Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I AM A JOYOUS PILGRIM (Image #1). Hallelujah Life. Hallelujah Joy. (Art (c)by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)
"The way to live a JOYOUS life is to CREATE. In the act of CREATION, we are BEING, MOVING, and DISCOVERING. Living life in this manner is challenging, hence the need to practice doing it with the languorous ease of a cat napping, suspending judgment and working from our dreams!"  

-Hallelujah Truth (December 2011), "Joy Equals Living with Ease of a Cat Napping"
(Art by Hallelujah Truth, 2009)
Dear fellow Pilgrims, I have been chasing JOY most of my life, as you probably have too! In 2009, I began a focused pilgrimage to experience that JOY and to have more of it. From some where deep in myself Hallelujah erupted and merged with "Ruth Truth," a more didactic and serious person, resulting in HALLELUJAH TRUTH.

In 2009, with her presence I began this blog, "Coffee With Hallelujah," and established for me the high necessity of having FUN and EASE. CREATE what was mine to discover and express. 

I gave birth to my motto for my DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE: 

If you have time for a cup of coffee (or a hot beverage), you have time to CREATE.   

WHAT IS UNIQUE TO ME? I asked myself. What is mine to create each day that only I can say, draw, paint, dance, and love? It is a question I have cherished and, yes, struggled with in the past 7 years of Hallelujahing every morning! 

In order to sustain my way of CREATIVE BEING based in "the languorous ease of a cat napping," I needed community, a tribe comprised of other JOYOUS PILGRIMS committed to sharing their creative pulse. Those who would appreciate suspending judgment about their work and find PLEASURE in the ACT of making it!

Here on COFFEE WITH HALLELUJAH, the years of blogging have connected me with other SOUL PILGRIMS from around the globe. Then three years ago, I established the Facebook Group, "The Daily Creative Practice," to engage with others seeking to share their creative acts in a warm supportive online community. My FB world is now outrageously populated!!! as of March (2016) close to 1,100 people are members on the DCP. I invite you to join us if you already haven't.

A wonderful reminder of my commitment to JOY came to me at the 2016 New Year's InterPlay Untensive in North Carolina with Tom Henderson and Ginny Going. The word that randomly chose me from words written on pieces of paper being distributed around the room was JOY! Hallelujah JOY!

The photo above shows my word, JOY, beside the spirit animal I chose to support me during 2016. Months have passed since I began this blog post on JOY in January in the first few days of 2016. Upon my return from the InterPlay New Year's Untensive, I confronted challenges in my JOYFUL PILGRIMAGE. They were the usual suspects: health issues that needed to be resolved, relationships that needed healing, and meaningful employment that would be accompanied with a life sustaining wage/salary. At first, I floundered. I did not operate from JOY. We all go through periods of darkness. BIBO (Breathe-in-Breathe-out). 

Slowly, I have eased my way into finding solutions to my challenges. And best of all? Based on nothing, I am making a choice to BE IN ACTION (thanks Artist Conference Network and InterPlay), I am presently practicing unlocking and embodying my JOY using my CREATIVITY. For it is when I am in action that I experience a satisfying way of being on this beautiful Earth.

UNLOCKING AND EMBODYING JOY. I am deep in my spiritual journey and yet I feel so new and renewed. What does it mean to unlock and embody joy? How does one savor grace? How does the making of things connect me to the Mystery I seek? And really? Can having fun bring me in closer connection with the Unknown? --Hallelujah Truth (February 2015), "Unlocking and Embodying Joy: Savoring Grace, Making Things and Having Fun"

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me. What is your word for 2016? How is it serving you right now?  Are you unlocking and embodying your word?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

EMBODYING "IN": Experiencing beingness through breath and dance during online dance chapel

EMBODYING "IN." We have such a wonderful technology of accessing our "beingness" or being "in" ness (substitute "x"--whatever you want--in the place of"ness")! Gratitude to Cynthia Winton-Henry and her Online Dance Chapel with Nancy Zoelzer Pfaltzgraf for leading us through the concept of "in" on this past Monday night, April 18th, 2016. Art (c) by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter
Hallelujah for being our bodies (InterPlay body wisdom--We are our bodies! In lieu of "having" bodies) and knowing how to access that beingness through breathing and movement. Hallelujah for community, for tribe to breathe and dance and be "in" with, like those participants on Monday Online Dance Chapel.

Imagine turning on your computer, clicking on "Go-to-Meeting," entering the class code and voila--an invitation "IN." 

After warming up through movement with Nancy, Cynthia guided us skillfully through incremental ways of being "in" that included:





In addition to experiencing an "IN"tegration of multiple parts of myself (body, heart, mind, and spirit), I gradually felt "IN"volved with the other participants. And through listening and dancing to everyone's concerns and prayers, I "IN"terconnected with a world wider than the one I "IN"habit.

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me how you BE "in" or enter into BEING with yourself and others.

Other blog posts written in response to online Monday nights with Cynthia Winton-Henry:

Hand It Over: The Body Knows How to Let Go

I Fall Down, I Get Back Up: Embodying the Rise-n-Fall of Life

Monday, April 18, 2016

THE MUCH-LOVED SEED: Hallelujah steps back into the coaching community of ACN

ARTIST CONFERENCE NETWORK and HALLELUJAH TRUTH. This is the front page of my new Artist Conference Network notebook. During the April 16-17 Atlanta ACN weekend, I used the time sitting to honor and decorate this page with my new vision, "I'm the Tribal Orgasm." (art (c) by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for communities and the opportunity to be "The Much-Loved Seed" within these communties. This past April weekend 2016, I rejoined the Atlanta Artist Conference Network, a coaching community for the arts (see more HERE) and took a stand to be "The Much-Loved Seed."
THE MUCH LOVED-SEED. In the magical language of ACN, through a coaching process of telling familiar stories in a pyschological domain and then stepping out of that familiar domain to make observations, I created a new way of being based on nothing. I am THE MUCH-LOVED SEED. This image expresses the love I envision receiving as I put myself and my art out in the world. (Art (c) by Hallelujah Truth) 
ACN national board member, Kristen Anacker led us in establishing visions, goals and breakthroughs in a cottage office space in Mulberry Fields Community Garden in Candler Park on two sunny spring days. For me, it was a pleasure to return to such a clear coaching structure and the creation of a new vision to guide my work.
ACN FACILITATOR KRISTEN ANACKER. In this photo, Kristen explains the process of breakthrough coaching. (photo by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)

I might be tweaking this bold racy vision in the weeks to come: "I'm the tribal orgasm." But for now, it captures aspects of my life that fill me with enthusiasm while in the company of those who support me. Here are are a few of the passions I listed: 

-smelling garlic frying in olive oil, 

-cutting basil and parsley in garden, 

-touching velvety leaves and 

-feeling my feet touch the ground as I dance

-hearing the wind in the trees

-and the sound of my husband's voice...

You begin to see aspects of my vision--my senses are amplified when witnessed by my community(ies)--or tribe(s).
I feel enlivened to have a year-long goal. Having committed to creating 24 events to speak "publicly" about my artwork and services, the quarterly-goal-clock of designing 6 of them has already started ticking. WOW!
Stay tuned, as I experiment with articulating who I am and what it is I do. I will appreciate your feedback and support. That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me tell me what your vision is and what your goal (s) for this year is. 
Hallelujah Truth with Kristen Anacker. Thank you Kristen and the Atlanta ACN group for all that you do to be a coaching community. (photo by Stell Simonton)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

HAND IT OVER: The body knows how to let go

HAND IT OVER(all art (c) by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)
Hallelujah for communal opportunities to physically release ideas, petitions, prayers or anything else. Hallelujah for our BODIES, which know how to let go! We have arms and hands that enable us to “hand over” inarticulated thoughts or verbally expressed ones!

Go ahead try it! HAND OVER whatever it is you want to release by moving your hands up from your side, past your stomach, beyond your shoulders and above your head. Then thrusting your hands forward toss out (or lovingly propel) your petition out away from your head, heart, and spirit. Give “it” to someone else or something else. Repeat as many times as needed.

Recently, I had a “body epiphany” during a Monday night “Online Dance Chapel” with Cynthia Winton-Henry and Nancy Zoelzer Pfaltzgraf, who  lead us participants in embodied prayer for an hour.

Together we participants gather online from across the United States and around the world to witness each other on the computer screen (six people fit on the screen at a time). We watch each other warm-up and then dance. We listen to one another’s “noticings” and hear each other’s concerns. All of it is to be savored but my favorite part is the DOBO—or “Dance on Behalf of,” which is an opportunity to embody our own or another’s petitions/prayers.

On the first Monday in April, Cynthia introduced the concept of “handing it over” –the physical act of raising our arms and hands over our heads and “handing over” our petitions to God, the universe, another human being, etc.  The idea is to acknowledge our concern/petition/prayer and then to let it go, relying on the wisdom of our bodies, which know how to hand that concern over….
In amazement I watched others on the computer screen as I moved my arms and hands over my body repeatedly. We had fun stretching, reaching and releasing. I couldn’t keep myself from laughing—the act was so cathartic, silly, and communal. What kind of prayful act is this? The practice of  “Handing it Over” gives prayer a new definition.

It’s been one week since the dance chapel, and I have been practicing “handing it over” every day and teaching others to do it as well! On the second Sunday, here in Decatur, at our local “Dance Church,” I spent 90 minutes exercising my muscles “handing it over.” Over that time, I envisioned and embodied submitting different concerns of mine to a variety of people in my life, present and deceased. I imagined the wider universe and proffered my deepest concerns. Dancing with my prayers and releasing them delighted me! I will do more of that handing over!

HANDING IT OVER AT HOLY COMFORTER. In my work with InterPlay Atlanta, I go to the “Friendship Center” at Holy Comforter Church in East Atlanta (I'm pictured top left). Along with Jennifer Denning and Christine Gautreaux, we facilitate an hour of movement, storytelling, voice, and shape and stillness with people living with chronic mental illness.

On the Thursday following this “Handing it Over” Dance Chapel, I led the participants at Holy Comforter in a “handing it over” activity. First, while I read the “Serenity Prayer” in its entire length, everyone did a one-hand dance. Then we went around the circle and everyone was given the opportunity to name something they would like to “hand over.” Then we practiced “handing it over” again and again before I put on some music and we squished together in a seated circle to do a group one-hand dance, with opportunities to “hand it over” when we felt like it! One man who speaks but in a way that is difficult to discern raised his hands along with us, smiling and speaking. Oh the body does know how to be present, connect, and let go!
Hallelujah for HANDING IT OVER!

Acknowledgements: I am grateful to Cynthia Winton-Henry and Nancy Zoelzer Pfaltzgraf for these Monday nights “Online Dance Chapel.” A note from Nancy preceding the April 4th Dance Chapel (Hand It Over): “We will be offering wisdom and guidance as we bring our whole selves and dance on behalf of our deepest needs, one another, our loved ones and the world and all the places in which it is broken and suffering. I will be guiding us through our warm-ups.”  This class is related to Cynthia’s “Mystic Tech” offerings, which can be accessed HERE. Cynthia also posts inspirational poetry on her Facebook page, Mystic Tech (HERE). Below is an excerpt from a Mary Oliver poem she posted recently.

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal,
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
-Mary Oliver