There’s Always More Where that Came From – Snow, Art, and Money

I hope 2016 is treating everyone well so far! I know for me, life feels like I pressed a reset button. That reset is such a relief!

Holly Troy © 2016 SUnset with Snow on the MasaFlagstaff has had a few good snowstorms in the last month – getting around via bicycle has been a sometimes precarious adventure. Bella (my bike) has been treating me well. Besides getting me to work, since the new year I’ve gone to Black Canyon Trail and have had an escapade or two in Sedona. Also, I’ve done some snow biking and wow, it is fun!

Just before the new year, I found out that the Flagstaff Arts Council accepted me into the ArtBox Institute. I’m learning how to set goals and better manage my time so that I can make art, have relationships, and mountain bike (while still maintaining a full-time job). Time management a never-ending process; a subject that is a constant in my life. I would describe ArtBox as business school for artists – stuff you don’t learn in art school. I am learning a lot and making new friends while I’m at it. Oh – and I’m also making art!

The most exciting things to me about ArtBox are the creative community, learning and creating new habits, and taking myself seriously as an artist. I would like art and teaching to be my work, and a big part of making a creative life feasible is consciously shifting my beliefs around what makes art valuable, my self-worth, how I use my time to make art, and, how I view money. (It turns our all of these things are tied together).

Fellow Jersey-girl Marie Forleo talks about making small changes that have a big impact on your money mentality. Check out the MarieTV video below.

Make Some Art! And then Share It!

Warning: Might not be “work friendly” – there’s some swearing in this video . . .

The point is – do your creative work. The world needs it!

Common Sense and Beauty – Jane Goodall

I’ve been thinking much about how I want to go forward with my life. I have some pretty good ideas about what next – but not always the energy to carry through as consistently as I’d like.

Jane Goodall has always been an inspiration to me – I think this video will be good for me to watch if/when I feel my energy lag.

I hope this video inspires you.

Solstice Intention Setting

Several years ago I learned an exercise similar to the one I am presenting here based on an Abraham Hicks Teaching. This is my own version of the exercise. I borrowed this post from one of my workshops. The exercise was based on writing and using the energy of the new moon. I’ve revised it for the Winter Solstice – which is, in a way, the New Sun of the year.

IMG_2581Currently, we are at the Winter Solstice, or the longest night of the year. This is a good time to release what we don’t want, what is unconscious and holding us back from moving forward in our lives. Once we have let go and created space within ourselves, we can create a vision and make intentions for how we want to move forward.

For tonight, or, for the next few nights, it is a good time to set intentions. I propose an intention setting exercise this evening. This is a powerful time for growth. During the winter months, the surface of the earth appears to be fallow, but underneath the surface, roots are digging down deep, and seeds and bulbs are waiting for spring to push forth their potential. Right now is a powerful time to plant intentions so that they may grow strong and grounded beneath the surface before emerging in the spring.

You will need several sheets of paper.

Part 1
Choose a topic you’d like to focus on. It could be about money and finances, relationships, love, career, home life, recreation, travel, the environment, creativity, community, education—basically anything that’s on your mind or that you feel needs focus. If you can’t think of a particular topic, that’s ok, because we are going to begin with letting go of what we don’t want. You may just write about all the things you want to let go of in general.

On top of your page write, “I don’t want . . . ” and then just list what you don’t want as quickly as you can. To give you some ideas, there may be things that are happening in your life right now about this particular subject that you just don’t like. (For example: I don’t want to deal with grumpy customers at my job anymore). Write that down. Or, you may have fears about what may come up if you start doing or having what you want. (For example: I don’t want to date any more guys who are afraid of commitment). Write all the don’ts, can’ts, shouldn’ts, won’ts down for the next 10 minutes.

Read over your list of “don’t wants.” You will find that many of the things you don’t want appear to be outside of you. Is there anything that you are doing that might be creating the things you don’t want?

Below the “don’t want” list, or on another sheet of paper, write, “I want to let go of or release . . .” and list behaviors or circumstances that may be blocking you from having more flow in your life. Some of my things on this list might be: procrastination, always allowing my significant other to make our weekend plans, spending more money than I have, not getting enough rest, etc. Write what you want to let go of for the next 10 minutes.

Read over your lists once again. Is there anything else you want to add? Be thorough, but don’t let the energy get stuck. You can do this more than once (it’s a good one to do at the new moons).

Once you are done with your lists, stand up and lift your arms over your head. Inhale. Then, exhaling, gently bending forward while slightly bending your knees allow your upper body to hang, you may even swing back and forth gently. Imagine all the things you don’t want and the things you want to release are flowing from your arms, fingertips, and top of your head and into the earth. Say, “I am letting go now. Thank you Mother Earth, for taking care of this for me.” Now slowly roll the upper body up, one vertebra at a time, knees slightly bent, head comes up last.

Part 2
Look at your “don’t want” and “let go of” lists. On another sheet of paper, take each item on your lists and write the opposite of each phrase, things or circumstances you do want. You may begin the phrases with, “Wouldn’t it be nice if . . .”, “I’d love to . . .”, “I attract people who . . .”, “I’d really like . . . “, “I am surrounded by . . . ” or whatever seems appropriate to you.

The phrases allow you to being to daydream and envision more of what you would like to bring into your life.

Once you have written all the opposite phrases – you may take the list of what you no longer want and burn it (Solstice is a wonderful time for a fire) or tear it up and throw it away (if a safe fire is not feasible). The list has now been transformed in the physical dimension and represents another version of letting go.

Take your new list and read it out loud to yourself. Imagine inhaling each phrase and allowing the breath to move through your entire body, filling up the space you have just created for yourself.

Part 3
Continuing working with the breath. Inhaling, imagine light and love is flowing through the crown of your head, down your spine, and all the way down to your feet. Exhale, imagine light and love expanding to bathe every cell of your body. Inhaling, let that light and love pour in through the crown of your head and all the way through the souls of your feet. Exhale, that light and love continues to flow outward. Continue this breathing so that you establish a steady flow.

Once that flow is established, imagine it is three years from now. All the things that you want have come to pass, and you are enjoying your life beyond your wildest dreams. You are having a party to celebrate your success. What are you celebrating? What are your surroundings? Who is there? Try to write at least one detail for each of your senses. Do this for 10 minutes (write as quickly as you can).

When the 10 minutes is up, read your vision back to yourself. Imagine that your vision is a powerful seed of potential. Release that seed into the sky. If you’d like, read your vision to the sun and beyond the farthest reaches of the universe. Know that what is best for you is what will grow. You may even add at the end, “This or something better is now coming to me for the good of all. I love you (Universe). Thank you. So it is.”

Don’t Stop Here
IMG_0500Over the next few months as the Sun gets higher in the sky, you may begin to get ideas on how to move forward with your vision, or opportunities may come your way that will move you closer to your dream. Remember to take action once you are shown the way – otherwise your intentions are just daydreams.

Three years is 1095.75 days. Break your Three-Year Success Dream into doable daily steps – they can be the teeniest, tiniest doable steps along your path, or they can be big leaps. Maybe take some small steps to build up your confidence with some hops and pirouettes thrown in. Do it your own way, with your unique style. Do it in a way that is fun and where you are least likely to beat yourself up. Maybe some of those small steps become habit, and once they are established, you reach a turning point.

What can you do, see, be? Continue to wonder what it feels like to do, see, and be something completely new, while having gratitude for where you are now. Who can you call or enlist to help you on the way? Who and/or what can you let go of? What one little step can you do today that will become 1095.75 steps? Can you enjoy the journey and not worry about the destination?

Start with what you’ve got and where you are. Most importantly, start.

Happy writing and intention setting! I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

If you would like, feel free to share your intentions in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Namaste.

Holly

Having a Place

I came across this essay while pulling a manuscript together. It was written in the spring of 2009. I’ve left Flagstaff and come back twice since then. I love this place – and since I ride my bicycle almost everywhere I go, my relationship to Flagstaff has changed from when I drove everywhere. I’ve slowed down, I notice more. Having place, being in this place, is a rich experience.

IMG_3605Having Place

New things are OK, but new places are even better. Bill Plotkin, author of Nature and the Human Soul, says that soul is a place where we reside, not a thing that resides in us. We must find our place. When we are displaced, it is sharp and painful.

My soul moves a lot. It is in New York City, then, it’s here in Flagstaff, it’s onstage creating an outpouring of music, it’s in bed with my lover, in a yoga studio, on the mountains. It goes to Buenos Aires, Peru, Costa Rica, the South of France, Ireland, Prague, Morrocco.

My body hasn’t caught up to all the places my soul goes.

Lately, I believe my soul has been hanging out with Amit, my seven year-old sponsor child who lives in Northern India. I’ve been Amit’s sponsor mom for three years. He is a lovely little boy who is beginning to smile more easily in the pictures Children International sends to me. His skin is the color of terra cotta; his eyes are so large that they open his whole face. His lips are tiny, like a little heart.

Amit’s birth mother sends me letters – telling me Amit is too young to write. He colors pictures for me. His favorite color is red. I have not sent any pictures of myself to Amit, though it has recently occurred to me that he might enjoy that. I wonder what he would think of my red hair.

If it is true that a photograph steals your soul, then, I will happily send mine to India.

The Earth says have a place/be what that place requires. (William Stafford)

I have not been to many places in the world. I’ve never left North America. I am soon moving to Boulder, Utah, population 180. I will be living among Mormons and Buddhists. My lover and I will be apart for seven months. Then, I will go to another place.

My soul has moved to another place and I’m not sure where it is.

How many times have I said I’m sick of this place! I’m done! I’m tired! What if I turned around and nurtured a place – really paid attention to it and loved it? Would it love me back?

When I first came to Flagstaff, the mountains fascinated me as I drove east on 89 toward home. Wow! You don’t see this everyday! Now I’ve lived here for a little less than two years, and I barely notice them. I notice cars, traffic, bad drivers, the budget, Jillian Ferris Cole announcing that I am listening to KNAU.

There’s a quality of honesty when a place is new, when I am a stranger.

Sometimes a place simply requires us to leave.

How permeable is place? One of my teachers, Swami Swaroopananda, says that our souls become fully formed on Earth when we turn about 35. Before that, we aren’t completely here – we are still working with karma from past lives. Once are souls are grounded, we need to live our lives more profoundly, making new meaning for ourselves.

Place requires us to be conscious.

I made the conscious decision not to have children. Last August, I had my tubes tied. When I met the doctor who performed the procedure, she assumed I already had children. I simply ran out of time prior to meeting her to fill out the page that asked, How many pregnancies carried to term? She described the procedure and I had two weeks to think about it.

I came prepared with a list of reasons for not wanting children.

  • Carbon footprint – the world has enough humans.
  • I can’t afford a child; I can’t afford myself – I live a very simple, minimal life, yet I am in debt.
  • I believe if people are going to have children, they should have only one. I know enough people who have more than two, therefore, my allotment is taken.
  • I believe there is a possibility of insanity in my family that is genetic.
  • I’ve played the role of parent to too many people already—now I need to take care of myself.

I had the list down and I didn’t have to use it.

A few months earlier, I saw a popular gynecologist in town. I took off of work in the middle of the day. I waited for 45 minutes past my appointment time amongst exhausted mothers hushing crying babies in one arm, holding onto snot-covered toddlers with the other arm, and shifting their sore pregnant bodies uncomfortably from one position to another.

When I was called from the waiting room, I was weighed while wearing three layers of jackets and a sweater and a pair of boots. Then, I waited another ten minutes for the doctor to arrive. Posters of smiling babies with bright mothers hung on the office walls. Several parenting magazines featuring cherubic cuties on the covers were next to my chair.

I was in the wrong place.

Still, I bravely told the doctor I was there for a routine check-up and to discuss what a tubal ligation would entail.

She clenched her teeth, “You don’t want that.”

I gave her my top reasons for not wanting children. She practically covered her ears. Her eyes narrowed. She pushed a new form of IUD when I refused the pill, said I hadn’t met “Mr. Right” yet and closed the discussion.

She left the room. Even though I felt like telling her off, I stayed for the examination. I got undressed, put on a paper robe, sat on the exam table and waited. She came back into the office chattering away about her two girls. She never stopped talking about them during the exam, which was quick and rough. She never stopped to say, “I’m inserting the speculum now, I’m taking a pap sample now . . .”

I wanted to ask her who was raising her children while she was at work.

Tearing the top of my paper robe for my breast exam, she noticed my mala beads. While pressing my breasts and squeezing my nipples she smiled tightly and mentioned she did yoga. I told her I was a teacher and that I practice my mantra with my beads.

Feet still in stirrups, top half of my body entirely exposed, she thrust her hand out for me to shake. “Nice meeting you. If you’re interested in an IUD, give me a call.”

I felt the pinch of politics of this place.

I wanted to tell her to go to hell, but I could not because she was a friend of a friend. I was in a daze of anger when I left her office. I had to concentrate on driving carefully and politely.

When I finally had the procedure, my lover came with me. He held my hand until they wheeled me away.

The anesthesiologist was a kind woman. She looked at us approvingly. “Honey, before you go to sleep, I want to hear you say, ‘No more babies.’”

Huh? Oh yeah. “No more babies.”

They were taking care of me. I let them. I felt like they practically cooed at me before I surrendered.

Be what the place requires. 

What if my place is my body?

 

 

 

 

Maggie and Jack

Been thinking about Jack Kerouac and Maggie Estep today.

Bad Day at the Beauty Salon

And Maggie’s classic: I’m An Emotional Idiot.

and: I’m Happy

Donuts, Aquarius, and The Shadow – Dancing with the Echoes of Eternity

Grief and the shadow have been staring me down. I’m seeing patterns, and more and more, time feels less linear to me, spherical, maybe even donut-shaped.

Addiction, alienation, secrets, power, sexuality, envy, fear – the stuff we keep hidden – I’ve been circling around the subjects and diving through. I feel like I’ve been breaking past human darkness and into something more brilliant and magnificent, something that reverberates beyond my body, beyond space, and beyond time.

Jung saw the shadow as “the seat of creativity.” What if we looked at the shadow differently? What if we if we looked at the shadow as the hidden part of ourselves that is the cosmic hyper-dimensional being that is who we are in eternity – and – what if we take that part of ourselves and integrate it into our consciousness? Shadow as the Infinite Self, rather than the lowest aspect of our being. Or, if we look at the polarity of the shadow – the lowest part must also includes the highest part.

Check out Mama Maga’s video below. She is right in synch with how I’ve been thinking about the shadow and about time lately. She’s discusses the Aquarian view of the Shadow. Our perception of reality can open or close doors to how we view and experience our lives.

Mama Maga asks, “Is the great aspect of you your shadow?” and, “How is the energy in your nervous system transforming?”

The collage below is from Tribal Donut, Issue 1, 1991, page 9 – San Francisco. I view it as incredibly Scorpionic, a way of looking at the shadow as self through creative play. The collage artist was a friend of mine at the time – Jason Keehn (a.k.a. Cinnamon Twist). The creative play I experienced in the 90s was exquisite, and I feel as if those creative doors are opening again. I feel this beautiful (and sometimes scary) part of my past is echoing into my future . . .

tribal donut page 9_cinnamon twist_shadow

Excerpt from Tribal Donut (pages 5 and 6):

Tribal Donut—somewhere between dolphin pod, sufi halka, magikal circle . . . without gurus or masters, or rather, where anyone  & anything can be a source of revelation; where each of us is both student and teacher to each other at different times; where the formal intitiatic hierarchy is dissolved into a movement of learning from one another and from life.

No program, no predefined goal, no rules: call it a kind of experiment in kaos magick.

A signal in the cracks of your so-called waking world, a blip of that way rad akashic musick-video you glimpsed yourself in your wildest, most luminescent luminous dreams . . .

A psychick postcard from the city on the edge of forever, beamed out on the pulse of Love to tomorrow’s friends . . .

Simple premise: Nobody is going to create your utopia for you. (Sidestepping here the aspect of Utopia as dead perfection). Do It Yourself. It may be small, it may be fragmentary, it may be evanescent, and the going may not be very easy, but what else is there to do? What are we here for anyway?

Finished listing excuses for why things are they way they are. after all the obstacles and inertia and “forces of oppression,” there remains a fundamental openness waiting to find channels through which it can remake itself/be remade . . . Count up the untold horrors and pains and ugliness wrought by domesticated primates on each other & their world; try to change it: struggle yes—but do you really know what you are up against, & just how deep it runs? . . .Maybe to truly take responsibility for your own life—as opposed to taking on the weight of the world when you can’t even clean up after your own mess, ‘internal’ or ‘external’—is to see that there’s really nothing preset: so assume your freedom, and out AND PLAY.

And why not create something as radically different as possible from all the dismal and abusive routines of civilization while you are at it . . .??