THE YEAR OF COMPASSION in ACTION
…on the art/life trail ride
Donna Iona Drozda
Wren House Studio
“In 2016, dispose of the old.
Make space for the new, Go for the gold.”
Thank you, Sara Wasserman, Artist, Wise Woman, for our art/life mantra for 2016
Welcome to 2016!
“At these times it is a good thing to look back and really
see what has happened, say in the last year,
for when you stop and do this you will be
simply astounded at what has taken place.”
The Level Nine Global Year (2016: 2+0+1+6 = 9) offers a rich art/life opportunity: a period of simultaneous endings and beginnings all year long with ample quantities of tolerance and empathy folded into the mix.
This article will offer you an overview of the 2016 creative energy year … what I call the Natural year. As an art/life citizen of the world, we can each apply creative ways to connect and to choose deeper expressions of goodness, truth, and beauty as we find them…and although that is true at all times, this year we go for the gold!
Here is our frame: globally, we all moved across an energy threshold and into a new Creative Decade at the beginning of 2008. In 2016, we can look over our collective shoulder to see what we’ve created since the cycle began. Individually you can notice where you’ve been sourcing your energy from as well as where you might allow yourself to be going as the path opens up ahead.
The 2016 Lifecycle Forecast offers ideas and focus points for how to bring your experiences from the past eight years to a point of conscious closure. As we know, endings can be difficult, so we will be here all year gaining insight and awareness regarding this time of endings and beginnings in the year of “Compassion in Action.”
The Japanese have a phrase for this dual perception: mono no aware.
It means “beauty tinged with sadness,” for there cannot be any real
beauty without the indolic whiff of decay. For me, living is the same
thing as dying, and loving is the same thing as losing, and this does
not make me a madwoman; I believe it can make me better at living,
and better at loving, and, just possibly, better at seeing.
Hold Still, Sally Mann
This year is important as one of choice/opportunity. Rather than feel victimized by situations, circumstances, relationships, challenges and even routines, we can choose to evolve, one step at a time, all this year.
On our art/life trail ride, we’ll be exploring, week by week, and moon by moon, the current potential for creating/making something evolutionary happen, even within the small world of our studio. This year offers us the choice to work with grace, tenderness, empathy, humanness, benevolence, and kindness as though these qualities are workable in the hand-like clay. In the Buddhist tradition, a year such as 2016 offers us much opportunity to practice Metta/loving kindness meditation.
Compassion in action is not for those who are looking to blame someone “out there” for the issues that they, or our world, are facing. Rather, since all energy has a high and a low resonance, we might decide, if we are ready and willing, to broaden our view of what is possible and really choose to wake up/step up … make the conscious effort to evolve our individual creative voice … imagine how this action of compassion is adding to the whole.
This year we’ll be much engaged in sifting and sorting, taking inventory, discovering what is needed and what needs to be released. Think of this as a major creative exercise that can infuse your self-expression with depth and discovery.
One of my mentors has a phrase that endlessly inspires me:
“Your needs are the fuel for the expansion of your greatness.”
This year you might consider the need to take inventory on where you get stuck in your ruts, notice what no longer nourishes you, pay attention to how often you have been dreaming of leaving … perhaps for years.
I find it good to reflect upon this poem by Stanley Kunitz
The Long Boat
When his boat snapped loose
from its mooring, under
the screaking of the gulls,
he tried at first to wave
to his dear ones on shore,
but in the rolling fog
they had already lost their faces.
Too tired even to choose
between jumping and calling,
somehow he felt absolved and free
of his burdens, those mottoes
stamped on his name-tag:
conscience, ambition, and all
He was content to lie down
with the family ghosts
in the slop of his cradle,
buffeted by the storm,
To be rocked by the Infinite!
As if it didn’t matter
which way was home;
as if he didn’t know
he loved the earth so much
he wanted to stay forever.
2016 is providing time and space for letting go; notice what has been mastered since 2008 and with compassion, make preparation for a new “Creative Decade” (a creative decade is actually nine years end-to-end, but we round those nine years up and call them a decade). The new Creative Decade will begin in 2017.
The action is to imagine a simultaneous ending (2016) and beginning (2017). That’s EXCITING news! However, we want to have our eyes and heart open. We also want to have an open mind since it will be easy to get distracted. It’s all a bit shaky “out there,” wouldn’t you say?
Our word for this year: Koyaanisqatsi, which translates to life out of balance or chaotic life.
This year each one of us can engage in conscious reflection on the ways in which our own life is out of balance and in chaos. I learned many years ago from my first mentor/coach that chaos is not to be feared. Chaos represents the first stage in the creation process. You know the drill:
The door opens to the opportunity to make a commitment to meaningful, creative, courageous, compassionate action. There are endless examples of the opposite of what it means to nurture the self with compassion and deep empathy … take all the time you need this year to inventory what is of value: make a list. Then also notice what is no longer valuable to you. Make that list. Be sure to include yourself in your inventory. You are so very valuable.
Breathe deep. Feel the connection to something bigger and greater than self. Notice each inhalation drawing energy toward the direction of expansion. 2016 is a culmination of all that you have allowed physically, emotionally, and intuitively since 2008. Think completion. Think mastery. Think physical, emotional and intuitive balance. Think about how you leak your power and when.
Think compassionate empathic energy. Think broadening your outlook. Consider philanthropy and all the ways to be generous and generative. Visualize your ability to master and to evolve your creative voice, your heart/song.
SETBACKS AND FAILURES CREATE COMPASSION MASTERY
Lao Tzu was traveling with his disciples, and they came to a forest where hundreds of woodcutters were cutting the trees. The whole forest had been cut except for one big tree with thousands of branches. It was so big that 10,000 persons could sit in its shade.
Lao Tzu asked his disciples to go and inquire why this tree had not been cut. They went and asked the woodcutter, and he said, “This tree is absolutely useless. You cannot make anything out of it because every branch has so many knots in it – nothing is straight. You cannot use it as fuel because the smoke is dangerous to the eyes. This tree is absolutely useless, that’s why we haven’t cut it.”
The disciples came back and told Lao Tzu. He laughed and said, “Be like this tree. If you are useful, you will be cut, and you will become furniture in somebody’s house. If you are beautiful, you will be sold in the market, you will become a commodity.
Be like this tree, absolutely useless, and then you will grow big and vast and thousands of people will find shade under you.”
My neighbor, The “Mother Tree”, she didn’t have thousands of branches; however, for some unknown reason, she and one other tree were spared the lumbermen’s machinery and left standing on 125 acres clear cut next door to my farm.
Taking a stand for compassion in action requires a desire to evolve. When you are willing to be a Creative Evolutionary, it becomes natural to feel expansive and generous. You are in charge of evolving yourself, and you realize that no one else can do this for you.
Creative Evolution begins when your heart and mind realizes more goodness, truth and beauty in Life. This year will resonate with:
“How can I help?”
rather than “What’s in it for me?”
THE MORAL OF THE STORY…
needs to be written down:
What we’re up to is navigating the terrain of the art/life. Things can get bumpy and disorientation results. Lightning can strike. We want to tap into the inner GPS system that keeps us on track and gets us where we really want to be going. Navigating directly toward our destiny and continuously aligning with the purpose of the art/life will help you see all this year that something globally is finished. Something in the world has gone as far as it can go. Perhaps it has been accomplished; perhaps it’s time to just let it go. It’s a global year of noticing what’s done as well as what’s to come.
Best way to do that – keep a journal
I began to “write it down” in 1969, For me, writing has been a lifesaver – an emotional and psychological leveler each and every time I move the pen on the blank page.
Intuitive writing, along with yoga, served as the first steps in my long healing process (post violence/entrapment at the hands of three extremely dangerous miscreants).
If you really knew me, you would know that I’m hooked on “handing over” whatever intrigues or ails me. I do that by making marks on paper, and as a result, I now have well over 150 illustrated journals in my archives.
I stand with and for all that is shared in this terrific “begin now” article: Give it a spin: Writing in a journal should be your ONLY New Year’s resolution this year. I’ll prove it to you...
if something is eating at you, or if you are eager to learn to “eat your words” in a healthy and dynamic exchange that is sure to be nourishing as well as nurturing, move your hands (both of them), and make marks writing and drawing, cutting and pasting, in order to move your ideas and confusions onto the page.
Enter 2016 with a pact to take an inventory of the past eight years: 2008-2015. Take your time about this creative process and prepare to release, by September, what is no longer of value, while at the same time, coming to acknowledge what is of value. Consider physical, emotional and spiritual experience as well.Let go of anything that no longer feels like a fit for your life as you welcome in all that fits as wealth/well-being.
What you will release and why is your business, a carryover from all of the authentic care that you gave yourself in 2015.
2016 is the year to be sharing your gifts and being willing to be seen for who you really are. Rise up to meet the usefulness of your creative power to produce, author, direct and take action on your life stage.
In the eighth year (2015) of our global cycle, you may have noticed more lack of supply than surplus. No need to panic. 2015 forced each of us to pay attention to where our resource comes from and … surprise … resource doesn’t come from affirmations, pretending that everything will take care of itself or going all positive… Resource comes from making meaning.
The Level Nine Global Year in a Creative Energy Decade brings an overriding feel of completion. Something is done. There’s a chance to be engaged in closure; to take inventory and make note of what has been valuable and what has not been valuable. Your inventory might hold points of contact:
EXPANDING THE VISION
MASTERING YOUR CRAFT
When failure lurks and chaos reigns, think to connect to your real power by saying
I’m a grown-up
I have the capacity to discern
I have a track record
I can be compassionate toward myself
Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment, and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
The wind, too, scattered seeds. As the water reappeared, so there reappeared willows, rushes, meadows, gardens, flowers, and a certain purpose in being alive.
The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono
Are you willing to be an Evolutionary in your art/life? This year shows you how. Week by week, you can be part of the art/life trail ride blog. Here you’ll gain insights and guidance to help you stay the course.
Evolutionary doesn’t mean above and beyond others, and it doesn’t imply that there is a race. Being evolutionary and compassionate are two sides to the same coin: The statement, “This is who I am” makes a clear declaration and doesn’t pretend that something is missing. With this pronouncement, there is no anxiety. We don’t wring our hands and moan about what we are not being, having or doing. We stand in our authentic power and make the changes, with authentic self-care, that are required.
STAND FOR YOUR SENSE OF MASTERY
The twelve months/thirteen moons before us are about compassion, kindness, confidence, balance and stability. These months ahead are also about endings and beginning. By September 2016, you will know what you have mastered, identified primarily by your capacity to shape-shift your experience as needed. There’s a good deal of stepping up and stepping out to be embraced during this walk around the wheel. Ninth level energy aligns with our resources, and the critical need to set healthy boundaries. With this combination, we naturally hunger to reconfigure our experience so that it aligns with the best possibility.
Take a long look at your experiences of the past eight years (2008-2015). Take an inventory. Think like a shopkeeper … what is no longer useful? What needs to be liquidated? Imagine being evolutionary in your ability to “stock your shelves.”
2016 teaches through compassion and service. You may have planned and prepared for 8 years to have this one moment of blast off, and one of the engines may fail. It doesn’t matter. In the long view, our job now is to manage. We’ve quietly gained influence since 2008 began. Take command and be responsible for the level of order you’ve brought to your life. Show your courage,especially when there is an engine failure!
YOUR RADIANT LEADERSHIP IS YOUR FRONTIER
Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.
Generate…Global Energies require that we place ourselves into a worldview that respectfully aligns with the “WE” more than with the lone, little “me.”
Evolve … the strength you have to share.
Complete … competence as your limitless frontier.
FINE ARTS/HEALING ARTS:
EXPRESS YOURSELF AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS
The Level Nine Global Year has us ready, even eager, to flourish and to thrive.
The 9th archetype is referred to as Discernment in Carol Bridges
Medicine Woman Tarot
The statement of power or mantra that will invoke Discernment:
“All of my desires have aligned with my highest ideals, thus my presence heals. I look forward with confidence to the eternal splendor of my love-filled life.”
Keeping this mantra in mind and heart we can be courageous and turn our creative attention to what each of us can bring, of our best, “to the worst” of the world…
War, Poverty, Violence and Oppression
I discovered the mantra below during a spontaneous journaling session in 1995. I was preparing to travel to an extremely oppressive country wracked with violence, poverty, war and oppression. I was writing about the country being endangered,and in my handwriting, there was a natural lifting of the pen, a separation in my writing between the “d” and the “a.” I didn’t realize this at the time; however, hours later when I returned to read the entry, I saw that endanger and end anger hold the same vibrational energy … they are formed by the same letters and therefore resonate in like manner.
WE ARE EACH ENDANGERED UNTIL WE END ANGER
ENDANGER = end anger
I’ve been mining the gold of that synchronistic gift for many years.
What practices do you have in place for tending to your anger? Do you have a program on tap for your emotional health in times of stress?
Anger is a well-developed coping mechanism for when we feel threatened, or when our goals are thwarted. It enables us to react decisively in situations where there’s little time for reasoned analysis, and it can motivate problem solving, achievement of goals and removal of threats. It is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irrational to intense fury and rage.”
Our earliest memories of anger or violence have a lasting impact and influence on how anger becomes a dominant feature in adult life. Anger issues can frequently be traced back to learned behaviour from parents and significant others.
Increased anger is also a product of frenetic 21st century living, where feelings of insecurity and worry on many levels influence behaviour – fear of failure, worries over redundancy / salary cuts, debt issues, loss and poverty in the fallout from the banking debacle, and when company and individual bankruptcies reach an all-time high. The stress of coping with aggressive competitive work practices, targets and tight deadlines; traffic jams and road rage . . . all take their toll, not least in high levels of stress, anxiety and depression which can fuel anger outbursts.
HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU WITH CLOSURE?
The last Level Nine Global Year was in 2007: How compassionate and masterful were you being in 2007? A lot of growth opportunities have been presented since then. Review the news and also your journals, datebooks, photographs, etc. Identify where you allowed the radiant leader you to shine through.
In 2007 what did you value? What did you release and move away from? Where did you evolve and how? What will you value and evolve in the coming Creative Decade?
The wisdom of the Tao Te Ching has been a poetic touchstone of stability in my life since 1968. Here is William Martin’s contemporary translation of the Ninth verse of the Tao Te Ching from The Sage’s Tao Te Ching:
THE SAGE DOES NOT RETIRE FROM LIFE
The sage does not retire from life.
The sage retires from unhappiness.
Retire from worry.
Retire from the pursuit of possessions.
Retire from complaining.
Retire from the strain
of seeking security.
Retire from unhappiness.
Enjoy the moments given you.
Love the people around you.
Live the life offered you.
The Sage’s Tao Te Ching
A YEAR OF TOLERANCE AND MERCY
Sit quietly with your eyes closed and spine aligned comfortably straight. Breathe deeply. Set yourself firmly within the auric field/egg of light that surrounds your body. This sets your boundary. Spread your arms wide. Twirl your arms in front and out to the sides of your body. Feel at home within this space. Place yourself within this capsule. This area contains you. Now see yourself pushing down into the earth beneath you. Now extend this capsule of protection high into the sky over your head. Visualize being deeply rooted. Sense into being “at home” within yourself.
During 2016 recognize the power of being within this portable unit called “myself” and know that you belong wherever you are. The work this year builds on the authentic self-care of 2015. This year we are empowered by being stable. Make a commitment to trust that you are spiraling upward in a direction that serves you, that serves others and that serves all of Life.
The eight years (2008 – 2015) that we’ve just lived, created and celebrated have led sequentially through the energy fields that build to this, the Level Nine Global Year. Think of the months of 2016 as the crescendo in a long stretch of experience. You might consider the circle of the natural year.
Picture that by applying your creative energy, your very destiny, to this navigation system you will be stepping into mastery. Enlist the four directions and their keywords (see below) as you segment the year into four quadrants of approximately ninety days each.
THE FOUR DIRECTIONS
The 3 Northern/Winter “MYSTERY” moons:
Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox
January Mastery: Clearing/Cleansing: Inventory your habit patterns. Keep those habits that apply to your best physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. January’s energy acts as a conversion point. In this year of ‘Compassion in Action’ lean into having stamina because you have lived as much life and learned as many lessons as you have. See this moon/month as a place for conscious renewal of the routines that inspire and uplift you in the most radically enlivening ways.
As you start your inventory, begin to hold a vision of how you intend to close this year. Begin to notice what is valuable and what is no longer valuable. Invest in your life force and vitality. MOVE. Make clear your commitment to take the very best care of yourself.
February Mastery: Renewal: Rise above the situations and circumstances that pull your best energy away. See silver linings. Enjoy the idea of being a visitor, a stranger in a strange land. Innocence is a form of purity. Laugh. Pay attention to the pattern of your breath. Breathe deep and practice limbering up.
Be willing to lighten up the environments that you move through. Notice what mires you and break those bonds.
March Mastery: Purity: Socialize and express yourself in a new joyful way, invite community into your life. See all of your exchanges as part of the poetry of your life. Celebrate in some way. Express. Express. Express. Find new ways to share your ideas and inspirations. Take a class, host a tea party, be out in the community.
The 3 Eastern/Spring “ME” Moons:
Spring Equinox to Summer Solstice
April Mastery: Clarity: Create a foundation, a platform, a structure for the work of your art/life. Notice what makes your heart sing. Stand in your power with a loyalty to your deepest calling. As your inventory continues, pay attention to the experiences that are worthy of investing further to develop. Generate momentum.
May Mastery: Wisdom: Change those habits that are coming up for review. Change your mind. Mend fences. Add to your education regarding the compassion in action theme for this year. How might you be the one to make the change that creates the evolution?
June Mastery: Illumination: Turn on the light. Pay attention to the longer hours of active engagement. Step away from a diet heavy on the materialistic side. Spend time outdoors. Decide where your devotion lies. Pay attention to your home and your close relationships, starting with the “portable home” that is you and how your relationship with yourself could be more of a “soft place to fall.”
The 3 Southern/Summer “OTHERS” Moons:
Summer Solstice to Fall Equinox
July Mastery: Growth: This is a fine time to go on a retreat. Think of this month as a “vision quest” and note what in you is attempting a growth spurt. Have the courage to really love what you have to offer and to be about discovering and uncovering new ways to share your well-being/your true wealth.
August Mastery: Trust: Do you trust your capacity to develop deeper levels of self-care? Do that. Invest in yourself as though you are the Google of your art/life, expanding and taking on more and more brilliance and the ability to master your craft. No matter what your art/life path this month, sink deep into the resource that supplies all of your needs. Take advantage of the dividends that these last eight years are now paying. Notice how vital and important what you bring to the marketplace table is to the betterment of the whole.
September Mastery: Love: Ask yourself: “What would love do now?” Every year the month of September mirrors back to us what we have mid-wifed up until today. We support one another in giving birth to each step of our greatness, and throughout this month, it makes us stronger to send out those messages of gratefulness and appreciation. Look into your own mirror first and be aware of how much this year has given you in terms of following the path to your full capacity to show up and shine.
The 3 Western/Autumn “LIFE” Moons:
Fall Equinox to Winter Solstice
October Mastery: Experience: Take time to reflect upon what has happened since the Natural Calendar opened last spring at the Equinox. Own your shadow but embrace your light. Take responsibility for the way you relate. October brings you a 31 day preview of the energy that will wash over the global in 2017. This means that throughout this month, we’ll be seeing a new vision. We’ll be considering a beginning again. We’ll be looking toward the freshness that a Creative Decade opens us to collectively. 2008 was the last year of beginning a new Creative Decade; it was not easy for many. This time around offers a chance to hold a different picture. What will your experience be?
November Mastery: Introspection: Every November something has to symbolically die so that space is made for the new dream. Notice the death and rebirth ceremonies that occur at this time of year. Spend time looking at the quality of awareness, and pay attention to how much awareness you’re willing to gain in this year of compassion in action as it’s winding down.
December Mastery: Strength: True Strength is a very gentle quality – cultivate yours. As this year closes, the month energy is akin to armature. Think structure. Being able to hold a vision of the structure for your unfolding art/life is critical as we prepare to move into the new Creative Decade of 2017. New beginnings require a refreshed relationship with self, others and life. This month is for anchoring into a new sense of identity leading to new forms of self-expression. Happy New Year!
In review: Contemplate the 12 months/13 moons of 2016 through the lens of Compassion in Action.
- Am I willing to step into radiant leadership…ready or not?
- Will I continue to evolve rather than perfect?
- Have I learned to be tolerant of real and perceived differences?
- Am I curious about my ability to be masterful in the moment?
- Do I provide selfless service to support the release of suffering?
Most importantly this year:
- Am I willing to evolve into a master of Compassion in Action?
Inquiries Bring Mastery
The Level Nine Global Year resonates to this short list of keywords/phrases. Use them to gain awareness of when you are in and when you are out of balance.
Consult the dictionary and thesaurus, journal and communicate, including those words that fit for your experience at any given time.
Keywords and qualities that will compel you forward in 2016: agape, arts, books, broad outlook, brotherhood, closure, compassion, completion, concerts, dance, discernment, evolve, fine arts, galleries, generosity, healing arts, here, impersonal love, interdependent, kindness, leadership, loving-kindness, mercy, Metta, radiant, service, theatre, tolerance, worldview
Keywords and qualities that will create power leaks throughout 2016: aimless, bullying, closed-minded, co-dependent, conflicts, constriction, disappointment, disillusion, frustration, intolerant, judgmental, manipulator, narrow interests, neglecting friendships, oppression, poverty, unfulfilled, scam, victim, violence, war
All through the year you can return to this keyword list and bring your insights. Notice when the “low road” energy comes to find you through your thinking, the media or conversation.
Journal, draw, paint, dance, sculpt, craft (in any way you choose) your responses. Being on the art/life trail ride, you may want to gain awareness as to how you can move forward being a model for what you stand for. This is the year to complete a Creative Decade being peaceful, balanced and stable.
MASTERY, TOLERANCE, EVOLVING YOU
Homework for 2016:
- Tally the wealth and well-being of your past eight years (2008-2015).
- Be an Evolutionist… discover what that term means to you.
- Step into your competence and Mastery.
- Be kind, compassionate and invested in beauty.
- Ask often: How does discernment function for me?
- Call in your capacity to add to the healing arts & the fine arts…make. Create. Explore hands-on healing modalities that nurture and nourish who you are being. Discover art galleries, theatres, new books, dance & music of all kinds.
Enjoy this major moment in time … 2016: the Level Nine Global Year in the current Creative Energy Decade.
ASSUME SWIFT POWER
Be Your Own “Here-O”
Be Here Now
Donna Iona Drozda here. Thanks for reading the 2016 Lifecycle Forecast, now in its twentieth year of publication. I am an audio/visual artist. I paint large-scale canvas tapestries inspired by symbolism, metaphor and the natural world. I live in harmony with the cycles of the seasons invested in a passion for exploration and discovery. I’m excited to be about the business of uncovering evolutionary and tolerant ways of Being in the world.
I explore nature with continual fascination from a perspective of “think global, act local.” I’m encouraged by the way expressive arts (music, poetry, dance, visual arts, and creativity of all kinds) naturally contribute to healing our individual and collective trauma.
Work with me. Through my studio service Lifecycle I offer dynamic and tremendously well received individual audio, “word portraits”. I use your handwriting and birth info to draft your ‘creative blueprint’, I tune you up and point you, like a personal GPS system, in the direction of your deepest, widest and wildest creative self-expression…NOW.
Visit the Lifecycle Mentoring/Consulting pages to learn more.
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PO. Box 68324, Virginia Beach, VA 23471
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