Recently, I went to the birthday party of a bright and beautiful 16 year old. Rather than having the typical sweet 16 birthday party, this free thinking young woman wanted the dozen or so people at her celebration to sit in circle and share.
After feasting and listening to music, we came together and were asked to answer a series of engaging questions. Each questions brought out delightful answers from those gathered. The more people shared, the more everyone in the group opened into deeper trust and authenticity. As time went by, eyes lit up and smiles got brighter. Fond memories, deep wisdom, and much laughter were shared that day.
It was deeply nourishing to be part of this birthday gathering. I came away feeling inspired and over the top optimistic about the future of our planet after months of grim political and ecological news being blasted from every media outlet. Being at the party felt like being rubbed down with a deep healing salve.
One of the questions asked that day was: “What do you wish someone had told you on your 16th birthday?”
At the time I said something about the importance of following your heart and soul. I still stand by that answer. Absolutely. Always.
Since that day I have pondered this question many times and have found another answer that resonates just as deeply with me.
So here goes. What I wish someone told me on my 16th birthday:
Develop the habit of turning towards connection. Connection is what matters most in life. Connect and you will be fine.
Connection has the power to heal and soothe whatever ails you.
Deepening connection with yourself and with the people around you is the powerful catalyst that transforms us into what is most real, valuable and true.
If you lack anything, connection is the next step, and the ultimate answer.
Master connection and you master life.
Wishing you a beautifully connected holiday today.
In loving connection,
So many people are raw right now. Many are deeply disappointed, confused, sad, and angry. Some are rejoicing, while others are shocked and horrified with the election results. I have been rocked and swayed by all of these feeling during this excruciatingly long and conflicted election cycle.
Despite the polarization and what many people feel is a step backwards for the United States, this divisive and contentious election is revealing a dark side of our country that cannot be denied. Many see the shadows of racism, sexism, corruption, ignorance, and greed rearing their ugly heads in every direction.
Yet, the real shadow we are facing is not racism or sexism, conservatives thinking or progressive views, corruption or greed.
The real shadow is the vast collective fear that gives rise to all of these seemingly oppositional forces.
Fear is at the core of all the darkness that is showing itself in blatant ways across the country. That shadow isn’t just in those who voted differently than you did, or in those who are in the streets protesting or perpetrating hate crimes; that fear is in each and every one of us. Yes, everyone.
We fear for our safety and for the safety of the people we love. We are afraid of being harmed, persecuted, or held back because we are different. We are afraid to lose what we have worked hard to build, and afraid to lose hope for the grand dreams we have for our future, and our children. We are afraid that our beautiful Earth is being looted and polluted beyond repair. This really scary primal stuff is rapidly and sometimes violently cycling through our world right now.
We all have a unique blend of fears, conscious and unconscious, that is being stirred up by world conditions. As fear arises, we don’t want to feel it. We create simple and elaborate fear management strategies. Chocolate chip cookie, anyone? We project and blame others for making us feel unsafe. We hide. We lament. We live in bubble worlds of like-minded people so we can feel affirmed and safe. We eat too much, and we drink to much. We get numb in any way we can so we don’t have to feel afraid.
What if we stopped running from fear and instead, simply felt it? What if we could find a place to stand that is bigger than fear? My body relaxes as I write this. Just brushing up against the awareness that there is a place bigger than fear is comforting.
The place that is bigger than fear is your own heart.
In the face of fear, we can all find our fearless heart and take sanctuary there.
That is the solid ground that never fails you, and never deserts you.
It is right here, right now. As close as the next breath.
I invite you to pause for a moment, take a deep breath and feel into your tender, yet fearless heart, right in the center of your chest. Breath into this place and trust the magnificent and mighty force it safeguards.
“But I can’t feel my heart right now," you say. “I am gasping for breath. I am cowering and grief stricken at the thought of what is happening in the world. The doorway to my heart is closed and I can’t get in,” you say with great conviction.
With deep tenderness, I say, “There is another way."
When the door to your heart is closed tight with fear, the only away to disarm the lock is to face the fear, known or unknown, head on. And then simply be with that feeling. Feel the tightness, feel the discomfort. Feel it in your body and keep breathing. Move it. And keep breathing. Dance the fear until it is exhausted. Do whatever it takes to keep being with it rather than distracting or running. Simply bringing your awareness and acceptance to fear is a catalyst for its evolution and eventual disillusion.
I invite you to feel your fears and also to share them with the people you love.
It is much easier to face your fears with beloved companions by your side. Our hearts thrive on connection. They beat stronger in unison with others.
If you want to plant yourself firmly in your fierce and fearless heart, lean into those who are willing to stand with you as you tremble and embrace your fear anyway.
Lean into those who can hold you as you tentatively step into your tender heart and learn to inhabit this place more often.
When the world feels untrustworthy, lean into those you can trust, and take sanctuary there.
This is the place where you will be soothed and calmed, energized and uplifted so can find the strength to keep on keeping on, no matter what is happening in the world.
In the heart, we find the strength to gracefully and courageously navigate the many changes that are happening right now in the world.
In the heart, we are instantly connected with the vast number of people around the globe who also stand in the heart and are guided by love and goodness, authenticity and inspiration, kindness and compassion.
In the midst of the heart we realize that as the old ways are dying, a new world is simultaneously arising.
Despite the changes in the world right now, there is real cause for celebration. Beyond blue or red or green, beyond racism, sexism, and divisiveness, beyond wiki leaks and corruption, the glorious life force that moves through all of us is still doing what it always has.... expanding and contacting, loving and creating.
As we move forward, let’s find a deep well of sweet surrender to bathe in together. Let's practice radical acceptance of a vast power and plan that we can't always understand, much less control. Because no matter who is in the White House, life will continue to expand and contract, love and create, moment by moment. We might as well add our love to the mix.
From the one heart,
The invention and wide spread use of PCs was definitely a game changer. The world wide web was another game changer that most people couldn't have imagined not that many years ago. The iPhone was another game changing technology that has radically changed the way we live, connect, and create.
It is hard to imagine what communication was like before these game changing technologies became as commonplace as telephones, paper, and pens.
Most of us are plugged in most of the time now. Maybe you love your devices and all they do for you, or maybe you simply tolerate their necessary presence in our cyber drenched, fast-paced culture. Either way, there is no denying their usefulness in our day-to-day lives.
In recent years, these kind of rapid advancements in technology has been happening in many other areas as well. In medicine (think X-ray to MRI), in transportation (the gas guzzling 1960s station wagon to the new Tesla), and also in the area of psychospiritual growth and transformation.
In this field, which I so dearly love, powerful game changing technologies have emerged that can radically changing the way we live and grow. There are innovative new techniques available to reduce stress, rewire your brain, and heal unhealthy relationships patterns so you can experience greater health, well being, and happiness. These innovative techniques can help you choose more positive and life enhancing responses to day-to-day challenges.
These powerful tools are key elements in the emerging field of Energy Psychology, which is being hailed as a powerful new force in individual and collective transformation.
One of the keynotes of Energy Psychology is that it can actually change your physiological responses to stress, leaving you calmer and more capable of finding healthy, life enhancing solutions when challenges inevitably arise on a day-to-day basis.
In 50 peer reviewed scientific studies of numerous techniques of Energy Psychology, there were positive outcomes in 48 of those studies!
These are overwhelmingly positive results, suggesting Energy Psychology is a power force for healing and growth.
I have found Energy Psychology techniques to be powerful tools for creating rapid positive changes in my life and in the lives of my clients. Energy Psychology has helped clear long standing, debilitating issues for my clients, sometimes in as little as one or two sessions. These techniques are easy to learn and practice with a trained guide. Once you have been taught the techniques, you can use them on your own to accelerate your growth, healing, and awakening. Contact me if you would like to explore this leading edge psychospiritual technology.
At ten years old I was a pretty miserable child.
A latch key kid from a “broken home”, I was pretty shy and awkward. My older brother picked on me, my parents worked a lot, and I was throughly bored in school. A creative type at heart, I was not amused by worksheets and multiple choice tests. I couldn’t sit still in class and got in trouble quite a bit. I yearned to sing (even if it was off-key most of the time), and paint and play in the orange grove in my back yard.
All that changed the day my new teacher arrived wearing ultra cool John Lennon glasses and a ponytail down his back. Richard was pure magic in my ten year old world. His smile hinted that he knew every secret in the entire universe worth knowing. He was unlike any teacher I had ever known.
In Richard’s class we explored color and sound, and created delicious sensory feasts of all kinds. We painted and sculpted and danced. We sang “Here Comes the Sun” at the beginning of class as he played his guitar. We made stapled together booklets called Poor Dickie’s Almanac, and filled them with the prose and poetry we wrote. We even made a super 8 movie. One of the high points of my childhood was when he cast me as The Queen, surely to coax me out of my shyness.
That classroom was alive. I was alive. We were alive… together!
As a gift for each child’s birthday, Richard wrote a poem. When my birthday came, he reverently read my poem, and then presented me with a calligraphy copy of this brief and touching verse. Decades later, I still remember every word.
Winter in and frozen stream,
but sunlight sees right through,
To a world of warmth beneath,
and lives come true.
When I heard the verse I was stunned and elated all at once. I instantly knew that Richard saw me in a way no one else did. He saw deeply into the shy and fumbling little girl I was pretending to be.
Richard really saw me! He recognized my heart and soul. He saw me as the warmth that could make lives come true! The moment I realized Richard saw deep within me, I saw myself in a new way.
Love is sometimes hidden deep inside; crusted over and frozen. Yet in the tumultuous ebb and flow of life, we have infinite opportunities to recognize and bow down to love in its many forms, within ourselves and all around us.
We all have the opportunity to be the warmth of love that "flows and makes lives come true". Richard did this for me, and in so doing invited me to recognize the incredible power of my loving essence.
He was a catalyst for my tender heart awakening. Before Richard came into my life I knew I was loved, but he helped me to know that I am love. In this simple and magical way, Richard changed my life forever. After that birthday, my young heart would never beat as it had before. I could never again truly believe I was less than I was, or small, or insignificant.
The simple act of courageously recognizing the heart of love in one another is a deeply significant gift, which is so easy to forget as we whirl through life, trying to grab the many shiny and tempting brass rings in our ever spinning lives.
And yet, what is the alternative? We can go on judging, condemning, and criticizing each other. We can be competitive, petty, and uncaring. We can even be angry because the people in our lives don’t always give us the love we want, in just the right package.
Or we can be the "sunlight that see right through", even in the deep cold of winter.
As a young woman, my ideas about love were throughly conditioned by the romantic notions of Western culture. In my young mind, love was all about "happily ever after." The height of love was an idealized version of romantic love with my perfect partner.
As I went through life’s inevitable challenges, I began to have a wider, richer understanding of love. As fulfilling as romantic love can be, a bigger and bolder version of love began to bubble up in my awareness. As my internal vision of love expanded, I looked for ways to bring fuller expressions of love to each moment and situation, rather than perpetually looking for love to show up in the ways I expected and projected.
As I began to look at life through more loving eyes, situations that used to seem hopeless and disappointing became powerful opportunities to share love.
How I defined love kept getting bigger and bigger until one day I realized love encompassed every interaction, every thought, and every feeling I ever had. Period.
Love truly is everywhere, in everyone.
Even the painful disconnected moments that don’t feel very loving are part of love's ever present dance. Every heartache has love at its core. And every person is the embodiment of love’s ever expanding grace.
The moment we realize love really IS everywhere, wanting more love shifts to realizing you already have it.
When we really get this, the ultimate love challenge shifts from finding love, to igniting a fuller, richer expressions of love in every situation.
Searching for the perfect lover is transformed into exploring ways to activate the sometimes hidden and elusive love within and all around you. Wanting love is transformed into being love, and shining its warm radiance in every direction.
Love is the very substance of our world. It is the essence of earth and air, fire and water. Love is the essence of every human heart, mind, and body, however ailing and pain ridden they may be.
Love is the essential force that unites all and make us whole.
Love's mighty force is activated simply by recognizing it. In a world that seems to be turned upside down with perpetual suffering, recognizing love can seem like a small and insignificant act.
Yet, the simple act of recognizing love unleashes its miraculous healing force and activates the creative power we’ve all been searching for, whether we know it or not. This simple act can have profoundly positive consequences in our collective evolutionary journey.
The simple recognition of love has the power to heal, to awaken, and to transform lives.
On this Valentine's Day I recognize you and me, and all the chaos and suffering in the world as love in the process of bursting through into greater expression.
In the light of Love,
In celebration of Valentine's Day, I'm sharing a video that is near and dear to my heart. Several months ago, my daughter and her sweetheart were married.
Although I have married many couples over the years as a licensed non-denominational wedding officiant, it was a profound honor to marry my daughter, and to share deeply in this heartwarming and really fun celebration. This joyous day was incredibly inspiring, and one of the high points of my life.
I share this with you with the hope that it will inspire you to awaken and cultivate greater love in all of your relationships. Enjoy!
I like to write. When I write I feel calm, clear, tuned in, and vibrantly alive.
A few friends and clients have mentioned that some of my blog posts are too long for this fast-paced, plugged in era. So I will be writing periodic posts that get right to the heart of the matter. Short and sweet. I love digging deep and getting to what is essential. So here goes!
Trust is one of the most significant qualities needed to cultivate healthy relationships. Trust takes time to build, nurture, and sustain. In this humorous and insightful video renowned researcher, Brené Brown shares powerful insights about how to cultivate trust with the significant people in your life. It is well worth taking the time to watch.
Autumn often sparks a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the joy and abundance of this crazy beautiful human journey. As our lovely Mother Earth ripens and graces us with the bounty of yet another growing season, I am moved to celebrate the many blessings of my life.
This year, I feel a deep and pervasive gratitude not just for the “blessings”, but also for the many challenges I have faced in recent years; the tests and trials, the grief, and ultimately, the letting go it has demanded.
As the season turns, I remember and celebrate the heart wrenching times when life has been anything but joyful; the days when I felt anything but strong, wise, and awake. These were the days when I felt like I was going through a meat grinder, over and over again. Despite the pain, I am grateful because these trying times have broken down yet another layer of protection around my heart, led me to greater self awareness and compassion, and tenderized me like nothing else could.
As the season turns, I also celebrate the colorful foliage dropping all around me. As these freshly liberated leaves dance on the soft wind, I am gently reminded to shed all that I no longer need. In those sweet moments of remembrance, I know that just like the falling leaves, the released parts of me are on their way to becoming the compost that will nourish the new growth that is sure to follow.
My mantra for this fine, crisp new season: “let go, let go, let go”. These simple words reaffirm my commitments to embracing the fullness of life which includes fresh beginnings as well as completion. I notice how much I prefer fostering new life rather than allowing that which has completed a cycle to fall away. Who doesn't prefer falling in love to breaking up? We want to hold on to the freshness, and run from the endings.
Yet, the urge to let go is always an appropriate response; to joyous births and rocky deaths, to all that feels good and all that hurts. Letting go is a nourishing way of life and a powerful pathway to more fully embodying and expressing our deepest essence.
As I say this powerful phrase to myself over and over, “let go” somehow morphs into “let glow”. This brings an inner smile because letting go allows the inner light to shine brighter than ever.
Finally and most significantly, as the season turns and the nights grow cooler, I celebrate the inner warmth that is sparked each time we reach out to touch another by courageously being real. When we are willing to be vulnerable and authentically offer up whatever we have been hiding or quietly holding back, whether it is our shadowy parts or our magnificence, we claiming our true strength and power. In the instant we choose to authentically share, love enters in and changes everything.
All transitions, from the rhythmic change of season to major and minor work and relationship transitions, call us to adapt, to let go, to release, and to open up to whatever is next. The change of season offer a delicious opportunity to consciously say yes to the impulse to move, to shift, and to free ourselves from yesterday’s feelings, habits, moods, and obsolete creations.
Using flowers essences is a great way to support this process. The essences help set a new tone and vibration within your energy field, making it easier to gracefully let go of whatever no longer serves you. My favorite flower essences come from Findhorn Flower Essences in Scotland. They provide a wide variety of essences that are effective and easy to use. A few drops in your water glass once a day is all you need to provide the healing and transformational support to make changes more gracefully.
Simply chose an essence from their website and use it each day until it is gone. Check out their website here: www.findhornfloweressences.com.
With love and good cheer,
In recent weeks I have been taking plenty of time to travel, play, rest and rejuvenate. A lighter summertime schedule has given me more time to read, reflect, and to just be.
I’m home now, feeling deeply renewed and inspired by the growth and deep embodiment that have unfolded over the past few years, in my life and in the lives of my clients.
This is definitely a time for unveiling your unique brilliance, and daring to more purely and powerfully share who you are. We are all being called to do more of what really lights us up, and to empower others in the process.
Doors that have long been tightly closed are now ready to open wide for those who choose the way of liberation and creative contribution. The more we authentically step up and into fresh territory, the more we quite naturally become a catalyst for others to do the same.
I wonder, what is opening your bold and beautiful heart these days? Are you giving yourself permission to courageously follow your fiery inspiration? What inner impulses are you saying “YES” to?
Today I’m sharing what has been opening my heart and mind during these long, warm days of midsummer.
What I’m grateful for…
The opportunity to love deeply. This week marks the three year anniversary of the unexpected passing of my beloved partner. Since that day, I have faced the grieving process head on, over and over again, only to find ever brighter love, gratitude, and appreciation for the opportunity to intimately know and love, and be known and loved by a truly courageous and wise soul. It was, and continues to be, an honor to stand as one with Douglas Brady.
What I’m celebrating….
Having the opportunity to officiate at the wedding of my daughter later this month. There is so much joy in our family right now as we prepare for this grand love fest. As a mother, officiating will be the powerful completion of a cycle of nurturing my daughter’s growth in a very active way. It is fulfilling and exciting to joyfully release her into a new cycle of life with a loving man by her side. This is definitely a summer of love!
What I’m reading…
There is much written about emotionally dysfunctional relationships, yet this thought provoking article offers a clear and refreshing take on what is is like to be an emotionally healthy grown up:
With fiery love,
Happy Spring, my friend.
The first few days of Spring are always a vibrant and joyful time. As nature energetically bursts forth anew, our enthusiasm for living is sparked like no other time of the year. Anything seems possible at this turn of the yearly cycle. As the warmth of the Sun increases, we are given the strength and optimism needed for renewal and expansion after the inward darkness of previous months.
To remain fresh and fulfilling, our relationships need continual renewal and encouragement.
The fiery warm inspiration that is naturally abundant this time of the year can be a powerful catalyst for strengthening and deepening our closest relationships.
Recently, a longtime friendship went through a challenging period. For years, this friendship had been naturally and easily loving, fun and enriching. Yet in recent months I was feeling discontent with our time together. I was sad and deeply disappointed about what I perceived to be a lack of compassion and understanding in my friend’s attitude towards me. As I was contemplating the situation I remembered some relationship advice I was given when I was 18 years old…
“When you want something that you are not getting in a relationship, the most powerful first step is to freely and abundantly give what you want from the other person, to the other.”
This sounds so simple. Yet the moment I heard this powerful idea I knew it was a game changer. This has proven to be true over the years as this simple idea has been immensely helpful over and over again. Embracing this idea has melted resistance, ended power struggles, and opened up more positive experiences than I could ever count.
By simply giving what you want more of, the relationship turns into a fertile field where the very quality you desire can flourish for both of you. When we quit wanting what we aren’t getting, the other person often gives that very experience back to us without even being asked. In this simple act of giving we move into the heart, which brings a loving, giving quality to the relationship. As the energies of the heart flow more freely in the relationship, everything changes for the better.
If you want more respect, give more respect.
If you want more acceptance, give more acceptance.
If you want more kindness, give more kindness.
If you want more nurturing touch, give more nurturing touch.
I’m happy to report that as I gave my friend more compassion and understanding, she gave it right back to me in beautifully enriching ways. Without drama and trauma! Sometimes additional steps are needed to deepen and strengthen a relationship, but this is always a great place to start.
Maybe you have a relationship that could benefit from this kind of renewal. Probably more then one. :-) So why not give this approach a try? I would love to hear how it works out for you.
With love and warm wishes for your Springtime renewal,
It was more magical than I had ever imagined; a paradise with lush green vegetation, rock outcroppings forming a natural amphitheater, a meadow graced by wild flowers and fruit trees, a sunny spot for a vegetable garden, a large deck, and best of all, there was a vigorous year round creek flowing through the back yard! As I stepped inside the house and was greeted by a wall of windows that looked out upon the garden and the lush forest beyond, I knew I could be happy in this place.
This house was exactly what I had been looking for. There was a great room with high beamed ceilings, three bedrooms, two baths, and even a loft for doing yoga and meditation. The land was private and quiet, with no other houses in sight, yet it was close to downtown. After months of looking at houses for sale, there it was, and even in my price range!
Built in the 70s, the house needed updating, yet this seemed to be a small price to pay for this slice of heaven. I felt a great big “YES” ripple through me as I continued to marvel at the possibilities that could emerge if this property became my home.
This house had the potential to be all I imagined: a cozy home, a place of joyful connection with friends, family, and community, a serene sanctuary of transformation and inspiration; and a haven for living harmoniously with the nature spirits of the land.
I sat in the meadow beside the stream, meditated and asked inwardly if this was the right place for me to live. I felt the land and the life all around me responding with another great big “YES”. It felt like the land was embracing me and inviting me to be there. With “YES” rippling through me inside and all around, I hastily put in a full price offer and crossed my fingers.
I soon discovered four other eager buyers had put in offers as well. I wondered how I could set myself apart and increase my chances of getting the property. I was inspired to write to the owner of the property. In the letter I let her know why I wanted to live in her home. From the deepest, most authentic heartfelt place I could find, I wrote about how much I loved the property and how I wanted to bring the garden back to its full glory. I shared how I needed a healing and inspiring environment for myself and my clients, and how I imagined my yet to be born grandchildren playing in the creek on warm summer days.
As I sent off the letter, I realized I have never loved or wanted a home as much as this one. At this point I had given it my best shot and there was nothing more to do but trust that if this was indeed the house for me, all of the details would work out.
Over the next few days a ferocious bidding war with five eager buyers ensued. There were multiple offers and counter offers. I was anxious and excited all at once. Finally, my realtor called to say that even though there was an offer for $5,000 more than mine, the owner had excepted my offer!
As the dust settled and we opened escrow, I felt intense gratitude and awe. With four other eager buyers, one who offered a higher price than I had, how did this house become my home?
It was the authentic heartfelt connection with the owner that made the difference and set my offer apart from the others.
In my letter to the owner I wrote straight from my heart. My realtor later told me that when she read the letter there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, and the owner immediately said she wanted me to have her house. Having someone who would love her property meant more to the owner than the extra money.
Whether it is in personal relationships or business transactions, bringing your most authentic and heartfelt truth to the table elevates every human interaction.
This takes courage and the willingness to be vulnerable. This is risky business for us humans. Yet the rewards are great when we really allow our deepest heartfelt truths and desires to be known.
This week I’m celebrating and remembering, a year after opening escrow on my house. It is now in the final stages of being remodeled (that’s another story!), and I am more grateful than ever for the opportunity to live in a beautiful, magical place. This is a lifetime dream come true.
As I write and remember this powerful experience, I am reminded that the journey into deeper connection and heartfelt communion with others can continue each day if we choose to be our own catalyst by asking:
What heartfelt truth do I need to share today?
And then courageously and authentically communicate whatever it is. This is not always easy, yet it is so very liberating, no matter what response we get. And who knows, we may even get exactly what we want and need. :-)
With love and gratitude,
An energy therapist, relationship and spiritual life coach, Ariana is a lover of love in all of its many delicious forms; self love, couples love, family love, community love and ultimately, the universal love that pervades all.