – reset button

Single track az trail (c) holly troy 2014The eclipse held intense energy. That day I felt like my entire being was shoved through a sieve. Slow, excruciating, compressed. It is suddenly very important to decide “what’s next” for my life – and to take the necessary steps to get there.

Feeling much lighter today – ready for the work to shift my life. Reset button!

I started my writing class on the eclipse – and offered up an intention setting ritual. My response to the intention this morning:

Amazing eclipse energy! This class is an intention, and today, while visiting a friend in Sedona, I will further my intention ritual. Pumpkin carving with friends will become a ritual.

I viewed the sun and moon through two different telescopes during the eclipse. In the first the sun looked white and the moon dark grey. Along the edge of the moon I could see ripples in the surface. Craters! And I could see sun spots. What are sun spots? The surface of the sun is like fire, but there are spots there. The second telescope had a different light spectrum, and the sun was red while the moon was black. On the edges of the sun I could see solar flares! They looked like swirling red smoke.

The moon set off my moon 6 days early. OK. Maybe I am on track now with the new moon. The energy around the eclipse felt compressed, like the light. I’ve been needing a lot of rest – yet when I am resting I feel restless. My dreams that night warned me not to get caught in webs of despair, I need to be careful who I let into my life. Some people cast far-reaching spells. I know who I need to let go of. Karmic, lifetimes. The contracts are null and void.

I’m having fun with the workshop – I always do. I love writing, I love yoga, I love cycling, I love painting, I love cooking for friends, I love feeling centered and connected, I love nature. Sometimes the class is a spark for me to remember these things.

Below are prompts and a video for the first chakra writing. Participants are encouraged to do the exercise in the video and then choose one prompt to write on for half an hour without stopping.

You are three years-old and it’s dinner time. What’s happening?

When did you first believe you were solid?

Write about the color red without mentioning the word red.