108 Days of American Sentence – 23

Brown rabbit crosses curved path – pine tree, moist earth, lilac – cool breeze on skin.


evening aspen on way to see my love © Holly Troy May 4, 2017

Deep Spring Love Vibration and Reiki and Tarot Offerings

evening at forbidden meadow - holly troy 2016

I am offering tarot and reiki sessions on a donation basis, for both in-person and online/distant sessions – in celebration of this season of rebirth, growth, and change.

Continue reading “Deep Spring Love Vibration and Reiki and Tarot Offerings”

108 Days of American Sentence – Day 18

Cold wet weight crushing old limbs already heavy with sap, springtime snow.


Spring snow © 2017 Holly Troy

108 Days of American Sentence – Day 10

forest in warm snowfall – trails turn to streams – pine needles beneath our feet



My First-Time Show in Flagstaff at the May Artwalk

It’s happening – my work will be on exhibit as part of a group show called Mama Terra with the Matter(s) Collective on May 6 at b.e Yoga in downtown Flagstaff.

How the Matter(s) Collective came about

mullien © 2016 Holly TroyArtBox participants were split into two groups and tasked to create pop-up gallery events to take place in May. It quickly became clear that while our art differs in media and style, all the members of my ensemble have a passion for nature. It also happens that our show falls the weekend of Mother’s Day – so – the Mama Terra (Mother Earth) exhibit and the Matter(s) Collective (matter is Latin for mother, it’s a play on the planet as our life source, matter is earthly, and finally – matters are issues, particularly those dealing with the environment) were born.

Details on the Show

On Friday, May 6, the Matter(s) Collective, a group of nine artists will be presenting a multimedia art exhibit, Mama Terra, in celebration of Mother Earth. The exhibit will be held during the First Friday Artwalk at b.e. Yoga Center, 9 N. Leroux St. from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pmMama Terra will also commemorate b.e. Yoga Center’s grand opening—enjoy live music, refreshments, and creative play with artist-designed postcards to color and keep or send for Mother’s Day.

Spring is the time to honor Mother – and Mother Earth. The Matter(s) Collective brings together artists from Flagstaff, Winslow, and the Hopilands as they champion Mama Terra! The exhibit will feature book art, botanical illustration, photography, paintings, fiber art, and sculpted metal works that highlight the beauty, inspiration, and solace that we find in the natural world. As participants of the Flagstaff Art’s Council 2016 ArtBox Institute, the Matter(s) Collective explores community, creativity, and how art contributes to the sustainability of ourselves, our communities, and our planet.

Matter(s) Collective members (alphabetical):

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I haven’t been out to play so much these last couple of months — I’ve been busy putting together this show and painting in my little studio. I’ll be ready to celebrate by the May 6th First Friday Artwalk (which also happens to be the Taurus New Moon, perfect for new beginnings having to do with art and beauty) – so pop in and say “hello” – I’d love to see you.

Thanks for reading!


Stepping Into My Artist Self

For the last several months, I have been a participant in the Flagstaff Art Council’s ArtBox Institute. It’s been a deeply transformative time as I have been dedicating myself to thriving as an artist.

I will say this – being an artist does not have to mean making an oath to loneliness or poverty.

I have my first show in Flagstaff, AZ coming up in May. This is my current artist statement – you’re seeing it here first! 

My work is a physical response to my relationship with Nature and how I move through it. I’m not satisfied with skittering along the surface, with looking at the world from a distance—I have to dive in, get dirty. Whether I’m mountain biking, meditating or painting, I explore the edges, the places of shift and change, where the thin quiver of constant movement along boundaries is almost unseen. Pushing the edge requires being in the moment; it can be prickly, sharp, and jagged—it can also be fun, expansive, and sublime. My paintings often begin as a meditation in agitation. Pressing the surface of discomfort, moving with the medium, creates a shift. The result is playful and raw. I know a piece is done when I step back from the canvas and find myself dancing.

one and one makes three, oil on canvas, 18%22 x 18%22 © 2016 Holly Troy INSTA
One and One Makes Three, Oil on Canvas, 18″ x 18″ © 2016 Holly Troy

Thanks for reading!


The Invitation to Feel More

IMG_0431From the grief of this year rose gratitude. A deep gratitude for my life, for human connection (however brief), for the bond with light and plants and trees and air, with animals, for the hard work and devotion it takes to get out there into the woods, to push myself up rocks and dirt, to move through fear and frustration and laziness, to move beyond what I thought I could ever do – just to see the next field of grass, sunflower, aspen, to look over the wide expanse of the landscape, its history, the sky and earth, the stars, and say, “wow.”

In Ian MacKenzie’s film, Stephen Jenkinson – The Meaning of Death,  Jenkinson asks – “What if meaning is not hidden?”

MacKenzie’s article, The Meaning of Death – Stephen Jenkinson, features outtakes from the film that are worth considering.

A few quotes that resonated with me below . . .

 . . . a lot of people in the world, ancestrally, knew long ago that that being content or that sense of well-being, that’s a consequence of your willingness to help the world live. That your happiness is actually a corollary—let me change happiness—that your health is a corollary of the health of everything around you.

. . . We use the word crisis to describe something that shouldn’t be or shouldn’t happen. I’m using the word to say the crisis is determined by our unwillingness to know it, that’s what makes it critical. But the world dies to keep us alive. Fortunately not all the world at the same time, at least so far. We’ll see. Or maybe we won’t see.

Grief is the willingness to be claimed by a story bigger than the one you wish for.

What a revolutionary proposition to realize that your heartbrokenness turns out to be the key to your willingness to remember what it takes to be a human being.

To see the whole beautiful article, click here.

Learn more about Stephen’s work at Orphan Wisdom.


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?






Flying, swooping, listening to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah sung by Jeff Buckley while riding in the forest.

sun through the forest (c) 5.2015 Holly Troy

The sunlight shining through the trees was stunning. Through the camera lens, the light took on an almost solid quality.

Light as entity.

Just as I was coming to this place I was here in the song:

. . . your faith was strong/but you needed proof/you saw her bathing on the roof/her beauty in the moonlight overthrew ya/she tied you to a kitchen chair/she broke your throne and she cut your hair/and from your lips she drew the halellujah . . .

I stopped to listen – and that’s when I saw the light.