:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Give me the beat boys, and free my soul (Holly)

What is my COFFEE project and why am I doing it? Let me just revisit this a minute.  I decided to do the Artist’s Way 12-week course.  Why? The short answer is to feel more alive. To embrace life. To live with intention. Creativity through spirituality.  Tap into the hidden Holly? Who is she? What does she want to do? What is she capable of? What is that potential all those teachers talked about, why didn’t I live up to it before, and is it possible to find it and live up to it now? 
Well, I’ll tell you.  I’m still stuck on Chapter 7.  I've been on chapter 7 for at least 4-6 weeks! No artist’s date since my snowy meditation in the kids’ fort.  Only my morning pages. (Yes, we’re friends again).  In my last blog, I wrote about wondering what my owls had been up to.  I hadn’t heard from them in quite awhile, especially compared to how hard they were pounding me there for awhile.  I also hadn’t really had any serendipitous or synchronicities occur in quite awhile.  In Artist’s Way, this question is asked at the end of every chapter.  Well, I was just sure that I was being punished by the universe for not continuing the AW course.  “No OWLS FOR YOU” (Said like the soup natzi from Seinfeld). 
One night I had a dream.  In my dream, it was spring and I was sleeping in a day bed under some weird lean-to by a river.  As it became dawn, a bald eagle soared by soooo close.  It was breathtaking! Then, amazingly!!! It came into the lean-to area and sat.  He looked at me with strength and confidence.  He stayed for at least a full minute.  In my dream, I was sooooo appreciative of the eagle visit, but also yearned for my owls.  I didn’t need to yearn long.  The biggest owl I had ever seen flew right in the lean-to area and sat right beside me.  She was white.  She looked at me with gentleness and love. Like Crusoe’s love for Angus in the Water Horse.   I think she stayed with me at least 5 minutes.  When I awoke, I felt much more at peace than the day before. 
What about the synchronicity? I hadn’t had any type of serendipitous occurrences in quite some time.  More punishment from the Universe? No, Artist's Way? "No serendipity for you!!" (Soup Nazi voice again). Well, you guessed it. I wouldn’t have to wait much longer for that either.  On Saturday night, I was introduced to the woman who just moved into the house I lived in 5 years ago.  I lived there for 3 years. It was where I was living when Owen was born. It was where I was living when I almost died giving birth to Owen.  There were so many things I’d loved about that house.  I asked her if I could see the inside and we promptly went over.  Her decorating style is unique and creative.  She doesn’t work outside of the home and I was jealous of the time she has to do creative home beautification projects.  I was also feeling very inspired to continue making my home beautiful and unique.  Then, I noticed we had a wall hanging in common.  It’s not a mass produced piece, so I was quite surprised. 

Wall hanging in common with my new friend.
I was having a lot of flash backs about the time I spent in the house trying to recover from my near death experience.  We were chatting away and I mentioned that I was in remission from cancer.  She seriously said, “May I ask what kind”.  And, I glibly said sure, and continued to tell her what kind, blah, blah, blah.  She said, oh, that’s what my friend had.  And she started telling me about her friend's diagnosis and subsequent ordeal.  As she was talking, it occurred to me that this girl did not survive. So I asked.  No. She did not.  Twenty-nine fucking years old. Gone. Non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma.  Look up from the sofa and there is her beautiful picture on the wall staring at me.  Beautiful young woman with long brown hair.  1980-2009 it says.  I hugged my new friend and we started to cry.  You may not believe this, but I haven’t cried about Non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma since June 20, the night in the emergency room.  A light-hearted children’s birthday quickly turned into a bizarre slap upside the head by the universe.  I need to think more about what the universe is telling me, but a short version may be something like, "uhhhh....Holly could you take your Lymphoma diagnosis as seriously as your other near death experience. Dumb ass. " (Said like the father in "That 70's Show")

Now we need to talk about the “HAPPY” PARTY EXTRAVAGANZA.   Earlier that week, my friend and I decided we would have a contest on who could make the HAPPIEST mixed CD.  There are rules and judges.  One CD will be called THIS Happy CD and the other THAT Happy CD so judges won’t be biased by who the mix master is.  Well, I love making mixed CD’s and I’m taking this mission very seriously.  When talking about the project, other people started saying, HEY! I want to make a Happy CD! So, then we thought we could have a HAPPY CD tournament with a tournament bracket.

Then, we thought, Hey! Let’s have a HAPPY party where we play all the HAPPY CD’s.  We’ll wear the happiest clothes we can come up with and have it be a potluck and bring the HAPPIEST food we can think of.  Then, at young child’s birthday party referenced above, I asked the Grandpa, who is an amazing blues musician living in Branson, MO if he’d come up and play at the HAPPY party.  (Yes, I get the irony.  But, let me tell you…the Blues make me happy.)  Then, I was like, well, hell, I know quite a few musicians.  Maybe we should have them ALL come and sing ANYTHING, cuz live music is just EFFIN HAPPY!!  Then, it occurred to me that it should be a fundraiser for the Luekemia/Lymphoma Society.  I know so many people who have suffered from either Luekemia or Lymphoma as well as some kick ass connections to pull this puppy off.  There is tons of serendipitous shit happening since I gave birth to this idea that it would take another 500 words to tell you about it all.  One thing is that I just so happen to have a coffee date scheduled with a friend of mine this coming Friday who does this kind of planning for a living.  Currently, here’s my vision:  A two day Woodstock-esque extravaganza complete with music, tents, peace, love, and happiness. 

COFFEE chics unite and start planning your trip to Des Moines.  Bring your creative talents and instruments.

Foot note about Eagles appearing in a dream. I was shocked to have a dream about two Eagles, so had to look it up: Here’s what it the dream interpretation folks say it means: To see an eagle in your dream, symbolizes nobility, pride, fierceness, freedom, superiority, courage, and powerful intellectual ability. It also represents self-renewal and your connection with your spirituality. You will struggle fiercely and courageously to realize your highest ambitions and greatest desires.


Holly said...

Meanwhile, I am accessing American Family insurance for both a fender bender that occurred on Friday night and a major stinky plumbing/sewar problem in my house. Repairs and poop everywhere!

Steph said...

Oh, Holly... I'm typing through tears right now, with every hair on my body standing at attention. You most certainly have struggled fiercely and courageously, and I firmly believe that you will "realize your highest ambitions and greatest desires." Absolutely. How beautiful. Talk about serendipity, friend. OMG.
I will SOOOOO be in Des Moines for Happy Party Extravaganza (HPE) 2011. Count on it. I cannot wait. Will have to begin scouring my wardrobe for happy garb... hmmm..... and I'm a serious fan of music, especially the kind that moves my soul, like Dobie... "free my soul" indeed. Good stuff. I can't wait!!!!
29 is far too young to leave this earth. This is among the many questions I have when my chance comes to know the secrets of Life. I can't say I've ever faced death squarely in the face the way you have, let alone TWICE. There is something for you to do here, Holly; there has to be stuff for you to do, in addition to stuff you're already doing. You're raising a wonderful son, sharing your story, crying in shared pain and understanding with people who have been touched by what you've overcome...
I happen to believe that you are on your way to accomplishing those courageous and fierce ambitions and desires of your heart. HPE is but one piece of evidence pointing to that. I feel privileged to be witness to it. I truly do.

You know, I went back and watched the video again (I happen to L-O-V-E, love this song!), and I can't help but think it MUST go on your Happy Music CD for HPE 2011, and I do believe it would make a stellar theme song for COFFEE:
"Beginning to think that I'm wastin' time
I don't understand the things I do
The world outside looks so unkind
I'm countin' on you to carry me through"
If this isn't what we're doing for one another, I don't know what is. We bring our plans, our thoughts, our frustrations, our SELVES here. In turn, we are reminded by good, strong, funny, REAL women that we are okay, we are good, and that someone (many someones!!!!) have our back. What could be better?

Artist's Way or not, you can't tell me you don't feel more alive, more intentional, more spiritual, more in tune with Life... I believe you are. Your posts, as they are evolving, and HPE prove that you are achieving your COFFEE goals. Belie'dat, girl. Belie'dat.
Many hugs, Holly. I can't wait to hug you in person in April. I truly can't...

Wendy said...

Wow, Holly. What a powerful post. I'm so inspired by you. Your benefit idea is amazing and came about so organically - ah, i just love your gumption. I love seeing your heal and become more and more aware, plugged in and connecting.

Your post contained so much meat, that I'm actually kind of at a loss for words, but suffice to say that your experience at your former residence -- amazing and intense - and the serendipity of that experience - wow. Even your dreams... incredible. I think a person has to be a certain place to even remember their dreams, let alone acknowledge their meanings. How freakin' cool.

Bless you Coffee sister, I'm so proud of you.

Holly said...

Steph, I read your comment on my blackberry in my car a few hours ago....through tears. I was getting ready to go into a meeting at the coffee shop. Looked up and there was Patresa. Cool.
Anyway,thank you so much for your comments. I am at a loss for words to express how much they mean to me. I appreciate that you totally get where I'm coming from and treasure that, because occassionaly I feel a bit odd.
Your comments and support of my journey are priceless. I am certainly not an island and need support. and you gave it so freely. thank you thank you.
I am so happy that you love this song. There are so many lines that are so powerful and poignant to what we're up to here at COFFEE.
Let me fly high!
I look for the light in the pouring rain!
When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me....the guitar's coming through to sooth me...
Thanks for the joy you've given me...I want you to know that I believe in your song!

Katie said...

Wow, Holly. WOW. I have goosebumps, and tinglies everywhere - this was such an incredible post! Stuff is happening with you girl, big stuff, and it's so thrilling that you recognize it, you SEE it as it's happening! Not only is it rare that stuff is happening with you like this, it's rare that you see it for what it is. That is something I admire and cherish about you and your spirit. Your powers of observation and openness to hearing what the universe has to say. Incredible.

And I feel priveleged to be present at the birth of a great idea! Your Happy Party Extravaganza sounds totally groovy and right up my alley. I would dive to DM for this and wear the happiest clothes I own (but sensible shoes, to stay true to my inner need for comfortable footwear).

Man. Somebody is talking at you, pretty loud. I think Stephany is right - you're in for something big, big, big.

An eagle seems wholly appropriate for someone who has endured as many trials by fire as you.

Go get 'em Holly.

Holly said...

@ Wendy- Thank you so much for your comment. Gumption. Yes. I appreciate your perception that I'm more aware, plugged in and perceptive. I didn't remember my dreams FOR YEARS and now feel so blessed when I have them and can remember them. I feel downright awestruck when I can find the meaning.
@ Katie- first of all, comfortable shoes ARE happy shoes! Secondly, thanks for your comments, too. I do feel very aware and very alive. For this,I am sooo soo grateful. I have to tell you all, though, that I am also scared shitless. Pardon my crude french.I don't understand what the future holds and I don't particularly like that. I like to plan. I like to have control. I don't like all this letting go and see what happens. I'm sure trying though. I just really try to remember my current mantra, the mantra of so many of us COFFEE chickas....The only way out is through sugar!

Steph said...

The only way out IS through, Holly girl... I keep telling myself that. And the only person responsible for where things go from here is ME. I get to choose. For the first time in ages, I. GET. TO. CHOOSE. And so do you. Scared $h!tless or not, you get to decide - for the good and bad, which - let's face it- is always for the good. We learn when we succeed, AND we learn when we screw it all up. That, my friend, I am learning is LIFE. Another song that I'm becoming VERY GOOD friends with is Paramore's "Misguided Ghosts." Check it out:

I'm going away for a while.
But I'll be back, don't try to follow me,
'Cause I'll return as soon as possible.
See I'm trying to find my place,
But it might not be here where I feel safe.
We all learn to make mistakes.

And run.
From them, from them,
With no direction.
We'll run from them, from them,
With no conviction.

'Cause I'm just one of those ghosts,
Travelling endlessly.
Don't need no roads.
In fact they follow me.
And we just go in circles.
Now I'm told that this life,
And pain is just a simple comprimise,
So we can get what we want out of it.

Would someone care to classify,
Our broken hearts and twisted minds,
So I can find someone to rely on.

And run,
To them, to them
Full speed ahead.
Oh, you are not useless.
We are just...

Misguided ghosts,
Travelling endlessly.
The ones we trusted the most,
Pushed us far away.
And theres no one road,
We should not be the same.
But I'm just a ghost,
And still they echo me.
They echo me in circles.

blj said...

Yes, the only way out is thru. And, Holly, I'm impressed with the way you're moving through. And I'm excited for the Happy Party. Will start working on my CD....

amy said...

1. This picture (the one with the wonderful and whole-heartedly true piece of wall hanging wisdom) touched my soul. Would you mind if I borrowed it and posted it on my facebook wall?

2a. Oh, man! When is this Happy Extravaganza? If you get dates, and they're, like, on a long weekend or something, and I, like, don't have anything planned on that weekend (which, currently, I do not? I'm so packing the happiest clothes I can find, making my happiest CD music, and showing up in Des Moines.

2b. My talent is being lazy, and I'm bringing it! Watch out, Des Moines.

3. I love serendipity, and your life is full of it: owls, eagles, meeting new people somehow connected to big parts of your past, friends who just so happen to be at coffee houses as you're just finishing reading good COFFEE comments, people who have the means to make Happy Extravanga-paloozas happen. I think Serendipity is your thang, Ms. H. I bet Serendipity does, too.

4. I'm going to make a CD of Happiness just because I read this--Drift Away is a good song to put on it, and there will probably be at least 1 Dora the Explorer song plus that Elmo song that goes "Sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong. Don't worry if you're not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing, sing a song."

5. I like how you sang your song in this post, Holly COFFEE. Sing it, sister.

patresa said...

i can't think of a single new thing to say here that some other wise woman hasn't already said.

i just think it's really amazing what a chatterbox the universe is once we start paying attention. and i 100% agree with steph that there are plans for you. big time. which i think is a really thrilling feeling. nerve wracking. scary. awe-inducing thrill ride. i can't wait for more!

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

There is nothing that I can say that will come close to being any more heartfelt than the other rock stars. But I will say this. I cried reading your post, and then I laughed, and then I cried getting ready to leave this comment. I am just so inspired by you. I don't even know how to put how much admiration for your strength that I have into words. I don't even think that was a good sentence, but it's hard to write when you have a huge ball in your throat.

I love the CD mixer idea. Awesome. You are awesomely creative, and creatively awesome. I took a picture of an owl wall art a few weeks ago. I don't know why. It was in a coffee shop (ha ha, fitting, just thought about that), and I just had to capture the picture to take with me.

Rock on Holly Coffee.

Corey ♪ Linstrom said...

I'm glad to see you're making your life brighter through art and self-examination. Just as Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." You are making his words just as true today as when he first said them.

Keep pressing on!