Wednesday, April 11, 2018


GRATEFUL FOR ONE THING (art by Hallelujah Truth)
ALL TIME. This TIME. Before this TIME. I am grateful for everything large and small, simple and complex, challenging and easeful. I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY TIME here on this planet.

Even though here in Atlanta, Georgia, spring is slow to emerge (morning temperatures are in the 40’s!), the oak tree hanging over our patio is dripping pollen on the route from our door out to the parking lot and world beyond. The long-eared hostas lining the path in light and dark greens streaked with yellow are unfurling, some more exuberantly than others. There is a light floral fragrance perfuming the brick walls and gate. I am reminded of the saying “Time waits for no one.” In this case, it is nature. Nature is not waiting for warming temperatures to do its thing!

Neither should I! However…

my outer world 
and my inner world,
I am experiencing a 

LEAVING DREAMING. ALL TIME. This TIME. Before this TIME. I am grateful for everything large and small, simple and complex, challenging and easeful. I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY TIME here on this planet. The blue box that the figure on the right is immersed in represents my WALL. Hallelujah Truth (me) is on the bottom left. She is "dreaming" of the leaves unfurling - the growth beyond the gate. (art by Hallelujah Truth)
My art work posted here (four days in progress), shows my morning reflections on this topic beginning this past Sunday before I went to Dance Church at Decatur Ballet, where we community members move in whatever ways our bodies call us to move. This art work has continued to dance forward each morning in the wee hours before I begin crafting the language lessons I teach to international visitors at GT.

I let my artwork speak to me. I lean in and listen to the imageas as I make a line or color one of them. I lead with my subconscious, my morning waking mind, staying positive, knowing that there is wisdom in this kind of unedited conversation with myself – my inner world.

It is in these conversations that my “inner” world and my “outer” world meet at a WALL. For a year or longer, I have felt an inner yearning to learn a new language, walk through a new door, embrace another. However, I keep bumping into a WALL or WALLs.

This morning, I am realizing that this boundary between the old and the unvisited or new is the “one” thing I might be grateful for. My WALL is an offering to the progression of my wholeness. There it is – a WALL signpost in my pilgrim’s journey. Hallelujah! 

Hallelujah for the poem “Start Here” by Steve Garnaas-Holmes that was offered to me by Nancy Pfaltzgraf on the online Monday dance chapel. It is through gratitude that our lives are illuminated with ease and grace. And we do not need to be grateful for everything. One small thing will do.

Start Here

Those mornings when you wake up burdened,
already thinking Oh why bother,
start here:

thank God for one thing.

One person whom you love will do,
though even a remarkable coincidence is acceptable.
You don't even need to go into peaches,
the color blue, or migratory birds,
or a child's laugh you heard the other day,
let alone the angelic speech of nerve synapses
or the inscrutable ballet of spiral galaxies,
or God's outlandish love for you. 

Just one thing to give thanks for.

Then resolve to live the day
in adequate gratitude for that one thing,

and begin. 

-Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Right now, as I stare TIME in the face and feel the WALL in my body and see it expressed in my image, I am GRATEFUL. Perhaps by being GRATEFUL for this one thing – this WALL -, I too am experiencing the grace of being that begins transformation.

My husband has filled his thermos with coffee, donned his jacket, and kissed me on the cheek before heading out the door and out into the yellow skies swirling with pollen. As I follow him today and go through the gates of the wall that surround our courtyard, I will dance and hum gratitude for the WALL.

That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! Are you making time for your creativity? What one small thing are you grateful for today? Will you join me in creating grace one step at a time from the mundane to the mysterious?

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to Nancy Pfaltzgraf for this poem on gratitude by Steve Garnaas-Holmes. Deep gratitude to Cynthia Winton-Henry for creating the online Dance Chapel on Monday nights. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


MAPPING COMPASSION. Mercy, there have been revelations. 
Grace, there has been realization. 
(Art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for ME. Yes, there, I said it! I am celebrating MYSELF! Yay ME! 

Before I named myself Hallelujah Truth, I was given the name RUTH by my parents. This name RUTH has meaning: COMPASSION, BIG-HEARTEDNESS, HUMANITY…well you get the picture. RUTH is something we want in our lives not only for how we treat others, but also for how we treat ourselves.

Was it about 9 years ago that I expanded my name from RUTH to TRUTH to HALLELUJAH TRUTH? I’m smiling at how fast time travels. The handle “Hallelujah Truth” has served me well during the decade of my 50’s. Such an exuberant name has given me permission to praise everything I have encountered loudly and joyfully and expansively. I have learned the practice of creating grace employing my imagination and focusing on the GOOD.

Now, I’m preparing for the next decade in my life, and I’m “dancing” with who I am, what I’ve become, and where I’m headed next. I am experiencing a longing for a deeper listening, a leaning into, and a need to summon a high kind of seriousness born of love, tolerance, and patience. 

I began this blog, “Coffee with Hallelujah,” in order to hear my VOICE because at the time, it was just a squeak. I had suffered from a writer’s block for 20 years, and I longed to regain the verbal poetry beyond that of my visual art. Those of you who have become acquainted with me over the 9 years of my blogging might be surprised to learn that I still am not speaking the language of self I was born to speak. I have this niggling feeling of hunger, disconnection, an unsung song….

Last night, Cynthia Winton-Henry during online dance chapel had us dance with the concept of mercy – also a form of compassion, a form of me –RUTH. She offered us this poem by Andrew Colliver.


Mercy, there have been revelations. 
Grace, there has been realization. 

Still, you must
travel the path of time and circumstance.

The further you go, the more it comes back to paying attention. 
The rough skin of the tallowwood, the trade routes of lorikeets, a sky lifting 
behind afternoon clouds. Staying close to 
the texture of things.

People can go before you and talk all they want, 
but only one thing makes sense: the way the world enters
and finds its voice in you: the place you are free.

-Andrew Colliver

AT THE END OF THE FIFTIES. Still, you must
travel the path of time and circumstance. 
(Art by Hallelujah Truth)
The image, “Mapping Compassion,” that I have created today exists in two forms. One is the image of me, Hallelujah Truth, without a heart, without compassion, without RUTH. I observe a seriousness, one I want to enter to find my voice, and thus be set free.
The second image shows an added image of my growing heart, which was cut out from wrapping paper with a map design. This image, “Mapping Compassion,” is still in process and emerging from contemplation through drawing and movement. As I continue to gather the years and prepare to move into the decade of my sixties, I have the intention of graduating into my RUTH VOICE. Yes, I will still be Hallelujah, and RUTH is inside of the TRUTH. However, I want to trust in my RUTHNESS.

How wonderful that I am holding RUTH as the voice of COMPASSION, BIG-HEARTEDNESS, and, yes, MERCY. This compassionate journey of self surely connects me with you and the rest of the world.
MAPPING COMPASSION. People can go before you and talk all they want, 
but only one thing makes sense: the way the world enters
and finds its voice in you: the place you are free. (Art by Hallelujah Truth)

The further you go, the more it comes back to paying attention! Oh yes! Yes to the journey. 

I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These are your greatest treasures. 
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world. 

That’s Coffee with Hallelujah. Soul Blog with me about your ideas of compassion, self, and your name. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

FEAST: Savoring it!

ALL DAY OUR HANDS OUR JOYFUL as they prepare the meal to come. (art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for the FEAST! The word "feast" is my word for 2018, and I felt a deep satisfaction at the most recent Cynthia Winton-Henry's online dance chapel when Cynthia offered me the word "feast" in the poem by Rosemerry Trommer. As we moved, we contemplated its words and images. I have been honoring it all week as I moved into the Easter/Passover weekend.

Here is the poem: 

Though the world is dented and dinged
and scuffed and scorned,
we trim the beans and peel the potatoes,
and the kitchen is warm and full
of laughter. We hum as we work
and break into scraps of song.
All day our hands are joyful
as they prepare the meal to come.
There are wars and battles even now,
not all of them fought with guns,
some waged intimately in our thoughts,
our scraped up hearts. And still,
this scent of apple pie, sweetening
as it bakes, this inner insistence
that love is not only possible,
it is every bit as real as our fear.
Whether the host has brought
out his best wine and his best crystal glasses
or water in chipped clay cups,
there is every reason
to be generous, to serve not only
our family, our friends, ourselves,
but also those we don’t yet know how to love
and those parts of ourselves we
have tried to keep separate.
Tonight the host has hidden bait
in the dinner—we all are caught.
Scent of sage, scent of mushrooms
and cream. The bite of cranberry.
Never mind the potatoes cooked too long.
Blessings seep into all the imperfect places,
even if you can’t name the blessings—
consider them secret ingredients.
The point is not to understand the feast,
but to eat, to eat it together.

-Rosemerry Trommer

...there is every reason
to be generous, to serve not only
our family, our friends, ourselves,
but also those we don’t yet know how to love
and those parts of ourselves we 
have tried to keep separate... (art by Hallelujah Truth)

I have been moving with the redemptive idea of loving all of myself, peeking through the fear, anxiety, and sometime depression to find and hold the love,  joy, and talents that are perpetually present along side those less positive feelings.

I am beginning to understand that if I can truly witness the parts of myself that are good and whole, I will not linger on the forces that tear me apart. All are present - ingredients in the soup. 

Better yet? 

With this keen practice of finding the good in my messy soup, I can better learn to locate and be present to the good in all of those surrounding me - friend and stranger alike. The community soup of love - a VERTIABLE FEAST of love in presence of that which also destroys us. 

Which do you choose? The having of the good? Savoring that good with others? Or letting those less taste-worthy ingredients to spoil your/our soup? 

I am practicing choosing the FEAST of good flavors and ingredients, knowing the other is present but not allowing it to prevent the nurturing presence of the good.

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! Soul blog with me about what you are feasting on this week. Are you taking time to savor your feast with all of your senses?
FEAST: Savoring it! (art by Hallelujah Truth)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Contemplating Flower Memories

Oh yes! It is the Vernal Equinox. Spring begins today. Hallelujah SPRING!

This morning I am contemplating last night’s online Dance Chapel with Cynthia Winton-Henry. It is on this “mysterious” Zoom platform with Cynthia that we embody our intentions and prayers through movement, reflection, and witnessing across multiple time zones.

Last night’s theme was “flowers” all that they may offer literally and figuratively. How wonderful to be invited to contemplate the flowers in my life that my body holds. Just think of your life time in connection with every flower you’ve come in contact with. I imagine we all possess so many body memories that we are filled from head-to-toe with flowers – a body vase!
EMBODYING FLOWER MEMORIES. (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
I was in my mother’s womb when she visited Amsterdam to see the tulips, and I grew up with the photos she took there of the bright yellow, red, white petalled tulips. They are part of me. I remember when I was six years old collecting jars of spent orange and yellow marigolds and later in second grade, scraping my own garden with a kitchen spoon to plant purple petunias because at that time neither of my parents gardened. My father upon retiring from the military planted more than 100 rose bushes in our backyard, and he knew each one of their names. I did too. One season, I gathered multiple 5-gallon buckets of rose petals that I gave to an artist friend who made paper from them. For a couple of years, I worked at a plant nursery in Auburn, Alabama, and lived the life of perennial flowers and herbs. I tended these plants, cut them back, folded them into butters, breads, and teas.

These days after have garden plots in community gardens, I resign myself to gardening in a north facing apartment courtyard. I have tried to grow perenials – day lilies, black-eyed susans, monarda, pineapple sage, coneflower – to no avail. My shady plot of land next to the parking lot does not gather enough sun to propagate flower life of this sort. Instead, I treasure the lantana and butterfly plant that draw in the butterflies. I try to keep alive alfredi greggi to bring the hummingbirds into my life.


I am so grateful to be reminded of the flowers in my life! And to dance on behalf of them. These days, I see most flowers at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and am thankful for an annual pass.

While remembering and reflecting on flowers special to us and telling stories, we were also guided to think about flowers and the simplicity with which they unfold. Cynthia offered us these words from Grace Cooke (White Eagle):

"Flowers do not force their way with great strife. 
Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun.
Don't be in a hurry about spiritual matters.
Go step by step, and be very sure.”

I find grace in these words. I hope you might too.

So as Spring 2018 unfolds, I will gather more flower experiences and try to remember to dance them. That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! Soul blog with me about your flower memories and being. Do you have a favorite one? Why?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Choosing the Idiosyncratic Language of the Individual

“We must recapture our personal and idiosyncratic language so that we may speak about our personal and idiosyncratic life.” –Peter London

Whenever I begin to feel disheartened about the art I create, I return to Peter London and his book “No More Secondhand Art,” which in 1994 gave me a satisfying explanation of what I was doing with my visual imagery when I read it for the first time. At that time, I had been making art for about six years. Then a writer and poet, I found my metaphors had begun leaping from the page to the canvas demanding to be viewed rather than read. I was transformed from writer to painter.

The intensity I felt to create visual images overcame my fear of making “good” art. I was driven to speak from a force within. This force had no need to conform with social norms and expectations. I became dedicated to the “process” of speaking without developing an attachment to what I was saying when I made images, the “product.” I engaged in this artmaking process without showing my work to the public for more than 10 years.

In this way, I developed the early stages of my own visual language. Yes, when “experts” began looking at my work, they used dismissive words such as “derivative,” and “primitive.” Yet there were others who were attracted to my soul work. I knew even then that I should not be pulled in either direction towards criticism or praise.

I knew I had to speak my own idiosyncratic language regardless of what others were saying to me about what this “language” was or wasn’t. This determination to listen to my “gut,” to “see” my visions, and to “speak” about them how I wanted to took perpetually crumbling courage. I continue to fight the outside critics that summon my inner critic, but I practice “doing” and “making” anyways.

And I look for support from those tribes to which I belong. Thus my return to Peter London in order not to be gagged:

 “There are some disabling myths about what art is, how to do it, what is good art, and what art is for, that have gagged generations, depriving them of a significant and natural means of expression. This is a terrible loss and an unnecessary one. The purpose of this book [No More Secondhand Art: Awakening the Artist Within] is to address that situation and return visual expression as a natural and full language to every person and to enable everyone to employ this means of expression to do what all language does, to speak about the world as it is, and to create a world of our choosing….

CHOOSING THE IDIOSYNCRATIC LANGUAGE OF MY SOUL. The images you see here are pieces of the syntax of my soul. Let me tell you about several of them.The snake in the top image was one of the first "nouns" to appear in my visual work, a result of a series of dreams back in 1988. I continue to "speak" snake in both noun and verb. The four petalled flower appeared perhaps 10 years ago when I began contemplating "choice." I begin with a circle that I divide into four sections, which represent infinite choice of north, south, east, and west. I remind myself of this choice every day. The heart experiencing growth is fairly new, entering my language about 4 years ago. I especially love the "roots" and how I often associate them with my feet. This image is still emerging and growing and teaching me what I need to know. (all art by Hallelujah Truth)
Oh Hallelujah to creating a world of our choosing! Especially in these times of political duress, I know that I can choose to create GRACE from the mundane to the mysterious using my idiosyncratic voice. I hope you will choose to do the same! That’s Coffee with Hallelujah!