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.
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,
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.
How often does the voice of “not enough” whisper that you should be doing more, or doing better? How often does the perfectionist within rear its head to invalidate your accomplishments because things haven't turned out quite like you imagined they would?
Contrary to what the voice of “not enough’’ sometimes tells us, we aren’t meant to do everything perfectly. You already know this, yet it bears repeating. Often.
We are all evolving in our own perfectly imperfect way.
We are all here to learn. We don't have to have it all figured out right from the start. We learn by experimenting, playing, creating, striving, sharing, and, yes, by making mistakes. Sometimes really big clumsy ones.
This is the path of engaged evolution. The foundation of this path is knowing that everything is already well and good in this very moment, even when pain, sadness, or hurt are involved. Even when we feel alone or vulnerable. Engaged evolution is firmly anchored in this fundamental sense of all rightness. Yet at the very same time there is a subtle awareness of something fresh emerging, moment by moment.
The ultimate question becomes: Can we truly nurture that freshness, and with fiery passion engage in this naturally evolving process; or do we keep doing the same tired dance on the same worn out ground we have intimately known for a very long time?
A fulfilling life is all about progress, not perfection.
I feel the most joyful when I am making progress. For me, progress means learning new things, being more authentic every day, nourishing precious relationships, trying on new moves, tastes, spices, and colors, going deeper, taking solid steps forward with my creative inspiration, and being more present, vulnerable, and loving.
There is no perfection whatsoever in this process. It is messy. It involves stumbling. And pain. And correcting course. Often.
Even with all that messiness, this process is also dynamically alive and joyful, fulfilling and beautifully expansive. Simply taking your next step in a clear and positive direction is deeply satisfying.
The challenge of engaged evolution is to step forward knowing the ground you are standing on right now is already perfect.
When we do this, we are lovingly catapulted forward by the mighty and unstoppable force of self acceptance.
With true love,
Change has definitely been the keynote of the Summer of 2016.
Whether the changes have been sudden and jarring or long expected, transitions have been the name of the game over the last few months. Areas of life that seemed so solid, secure, and predictable a short time ago are now radically different. Whether the changes are related to your relationships, professional life, health, or living situation, day-to-day life is different than it was a few months ago. This may be happening in your life, or the lives of those in your inner circle. Probably both.
The interesting thing about these transitions is that they often have an unexpected twist or turn of events that you didn't see coming, and certainly didn't plan for. I have been watching myself, my clients, family, friends, and the global community navigate these sometimes jarring events. If you are reeling from recent changes in your life, be sure to read on for some perspectives to bring you back to a more solid center of joyful acceptance and gracious adaptability.
What's Not Working...
Resisting the events that have been thrust upon you never really works. It is easy to go into the tight jaw, white knuckle mode of meeting change when it isn't showing up according to the neatly scripted life plan in your head. When the scenario isn't unfolding quite like you imagined it would, the first response is often resistance. This very unhappy voice of resistance goes something like this:
"I sure don't like this."
"How could this be happening?"
"I didn't ask for this."
"Something went wrong."
"What did I do wrong?"
Shake Up Your Thinking...
If you're having these kind of grumpy and less than embracing thoughts about recent changes in any area of your life, it's time to reframe. These changes are not the result of bad karma, or part of some dark scheme to make you miserable!
The catalyst for these changes is the sacred force of evolution that is guiding us all to move on from life circumstances that no longer serve or support us.
Amidst the chaos, instability, and messiness, can you dare to trust that these changes are leading in a positive direction, even when you can't see it? Change is often a catalyst for a more fulfilling and juicy way of living.
Life on this planet is not about finding stable and solid ground to stand on. We live on a spinning planet! Success comes from learning to navigate the inevitable instability of life and turn it all into an exquisite, though sometimes clumsy dance.
Ask yourself a few of these kind of questions to shake up your thinking a bit:
"What if this change has no negative impact on my well being or happiness?"
"What if this truly is a positive change?"
"What if I could totally accept this new situation?"
"What if I could experience a happy, joyful, fulfilling, and creative life in spite of this situation?"
And then accept, embrace, praise the Lord, thank the Mother, do a happy dance, or whatever it is you do to show gratitude. In that place of gratitude, we see the light shining through the shaken up, unstable world we always live in. That light beaconing us forward into new territory.
There is a vast creative power moving through everything. When we see the beauty of that awesome force and dare to trust it, and maybe even wildly dance with it some days, so many delicious co-creative opportunities open up. When the changes come, you may cry and grieve and lament a while, but ultimately, surrendering to what is emerging is the catalyst for developing the strength, love, and wisdom to wisely navigate any new scenario.
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.
The last tree in the yard finally opened its tiny green buds in honor of Spring. The rest of the land came alive weeks ago, vibrant with tight buds of the exquisite shade of green that only reveals itself as a beaconing of the warm days ahead. As the rest of the trees were dancing in the delight of Spring renewal, this one tree was still stark and bare. This one tree was still resting while the other trees were boldly awakening.
As I looked at this still dormant tree one day, standing in stark contrast to the verdant finery all around, my perception of the tree suddenly shifted. Instead of seeing it as a dark barren tree, I suddenly saw it as the most beautiful love infused tree ever. Its dark bare branches suddenly became the embodiment of love. Its sap was dripping with pure love, and its root were wrapping the earth in love.
Sometimes love is dark and barren on the outside, as a tree in winter. A person or situation may seem to be void of love, without vibrant green leaves, fruits, or flowers. All you can see from the outside are stark, bare branches. Yet deep within, love is resting quietly, waiting for the return of the warmth and light to help it branch forth in new ways.
The naked tree in winter is love, despite its barren appearance.
The vibrant tree in full flower is also love, through and through.
It is easy to recognize love in its fullness, yet can we also recognize love when it is resting or slowly unfolding?
Resting love and awakening love are both still love. It is our judgements that separate one version of love from another, and convince us one form of love is better than the other, that a tree in full flower is more beautiful than the bare, still tree in winter.
The mind separates and judges, yet the heart includes all, and sees beauty in all. That very capacity to see beauty in the way life is unfolding right now, even in its bareness, is a powerful force that comforts, awakens and inspires.
At ten years old I was a pretty miserable child.
A latch key kid from a “broken home”, I was pretty shy and awkward. My older brother picked on me, my parents worked a lot, and I was throughly bored in school. A creative type at heart, I was not amused by worksheets and multiple choice tests. I couldn’t sit still in class and got in trouble quite a bit. I yearned to sing (even if it was off-key most of the time), and paint and play in the orange grove in my back yard.
All that changed the day my new teacher arrived wearing ultra cool John Lennon glasses and a ponytail down his back. Richard was pure magic in my ten year old world. His smile hinted that he knew every secret in the entire universe worth knowing. He was unlike any teacher I had ever known.
In Richard’s class we explored color and sound, and created delicious sensory feasts of all kinds. We painted and sculpted and danced. We sang “Here Comes the Sun” at the beginning of class as he played his guitar. We made stapled together booklets called Poor Dickie’s Almanac, and filled them with the prose and poetry we wrote. We even made a super 8 movie. One of the high points of my childhood was when he cast me as The Queen, surely to coax me out of my shyness.
That classroom was alive. I was alive. We were alive… together!
As a gift for each child’s birthday, Richard wrote a poem. When my birthday came, he reverently read my poem, and then presented me with a calligraphy copy of this brief and touching verse. Decades later, I still remember every word.
Winter in and frozen stream,
but sunlight sees right through,
To a world of warmth beneath,
and lives come true.
When I heard the verse I was stunned and elated all at once. I instantly knew that Richard saw me in a way no one else did. He saw deeply into the shy and fumbling little girl I was pretending to be.
Richard really saw me! He recognized my heart and soul. He saw me as the warmth that could make lives come true! The moment I realized Richard saw deep within me, I saw myself in a new way.
Love is sometimes hidden deep inside; crusted over and frozen. Yet in the tumultuous ebb and flow of life, we have infinite opportunities to recognize and bow down to love in its many forms, within ourselves and all around us.
We all have the opportunity to be the warmth of love that "flows and makes lives come true". Richard did this for me, and in so doing invited me to recognize the incredible power of my loving essence.
He was a catalyst for my tender heart awakening. Before Richard came into my life I knew I was loved, but he helped me to know that I am love. In this simple and magical way, Richard changed my life forever. After that birthday, my young heart would never beat as it had before. I could never again truly believe I was less than I was, or small, or insignificant.
The simple act of courageously recognizing the heart of love in one another is a deeply significant gift, which is so easy to forget as we whirl through life, trying to grab the many shiny and tempting brass rings in our ever spinning lives.
And yet, what is the alternative? We can go on judging, condemning, and criticizing each other. We can be competitive, petty, and uncaring. We can even be angry because the people in our lives don’t always give us the love we want, in just the right package.
Or we can be the "sunlight that see right through", even in the deep cold of winter.
As a young woman, my ideas about love were throughly conditioned by the romantic notions of Western culture. In my young mind, love was all about "happily ever after." The height of love was an idealized version of romantic love with my perfect partner.
As I went through life’s inevitable challenges, I began to have a wider, richer understanding of love. As fulfilling as romantic love can be, a bigger and bolder version of love began to bubble up in my awareness. As my internal vision of love expanded, I looked for ways to bring fuller expressions of love to each moment and situation, rather than perpetually looking for love to show up in the ways I expected and projected.
As I began to look at life through more loving eyes, situations that used to seem hopeless and disappointing became powerful opportunities to share love.
How I defined love kept getting bigger and bigger until one day I realized love encompassed every interaction, every thought, and every feeling I ever had. Period.
Love truly is everywhere, in everyone.
Even the painful disconnected moments that don’t feel very loving are part of love's ever present dance. Every heartache has love at its core. And every person is the embodiment of love’s ever expanding grace.
The moment we realize love really IS everywhere, wanting more love shifts to realizing you already have it.
When we really get this, the ultimate love challenge shifts from finding love, to igniting a fuller, richer expressions of love in every situation.
Searching for the perfect lover is transformed into exploring ways to activate the sometimes hidden and elusive love within and all around you. Wanting love is transformed into being love, and shining its warm radiance in every direction.
Love is the very substance of our world. It is the essence of earth and air, fire and water. Love is the essence of every human heart, mind, and body, however ailing and pain ridden they may be.
Love is the essential force that unites all and make us whole.
Love's mighty force is activated simply by recognizing it. In a world that seems to be turned upside down with perpetual suffering, recognizing love can seem like a small and insignificant act.
Yet, the simple act of recognizing love unleashes its miraculous healing force and activates the creative power we’ve all been searching for, whether we know it or not. This simple act can have profoundly positive consequences in our collective evolutionary journey.
The simple recognition of love has the power to heal, to awaken, and to transform lives.
On this Valentine's Day I recognize you and me, and all the chaos and suffering in the world as love in the process of bursting through into greater expression.
In the light of Love,
In celebration of Valentine's Day, I'm sharing a video that is near and dear to my heart. Several months ago, my daughter and her sweetheart were married.
Although I have married many couples over the years as a licensed non-denominational wedding officiant, it was a profound honor to marry my daughter, and to share deeply in this heartwarming and really fun celebration. This joyous day was incredibly inspiring, and one of the high points of my life.
I share this with you with the hope that it will inspire you to awaken and cultivate greater love in all of your relationships. Enjoy!
I like to write. When I write I feel calm, clear, tuned in, and vibrantly alive.
A few friends and clients have mentioned that some of my blog posts are too long for this fast-paced, plugged in era. So I will be writing periodic posts that get right to the heart of the matter. Short and sweet. I love digging deep and getting to what is essential. So here goes!
Trust is one of the most significant qualities needed to cultivate healthy relationships. Trust takes time to build, nurture, and sustain. In this humorous and insightful video renowned researcher, Brené Brown shares powerful insights about how to cultivate trust with the significant people in your life. It is well worth taking the time to watch.
On the first day of the new year I played at the beach. I walked upon the sand on a bright and sunny Southern California day, pondering how I would navigate the year ahead.
Contemplating a multitude of attractive options, I felt like the man on the beach waving a metal detector, patiently waiting to hear the sounds that would hopefully lead him to gold. As I walked, I keenly listened with heart and soul to discover where the rich veins might lie in this new year. Few concrete goals or intentions called out to me this year. Instead, I felt drawn towards more fully and completely leaning in to my life, just as it is.
In 2016, I will lean into the vastness of life. Not just the pleasant, happy, or consciously chosen experiences, but all of it.
So many times I turn away from what is right here, right now. There are moments when I turn from fear, and also pain. I even turn from love sometimes because it can be all consuming and jarring to my sense of safety. The shift away is often slight and subtle, yet this turning is clearly a way of saying "no" to what the vast intelligence of life is constantly offering. Turning away is softly saying “no” to the fullness of the sacred journey I said “Yes!” to long ago.
Turning away comes from a lack of trust. Trust in myself and in life itself. When I am harnessed by a lack of trust, I miss so many incredible gifts and opportunities that are sweetly being offered in every moment.
Each time we turn away from what is right in front of us, our lives shrink. Our hearts get a bit smaller, our choices more limited, and our sight narrows. Each time we lean in as fully as possible (especially when some part of us doesn’t want to), we find unknown strength, fresh wisdom, and wide eyed expansion. Always.
In 2016 I vow to lean into confusion and not knowing, as well as clarity and vast knowing. I will lean into tedious tasks and mundane moments, which I often try to avoid. I vow to lean into bill paying and wild ecstatic dancing with equal enthusiasm.
I will lean into kale with as much passion as I give my favorite salted caramel dark chocolate bar. I will lean into my reckless yearning for love and my pettiness; my trembling guarded heart and my bountiful giving heart.
But most of all, I vow to lean into trusting that whatever is right here, right now, has a place in this wild sacred ride. What are you willing to lean into in this new year?
Autumn often sparks a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the joy and abundance of this crazy beautiful human journey. As our lovely Mother Earth ripens and graces us with the bounty of yet another growing season, I am moved to celebrate the many blessings of my life.
This year, I feel a deep and pervasive gratitude not just for the “blessings”, but also for the many challenges I have faced in recent years; the tests and trials, the grief, and ultimately, the letting go it has demanded.
As the season turns, I remember and celebrate the heart wrenching times when life has been anything but joyful; the days when I felt anything but strong, wise, and awake. These were the days when I felt like I was going through a meat grinder, over and over again. Despite the pain, I am grateful because these trying times have broken down yet another layer of protection around my heart, led me to greater self awareness and compassion, and tenderized me like nothing else could.
As the season turns, I also celebrate the colorful foliage dropping all around me. As these freshly liberated leaves dance on the soft wind, I am gently reminded to shed all that I no longer need. In those sweet moments of remembrance, I know that just like the falling leaves, the released parts of me are on their way to becoming the compost that will nourish the new growth that is sure to follow.
My mantra for this fine, crisp new season: “let go, let go, let go”. These simple words reaffirm my commitments to embracing the fullness of life which includes fresh beginnings as well as completion. I notice how much I prefer fostering new life rather than allowing that which has completed a cycle to fall away. Who doesn't prefer falling in love to breaking up? We want to hold on to the freshness, and run from the endings.
Yet, the urge to let go is always an appropriate response; to joyous births and rocky deaths, to all that feels good and all that hurts. Letting go is a nourishing way of life and a powerful pathway to more fully embodying and expressing our deepest essence.
As I say this powerful phrase to myself over and over, “let go” somehow morphs into “let glow”. This brings an inner smile because letting go allows the inner light to shine brighter than ever.
Finally and most significantly, as the season turns and the nights grow cooler, I celebrate the inner warmth that is sparked each time we reach out to touch another by courageously being real. When we are willing to be vulnerable and authentically offer up whatever we have been hiding or quietly holding back, whether it is our shadowy parts or our magnificence, we claiming our true strength and power. In the instant we choose to authentically share, love enters in and changes everything.
All transitions, from the rhythmic change of season to major and minor work and relationship transitions, call us to adapt, to let go, to release, and to open up to whatever is next. The change of season offer a delicious opportunity to consciously say yes to the impulse to move, to shift, and to free ourselves from yesterday’s feelings, habits, moods, and obsolete creations.
Using flowers essences is a great way to support this process. The essences help set a new tone and vibration within your energy field, making it easier to gracefully let go of whatever no longer serves you. My favorite flower essences come from Findhorn Flower Essences in Scotland. They provide a wide variety of essences that are effective and easy to use. A few drops in your water glass once a day is all you need to provide the healing and transformational support to make changes more gracefully.
Simply chose an essence from their website and use it each day until it is gone. Check out their website here: www.findhornfloweressences.com.
With love and good cheer,
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.