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,
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.
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,
Our hesitation to really know and be known by another is the greatest hindrance to full blooded, exuberant love. Yet knowing and being known by another comes with the territory.
Revealing yourself, especially your tender parts, is inherent in love, and it is rarely easy.
We have tender hearts that can be broken. We have egos that can be bruised. We have long standing wounds that do not want to be disturbed, much less be poked at. So we hide.
We hide our tender parts. And rightly so sometimes. There are times when self protection is a healthy practice. When you are in a hostile environment, self protection may be the best approach.
Yet, an open heart knows that which is real can never really be hurt.
Feelings come and go, thoughts come and go, and life circumstances come and go. The internal stories we tell come and go. Yet the essence of who you are is resilient and enduring, and strong beyond measure. Realizing there is something within and through every part of you that cannot be wounded can bring about an openness that invites deeper love and connection. This knowing can give you the courage to love boldly, even in the face of an unpredictable response. Even in the face of possible rejection, hurt, or abandonment.
If you want to love more (and who doesn't?), a great place to start is by letting yourself be known more fully. And to honor the inner longing to know life more fully, even when it comes in a crazy array of expressions; some dark and some pretty, some barren and some lush.
The answer is always... just love.
What does this mean to just love? It means being willing to open and unite with all that is within you and outside of you (as if there really is an “outside”). It means loving every sensation, every person, every sound, every sight. With nothing resisted and nothing blocked out. Nothing.
Can you embrace every experience, trusting all has come into your sphere of awareness with a reason and a purpose; as a gift and an opportunity for awakening?
To your beloved’s messiness… say YES! Merge with it until it doesn’t matter.
To your longing for peace.... say YES! Embrace it in the midst of chaos.
To your children’s whining... say YES! Unite with it and really hear it for the first time.
To your anger... say YES! Allow it the space it needs to teach you.
And most of all, to your pain…. say YES! Embrace it and allow it to make you more humble, real, and tender than ever before. Just love.
The invention and wide spread use of PCs was definitely a game changer. The world wide web was another game changer that most people couldn't have imagined not that many years ago. The iPhone was another game changing technology that has radically changed the way we live, connect, and create.
It is hard to imagine what communication was like before these game changing technologies became as commonplace as telephones, paper, and pens.
Most of us are plugged in most of the time now. Maybe you love your devices and all they do for you, or maybe you simply tolerate their necessary presence in our cyber drenched, fast-paced culture. Either way, there is no denying their usefulness in our day-to-day lives.
In recent years, these kind of rapid advancements in technology has been happening in many other areas as well. In medicine (think X-ray to MRI), in transportation (the gas guzzling 1960s station wagon to the new Tesla), and also in the area of psychospiritual growth and transformation.
In this field, which I so dearly love, powerful game changing technologies have emerged that can radically changing the way we live and grow. There are innovative new techniques available to reduce stress, rewire your brain, and heal unhealthy relationships patterns so you can experience greater health, well being, and happiness. These innovative techniques can help you choose more positive and life enhancing responses to day-to-day challenges.
These powerful tools are key elements in the emerging field of Energy Psychology, which is being hailed as a powerful new force in individual and collective transformation.
One of the keynotes of Energy Psychology is that it can actually change your physiological responses to stress, leaving you calmer and more capable of finding healthy, life enhancing solutions when challenges inevitably arise on a day-to-day basis.
In 50 peer reviewed scientific studies of numerous techniques of Energy Psychology, there were positive outcomes in 48 of those studies!
These are overwhelmingly positive results, suggesting Energy Psychology is a power force for healing and growth.
I have found Energy Psychology techniques to be powerful tools for creating rapid positive changes in my life and in the lives of my clients. Energy Psychology has helped clear long standing, debilitating issues for my clients, sometimes in as little as one or two sessions. These techniques are easy to learn and practice with a trained guide. Once you have been taught the techniques, you can use them on your own to accelerate your growth, healing, and awakening. Contact me if you would like to explore this leading edge psychospiritual technology.
At ten years old I was a pretty miserable child.
A latch key kid from a “broken home”, I was pretty shy and awkward. My older brother picked on me, my parents worked a lot, and I was throughly bored in school. A creative type at heart, I was not amused by worksheets and multiple choice tests. I couldn’t sit still in class and got in trouble quite a bit. I yearned to sing (even if it was off-key most of the time), and paint and play in the orange grove in my back yard.
All that changed the day my new teacher arrived wearing ultra cool John Lennon glasses and a ponytail down his back. Richard was pure magic in my ten year old world. His smile hinted that he knew every secret in the entire universe worth knowing. He was unlike any teacher I had ever known.
In Richard’s class we explored color and sound, and created delicious sensory feasts of all kinds. We painted and sculpted and danced. We sang “Here Comes the Sun” at the beginning of class as he played his guitar. We made stapled together booklets called Poor Dickie’s Almanac, and filled them with the prose and poetry we wrote. We even made a super 8 movie. One of the high points of my childhood was when he cast me as The Queen, surely to coax me out of my shyness.
That classroom was alive. I was alive. We were alive… together!
As a gift for each child’s birthday, Richard wrote a poem. When my birthday came, he reverently read my poem, and then presented me with a calligraphy copy of this brief and touching verse. Decades later, I still remember every word.
Winter in and frozen stream,
but sunlight sees right through,
To a world of warmth beneath,
and lives come true.
When I heard the verse I was stunned and elated all at once. I instantly knew that Richard saw me in a way no one else did. He saw deeply into the shy and fumbling little girl I was pretending to be.
Richard really saw me! He recognized my heart and soul. He saw me as the warmth that could make lives come true! The moment I realized Richard saw deep within me, I saw myself in a new way.
Love is sometimes hidden deep inside; crusted over and frozen. Yet in the tumultuous ebb and flow of life, we have infinite opportunities to recognize and bow down to love in its many forms, within ourselves and all around us.
We all have the opportunity to be the warmth of love that "flows and makes lives come true". Richard did this for me, and in so doing invited me to recognize the incredible power of my loving essence.
He was a catalyst for my tender heart awakening. Before Richard came into my life I knew I was loved, but he helped me to know that I am love. In this simple and magical way, Richard changed my life forever. After that birthday, my young heart would never beat as it had before. I could never again truly believe I was less than I was, or small, or insignificant.
The simple act of courageously recognizing the heart of love in one another is a deeply significant gift, which is so easy to forget as we whirl through life, trying to grab the many shiny and tempting brass rings in our ever spinning lives.
And yet, what is the alternative? We can go on judging, condemning, and criticizing each other. We can be competitive, petty, and uncaring. We can even be angry because the people in our lives don’t always give us the love we want, in just the right package.
Or we can be the "sunlight that see right through", even in the deep cold of winter.
I like to write. When I write I feel calm, clear, tuned in, and vibrantly alive.
A few friends and clients have mentioned that some of my blog posts are too long for this fast-paced, plugged in era. So I will be writing periodic posts that get right to the heart of the matter. Short and sweet. I love digging deep and getting to what is essential. So here goes!
Winter Solstice is a deeply sacred time of the year when humanity's quest to live in greater light converges with the cycles of nature to create an opportunity for great insight, inspiration, and spiritual renewal.
The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Western hemisphere. It represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next. As the sunlight lessens each day, there is a natural impulse to turn inward and go deep within to connect with and strengthen our inner light - that pure radiant spark within.
That inner spark was here long before we were born into these bodies, and will be here long after we die. It always has been and always will be. It is the true point of cause in our lives and the catalyst for all loving acts and creative labors. This inner spark is essentially the ever present light of love.
This light is celebrated by cultures around the world through many different Winter festivals and rich seasonal traditions. During the window of opportunity that opens during this period, we can more naturally and easily connect with the inner light than at other times of the years. How do we prepare for and make the most of this powerful cyclic opportunity?
During the season of light it is easy to get caught up in the busyness and hectic nature of the season and miss the insights and revelations that are there for us in the stillness and dark of the this time. Here are a few tried and true practices to savor and help you experience the fullness of this powerful time:
Pain is the inner darkness we often run from, afraid it will overcome us and steal our aliveness and the precarious sense that all is well. Yet in every experience of pain and darkness is the potential for liberation and the revelation of greater light. The ongoing cyclic process of contraction into darkness and expansion into light is a powerful catalyst for grow and evolution.
Rather than avoiding the painful situations or feelings in your life, simply allow them to be, with full and loving acceptance. Loving acceptance often dissolves the pain and contraction, and creates the optimum conditions for the next cycle of growth and expansion into greater light.
A powerful question to ask around the time of the Solstice is: "What can I shed in order to more fully nourish life within and around me?" Maybe you are ready and willing to release a negative habitual way of thinking or an addictive tendency. Maybe it is time to release a friendship that is no longer enriching in order to create space for a more nourishing friendship to grace your life. Simply being willing to let go is a powerful first step.
Now imagine traveling through the same tunnel. This time you are holding the hand of someone you love. Your companion is not there to save you or show you the way out, but is simply there to share the experience. The darkness may still be oppressive, the ground still uneven, and the dripping water still startling, yet somehow it doesn't seem as scary or difficult. That is the power of connection.
Who needs you to take their hand right now? Love and connection may be exactly what is needed to rekindle their light... and yours.
The call in phone number is: 1(302)202-1104 (your usual long distance charges apply). The conference code is: 910612. Be sure to add this to your calendar!
Until then, may these practices be a powerful catalyst for many great moments of inspiration and heartfelt connection with others.
With love and holiday cheer,
In recent weeks I have been taking plenty of time to travel, play, rest and rejuvenate. A lighter summertime schedule has given me more time to read, reflect, and to just be.
I’m home now, feeling deeply renewed and inspired by the growth and deep embodiment that have unfolded over the past few years, in my life and in the lives of my clients.
This is definitely a time for unveiling your unique brilliance, and daring to more purely and powerfully share who you are. We are all being called to do more of what really lights us up, and to empower others in the process.
Doors that have long been tightly closed are now ready to open wide for those who choose the way of liberation and creative contribution. The more we authentically step up and into fresh territory, the more we quite naturally become a catalyst for others to do the same.
I wonder, what is opening your bold and beautiful heart these days? Are you giving yourself permission to courageously follow your fiery inspiration? What inner impulses are you saying “YES” to?
Today I’m sharing what has been opening my heart and mind during these long, warm days of midsummer.
What I’m grateful for…
The opportunity to love deeply. This week marks the three year anniversary of the unexpected passing of my beloved partner. Since that day, I have faced the grieving process head on, over and over again, only to find ever brighter love, gratitude, and appreciation for the opportunity to intimately know and love, and be known and loved by a truly courageous and wise soul. It was, and continues to be, an honor to stand as one with Douglas Brady.
What I’m celebrating….
Having the opportunity to officiate at the wedding of my daughter later this month. There is so much joy in our family right now as we prepare for this grand love fest. As a mother, officiating will be the powerful completion of a cycle of nurturing my daughter’s growth in a very active way. It is fulfilling and exciting to joyfully release her into a new cycle of life with a loving man by her side. This is definitely a summer of love!
What I’m reading…
There is much written about emotionally dysfunctional relationships, yet this thought provoking article offers a clear and refreshing take on what is is like to be an emotionally healthy grown up:
With fiery love,
Happy Spring, my friend.
The first few days of Spring are always a vibrant and joyful time. As nature energetically bursts forth anew, our enthusiasm for living is sparked like no other time of the year. Anything seems possible at this turn of the yearly cycle. As the warmth of the Sun increases, we are given the strength and optimism needed for renewal and expansion after the inward darkness of previous months.
To remain fresh and fulfilling, our relationships need continual renewal and encouragement.
The fiery warm inspiration that is naturally abundant this time of the year can be a powerful catalyst for strengthening and deepening our closest relationships.
Recently, a longtime friendship went through a challenging period. For years, this friendship had been naturally and easily loving, fun and enriching. Yet in recent months I was feeling discontent with our time together. I was sad and deeply disappointed about what I perceived to be a lack of compassion and understanding in my friend’s attitude towards me. As I was contemplating the situation I remembered some relationship advice I was given when I was 18 years old…
“When you want something that you are not getting in a relationship, the most powerful first step is to freely and abundantly give what you want from the other person, to the other.”
This sounds so simple. Yet the moment I heard this powerful idea I knew it was a game changer. This has proven to be true over the years as this simple idea has been immensely helpful over and over again. Embracing this idea has melted resistance, ended power struggles, and opened up more positive experiences than I could ever count.
By simply giving what you want more of, the relationship turns into a fertile field where the very quality you desire can flourish for both of you. When we quit wanting what we aren’t getting, the other person often gives that very experience back to us without even being asked. In this simple act of giving we move into the heart, which brings a loving, giving quality to the relationship. As the energies of the heart flow more freely in the relationship, everything changes for the better.
If you want more respect, give more respect.
If you want more acceptance, give more acceptance.
If you want more kindness, give more kindness.
If you want more nurturing touch, give more nurturing touch.
I’m happy to report that as I gave my friend more compassion and understanding, she gave it right back to me in beautifully enriching ways. Without drama and trauma! Sometimes additional steps are needed to deepen and strengthen a relationship, but this is always a great place to start.
Maybe you have a relationship that could benefit from this kind of renewal. Probably more then one. :-) So why not give this approach a try? I would love to hear how it works out for you.
With love and warm wishes for your Springtime renewal,
I recently returned to my home in Northern California after traveling for several weeks, visiting family, friends and clients, working along the way. There were so many highlights from my travels; warm holiday celebrations with family, the engagement of my daughter to a man I adore, long savory meals with dear friends, celebrating my birthday with a lively dance party, and laughter galore. It was also deeply nourishing to enjoy city life and all it has to offer — the stimulation of new art, concerts, and fabulous meals; and to appreciate the beauty and serenity of nature during beach walks, hikes in the coastal hills, and hot air ballooning over wine country at sunrise.
As I savor the afterglow of my trip, a Danish word comes to mind — hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’), which loosely translates as a mental state of “togetherness” and “coziness.” According to Denmark’s official tourism site: “The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Enjoying family and friends is hygge too. And let’s not forget eating and drinking — preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and the small things of life.” Appreciating and cultivating hygge explains why the Danish people consistently rank among the happiest people in the world.
When you think of hygge, think warm, fuzzy, happy heart; think of everyone you really, really love, laughing in a puppy pile on a soft fluffy cloud drinking hot cocoa.
Awe, hygge…. that cozy feeling that emerges in the warmth of loving connection.
One day towards the end of my trip, I had the sweet revelation that a fuller experience of hygge had become my new normal. Rather then hygge being a momentary experience sparked by warm and loving encounters, it was pulsing through me in a new way — as a sweet, silent offering, gently enriching every moment.
Each person I visited had been a catalyst for the fuller expression of hygge that spontaneously emerged within me.
I am home now, sitting alone on this rainy winter morning, yet hygge reigns in my head and heart, and even down to my toes. Hygge is holding steady as a whole being lovefest within and all around me. Even during the moments when I feel frustration, or fear, or disconnection, an undercurrent of hygge remains. I have a new understanding of this state, which transcends and yet includes momentary feelings of warmth, coziness and safety.
Hygge is the natural state of our hearts and souls, embodied and felt as loving unity with all life.
In this delicious connected state, so many day-to-day concerns and problems seem to drop away. In a state of hygge, every encounter and sensory experience takes on a new richness as warmth prevails.
Cultivating this deeply connected and satisfying inner sense so that it blossoms into a whole-being sustainable experience is an opportunity that lies before us all. Doing the inner work of healing and awakening is a vital part of this process because it helps create a fertile field where hygge is likely to emerge and expand. Doing your inner work is like putting compost on your garden. When you enrich the soil, you know whatever grows there will be more resilient, fruitful and beautiful.
The really exciting part of this hygge process is that when this inner cozy state emerges in new ways, it naturally enhances our relationships.
Our inner condition sets the tone for our relationships. Integrated Energy Psychology has proven to be a powerful catalyst for growth and healing, which creates a fertile field for authentic loving connection to naturally arise and expand in relationships.
If you are intrigued by the possibility of deepening your experience of hygge, I would love to support you in this process.
With big love and warm blessings,
Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Western Hemisphere, celebrated by humanity since time immemorial. As the outer sunlight fades, the Solstice period offers us a rich opportunity to turn inward to connect with and strengthen our inner light -- that pure radiant spark within.
That inner spark was here long before we were born and will be here long after we die. It always has been and always will be. It is the true point of cause in our lives, the catalyst for all loving acts and creative labors. This inner spark is essentially the light of Love.
The inner light is celebrated by cultures around the world through many different Winter festivals and rich seasonal traditions. Winter Solstice is a sacred time when humanity's quest to live in greater light converges with the cycles of nature to create an opportunity for great insight, inspiration and spiritual renewal. The Solstice represents the end of one cycle, and the beginning of the next.
How do we prepare for and make the most of this powerful cyclic opportunity?
We can learn much about how to live a harmonious life by observing the natural world. Many plants and trees shed their leaves in the late Fall. In the process of letting go and releasing what they no longer need, they enrich the soil and provide nourishment for the many lives all around them. By the time Solstice comes, many trees and plants stand naked and unadorned, quietly turning their life force inward to gather strength for the next cycle of outward growth that is sure to come in the Spring.
A powerful question to ask around the time of the Solstice is: "What can I shed in order to more fully nourish all life around and within me?"
Asking this question daily can be a wonderful preparatory practice which opens the way for your inner light to be kindled in new ways. For me, living that question for the last month has been a powerful catalyst for many great moments of inspiration, joyous celebration, and heartfelt connection with others.
It is also powerful to carve out some time for silent reflection and stillness each day during the Solstice week.
There is a window of opportunity that opens during Solstice week that allows us to touch into the light within more naturally and easily than at other times of the years. Many people are so busy with outer holiday preparations this opportunity for deep spiritual renewal is missed.
In light of this, I invite you to join me in silent (sitting or moving) meditation at the exact time of the Solstice, December 21, 2014 at 3:03 pm PST.
May you find great joy and loving communion with all life as the light of the Sun nourishes us more fully with each passing day!
It was more magical than I had ever imagined; a paradise with lush green vegetation, rock outcroppings forming a natural amphitheater, a meadow graced by wild flowers and fruit trees, a sunny spot for a vegetable garden, a large deck, and best of all, there was a vigorous year round creek flowing through the back yard! As I stepped inside the house and was greeted by a wall of windows that looked out upon the garden and the lush forest beyond, I knew I could be happy in this place.
This house was exactly what I had been looking for. There was a great room with high beamed ceilings, three bedrooms, two baths, and even a loft for doing yoga and meditation. The land was private and quiet, with no other houses in sight, yet it was close to downtown. After months of looking at houses for sale, there it was, and even in my price range!
Built in the 70s, the house needed updating, yet this seemed to be a small price to pay for this slice of heaven. I felt a great big “YES” ripple through me as I continued to marvel at the possibilities that could emerge if this property became my home.
This house had the potential to be all I imagined: a cozy home, a place of joyful connection with friends, family, and community, a serene sanctuary of transformation and inspiration; and a haven for living harmoniously with the nature spirits of the land.
I sat in the meadow beside the stream, meditated and asked inwardly if this was the right place for me to live. I felt the land and the life all around me responding with another great big “YES”. It felt like the land was embracing me and inviting me to be there. With “YES” rippling through me inside and all around, I hastily put in a full price offer and crossed my fingers.
I soon discovered four other eager buyers had put in offers as well. I wondered how I could set myself apart and increase my chances of getting the property. I was inspired to write to the owner of the property. In the letter I let her know why I wanted to live in her home. From the deepest, most authentic heartfelt place I could find, I wrote about how much I loved the property and how I wanted to bring the garden back to its full glory. I shared how I needed a healing and inspiring environment for myself and my clients, and how I imagined my yet to be born grandchildren playing in the creek on warm summer days.
As I sent off the letter, I realized I have never loved or wanted a home as much as this one. At this point I had given it my best shot and there was nothing more to do but trust that if this was indeed the house for me, all of the details would work out.
Over the next few days a ferocious bidding war with five eager buyers ensued. There were multiple offers and counter offers. I was anxious and excited all at once. Finally, my realtor called to say that even though there was an offer for $5,000 more than mine, the owner had excepted my offer!
As the dust settled and we opened escrow, I felt intense gratitude and awe. With four other eager buyers, one who offered a higher price than I had, how did this house become my home?
It was the authentic heartfelt connection with the owner that made the difference and set my offer apart from the others.
In my letter to the owner I wrote straight from my heart. My realtor later told me that when she read the letter there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, and the owner immediately said she wanted me to have her house. Having someone who would love her property meant more to the owner than the extra money.
Whether it is in personal relationships or business transactions, bringing your most authentic and heartfelt truth to the table elevates every human interaction.
This takes courage and the willingness to be vulnerable. This is risky business for us humans. Yet the rewards are great when we really allow our deepest heartfelt truths and desires to be known.
This week I’m celebrating and remembering, a year after opening escrow on my house. It is now in the final stages of being remodeled (that’s another story!), and I am more grateful than ever for the opportunity to live in a beautiful, magical place. This is a lifetime dream come true.
As I write and remember this powerful experience, I am reminded that the journey into deeper connection and heartfelt communion with others can continue each day if we choose to be our own catalyst by asking:
What heartfelt truth do I need to share today?
And then courageously and authentically communicate whatever it is. This is not always easy, yet it is so very liberating, no matter what response we get. And who knows, we may even get exactly what we want and need. :-)
With love and gratitude,
I feel deeply humble these days after coming through a challenging time. A few weeks ago I was brought to my knees by a nasty winter bug. After wrestling with this illness for over two weeks, I finally emerged triumphant and healthy. Yet the healing process was not easy.
I am usually the one who doesn't get sick.
When everyone around me is dropping like flies, I keep on flying. I once went 15+ years without a cold or flu. When I start to feel sick, I simply shift into healing high gear. Out comes the elderberry syrup, echinacea tea, and vitamin C. I go to bed early, do energy healing on myself, and by morning all is usually well.
Well, not this year. I was absolutely miserable for over two weeks with headaches, fatigue, body aches, interrupted sleep, a nasty cough, and endless congestion. This doesn't sound so bad, does it? Just an ordinary winter bug, right?
To get an idea of just how bad I felt, tune in to day six. As I tossed and turned in the middle of a very long sleepless night, I actually had the thought, "Am I ever going to feel better? This is as bad as childbirth!" I was stuck in that place where you feel like the pain and misery is never going to end. If you have ever been in labor or stood by someone giving birth, you know exactly what I mean.
What made this ordinary illness so miserable that it was reminiscent of child birth?
Drum roll here……. ISOLATION. I have lived alone since my beloved passed away over a year ago. Though I am normally very social and have many loving people in my life, when I was ill I stayed in bed for over ten days. Alone. My only contact was with my acupuncturist and a friend who brought over chicken broth and tissues. When the phone rang, I had little energy to answer it. My emails stacked up. I felt utterly alone in my misery.
This was definitely self imposed isolation. I have friends and family who would have come in an instant if I had reached out. Yet I didn't have the energy to do so. And I certainly didn't want to expose anyone to this nasty bug.
So I stayed home…. alone, alone, alone.
Coughing. Blowing. Sneezing. Sniffing. Alone, alone, alone.
We've all been sick and somehow made it through. Of course, I made it through and now feel good again. Looking back I see that the despite the misery and the days in bed, there was a great gift in this experience.
This illness reminded me that the most powerful healing force is loving connection with others.
When a friend dropped off groceries, my pain eased. When I saw my acupuncturist, my pain eased. When a friend came to walk my dog, my pain eased.
The moment we reach out and share our pain with others, light rushes into the raw and tender parts within us that are in need of healing.
This is true with different kinds of pain -- physical, emotional, or mental. As I write, this seems rather obvious. Yet it is worth shouting from the rooftops.
Even though we may know the most powerful healing force is loving connection, our competitive, consumer-oriented culture encourages and celebrates the lone-wolf mentality. The accomplishments of the ones who are in the limelight are often honored more than the team that stands behind them. We often feel like we have to tough it out on our own, rather than humbly ask for the support we need. This is slowly changing as humanity evolves, yet we have all been conditioned by the lone-wolf mentality, which often inhibits our capacity to reach out when we are in pain.
We all have pockets of pain and suffering that are seldom, if ever, shared.
Yet there can be tremendous liberation in sharing these tender parts with a compassionate listener. Today, I invite you to bring light to those painful places within that need love and compassion by embracing the process of inquiry and asking a few simple questions….
In what areas of life do I need to reach out for empathy and support?
What feelings am I suffering alone with?
Who can I call upon to hold a loving space for my pain, without trying to fix it?
By facing our own tender painful parts and opening to the care and compassion that is all around us, we create a loving, compassionate healing space for ourselves that is much bigger than our isolated pain.
And don't forget to ask these questions as well…
Who around me is suffering alone?
Who needs my attention, love and compassion?
How can I be there to help ease their pain and suffering?
By extending loving attention and empathy to others, we become a mighty healing force, sending waves of love around the planet. So let's use all this vibrant Spring energy to reach out and do this for each other, bigger and bolder than ever before.
Shining big love,
P.S. I'm here for you.
On Valentine's Day this year numerous people expressed displeasure about how silly it is to have just one day to celebrate love.
I'm sure you are all for 365 days of noncommercial love, just like I am.
So we can all remember the beautiful essence of this day, I offer you the "real" story of Valentine's Day, which is filled with love, courage and selfless giving. Enjoy, and keep on loving!
The Story of St. Valentine
St. Valentine lived in Rome during the third century. At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. He was not well liked, Emperor Claudius.
Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. St. Valentine openly rejected this law.
As a priest, St Valentine felt one of the most sacred acts he could perform was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies -- secretly - in the true spirit of holy matrimony. They would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.
One night, they heard footsteps. Valentine helped the couple he was marrying escape before soldiers arrived, but he was captured, thrown in jail and told that his punishment was death.
Many young people came to the jail to visit Valentine. They threw flowers and notes up to his window. They wanted him to know that they, too, believed in love, not war.
One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit Valentine in the cell. Sometimes they would sit and talk for hours. She helped to keep Valentine's spirits up. She felt he had done a brave service by ignoring the Emperor, honoring the love between people and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day he was to die, Valentine left a note to the daughter of the prison guard, thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, "Love from your Valentine"
This event and note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine's Day. It was written on the day St. Valentine was executed, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. And remember too, the so-called "powers that be" often try to stand in the way of love. St. Valentine is the hero of love against all odds, knowing that love cannot be beaten!
Shining Big Love,
This has been an amazing week, filled with many different experiences; with great highs and lows. Tonight I feel compelled to share my Thanksgiving experience with you.
I opted to stay home last week rather than travel. On Thanksgiving Day I feasted with dear friends, had Face time gatherings with family members who were miles away, and joyfully communed with the magnificent evergreens in my neighborhood. It was all rich and deeply satisfying. Gratitude pulsed through me, getting stronger as the day unfolded.
Feeling full and warm all over, that evening I snuggled down to watch a DVD with a Native American theme, thinking this would be fitting for Thanksgiving night viewing. After a few minutes of watching I was quickly carried away by the beauty and peacefulness of the native way of life so beautifully portrayed. The characters soon made their way into my grateful heart. All was well until the tribe was suddenly brutally slaughtered. I felt shock go through my entire being. It was all so wrong! Sobs wracked my body as I continued to watch and grieve.
I gently reminded myself that the Natives Americans were simply actors who hadn’t really been slaughtered, yet this theme was hitting too close to home. Last year, my beloved partner suddenly passed away. Since then, I have deeply grieved. Several months ago the oppressive sadness began to lift as gratitude and acceptance settled into my heart and mind.
Suddenly there I was in full blown grief again, dealing with it all alone on a holiday. As hard as it was to feel this depth of pain yet again, I knew this was right where I needed to be. I had come a long way, yet there was more grieving to do. Amidst the sadness, overwhelming waves of love for my beloved partner engulfed me. These were intense moments of feeling both the depth and height of human love all at once. Love and loss, all in one breath.
As I sobbed and breathed, I remembered an experience that happen shortly after my beloved died. In the weeks following his death, I felt overwhelming love for him, sometimes even more powerfully then I felt when he was alive. I often felt his presence encircling and comforting me. At times I could hear and feel him communicating from afar.
On one particularly hard afternoon I felt so much love for him I thought my heart would burst. Although I believe he received my love on some level, it felt like my intense love didn’t have a place to land. I was silently asking about what to do with all these feelings when I heard my beloved’s voice say, “Let go of the “you” in “I love you”. Live in “I love”.
As I heard these words I felt like a lightening bolt went right through me. I knew exactly what he meant. Living in “I love” meant letting go of my narrow focus on him, a singular object of love, and instead, expanding to love all. Of course! Instead of focussing my love on my partner like a magnifying glass, I was to be a vibrant ball of love radiating in all directions. He was calling me to be a vibrant sun, shining upon all life within and around me, shining 360 degrees of love!
My crying stopped and I began to get excited about living 360 degrees of love more fully than ever. As I paused and breathed, I also understood a deeper meaning to his words of wisdom. “I love” was not just about love as an expansive way of being. Living as “I love” was about more fully identifying as love, as in “I am love”.
To live fully in that mode would demand letting go of my illusions about who I think I am, which all negate my identity as pure love. All of the moments when I think I am: a woman, a therapist, a coach, a mother, a lover, an American, aging, sad, angry, and on and on, negate the truth that I am essentially love.
I am love, temporarily manifesting as a woman, a mother, a therapist, and so forth.
On Thanksgiving night, as I remembered this experience from months before, I was filled again with gratitude and peace. In this moment of sacred remembrance, I felt love flowing more freely within and around me. This expansive awareness was yet another precious parting gift from my beloved.
If you are on the path of growth and awakening, the idea of being love is definitely not new. Maybe is isn’t even very interesting any more. We aren’t often interested in the ideas we think we already know about.
Yet I believe there is no more noble or worthy pursuit than living and embodying 360 degrees of love.
Understanding this idea is very different from actualizing it as a way of life. We embrace the ways of love and then we forget them, again and again. I have dedicated myself to the embodiment of love; to living 360 degrees of love as fully as I am capable. Maybe you have done so as well. If not, I invite you to join me.
This is a group effort that cannot be done alone. As each of us endeavors to shine love into all the dark places within and arounds us, we spark each other in ways unimaginable.
I feel compelled to share my journey of embodied love, as well as tools and practices to inspire our collective radiance, which is what “I love” is really all about. This season of gratitude and giving is an ideal time to go deeper into living 360 degrees of love. In the coming weeks I’ll be sending you “gifts” to spark the embodiment of love. I invite you to savor these gifts and freely pass them on.
I also invite you to send me your stories and insights about living 360 degrees of love. I’ll be passing on the juiciest ones.
I believe that we all made a commitment to live 360 degrees of love when we came into these physical bodies. Yet it is so easy to forget this sacred promise. During this holiday season, let’s gently, lovingly remind each other of what we are really here for…. to live 360 degrees of love!
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.