Wednesday, December 25, 2013

GIVING BIRTH TO THE SELF: Celebrating the infinite in each one of us on this winter holy day

MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE! GIVING BIRTH and REBIRTH. Celebrating cultural rituals like Christmas or the Winter Solstice gives us the opportunity to look inward and see what we can find. What in you needs nurturance? Needs reflection? Needs rebirth? Do you need to dance? (Art by Hallelujah Truth).
Hallelujah for MARKERS like winter celebrations that serve as posts in our life fences. Hallelujah for the shared cultural rituals that summon us individuals together!

On this Christmas day in 2013, I am writing you from my cozy little condo of the HAPPY HALLELUJAH HOUSEHOLD in Decatur, Georgia, USA, with my loving Chiboogamoo and our two adorable cats, Sapelo and Tao. From our household to yours, we wish all of you a deep abiding joyfulness--personal, communal, and infinite. 
MY FIRST CHRISTMAS 1958. Starting on December 22nd with 10 days before 2014 begins, I decided to launch an art project that has been on my mind for a while--drawing my autobiography. It is then with great amusement, I found myself drawing me in my first months of existence (a baby) in conjunction with the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Also, consider the cycle-of-life we are honoring when we light candles on the shortest and darkest day of the year. Expressed in that ritual of lights is our anticipation of life returning after the winter is over. Just as spring will bring us yellow daffodils and red tulips and budding trees forming new leaves, so can we resurrect ourselves. PERFECT.  (Photo from the family archives). 
The birth of a being--Jesus--part human and part god, occurring at the heart of darkness in the middle of winter is rich with meaning for me. As I age, I have really come to appreciate avenues granting me RENEWAL. We all need opportunities...


...and to recognize our dual nature as HUMAN is the equation:

HUMAN (that which lives and then is extinguished) +
BEING (that which is infinite) =

HALLELUJAH TRUTH AS BEING + HUMAN BABY. This image expresses my passport to INFINITY. To being something more than human--a human being! (Art by Hallelujah Truth).

 Wishing a MERRY BEING on this winter holy day, I will say good-bye to you with a quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's book, Le Phenomene Humain:

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

HOMECOMING TO THE SELF. Wishing everyone the joy of coming home to the SELF. Today I celebrating my SELF and your SELF. Are you? Happy Birthday! Merry Christmas! (Art by Hallelujah Truth). 
That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me how you are rebirthing yourself today.

Monday, December 23, 2013

HOWL-A-LU-JAH: A howling story that led to howl-a-lu-jahs

PASSPORT PICTURE OF HALLELUJAH TRUTH. I was born with a belly howl and discovered I was not alone! (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
Let me introduce myself once more! (You can read other blogs about my howling here, here, here, and here. I find repetition of theme keeps me secured in my truth.)

I am a SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM on the most awesome journey. I seek pleasure on my quest to find truth and meaning. I call myself HALLELUJAH TRUTH.

I began from birth HOWLING for something more, something else, something unstated, something my parents couldn't give me, something that was mine to find.

And my soulful HOWLS sounded like this..


Oh I sounded like a disgruntled wild thing and felt sorrowful and alone. But all of these HOWLS stayed in my belly, in my creative brain, and in my sorrowing heart. Yes, I was born sad and soulful with embodied HOWLS!

It wasn't until I started speaking out and raising my voice in HOWLS that I began to CALL like-minded souls to me! I wasn't alone. I hadn't been alone in my sorrowful journey seeking truth and meaning.

Oh contraire! 
This awesome universe is filled with companions for ME! And enough for YOU, YOU, and EVERYONE!

After I started releasing my HOWLS, giving these HOWLS permission to rumble in my belly BIG...
These BIG BELLY HOWLS moved...they roared...they jumped up...and I began growling HOWLS, dancing HOWLS, and the best thing ever?
FINDING MY HOWLS. The most awesome thing about HOWLING? Finding that you are not alone. There are other like-minded HOWLERS out there! (Art by Hallelujah Truth)

These HOWLS attracted others who felt they had belly HOWLS that wanted to be growled, grunted, and stamped! I began giving community HOWLS, which felt like a birthright. Oh we danced our HOWLS and HOWLED our HOWLS together. 

We HOWLERS felt enlivened. Our bodies found voice through HOWLING. We were not alone in our HOWLING experience. Perhaps everyone has a belly HOWL waiting to be heard, honored, danced, and shared...?

Do you want to BELLY HOWL?

But remember...Once a HOWLER, always a HOWLER!  And the best thing of all about howling and growling your belly HOWLS? If you listen really closely to your HOWLS, they begin to sound like an exclamation of praise!


That's Coffee with Hallelujah. SOUL BLOG with me and tell me about your journey and experience with howls and hallelujahs!

Sunday, December 22, 2013


10 DAYS OF VISUAL CREATIVITY! After blogging for 21-continuous days and putting the emphasis on the written word, I decided I needed something yummy to do--focus on the IMAGE! So I asked my community on the Facebook Group, THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE (here) to join me in a 10-day challenge during the holidays! (Visual by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for a creative community--one that supports our creative endeavors and keeps us focused during the winter holiday when we are surrounded by all of the hustle and bustle! 

At the end of March 2013, I created the Facebook Group, THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE (TDCP) (join us here) in order to find other CREATIVE people who wanted an informal online community for sharing their daily processes as they went about making their creative work (See this blog entry for an explanation of TDCP's origin.).

And Hurray! Hallelujah! Oh frabjous day callooh callay! The results of posting and sharing our UNIQUITIES has been warm and connecting. Thank you everyone!

Below I share my holiday call for the 10-DAY COUNT DOWN TO THE NEW YEAR. I hope you will join us!

10 DAYS of CREATIVITY (December 22-31)
Want to be sure that you don’t lose your CREATIVE SOUL during the holidays? Post one image each day on THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE.

Stay in touch with our CREATIVE COMMUNITY nonverbally for 10 days from December 22nd to December 31st.  Post one image a day in our group. The image needs to be YOURS.  That said, the image can be a photo, drawing, painting, pottery, glass work, sewing, food—anything that you feel you have used your imagination in creating or documenting.


1. PAY ATTENTION TO NUMBERS. For example, we are counting down 10 days to the new year—2014—so your images can start with 10 of something (on December 22nd) and decrease in number by 1 each day (until the 31st)! Just an idea! Not necessary.

2. ESTABLISH A THEME. If you need a theme to create a vehicle for 10 days of continuous image making, choose one.  Here are several examples of themes:

--RANDOMNESS: Found objects, places, images, people. Might be fun using numbers. Look for something that would depict descending numbers in 10 days.


FOOD—What food are you eating each day during the holidays? Or feature some fascinating food object each day

CLOTHES—How are you dressing each day? Or your friends?

DÉCOR—Document different holiday decors or items

PEOPLE—A friend or relative each day

--PROJECTS: Document a sewing, drawing, painting, writing, or making something each day in process.

--SYMBOLIC IDEAS: Got an idea for each day and want to represent it some way? Paint, draw, photograph, dance, or sing it!

--PLAYING: How would you represent play each day during the winter holiday in some kind of creative work?

--MOVING FROM THE DARKEST DAY (December 22) to EXPANDING LIGHT and a NEW YEAR (December 31)?


3. COMMENTS ARE ENCOURAGED. During these 10 days, clicking “like” and writing “comments” are encouraged because they provide incentive. If you want to propel another person’s creativity forward, support, admire, and applaud group members’ creations! However, if you only have time to post your own uniquity, that is absolutely AMAZING! If you can’t be consistent and participate in all 10 days, that is all right. Create and post when you can!


WE ARE NOT ALONE ON OUR CREATIVE JOURNEY. One of the reasons I have blogged since 2009 and now have started the Facebook group, THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE, is that I hunger for companionship along my creative journey. I want to talk about my experiences and know about yours. Do you? (art by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

REVERB13 ( DAY#21): Reverberating into 2014

LET THERE BE GRACE! (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for REVERBERATING! Hallelujah for looking back, reviewing, and taking a stand for who we are! 

The final prompt for Kat McNally's REVERB13 (Day #21) is this series of questions about 2014: 

2014 is going to be MY YEAR because...

In 2014, I am going to do...

In 2014, I am going to feel...

In 2014, I am not going to...

In December 2014, I am going to look back and say...

OKAY! Let's get started! On this darkest day of the year, the winter solstice, there isn't much time to reverberate! 

2014 is going to be MY YEAR because...
...I have become the DANCING ECSTATIC EMBRACING GRACE. I have come to understand and truly appreciate my life while writing my reflections during the past 20 days of REVERB13 and now have a name for my home life with Chiboogamoo and our two cats: THE HAPPY HALLELUJAH HOUSEHOLD

In 2014, I am going to...
...continue making friends with the past. In one of my blog entries (here), I discovered a new way to understand my eroded relationships. I would perceive these stressed friendships as plants that had thrived in my garden during their season and now needed to become compost. I also made a commitment to "get the dinosaur off my head (here)" and have decided that dancing it off my head in 2014 will be a fun thing.

MAKING FRIENDS WITH THE DINOSAUR ON MY HEAD IN 2014! One of the big Christmas gifts I'm giving myself this year for 2014 is making friends with my past (the dinosaurs on my head). I'm dancing the dinosaur off of my head and turning him into Santa Claus! Here I am pictured with Santasaurus at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in December 2013. (Photo by Chiboogamoo)
In 2014, I am going to feel...
...embodied...awakened (see this blog)!

In 2014, I am not going to STOP...
...seeking GRACE

...being EMBODIED
...feeling JOY
...making ART
...experiencing a REAWAKENING.

In December 2014, I am going to look back and say...

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me what you have REVERBERATED about your life in 2013!

Friday, December 20, 2013

REVERB13 (Day #20): Looking forward to getting the dinosar OFF my head...using 3-D glasses and dancing!

LOOKING FORWARD, ENVISIONING NOW AND WHAT'S NEXT! 3-D glasses are one way to look forward differently! It is fun too! (Selfie by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for ENVISIONING! Hallelujah for looking and seeing into the past and back out again to the present, to the future!

Today's REVERB13 (Day 20) prompt from Kat McNally is about looking forward....

Looking FORWARD, I ENVISION getting "the dinosaur off my head!" I know that all of us wrestle with this dinosaur (the PAST) ongoingly. But for me, because I live with a paleontologist, I have been given more than ample opportunity to consider the metaphorical proportions of "dinosaurs" (PAST GRIEVANCES) in my life. 
THERE'S A DINOSAUR ON MY HEAD. I have created this metaphor--there's a dinosaur on my head--to convey the stuff of life from that past that I carry around with me.(Art by Hallelujah Truth)

In 2014, I am DANCING FORWARD WITH GRACE. I will no longer be encumbered with these fossil relics (disappointments, hurts, unsuccessful attempts, lost friendships, etc). I am planning on DANCING THE DINOSAURS OFF MY HEAD!
MORE DINOSAURS ON MY HEAD. I have created this metaphor--there's a dinosaur on my head--to convey the stuff of life from that past that I carry around with me. Here I'm clowning around in Decatur, Georgia, at the North Dekalb Mall Movie theater at 9:30 in the morning because my hubby was so excited about seeing this movie on its release day. It was a lot of fun.  (Photo by Chiboogamoo, aka Tony Martin)
Stay-tuned! I plan on reporting my progress from the HAPPY HALLELUJAH HOUSEHOLD pictured for you below:

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me! Tell me what you are looking at now and in the future!
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS THROUGH ICHNOLOGY. As 2013 closes, I am looking forward to seeing my husband's next book get published. Called Dinosaurs Without Bones, it looks at walking with the dinosaurs and interpreting their behavior through their tracks and so much more. Life with an author is fun! Make that author one who writes about the past--the past that exists in deep time--and you get a really interesting collection of people in the audience of readers. Living with someone who examines the past through fossil traces, keeps me focused on the NOW. How is that? Together we track modern animals, and we also make our own marks through the HAPPY HALLELUJAH HOUSEHOLD. We had fun seeing this BBC movie which just came out in Atlanta today--the dinosaurs were beautifully rendered! Go see Walking with Dinosaurs. Make sure to see the 3-D version! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

REVERB13 (DAY 19) Seeking, finding, and Hallelujahing peace and self-compasion

MY ROUTE TO PEACE AND SELF-COMPASSION? I am a pleasure seeking creative dancing yes in the flowing cycle of life! (art and photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for seeking, finding, and Hallelujahing PEACE and SELF-COMPASSION!

Today, I am combining two prompts from Kat McNally's REVERB13 (both Day #18 and Day #19): What brings you peace and self-compassion. How do you maintain these qualities in your life now and continue them in 2014?

First and foremost, I have found PEACE in my life by confronting, defining, and addressing my own personal needs with joyous and celebratory SELF-COMPASSION--hence my motto:  


Then magically and magnificently, my surrounding environment vibrates with my celebrating HALLELUJAHS! I have over the past five years cultivated a life-style of pleasure seeking and creating--in myself and those around me. The result? THE HAPPY HALLELUJAH HOUSEHOLD you see depicted below in my drawing.

THE HAPPY HALLELUJAH HOUSEHOLD. This drawing is the story of my self-LOVE and its traces. The dancing pleasure seeking creative is me, Hallelujah! Then Sapelo is the small cat next to me. We have entered into the culture of Sweet Sapelo. She is a small cat with a plaintive cry. Yet her meows are commanding, direct, and purely self-serving. I honor her desires and learn from her clear dictating meows. Then there is our bipedal cat, Tao, who appears to always be dancing and smiling when he isn't sleeping luxuriously. It is shear pleasure to watch him inhabit his body. He knows what brings him satisfaction. At the bottom of this drawing is my beloved Chiboogamoo (aka Tony Martin) who begins each day with laughter even before leaving our bed. He drinks from an exilir of curiosity, kindness, and joy. Each day, he creates something through his writing and drawing. Each day, he serves me coffee or a smile because he likes to make me happy. Chiboogamoo knows that I am a pleasure seeking creative, and he dances with me because he is one too! The dinosaur tracks and nest represent the past hunting we did to bring ourselves to this happy nest we now inhabit! (art by Hallelujah Truth)
In 2014, I plan of serving my own needs first, dancing and hallelujahing in the flowing center of the cycle of life because it is a direct path of PEACE and GRACE--the opposite of stress. It is only then that I can serve others and with the most profound love of all--that of HALLELUJAH TRUTH, pure me!

That's Coffee with Hallelujah. SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what brings you peace and self compassion. How do you maintain these jewels of the soul?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

REVERB13 (Day 18): Taking a peace break to celebrate love

PEACE TO ALL. On this 18th day of REVERB13, I'm celebrating my 9th wedding anniversary. I will be back tomorrow blogging my HALLELUJAHS! (photo by devoted husband, Tony Martin)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

REVERB13 (Day #17): Seeking GRACE in 2014

2013, THE YEAR OF THE MOTHER (art by Hallelujah Truth)

Hallelujah for a specially selected word that serves as a GUIDE for a period of a year! Hallelujah for the word, MOTHER, that I chose for guidance in 2013, and for the word, GRACE, that will direct me in 2014!

For today's REVERB13 (Day #17) prompt from Kat McNally is this:

What word did you select to be your traveling companion in 2013? What gifts did this word bring? What word will you choose to guide you through 2014? What do you hope it will bring into your life?

Dear Reader's I have blogged extensively about my ambitions for the word, MOTHER, in REVERB12 (here) and eight months later in August Moon (here). It was a wondrous word and served me well so read my previous blogs if you are in any way curious!

My one regret related to this guiding word, MOTHER, is that I have not yet succeeded in completing the manuscript for the book of images and words that has been in progress for several years now. Entitled, THE MOTHER IN ME, it is about each of us (women and men) learning to access that archetypal mother in our psyches, developing a relationship with her, and nurturing ourselves inside that relationship. What a kind and gentle world we would all live in if we could LOVE and NURTURE ourselves!


Let me define GRACE in the way I plan to have it guide me! I'm using GRACE in the context of Cynthia Winton-Henry's InterPlay and as I read about it in her and Phil Porter's book, What the Body Wants.

First of all, GRACE is the opposite of STRESS! And GRACE can be found in the body, our environments, and people in those environments! We just need to be present and aware to experience GRACE. Cynthia Winton writes about GRACE:

SEEKING GRACE I. In 2014, I will be seeking the GRACE, especially from the presence of a cat on my head!  (Selfie by Hallelujah Truth)
"It is surprisingly easy to overlook things that offer the physicality of grace: music, dance, stillness, nature, making love, art, gardening, singing, being with those I love, pets, getting organized, creating with and for others, and really playing; all in favor of focusing on problems. Had I known early on what I know now, I might not have worked so hard to find grace or to solve all my problems and to heal wounds I discovered in myself. Now I know that grace is nature's intention for us. Instead of being elusive, grace infuses life; it is intrinsic to every organism in its natural order, including our own." 

ACTION PLAN FOR SEEKING AND FINDING GRACE (summarized from the book, What the Body Wants):

1. Choose GRACE (the opposite of stress) whenever possible

2. Notice GRACE when it appears in my life and expand that GRACE
3. Share my GRACE with others by naming people, activities, places, and experiences that bring me GRACE regularly.

4. Seek GRACE HEROES--those individuals who bring me GRACE through their love, actions, words, and passion.
5. Document the GRACE in my life, creating a record to hold and remind me of the presence and physicality of GRACE.
6. Experience personal freedom from GRACE I find in my life
7. Make the world a better place for others through the freedom I find in GRACE

SEEKING GRACE II. In 2014, I will be practicing "A Year to Live" with my friend and fellow spiriatual art pilgrim, Cecelia Kane. I am seeking GRACE in this exploration of living my life fully as if it were the last. (Selfie by Hallelujah Truth. People often ask me where my images originate from. Cat hat, or the image I drew above, comes from my domestic bliss with a household of two cats.)

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG  with me about the word you will select to guide you in 2014!

Monday, December 16, 2013

REVERB13 ( Day #16): Wrestling and winning with the addiction or HABIT of BEING me

THE HABIT OF BEING ME. (Selfie by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for BEING! Hallelujah for the HABIT of BEING and making that a positive addiction! 

Today's prompt for REVERB13 (Day #16) from Kat McNally is about the grip that negative habits or addictions can have on us. (see the end of this blog for the prompt in entirety).

For several years now (since 2009 and the beginning of Coffee With Hallelujah) I have been confronting my WAY OF BEING in the world head on--with gusto--which included transforming "negative" habits that prevented me from moving forward. 
PAST NEGATIVE HABITS. I believe I have been successful in "managing" my negative habits enough to refer to them as "past." Now, if the skies are "darkened" in my life by these habits, I recognize them and know what to do! (Photo by Hallelujah Truth of the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, 2013)

FROM THE PAST: Some of my most memorable "negative" habits were:
"EFFORTING"--Exhausting myself in efforts to prove my worthiness both in my teaching and art making. 

TAKING THINGS TOO PERSONALLY--Feeling responsible for other people's behavior and seeing it as a reflection of me.

SPEAKING WITHOUT INTEGRITY--Talking about others disrespectfully and without compassion (and myself).

NOT BEING IN THE BODY--Being dedicated solely to the SOUL and absenting myself from physical well-being.

DESPAIRING--Experiencing helplessness to make positive changes in my life.

However, 2013 has been one of culminating change achieved while working alone, in partnership, and with magnificent community.

ACTIONS TAKEN IN 2013: Transforming negative habits through new ones:

DRAWING FOR 15 MINUTES A DAY THEN STOPPING--Upon waking, I have practiced the habit of  meditative drawing for several years and have blogged about this practice a number of times (here, here, and here). During 2013, I felt myself "efforting" at my morning habit of meditative drawing and have experimented with "taking a break" to see what will come forth in its place.

BLOGGING and FACEBOOK--In 2013, I have found a more objective way to be connected with others with while remaining in solitude. I have the habit of writing blog entries, as well as moderating a Facebook Group, THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE, from the quietude of my home. In this habit, I am alone but not alone. The habit has allowed me to lower my expectations of responses in the form of written comments on my blog or "likes"and submissions on Facebook. 

I have the habit of proclaiming, "The world is a large and wonderous place. Those who enter my world, WELCOME!" This positive habit of practicing HALLELUJAHS to those who do respond to me and my blog writing enlivens me! This and the positive engagement with other people's creative work has transformed me into an ECSTATIC!

REVELING IN CREATIVITY COACHING--2013 was a magnificent year for being in partnership with my creativity coach, Lesly Fredman. IT WAS A WEEKLY HABIT! Trusting the intuition of another human being who listens is an awesome and transformative experience. Although I have stopped coaching with Lesly for now because of financial reasons (leaving a job of 20 years means zero income), I treasure the person I am now because of our collaboration and the momentum it has given me. I am propelling myself into 2014 with the juices from the labor of habit.

SEEKING JOY IN COLLABORATION WITH A SCIENTIST--Jenifer Hilburn and I established the positive habit of meeting regularly to establish the foundations of our book, The Life-Cycle of the American Oystercatcher. This "habit" is still in formation, and I look forward to what the practice of collaboration will bring in 2014. 
MAKING IT A HABIT TO COLLABORATE.  Here at the 2013 Georgia Literary Festival, I explain my way of new way of BEING in collaboration with the scientist Jenifer Hilburn, an ornithologist working on the Georgia coast. We are pictured together in the center of this powerpoint slide in a boat off St. Catherine Island, where Jen was doing a American oystercatcher count. (Photo by Tony Martin)

My wonderful, companionable husband and I practice the habit of saying, "I LOVE YOU." We want to say it more and more and more. 2014, here comes multiple, "I LOVE YOU'S"!!!

INTERPLAY, DANCING FLOWERS FOR PEACE, 5 RHYTHMS, DANCE CHURCH, IMPROVING--2013 was a magnificent year for playing, dancing, and making things up with other PLAYERS and DANCERS!!! I plan to amplify this habit in 2014! Watch ME!
ATLANTA INTERPLAY (2013). Making it a habit to play in community using the tools and forms of InterPlay was a new behavior for me. I'm there in the center right. Can you see how happy I am! (Photo by Stell Simonton)

FACEBOOK GROUP, THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE--In March 2013, I created a new fantastic HABIT OF BEING! I invited the world of Facebook creatives to share their uniquities with me and their processes on a daily basis. We now art at 387 members! Wow! Please join us!

In conclusion, "What will you I differently in the year to come?" Much more of the same HABIT OF BEING! I plan on going deeper and wider. Join me!

That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and whisper, speak, or shout your HALLELUJAH HABITS!

Habits and addictions, some are silly, some serious; when we have issues without answers, they can hold us so tight that we stop moving forward with the life we intended. Were you able to loosen those fetters this year, and if you were successful, how did you manage it? Did you accept outside help, or work alone?
If you still feel that grasp of addiction or hurtful habits, what will you do differently in the year to come?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

REVERB13 ( DAY #15) Reveling in the senses and being reawakened

ON BEING SENSUAL IN 2013. (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for the SENSES! Hallelujah for being INFORMED through your BODY!

The prompt from Kat McNally's Reverb 13 (Day #15) is exciting: 

Give us a sensory tour of 2013. How would you describe the year that’s passing in terms of: Sight? Sound? Smell? Taste? Touch?

Dear fellow SOJOURNERS, I'm absconding with this prompt and plopping it into one big Hallelujah word: SENSUALITY!

YES to being SENSUAL, to being PHYSICAL and learning from all that is FLESH! As a woman of 55, I am not concentrating on sexual sensuality (although let's not exclude that!) but rather on being EMBODIED...noticing what my body is telling me, asking of me, and giving me.

2013 was a momentous year for me moving into my aging body with joy and experiencing a new kind of pleasure--UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! I experienced this newfound love for myself through creative movement--DANCE (found in Dancing Flowers for Peace, Five Rhythms, Dance Church, and InterPlay)! So after going through menopause, I have gained weight and my joints are cranky! What does my body need? What do I need? I am listening! I want to DANCE!
EXPERIENCING BEING SENSUAL IN 2013. The Dancing Flowers for Peace gave me the opportunity to inhabit my aging body, moving and listening to what it was telling me. Pictured here with my arms upraised, I am celebrating ACCEPTANCE of ME. I need to move more regularly, getting up from my drawing table. I hunger to spin and swing to music. I long to raise my arms up in joy and all embracing love.  (Photo by Lynn Manfredi)
What has happened from this UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for my body and its senses--A REAWAKENING--no more, no less...and I'm excited about where this reawakening will lead me in 2014!

REACHING WITH THE SENSES INTO 2014.  (Photo by Lynn Manfredi) 

That's Coffee with Hallelujah. SOUL BLOG with me and share the highlights of your sensuality for 2013.
GROWING FROM BEING EMBODIED.  A word about this painting: I painted this image 10 years ago in 2013 when I was working on a series of 100 images of naked women in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Here, this image has been "inverted" on Photoshop. The original is pictured above but has also been Photoshop using the "sponge" option. I am attached to this image with the tree growing out of the dancing woman's head. Sometimes I think that my art is "visionary" sending me messages of what I need to know. (Art by Hallelujah Truth) 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

REVERB13 (DAY #14): Decided to stop being a glass and to become a lake in 2013--Wheeeeeeee

WhEEEEEEEEEEEE. Easy focus is one decision I made in 2013--to stop being a glass and to become a lake! To support this transformation from being a serious person (a glass) to an increasingly joyful one (lake), I decided to say WhEEEEEEEEEEEE more frequently, releasing displeasure, dissatisfaction, worry to the wider, bigger universe. WhEEEEEEEEEEEE! (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for making decisions that make our lives delicious! Hallelujah for being here now deciding for NEW and WIDER NOWS!

The prompt for Kat McNally's Reverb13 (Day #14) is this:

What was the best decision you made in 2013? What were the results? How will you continue the good work in 2014?

One of the best decisions in 2013 was pursuing my interest in InterPlay that cultivated a prior decision to make this past year one of MOVEMENT (Thanks to the encouragement and support of Lesly Fredman I began dancing!).

The results of MOVING and INTERPLAYING have been for me as vast as the oceans that surround our continents on this beautiful Earth! I danced creatively from the smallness of me-dom to the largesse of infinity-dom! Let me explain this "feeling" using a parable I found in Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening

A Hindu master asks his perpetually dissatisfied apprentice to put a handful of salt in a glass and to drink it. When asked how it tastes, the apprentice responds, "Bitter." The master then takes his apprentice to the lake and has him put a handful of salt into the lake and to drink from the lake. This time when the master asks the apprentice how it tastes, the apprentice responds, "Fresh." (my summary)

The Hindu master teaches his lesson:
"The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things....Stop being a glass. Become a lake." --Mark Nepo

CONTINUING THE GOOD WORK OF 2013 IN 2014--Becoming a Lake
 Yes! I have taken the "pure salt" of my "pain" and poured it into the lake. I have become the lake, enlarging my way of being, dancing my hurts and fears in community. My presence has unfolded into a loving force of others and I am finding myself healing.

In 2014, I will continue this healing work by cultivating myself using eight principles from InterPlay. These principles provide gentle guidance for having fun in a life that may have become too serious.  Here they are:

InterPlay's Eight Body Wisdom Principles
1. Easy focus--wheeeeeeee
2. Notice, Notice, Notice Body--Data (bits and pieces); Knowledge (patterns); and Wisdom (choices)
3. Internal Authority--You can believe what you notice. You don't have to articulate your experience in order to have it.
4. Physicality of Grace (the opposite of stress)--Notice the good and have more! 
5. Exformation (the opposite of information)--You can move out the excess energy.
6. Body Wisdom Practices--To change your life, change your practice.
7. Incrementality--Go the speed of the body, one step at a time. You get out of trouble in tiny steps.
8. Affirmation! Affirmation! Affirmation!--Name the good!
 --source from course handout Secrets of InterPlay (Cynthia Winton-Henry)

In 2014, I am re-dedicating myself to living my life joyfully and courageously. These InterPlay principles will certainly be useful in my artful journey as I dance my way through another year! Hallelujah!

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and share your decisions for making the evolving now a NOW you want to BE in!
WhEEEEEEEEEEEE....(photo taken of Hallelujah Truth on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, by Tony Martin, November 2013)

Friday, December 13, 2013

REVERB13 ( DAY#13): Engaging in the alchemy of community begins with you, the individual self!

I MAY BE A PILGRIM BUT I NEED MY COMMUNITY! (Art by Hallelujah Truth from the 9/13 blog post: Sojourning doesn't mean solitude: We need each other on this creative journey.)
Hallelujah for community! We are not alone! Hallelujah for alchemical relationships, for those individuals and community bodies that transport us to fulfilled states of being!

CREATING SELF WITHIN A COMMUNITY. Where do we belong? What is our community? Doesn't it all begin with knowing who we are? What if you had to re-create yourself in another culture? How would you depict yourself? What traces from your past would you "mark" yourself? What new "marks" would you invent? Here a Bhutanese Senior (a refugee) at the CCC re-imagined herself with the existing materials for our Paperdoll Project. (from the Paperdoll Project I did with Seniors at the Clarkston Community Center (CCC), Georgia, 2010)
Today's prompt for Kat McNally's REVERB13 (DAY #13) prompt is this:

In 2014, how could you explore what community means to you? Where might the alchemy be?

WHERE MIGHT THE ALCHEMY BE? Where in ourselves do we find the elements that transform us and then our community? Or is it the other way around? Perhaps it is a reciprocal alchemy--flowing back-and-forth between the individual and community like ocean waves moving to and from the shore?  (from the Paperdoll Project, Clarkston Community Center, Georgia)

In 2014, I will definitely continue SEEKING COMMUNITY and am delighted to envision the ALCHEMICAL changes it will inevitably bring to me, the INDIVIDUAL, and then give back to my TRIBE!

"The group is within us," Cynthia Winton-Henry writes in her book, What the Body Wants. "The health of the tribe or group is a primal concern. Designed as communal creatures, we huddle, cluster, eat, sleep, and create together. We are one with the group, even when the group is broken or unsatisfying."

Yes! I agree with Cynthia! WE ARE ONE WITH THE GROUP. How can we insure that that ONENESS is ALCHEMICAL, not broken or unsatisfying? Each one of us must thrive individually for the group to thrive! Cynthia writes: 

"The more we can claim our individual physical style, energy, and truth, the more fullness and fun the group can have. Kinesthetic presence affects the whole. Consider your family. Each family member's body communicates deeper than words. A good parent knows that his or her greatest legacy is in actions that move directly to their children. Love, joy, beauty, and life leap directly from body to body.

The group body wants play, creative challenge, rest and communion. The body does not want to suffer."

I am particularly fond of thinking about my own KINESTHETIC presence, and how it impacts and is impacted by the COMMUNITY BODY. The ALCHEMY I am seeking in 2014 is joyful, playful physical well-being--ALONE and with my TRIBE! 

Below are communities I imagine being ALCHEMICAL with:

The Dancing Flowers for Peace (creative movement for women over 40)
The InterPlay community (living one's own body wisdom)
Decatur Dance Church (creative movement)
C4 Atlanta (business support for the Arts)
Five Rhythms (dancing life's waves)
Lesly Fredman's Improv classes (practice saying yes)

The Artist Conference Network (coaching network for artists)
The Clarkston Community Center, Clarkston, Georgia (fun projects)
The Language Institute at Georgia Tech (workshops, short courses)
BEING WITH COMMUNITY. I am excited about the possibility of returning to the Clarkston Community Center in 2014 to work and play with so many elements I love: art, internationals, growth, and communication. (from the Paperdoll Project,Clarkston Community Center, Georgia, 2010)
COMMUNITIES IN CONSTRUCTION (calling forth the alchemy in 2014)
A Year to Live Discussion Group (discerning what matters)

Hallelujah Truth Creativity Coaching Business (holding the space for others to make important changes in their lives)

Brain Health and Creativity Book Club (discussing books that direct our actions)

Environmental Stewardship Arts Projects (merging art and science to cultivate connection with nature)

Blogging About the Arts (blogging for a month on arts-related topics in conjunction with C4)

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what alchemy in the community is brewing for you!
BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY BODY. Here I am with Seniors from a session I did with them on making "wholeness circles" or mandalas. Each time I spent with this community, I was enlivened and filled with joy. (from the Making Mandala Art Class, Clarkston Community Center, Georgia, 2010)