Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SharedBliss: Expressive Silky Hart

Silky is a role model for me right now, as I transition in my life back to "dancer." She has figured out -- or so it seems from the outside -- how to integrate all of her creative parts and share them with others.

I admire her, and if you've not had the privilege of meeting her yet, I think you will too.

Silky Hart is an expressive arts goddess who relishes in empowering and inspiring people to realize their creative dreams. For more than 15 years, Silky has passionately led workshops, classes and retreats in creative expression. She has also led expressive arts sessions in a wide variety of settings including psychiatric hospitals, schools, shelters, treatment centers and healthcare facilities. Silky is a Certified Expressive Arts Therapist with a BFA in Modern Dance and an MBA in International Business. Next April, she is co-leading a yoga and expressive arts retreat to Costa Rica. Recently, she started a blog called Expressive Hart. Silky believes in the transformative power of the arts and creative expression to restore, expand and transform physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. She lives with her husband, three cats and dog in the historical section of McKinney, Texas.

Oh, how I would love to go to Costa Rica, but Lilly Cat and Marcy say I am booked for the next year already!

Describe the components of your Bliss Path: the things/activities/structures that help you to be brave and choose bliss every day?

Starting off my day with what I call my Quiet Time has been part of my life ever since I can remember. Over the years, what I do during this precious time has varied. However, the essence of what I’ve done is the same, which is connecting with Spirit. On those days when I begin with a way to center myself, such as breathing, doing yoga, meditating, or reading something inspirational, those days flow especially well. The mind chatter seems to float away. I’m a very kinesthetic person, so going on a morning walk is an excellent way for me to line up my energy for the day as well.

I also do a process where on one side of the paper I write out what I intend to do that day, what I can realistically accomplish. Then, on the other side of the paper, I write out all the other things for the Universe to handle. I find this frees up so much energy and gives me a sense of relief that all is truly being taken care of.

I began an intuitive painting class a few weeks ago. Last week, the teacher discussed how she was going to make visual journaling part of her morning practice. I like this idea and plan on starting this soon – yet another evolution of my morning ritual.

Throughout the day, I check in with myself to see how I’m feeling and where my vibration is. If something is bothering me, I take a few deep breaths and center myself. I deliberately reach for a thought and feeling that feels a little bit better. In just a few minutes, I can shift the direction of what may have been a downward spiral into an upward spiral. These are some of my “bliss tools.”

My husband, Tom, is a key component to enjoying blissful days. He absolutely loves an
d adores me. Every morning, we have coffee together, and it is such a sweet time. Having a partner whom you completely love, and have so much fun with, is bliss.

In choosing to live a bliss-filled life, what sacrifices or choices have you had to make that have been particularly difficult? Are there sacrifices or choices coming up in the near future?

When I’ve made choices that didn’t honor my intuition or very clear knowing in order to gain the approval of others, I’ve found that is too high of a price to pay. Nothing is worth sacrificing my own happiness for the sake of others. I can’t stand on my head in enough different ways to please others. And, if someone needs for me to be a certain way in order to be happy, then that isn’t healthy or would hardly be viewed as unconditional love.

There have been times when I followed my own heart (i.e., majoring in dance even though my Dad strongly opposed it at the time) and times when I didn’t (i.e., going to paralegal school for a marketable skill rather than traipsing off Europe to be an au pair). Somewhere along the way, I made a decision within myself to always honor my intuition and what makes my heart sing, even if others may disapprove. If you aren’t true to yourself, then how can you truly be blissful?

Describe your ideal, bliss-filled day?

I love to travel so a bliss-filled day would involve going to a foreign culture and being delighted by experiencing new cuisine, art, music, dance, customs and the landscape of the land. For me, one of the gifts of traveling is that I find I’m so much more in the present moment, absorbing the freshness of getting out of my typical routine.

Another superb day would be to go to brunch with dear friends, then go to a museum and a movie (especially on a rainy day), then go walking through a beautiful park or stroll by the ocean.

Another configuration would be partaking in a day of dancing, art-making, writing – diving deep into my creative process or guiding others in playing with their creative spirit. Gosh, there are so many experiences that are blissful – days and days of bliss!

Do you have a daily spiritual practice that gives you the strength to live your own path?

As I mentioned above, taking time each morning to consciously connect with Spirit or Source is part of my daily practice. My spiritual journey has encountered many paths up the mountain, and I appreciate all of them. For even contrast serves me well, it gives me clarity on what I want. We are all spiritual beings so I think it essentially becomes a question of how connected or disconnected I feel to the divine part of myself and to Spirit. When I feel love and appreciation, I feel connected. When I discover life from a state of joy and bliss, I feel connected.

How does your relationship to your body affect your bliss?

My relationship with my body is vital to my bliss. From a holistic point of view, the body, mind, and spirit all intertwine. When I take care of my body by eating nourishing and delicious food, by moving, dancing and stretching, by breathing, then I definitely feel a good relationship with my body. By the same token, on those days when I notice I’m not as slender or toned as my once serious dance body was, it can be easy to slip into feelings of self hatred. I confess I’ve encountered that place many times. But, feeling dismayed about some extra pounds hardly puts me on the blissful path.

So, I acknowledge where I am, and what I’m feeling. Often, just feeling the feeling helps to dissipate it. I’m discovering that instead of being motivated from a place of fear or self loathing to make a change – if I tend to my vibrational alignment first, then, follow through with inspired action – the right pathway more easily appears.

Was there a specific moment (or moments) in your life when you decided to break out of the cage and fly free, as we like to say in the land of Wild Women?

Oh, there have been many! I think I’m pretty safe in assuming that most of my friends see me as a wild, creative free spirit. One significant moment that comes to mind is a major crossroads I came to around eight years ago. While I was recovering from surgery and was essentially bed-ridden for a couple of months, I read a book called “Creative Healing” by Michael Samuels and Mary Rockwood Lane. This book was an impetus for me to really examine my life and what made me happy. For most of my professional life, I had worked in marketing and PR. However, on the side I was either taking or teaching a creative expression type class or workshop. Even though my current job sounded cool -- I was the PR Director at the Dallas Theater Center -- I was not happy.

So, I decided to just go for what made my heart sing. Yep, it was more than time. As what usually happens, I sent out a beacon of both clear desire and strong belief and the Universe conspired with me. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the Theater laid off basically their entire staff just days after my surgery? It was such a relief. A friend mentioned a woman named Jane Goldberg who was going to lead a year-long expressive arts training in Santa Fe that would start in just three months. Although I didn’t know how in the world I would come up with several thousand dollars to pay the tuition, I knew I was going. And yes, I went! Jane gave me a full scholarship in exchange for being her assistant and doing some marketing for her which included organizing two trainings for her in Texas. So, it was definitely an even exchange of energy.

When I’ve had the courage to leave relationships that weren’t working even though I dearly loved the person, I felt I came deeply home to myself. Those are definitely moments of flying free. The delicious irony is that two men I had long-term relationships decided that I was THE ONE after all. By then, I was clear that neither one of them was the one. Fortunately, I’m still friends with each of them. It all works out.

What I think is alluring and magnetic, whether it is a attracting a romantic relationship, the right client or creating a circle of friends, is being your authentic self, who you REALLY are.

What gives you a sense of your Wild Woman self? What helps you to become less tame? Take risks? Put your concept of self on the line and challenge your boundaries?

As I mentioned above, when I don’t cater to the peanut gallery and just go for it, this allows me to be my Wild Woman self whether it is through creative expression or living my life by following my internal guidance.

Traveling has provided me with some wild adventures which I can’t imagine my life without. Getting out of the security of my daily structure has been most liberating for me in spreading my wings. Those visceral experiences of going beyond where I’ve been before have altered me forevermore. Not unlike the hero or heroine’s journey.

What is the Wildest Thing you have ever done? What Wild Thing would you like to do? What is your Wildest Wish?

Oh, there have been many wild things like moving to New York City after college with no job or place to live to seek my fame and fortune. I drove a U-Haul truck with another friend who was a dance major.

Once, I was the only gringa on a 36 bus hour ride to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. A collection was taken to bribe the guards at the border. There have been some very wild romantic adventures, especially in my 20s when I lived in Manhattan and when I spent a month in Italy. The gift of some of these wild escapades is clarifying who I am and what feels right to me.

My wildest blissful wish is to live in a foreign country. I also yearn to become an accomplished visual artist.

What advice would you give to women who are still trapped by fear and expectation and feelings of obligation? How would you advise that they set their Blissfully Wild selves free?

Little by little, trust your own magnificent self. Let go of approval from others. Feel how liberating and empowering it is to follow what makes your heart sing, even if you can’t immediately see how it will all unfold. Instead, focus on why you want something. Start telling a new story about how you want your life to be. Trust that the Universe will leave you breadcrumbs to find your way.

Ahhh...that last bit right there feels like it was written just for me. Thanks, Silky.

I've been waking in the middle of the night with the question "WHY?" on the tip of my tongue for weeks regarding the new paths I have been walking. I have felt so frustrated, not being able to see more than a few inches ahead.

And Silky is right. I must trust that my Heart is leading me and that is enough...for now.

How about you? Do you trust your heart enough?


zenfreckle said...

This interview can at just the right time for me. I needed a little inspiration from a wild woman.
Thanks for finding and interviewing Silky Hart on your blog!

Silky Hart said...

Thank you so much, Christine!!! I am so honored to be included in your Chicks Living Their Bliss series. Asking yourself "why" you desire something usually evokes your delight and passion about it. And, I admire YOU!

rochambeau said...

Dear Christine,
Enjoyed your interview. Isn't Silky a nice person.
May you continue to find your bliss. I see you dancing in a foreign country soon!

Linda-Sama said...

love her comment about not catering to the peanut gallery! and how traveling is her bliss. India is my soul's home and I never traveled overseas in my life until I was 51 -- when I stepped onto Indian soil for the first time I knew I had come home. and I know I will die there.

Nancy Holzner said...

Hi Silky,

I love your story of going for what made your heart sing, from the Dallas Theater job to the expressive arts course. It's so wonderful when things line up like that--and an inspiring reminder to follow your example.

WrightStuff said...

Oh wow, what a wonderful read. Tonight I have taken much comfort from blogland and this was no exception. Thank you.

Seb said...

Great post! This is very helpful. I'm sure I'd visit your site more often. Anyway, you can drop by my favorite online hang out too, at UK Student Community. Thanks!