Listen UP!


Welcome to our weekly art/life trail ride! I trust that new insights and adventures are meeting you in every direction!

The art/life power word for August is Trust. defines Trust:

1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

2. confident expectation of something; hope.

We learn to trust life through the ups and the downs.  I use this time each year to consider new and deeper ways to cultivate the quality of trust.  This week I share two books that I admire, one which is hot off the press. I also reflect on an experience that helped me gain a deeper awareness of how trust can so easily slip away. It helps a lot if there is something that we love so much that we can rise above and beyond distraction. Trust n’ Love = our best art/life buddies. A favorite art/life contributor of mine Ruth Gendler paints a word picture of Trust in The Book of Qualities:


Trust is the daughter of Truth. She has an objective memory, neither embellishing nor denying the past. She is an ideal confidante __ gracious, candid, and discreet.
Trust talks to people who need to hear her; she listens to those who need to be heard; she sits quietly with those who are skeptical of words. Her presence is subtle, simple, and undeniable.

Trust rarely buys round-trip tickets because she is never sure how long she will be gone and when she will return. Trust us at home in the desert and the city, with dolphins and tigers, with outlaws, lovers and saints. When Trust bought her house, she tore out all of the internal walls, strengthened the foundation, and rebuilt the door. Trust is not fragile, but she has no need to advertise her strength. She has a gambler’s respect for the interplay between luck and skill; she is the mother of Love.


The topic of Trust reminds me of my journey to a 5 day conference in Los Angeles.  The conference celebrated 2 years of intensive learning with a dynamic group of women from around the globe. In the first year of working together we established deep levels of trust in one another and in our ability to dive into areas of the art/life where we were determined to become more creative and expressive…referred to by one of our teachers as being ‘Social Artists’.

On the first morning in our waterfront Venice hotel we were led in a break-out exercise. Two hundred and sixty women were placed into small groups of three. Instructions were given to set the scene. The large room buzzed with anticipation. We assigned an A, B, C position to our trio.

A was to sit and act completely uninterested in anything that was said; take on the ‘I couldn’t care less about you’ stance. B was to pour heart and soul out sharing her deepest learning of the past twelve months. C is the Silent Observer.

I took position B. The Tibetan bell rang signaling the start of the 10 minute investigation.

I shared my experience with gusto. My listener in the A seat looked at the ceiling and rolled her eyes. She stared at the carpet studying its pattern. She gazed out the window sighing heavily while picking at her nail polish. She smirked.

She was following the instruction to not listen. She completely and totally dismissed my voice and made sure I knew through her body language that my very presence was an irritant.

I knew in my head that we were each doing what we were supposed to be doing, each in our appointed role. Didn’t matter; I became confused, pained, and angered. A’s dismissal caused me to push back. I spoke fast and tried harder to get her to hear me; I fell out of balance and stuffed the tears that wanted to burst. I abandoned myself. I victimized myself. That was the point…to demonstrate how easy we ‘go there’.

Pull of the Water MoonThe Pull of the Water Moon, Drozda, Acrylic/canvas, 18 x 18″, 1997

After the chime signaled the end of the 10 minute experiment we came back together in the large group and were invited to talk about what had happened. We listened as many B players spoke of the violence and the trauma of being unheard. Again and again women realized the shame and confusion that came from not being listened to. A’s learned something too. They could identify themselves in the role of abuser. No one felt good about what had happened. Women in the C seat spoke of the extreme discomfort of not being able to change the dynamic.

It was actually quite chilling. Here we were a savvy, educated and aware group of women from many parts of the world placed into a situation where we were given the chance to intentionally practice not listening to one another. It was a situation where dismissal and inconsequence caused us to revert to a place of disorientation and victimization. Everyone in the room nodded in recognition of this form of psychological/emotional violence and abuse.

From Me to WE

In the afternoon we were placed into new groups of three. This time the women in the A seats were instructed to share deeply, B’s to listen attentively and C’s observe. We were asked to shift the listening dynamic. Sense into and feel connected to the relational field being created by the nature of the share.

The paradigm shift: B listens to A as if what she is saying is “the most important, never before heard, information” ever heard.

260 women learned first-hand the impact of one approach followed by the other. Listening made the difference…listening and hearing led to a place of deep internal power.

The experience was summed up by Julie who said:

“When I started to listen to myself I no longer needed to be heard.”

The Trust cycle of August prompts a root-deep healing. When we listen and hear deep in our body we can Trust. This is  followed by Love the focus for the month of September…stay tuned.

“Trust is not fragile, but she has no need to advertise her strength. She has a gambler’s respect for the interplay between luck and skill; she is the mother of Love.”

Christine Williams (meet her on the Testimonial page) has written an exploration into facing and eventually letting go of what stands between her and deep listening in her new book titled:


Christine and I have worked together for years and I trust her to be deeply honest and willing to face into the wind as she rides through her art/life. Christine’s creative commitment to listening sends her on a journey of depth discovery. She is candid, curious, disciplined and courageous.

The Listening Project touched, moved and inspired me. It’s an art/life story and a good read about listening deeply to a variety of lessons.  The thread running through the fabric of the book is that of repeated loss.  The commitment that Chris has made to The Listening Project makes it possible for her to steadily come back into a balanced, playful and joyful recovery. I strongly recommend The Listening Project as a way to dismount from your frantic efforts and take the time to wander a bit in the empty stable…messages are waiting that are yours and yours alone.

Thanks Christine and Ruth for your word pictures this week!

As we learn while on the trail…the art/life requires companions and compunction…see you next week…enjoy the ride and notice all the ways that your art/life brings you to LISTEN UP! and Trust the process.


lunar phases


Announcement…Coming Soon!


  Wednesday, September 23
8 pm.

4 week/once weekly e-Studio

Tools for Change: 8 steps to provide creative structure for your art/life. In Tools for Change we put the fun back into being functional by investing in generating art/life…

  1. Vision

  2. Research

  3. Action

  4. Higher Creativity

  5. Reflection

  6. Sharing

  7. Gratitude

  8. Dreams 

In our ninety minute weekly conference call (recordings available if you are unable to attend live) we outline rhythms that are in sync with art/life time. As this Tools for Change e-Studio opens we are beginning the flow of feminine/receptive time that takes us deep into our roots starting at the fall equinox…which happens to coincide with our start date…how auspicious is that!

Tools for Change gives you access to the organic flow of feminine time: slower, elegant, rich with ease and grace that moves in a spontaneous intuitive fashion so that your deepest dreams and visions of what your art/life can be…particularly during our legacy years…blossom and grow.

By learning the eight steps and applying the four-week process presented in “Tools for Change” you will have a wealth of information regarding ways to creatively move your art/life in an upward spiral Moon by Moon, year by year. 

I invite you to become a ‘social artist’ uplifting your self, others and the art/life.

In Tools for Change you’ll listen to yourself and hear how the information lands for you. You will create illustrated reference materials that make the work part of your legacy. Kelly and I will also provide structure for you with beautiful PDF handouts.

I trust that by experiencing “Tools for Change” you’ll be motivated to discover limitless openings in which imaginative art/life ideas and inspirations unfold, blossom and evolve . . . all at a slow-flow/hushed rush natural pace.

~See you next week..til then…may we each trust the art/life trail ride~


I am a working Heartist with more than thirty years of practice in supporting the creative best in each of us to come forth and shine.
I invite you to connect with the uplift of ‘Luna See’ and Lifecycle; time management tools for aligning with natural creative rhythms.

Travel with me into a realm of calm and renewed heart-centered emphasis.Droz_Pups_2013Through our shared journey with my monthly newsletter‘Luna See’ and my creative consult ‘Lifecycle’ you will discover and expand your ability to experience,
express, create and contribute your deepest and wisest most authentic gifts to this unspeakably beautiful world.


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10 thoughts on “Listen UP!

  1. cindy

    Much gratitude to you dear Iona for your continuing pearls of wisdom that always resonate. Your reference to J Ruth Gendler, reminded me of her book “Notes on the Need for Beauty” which falls into one of my categories of “life-changers” In this text Ruth talks about the Navajo word “hozho” which translates as beauty and also means harmony, wholeness, goodness. In their worldwide view, beauty exists not simply in the object, or in the artist who made the object; it is expressed in relationships. She may be writing specifically about beauty but for me this also translates as trust. Ahhhh trust, a beautiful thang:-) I look forward to reading the Listening Project.

    • Iona Drozda

      I hadn’t tapped into Ruth’s book by the title you list…I’ll check it out…she is a beacon and although the Listening Project is much more a memoir I imagine that you’ll sense into the hozho of it as you read…let us know what you discover through Christine’s journey.

  2. As always I look forward to this Season’s offerings. August is a hiatus time for me. The month of annual physicals, eye exams along with the need to not solve anything, control anything. My mind and emotions are preparing for SEPTEMBER! Donna, the new online gathering will be satisfying for all who join. I wish I could get the same calm satisfaction from online as I do from actual physical participation such as Ruth’s gatherings over 3 years. I love body languages and the nuances of eye . So far although I’ve tried (and you know I’ve tried) but failed to gather much strength from the virtual.

    abrazos, Ellis

    • Iona Drozda

      Hi Ellis…me too. I’m all for body language and eye to eye.

      I have also experienced the strength of community that can be garnered from the virtual…it’s new and different yet viable as a means to broaden our WE space.

      Fortunate are WE to live at this time when there are so many options allowing us to discover the way that we choose to connect and communicate.

      I’m very happy that you were willing to give the virtual a go in last fall’s ‘Emerge & See’ e=Studio…at least you know what you’re talking about from your own experience…trust that 😉

  3. Linda Reddington

    “Trust” evokes many thoughts swirling. A life style choice to trust others as my first approach, knowing they may fall short or rise to the occasion. Preferring to set the bar at trust because life is so much better when that works. It does make some think I’m not too bright. Trusting me, knowing I can count on me. That’s taken a while in spite of the fact that I’ve been my best supporter ever and always. Grins are overdue.

    • Iona Drozda

      Hurray for grins…and for coming to terms with what others do think or don’t think…
      I value Ruth Gendler’s poetry when she allows Trust to say she is the daughter of Truth. Lovely take on a complex topic.

  4. Three Haiku poems that came to and through me back to back this week, that I personally found potent, powerful, personal, and perfect in tune with where my focus is – and which I wanted to share with all you lovely trail blazers!

    Naked as the Sun
    My soul rises up, saying
    Yes to Destiny.
    Smiling at the Moon
    My heart sighs, sinking into
    Radiant Darkness.
    Like a shooting star
    For a brief moment in time
    My Being matters.

    Dedicated to Iona, a new addition on August 22:

    Like the hummingbird
    You scatter the Light of Grace
    With every heartbeat.

    Safe from stormy seas
    The oyster waits patiently
    Content to make pearls.


    • Iona Drozda

      Your words are drenched in beautifully rich imagery Beth…
      thank you for posting them together …

      Your three haiku powerful individually merge into one powerful statement of willingness to embrace light and dark…shooting star-ness.

      That level of embrace is what every self-respecting art/life has the opportunity come to terms with.

      Thank you for the modeling of how you stand back and allow the muse to visit…


  5. Lynn lantz

    This is so timely. I am struggling with making communication work. It is an elusive and slippery slope that often erodes trust and poisons love. I look forward to being part of the group

    • Iona Drozda

      Welcome to the trail ride Lynn…it’s so good to know that we can practice listening to one another as though what is being said is the most important message ever shared. It isn’t easy, and we haven’t necessarily been encouraged…now is the time, the natural time, to be “at home in the desert and the city, with dolphins and tigers, with outlaws, lovers, and saints.”
      It’s grand that we can trail ride and practice together.

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