I'm excited to be sharing another podcast episode I just did with clinical psychologist, Dr. Amy Robbins.
Amy came to me as a client a couple years ago, ready to expand beyond her already successful counseling practice in Chicago. Amy and I instantly connected around our mutual love of blending psychology and a universal approach to spirituality. She wanted to touch more lives through her work, and was ready for a fresh approach that took her beyond the one-on-one work she does with her clients.
She found a great way to blend these impulses through the launch of her new podcast, Life, Death and The Space Between. It has been great to be part of the unfolding of this project, and to now be a guest on her podcast.
After listening to Dr. Amy, I'll sure you'll agree, she is a total rock star.
In this new episode of Life, Death, and the Space Between, I will guide you in taking a deeper dive into your own soul awareness through an easy to do soul connection practice.
Beautiful feedback has already been coming in about the calm, presence and clarity listeners experience when they do this meditation practice.
Click this link to listen to podcast Episode #014.
P.S. Please share this with someone who is going through a challenging time and could use some extra love right now. That said, it's fine to send it to all your contacts! :-)
Share Your Feedback Here on My Facebook Page
I’m super excited to be telling you about a first for me.
For years, people have been telling me they love my voice and the wisdom I share, and I should be podcasting. It always sounded like a good idea, but for an introvert like me, the thought of being recorded while speaking without a script was never too appealing. I'm sure you can relate. 😝
Yet, when I received this invitation to be interviewed by Dr. Amy Robbins for the Life, Death, and The Space Between Podcast, I knew I had to say yes. So here I am, pushing my boundaries, and having fun along the way.
Click this link to listen to Episode #013 of the podcast.
P.S. I would love to hear your feedback about the podcast. Please share it here on my Facebook page: Share Your Feedback Here
Today is the Winter Solstice here in Northern California.
This is a powerful time to bask in the beauty and stillness of the Solstice, and to receive the bountiful blessings that are available at this turn of the season.
The Winter Solstice is the true start of the new year, a powerful time of completion, regeneration and fresh starts. Touching into our hearts and souls is deeply nourishing during these times of seasonal transition.
Tonight I'll be holding a Solstice and Full Moon meditation gathering here in California. For those of you who are spread far and wide, I've recorded a meditation to help you slow down and drop into the stillness and vastness of this sacred time. Click the link below to listen.
It is not only good to listen to the meditation today, but in the coming days and weeks... anytime you want to reconnect and recharge your inner light.
We are right in the thick of it.
That magical time of the year when dreams come true and long held wishes solidly land and flourish.
This is the time of manifestation magic.
In the plant world, Spring is the prime time for planting seeds. In the Fall we enjoy a bountiful harvest. There are similar cycles in the realm of inspired human creativity.
For us, Spring is a time of inspiration. It is a season of fleeting new visions and fresh inspiration. These seeds of inspiration are being planted within us by our own soul. When these Springtime impulses are recognized, embraced and nurtured, they naturally flourish and come into greater expression in the embodiment cycle that unfold in the Fall.
Most people go through these yearly creative cycles without even knowing about them, much less consciously working with them. Attuning to these natural creative cycles involves going with a flow that is much greater than what we could ever hope to muster on our own. Embracing them is a powerful way to invite more grace and ease into you life.
We are now fully immersed in the time of embodiment and manifestation magic. It is time to harvest what we have been nurturing in recent months.
Working with these cycles is like learning to catch a wave at just the right time... and then letting the powerful force of the ocean carry you blissfully to shore. Catching the wave is way more fun than paddling all the way to shore on your own.
Catching these waves of inspiration demands that we clarify where and how we are using our creative energies, rather than letting them be diffused and scattered.
What new vision has been calling to you in recent months?
This new vision may be a way of being that you are cultivating inwardly. Deepening trust, anyone? Yearning to express more loving kindness in your life? More calm and clarity? Or maybe the vision has to do with creating a new home that supports you more fully, or deepening authenticity in your relationships, or expanded service in your community.
Whatever your inspiration is taking you, this is the season to name it and go for it.
Take a moment to deeply consider what you are giving birth to this fall.
My attention has been on self acceptance, vitality, and expanded service in recent months.
People around me are focussed on embodying and manifesting these qualities and experiences more fully during this year’s embodiment cycle...
Creating a Podcast as a platform for expanded service.
Renovating a new home.
Once you have clarity about the nature of what you are embodying and manifesting in this year's creative cycle, focus with all your might on that inspired vision.
Do not let yourself become distracted from this soul inspired creative work.
All kinds of circumstances will come along to disrupt your flow and knock you off your board. Drama and trauma in your life, and in the world can easily get in the way. You may be distracted and overwhelmed by circumstances over and over again. Elections, natural disasters, and health challenges are distracting many during this year’s season of manifestation.
In the midst of it all, this is the most important point to remember…
Do not lose sight of the inner vision. Even if you have fallen in the water and feel like you are drowning. Do not waste the precious inspiration and soul momentum you have been nurturing (consciously or unconsciously) for months.
You always have the power to refocus on what matters most and paddle like crazy to catch the next big wave coming your way.
We all love to dream.
Imagining a better future for ourselves and our world is a powerful way to activate our innate creative potential.
Maybe you’re imagining and working toward a new job, an inspired creative project, a cozy new home, or a more fulfilling relationship. Dreaming and working toward those dreams can be expansive, fun, and fulfilling.
Whatever you're yearning for, here's an idea to consider that will make your dreams even more satisfying…
It involves focusing on inner embodiment as well as the outer manifestation of your dreams. With this approach, you let go of focussing solely on the outer form of what you want and go for what lies at the heart of your dream.
Inner embodiment is about developing the internal state of being you are really yearning for, rather than just chasing after the outer package that looks good and desirable right now.
Our dreams are really avenues to experience new inner states of being. We often get this turned around, thinking we will feel content and satisfied if our dreams materializes. All too often the satisfaction we feel when a dream comes true is fleeting. And then we're off to chase another dream. Our inner state of being is what creates a rich and sustained state of fulfillment, whatever is happening in your life.
If you learn to embody and more fully live the inner state or quality that lies at the heart of your dreams, outer experiences naturally come into your life that resonate with and express the new inner state you have embodied.
If you want more abundance in your life, cultivate the inner capacity to give more abundantly. Give more time, more presence, more money… whatever you have.
If you want to receive more, practice and embody the capacity to receive more. Let life in, all of it... the light, the dark and all the interesting shades in-between.
If you want to manifest more love in your relationships…. become a fuller embodiment of love. As you do so you will naturally draw out more love in your current relationships and probably magnetize some new loving relationships as well.
We are incredibly magnetic.
We constantly attract what we carry within our psyches, whether it is conscious and unconscious. The undercurrents of your psyche will eventually show up in your life, even if you have spent years trying to deny, repress, or hide an inner conditions you don’t like.
If you feel weak inside, you will, sooner or later, attract outer experiences that validate this feeling.
If you feel strong inside, you will naturally attract experiences that validate this feeling.
If part of you feels strong and part of you feels weak, you will experience a sometimes crazy making mix of experiences in which you feel both weak and strong. This is where most people live.
Feeling unloveable? Experiences will come around that affirm this… no matter how much you tell yourself you are lovable.
The undercurrents of our psyche are magnetic, even when we cover them over with a veneer of positivity and affirmations.
Every part of us is magnetic. The life we are currently living is the life we have naturally magnetized from the inside out.
It gets a bit tricky when you are on a path of growth and spiritual evolution. As you change inwardly, the outer life you have created begins to feel too small. Some days you feel like you are walking in shoes that are way too tight. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. With every step.
That kind of pain just means it is time to dream bigger.
It is time to dream of walking in shiny new shoes that actually fit and express your expanding inner radiance. The challenges come when all parts of your psyche have not caught up with the bigger dream.
This is the time to work and grow inwardly to fully embody what you need to step into the bigger dream.
So let yourself dream big. At the same time, put just as much energy into cultivating and embodying the qualities and ways of being that live at the heart of your dreams.
A new season has just begun.
I love fresh starts. They show up in so many delightful ways…
A blank sheet of pure white paper and a new blue pen.
An unopened gift, left unwrapped for hours to extend the joy and anticipation.
A warm cup of chai with a new friend.
Fresh love, ever so gently stretching the heart to bold new dimensions.
These are precious experiences, all bursting forth with vast untapped potential. Begging to be throughly lived and cherished.
We all get a fresh start at the Autumn Equinox. At this midway point between the radiant light and freedom of Summer Solstice and the damp dark depth of Winter Solstice, the impulse towards embodiment is stronger than ever.
Now is the time to ground fresh impulses and ideas.
If you are inspired by something… act on it.
Blocked by something… wrap it in gratitude, say goodby, and let it go.
Mulling over a new project? Make it happen.
During these months of falling leaves and cooling nights, we get extra energy to resculpt our lives according to what matter most to us.
The wind is at your back right now. Grace wants to hold your hand and lead you forward as the season unfolds.
There are times for planning and times for going inward. There are season when stillness reigns and silence is the most nourishing force. But not right now.
This is a time for soul inspired action.
Live it. Ground it. Speak deliberately of what is emerging for you in this year’s embodiment cycle. Allow your most soul centric intentions guide your thoughts and actions.
During this embodiment cycle I am joyful grounding a larger vision for my work. The impulse to give and share more abundantly is pulsing through me with clarity and power. It feels really good and right in every way.
You’ll be seeing these fresh impulses emerge in the coming months through an updated website, online course offerings, and more frequent blog posts. But don’t worry, I’m not going to flood your inbox! :-)
Not sure about what you want to act on and ground in the coming weeks? Unclear of your most inspiring and energizing vision or direction?
I invite you to take a few minutes to explore these questions:
What matters most to me?
What is calling to be embodied within or through me during the coming months?
How are my daily actions aligned with these answers?
To spark your inquiry, I’m sharing some of my answers for this year's embodiment cycle.
What matter most to me…
Loving and caring for myself so I can wholeheartedly engage with this beautiful life I have created.
Deepening love and support within my inner circle.
Courageously and wholeheartedly sharing love and wisdom, fun and laughter with my extended circle of family, friends, clients, and soul tribe around the world.
Gracefully growing, learning, and being inspired through these connections with awesome people, place, and events.
The focus of my embodiment process this fall…
Writing every day
How all this shows up in my life…
Self care comes before a clean house.
I lay down my To Do list to take a walk with a friend who is a brand new mamma. Cooing at her baby softens and reenergizes my day.
Even though I’m tired, I forego binge watching “This Is Us” to finish my next blog post.
My Sunday afternoon swim at the lake get pushed back a couple of hours so I can be there for a client who is facing a crisis.
An invitation to visit Sedona with a dear friend gets an enthusiastic and wholehearted YES.
And it all feels good. No drama, no trauma, no conflicted feelings or resentment. All aligned with soul. More of that, please.
Clarity about what matters most takes away the internal tug of war and replaces it with more energy to give in ways that feel really good to you.
With All Embracing Love,
Here's another post about the process of embodiment we're all engaged in. With deepening embodiment, the impulse to give and serve the greater good becomes stronger than ever. My latest blog post is about this significant phase of deepening embodiment. Pour yourself a cup of tea, snuggle in, and enjoy.
Once there is a sense of stability in a more grounded and aware version of yourself, you are ready to move into an even fuller expression of embodiment. As you deliciously ripen, the emphasis of your life naturally shifts away from yourself and your pain. Your drama, your growth, and your version of reality become way less interesting than they used to be. The self absorption that is so common in the initial post awakening phase gradually begins to fall away.
You simply get bored with a self centric life.
You’ve had enough of the same old tired drama you have been living for so long.
Suddenly you feel compelled to explore a much larger playing field.
You become keenly interested in the practical application and sharing of the beneficent impulses you now embody to a greater degree than ever before.
Giving love becomes way more interesting than searching for it. Creating becomes more intriguing than consuming. The constant desire for “something” outside yourself settles and softens.
As embodiment deepens, it is no longer enough to revel in the bliss you have touched upon in moments of awakening. This warm bright space feels really good for a time, but eventually the impulse to share and give becomes stronger than the desire to feel good. At this point, we contribute to the collective not only by finding and riding our own edges, but also by sharing what arises naturally from this daring and courageous process. And it is fun and enlivening to do so.
The burning question in this stages of deepening embodiment becomes: How do I bring my untapped potential into greater expression as a healing and liberating force in the world?
The conflicted and tumultuous state of our world persistently nudges us toward living what we know in our hearts and souls to be real and true, and creating and sharing from this clear vibrant place. The intense yearning to serve and give is fueled by the inner riches you have touched upon. You know you have discovered something truly valuable because you remember how life was before awakening. Now it feels totally natural and inspiring to share what you have discovered.
This inner treasure could be a new awareness, a fresh insight, a vast creative vision, or a quality such as love, compassion, or courage. For each person this inner treasure has unique and ever-changing forms of expression.
At this point of deepening embodiment there is also a really big wow factor…
“Wow! I don’t struggle with that thing I used to struggle with anymore!”
“Wow! I don’t feel those difficult feelings I used to feel!”
"Wow! I feel good about myself in a whole new way!”
“Wow! I truly accept those flaws I have been trying to change or hide for years!”
Through cycles of awakening and embodiment we liberate ourselves from so many constraining factors, inner and outer. This emerging day-to-day experience of a more open way of life becomes added inspiration to share yourself in fuller ways. These giving impulses feel so right. A great sense of freedom and joy emerge naturally in this process.
This is often a time when we are inspired to write, teach, heal, create art, or start a new kind work that solves a real world problem.
You know you have the power to alleviate suffering of some kind and you want to use it. This becomes a primary motivating force that you simply cannot shake off… even if you try.
And we do. Most people try to run and hide, at least for a time. But you can’t truly get away from these bountiful giving impulses because they emerge from your most authentic self. Nevertheless, the parts of the psyche that are still identified as small and weak can keep you from fully embracing these powerful impulses to give and create within a larger arena. If you turn your back on these impulses (sometimes for years), they will keep tapping on your shoulder, demanding attention until you listen and respond.
Sharing vs. Saving
One of the pitfalls of this time of deepening embodiment is feeling like you need to save the world. Even though there is much pain and suffering in the world, the savior mentality often creates more problems than it solves. Remember the Inquisition? Salem witch hunt? Need I say more? These horrific events happened long ago, yet the impulses that gave rise to those dark times in are still very much alive today.
Trying to impose our ideas, beliefs, or values on others, even in subtle ways, can be a very slippery slope. Fanaticism runs strong in every area of human endeavor, from religion and politics to the art and sciences.
As you grow, you realize there is no need to convert others, or impose your beliefs or morality on anyone. This awareness arises from a deep respect for others.
You see that each person has a unique journey into greater light they must choose and traverse in their own way. The challenges that we each face are the potential stepping stones into a more fulfilling life. You may naturally want to offer love, support, and potential solutions, yet that is very different from being motivated by a savior mentality and thinking you know what is best for anyone else. You may feel called to set boundaries that protect yourself and others from being harmed, yet this is very different from imposing your beliefs or values on others.
Deep down you know that even though there are many problems that need to be solved, the world is just fine as it is right now. Sure, there is always room for improvement, yet this is radically different from thinking the world is terribly twisted and broken and needs to be fixed…. and you must fix it.
You begin to understand that people are just fine as they are, even if they are facing intense challenges.
You know you are just fine as you are… and you know that you will keep growing into an even more radiant version of yourself as time passes.
The planet and its many inhabitants are simply doing what we have always done…. evolving and growing, creating and loving, in graceful and not so graceful ways.
More than ever before, you know you have something of value to contribute to this often messy and painful process.
At this stage you have a strong sense of purpose and a vision to share, not a mission to impose on others. To many, purpose, vision, and mission are similar. Yet there are subtle but significant differences that become apparent as you are guided more fully by soul impulses rather than personal striving.
The sharing at this stage emerges as a humble and sacred offering, freely and joyfully given.
If you haven't read Parts 1-4 of this series of posts, scroll down this page to find them.
In the initial stages of embodiment we are called to become more attuned to the love, wisdom, and strength of the soul, so we can more fully live and express these qualities through our whole being.
As embodiment progresses, your mind gradually clears and quiets. Self defeating thought patterns shift and emotional healing occurs. The subtle connections between heart, mind, soul, brain, and body are gradually rewired so that authentic, healthy, and appropriate responses and interactions spontaneously emerge in the moment.
Outer circumstances have less influence on your sense of well being.
You feel a deep grounded presence.
The ups and downs of life gradually take on less significance.
Authentic and clear communication arises naturally through your conversations.
You shine brighter.
Clear intuitive knowing is a regular occurrence.
You feel gloriously hijacked by spontaneous waves of love coming to and through you.
There is a loss of interest in drama—yours and theirs.
Your magnetism increases and you feel truly beautiful.
Laughter and lightheartedness arise unexpectedly.
You look at the world through soft empathetic eyes.
Spontaneous miracles and unexplainable life enhancing “coincidences” occur regularly.
There is an apparent reversal of the aging process.
Expanded opportunities to share your unique gifts unexpectedly enter your sphere.
Creative surges take you into wild territory you’ve never known before.
You discover super powers you never knew you had.
Through embodiment, you find a new stability as you begin to feel solidly anchored in this fresh clear state. Even though you may still feel pushed around by circumstances from time to time, there is a newfound strength that is strong and consistent. You now have a deeper understanding of what is means to feel really centered.
In this stage, you are more fully yourself then ever before.
You appreciate yourself for who you are, rather than dwelling on who you would like to be. The fantasy projections that you can never quite live up to begin to lose power and influence in your life. The “not enough” illusion you have danced with for so long begins to fade away.
The constant effort to improve yourself gloriously dies down and is replaced by feelings of equanimity. You still want to explore and evolve, but these impulses come from a completely different place than they used to. They come from a genuine desire to learn and grow, rather than a sense of not being just fine the way you are.
This deepening self acceptance sparks strong feelings of self love, which is a powerful sign that this part of the embodiment process is unfolding in healthy ways.
This growing self love isn’t narcissistic or egotistical. It’s more pure and clear, emerging out of a deeper recognition of who you are in your fullness.
This is a time to celebrate yourself and all you have done to get to this shiny new place. It has not been easy. Yet it has been totally worth the struggles and egoic tug of wars; the tortured moments when you resisted surrendering to a higher way; and all the time and energy it took to stay true to your path. Especially when others scoffed at you or doubted you, and thought you were a little bit crazy. Or maybe even a whole lot crazy.
Delightfully, you come through this period with something totally unexpected. It isn’t quite the happiness you expected to feel, but something much richer and more nourishing.
You feel content. It is a soft sure comforting feeling that all is well, and it ALWAYS has been. Even when you were rocking and rolling in trauma and drama.
You find yourself in a more solid state, even as life presents you with a fresh load of challenges. Some that are bigger than ever. In the midst of it all, your mantra becomes, “I got this”. And you do. It isn’t always easy… but you know you will figure out how to deal with whatever comes your way.
This is a very different state than, “Everything is going to be all right”.
You KNOW, deep down and through and through: “Everything IS all right. Right here. Right now”. Even when life is hard and there are dark arrows coming your way.
You breathe easier because you are living and breathing as the Soul. This is your most authentic self, and all else is costuming and roll playing. And you totally know it.
As you live and breathe as the soul, you know the real you is safe and timeless and immortal. And all the other parts are coming and going, living and changing in order to awaken their inherent soulfulness.
There are still challenges. And really hard day when you want to give up and eat way too much ice cream and lay on the beach all day.
Yep, the challenges are definitely still there. But somehow you know you will eventually make it through all of them, triumphant and grateful for the whole process.
Your wounds become scars that remind you of deep truths and life changing lessons.
I’m sharing another blog about the post awakening experiences that are common for many people on a growth path. I’ve gotten so much positive feedback about how relevant and valuable these posts are.
Why have these posts struck a cord with so many?
Because we continually go through cycles of awakening and embodiment, often without even realizing we are doing so. And sometime we get stuck along the way.
In the post awakening period, you come face to face with our own fears and vulnerability. In the face of these uncomfortable feelings, many people doubt themselves and their choices.
After reveling in the vastness of awakening, you can suddenly feel really small and unsure of yourself. Yet the fears and feelings of vulnerability that naturally arise are a necessary part of the growth process. When this happens, please remember that everything is all right.
Let yourself feel these fears. Let yourself be vulnerable. Give yourself permission to be authentic to whatever is emerging… because that is the way of embodiment.
There is nothing to transcend anymore. Transcendence may have served you on the way toward awakening, but it is time to let it go.
The agenda of the embodiment process is embracing it all. Leaning in through the rough and ragged moments, as well as the unbearably joyful and throughly nourishing ones.
The feelings that get stirred up by awakening are stirred up for a reason. They have been with you for a long time. It is now time for them to grow and evolve, or to retire and move on. One way or another, it is time for change. Sometimes these parts naturally fall away on their own, but they often need help.
Awakening stirs up all that is not in harmony with the awakened state. The bigger the awakening, the bigger the pile of stuff that rears its head.
Stuff definitely comes up, yet after awakening you have greater strength and insight to deal with these feelings, beliefs and old survival patterns in more empowering ways. Maybe you call bullshit on them. Maybe you listen to these parts and teach them new ways of being. Maybe you comfort the part of you that is scared of playing in a bigger arena, and let it know the rest of you is committed to moving forward one way or another.
There are many effective ways to grow and evolve these parts of your psyche. Learning these new strategies is the essence of the embodiment process.
Whatever approaches you use, this is the most important factor to remember in facing post awakening tension….
Do not run. Do not hide, and by all means do not shrink in the face of those fears, doubts, or confusion.
Stand as the Awakened One… offering a healing hand to the parts of you that simply want to stay safe.
Stand as the Soul, offering your wisdom and radiance to the parts of you that have been hiding in the shadows.
Because after awakening, the rules of the game change. Staying safe by shrinking and hiding, controlling, competing, or manipulating no longer works. The old strategies that used to help you feel safe make you feel more vulnerable than ever after awakening. They fall flat… even if you have gotten really good at them.
After awakening we stay safe by leaning in and fully showing up.
You take care of yourself by growing bigger to meet the challenges of the day. You stay safe by sharpening your sword of light… until one day you realize that you have always been safe and always will be.
You realize the part of you that has been strategizing about safety and survival FOR-EVER is becoming obsolete. It is being healed and infused with the light of the Soul.
When you stand as the Awakened Soul… you are totally safe… always.
When you shrink as the fearful one… you will never ever ever ever feel truly safe.
Here’s why… the fearful parts are always using outdated strategies to face current challenges.
Imagine using a sword to fend off bullets. Definitely not an effective strategy. Even if the sword has worked in the past.
I repeat… the fearful parts always use strategies from the past. These strategies probably didn’t work very well way back when. Yet we keep trying using them again and again. We keep walking down those well worn paths over and over again, wondering why we feel so small and yucky and ineffective.
What kind of outdated strategies are you using to feel safe?
Do you hide, rather than shine?
Do you try to dominate and control situations rather then allow life to gracefully unfold?
Does some part of you need to be really good at everything you do, rather then allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect liked every other human?
Do you sell out rather then stand for what you really believe in order to be accepted?
Have you stopped going for what is really inspiring so you don't have to risk failure?
I invite you to notice and identify at least one of your strategies this week. This is the first step in liberating yourself from their influence so you can show up and face each day with greater strength, love, and presence.
In our most sacred moments of awakening, we feel open, expansive and connected with life in a whole new way.
In the days and weeks that follow, all of that can dramatically change. You may unexpectedly feel small and separate, alone and afraid. You suddenly see all the rough spot in yourself and your life.
After an experience of awakening, we suddenly come face to face with the differences between what we now know to be real and true, and what we actualize and experience in our day-to-day life.
We notice these kind of differences more then ever because our capacity to see clearly has so greatly expanded. This happens whether the awakening is a grand expansion that lasts for months and totally rocks your world, or a small aha moment filled with new insight.
Brings these sometimes vastly different experiences into harmony demands embracing both the expansiveness you have touched, as well as the more human and limited parts of yourself. These internal gaps dissipate as our freshly expanded awareness is integrated into new ways of living, loving, and creating. Sometimes this happens quite gracefully and you feel like you are living in the flow like never before.
And sometimes this post awakening phase can feel like being put through a meat grinder. You may feel totally raw, tender, and vulnerable as you flounder about in unknown territory, unsure of what is coming next.
Internal tension emerges when parts of your psyche resist what you now know to be real and true. If the less evolved parts within are not integrated with the expansiveness you have touched, the inner tension grows. The old and the new perspectives come head to head inside of you. This can create an internal tug of war.
This internal tension can show up in many different forms. You may feel unsettled, anxious, or irritable. There may be a deep sense of loss as the old ways of thinking and living die off.
Once your world has been popped wide open during times of awakening, old behavior patterns are seen in a whole new way.
Your usual reactions and behaviors may now seem small, ineffective, or childish at times. Your typical responses may suddenly seem selfish, manipulative, or domineering. Even if the tired old ways are seen as limited and obsolete after an awakening, they may still be hard to let go of. You have taken comfort in them for a very long time. These strategies often led to getting results you wanted. At the very least, the old ways of thinking, feeling and relating created a sense of safety within the smaller sphere you previously inhabited.
Even when these immature parts are seen through the new lens of awakening, not all parts of your psyche are immediately onboard with the new vision.
In this stage of growth, consciously releasing and tenderly sending your old modes of living on their way is an essential part of bringing about integration and internal harmony. If these losses are not acknowledged and the needed tears are not shed, the sense of loss can easily turn into depression and hopelessness. When this happens, those precious moments of awakening can seem so far out of reach that you feel like you may never be able to access them again. It can feel like the thrill of winning the lottery one month, only to feel the sting of losing it all the next.
Even with times of expansive joy and profound well-being mixed in, the months after awakening can be incredibly difficult to navigate.
The inner tension after awakening can show up as an overstimulated racing mind, filled with conflicting thoughts and ideas about yourself and the world around you. One moment your thinking may be a clear aligned reflection of the expanded awareness of awakening. In the next, your mind may be filled with all kinds of wild crazy talk that runs counter to what you now know to be true. Nothing is stable in this phase, and nothing is certain.
When you are caught in this post awakening tension, you may be full of doubt and confusion. There is often a loss of direction. Somehow you used to know what you wanted and where you were headed. Yet the old desires and motivating forces that governed much of your behavior were often created and driven by a limited sense of self. Which means they were heavily influenced by survival needs, however cleverly dressed up or disguised these needs may have been.
What used to motivate you may now feel flat and uninspiring. Even so, these survival based driving forces may still influence major parts of your life. After awakening you are well on your way to creating a soul centric life, but you are not there yet. And you know it.
Spiritual bypassing is common at this stage.
In spiritual bypassing, we take refuge in spiritual practices, perspectives, roles, and masks in order to avoid facing and dealing with the unresolved shadow aspects of our psyche and behavior. Who wants to clean house and take out the garbage when you have basked in the glorious light of spirit? After the mountain top experience, some seekers don’t ever want to come down to deal with the messiness of their lives and the shadows within their own psyche. These inner shadows are the parts of our psyche that have not yet been brought into harmony with our divine essence.
In spiritual bypassing, the fear based and snarky parts get denied and pushed aside. It is simply too much to endure the tension between the realization that you are a vast benevolent spiritual being at one with all creation, as well as the less evolved, fear infused aspects of your nature. In the post awakening phase you realize you are the vast universe and a small vulnerable child all at once. That is a lot to hold in one breath.
Your sense of identity can split as you feel a new sense of wonder and expansiveness, yet can no longer deny the many shadows within.
On the way towards awakening, we often deny or avoid the shadowy parts of our nature. Or we intentionally rise above the shadows, as we strive towards the light. While those may be effective strategies when you are striving for enlightenment, they can wreak havoc in your life on the other side of an awakening. The blazing light you have touched demands that you see the shadowy parts within so you can consciously bring them into harmony with the light of spirit. Until these inner gaps are bridged, that spiritual light can seem illusive and inaccessible at times.
Integration demands that you continually accept that you are both a saint and sinner, the form and the formless, the wise and the wretched all at once. It offers a powerful opportunity to resolve any tension between these seemingly oppositional forces within so we can find acceptance for the fullness of our human nature.
As integration progresses, we learn to bring the inner shadows into the light of love and wisdom so these parts can grow and evolve into inner strengths and trusted inner allies.
Outer life changes are also common in the post awakening phase of growth. Sometimes changes in relationships, careers, homes, and friends are liberating and productive. Letting go of these familiar life anchors can feel really good and healthy…like taking off a pair of shoes that now feels way too tight. Sometimes this kind of liberating change may be just what is needed.
Outer changes can sometimes be unconscious attempts to shake off post awakening inner tension. Sometimes this strategy is successful, and sometimes not. This approach rarely works in the long run. It can be like a bulimic purging after eating way too much. Purging doesn’t really solve the problem, but it may bring about temporary relief of inner tension. All kinds of addictive behavior can bring about short term relief from post awakening tension. This generally this doesn’t work very well because the addictive behavior doesn’t give the real comfort you are yearning for.
Living with this post awakening gap creates inner tension until the fragmented and compartmentalized parts within evolve and expand, and are more fully integrated.
This integration process can be rapid or torturously slow. Oftentimes different parts of our psyche respond to revelation at different paces. Some parts release their limited perspective easily and are happy to go with the new agenda. The parts that dig in their heels need to be patiently taught how to grow and flow with the expanded life view that awakening revealed.
For some people the needed integration and embodiment never happens. The inner tension is simply to much to navigate. They don’t have the understanding, tools, or support to resolve the internal tension that is so common after awakening.
Sadly, this tension can build into a full blown psychological and spiritual crisis.
One of the reasons for the inability to gracefully integrate after awakening is the tendency to keep going back to the practices and teachings that led to awakening in the first place. They were effective, right?
Meditation got me to that point of awakening, so I should keep meditating, right?
Going on a retreat with that teacher helped open my eyes, so I should keep going back, right?
Fasting for days led me to a clear state of being, so why not keep it up?
Yet, we never know for sure what truly catalyzed our awakenings. It is often a combination of many factors that creates the perfect storm of awakening.
Some people repeat the practices of the past, while others try to chase more moments of awakening by finding new teachers, practices, potions, or mantras. They hope fresh inspiration will take them back to those clear, high moments. Wanting to revisit the bliss and clarity of mountain top experiences is totally understandable. Who doesn’t want to live in a clear expansive state all the time?
Unfortunately, constantly looking for the “high” of awakening or grasping at a sustained experience of awakening can sometimes create even more inner tension.
Once you have reached the mountain top and have been opened by the splendor of the experience, the next step is to integrate and embody what has been revealed. On the mountain top, the mental and emotional clouds part to make way for a new perspective and vision to emerge.
Embodiment is about what we do with that new vision.
It asks that we turn our attention away from awakening towards the creation of a bold new life. This is essentially an inspired creative process. It demands that we take the inspiration of the mountaintop and bring it into vibrant new forms of expression.
The first new form of expression you get to work with is yourself.
In the initial stages of embodiment you are called to recreate a more loving, connected, creative, and radiant version of yourself. This stage is about becoming more attuned to the love, wisdom and strength of your soul, so you can more fully live and express these qualities through your whole being.
We’ve all had them.
Those precious moments when you awaken to life in a whole new way. The inner clouds part and a vibrant new world opens before you. Suddenly everything is different. And anything is possible.
It seems like someone took off the blinders you didn’t even know you were wearing. You can now see for miles, and your view is fresh and clear, lighter and brighter than ever before.
These rare and precious moments of awakening are often the culmination of a long inner quest.
The journey may start with subtle feelings of discontent, or even deep trauma and suffering. Either way, you eventually find yourself in a full blown search for an often undefinable “better” way of life.
Happiness is the way some people define what they are looking for. Others are searching for enlightenment or liberation. Some are simply trying to create a more meaningful and purposeful life.
This quest may be the most significant guiding factor of your life, or it may be a subtle persistent undercurrent in all you do and in every decision you make. Either way, you are deeply yearning for what is fresh and unknown, real and true.
Maybe your quest started with reading self help books, or starting a meditation practice. Maybe you found a guru to guide you along the way. Therapy may have catapulted you into expansive unknown territory. Questioning your thoughts and beliefs can do it as well. Yoga may call you back to the mat over and over again as you are stretched in new ways. At some point you may have tried on wholehearted devotion and mala beads to see if they fit. There might have be a 12 step program thrown in for good measure.
In the midst of it all, you will never know for sure what the final catalyst was that blasted you wide open.
Maybe it was that new meditation practice you did every single day for months. Plant medicine can do it, and so can taking a deep dive in nature. Maybe it was months of celibacy, or it could have been the deep orgasmic ecstasy of high level intimacy that opened you in profound new ways. Childbirth can do it with a rare power and intensity, and so can birthing a creative project.
Maybe it was dancing all night at a festival and then watching a glistening sunrise in the arms of people you love. Or maybe it happened in the last few miles of a marathon when you somehow found the strength to keep going despite the pain in every part of your weary body. Falling in love can open you like nothing else… and so can losing your beloved.
Whatever your unique path to awakening, those sacred moments feel really good. A deep calm settles within. Your body feels lighter, brighter, and more vibrant than ever. Vast wisdom and understanding emerge that weren’t there before.
Awakening takes you to an entirely new state of being, whether the awakening is large or small. In those rare and precious moments, we transcend the limitations that constantly condition our experience. And we are often shaken to our core as a vast new version of reality is suddenly revealed.
However you got there, one thing is sure. You will never be the same again.
Moments of awakening bring you to an entirely new place. There is something totally fresh, yet strangely familiar here too. You touch a sweet pure divine remembrance that runs deep and true. This new place feels like home. You feel like you have finally arrived where you have always longed to be.
As sweet as it is to revel in these delicious experiences of awakening, this post is not just about awakening. It is about what happens after awakening.
When we first awaken, we often naively think those precious moments will be the new normal. You feel rocked to the core. How could life ever be the same? The vast implications of the expansive awareness that suddenly flowed through you cannot be unremembered.
Once these inner doors are thrown wide open, they will never go all the way back to where they were before.
Yet all too often, those pristine moments of awakening dim as you settle into something approximating your previous state of existence. Sweet new waves of bliss and wisdom may come and go, yet in the midst of it all, there you are… very much like you have always been. And there is your life… with all the same challenges you have wrestled with for years.
Those sacred moments can never be erased or taken from you, but they can easily recede as the challenges of everyday life come back to the forefront of your attention. The precious moments of awakening can rapidly become faint memories and vague recollections. They are sweet, but also bittersweet because their fullness feels just beyond your reach.
In this phase of the journey, the days and weeks and even years after an awakening, you may sometimes feel a bit like a deflated balloon. When a balloon is first blow up, it is stretched and expanded by all the fresh warm air coming inside. After the air is released, the balloon never goes back to its original shape. It is somewhere in-between... not the virgin balloon, nor the full blown balloon. The in-between balloon is rather limp and uninspiring.
There is often an uncomfortable in-between space after experiences of awakening. The time of expansion is over, and you have contracted again. At least to some degree. This is often a time of great frustration, because you know what it feels like to be filled with fresh warm air. You know what it feels like to be bigger and brighter than ever. Yet, some days you are living like a deflated balloon because you haven’t discovered how to sustain these expansive states; or even better yet, how to burst the limitations of the balloon all together.
In many traditions, awakening is considered to be the coveted prize. Yet awakening isn’t ever really the ultimate goal. Awakening is simply a step along the way. It is most definitely a significant step, yet one that calls us to establish an even deeper state of sustained wellbeing.
When you awaken, a vast and expansive world view opens before you. Each cell in your body is set afire. Every trapped and unresolved emotion suddenly yearns to be set free. The thoughts you once held to be true suddenly seem limited and narrow, and maybe even a bit foolish.
In the blazing light of awakening, the limitations we have lived with for so long are brilliantly exposed.
This brings about a classic good news/bad news scenario. The good new is that the world is infinitely more vast and loving than you ever imagined. The bad news is that you are still living in a cage of your own making. You are still held tight by fears, twisted memories, distorted beliefs, and false hopes.
The next step after awakening is learning how to turn these most sacred moments into a life of sustained love, connection, and creativity.
This is rarely an easy or graceful process. It is often a deeply challenging phase of growth. As difficult as this stage can be, each experience of awakening deeply and persistently calls to be integrated, embodied, more fully lived, and creatively expressed.
Moments of awakening are not meant to become moments of lost splendor, never to be touched upon again. Awakening nudges us to find new ways to express the connectedness we have experienced.
Embodiment involves closing the gap between what was revealed in your most sacred moments, and what you are currently living.
Embodiment empowers you to gracefully deepen and expand those juicy 'aha' moments so they eventually became your new normal—the ground you fearlessly and naturally stand upon. Embodiment progresses as you integrate what was revealed in those expansive states of awareness.
These two interdependent phases of the path, awakening and embodiment, are meant to work harmoniously together. They are the polarities of growth that are meant to dance and move as harmoniously and gracefully as day and night, masculine and feminine, giving and receiving.
We continually go through cycles of awakening and embodiment, creatively weaving these sometimes seemingly paradoxical yet complimentary impulses into the beautiful tapestry of our lives.
A powerful spiritual opportunity is coming up over the next several days. The upcoming full moon is considered to be the spiritual highpoint of the year by many people around the world. This week is a powerful time for deep reflection, contemplation, and inner stillness.
On the day of the full moon, as well as a few days before and after, potent energies pour forth on subtle levels. This inner light can be consciously received, embraced, and used as a catalyst for awakening, growth, creativity, and the fuller embodiment of your most heartfelt vision for yourself and the world.
Illumination is the keynote of this full moon. The abundance of inner light present this week makes it an opportune time to be particularly open and receptive to the deepest impulses of your soul.
To make the most of this opportunity, take time to pause. Lighten your schedule if possible. Give yourself permission to do less and to simply be. Create time and space for meditation, writing, and quiet time in nature. Let yourself be carried by light and inspiration over the next week, rather than obligations and busyness.
The full moon is this Sunday, April 29th at 5:58 pm PDT. A group will be meditating here at Sweetwater Retreat at that time. I invite you to join us, and so many others around the world who will also be meditating at the time of the full moon.
In the light of love,
It has been a while since I have written a new post. Many months, in fact.
These have been intense months for me. Deeply fulfilling and challenging at the same time. Filled with gigantic bursts of creativity, much needed rest, healing play, and many sweet triumphant moments with people I love.
As Spring emerges in all her glory, I am yearning to share the fresh insights that have been percolating so ferociously through my heart and mind in recent months.
For many people the last year has been a time of intense anxiety related to personal and global challenges. Some of this stress has been related to events and circumstances that are far out of our control.
Fires, floods and random shootings have dominated our newsfeeds here in California. And hit way too close to home for many. Several friends lost everything they owned in the recent fires. A meditation center where I once lived and worked partially burned. A client’s family was deeply traumatized by the tragedy that unfolded in the Las Vegas shooting.
Global political drama ramps up and down, and then up again, right along with the volatile financial markets. Just as the stress of one event starts to subside, another wave of uncertainty rolls through our collective awareness.
There has been little time to calm down and get back to feeling calm, safe, and “normal” again before the next tragedy hits.
Even if all is well in your own life, the collective anxiety ripples through all of our psyches.
After these times of collective trauma, if the needed healing and calm doesn’t happen, our nervous systems stay in a perpetual state of high alert. This often happens on a subtle level we might not even recognize. It can show up as stress, overwhelm, sleep issues, and fatigue.
When we are faced with a challenging situation, our “fight, flight or freeze” response is triggered. We go into high alert. This happens when our well being or safety are threatened in some way.
The threat can be physical or emotional, real or imagined, in your own home or around the globe.
The “fight, flight or freeze” response is part of a built-in survival mechanism that helps us deal with threatening situations. A part of the brain called the amygdala sounds the danger alarm. This activates a whole host of physical and emotional responses that are designed to empowered us to meet the perceived threat head on. And hopefully, come out triumphant.
We’ve all know what this “fight, flight or freeze” response feels like…. rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, and the dry mouth that comes with the rush of adrenalin. Our breathing accelerates and digestion slows as the hormonal mix of our whole system rapidly changes. Cortisol, a powerful stress hormone, has its way with us. These physical changes are meant to give us the heightened awareness and abilities needed to deal with the threat at hand.
The problem emerges when we are regularly in situations where we feel our well being or survival are threatened. Maybe it is the boss who demands too much from you, or maybe it is ongoing financial pressure. Maybe you get trigger by challenges in your relationship, or by health issues.
A combination of stressful situations can easily push us over the edge. Whatever the catalysts, when you go into chronic “fight, flight or freeze” it doesn’t feel good…
You feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed. Fragmented, with a racing mind. Haunted by the never ending TO DO list that consumes every free moment.
You may toss and turn at night… waking up in the morning as tired as you were the night before.
You need a carb rush to get through that afternoon slump. You drink too much coffee to get it all done. And then drink wine to calm it all down.
You're just trying to get through the day intact… hoping for happy, settling for productive.
We’ve all had those kind of days.
The problem is when the anxious days turn into stressed out weeks, and even months.
Logically, even if you know you are safe and have survived whatever seemed to be so threatening, your nervous system stays on alert unless it is reset.
We become hyper-vigilant, ready to fend off any perceived threat to our well being and survival. In these challenging times it is easy to get caught in a near constant state of fear and uncertainty.
Until you crash and burn.
Sometime the people you love hold you up and love you up until the needed relaxation and rewiring can happen. But usually, the people you love suffer right along with you.
Here is the good news…
In recent years, a tremendous amount of research has been done on the brain and nervous system. As a result of this leading edge research, we have a deeper understand of how these survival mechanisms can be managed in ways that foster greater well being and happiness.
Many highly effective techniques have been developed that can rapidly reset your nervous system to calm.
These practices, which I often do with my clients, can be done in as little as 15 minutes. They rapidly clear and reset your autonomic nervous system to safe mode. Then you can naturally and appropriately respond in the present moment with more love, creativity, and awareness.
I'm sharing some Embodiment Practices for clearing trauma and emotions from your body, brain, and nervous system. Through these practices, I am going to teach you how to reset your system to calm, even in the midst of stressful times, personal or global. You can access them by clicking the button below.
Until then… take a deep breath, wiggle your toes, and feel your feet on the floor. Pause and simply be aware of your breath for a moment or two. Even one conscious breath can begin to turn your nervous system towards calm, and help you find your happy place… anytime, anywhere.
Heartbreaking loss is one of the most painful experiences of being human.
When you’re heartbroken, suddenly the world doesn't feel quite as safe anymore. Your trust in the goodness of life waivers. The connections you counted on become tattered and frayed, and sometimes completely severed.
Any of these experiences can be a catalyst for heartbreaking loss…
The death of a beloved spouse, friend, or parent.
A divorce, or an unwanted breakup (again!)
The death of a pet who has been there every single day through thick and thin.
A big empty nest.
Being abandoned or betrayed by someone you counted on and trusted.
Heartbreaking loss makes you reevaluate everything you thought you knew about life and love. It can tear you apart and brings you to your knees. Over and over again.
But only if you let it.
As hard as heartbreak can be, surviving and learning to thrive after a heartbreaking loss can be one of the most triumphant experiences of your life.
Heartbreak demands that we face the hardest parts of being human. It calls us deep into the shadows of our core wounds. It also offers a powerful opportunity to heal and become more authentically alive and engaged in life. It can be a powerful catalyst to courageously awakening our innate love, wisdom and spiritual awareness.
The essence of heartbreak is feeling the presence, love, and support of someone…. and then it is gone. The love is gone, and the support vanishes. The one you depended on, and maybe even cherished, isn’t there for you anymore.
When someone you love isn’t there for you in the ways they used to be, big empty spaces often fill the places in your heart once reserved for them. Sometimes those empty spaces are filled with a never-ending flood of tears. At other times the pain and anger feel like they have taken over every part of your life.
Our culture often denies heartbreak and the need to fully grieve and heal. In the midst of loss, we often quietly fall into the life diminishing habits of denial and repression.
We turn away from the pain. Or we fall so deeply into it we feel like we are drowning in a sea of despair.
We medicate. We binge. We sob until the tears run dry, or push the tears so far down everything grows cold and hard.
Yet, no matter how hard you try to “get over it and move on”, unless the wound is tended to, heartbreak lingers and it keeps right on hurting. In times of emotional heartbreak, the parts of the brain that registers physical pain are also activated.
Heartbreak hurts, deep down and all around. I know. I’ve been there. More than once.
I’ve gone to the depths of heartbreak, and eventually found my way back into the light. Stronger, wiser and happier than before.
The unexpected passing of my beloved five years ago was a catalyst for healing not only the grief about his death, but for also facing a lifetime of unresolved heartbreak and disappointment. My healing demanded that I come to terms with all the times people I loved and counted on weren’t there for me in ways large and small.
Each time I allowed myself to grieve, something seemingly miraculous, yet quite natural happened. Love and more love emerged within and all around me. As I embraced my grief, my heart continued to open and expand.
Most significant of all, instead of feeling like a victim of my beloved's death, I knew that healing this heartbreak was one of the greatest gift I have ever been given.
As I healed my own heartbreaking losses, I became acutely aware of the great cloud of collective loss that dampens many people's ability to fully and freely live and love.
Most people have multiple significant unresolved heartbreaks in their lives.
Maybe it was the breakup or divorce you never really got over. Or the death of someone significant and trusted. Or even a major life transition that felt like a loss.
Whatever the unresolved losses, we pay a great price for not embracing and healing them. Depression, addiction, and the inability to create supportive relationships are but a few of the common results of unresolved loss.
From my own experience of grieving my beloved’s death, as well as grieving a divorce that occurred many years earlier, and other lesser losses, this is what I have come to know…
The deep pool of unresolved grief that so many people carry within every single day can be transformed into an infinite source of love.
Since my time of deep grieving, I have supported many others in navigating the sacred journey of grief so they can thrive again after loss.
Through a series of energy psychology and relationship coaching sessions focussed on healing their losses, clients find acceptance, peace, and more love than ever before.
This is the kind of support and guidance I needed when I was deep in the shadows of grief and heartache, which I now give to others.
If you are interested in finding out more about how you can heal unresolved loss and heartbreak, click here to schedule a free introductory consultation.
P.S. Please feel free to pass this message along to a friend who is suffering from a heartbreaking loss.
Happy Summer to you, wherever you are!
These early days of summer at Sweet Water Retreat have been filled with so many joyful times already. Slowing down and catching up have been front and center in my life recently. I have had cherished friends and family come to visit from far and wide. We have been basking in the long warm days and cool nights that are common in the Sierra foothills of Northern California, throughly enjoying sweet summertime activities. Sharing relaxed meals on the deck, hiking in nature, dangling feet in the cool creek, and enjoying live music in this charming small town have been deeply satisfying. Life simply doesn't get any better.
Our most joyful experiences often occur when we feel deeply connected with others in nourishing ways. Yet, we sometimes unconsciously stop ourselves from deeply connecting because the pain of disconnection can be intense and hard to move through gracefully.
We have all felt the sting of disconnection, in large and small ways. At some time or another, you reached out to someone and they turned away. A once cherished relationship ended or radically changed. Someone you believed in betrayed your trust. Maybe your child grew up and moved away. Or your beloved partner, parent or friend died.
And there you were feeling the pain of disconnection, longing for the warm glow of healthy intimate connection. Instead you felt empty, alone, and sore to the bone.
The unresolved pain of feeling disconnected robs us of joy and sometimes keep us from creating new connections.
Yet, disconnection isn’t inherently painful or sad. Sometimes holding on to the ideas about how life should be unfolding is more painful than the actual experience of disconnection and separation. One of the reasons disconnection can feel so bad is that we often believe in the myth of 'happily ever after'.
The myth goes something like this...
Anything good should last forever, right? And if it doesn’t, something went horribly wrong.
But, what if the myth of 'happily ever after' isn’t even remotely true?
What if the temporal nature of experience is one of the elements that makes life so good?
What if the experiences of connection and disconnection are essential parts of the natural cycles of life?
Connection and disconnection are like night and day. They are complimentary polarities, each with unique gifts to give. What if it is perfectly natural for one cycle of connection to end and another to gracefully begin?
We don't cry when the sun goes down, because we have faith that it will rise again. And in the meantime we get to enjoy the cool dark of night.
Can we learn to face the pain of disconnection with calm abiding, confident that we will again experience the warmth of intimate connection?
As hard as it can be, disconnection also opens the door to creating rich and nourishing new connections.
Maybe the biggest myth of all is that disconnection even truly exists.
When we really get that we are always connected to everyone and everything as parts of this one magnificent life, that's when the real 'happily ever after' begins.
In loving connection,
This week I’m honoring the bountiful life of my beloved, Douglas, who passed away suddenly five years ago.
We had a deep soul connection that is rare and precious. On his birthday I scrolled through photos of our rich time together. I smiled all the way down to my toes as I remembered the nourishing and crazy beautiful times we shared. And then the waves of tears came. They were tears of remembrance for all that was, and tears of deep longing for all that might have been. They flowed even move intensely when I thought of all the life experiences he is now missing.
As I was remembering and loving him, I suddenly felt his strong presence all around me. An intense quickening moved through my whole being that brought goose bumps and overwhelming gratitude.
I felt his presence, his love and support, and his deep acceptance of the turn his life had taken.
It felt like his strong hand was on my back, holding me and reassuring me of the power of the connection we share, then and now. In that moment I was humbled by the strength of his soul and his ever-present commitment to loving. It was a moment to cherish forever.
Feeling his presence since he passed out of his body is very different from being hugged by Douglas while he was alive in his tall strong body. Yet, the essence of the connection is clearly the same.
The outer connections from body to body may be severed, yet the true connection, soul to soul, never dies.
This is true whether someone has crossed over or not. So why not take a moment right now, and send a wave of love to someone you are connected with, soul to soul. You might just make their day.
In loving connection,
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,
I went through a couple of very challenging days recently. My usual sense of calm and well being were suddenly fleeting and elusive. I cried and lamented for no particular reason.
My anxiety was high because I didn't understand what was happening, much less rise to meet the challenge in a way that was empowering. I am usually really good at discovering what is at the heart of the matter, and then moving through it with grace and equanimity. Well, not this time. I was slogging through emotional mud and falling to my knees again and again. Eventually, I quit analyzing and wrestling with these feelings. Instead I gave myself the time and space, and full permission, to simply be with what was naturally arising.
In that self loving spaciousness, I continued to cry and fret and worry.
I felt despair about the fragmented state of the world.
I fell to my knees in sadness about the suffering all around me.
And then one afternoon, I realized that the problem wasn’t me or any aspect of my life, or even the tumultuous state of our deeply suffering world. The problem didn’t have anything to do with how life was actually unfolding.
The real problem was the ideals I held about how life should be unfolding. Those ideals were hijacking my joy.
Deep suffering occurs when we cherish our ideals about how life should be more than we honor and accept what is actually unfolding.
This attachment to unrealistic ideals is at the heart of a collective challenge we are all facing in some way or another right now. We are in the throws of a global epidemic of extreme idealism.
There is a healthy kind of idealism that helps us reach higher and do better.
Extreme idealism is different.
It shows up as unrealistically high standards, fanaticism, perfectionism, near constant disappointment, and feeling like nothing is ever enough. It is the self help attitude on hyper drive, always striving to do more and be better. Sometimes extreme idealism shows up as the group think standards that somebody, sometime, somewhere, asked you to swallow. And you did.
Sometimes extreme ideals are completely false, destructive, and fanatical. Other extreme ideals are simply out of step with the current flow of growth and change. In my idealized version of life, my friend shouldn't have cancer. Humans shouldn't be dropping huge bombs on each other, and we should all get along.
Yet, that is not the current state of the world. We are a long way from that grand vision. Rather than lamenting over the current state of affairs, acceptance can begin to help us see the positive steps we can take that will empower the graceful emergence of that grand vision.
Acceptance of what is already happening doesn't mean condoning or putting your stamp of approval on anything. There are definitely times to stand up for your ideals. There are times to very loudly and clearly say, "no more". Yet, acceptance of what has already occurred often gives us the deeper insight and strength needed to create a more positive future.
When extreme idealism dominates your life, suffering is sure to follow.
Each time we choose, consciously or unconsciously, to hold on to our ideal version of how life should be rather than meet what is actually occurring with acceptance, we suffer. Extreme idealism can be quite toxic and debilitating.
Can we give up unhealthy ideals, thoughts, and projections about what should be happening, and simply honor and accept what is actually occurring?
Can we come to terms with the trauma and drama of the past without holding on to an idealized internal story of how it should have been?
Can we stop being disappointed in people because they don’t live up to our ideals, and simply meet them with kindness and acceptance?
Maybe it is worth trying. Spring is a great time for a detox. Would you be willing to try an idealism detox this year? Giving up toxic food and toxic idealism has the potential to be a powerfully cleansing combination.
What would happen this week if you were to meet every person or situation with loving acceptance, no matter what?
I invite you to try it and see what kind magic shows up to play. Happy Spring!
Loving you boldly,
These past few weeks have stirred up intense feelings for so many people. Have you been feeling this, too? I sure have. For a few days last week I felt inner turmoil on every level; spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Fortunately, after doing some clearing and embodiment practices, a renewed sense of peace, calm, and clarity returned.
Many of my clients have been rocking and reeling with these intense energies as well. You may be wondering what’s going on. In a nutshell…
The incompletions, failures, and losses of the past have been front and center, demanding to be noticed, uplifted, resolved and released.
Unresolved situations from the past are calling to be integrated in new ways, which can be an uncomfortable and painful process. Yet, facing these situations and the associated feelings doesn't have to be torturous. Really, I promise. Within all painful experiences are opportunities and gifts of great value.
One key to gracefully navigating these intense times is to change the way we relate to pain.
Pain comes in many forms: physical pain and tension in the body, painful emotions, as well as distorted and obsessive thought patterns. We often do whatever we possibly can to turn away from pain. Yet, pain is like the internal warning lights on the dashboard of a car.
These warning lights are simply giving us important information about something that needs our attention.
Sometimes pain is a mild warning that is calling you to do some routine emotional maintenance. Maybe it is telling you to take a day off to rest, or to speak more boldly in the face of possible criticism, or to put yourself out there in a situation where you risk being rejected.
At other times these painful signals are warning you that something is seriously wrong. Your intense anger may be a signal that your boundaries are being violated yet again. Your deep sadness or depression may be a signal that a loss has occurred that you have not fully grieved.
In spite of the great value of these warning signals, we often turn away from pain rather than turn towards it to discover the deeper message it is trying to convey.
Pain avoidance often leads to ongoing drama as we repeatedly relive a distorted version of the original situation which gave rise to the pain in the first place. Think of how ridiculous it would be if you were to turn away from a flashing “check engine light”. If you kept doing this, you can be pretty sure that at some point your engine is going to fail. And it isn’t going to be pretty!
As a young woman, I actually did this. I had a bright orange Honda Civic that I loved. I zipped around town in a bright fiery blaze of color. One day the oil light came on, and stayed on for several weeks. Being totally ignorant about these things (someone else had always taken care of this stuff for me), I ignored this light until one day while I was driving on the freeway, my car began to smoke and sputter. That was the end of my sweet little Honda! Needless to say, the pain of being stranded on the freeway with a smoking broken down car, and then having to buy a replacement car was way more painful than it would have been to pay attention to the warning light.
The avoidance of pain is often worse than the pain itself.
When we change the way we respond to pain and begin to see it like the warning lights on the dashboard; these signals become valued allies that can help keep us running smooth and functioning well. When we truly embrace, accept, and feel our internal pain, it often dissipates very quickly.
How would life change if you began to see pain as an opportunity to unwrap a great gift?
It is up to us to unwrap these gifts, which are many and varied. The gift may be a greatly needed new perspective, an invitation to forgive someone, an opportunity to resolve hurt feelings from long ago, inspiration to live in a new way, or an opportunity to heal and move forward with new strength. Whatever the gift, you can be sure of one thing…
Pain always contains hidden treasure, yearning to be discovered.
Only you can unwrap it and fly free.
Isn’t it crazy how willing we are to believe the worst about ourselves?
We quietly throw ourselves under the bus a million times a day. We sell ourselves out, and act like we are tarnished and dented goods.
If you saw a friend doing this, it would be heartbreaking, wouldn’t it?
So we hide. We slay ourselves in the deep shadows of our psyche. Sometimes we shout, and sometimes we whisper about all the ways we are defective. Whether it is loudly voiced or almost inaudible, we relentlessly criticize and shame ourselves, day in and day out.
I’m calling you all out on the ways you’re are not kind to yourself, and invite you to start telling the truth about how magnificent you are—even with all the dents and tarnished parts.
Those parts make you more beautiful.
I repeat, those parts—the nuances, the imperfections you relentlessly try to hide, are the badges you have earned through a life well lived. They are the badges you get from rising each day to courageously face the challenges at hand.
These parts create your patina; the stuff that doesn’t need to be hidden. They are the wabi sabi marks that enhance your raw and natural beauty.
These are also the parts that need loving attention. They secretly want to be held and shamelessly cherished.
When we can summon the compassion and strength to wholeheartedly embrace them, these are the parts that make us feel real and whole and humble, gratefully yearning for more life.
With a warm embrace,
Have you ever felt expansive, yet grounded; connected, yet free; autonomous, yet deliciously united with the people around you?
You were touching into a state of wholehearted connection.
Why is connection so important? Research show that developing strong social connections correlates to higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, and the development of more trusting and cooperative relationships. The bottom line it that connection generates greater social, emotional, and physical well-being.
Enhancing your capacity for connection is not simply a skill to develop, but a way of life to embrace. It is a way of life that rocks. Some of the brass rings you get when you ride the connection merry-go-round: more satisfying relationships, better health, greater affluence, and security.
Sadly, the opposite is true for those who lack social connectedness. Low levels of connection are associated with declines in physical and psychological health, and increased violence behavior.
Really smart and well educated researchers have spend a lot of time and money verifying these claims. Studies have shown that developing greater social connections leads to lower levels of anxiety and depression, a stronger immune system, faster recovery from illness, a better brain, and even greater longevity.
Where connection lives, happiness follows.
Are you in yet? :-)
Knowing connection is really significant and deeply fulfilling is very different then being able to cultivate more of it in your life. This connected place is a sweet spot we may visit at random and sometimes unexpected times, yet all too often we don't know how to recreate it on demand. There are particular skills and capacities involved in creating deeply fulfilling and wholehearted connection. Most of us are in the process of discovering and honing those skills, so I've dedicating a series of blogs to the elements that go into that process.
There are three significant dimensions of wholehearted connection: connection with self, connection with your inner circle, and connection with your extended tribe.
Deepening connection in all three spheres creates a vast doorway to a bigger life.
Living a wholeheartedly connected life opens this door so that ever deepening connection becomes your new normal. Not just the place you visit briefly on vacation, or tip toe into from time to time, but the place where you are deeply grounded no matter where you travel or who you are with.
The most significant first step in creating wholehearted connection is getting more connected with yourself. With your body, your mind and soul; with your heart’s deepest longings, and even the fears and sorrows you have encase in tired old tragic stories and quietly tucked away.
When we stop dodging and hiding what lives authentically inside of us, life gets really interesting.
Connection quite naturally thrives as you discover the truer stories of who you are; the rich tales inscribed upon your soul that are waiting to be translated into the language of this time and place.
What does self connection feel like?
Being present. Body awake. Heart, soul, mind, brain, and nervous system aligned. Heart leading, and persistently beating you towards what matters most. Feeling alive and embodied as love. Your inner powers activated.
What does healthy connection with your inner circle feel like?
Safe. Safe. Safe. And did I mention safe? Love and respect. Acceptance. Authenticity. Room for vast differences, yet cut of the same cloth. Truth is the language spoken here. Warmth. Sharing it all; the burdens and the beauty.(Be sure to check out the shot below of some of my inner circle at a recent holiday brunch).
What does healthy connection to your extended tribe feel like?
One human family. Inclusive. A place for self expression. Gifting. Either no expectations, or crystal clear win/win expectation. Owning and sharing Your Superpowers. Being a loving stewart and protector of all people, the Earth, the leafy ones, and our many legged friends. Alignment with a greater power, whatever you may call it. Basking in the mystery and embracing the many facets of this complex and sometimes perplexing life.
If any of this sounds intriguing or maybe even downright compelling, you can open to a fuller experience of wholehearted connection right here, right now.
Today I'm sharing a really simple yet powerful practice for Grounding and Presence to access greater self connection.
Try the Practice for Grounding and Presence Here
In loving connection,
We all long for connection.
Most people want connection more than just about anything else, whether they realize it or not. For some, this longing lives as a roaring demand of the universe and its many inhabitants; a near constant invitation to engage. For others it is a tender, almost inaudible plea that doesn’t expect to ever be fully heard.
Whatever your habitual connection style, you’re hardwired to reach out for connection. Healthy connection, vibrant connection, or whatever quality of connection we can possibly get. Because life in these bodies is all about feeling fully alive and totally plugged in.
When we feel wholeheartedly connected, we feel energized, creative, and ultra magnetic.
We were all conceived in a blaze of connection between a hard driving sperm and a willing egg. Some part of us always wants to revisit this juicy creative place of vast potential, even when the connectedness has nothing to do with sex.
When we’re in this connected place, anything is possible. ANYTHING.
The cute sexy partner, the bulging bank account, the groovy new digs, the work that really matters, the trek through the Amazonian wilds, the flat belly after the baby, or the award that says you’ve made it.
Within all these desires is the longing to feel more wholeheartedly connected. The things we want the most are simply doorways to deeper connection; connection to our self and to our tribe, local and global.
We’re all wired a bit differently, but it goes something like this:
The dream guy makes you feeling more connected to love and self worth.
The sexy toned body connects you to feeling desirable and confident.
Extra $ in the bank opens the door to connection with the infinite number of possibilities you can buy with all that cash.
The island get-a-way with your sweetheart equals connection to cool surf, warm sand, and the juiciest parts of both of you that only come out to play in the spaciousness created by island time.
The shiny new car connects you to feelings of freedom, confidence, and success.
Professional opportunities create connection to challenges that are yearning to meet up with your unique genius.
And on and on it goes. Creating healthy nourishing connections is a key elements to accomplishing anything and everything: a loving and supportive romantic partnership, professional success, jaw dropping creative expansion, and more influence or affluence in your life. Connection is the key element that empowers creative manifestation in every area of life.
It is the full tank of gas on your long awaited road trip.
We yearn for connection because when we feel connected, life gets better. Not just a tad bit better, but exponentially, extravagantly, way, way, better.
When we are wholeheartedly connected we feel like we are plugged in, turned on, and shining in all our glory.
My wish for you this holiday season...
Deeper and more authentic connection in every situation; with the barista you will never cross paths with again, and with the toxic family member who drives you absolutely crazy at every holiday gathering. It all matters, and it all offers another vast opportunity for wholehearted connection.
Holding you in the heart of love,
As we approach the Winter Solstice here in the Western Hemisphere, the vibrant life giving force of the Sun is so clearly waning. Our souls know it. Our bodies feel it.
This year more than ever before, I am yearning for the warmth and light of a bright new season.
This fall has been hard. Full of shadows and conflict, rising hate and collapsing hope. I long for happier times, as do so many.
I am tired of politics. I am tired of conflict. I am tired of feeling that this human drama is taking another wrong turn.
Yet, in the time of long shadows, we stop denying the darkness that has always been here. In these trying times, the distance between the ideals we hold and what is unfolding right before our eyes is too big to grasp and hold, or make any real sense of.
We have all been stretched a bit too thin in recent weeks. I have fought for the light and prayed for the good until I was exhausted, fed up, and angry.
I have asked again and again in recent months: Where is the bold and loving new world I have been dreaming of and working to create since I was a child?
After having many restless nights, deep and jarring discussions with friends, and a few dips into hopelessness, I have found a new peace.
I have claimed this peace through surrender.
Not through surrendering to one side or another, but by surrendering to a greater force that embraces and includes the black and the white, the red and the blue, and all that lives within these polarities. I surrender, again and yet again, to the messy and sometimes painful process of birthing this bold new world.
I surrender, and I humbly bow to the vast creative power that sparked this magnificent life in the first place.
I surrender to the great unknown, and trust that amidst all the strife and craziness, everything really is all right.
I trust in living with my eyes wide open, embracing all with a heart that knows no bounds.
I trust in the small acts of goodness that are quietly healing the broken human heart which has felt so much suffering.
I trust in the returning light that is, in this very moment, giving birth to a whole new world. Right in the midst all this trauma and drama.
Standing in this eternal light,
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,
Today I have a awesome gift for you that I'm really excited about. I think you'll be excited about it too.
If you're like most people, you sometimes feel like you aren't enough in some significant way or another. Maybe this shows up for you as not feeling good enough, or smart enough, or sexy enough, or wealthy enough, ad nauseum!
I have found traces of “not enough” in every client I have ever worked with. It lies at the heart of most relationship and financial challenges. It blocks bold and exuberant creativity, and the natural celebratory spirit that accompanies realistic achievement.
The good news is that there are ways to release yourself from the insidious grasp of this often covert issue so you can deeply realize and express your innate beauty, brilliance, and strength.
When this core issue is consciously worked with, everything else in your life improves. I mean everything!
Because of the pervasive nature of this challenge, I have created an online course to help my clients get free from the grip of "not enough". Today, I'm offering the course to you: Let Go of Feeling Like You're "Not Enough" So You Can Confidently Claim Your Unique Beauty, Value, and Brilliance.
This online course will be offered free of charge for a limited time.
Yes, you got that right.... it's totally free. And you can participate in the coziness of your own home. There's nothing to buy, and no where to drive. How can you resist that?
Sign up by clicking the link below. Get it today because it won't be available for long.
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.