Sunday, July 7, 2024

Pieces of the unlived life

Inside the body the lost ones travel, carrying our dissociated experience and unfelt feeling, taking up temporary residence in our muscles, cell tissue, organs, and breath.

Scattered pieces of soul gather in our eyes, shoulders, and bellies, and in the secret places within our hearts.

They’ve become frozen and crystallized there, and display their longing to come Home by way of our dreams, bodily-felt emotions, and the variety of symptoms we experience.

If we’re unable to access them, to feel what they feel and tend to their tears, they will make their way deeper into the underworld and into the soma, awaiting a future moment when conditions are ripe.

Even if our primary interest is in spiritual transformation, we can’t separate out any unresolved relational trauma, attachment wounding, and narcissistic injury we may have experienced.

This unheld and unmetabolized material shapes our perception and forms a psychic template through which we’re able to imagine ourselves, others, and our world. But this happens outside our conscious awareness, from within the depths of shadow.

As we’re invited to “just be in the present moment,” we have to remember that in the present moment the ancestors are there with us.

They not only take up residence in our bodies, our hearts, and deep in the soul, but they are our bodies, hearts, and souls. Psyche is multiple and polytheistic.

They arrive invited or otherwise, along with the lost, crystallized orphans of psyche and soma, the spinning figures of our unlived lives, and the rich landscape of our implicit memory.

We’re not alone in that “present moment.”

What does the Other have to say about us and our meditation practice? Have we asked them and listened carefully to their response, with devotion and care?

Have we lamented their tears and grieved their pain?

To what degree have we met them, and accepted them with love? And sought their wisdom on the nature of past, present, and future.

Photo: Lappohja Beach, Southern Finland - heartbeat

My next live online course will start in September - The Soul Alchemist: Trusting Your Inner Guidance. To receive information about the course, which will be sent out later in the summer, please sign up for my mailing list below. 

Monday, July 1, 2024

The alchemy of self and other

Usually when we speak about “others” in our lives, we are referring to those on the outside we are in relationship with, that we care about and matter to us.

It’s important to attune to them and how they’re making sense of their experience, what keeps them up at night, brings them alive and touches their hearts.

While we each bring our own unlived life into the in-between space where our subjectivities intersect, there is also a third thing, the field itself. It has its own autonomy and intelligence, and is an equal partner in the relationship.

This is the realm of Hermes, guiding the alchemist in her work, which is one of pure devotion – love of the materials in the vessel, and of the vessel itself.

In addition to the external other, there is also an “other” who is moving inside us, a misplaced piece of soul who has become split off from the totality. Just like external others, these ones also long to be known, held, and loved.

They are shape-shifters and will manifest in an infinite number of forms – as vivid emotions, dream images, somatic tenderness, and an aching for union, as they seek us as a vessel in which they can incarnate and come alive.

Relational alchemy unfolds not only with an external other but simultaneously with the dissociated figures of psyche and soma, who are linked in mysterious ways.

It is to the degree we are able to empathically attune, listen to, feel, and hold the emerging inner Other that we will be able to truly accompany those in our lives.

If we’re unable to attend with devotion to the inner darkness, chaos, and contradiction, we will never be able to practice intimacy with these same qualities as they are inevitably evoked by those we allow to matter to us.

Perhaps this evocation is the true role of the Beloved, to re-introduce us to the vastness, majesty, and the unshakeable wholeness of the tender human heart.

My next live online course will start in September - The Soul Alchemist: Trusting Your Inner Guidance. To receive information about the course, which will be sent out later in the summer, please sign up for my mailing list below. 

Thursday, June 27, 2024

All therapy is grief therapy

After meeting with people for all these years, it seems to me that all therapy is grief therapy when all is said and done. No matter what particular issue or complex that we’re working on, the ally of grief is nearby.

Its primordial home is in the deep soma, and from there emerges as the figures in our dreams, a burning in the heart, an emptiness in the belly, and as certain sort of homesickness and longing for union.

Grief is the ultimate shape-shifter and will appear in infinite forms as it seeks a vessel in which it might incarnate and indwell itself here, which it does by way of our bodies and nervous systems.

Not as an obstacle to our path, but as a radiant manifestation of the path itself.

In providing sanctuary and safe passage for the metabolization of grief, a bridge begins to form piece by piece which connects us with others and with all of life everywhere. We do not create or design this bridge but only bear witness to its qualities.

This bridge – or the open doorway – will look and feel differently for each of us, displaying unique color, fragrance, dimensions, and engraved symbolic expression. It is by way of embodied attunement that we will be able to see and sense the bridge and passage.

When we take the risk of allowing another person and allowing this life to truly matter to us, we open ourselves to be a location, or a vehicle for the purifying ally of grief to find its way into this world.

And to bring with it a firestorm of compassionate activity for the benefit of all beings.