Holley Hyler

A r t i s t

Heal, But Don’t Forget to Live

June 29, 2018

but don't forget to live.

Heal, but don’t forget to live.

I say this as a person who is going into business as a Reiki practitioner and someone who has been exploring self-help for years. I have had counseling, coaching, massage therapy, and energy healing done on myself. I have found them all useful. After some events that took place earlier this year, I finally realized that you can’t permanently banish pain and trauma. You might be saying, “Duh,” but a lot of us can unwittingly fall into the trap of obsessing over self-help and asking why, when the why doesn’t matter so much. We may not know why until we meet our Maker, if then.

As much as we would all like to be completely free of the things that plague us – physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally – we can let our lives pass us by if we are constantly trying to get to the bottom of a wound. We can spend so much time focusing on problems, we forget to be human.

Human life is messy, real, and uncomfortable. There are going to be moments where you feel completely fed up with this existence. You’re going to feel sick of the superficial bullshit that we have to put up with, especially if you tend to be a deeper and more introverted type. You’re going to get tired of going through the motions and doing things that humans have to do to feel comfortable in this reality. You’re going to have times where you hate what you do for a living. You’ll feel an intense dislike for certain other people and situations. You’ll feel broken by the horrible things you see people doing to animals and to each other. You’ll feel heartbroken after your romantic partner dumps you or you lose a beloved pet. Does that mean you’re negative or that you need to do more healing, attend a yoga class, or meditate right away? Is there a set time period for grief that, once surpassed, turns you into a Grinch? I think it means you’re normal, and you can certainly do those healing or meditation classes if you want to. Grief has no set period. Before you run to light your sage and cut those cords, you have to remember this:

You are going to have negative emotions, and you are going to encounter negative people. You are going to require time to grieve people, animals, or even ideas. It is true that some people should not have a place in your life if they constantly trigger you or mean some manner of harm, but try not to get scissor-happy to a point where you cut everyone off. Sometimes, people are just having a bad day, and their negativity is short-lived. Sometimes, we vent and take our frustration out on people we love because we know they will still love us through that. A healthy person will not do this frequently and will treasure those that allow them to let loose from time to time.  Sometimes, people are highly irritating, or we get bogged down by their expectations of us at times, but they don’t pose a significant threat to our well-being. They don’t deserve to be aggressively spritzed with sage mist, even if that is a funny thing to picture and you may be very tempted.

I do not like to think of people as “toxic,” even if it is true. This label seems cruel. Those who are triggering to this degree are so affected by their own issues that it really is not personal, even when it may seem so. You do whatever you need to do to preserve your inner peace, but please remember that labels don’t help anyone. Those people who are toxic to you are projecting their stuff onto you – not that it is fair or deserved, but that is all they’re doing. Like a toddler throwing a tantrum, they don’t know any better. You can’t fix them. Giving them too much mental screen time only makes you miserable. They may never apologize or see the error in their ways. That’s on them. You don’t need to agonize over whether you pissed them off in a past life or think that the Universe hates you. As sad as it is, these things happen, and if you approach them a certain way, you can grow from these situations and people. Maybe the pain never fully goes away, but it won’t always feel so strong and debilitating. You won’t be angry forever.

I used to think medication for depression was useless. I thought, “It only numbs the pain and doesn’t fix it.” Well, you know what? After my mom died, I wanted to be numb. Medication is not the answer to everything, but sometimes you reach a point where you’ve tried everything else. My sensitivity at that time made everyone sound like a skipping record, an out of tune guitar with a broken string – everyone annoyed me, and I was afraid my mouth would get me in trouble. By this point, I was a Reiki practitioner and had been through many healing or therapy sessions. People thought of me as “zen.” But the way I felt, having to interact with people after the loss of my mom, was not zen at all. I wanted to beat the walls, scream and cry, even if someone only said “hello” to me. It was that bad, and I found myself changing my mind about meds.

I still love Reiki. I still love spirituality. I still check the self-help section at the bookstore on occasion. I meditate and do Kundalini Yoga. I energize my crystals and sleep with them under my pillow. But I also read the news, read books for pleasure, enjoy wine and beer, swear, watch junk on TV, play mindless phone games, eat junk food, and take medication for my depression. These things are not apart from spirituality.

Being able to embrace your soul and humanity at the same time – that’s extremely spiritual.

It’s also very healing.

Dwelling on the Past

March 24, 2018

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Artwork by Autumn Skye Morrison; from Sacred Rebels Oracle by Alana Fairchild.

Dwelling on the past is often portrayed as a waste of mental space and energy. It is not.

It is through dwelling that I piece my story together. My higher self and child self blend together for a mixture of wisdom, vulnerability, and storytelling, leaving in their wake an energy that is accessible to a good number of struggling humans.

Perspective on what has been will be different when I am at a coffee shop downtown, at a concert, in a garden full of petunias and Buddha statues, in bed after waking suddenly at three in the morning. The more I think and travel, the more nuanced the story becomes, truths weighed against one another to see which is closest to my truth.

None of it would be possible without dwelling.

By all means, dwell.

The world could become better for it.

The Power of Story

March 20, 2018


To see oneself in another’s story is to find liberation.

To see how another loses herself in love causes one to dig up what they once deemed foolishness and regard it as humanity, in the spirit of self-forgiveness.

To know one can understand without attempting to fix or engage in a “whose pain is greatest” competition, is to receive the gift of pure presence.

To look into the eyes of one who is present is to behold the Universe’s love, the love that existed in its highest form before we were born and took on human meanings of what love should be.

Some stories help us find our way back to that love, no matter how far we have drifted.

Loving What We Hide from the Light of Day

March 19, 2018


Source: Pexels

As I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this morning (The Positive Head Podcast by Brandon Beachum), I heard a passage from the book Oneness, channeled by Rasha. It was about self-love and how we must love ourselves, not despite our mistakes, but because of them. For it was our moments, the ones that we’re not so proud of, that helped us to transform and become better versions of ourselves. Without these so-called blunders, and without our ability to see and grow from them, we would not be where we are today.

Any piece of healing work out there – be it in the form of a self-help book or art – came about because the author was willing to see something “negative” about himself or his experience, decided to get up close and personal with it to heal it, and in the process, gained valuable insight on how to help others with it.

The passage from Oneness stuck with me because I was feeling a great deal of shame as I had been attempting to write another chapter in my book last night, and I am at a part of my story that requires me to be very vulnerable. I look back at old journal entries and conversations to remember things accurately, and it is challenging to go back and see the naïve person I was, how immaturely I handled certain things. I presumed so much that wasn’t true, or wasn’t being confirmed as true. It is easy to look at these instances from the past and fall into the trap of self-loathing, to spiral into a mood so glum that I cannot write. Instead of writing, I settle in front of the TV to re-watch episodes of The Crown, wallowing in my misery and embarrassment. But even the process of wallowing, of allowing myself to feel those things, is a part of writing the book – for I must sit with them long enough to be able to write about them. What I resist persists, and these feelings are demanding to be felt fully before I write about them.

The very character traits I have tried so long to escape, hide, and deny are parts of my mission as a human, but I cannot be of any help until I can accept these parts of myself and even love them. It is through pure, unadulterated soul love that we see clearly and gain the perspective needed to heal another.

If we come to others from a place other than soul love in our service, it will be impossible to help them in any lasting manner.

It has been difficult for me to put my ego aside and allow this project the time it needs to be written from that place of love. I see poetry books by emerging authors on the shelves at Barnes & Noble and feel the need to “keep up.” I want to push myself to write, to go on, even when I can barely see my computer screen from the tears that blur my vision. I hear of people being alive one day and dead the next, and I wonder if they had been in the middle of unfinished books, songs, poems, or paintings. One of my worst fears is dying before my book is completed. But I can only see my own process unfold, painstakingly, day by day. I can only succumb to my desire to do nothing some days when the pain in my heart is still too heavy. Even when the writing process is not joyful, it can be rewarding to gather the revelations like the one that came this morning.

I can enjoy thinking of how this may help someone like me some day, but I must go about it with integrity and self-forgiveness.

Even if this book never reaches another set of eyes, I know I am on the right track. I am learning to love myself, warts and all.

I will leave you with a story I read in The Sacred Rebels Oracle guidebook by Alana Fairchild:

The great French Impressionist painter, Monet, sat in his garden on a warm afternoon. He was napping lightly on his garden bench, with the sunlight dappling gently through the straw hat resting over his face. It was soft and warm on his closed eyelids. He sighed contentedly.

A nosy neighbor poked his head over the fence, keen to know what the brilliant artist was up to now. “Sir, you are resting!” the curious neighbor called out.

“No,” responded Monet, wriggling to get even more comfortable on his reclining garden chair. “I am working.”

Monet returned to his garden the next day. Consumed by the urge to translate his feelings onto the canvas, he painted with great energy and focus. He was inspired and the paint flowed. Again the nosy neighbor poked his head over the fence. He called out, “Sir, you are working!”

“No,” said the artist, barely pausing with his brush, “I am resting.”

Silence as a Space to Blossom and Be Loved

February 23, 2018


In some professional environments, it is not enough to show up and say good morning. You must mean your good morning; you must smile; you must say clever things to make the clients laugh; you are expected to participate in conversations when you’d rather keep your head down and work. If you meet these expectations, you’ll be making the cut, but you won’t always be considered above average.

I have found that, as a collective, we are becoming increasingly sensitive to vibration. It bothers us a little more than it used to when the cashier at the grocery store seems aloof or when someone, even a total stranger, acts out their frustration on us. We do our best to brush it off when this happens. “I know I shouldn’t let it upset me,” we say, as we continue to be upset. This was my experience at the arts and crafts store recently, when an employee gave me a gruff answer and vaguely pointed off in the distance in response to me asking where the sketch pads were. “Hello!” I said cheerily first, and my smile faded as she looked at me as though I had just spoken to her in a foreign language, her expression a mixture of confusion and annoyance that said: “Get to the point.” It took me a while to shake off those few seconds, and yet I could understand the factors that may have driven her to answer me the way she did. I understand not having a smile readily available. I understand, perhaps more than the average introvert, not wanting to interact with another human being in certain moments.

I have found that, if I am genuinely at peace in my environment, it is easier to smile or seem sincere when doing so. (If I were running my own business, I would certainly drop the expectation of being a silent worker bee.) Even if I am reasonably content, I still go through my days and moods where it is easier to say as little as possible and focus on my tasks. When I am in a sad or worried mood, for example, this is soothing to me – focusing on what I can control, one item at a time, while releasing worry about what I need to be or do for others beyond the scope of my job and the sake of professionalism. Writing holds such a draw for me because, for a writer, it is acceptable to be wound in deep, existential thoughts and to spend a great deal of time alone.

Sometimes, I long for the days when I could show up to work and speak minimally without being thought rude, cold, or impersonal. I have always had a good work ethic, and that used to be enough. People used to praise me for my silence or tell me that it was calming to them. Someone I knew in Los Angeles told me, “I like it that you don’t feel the need to fill every second with talking. It’s comforting.”

I remember riding in the car with my dad as a teenager. He was often away from home, so when I had the chance to see him, I had saved up in my head all the things I wanted to tell him or show him when I saw him again. I tended to talk his ear off when I was with him. As an adult, I am more like my dad – quiet, unassuming. I remember asking him back then, “Why don’t you say much when we’re together?” He told me, “Sometimes it’s just about being together, not talking.” That has always stuck with me. Now I love to just be with people.

Before that experience, I used to associate silence with getting the silent treatment or a similar punishment. Silence was meant to say: “I’m pissed at you.” My dad made me realize it could mean: “I’m calm and content in your presence.” It could mean: “I love you.” I understand where people are coming from when they interpret silence negatively, but I say all this to make the point that our minds do not need to go there by default. If a silence is negative, perhaps we can focus on compassion for the person (or for ourselves) instead of thinking about what should be different or feeling irritated at the other. Giving the other person space can help them too, perhaps more than you realize.

Some people enjoy confiding in others about their problems, but I don’t. There are a very select few I will turn to when I have something deeply troubling (or exciting) on my mind. When what I feel is too deep to be shared, or I am incapable of communicating it properly, comfortable silence is extremely healing for me. When someone can feel me out and understand that I don’t want to talk in a certain moment, I consider them golden. I trust that. When people are not looking to needle what is going on inside my head or expecting something of me, it creates the effect of me wishing to open up to them more.

I have never liked to talk for the sake of filling the void, even as a child. I mentally stored items to tell people that I connected with and felt excited to connect with them when those opportunities came up. But at church, school, or around strangers, I kept my answers to the point. As a little girl, if someone said, “That’s a pretty dress you’re wearing!” I said only, “Thank you.” I meant my words but did not feel as though I needed to do anything further to deserve the compliment or please the person who gave it. I did not feel the need to chat about the store where the dress came from or give them a compliment in return. Many children, I have noticed, are like this – and that is what is so refreshing about them. They do not fill the air with pretense or feel the need to be anyone other than who they are.

We do not put the same expectations on children that we put on adults. Expectations can stunt growth, while openness and acceptance can help others to blossom. When I can tell that someone is resisting something about me, I feel reluctant to change it. We all resist certain behaviors and vibrations to some degree; we cannot always help how we feel. In those cases, it is better to be upfront without being accusatory about feelings in hopes of helping the other person (but not forcing them) to understand us.

For those of us who believe in comfortable silences, or prefer silence for working and thinking, interacting with the rest of the world can be a struggle. It is a challenge not to seem aloof. It gets tiring to be so aware of what others feel, even to the point of codependence. There are some that say the label “introvert” is just a hall pass for being an “asshole,” but this is not practicing compassion or cultivating a sense of understanding for the inner worlds of others. I have moments where I feel physically tired after having certain conversations. Everyone carries a different energetic vibration – some are uplifting, and others aren’t. Not everyone is as sensitive to these vibrations, or even if they can pick up on the mood of the person, they don’t necessarily take it on or feel exhausted after dealing with them. Sometimes I need a nap after being around good energy – my talking stamina eventually wears out, even if I am with someone I love very much.

It has taken me quite some time to write this entire blog, which brings me to another point. For us strong and silent types, it does not always come naturally to put the workings of our minds into words. Sensitivity creates an entirely new language within the soul of a person – this language is highly individualized and difficult to teach to another. Every now and again, you may encounter a person with the same inner language as you, but chances are that you will not need language to communicate with them, only intention, perhaps your eyes and your touch. Talking will be an option, but it will likely not be your preferred method of communicating the most important concepts. When you have a soul bond like this with someone, treasure it. Just be, together, as often as you can.

To close, I will leave you with the concept of Yugen. Yugen is a Japanese word, and it means: “An awareness of the Universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and powerful for words.” It is the sort of experience in which words fall short and cannot do it justice. I have many of these moments in my life, and they have been occurring with greater frequency and synchronicity since I have started to notice them.

“To watch the sun sink behind a flower-clad hill, to wander on and on in a huge forest without thought of return, to stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands, to contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds…” – Yugen as described by Zeami

The increase of Yugen in my life has resulted in less talking. Of course, I still understand the need for pleasantries and small talk. My inner and outer worlds have not yet fully aligned, so these things are necessary. Sometimes I sacrifice my authenticity for keeping up appearances. I do not do what I want to do to avoid angering or upsetting others.

I do not think of myself as the aforementioned hall pass “asshole,” but I do hope that my words can help those who may find trouble being compassionate toward those who do not meet their expectations in social or professional settings. Many of us strong and silent types are here to make the world a better place, but we can be held back by the unkind images that people hold of us.

My cup is overflowing with compassion and understanding, the kind that can only come from true non-judgment.

But in order to give it, I need it from you, too.


February 7, 2018

Many times, I have wished I could stop the sun from setting. Sometimes, it was because I wanted a moment to last forever, despair setting in as a speck of bliss receded further and further into the past. Sometimes, it was because events inevitable as a sunset would unfold over the subsequent days, and I worried that I would be forgotten. Forgotten, my lost soul would wander the universe, looking for somewhere to place the energy that rushes just beneath my skin. I wanted fiercely to give my heart to a person, to house it in a concrete place, but I have realized it is better to give it in varying amounts to many people, channeling my pent up sacral energy into the abstract.

I have become obsessed with the sun and moon in my writing – subconsciously – but perhaps we are all similarly occupied with the objects in our physical world that bring on or signify change and cycles. I seek ways of describing my experience in a way that makes sense to all. People who point out over-used metaphor are perhaps missing the point. Everything in my life is art, and the symbols that are meaningful to me (and collectively) may change over time. I know this.

But why should I not be everything I am, with at least some measure of reckless abandon? Even knowing that change is inevitable as the movement of planets and our shifting sky?

I celebrate the times that my bliss vanished behind the clouds, for they have taught me to appreciate warmth to a degree that I never have before. They have taught me to savor love but hold it with gentle hands, leaving space between my fingers. They have taught me to be fully in my feeling without being attached to it or drawing my identity from it. At the same time, detachment is not shying from peace, contentment, and love because they may change forms or seem to disappear over time. To the contrary – it is embracing them along with the acceptance that some day, you may be called to let them go, for a time.

The body can be a canvas, just as the mind and heart can be. I lovingly assume responsibility for mine. I don’t search for meaning anymore – searching implies that something is missing – but sometimes it chooses me.

The rune on my wrist is called Sowilo. The sun. Holy fire. The passion that burns inside me. A flame that may seem to falter on occasion, but that ultimately cannot be vanquished. “…the sun sets; the moon sets; they are not gone.” (Rumi)

The impermanence of phases is folded into the permanence of strength that is faith-borne, a quiet knowing of purpose that never goes away despite external appearances. Its meaning is very deep, but this is the best way I know to describe it, for myself.

Jealousy and Mirroring in Relationships

January 21, 2018


Jealousy is something that has plagued me for most of my life, and as I was meditating last night, I decided I wanted to rid myself of this green-eyed monster. This is the level of understanding that I came to.

Jealousy occurs when someone else has something (or someone) we want. The desire usually boils down to attention, understanding, a good relationship, which can be further broken down into love. Love is our essence. It is something that can never be taken away from us. How can we lose that which we already are? Before you say, “I’ve heard that a thousand times,” and roll your eyes, let me go on to say that when I examined my jealousy, I realized I was getting caught up in the human story based on separation. This story was accompanied by unloving thoughts like, “I cannot believe I wasted my time on this person for so long.” (To explain all that is wrong with this idea would take another blog post, so I won’t go into it here. Suffice it to say, nothing is a waste of time. Nothing.)

When we become jealous, we are telling ourselves a story. The story usually goes that someone else has something that we do not have, because they are somehow better, and we should beat ourselves up for not being like them. If we were more like them, maybe we would have what we want by now. Furthermore, that other person is very happy with this thing they have that we don’t have, even if we don’t have proof of that and have never spoken to them once. Even if all we know about them is their name (or less than that), them having what we want is definitive proof that they are better and more deserving than us, and we should go crawl in a hole and die.

See how silly some thoughts become when they are observed? And just like that, they lose their power.

Spirit relayed to me the concept of mirroring in answer to my thought that this other person is better than me. We are all mirrors for one another, but different types. Have you ever noticed how different you look in mirrors at various places? I have looked at myself in dressing rooms, hotel rooms, and my own room, and I have seen many different versions of Holley. I tend to like myself best in the hotel room mirrors, because they make me look thin and even a bit taller. I bought my home mirror on the cheap from Walmart and sometimes feel like a troll when I look in it. People are like this, too. Some of them trigger us and show us our shadow selves – the anger, jealousy, inadequacy, abandonment, etc. Others show us the light. When someone tells you, “You are beautiful,” and they hold space for that, you see your light and find it easier to act in ways that show your light. If someone tells you, “You are worthless,” it will likely spark a reaction in you that will cause you to act in a way that reflects this idea to you and the other person.

People will not often come up to you and tell you these things in such a straightforward manner, but they will reveal how they feel about you with their energy. If their energy is not ideal for supporting the best version of you, then even if you hold the very best intentions toward this person, you will not see proof of this reflected by your interactions with them. If you still feel drawn to this person, perhaps it is a lesson in self-love for you. I have noticed my interest in interacting with him diminished as I perceived deeper levels of my value. The love I feel has not faded, but I want to be a better person, and it is extremely difficult for me to be that person with him.

This realization can hurt, and that is okay. It is only natural to miss what was when you have loved so deeply, even if “what was” was not so great. But you see, there is no need to be jealous about any situation. If you were supposed to be “better” with the one you love, then you would be, because they would be holding space for that energetically. Chances are, if they are not going to change, life is going to put someone in your path who is going to help you see your goodness. It is important to have an open heart when it does, and faith that the universe/God/Source is loving and wants only what is best for you.

When jealousy comes up, it is difficult to think rationally enough to remember these things. Within these words is an energetic transmission of deeper understanding that I know will stay with me and you.

In Love, Always,


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