108 Days of American Sentence ~ Day 16

Church lady sucker punch,  didn’t see it coming and I’m still spinning.

~

remember the exit is behind you © holly troy

Hey folks ~

The original plan was to write a sentence everyday for 108 days. Plans got derailed – since I began 108 Days of American Sentence, my sweet man had emergency open heart surgery. I’ve been with him along the entire journey – from being in the room when he was diagnosed with an aneurysm in his heart along with the prognosis, to the surgery and the excruciating days directly afterward, and now along the slow forward and back and zigzag course of healing. This experience has been intense and terrifying and deeply human – and despite how scary – there is the gift of deep love, trust, warmth, benevolence, and comfort along the path .

These sentences were to be a meditation of sorts, I’m glad to be getting back to them.

I’m sure I will write more about this open heart passage – I’m mostly exhausted right now. I do know this – if you love someone: tell them, show them, be kind everyday.

Your friend,

Holly

 

108 Days of American Sentence ~ Day 13

Shift to gratitude: relief/redemption/restoration/hope/blessings.

~

riding-toward-home-holly-troy-2016

May 2015 Good Vibe Challenge

At least once a day for the next month open your arms and say, “I am open and receptive to all the good and abundance in the universe. Thank you Life.”

Sunset at Forbidden Meadow (c) 2015 Holly Troy

Notice how you feel. Make note of your general vibe the first time you do this, and then again at the end of the month.

Does it feel natural and good to open your arms and embrace the good in life?

Do you have resistance? If so, where does it stem from? Could you be willing to let the resistance go? Try a smaller step. Open your arms and say, “I am willing to be open and receptive to all the good and abundance in the universe. Thank you Life.”

This is a simple exercise I’ve been doing recently. I learned it from the Godmother of New Age, Louise Hay

Born on a Thursday #43 – I Wasn’t Born Yesterday (or, Yoga for the Rest of Us)

Thoughts on Danielle Prohom Olson’s article, Yoga Body: The Backlash.

Yoga Body:The Backlash is a piece about yoga, western yoga culture, the corporatization of the “ideal yoga body” and what happened when one woman wrote her opinion about it.

Olson’s article begins:

Two years ago I wrote a popular post titled Yoga Body: The Conspiracy. At the time it was very warmly received, generating thousands of hits, hundreds of shares and loads of positive comments. But lately the commentary hasn’t been very affirmative. In fact, its been making people pretty angry. One yoga teacher was enraged enough to call me an ignorant, lazy, pissed off “fat chick”.

and continues . . .

This is why the questions I asked in Yoga Body: The Conspiracy, still need answering. Does the yoga body (and it’s shadow) take root in a backlash against a female body that has become increasingly liberated from patriarchal authority? Why, as yoga helped women develop a new sense of positive embodiment, did the yoga body ( and all that it implies) become enshrined as an ideal of feminine virtue? Why do so many western women of privilege, women who enjoy the first world ‘rights’ denied to so many, spend so much free time, energy and money simply keeping their bodies under control?

So to my posts detractors I say this. No matter our opinions on what the yoga body is or should be, lets drop the judgement, of ourselves and each other. As Harvey reminds us, ‘the body beautiful will get us nowhere’… ‘thin-shaming and fat-shaming are not separate, opposing issues—they are stratification’s of the same issue: Patriarchal culture’s need to demoralize, distract, and pit women against one another.’

Holly Troy and the Halfbreeds

Performing with my band The Halfbreeds – I was hardly overweight.

For my whole life I’ve had body issues. As a performer I thought I was too fat – I kept thinking I needed to look like Patti Smith, I hated my curvy hips and slightly rounded belly, and I felt under constant pressure to be petite. Not only that, but, being on stage, people felt like they had the right to tell me how I should look. “Remember, if the camera adds ten pounds, video adds fifteen . . . ”

Growing up, I had the misfortune of being the chubby bookworm in a competitive household that valued athletic ability and a slender, broad-shouldered build over all else. I was picked on daily by family members, and my body and its “imperfections” were often the topic of conversation. By the time I was seven years-old, I was on my first diet! At eleven, when I began puberty, my grandmother angrily admonished my mother for not putting me on hormone therapy to keep me from “becoming a freak, a giant.”

Sharon Gannon

Sharon Gannon of Jivamukti Yoga (photographer unknown)

When I began practicing yoga over twenty years ago, it was such a relief to not focus on what I looked like or how well I was performing in comparison to everyone else in the room. I feel very fortunate that my earliest teachers, Nancy LaNasa and Sharon Gannon, helped me experience my body in a new way by showing me how to work with the breath and the spirit. Both Nancy and Sharon are beautiful women with stunning physiques, but honestly, if the focus of their classes was to achieve a “yoga body”, I would not have continued practicing yoga.

I learned how to teach yoga at an ashram in a room with no mirrors. The teachings focused on feeling our bodies, not obsessively looking at ourselves during asana. We yoga teachers in training had steady practices but different body types. Some of us were thin, some round, some stocky, some old, some very young. Our teachers were as diverse in body type as the students – and they practiced asana for four hours a day every day for years.

In Yoga Body:The Conspiracy, Olson writes:

The taut and toned ‘yoga body’ on display in the media marketplace is a lie. It is NOT obtained from a regular yoga routine (as many would have you believe) – no , its obtained at the price of constant work, a Herculean effort to burn calories, and a saintly denial of carbs.

Many of the teachers I have had with “the taut and toned ‘yoga body'” were dancers before they became teachers. Of course, some teachers do naturally have a “yoga body”. No matter what, all of my favorite teachers have possessed a(n inner) grace that comes from practicing yoga, no matter what size or shape they happen(ed) to be.

Relaxing with my friend Eric who I met at Yoga Teacher's Training - we are wearing the standard YTT uniform

Relaxing with my friend Eric who I met at Yoga Teacher’s Training – we are wearing the standard YTT uniform

I ride my bicycle and/or walk everywhere I go as well as practice yoga. I will always have big legs, it is part of my genetic make up. I actually like having powerful thighs now. I also have a round belly, and, at the same time, a really strong core. I will not spend more time in my day working out, or eating less. I have other things to do. At almost 5’7″ and weighing in the range of 130 to 136 pounds, I am fit and healthy. It has taken a few decades to come to the conclusion that I am fine just the way that I am, despite what mainstream media and/or my family would have me believe.

The real questions no one is asking are these – why do so few yoga teachers admit that they work hard to maintain their fat-free physiques?Why does the yoga world, from the cover of Yoga Journal to the glossy advertising of main stream studios, continue to display the “yoga body “ as a norm? Where are the images of average woman with rounded thighs and obvious bellies, women who practice yoga with regularity and passion?

. . . Women have mistakenly conflated power and control in the world, with power and control over our bodies. And without a doubt, it is an assumption that the corporate world works to exploit and ever aggrandize.

I am grateful that yoga helped me to have a healthier view of my own body, and as a teacher, I hope I have been able to help others have a healthier and more compassionate view of themselves. It blows my mind that a yoga teacher called Olson “an ignorant, lazy, pissed off ‘fat chick'” because of her article Yoga Body: The Conspiracy. Olson’s article fairly asks the question – “Why do we have no other visual language to communicate what yoga is or means – than just the yoga body?”

Rather than setting goals for the achievement of the mainstream idealized “yoga body”, why not allow yoga practice to be a foundation for building inner-strength and self-empowerment?  As we become more empowered, why not allow our strengths to enhance our personal lives as well as our local and global communities? Whether we practice yoga or not, what if we began everyday knowing we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got?

Om shanti.

Check out Olson’s articles:

Yoga Body:The Conspiracy and Yoga Body:The Backlash

Looking Back to Peru

It was my trip to the Amazon in 2011 that began to open me up to reiki in a bigger way than I had ever known. I decided to go to Peru with Healer 2 Healer to do work with a village in the jungle in exchange for medicinal and spiritual knowledge of the people there.

Our main healing modalities were acupuncture, reiki, and massage. We were hosted by Paititi Insititute, and they brought some herbal medicines as well.

Sarah ready for our ride on the Amazon River

Sarah ready for our journey on the Amazon River

Right now Healer2Healer are in Peten, Guatemala – the birthplace of the Mayan calendar. Some of the people who I met in Peru are in Guatemala – and their posts have me reminiscing. From Healer2Healer’s website:

Healer2Healer combines Unification Maya with the continuation of it’s community clinic in Peten, Guatemala. The trip is in two parts, the first part is Unification Maya, which includes traditional Mayan Teaching. Past teachings included Nahual lift path meaning, Sunrise Ceremonies, and healings by Tatas. The second part of the trip is the Healer2Healer clinic in Peten. This includes unforgettable clinic days, 7 NCCAOM CEUs, practice and trainings in acupuncture, H2H protocol, Reiki, auricular, moxa, and cupping. Join us for the Unification Maya, the clinic or both!

Man, I would have loved to go on this trip!!

So much has happened since my trip to Peru. I am currently in the midst of launching a full-on reiki practice where I am giving reiki, holding reiki circles, and will be teaching reiki — as well as teaching yoga and continuing to explore the chakras and energy systems of the body.

I am certain I will travel with Healer2Healer again.

Below is a video of Sarah Swanberg, an acupuncture student who joined Healer2Healer last year. I got to know her a little bit, she is a very giving person — as was everyone on that trip — before the Healer2Healer trip she was doing work with Habitat for Humanity. She is a beautiful, clear light. She talks about her experience at the clinic:

(Update to this post – 4:53 pm, December 26, 2012: I just received an email from the Paititi Institute. Because of the massive deforestation in the jungle, the region where I did my work with Healer2Healer has become a malaria epidemic zone. It looks as if Paititi will have to move their preserve closer to the mountains. Here’s the full story.)

“The Art of Receiving” ~ Heart Chakra Love

Often when we become stressed, we put an extra burden on our bodies by cutting ourselves off from what we are feeling so that we can just “get through” the stress. Financial problems, work issues, and disharmonious relationships can really shut us down, not to mention reading or watching way too much news.

I received the article The Art Of Receiving in my inbox from Marie Manuchehri yesterday. In the message she talks about the heart or fourth chakra. She says:

The fourth chakra receives the highest amount of energy, in the form of abundance, for the human body. Reception occurs at the back mate of the chakra, right in-between your shoulder blades.  When this chakra is open—its normal state—and allows energy in, it receives health, love, joy, and wealth. Many people refuse to receive, and energetically block this chakra, withholding deserved abundance and healing.

Considering that the heart chakra receives the highest amount of energy in the human body, it’s a good idea to keep it open and flowing. Check out Marie’s website for exercises for helping the heart chakra receive energy and to keep it from leaking energy.

pebble form roman's altar - the amazonI went to a talk by Marie a few months ago after reading her book, Intuitive Self-Healing: Achieve Balance and Wellness Through the Body’s Energy Centers. I found that just by reading her experiences with energetic healing that my reiki practice deepened — her story (she was an oncology nurse before she became an energetic healer, and her story is fascinating) helped me let go and listen just a notch more deeply to my intuition, especially while working with clients. And her chakra exercises and meditations are really effective; the results are profound.

In person, Marie’s vibe is very down-to-earth and caring, plus, her presence just made me smile. I couldn’t help it! She is from Seattle, and I’m going to take a workshop with her when she comes through Phoenix next month. I can’t wait!

Check out Marie’s article on the heart chakra, and check out her site to see if she is coming to a city near you. She is worth seeing in person if you can swing it. 

If you want a heart chakra meditation, here’s mine: Sending Love to the Universe and Back

I’m Donating a Painting to Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona (PPAA) is holding their annual reception celebrating their commitment to Women’s Health at The High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff, AZ, on Thursday, March 8th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.

“As we all know, access to reproductive health is facing the most aggressive attacks in modern history.  The 2011 legislative session saw the largest numbers of anti-women’s health bills introduced and laws enacted.”

For more details about the reception, click here. Stand with me and Planned Parenthood by coming out to the event!

“Funds raised at our reception will support Planned Parenthood’s work toward a prevention agenda at all levels of government during 2012, including local school boards and the Arizona legislature. Donations will also support our strategies to elect pro-choice leaders who will stand up for women, choice, and access to health care.

At the reception there will also be a raffle for artwork and jewelry. I am donating an oil painting called Flowers Keep Emerging (No Matter What)!.  I think the title is apropos for the event – no matter how hard women’s issues get trampled on, we will keep on standing up and speaking up!

Flowers Keep Emerging (No Matter What)! 

This is an oil painting measuring 12″ x 12″. I am currently framing it, so in the end it will measure about 13″ x 13″ and will be about 2″ deep. Flowers Keep Emerging is priced at $300.00

My partner, Matagi Sorensen will also be donating jewelry for the raffle. Check out what he donated last year. To see more of his work, visit his website. I can’t wait to see what he donates this year!

Date: Thursday, March 8, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Address:
High Country Conference Center
201 W. Butler Ave
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
United States

For tickets – visit Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.