Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Resurrection Artist Opening Reception & Poetry Reading February 23, Tavares, Florida

Please join me in lovely Tavares, Florida to view my mixed media and photo collage pieces, "Resurrection," from my Personal Mythology Series at the Opening Artist’s Reception with Featured Artists Kate Esplen, Kace Montgomery, Sydney Solis, & David Tear.

A 44-piece collection of visual beauty! I will also be reading the poem, "Strangers," as part of the collection. 

Exhibited until May 29, 2018
Stroll by to meet the artists, listen to live music, and enjoy light, tasty hors d'oeuvres.

Friday, February 23, 2018
5:30 p – 7:30 p

Tavares City Hall located at 201 E. Main Street

February 2018

Sydney Solis Artist Statement

All of the pieces in this show contain something that has been pulled from the trash.  I have given them new life as works of art. Out of death comes life. A resurrection. For all my life I have collected ephemera, paper, the old or worn, thrown away holding history until images and textures could be salvaged and recast into something else as expressive art telling its own story.

The Rusty Warren album in “Sinsational” and frame was pulled from the trash back of Smitty’s Thrift store in DeLand, Florida, as were the frames for “Wonderful Florida” and “Voice of a Star.” They live on!

“Stetson Girls” is made from original antique silver gelatin prints from a Stetson University scrapbook that the West Volusia Historical Society was throwing away, but was passed on to a neighbor, who passed it on to me. An anonymous young woman’s college life story is immortalized.

De la Longevite et de la Brievite de la vie” is made from a discarded book as well.

Dozens of antique cards that a beloved teacher named Miss Olive Gardener of DeLand had received were, too, saved from the trash by my neighbor. Love and happy feelings never die in “Miss Olive Gardener’s Cards.”
“Paper Doll VI” and “Paper Doll V” contain items my late mother bought at flea markets or pulled from the trash herself, and I gleaned from her packed home upon her passing away. There we find the source of all my irresistible artistic itches to create. Out of death comes life.

Sydney Solis
Orlando, Florida

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mythic Yoga Journey™ to Japan: Haiku #3 Video Poem

Namaste.  Travel to and enjoy the amazing intensity of Osaka, Japan featured in Mythic Yoga Journey™ Haiku #3 video poem.
 Meditate upon the clear light of being shining through all of reality.

 Imagine yourself as a Buddha and let the city wake you up! Subscribe!

Personal Mythology and Suicide Prevention

Shitennoji Buddhist Temple, Osaka, Japan photo by Sydney Solis
Shitennoji Buddhist Temple, Osaka, Japan
Yoga is the lifeboat, Meditation is the medication and Stories are the Compass! This has been the story of my life, I can attest!

That has been my life's Mythic Yoga Journey™ powerful living through following my personal myth! At age 50, it's all I can do to explain the marvels that have unfolded in my life as I look back in awe - all of it despite relentless episodes of grueling loss, grief and despair.

And all I can say is that despite these intense life's obstacles, I have prevailed and am thriving, because yoga, meditation and stories were there to get me through. In fact, it was my story when I went for refuge and took my vows as a Buddhist with the Volusia Buddhist Fellowship a few years back. I was given the name of Guy-yo, Brave Sun. Because I kept going.

I hope others will find benefit from my journey to keep going. Where I was depressed and suicidally ill from trauma and mental illness in my past, I am so happy now from my efforts of yoga, meditation, ayurveda and expressive arts and narrative therapy, my Mythic Yoga program, to re-story myself and get me through via my personal mythology.

Of course I have bouts of difficulty on occasion, especially under extreme duress, like having to fix up a house in Orlando and move to Japan!  But I bounce back quickly because have the tools to cope. I'm so happy and survive the trials of life, yet I see now around me such despair and those who do not.  I hope others can have these tools. In Japan, suicide is the number one killer of citizens ages 15-39.   One in four Japanese have thought of committing suicide. Japan's birthrate is at record low.

Shitennoji Buddhist Temple, Osaka, Japan photo by Sydney Solis
he Lotus Sutra asks, what if we started treating ourselves
 as if we were Buddhas? Take a Mythic Yoga Journey
to awaken via yoga and story.

In the US, depression, despair and suicides are epidemic, spreading across the U.S. Suicide is at a 30-year-high in the United States, especially among middle-aged women. It is the tenth cause of death in the U.S.

Twenty U.S. veterans commit suicide every day. In Florida, suicide is the #3 cause of death for ages of youth ages 10-24, #2 for 25-34. It’s #1 for kids age 10-14 in my home state of Colorado. For every suicide, there are 25 attempts. 42,773 people kill themselves in the U.S. every year. Number one killer of adults in U.S. over all? Prescription drug overdoses.

I sure have been depressed much of my life and all things considered often wondered why I didn't kill myself. What keeps me here? My personal mythology includes the story of my father surviving a Japanese concentration camp at Ambarawa 7 concentration camp in Java during World War II. Around the dinner table he became my first yoga teacher as he testified about having a death experience from beri beri and dysentery.

"There is no death," he always said. "I know. I experienced it!" Even though he was suicidally depressed during my childhood and my sister eventually killed herself and so did my husband. The yoga and the stories and the personal mythology, the curiosity of discovering who I am, the truth, satya, the mystery of the universe and knowing this truth there is no death, those things kept me going. Just constant creation and destruction, creation and destruction all seen from a still point. A depth and inner reality watching all on stage and spewing it all out. That's where I found myself bottoming out instead of killing myself. I just kept going.

Buddha's footprint Shitennoji Buddhist Temple, Osaka, Japan photo by Sydney Solis
The Buddha's footprint, Buddhapada, Shitennoji
 Buddhist Temple,Osaka, Japan Mythic Yoga Journey
And now in amazement I found myself moving to Osaka because of my husband's job transfer. I fixed up the Orlando house and this wonderful country of Japan opens up so much healing and beauty in me.

The temples and shrines, my father's past - all the stories, all the pain and sorrow of war now transformed as I, in middle age, move forward in a next exciting chapter of my life to be told here in these posts.

I also have a blog Sydney In Osaka for my daily routine of mindful living beyond Mythic Yoga and Storytime Yoga!

Being a voice for suicide prevention. That's why I'm here. It keeps me coming back in the world rather than hanging out in a cave. My Bodhisattva Vow. But that's another story!


Remembering the Embodied Ghosts of War

Buddha at Osaka City Station, Japan photo by Sydney Solis
Buddha in Osaka City station, Japan
This was the first time in seven years that I had not traveled somewhere in June.

I have always missed the heavy rains that come in Florida that time of year, because the day after my kids's last day of school, we always jetted back to my home roots in Colorado for the summer as part of our global family yoga homeschooling project launched in 2010. AKA my personal Mythic Yoga Journey™ for healing and wholeness.

The wet, humid, pouring rain that starts falling in ernest upon fecund Earth in June this part of the world in Central Florida of St. Croix I missed each year traveling to dry Colorado to pay obligatory family and friend visitations. I love Colorado and Boulder, it's just that ayurveda tells me I"m healthier and happier in this semi-tropical climate of hibiscus and rain, geckoes, palmettos and surfing teenage daughters and lots of diversity, which I love. And so I found myself at our downtown Orlando house, cloudy, humid, dripping wet and I loved it. So did my nails, hair and skin!

Sydney Solis - Flowers in Osaka
I am obsessed with all the flowers in Japan. Always an opportunity to wake up 
in mindfulness through nature
I had wanted to be in Osaka by June 1, but we had to change things because my soon-to-be 17-year-old daughter didn't want to move to Japan. Traveling around so much in her young life - 5 months in Buenos Aires, 2 1/2 years in St. Croix, USVI was enough. She's got a boyfriend, is in the DeLand High School marching band, and is doing great with a gaggle of friends.

We also have three dogs. And honestly it is quite a vata disturbance to travel and it causes anxiety. And so I write and practice meditation and yoga to keep calm.

The family house stays put in DeLand as the young adult housing, and I am adjusting to a new era in my life of empty nesting and growing children and to go back and forth Osaka Orlando for two years until she finishes high school.

Our journey is special now, as like Barack Obama, she doesn't want to join her mother on the next leg of her Mythic Yoga Journey.™ I think we are the envy of most parents with teenagers, that we spend time apart. Because I think this American teenagers living with parents as dependent annoying, infantized consumer is ABNORMAL. And of course our entire situation as a family is unusual considering their father's death 14 years ago. So we should be so lucky! What good fortune of events that brought me to the now I am living, writing these Osaka diaries from Orlando as I anticipate my third trip to Japan to join my husband working there.

I got the Orlando house ready. It's perfect for a writer's retreat!

Push for Peace
Push for Peace! Book the Orlando Mythic Yoga Studio location
 for your yoga or writing retreat! 
My 19-year-old son is getting ready for college. I told my daughter that if she's not coming, she has to accept that we will be apart. Because reality is that we are going because we are working to pay the mortgage, rent, you name it. Here's my Patreon page!

She has second and third moms to keep her raised well by a village and that's great by me, because we have Skype and modern technology and since we've been together so intensely since their father's death this separation is healthy for us.

My kids are great, independent, award-winning. I'm very proud of my work with them. I miss her a lot. It was my greatest sacrifice for them to stay home and that sacrifice was for sure bliss!

So I waited to get my visa, but he died the day I left for Japan June 24.  My dear father who at 84 swung between saying with his Delft blue eyes, "Tell the people of Japan I love them" in a forgiving tone toward his captors and life destroyers, to being in a dour mood about what happened, like the Japanese murdering his father, my grandfather. "It's not easy to forget," he would say, staring into space. And all I could think about was to flee.

My grandfather, Albert Willem Straub, born Semarang, Java, died Tokyo, 1943
My grandfather, Albert Willem Straub, born Semarang, Java, died Tokyo, 1943
And sometimes I wonder if we can feel those ancestors in the depths shouting to us from the depths - never forget! Maybe it's my grandfather sending me there. That we cannot forget what happened.

The horrors of war. My Dutch grandfather, dying of intestinal cancer and beri beri in a force labor Mitsubishi tin mine outside of Tokyo Shinagawa in 1943. That story has been imprinted in my mind and body forever. Some unknown force propelling me forward.

And a psychotherapist friend told me how ancestors are haunting us, restless ghosts, epigenetics it's called. That PTSD gets passed on to us and more.

I've had two trips to Japan equalling a total of two months worth in the Kansai region. It has been stupendous, amazing, more than I can imagine. It rips me open in spirit and body and soul in a beautiful calm way like a black stupa.

I love Japan.  Continuing my Mythic Yoga Journey.™ Discovering all that there is to discover during these intense times of Trump and terrorism, fear and uncertainty.

It had rained so much in the past few days in Orlando that the roof had started to leak. It was the air conditioning in the ceiling above the fireplace in the living room. I came out for a snack of fig newtons while working and found it dripping wet. OH GOD! Just when the house was about ready to be listed on Evolve and leave for Osaka.

I loved the rain, but with the added stress of the leak, just when everything was almost finished, and the news about a vicious rape of some friends of my daughter's back in St. Croix in the USVI did make me a bit under the weather and depressed. And of course the collective rage and the Trump insanity with Russia and the wars and terrorism. I practiced a lot of tonglen for the girls, but also for myself.

I figure it's all work, consciousness work. Digging in the shadows, for my youngest sister, Jeanie, had been appearing in the shadows lately. Perhaps because I was getting ready to go to Japan and I am planning on stopping off in Boulder, Colorado to visit my father. That sad house I grew up in, has been transformed over the years since I embarked on my Mythic Yoga Journey.™ From the hoarder household it was when we were children until my mother died in 2001. And now he has died.

I have re-storied myself slowly over time just as the process of this house's transformation too. Still then, the chaos and disorderly dysfunction has only this year nearly no trace of the horrors of the past that took place in that childhood home.

The irony of me fleeing to Japan on the eve of World War III. Just as President Macron invited American refugees to France, I am aware that we live in spectacular times. Heroic times. And heroism isn't about basketball hoops and likes on Facebook. Heroism is about facing death. Our own death. Our own story. Confronting our own ghosts - our own shadows. That is the task before us. Peace lays ahead. Let's go!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Nazis stole the Swastika: Now We're Taking it Back for Luck, Peace and Well-Being

Swastika at Buddhist Shrine in Dontonburi area, Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis
Swastikas on lanterns at a Buddhist Shrine
 in the Dontonburi district, Osaka, Japan
“The soul speaks in an image,” Aristotle said. The voiceless language of symbols speak to our psyches and awaken powers, like good luck, good health and well being.

That’s the meaning of the swastika, which for thousands of years before Nazis and Eurocentric World War II history stole the symbol from Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Native American tribes, like the Navajo, used the swastika in healing rituals. In European history, the symbol was associated with Norse gods like Thor and Odin. The swastika is also the pattern made from the revolution of the stars of Ursa Major around Polaris.

In Japan the swastika is called the manji (卍) and it was on maps in Japan to denote Shinto and Buddhist shrines and temples. I remember seeing it on Google maps the first time I visited Japan in November, 2016, and marveled at the impression this symbol made on my psyche. And it had nothing to do with Nazis, but the power of activating the powerful seeds of healing and auspiciousness within me.

Swastika at Shinto Shrine near Nishikujo station, Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis
Swastika at a Shinto shrine near Nishikujo Station,
Osaka, Japan
Japan, however, decided to change the swastika to pagodas or torii gates in preparation for the for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The changes will not apply to Japanese-language maps, and there is no suggestion that the temples themselves should remove manji from their premises. But it just doesn’t have the same effect, and we are all losing something within ourselves as a result, such as access to our inner lives via the mythic dimension that our psyches (psyche means soul in Greek) need and crave in these troubled times.

Around Japan I have seen dozens of temples and shrines with the swastika. Nazi versions face right and usually sit in a diamond shape at a slant, while the manji version is a square. Japanese Buddhism has both a right-facing and left-facing manji. So think left swastika L for luck and love and R for Reich on its side for Nazi differentiation.

But the Nazi symbolism of the West has usurped the power of the symbol in the East in the last 70 plus years, especially in the United States, making this symbol inaccessible to many. It’s time to take it back and educate people about this symbol’s origins and true meaning, because humanity depends on it. As human beings, our psyches need something beyond just shopping and working. It needs ritual, myth and participation in the cosmos, otherwise, as Mythologist Joseph Campbell says, society disintegrates. And it is! Just read the headlines!

Swastika on chozubachi, water-filled basin, at Shinto Shrine near Nishikujo station, Osaka, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis
Swastika on a chozubachi, water-filled basin,
used for purification at a Shinto Shrine near Nishikujo Station,
Osaka, Japan.
“Mircea Eliade was motivated at all times by a deep concern for the future of Western civilization, which he saw as threatened by possible extinction,” writes Robert Temple.

“He believed it essential that we recognize and acknowledge the archaic and the Eastern contributions to man's spiritual history while there is still time to do so with good grace. Otherwise, by maintaining an attitude of contempt or superiority towards the rest of the world — past and present — we would bring disaster on ourselves and the world as a whole.”

So contemplate the swastika. Notice the tension of opposites from the Nazi symbolism that has embedded itself today and with the rise of hatred and chaos in the United States and Charlottesville, Virginia as the West declines and the East rises with its ancient connotations of health, well-being and peace in the East.  See where those two meet. One thing passes away, the other arises. What has been suppressed, comes into consciousness once again.

Experience the symbol in your body, your art, your meditation, your dreams and see what happens.
And may peace, luck and good health be with you!

More pictures of Swastikas in Japan on my blog, Sydney in Osaka! Subscribe!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Mythic Yoga 4-Week Online Class Starts July 16/ 17

Mythic Yoga was created out of my own personal practice. I am proof that when you follow your dream images and discover your myth by reflecting on your personal story and following your bliss, magic happens. Healing happens. Doors open only for you.

This has been my experience, as I remarkably find myself living in Osaka, Japan with my new husband. It's a rebirth for sure, as my 84-year-old father died June 24, the day I moved to Japan. I went back a week later for bereavement. To clean out the old and rebirth the new.

My father, my past life in Colorado and childhood home in Boulder, Colorado - so much was left behind, but all was brought with me too. I pulled the choice memories and good from the ashes of the past.

I have been asked to put on an online Mythic Yoga training. Join me next week Starting Monday July 17 for 4-weeks exploring your personal mythology via yoga philosophy, mythology, art, writing, yoga asana and more. 

Know Thy Self! Use dreams, myth, the body and personal storytelling for self-discovery and transformation! 

Each class features movement, yoga, contemplation and a different ancient Hindu and myth that leads you through life's stages Bring a dream you’ve had and would like to work with, a notebook, your body and your listening ears to journey within and discover your personal myth. Includes all materials. 

Five Sunday/Mondays July 16/17-August 13/14. Classes run one hour and start Sunday, July 16 7:30 pm. Eastern Standard Time. Starts Monday July 17 at 8:30 a.m. Japan Standard Time and 5:00 a.m. India Standard Time.

Register by purchasing the downloadable Mythic Yoga materials online.  Cost is $199.  Enroll by July 13 and receive 25 percent discount with this code MythicYoga at checkout.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mythic Yoga: The Story in the Body - Personal Mythology & Transformation via Body and Story

Pictures are images that bubble up from the soul. Putting together images for this movie guides you to begin to listen to the story in the body as you take a Mythic Yoga Journey™ into your own story. Use svadyaya, self-reflection, to contemplate the images while you practice yoga. The classic method of Mythic Yoga by Sydney Solis. Subscribe!