Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Mythic Yoga Studio and the Eternal Return

Mythic Yoga: The Heroine's Journey Sydney Solis
Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth
I invite you to view my new blog post at the Mythic Yoga Studio.

The Heroine’s Journey - Modern Feminist Mythological Guidance for Life.

I am in the process of redoing MythicYoga.com and StorytimeYoga.com as the Mythic Return continues! It's the eternal return!

Follow me on Facebook, Lindken, Pinterest or Twitter under either the Mythic Yoga Studio, Sydney Solis or Storytime Yoga® for Kids! Your choice in the social media labyrinth of mythology, stories and yoga according to SYDNEY! Please spread the word and do tell!

OM SHANTI!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book of Grief: The Death of Sergeant Pepe

Sergeant Pepe and his little pal Eli.
Sergeant Pepe was mauled to death by wild dogs from the bush just minutes before I was leaving for the airport. I was so distraught I had to cancel the flight.

It was early in the morning, too early, when getting ready for the airport things got disorganized. When the vet told me he died of his injuries, I dreaded having to tell the children. It reminded me of when their father died 10 years ago. How to tell them the terrible news, for it was just as if we lost a family member. Sergeant Pepe had been around for six years and half my daughter's life. Despite intense precautions of keeping the dogs inside after three prior maulings, one of which killed Tonio's dog, Stranger, the freak accident cut us even deeper with its traumatic edge.

Tonio dug a grave next to Stranger's and we buried him.  I cried my heart out. I let him go into the arms of Yama, god of death, back to nature, back to the depths. This limited time we have with anything on this earth does bring us meaning.

I resisted the urge to clone Pepe, my little trickster duality dog. I instead read up on the Origin of Death in folklore, about pet loss and grief, put together a photo album of him, told a lot of good stories about his life, and prepared to remember him for Day of the Dead when it rolls around in October. A friend of mine had a dream and said he saw two dogs in my bed, playing with each other. So his spirit does live on. And I remembered the cycle of life. All is sorrowful, all is impermanent. OM SHANTI.




Friday, May 10, 2013

Healing at the Yoga Farm St. Croix


Living largely isolated and among nature in St. Croix can reap profound healing .
















I did it! I healed myself at the Yoga Farm St. Croix. It’s the culmination of many healing things during the 3-year journey I took with my children to live abroad.

One of the most significant healings I experienced, in which I wrote about during this blog, was to cure myself of cervical dysplasia. I’ve had nearly four years of irregular pap tests, which I had about every six months, caused by high-risk HPV in my system. I had a colcoscopy that tested with disease in September 2012. I elected to do a Yoga Farm St. Croix natural healing treatment and see what happens in six months.

I had been avoiding the test that was due this March. Only after I saw the nurse midwife at my kids’ school play mid April did I finally make the appointment. I had dread that I’d have to have another colcoscopy followed by her suggestion of medical treatment of some sort if I still had a problem. I had googled treatments over cervical dysplasia and learned about natural healing, but also heard horrible, painful expensive outcomes. I didn’t get health insurance in the U.S. Virgin Islands at all as a single, self-employed person, (Obama care DENIED to adult U.S. Citizens here for pre-existing conditions! Argentina had GREAT, cheap health care!) I started dreaming of a medical tourism trip to Thailand to visit a friend and afford to have the procedure done cheaply.

I opened a letter in in the mail last week with the results that said, Pap test NORMAL. High-Risk HPV NEGATIVE. It was a joyous day, and I walked along the Frederiksted pier, giving thanks, watching the local fisherman that glorious early morning.

I attribute my healing to several factors, of which I will go into more depth of each in subsequent posts. I believe that people can heal themselves. The trick is that you have to BELIEVE you can heal. (That's why they call it Make-Believe!)  It is not an easy task. It requires discipline and deep work to tell the truth about ourselves and let go of attachments. But I do believe women can work with cervical dysplasia using alternative healing with confidence and trust in themselves and bodies for a positive outcome. The process is actually part of the empowerment factor, and gaining trust in one's self as a woman and her powers to be self-determined and healed.

Here is an outline of 10 curing factors: 

"Van Gogh's Dream" 2010 by Sydney Solis
1)   Moving to a new place.  I left Colorado and moved to Buenos Aires and ended up in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I got away from the stress of U.S. Mainland culture to live a simpler life. I also lived out a life-long dream to live abroad with my children. I loved the diversity and culture of St. Croix.

2)   Slowing down my pace of work. Putting my business mostly on sabbatical and focusing on being a mother and taking care of myself and children first. I returned to the place before the wounding, before my husband died, leaving me a young widow with two small children.

3)   Giving up alcohol. I stopped six months to cleanse the liver and boost my immune system. I could not, however, resist Tonio's hand-grated coconut Coquito drink at Christmastime.  I did drink occasionally afterwards, but I do abstain from alcohol for long periods.

4)   Taking lots of vitamins and consulting with an ayurvedic physician (something I had been doing continually for seven years.)

5)   Connecting to, growing and cooking my own healthy food from my backyard garden and connecting with nature. I frequented the local farmer's markets with joy for fresh, seasonal local food and aligned my body with the rhythm of nature.

6)   Yoga, meditation and breathing. Something I’ve been doing for more than 20 years. This time it was more restorative  and gentle yoga and deeper breathing. I practiced my Mythic Yoga work and I worked especially with the root chakra and noting mis-alignments in my body, including spinal issues and scoliosis.

  7) Expressing myself and letting go of grief and fear. I finished a memoir about my late husband’s death that happened more than ten years ago. I also did a lot of artwork and had a one-woman show at the Maria Henle Studio in Christiansted. I told stories about my body and what happened to it, especially the lower half.

Labyrinth at the ruins of Mt. Washington, St. Croix, USVI.
8) Dream work and Ritual. A life-long lover of dreams, I had an incredible twelve weeks of dream work with Nancy Ayer at Mt. Washington and its Chartes style labyrinth. I have always been guided by dreams, including a voice that said, "Spanish vegetables will heal you." I took that as my favorite soup, gazpacho I drank lots of! I do other personal rituals as well.

9) Having a good support group of friends and attending the Christiansted noon Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. My parents never drank a drop, but the dysfunction caused by mental illness and the scars of war influenced my early life and haunted my adult life.

10)    Resolving long-term emotional issues around sex, men and self-esteem. I had been displacing my power and projecting my animus on men of certain character.

Pompeii, 2011 by Sydney Solis
The nice thing is that my kids are happy and healed too. My daughter, who struggled with several learning disabilities including dyslexia, auditory processing delay and ADHD, is finishing the 6th grade and has high school level abilities in most areas. She’s bright, happy, artistic and healthy.

My son discovered himself in theatre and filmmaking. The rote barren educational landscape of our past living in the U.S. was erased with living abroad and attending a good school. Among other things!

I do have a happy, healthy and very close little family of 3! Now we say goodbye to our wonderful life here and return. Moving to DeLand, Florida June 5. I hope to continue doing what I used to do in Colorado, Storytime Yoga for children and families. They will be introduced to the Queen of Bohemia now. The Mythic Yoga work continues with my continual deep reflection of my life through contemplation of myths and the body, to bring awareness of my issues intuitively by listening to the body and my personal stories, choices and perceptions.

St. Croix has been difficult to do business in and raise children, and the loneliness and isolation of not being around old friends or family is difficult. So I forewent business and mostly focused on relishing in being a mother and raising my kids. I gave time to myself to write, make art and heal, all the while enjoying the nature, quiet and rediscovering myself through art and yoga and all the wonderful things living in the Caribbean had to offer. All that can be healed has been healed.

 I can feel the completion of the cycle. A new beginning awaits. My kids are older now and it’s imperative that they be more independent. Living in St. Croix served its purpose for healing and the Mythic Journey, but it is difficult for kids to be independent here. In DeLand they will be able to walk out the door to an old-fashioned downtown, farmers markets and more. The library is a block away from the house, as is a skateboard park and other niceties. They will be able to ride their bike to school. It's back to the madness of gun-crazed U.S. and violence and bullying... but they are prepared and confident in self with the stamp of experience and self growth during our journey.

Yes, our mythical journey abroad is finished. We descended into ourselves, confronted hell and rooted ourselves in an identity deep beyond the temporal world, which enabled us to bloom again on the surface. It’s time for the return. Share the gifts. I’ve started to pack I do expect to return and live here half the year in time and offer healing retreats. I have so many wonderful friends and have a special place in my heart for the nature, farmers and other people in the beautiful island of St. Croix. It is a Healing Place! DO VISIT!

 The Story in the Body online classes are amazing, powerful, transformative. There REALLY IS  a whole world waiting for you within! If you DARE! What is your story in the body? Dive into your own depths with the healing power of yoga and story!

Visit the resurrected MythicYoga website too!








Friday, March 15, 2013

The Queen Must Die


“The sun is the sun behind the veil.”- Rumi
 

Living in nature is living in rhythm with the universe. 

I realized that living here in St. Croix. Spending my time in undeveloped nature on a Caribbean island among brilliant flowers and fabulous tropical fruit from the garden that falls to the earthen floor and rots and starts to seed all over again where it fell.  

Tat Vam Asi. Thou Art that.

My rooting in the Little Piece of Paradise is firmly established from my withdraw from the material world these past two and-a-half-years and tuned inward to the body, heart and voice of the inner world. Quietly living in nature, practicing yoga and tuning the senses toward the garden revealed the depths that are present.  I am that golden tree that is continually flowing but holds its shape. I am the tree that flowers in winter.  

Om Mani Padme Hum. 

I am the jewel in the lotus.

I am the energy. I am the perfect work. 

Perfect timing with Higgs Boson.

In the five years since I started this blog and the three years since I left the U.S. Mainland, The Queen of Bohemia was my guide.  The journey I underwent with her started from my life-long home of Boulder, Colorado, developed in Buenos Aires and then ended in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. I did my Mythic Yoga.

The myth and yoga distanced me from an identity attached to pain and guided me toward a new awareness and experience of Self that led to an identity infused with the golden joy of the divine. The alchemical process complete, it then planted me right back again to the outer world again.  Reborn. Ready for the next cycle. To step out of that cycle, I need only be present to be anchored once again in my special transcendent real estate within that is housed in my body. But now the Queen must die.

The Queen of Bohemia is no longer needed. She did her part. She said, "What sorrow? What despair? What life?" She guided me over rough terrain and through some very tough times, gave me the courage, strength and vision to go on despite great despair. In the process I fulfilled life dreams, healed my self and family and re-created myself anew. Now the journey of healing and wholeness is complete. Thank you, Oh, Queen!

That's the purpose of mythic image. It is like a bridge over a river, with one foot in the material world and one foot in the transcendent. It only takes you so far, and the image needs to disappear so that you can step through the final door to the still point that is within all of dancing creation and its cycles and leads you to your own little piece of paradise and ineffable bliss.

That's why many religions want no image to represent God. There is a saying in Buddhism that you can't mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon. The finger is just a guide to show you the moon, which is ineffable. Symbols and myths and stories are like the finger. Images are the bridge that point us to the eternal. They are guides to aid us in our journey, until we are grown enough to recognize that there never was any journey, there is just eternity.


My body, nervous system and guiding myth are completely transformed. The garden and nature, yoga and storytelling do that to you. They transform you completely by working with what's keeping you stuck in the past or future. I'm in a new space and awareness and am not under the grips of stuck energy in the body nor the hauntings of the mind's memory and stories. That's the healing power of yoga and story, assisting us in making sense of and having a new attitude at what happened. What happened is now rendered as art, poetry, story and memoir. Words to be spoken over campfires and feasts as we all sing and dance in ecstasy together.

Transformation of course, means just that, changing form. 

Shedding old skin

Dying.

It's the hard part, not, letting go, that gets you stuck. To die and surrender your ego. Such a sneaky thing to see. Not found in mirrors. Found only by listening to the silence and conjuring up images of diamonds from the deep.  Found by speaking the words and asking the question. Who am I?  And having the patience and courage to listen for the answer. Hard to do! Kali does a good job helping, giving us all a swift kick, as she did to me many times. Destruction, death and despair birthed the light. I'm happy to say I've had a good go at it and feel pretty great about things. Witnessing the endless life, birth, life process of the garden I ultimately saw beyond it all.

Mythic Yoga: Caribbean Kali Sydney Solis
Mythic Yoga: Caribbean Kali Sydney Solis
So it's time to retire the Queen and get ready for the Return. Things have shifted greatly, enormously, incredibly, amazingly. A profound healing.  No longer do I have the desire to examine myself or my mind's stories about what happened in the past. I'm too much in the present now. I'm still guided by mythic imagery, however, and as usual, by Kali and Durga, who were the Queen's Guides all along.  I will always journal, write memoir and tell my life's stories. But now the images have changed. The stars realigned, the compass direction points in a new world and the map holds a different story to now be told. I'm ready.
 
The battle was worth it and the triumph great. I have found that Little Piece of Paradise within to accompany me in life and am ready for the next phase. My battle scars are tattoos, home from the war as I prepare to return to the U.S. Mainland and move to Deland, Florida this June. It's time for the Return. All that can be healed has been healed. Hanging out spending time with Queen in the Garden did the trick. She had some good stories to tell. It was just the trick for my father, my mother, my sisters and my brothers, too. The retroactive healing of the ancestors when you heal yourself.
Mythic Yoga: Kali Yantra
Of course The Queen lives on! A new cycle begins! She has moved to her permanent abode. You can find her in the Little Lotus in the Mythic Yoga Studio in live, online webcam classes on Powhow.com, enchanting, entertaining and educating children all over the world with yoga! Teen Yoginis in the Artemis Club and adults too in Mythic Yoga. To dig up the jewels in the worlds of our own bodies and tell the personal myths and heal the heart. 
 
So here's to the next phase! Long live story and yoga and long live the Queen of Bohemia!




Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The Egg, the Dove, the Golden Dress and the Magic Key

The Queen of Bohemia delights in the garden eternal in her Little Piece of Paradise. She sits among the banana trees with her trusty animals and all the little children listen to her tell lots of stories.

She even tells them the story that happened long ago of a little peasant girl who once upon a time became a Queen. But this Queen had a hard time living in her desert kingdom. War, death and destruction had destroyed her home. Terrible demons tormented her and badly wounded her. And the biggest wound was a hole in her heart.

So she sojourned to the land to the south. A long journey that first brought her down, down to the great city near the bottom of the earth and then back up to an island near the middle of it. To her Kingdom by the Sea and the garden. There the gardener fed her fantastic feasts of the finest plants from the garden, and flowers brought her to a magic place of the other world. From out of her dreams in this other world appeared entire new worlds, because every day the Queen sat peace in the garden, quietly fishing by a well.

Until one day she fell asleep and she fell into the well. Deep down she fell. The well swallowed her up into the darkness, the terrible darkness, and she felt the terrible fear overwhelm her as she could barely see the light above her.  She worried what was awaiting her in the darkness. What beast would leap out at her? She had battled so many demons in that old kingdom, could she find the strength for yet one more battle here? She breathed in and out. She felt her feet touching the earth at the bottom of the well. Her body and mind were posed and focused for battle. Her hands reached out in the darkness. Within that darkness appeared an egg. The first thing that arose from the egg was a golden dress that radiated like the sun. The next thing to come out of the egg was a white dove, fluttering toward the light, and the third thing was a tiny, magic, golden key. The Queen put on the golden dress, the dove alighted on her left shoulder, and The Queen's hands held the key close to her heart. It fit perfectly the hole in her heart. A golden, peaceful light permeated her being. All is well. All is eternal. Water began to flow into the well, rising up until it reached the top, overflowing, delivering the Queen back to the surface once again.

All the trees and flowers in the garden started blooming.  The Queen started blooming too, like a hibiscus blooming the world into creation. The Queen bloomed into creation and eventually she expanded so much that she left for the stars, because she discovered that amidst all that creation, she was there at the center all the time. She was the jewel in the lotus. A bright star in the night sky.

She's up there now today, and is also now a book on a shelf. Her story. The story is still told to little children as the Queen lives on with them in the Little Lotus so they can all find their way to the stars one day, too.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The End of the Story - The Return of the Queen

It had been many years now since the Queen left the desert kingdom so very long ago. In the midst of her garden paradise at the middle of the Earth, in its deep silence of the fecund cathedral, she reflects upon this fact and ponders the future. For spring is approaching and the energies of the universe flow through her body, stir something within and remind her that the cycle of life continues in eternal renewal.

So I bet you are wondering how the story ends.

Here in St. Croix it's absolutely gorgeous right now. Art Thursday was last night and I reveled in living my dream as an artist by showing my work at my friend Tina Henle's gallery in downtown Christiansted. I was thrilled to sell a photo collage the month prior and meeting interesting people, local and tourist alike. The Agriculture fair came and went, and it's the peak of the season with the lush, farming goodness of people, animals and earth and 3-days of island buzz.

Now it's back to cleaning the house, spring cleaning, that starts with the body. The salvation of meditation and yoga that bring one into alignment every time. To be so grounded in reality and to recognize one's identity as the jewel in the lotus, identical with Vishnu dreaming the world into creation. So I meditate on the porch every morning to the sound of roosters, birds and other sounds of the bush. Those and the cool breeze that touches my skin to keep me present on the cushion.

It's also back to work. Back to writing, telling stories, teaching yoga, performing Storytime Yoga and the Queen of Bohemia, re-enchanting the world with yoga and story. It's also a time of deep personal practice and reflection. To look back on 10 years since my husband died, and nearly three years since I moved from the mainland U.S. After his death I started Storytime Yoga and worked again out of passion but also fueled by sheer post-traumatic stress. Then seven years into it, I wanted to return to the place before the wounding, before his death. I wanted to be a homemaker and mother only again and enjoy my children. Because when you are widowed with young children and it's only you to work and run the household, something falls through the cracks. I didn't want it to be my children. I think that's what the world most needs - to not let children fall through the cracks.

So we set off for Buenos Aires for a great adventure as a family. I yoga home schooled the kids with the help of a local woman from such locations as Café Tortoni, the Botanical Gardens or Science Museum. There I took the time off for us all to learn to knit, cook and live simply and without American-style pressure or culture that I didn't think was particularly healthy for kids.

In Buenos Aires I also wrote only for myself rather than blogged or wrote for business. So that I could tell the truth about things. The satya in yoga. That's what memoir writing does. It examines what happened and why it happened and comes to some sort of understanding of the truth about things. To see things clearly from a distance and see all the characters, all the players and the fates and world stage of which we submit to our amor fati willingly.

The deep peace and healing I have found in those three years since leaving the U.S. and ending up here in St. Croix amidst the garden and isolation from the insanity of the outside world has indeed brought me to realize the "pedacito del paraiso," as Tonio puts it. The little piece of paradise. That paradise that comes from within, no matter what the situation in life, we have an anchor on a little piece of real estate within that is undisturbed, "anahata" unstruck in the heart, a reservoir of eternal life and salvation that is instantly available. If we only can reach it. It does come with meditation, with yoga and surrender. With the ability and courage to look at one's self clearly, still the mind and peel away all the unresolved conflicts. For that you have to die, terrifying as that may be. Die to your ego and fears and stories about who you think you are. Then liberation is great. Like a gourd released from the vine, as the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra puts it.

I have been involved in a dream work group here on St. Croix. It met for six weeks on the ruins of Mt. Washington at my friend Nancy Ayer's house. She has a fantastic labyrinth there I have walked many times, even with my children. It's power to go deep sea diving to within your own depths is great - if you have the courage to face it all. The journey is arduous, as Emily Dickinson wrote, filled with demons, dragons and most deadly of all... denial. Few can handle it. Those with so much to lose, they are the first to flee. But those who have nothing to lose, it's easy to just throw one's self in to the fire and transformation comes in a flash, the phoenix rising as sure as the morning sun.

The dream work has been profound, especially when with a group. We start again for another six weeks soon. I'm now helping teach too. Last time I worked this intensely with dreams was when I did a workshop with Rebecca Armstrong through the Joseph Campbell Foundation in Oaxaca, Mexico for some psychotherapists. Called, "Dreaming the Myth Body of the America's" we worked for three days with dreams and created new myths based on those dreams told. Truly you start dreaming other's images, as I've found in my own online dream work courses I have taught. Those dream stories, Campbell said, is the emerging myth for the world. The myth that started to arise was that of the feminine returning. Women claiming their sovereignty, power and selves. It's through the body, its creative energies, and putting the dream images of the conscious as well as unconscious world together into the body and reality. It's a stitching together of inner and outer worlds. The true meaning of tantra, which means loom. You co-create your world. You, as Vishnu, are dreaming reality into place, as Physicist Fred Allan Wolf claims in his book "The Dreaming Universe." You just have to pay attention to those jewels brought every night, as much attention as you must pay attention to your day dream. What are you dreaming? What are you bringing forth to creation? That is the question.

So I am content, and I question my self. This persona, this mask. The Queen of Bohemia is my aid in the quest, and I question all my story and my life in reflection from the point of the deep peace and joy I feel in the center.  This deep peace and awareness that was born out of great pain, deep sorrow. Call it the agony and the ecstasy. Always the paradox that takes place when giving birth. And now I am seeing clearly from the center of everything and make art out of it. Be it a collage, a poem, a yoga practice or a memoir.  I wrote and finished a memoir this year that I have been working on for some time about my late husband. What an intense release of energy! That's the beauty of taking time off. To refill the well. There was a study recently about the productivity of people who take a lot of time off, who sleep a lot or take naps. (ME!!!!) Not lazy, just brilliant!!! I am amazingly productive, and it requires long periods of nothingness to recharge like a battery and burst onto stage in a flurry of creation, like flames from a bonfire.

I now turn toward pulling out those old writings I made in Buenos Aires, where I set out each day for some historic cafe for which to write and drink cafe con leche and eat three media lunas. I had a trusty map with the locations of every cafe, and each time I reached one I marked it off, I wrote and wrote and wrote. For my self. For my heart.

So now it's time for deep reflection. To look at things from a far and continue on the great journey of teaching that The Mythic Yoga Studio does. The Yoga of Your Story. The Dream Story of the Body.  What did the Queen do when she lived in Buenos Aires? How did she come to St. Croix and how did she find such profound peace and deep healing? For she heroically journeyed into the depths to find the pearl of great price and now to come back out again. She risked everything and conquered her fears. How did she do it? The lens of time brings everything into focus for the Queen. From a far the angels gaze over her shoulders and witness with her, cheering her on, peeling back the layers of thoughts and mind and coming to the truth of it all and to bring forth art out of the rhapsody of experience. It's the End of the Story - The Queen has Returned. Arriving at the end of the story in order to begin all over once again, and for ever, ever after.

OM SHANTI

"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" – Rumi