Cloistered 

This New York Times article is very old but the fact remains that right now, somewhere in the world, thousands of intelligent, educated and spiritually connected women are praying for you. Indeed they have devoted their whole lives to the union of souls. I'm not particularly Catholic, but I get peace from the idea. May we all be open to receive the abundant spiritual grace intended for us. 

 

How to be Jealous and Why You Should 

“Dear Holiday, how can social media be a positive thing in my life? Right now it’s making me cry because I can’t stop noticing how happy my exes seem to be, and yes I’ve been creeping on the pages of their current girlfriends to see what’s happening there too. Sometimes I think I run on nothing but coffee and jealousy. Help! I’m a Capricorn.” 

Ambitious Capricorn knows that you don’t get anywhere in life by being unaware of what other people are doing. But being too aware comes with its own set of problems, especially if you’re taking other people’s business personally, and in fact doing a line-by-line, them-to-you comparison on matters. Regardless, I think there’s an opportunity here for you here. 

I used to regard jealousy as “the green-eyed monster” that is its common description, but I’ve come to develop a different relationship with this powerful emotion – one that allows for acceptance and even the welcoming of jealous feelings that get integrated into my self-awareness. Jealousy is no longer a monster to be blamed, rather jealousy is a friendly radiologist.

Jealousy is a well-trained professional who surveys the landscape, records its features and zooms in on the points of interest. Jealousy is the expert who can point right to the spot and say, “here’s your problem” or “here’s what’s amazing, right here.” 

To blame the radiologist for the issues going on in the body would be absurd, though messengers get blamed all the time and jealousy lives with that unfair rap too, all because people don’t know what to do with this very specific information that jealousy is just passing on. They don’t understand how to use the valuable gift that jealousy brings to make themselves healthier and happier. Truly, what’s inside jealousy’s message can be turned into a blueprint for a more fulfilling life. We must, however, learn the language of jealousy, as it speaks in its own tongue.  

Usually jealousy starts with an attraction. In passing, we get a glimpse of something that catches our eye like a shiny object, or rattles us with an attention-getting resonance. We tune in. The more we pay attention, the stronger it hooks us. The thoughts that run through our heads next are our interpretations of this attraction. We may think, “No fair!” “Why her?” “How did they dare?” or something like this. That’s not what jealousy told us, it’s just how we’re translating it.  

What jealousy really told us is, “Look here. Does this remind you of something? This is in you or you wouldn’t have noticed it to begin with. This is possible. There’s something here for you. There’s something you can do that you didn’t know you could.” Try to think of jealousy’s message as more of an invitation to an appetite than a condemnation of what’s being observed.     

If you are experiencing jealousy, congratulations. It means you're alive, you want, you hunger, and there is life out there for you to bite into and figure out. 

To get the most out of the emotion, you'll probably have to turn the heat down on it. Get distance from the thing making you jealous. Step back, calm down, detach. Stop judging yourself for being jealous. All it means is that you're alive and so is your appetite for life. From a gentle state of mind, ask yourself questions along the lines of, "What appetite is this feeling pointing to? What need do I have that's not being met in my current life? What skill might I be able to pick up if I worked at it? What state of being am I craving that is so well represented in this situation?"

Journaling on these questions or working them out in conversation with a trusted person will begin to open the way for jealousy's findings to guide you toward making a remarkable difference in your life and well-being. 

If this is a hot topic for you, please comment or reach out to me on Instagram or via email? I will write more indepth on it in the future, as I have plenty of experience with jealous LOL! 

Love and Stars!

Holiday
 

PS. I'm also touching on jealousy and more states of heart in the LOVE ZINE I'm writing now. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Leonard Cohen 

Invite them to your email inbox, which I did when I signed up for this poem-a-day project "POME" by Matthew Ogle. This moment of surprise art has been a defining spark of a morning routine that tips me careening into inspiration. Thank you Matthew Ogle!  

Today's musing was from Leonard Cohen who, around 40 years old at the time of the writing, already seemed to be wearily identifying as artistically aged, though I suspect that turned around for him, or perhaps was just a passing mood, as the iconoclast kept on creating, releasing new works just weeks before his walk through the gate of this world.  

My husband worked musically with Adam Cohen, who is the son of Leonard Cohen, so it happened that I got to meet the sage and by “meet” I mean stand three feet down the sidewalk and watch a suited gentleman give familial attention to his son under a streetlight, silver hair shining against the ink of L.A. sky.  

And because I long for an understanding that has always eluded me, I could recall many nights and mornings under sheets, and stolen minutes between classes and jobs sitting in a car or at a lunch table turning pages, fondling a poet's secrets, curled into the spirit of tea and oranges, teleported to a bohemian jungle of nylon stringed guitars where I tugged at dust from a cloak for the percipience of Jesus.  

These imagined intimacies were to go unexpressed on the evening I lingered behind Leonard Cohen, inhaling the same night jasmine, rocking to the beat of his progeny, him wondering at a son’s art, me studying the shape of a poet’s head. 

Billy Collins 

It is January four.

Yesterday I lost my glasses somewhere on a trail, doubled back, tripled back, quadrupled back to no avail. 

I did all of my errands twice to four times because I got it so wrong first blush.

Yesterday I cried like I told myself I wasn't going to anymore, as though numbers changing at the end of a calendar year could somehow click me away from how I see it. Guess it doesn't work like that, maybe never has, though I don't regret leaving room for different magic. 

This morning Billy Collins told me I was the crystal goblet and the wine. He assured me I wasn't the boots in the corner, suggested there was a possibility I was the pigeon on the general's head.

How did he know?

Museum 21C 

in nashville, tn,

magical 

so worth the visit 

why did it take me so long?

 

What is this "Artist Residency" all about?  

Q: What’s this “Artist in Residence” bit about?  

A: "Artist in Residence at Earth” is a private joke between me and me that has to do with the topic of jealousy.  

I’ve always identified as a creative person but have often felt that for one reason or other I was unable to express or explore this part of myself to the extent I wanted to or thought I was capable of. So when I learned that there were people in the world, artists, who were given support, supplies, a space to do their work, money to live on, etc. I would see those words, “ARTIST IN RESIDENCE” at… Dartmouth or Towneley Hall or some famous museum or hotel… and, well, let’s just say certain fingers of mine would get really twitchy (read: middle) and I'd suddenly be punk-rock-moshpit-kick-off-level mad. You ever been that kind of jealous?

The fantastic thing about jealousy, and the reason it’s one of the great gifts of human emotion, is that jealousy can be an extremely direct arrow to our purpose and our talents, some of which are so secret to us we wouldn't know about them if it weren’t for our jealousy. Also, jealousy can teach us what we truly want (as opposed to what we’ve been conditioned to want, which is different, societal, and a lot of times inauthentic on the personal level. This is partly why humans are historically pretty bad at knowing what is going to make them happy.) So in a weird way, jealousy -- intense, maddening, hate-filled jealousy -- can be the most direct line that we have to our own happiness. 

I'll just skip ahead in this story to the part where I realized that it was highly improbable that anyone, ever-ever was going to give me the prestigious position of "Artist in Residence." Lots of reasons. So many. Not the least of which is that most of my “art” is, in colloquial terms, “all over the place.”  It spans mediums, defies genre, and quite often exists as a grandiose body of theoretical work, showing mostly on the gallery walls of my own mind.  

Arguably, that fantasy-existence is still an existence. And you know what? I believe in it. I believe in my art. And sometimes I put it out into the world, and sometimes it makes me, or maybe even a few other people feel... idk, ponderous? Entertained? Momentarily, sensorily satisfied?  

Anyway I no longer have to be jealous of anyone who has an ARTIST'S RESIDENCY because… and this is big people, drum roll maestro!....  

I, Holiday Mathis, have been generously self-granted, and have graciously accepted the position of Artist in Residence at Earth.  

Please hold your applause until all the names have been read. 

Yes, I’m talking to you. Do you identify as a creative? Do you need support, resources, a soft place to land your artist’s soul? 

Add your name to the following certificate:

click to download your own printable! 

 

I look forward to seeing what this new position brings!

WITH LOVE!

Holiday

Transcript of Original Interview... 

Q: What's the story? 

Worst idea ever…I moved to Los Angeles without money or skills and was trying to make it as a waitress, but you might be surprised at how difficult it really is for some people to move up from the cashier position. By some odd stroke of magic, a roommate’s girlfriend saw a note on her college bulletin board (this was pre-internet) about a horoscope writing job. The instructions were to send samples to a P.O. address, so I borrowed a computer and got to typing.  

I don’t even know what made me think I could write horoscopes except that I had read a trillion of them in Cosmo and Seventeen mags. I guess my sample was ok because I got a  call telling me to write more of them for such-and-such dates… I immediately went out and bought a computer on credit. I was a complete luddite (pathetic! But this was 1991.) I worked through the mail, sending in floppy disks and getting a checks in return from a “Linda Twitchell.” I didn’t ask questions. After struggling so hard to survive Los Angeles (it was a moldy bread meal situation, no exaggeration) I felt like the queen of Hollywood to be able to afford gas and groceries in the same week.  

About two months into the arrangement “Linda Twitchell” called and said she wanted to meet me. She was looking for a personal assistant. I drove up to her house in the Hollywood hills and was legit-glamour struck by the gorgeous blonde woman who opened the door of her white mid-century modern style house overlooking the pool and, well, I guess I have a trustworthy vibe because within 30 minutes she gave me the keys to everything… house, pool gate, post office box. I thought these sorts of things only happened in movies and to other people.   

As it turned out, “Linda Twitchell” was a pseudonym for “Joyce Jillson” who was an astrologer to the stars and best-selling author. Joyce had been an actress on Broadway, television and movies. I had read her hilarious book “Real Women Don’t Pump Gas” when I was a kid. And she was, at this time, a syndicated newspaper columnist. I was her ghost writer without having any inkling that something I had written was being published in papers all over the world.  

Have you guessed that writing horoscopes en masse is no easy gig? It was too much for one person to keep up with and Joyce had several writers helping her at the time. My value to the operation seemed to be mainly willingness and desperation. The other writers were much more experienced and talented than I was, but I was the one who always there and game. She figured out that I really liked writing and used that. It was almost like I “got” to write the column when my personal assistant work was satisfactory.  

After a few years, the other writers fell away and it was just me writing the column. I worked for Joyce Jillson for 13 years, until her death in 2004, at which time the column assumed the name Holiday Mathis.  

The column averages 7,500 words a week. It’s about 900 words for each day of the week (which includes 12 horoscopes, a today’s birthday, an astrological question, an introduction heading and a celebrity birthday) and then another 1,200 for the week ahead.  

At this point, I’ve been writing the column as Holiday Mathis for over 13 years. That’s an average of 390,000 words per year times 13… That’s 5,070,000 words published as Holiday Mathis and at least3,000,000 ghost written for Joyce Jillson. Let’s round that down to 8 million words.  

To give some perspective on what 8 million words is, War and Peace clocks in at 587,287. The King James Bible is 783,137, not including the dedication from your Aunt Marge. All of the words in the seven books of the Harry Potter series add up to 1,084,170. And you can add all those books together and you’re not even up to 2.5 million. 

Perhaps a more serious, talented or trained writer might find these numbers depressing. I have published over 8 million words, and what do I have to show for it? No best seller or movie version of the work. Not even a Wikipedia page. I make a modest living and I have never gone on an extended vacation. The horoscope deadline is every week. The only time I was able to get ahead of it was only by about 4 weeks… I busted ass because I was pregnant and hoped to free up some maternity time.  

All of this is, of course, perfect. I am so fortunate in spite of, or perhaps because of, the relentless nature of this work, which I have come to see as a spiritual practice. I am like those monks who create sand mandalas to be briefly enjoyed by the passersby and tossed to the river at the end of the day. Well… I mean… my work isn’t intricate and colorful and gorgeous like that. And trust me, I ate a lot more than yak’s milk for breakfast. But I’m doing my best here, what do y’all want from me? 

Everything beautiful is temporary.  Not everything temporary is beautiful. But the fact that nobody is going to care about it tomorrow, or even an hour from now, that’s liberating. I can tryto make something intricate and colorful and gorgeous. Maybe I’ll succeed in some small way. 

Q: Is there a formula? 

It’s more of an intention. I want to create a tiny poem for each sign. (The irony is that I suck at poetry, pretty sure I don’t even understand it, and yet I have been known to send utter crap into The New Yorker just to get the prestigious rejection letter. I like seeing my name in that font. Hey, I never said I was any good at any of this! But I digress….)  

My intention is your tiny poem -- nothing too profound, not every day at least, because if everything is profound then nothing is. But it’s some kind of small delight for you. A candy snack to set the day on a sweet note. A personal nudge toward levity or introspection or fun or kindness or wisdom. A reminder of what we’re doing on this planet together, all under the same stars.  

Q: What about astrology?  

The astrology is a given. I read the ephemeris and offer an interpretation. I used to do this like student reciting from a textbook but after years and years (and years!) the symbols have come alive to me in a different way. They are characters. Big Daddy Jupiter and the Venus the strumpet, or maybe she’s in her maternal mode, wearing a gown by Virgo… or a pantsuit by Capricorn.  The symbols are playful invitations to do my best… they are chiefs in my pantheon of muses.   

Q: Inspiration? 

The single best thing about my job is that allows me to reach far and wide, searching for inspiration. There are no boundaries! No subject that can’t help me! My podcasts overfloweth, my library card is stuffed and popping, my internet search history is phantasmagoria!   

Let me tell you about where I have been this week. 

I have been to the 12 black holes of Sagittarius. (Yes, I know there are 10,000 more of you somewhere!) I have swung around the Infinite Monkey Cage with Brian Cox, I’ve been to Marc Maron’s garage talking with Bill Hader about “Barry” (I’m working on my Henry Winkler crush.) I was in the “Hidden Brain” of Shankar Vedantam learning of the peaceful effects of a radio soap opera in Rwanda. I revisited the polka dot world of Yayoi Kusama, I checked in with Austin Kleon and went through the syllabus of Lynda Barry. I learned new beauty products and curse words from Samantha Irby, swung back to the art collection of Steve Martin, relied on the advice of the divination text of Zhou yi, I let Matthew Ogle break my heart with those damn poignant “Pomes” he keeps sending to my inbox. I swallowed what Kant had to say, laughed at the puppies in my living room, absorbed the advice of the former pick-up artist turned conversation coach Wayne Elise, hung out with Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen on the Nerdette podcast, studied “The Hidden Life of Trees,” got particularly entangled in the fungal network, lost sleep over the thought of talking mushrooms, then remembered something I learned in the basement of the Scientology Celebrity Center and began comparing it to Buddhist theories as told by that Zen YouTuber ….  

Seem random? 

Heck yeah it's random! As random as the Big Bang. As random as whatever is getting sucked into the supermassive black hole of Sagittarius A right this minute (25,640 light years ago.) As random as my birth!  

I’m sure a versed-science writer such as yourself is well-aware that humans are notoriously uncomfortable with randomness. Our brains have evolved to filter out most of it, so all that gets through are the threats, the changes, and a small amount of “other” which we are compelled to make order out of… look for a pattern, come up with a theory, construct a narrative, dig into a belief about… 

I am just like everyone else, bringing all I know into looking for the pattern. The pattern I’m looking for in the context of the horoscope column is one that will help people settle in to a positive feeling about the day. One that will make people feel seen and understood. Make them feel like they belong in this cluster of humanity under one sky. The pattern I’m looking for is one that will make you turn up the corners of your lips. For the love of stars, I’m only trying to make you smile. 

Besides, if I stuck exclusively to Greek Mythology, I’d alienate the readers. They don’t live there. They live where I do… in cities or suburbs with noisy neighbors and irritating family members and supermarket lines and crowded commutes and complicated love lives and children and bosses and the constant knowledge that our species has become the main pollutant of the planet…  

Wait… let’s get back to the smiling!  

How do you filter all that random inspiration into the actual words of the column?  

The short answer is, I don’t know. 

As a writer yourself, you’ve probably at times had the sensation that you’re not even doing it. The… where did that come from?thingy. There’s a lot of that sort of channeling. Then there’s the fact that turning in this column is how I buy food, and I like to eat. That helps. I don’t ever have writer’s block – I don’t even believe in it, because I can’t afford to believe in it.  

I will admit that the muses favor me.   

I believe the muses favor me for the same reason that Joyce Jillson did: I’m desperate. I’m game. I show up.  

Ok Christie, I hope this helps for what you need. I appreciate your interest and the excuse to ponder my work for a second like this. I really hope you don’t throw me under the bus. (A serious science journalist interviews an astrologer, what could go wrong?) hahaha. Ha? 

In all seriousness, I wish you success and fulfilment in your journey under these stars,  

Holiday