dancing with the beauty and vulnerability of the unknown

svadhistana – the right to feel, the power of relationships

“Happiness comes from between. It comes from getting the right relationship between yourself and others, yourself and your work, and yourself and something larger than yourself.” — Jonathan Haidt

“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything.”—Thích Nhất Hạnh

“The dancer’s body is simply the luminous manifestation of the Soul.” ~ Isadora Duncan

“Permaculture principles focus on thoughtful designs for small-scale intensive systems which are labor efficient and which use biological resources instead of fossil fuels. Designs stress ecological connections and closed energy and material loops. The core of permaculture is design and the working relationships and connections between all things.” – Bill Mollison

“Creativity requires a state of grace. So many things are required for it to succeed.” ~ Magda Szabó

love-note-to-me-from-kip-holly-troy“We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.” ~ Ellen Goodman

“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.” – Bill Mollison

“For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.” – James Hillman

“We are challenged every day to say yes to the movements of life, to see it all through, without pause, staying in relationship to the music of life and each other, adjusting as we go, not knowing what will happen next.”  —Mark Nepo

“The actual trouble is that profit is identified entirely with money, as distinct from the real profit of living with dignity and elegance in beautiful surroundings.” ~Does it Matter, Alan Watts

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

“Salmon are crucial to their coastal ecosystem like perhaps few other species on the planet. A significant portion of the nitrogen in West Coast forests has been traced back to salmon, which can travel hundreds of miles upstream to lay their eggs. The largest trees on Earth simply wouldn’t exist without salmon.”  – Eric Holthaus, “The Point of No Return, Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here”, Rolling Stone

“Maybe some people just aren’t meant to be in our lives forever. Maybe some people are just passing through. It’s like some people just come through our lives to bring us something: a gift, a blessing, a lesson we need to learn. And that’s why they’re here. You’ll have that gift forever.” ~ Danielle Steel

“The war of an artist with his society is a lover’s war and he does at his best what lovers do which is to reveal the beloved to himself and with that revelation to make freedom real.”  ~ James Baldwin

Scorpio Energy and Writing the Energetic Body – next online course begins 10.23.14

Online Course
Writing the Energetic Body ~ Begins October 23, 2014
Place, Somatics, and Self-Discovery – 21 Days of Writing Past the Mind and Into the Chakras
New Moon in Scorpio, Lunar Samhain, Scorpio Sun Rising, Solar Eclipse

This is the time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, when we can make deep connection with unseen the world, where we can plant seeds and intentions that will grow deep roots throughout the darkness of winter. This is a potent time for high magic and a perfect time to release your highest vision to the Universe.

kali ma (c) holly troyWe will begin this session of Writing the Energetic Body with an intention-setting ritual that will touch on each of the seven major chakras and their influence in our lives. We will stimulate the imagination and expand our perception for our best life in terms of each chakra, grounding it at the Root, stabilizing Scorpio energy into the Earth, and using that energy to sustain us as we rise up through the body and the chakras to the Crown and the atmosphere around us. We prepare to fully embrace the season of autumn, finding the balance between the necessity of letting go of what needs to leave and making space for what wants to enter, what will sustain us in the dark months ahead, and what we want to nurture and encourage to break through the frozen surface once spring arrives.

Get ready to explore possibility, make (re)discoveries, release inhibition, and develop a writing practice.

Writing the Energetic Body uses the seven major chakras of the Hindu Chakra system as the “backbone” for self-exploration through writing. We will explore each chakra for three days, resulting in 21 days of writing.

You get writing prompts, feedback, and videos from me everyday. Here is a crown chakra opening video from my last course:

Om Shanti. This class is closed.

If I weren’t afraid vs. If money were no issue

At the beginning of the month, I posted 30-Day Challenge – If I Weren’t Afraid. Basically, the post was a challenge to look in the mirror and finish the phrase, “If I weren’t afraid . . . ” over and over again for three minutes, then choose one of the things that you said you would do if you weren’t afraid and do it.

Immediately, someone asked me, “Shouldn’t the question be – If I weren’t broke I’d . . .” A few days later, a dear friend of mine messaged me with this, I do challenge you to really answer the question ‘if money were no issue…’ cause though what you said is good and true, there is also a huge Holly Vanidevi that I know who might have some more creative answers to this.

I have thought about this for weeks. To repeat over and over again, “If I weren’t broke . . . ” is an affirmation to being poor, which is then an obstacle the mind has to get over before it can make an intuitive leap to what it really wants to do. It can be a defeat before you even get anywhere. (Believe me, when you are trying to figure out how to afford a can of beans, it is really hard to imagine all the great things you can do when you are starving).

Might as well go back to bed . . . 

look yourself in the eye (c) 2013 Holly TroyThe point of saying, if I weren’t afraid . . .  is to check in with your spirit, to get past your private fears, maybe to admit things that you want for yourself that you may be afraid to admit, or perhaps weren’t aware of. Admitting fear is intensely personal – it brings us to ourselves very quickly. For instance, you may realize you are afraid of losing your job even though if you weren’t afraid, you’d quit your job. Or you may be afraid of being single, but, if you weren’t afraid, you’d get a divorce. Once you shine light on your fears, you get to know yourself a little better, and can decide whether or not you want to take action.

Repeating “if money were no issue . . .” is not checking in with your personal energy system, but the system society has put in place in which to rate your deservedness of the things or experiences you wish to have.  It’s looking outside of yourself, and what you think you deserve based on a society that is, economically and ecologically, an insane system to begin with. To run your energy circuits through the money system first, before going to your gut and heart, is giving all of your power over to something that is set up against most of us to begin with. We just find ourselves wishing for money, while life itself is passing by. 

It’s also holding onto the belief that, “Someday, I’ll be rich (and when I’m rich I’ll do this and that, but until then . . .)”  Most likely, if you weren’t born into wealth, you probably won’t become rich. For instance, women still make less money than men in the United States, and for single women there is an even bigger gap. Frankly, money often is an issue.

I would love to have more money. And I would love to make money doing what I love. I could say my life would be easier had I more money, but that depends on how I come about the money. I used to work at an investment bank, and I made about 5 times more money than I make now – but – I was miserable on a daily basis. Though, if I were any more poor than I am now, I would also be quite miserable. It takes some balancing, and I am on a very thin edge financially.

Boy oh freakin’ boy, if those aren’t some money issues for my mind to be affirming and then stepping around daily!

Getting back to the phrase, If I weren’t afraid . . .  Below are a few examples of my experience with it.

First of all, using the phrase is an experiment. I’m all for experiments. I used this phrase last year while I was in a very dark place, and it helped me to move out of the darkness (and Phoenix – thankfully). As things got better for me, I simply forgot about the phrase and moved on with my life. I was recently reminded of the exercise, was happy with my results, and thought I’d share it with my readers.

As I have been saying to myself – “If I weren’t afraid I would . . .” my responses have been emotional and honest. In my original post, I mentioned a permaculture garden in my example. Over this month, I realize that I have a fear about making a commitment to being in a particular place – and a garden, particularly a permaculture garden, requires time and experimentation and commitment for it to really come to fruition. That is something I learned about myself. What is the worst that could happen? I grow a successful garden and leave it behind for someone else to nurture? I can think of several people who would love to take over a thriving permaculture garden. 

Also, I often found myself saying things like, “If I weren’t afraid, I’d say how I really feel.” And so, I began expressing my feelings more this past month – especially when I am feeling good feelings like love and happiness. I was holding those feelings back for fear of rejection, but holding the good feelings in was making me feel sad. As I let go of being afraid, I let go of the outcome, and now my feelings are flowing much more easily and my relationships are opening up rather than shutting down. Plus, I feel like I am surrounded by people I love and who love me. Bonus!!

I confess, “If I weren’t afraid, I’d make money doing what I love.” I am willing to explore and take new actions toward creating income through my creative work, and am especially committed to my sacred sexuality project with Sydney Francis. I am committed to sharing my knowledge of somatics, creativity and the creative process (especially in writing, the visual arts and sound), ritual, and play. I am willing to explore and experiment, with an open heart and spirit toward gratitude and abundance in all its forms.

Lee's Ferry in Winter (c) 2014 Holly TroyOne of the big things for me – a city girl who moved to the country – is spending more time outside and connecting with nature. Since the new year – I’ve been camping TWICE!! Outside. In the winter. That’s huge and very exciting for me. It is adventurous, expansive, and glorious! if I weren’t afraid, I’d become a National Geographic photographer! (From punk rocker chick to nature photographer – how’s that for a leap)?

If I weren’t afraid vs. if money were no issue? Perhaps the middle-ground phrase is, “As I recognize my abundance I . . . “

Tell me everything you know for sure about your life.

I don’t know where I got this writing prompt from. Maybe it was from the amazing poet, teacher, and adventuress, Maya Stein. (Even if it wasn’t, check out her site and see what she is up to. Her undertakings are inspiring, surprising and fun).

The prompt is this:

Free-write on – Tell me everything you know for sure about your life.

Blue in Red (c) Holly Troy 2014

I know for sure that I have to move my body in order to keep from getting lost in my mind.

I know that there is something special about living in this small mountain town.

I get that I can’t go back in time and experience New York in the 90s over again. I realize now that I can’t even imagine living in the city again – although for a few moments a few months ago, I did imagine it with ardor.

I know I need beauty and fresh air and birds singing and to stop looking at the fucking internet.

I want to remember life before the internet, life before wifi. I want old school – I want pay phones, I want paper letters that arrive in the mail. Wait, I don’t miss pay phones – I am forever repulsed by the surprise of picking up a handset covered in an unidentified, thick, sticky substance.

Fuck public phones – but I do love public transportation when it is not rush hour.

What I love more is riding my bicycle where I need to go. I know for sure I love my bicycle. It keeps me moving.

I know I need the earth, to experience my physicality as much as possible everyday. I know that after 20 years of looking hard for beauty, and sometimes only finding it in the smallest cracks in the sidewalk – I don’t want to look that hard anymore.

I know for sure that I want to have fun, but I don’t want to play games – unless they are volleyball or hockey or scrabble.

I know for sure that I love sex, really good sex, and that I will not put up with bad sex – or be in a relationship with scarce sex or no sex. Fuck that.

I know for sure that I can see bullshit coming from miles away but that I don’t always dodge it very well.

I know I like to put my tongue on smooth stones, to taste their chalkiness and feel the moisture being sucked from my tongue.

I know that I say I want to be near the beach but I keep staying in the high desert because I like to choose when I am around lots of people.

I know I need to visit the ocean soon.

I know that I like to see softness in things that are hard.

I know that I am glad to be a woman, that I love having the body that I have even though I am not always satisfied with it.

What do I know for sure?

I know for sure that I could not have said no to save my life.

Born on a Thursday #21 – Saturday is the new Thursday

I know it’s Saturday. It has been a super hectic week. Lots of plans were made, and then many had to be changed because I couldn’t do them all.

This Saturday, I decided to rest. I napped a lot. Vacuumed the floors. Did things around the house to ground myself. It was the perfect thing to do after a hectic week. My original plan for today was to go to the Firefly Gathering. Last Saturday, I helped Jan prepare a dome and get the ground level (lots of digging rocks and building walls in the dirt) for the building of a gigantic mega-shrine.

IMG_3619Firefly is being held at a beautiful site, and I am sure it is amazing, but I just haven’t made it out there again. When it comes to being around hundreds of people at a festival, I know I need to be able to come and go as I please. Having no car at the moment makes coming and going a little more difficult. (Though not impossible – with the absolute groovy love vibe of Firefly, I’m sure I could hitch a ride at least on the way OUT easily. I am just not in the mind-frame to do that right now). My headspace has been more cuddly over big celebrations — or big celebrations in small doses.

I’m sure folks are having an amazing time. Though it was on the hot side today, these nights are perfect. Breezy and almost cool. Summer in Flagstaff!

appaloosa against blue-green barn (c) 2013 Holly Troy While working on the festival, I had a chat with this gorgeous Appaloosa. She was hanging out against a blue-green barn. Her coat is chalky grey, but her color seems to absorb the colors around her. Here, she takes on a green hue. As the sun sets, I imagine she glows purplish red. Just, wow. I love her.

The small breaks between social intensity are essential. It’s summer. It’s time to see people and be outside! Even if I walk or ride my bike to and from work, evening strolls complete the day. There is so much to see and wonder about.

IMG_3621The clouds are building for the monsoon season. Plants are blossoming already. With the rains, the flowers will be everywhere.

These feathery flowers are ready for rain – this photo was taken on a day a forest fire was blazing near Prescott.

This week looked like this:

Saturday – labor for Firefly, get filthy, meet new house guests while covered in dirt
Sunday – re-meet house guests, play darts with guest and room mate
Monday – work and play more darts – my arm hurts!
Tuesday – work, can’t remember but I know I went from morning to night because I didn’t have time to get my poems together for a poetry slam on Wednesday
Wednesday – work, go to volunteer meeting for the Clips, Beer & Film Tour, meet up with house guests and read at a poetry slam (the slam turned into a regular reading)
Thursday – work, volunteer bartend for Clips, Beer & Film Tour – Though I can’t drink beer, the night was perfect and I had FUN!!
Friday – work, prepare for trip to Bryce Canyon (I am so excited!!) – bon voyage night out dancing with Welsh and Irish soccer coaches – our house guests

Next week I will be in Bryce Canyon. I can’t wait!! Looking forward to what I will see and to having awesome company.

Thanks for reading. Have a beautiful week.

Om shanti –


Born on a Thursday #20 – Sleepy!

I glad I named this “Born on a Thursday” because I’m glad I was born. I like being alive. I like the cool adventures and people I get to experience.

A lot has happened this week – some great (summer here is so perfect), some pretty fucking crappy (family stuff, ugh) – and I am doing the best I can and am feeling good. I am grateful for friends and years of some kind of meditation practice, and working off excess energy by walking and biking outside every day.

road in flagstaffI walked downtown tonight, just as the sun was in its last stages of setting. Happy Solstice!

I wanted to write in public, longhand, for my Thursday post. So I wrote, and when I got home, rather than going into my room and typing what I wrote from my little book, it was more fun and important for me to hang out and talk with my roommate. Now I’m too tired to write out my whole post – but perhaps I will continue tomorrow!

Born on a Thursday #19: Sunset Strolling

IMG_3402I am happier than I have been in a really long time. I’m having a good balance between seeing friends and spending time alone. I’m walking or cycling everyday up and down some pretty steep hills, spending as much time as possible outside, and marveling at the beauty of this place.

I keep coming across surprises – like this yarn bomb tonight. IMG_3403It looks like a southwestern sunset. And behind it, reflecting in the window – actually is the sunset.

I love this beauty so much! The wonderful thing is that so much of it is tangible, you know I had to touch this bit of art. It was warm, having absorbed the sun all day, and contrasted with the cool air on my skin. Heaven!

IMG_3404The sunsets here are different than they are in New York City, the colors here are more subtle, and of course, there is more space to see the sky. I was thinking about how sometimes Francis (my partner, and really, my best friend for much of the 90s) and I would walk to the pier in the summertime on nights we didn’t have band rehearsal or gigs. Francis was good about sharing beauty with me (and culinary delights, spiritual exploration, and, always, music). Of course, to get to the end of the pier, we’d have to walk past hustlers and dustheads and loud, sweaty people all looking for something, some good feeling, some good time — watching the sunset from the pier wasn’t something I could do alone.

Once I got to the water, I had this knack of drowning out the bad disco and the conversations and the catcalls. I could just focus on the sound of the water and the red brilliance of the sunsets. Sometimes I really needed that focus just to reset myself for the week.


I didn’t know I was going to write all of this. I was just going to say – I’m tired, I’m happy, I’m grateful for friends, I’m getting lots of fresh air, I’m not so lonely and life is feeling pretty good these days. (Phoenix was an excruciatingly, painfully, lonely place and chapter in my life – I am grateful for the suspended joy of this summer – a contrast to my time in the valley)!

And with all the dancing I’ve been doing and the music I’ve been listening to lately, I swear I am growing little wings. Don’t know about a halo, but the wings are there . . .

IMG_3354Thanks for reading. Have a gorgeous, bliss-filled week.

Namaste ~


Glimmers of Possibilities

Born on a Thursday #5

Glimmer of Possibility

seeing light © Holly Troy

Where I was seeing shadows I now see light.

Light, like water, like rain.

Soft release.

Shimmering shadow shift — reflection.


Rubble, Trouble, and Celestial Evolution at my Door

Excerpt from Anne Ortelee’s astrological site Weekly Weather:

Venus’ Day Friday September 21 finds Moon in Sagittarius and making productive and helpful aspects to all the planets in the heavens.  Things start to feel calmer and cleaner now. You see things you had not noticed. Mercury’s contraparallel to Uranus offered illumination and a breakthrough around how you connect or work with others.   You could have had stressful dreams last night, do note what they meant. Look up the symbolism of the creatures or images in them to enhance your knowledge. Remember the point of the week is evolution. Helping you evolve to the next place.   See how your refusal to stay the old way or be the old way you used to be essentially has set you free?  The whole concept of evolution is to become more and more aware of the life choices . . . Thus is the story of today.  Venus asks Saturn for a bit of guidance and he graciously offers it to her… so ask your elders or your wisers for guidance.  Or listen to your own inner wiser.  You actually DO know what do to even if you don’t much want to do it. Watch for Ego taking over where evolution needs to gently encourage your soul to change. Think back on your family of origin story so you can be clear what all needs to take place.  See how you got where you are today. See where you want to go next.  All is possible if we agree to grow. Sun connects with the Nodes of Fate offering us a choice about  how to proceed.  Admetos links up with the Nodes to end a situation or complete it so you can move on.   Mars is at 18:46 Scorpio. Click here to see Anne’s full post.

* * * *

Dreams before I awoke this morning . . .

Dreaming I am driving in the city, a city, the way I dream of New York lately. Houston Street is always a vast 8-lane highway that breaks off in a V, dividing the Lower East Side from the rest of the city. Massive buildings, uneven, bulging, and swaying—thousands and thousands of windows. No room for air. It’s grey, the sky, the city, everything. Even red and yellow have a coat of grey.

I am taking Matagi to our new apartment. It is in a house, the street winds around and up a hill. There is a bank that is covered by rocks. On top of the bank are plants and trees, a narrow strip of garden against a chain link fence. I am admiring the plants and tree, an oak – they belong to “my” house. I feel heat on my neck and turn to see an older East Indian man glaring at me – he looks outraged. I get the sense that something must be hidden in the tree. I turn away and resume moving into my house.

The next thing I know I hear a crash at my front door – which is a screen door. Three men have dug up the plants and are throwing them at my door. The older man I saw earlier appears to be shouting orders at them. They are tearing the tree out of the ground and are ramming my door with it screaming, “Where is it? Where is it?” I yell to Matagi to call the police.

The scene at my door repeats over and over again. The color saffron breaks up the grey.

* * * *

I see a polar bear leaping from one piece of ice to the next, the ice breaking apart under his feet. He is getting tired of trying to stay above the water; he will soon be too tired to swim. Ahead of him is the giant plastic garbage heap the size of Texas that floats in the sea. Other bears are on the heap. It spins around and around, some bears sensing it as if they are on a carousel, uneasily crouching low but straining their necks to see where they are going—while others are going about their lives as if this is the way it has always been.

Plastic trash glaciers.

Everything yellowing and covered in grey.

photo from Local Philosophy