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,



I don’t believe in God, I believe in Stories – or, maybe it’s Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut is swell. I was going to say he is one of my favorite writers, but, really, he is my favorite writer.

The below is excerpted from 15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will:

“There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too.”
Though this quote comes from the World War II-centered Mother Night (published in 1961), its wisdom and ugly truth still ring. Vonnegut (who often said “The only difference between Bush and Hitler is that Hitler was elected”) was righteously skeptical about war, having famously survived the only one worth fighting in his lifetime. And it’s never been more true: Left or right, Christian or Muslim, those convinced they’re doing violence in service of a higher power and against an irretrievably inhuman enemy are the most dangerous creatures of all.

Mother Night is the first book I read by Vonnegut. It’s time to read it again.



Swami Sivananda’s positive take on religion. Could it be Spirituality with a Community?

“Love is the immediate way to Truth or the kingdom of God or the vast domain of perennial peace and joy. It is the life-principle of creation. It is the sum-total of all the duties of religion. It is the magic wand in the hand of a devotee with which he conquers the whole world.”  
– Sri. Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj


No politics, no religion, just compassion

There is so much to sort through from this journey – from the incredible life that is everywhere in the jungle, to the gigantic shantytown that is the city of Iquitos, to the rejection and integration of what is indigenous in that region of Peru. For instance, there are parts of Iquitos where the homes are rows and rows of shacks that have no electricity. On the same streets where people have no plumbing and where the roads are dirt and there are no sidewalks, you will see a lit up billboard of a tall, thin, scantily dressed, and—though Hispanic—very pale-skinned woman selling high-heeled shoes! (Seriously! What is that saying?) Then, a few blocks later, you see a shipibo inspired statue on a manicured grassy hill, or shipibo inspired tapestries for sale on the edge of the Amazon river in a part of the city that is designed for tourists.

On the flight home from Lima, I sat next to a woman who introduced herself and then asked me what I was doing in Peru. When I told her about Healer2Healer she launched into her missionary rap – how she loves Jesus and has been going around the world talking to people in Argentina and Ethiopa and letting them know they are part of the lost tribes of Israel and how they can save their souls by taking Jesus in their hearts. I let her go on rather than tell her how I feel about preaching and converting and telling people they are lost.

Cauhide is a place that I imagine doesn’t get many “outside” visitors. It was wonderful to be welcomed there, and to not have an agenda other than to ease some distress in a place where the suffering of people is largely ignored.

Below is a video of Healer2Healer volunteer and reiki practitioner, Lynda D’amico. Though we share the same reiki teacher (Geordie Numata), I first met Lynda in the Amazon rainforest. Immediately I was struck by her beautiful gentle energy, and we became fast friends.

Friday Night Nosh – Or Thoughts on Sex, Power, and Control

This is a big second chakra issue, so I posted this on my Chakra Experiment blog . . .

I got together last night with my friend Wendy and her friend Marjorie for nibbles and libations.

Toward the end of the evening we got to talking about celibacy and religion. It began when I was talking about my training as a yoga teacher. One of the swami’s told us that tantra didn’t exist and then in the same sentence said it was a left-hand path. (does it exist or doesn’t it?) The bottom line was they advocated bramacharya (in the simplest sense, celibacy).

So the question we left the night with was: Why are religions so hung up on sexuality? Why is celibacy necessary in order to reach spiritual enlightenment? It’s across the board with most Western religions and at least what I learned of eastern (Hindu) religion that I studied at the ashram.

My first thought was that when societies were matrilineal and women had ownership of land, they had the power. At some point in western history, male priests married women (landowners), got their land, then declared that women had no rights and witch hunts ensued, etc., etc.

Sexuality is fluid, feminine. Subjugate women, subjugate sexuality.

Fertility/sexuality was also where women held power. Women are the givers of life, they also knew what to do/what herbs to take in order to prevent pregnancy. Furthermore, women have the capacity to have sex ongoing whereas men can ejaculate a few times a day and that’s it. From a purely biological, propagate-the-species-point-of-view, maybe women are built this way to a) have the capacity to receive a lot of pleasure to make the pain and danger of childbirth worth it and/or b) have the capacity to have sex with many different partners so that the sperm of the healthiest partner gets through, hopefully guaranteeing stronger, more fit offspring. (Of course, if you don’t believe in evolution . . . what can I say?)

That leaves another problem for men. It means that they can never be sure if they are the baby-daddy. (Well, now that there’s DNA testing and Maury Povitch . . . )

Getting away from the “power over women” point of view, having a healthy sexual relationship with a person requires the ability to be loving and trusting and vulnerable. It takes time and energy. It requires us to be open with our feelings and accepting of our partner. We must resist the urge to control or be controlled. How many of us actually have the willingness to go deep, to surrender? How many of us have had the experience of letting our egos go so utterly completely with another person that we realize we are “One with the Universe” and that the love we are experiencing is expanding in that universe? (It’s the grooviest experience ever!)

Some religions teach that the only way to really experience total surrender is to actually physically die. So, perhaps a reason to fear sex? Some people even fear meditation for that very reason!

From a yogic standpoint, when you have sex with someone, you pick up your partner’s energy and they pick up yours. You exchange karma, essentially. Not just from this lifetime, but from all the millions of past lifetimes. So, if you’re focus is on releasing your karma and ceasing to be reincarnated, then it would make sense to just avoid sex altogether.

Or how about this — if we are enjoying life and our partners, maybe we won’t be so compelled to acquire more “things”. Maybe we’d realize we don’t have to consume so much, make more money, submit to slavery. That leaves less tithing money for the church (temple, synagogue, you fill in the blank).

Or maybe we’d we feel so good enjoying our sexuality, we wouldn’t have to go to church at all? We might start beginning to have our own ideas about spirituality and enlightenment. We might even decide to make up our own rituals.

Every person has sexuality. Make people feel ashamed about sexuality, and you have power over them. When our view of nature is distorted, we can’t be sure of anything. Instead of looking within and listening to our own answers (because now we are stupid and afraid and “sinful”), we look outside of ourselves for what is “right”. So the preacher in the pulpit who makes us feel shame and guilt must be right, or the talking head shouting at us from CNN or FOX must be right, or our neighbor with the SUV and the Prada handbag must be right. Whatever makes us feel inadequate must be right, no?

Since we’re looking outside of ourselves for validation, we must also look outside of ourselves for what is “invalid”. If we are harsh judges of ourselves, how harsh are we going to be on others? The more we look outside ourselves for what is wrong with everyone else, the less we know ourselves, and, the more “evil” we see in the world. As we further lose sight of ourselves, we lose personal power. It’s a cycle, because the more powerless we feel, the more we need validation. The less we know what really makes us happy, the more we need someone (or a talking box) to tell us what is “good for us”.

So, sex isn’t “bad”. What’s bad are the power trips surrounding sex, and because sex is so powerful, there are a lot of them.

OK, my 2nd chakra rant of the day is done for now. I think I opened a huge can of worms, and I could keep going. These are just general ideas, perhaps I will go back and work on more comprehensive drafts. Right now I need a shower and to stretch my periformas and psoas muscles.