Saturday, April 22, 2017

Beyond technique


I am often asked about this or that technique, powerful new method, or approach: does it work, should I try it, will it help to transform limited beliefs, deeply embedded trauma, unbearable emotions? Will it eliminate my vulnerability, increase my sense of self-worth, relieve the despair, soothe the anxiety?

In my experience, techniques do not heal. Relationship heals.

As nearly all of our somatic and emotional wounding arose in interpersonal contexts, it is best unwound, untangled, and metabolized within an attuned, empathic, relational container. This container is nonordinary, alchemical, and sacred, and weaved of strands of the heart.

The “technique” that the therapist, coach, practitioner, or counselor employs is much less important. There is nothing wrong of course with learning new techniques, but there is no activity that is more creative, wild, and revolutionary than attunement, presence, and love. These are not techniques, but are aspects of your true nature, luminous and longing to erupt and come alive here. They are already wired into the fabric and substance of what you are, uncaused and unproduced, and await recognition.

What you are is infinitely more powerful than any technique. You are the technique … each time you listen deeply, look at another with love in your eyes, speak words of kindness, allow them to matter to you, nourish and hold their experience, and attune to their inner world as it is …

… allow yourself to care about how they are making meaning of their lives, making sense of a crazy world; as you dare to see them not as an “object” arising in your experience—who might or might not be able to meet your needs or confirm your hopes and fears—but as an outrageously unique “subject” in their own right. And as you mirror back essence, offering cosmic permission for the ultimate discovery that who and what they are was never “unhealed.”

Based on their theoretical lens, different approaches will look to intervene at different levels of the spectrum, i.e. cognitive, affective, somatic, and behavioral. Each practitioner is going to have their bias. But when it’s all said and done, developmental trauma and other wounding arising out of an environment lacking in holding, mirroring, and empathic attunement is reorganized within an intersubjective field. Research in interpersonal neurobiology* has consistently shown us that neural circuitry is re-encoded within the context of such relational attunement.

While it is natural to become enamored with the latest “powerful” method, technique, and newly discovered strategy to catalyze healing, we can easily lose the forest for the trees, and forget that it is love that heals. Love is not a technique. What this “love” is must be uncovered within your own embodied field of presence, and inside the cells of your heart. It is unprecedented, unique, and relentlessly creative … just like you.

Your heart is not a technique. And love is the ultimate medicine.

*see the work of Schore, Siegel, Badenoch, Porges, Cozolino, van der Kolk and others in the Norton Series


The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now 

New book – The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – to be released in June

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The wisdom-field of the awakened heart


In a moment of activation, the emissaries arrive. When you find yourself overwhelmed by repetitive, habitual, ruminative thinking; when the thoughts are looping; when you are attacking yourself and falling down the rabbit hole of self-aggression … just stop.

With the power and fierceness of the warrior’s sword of compassion, cut the storyline. Slow way down and feel your feet on the ground. Breathe deeply into your lower belly and activate your senses. See what is around you with clear vision, enter into pure listening. Shift your sacred life energy out of the spinning and into the aliveness of the body.

It is an act of kindness to not fuel the dysregulating narrative, and takes practice, courage, curiosity, and imagination. Something is erupting under the surface, longing to be met and integrated, but it is raw, naked, and non-conceptual. Rather than turn into the center of the restless, claustrophobic, and sticky somatic aliveness, we default back into conditioned history—to the shame, the blame, the attack, and the aggression, anything to keep us out of the fire and the tender surging tingling core of the vulnerability at the center.

The invitation in these moments is into the shaky interior. Use your breath as your guide into the inner landscape. You are being asked to care for yourself in a new way. See what feeling state the very vivid and colorful storyline is attempting to take you out of, and slowly, with kindness drop underneath the conditioned history and into the hot, seething, pregnant life that is surging to be held.

In order to make this journey, that of the sacred return, we must set aside our agenda to understand, to change, to transform, even to heal … for a moment. We can return to transformation at a later time. For now, replace it with a fiery curiosity. To become more interested in our original primal experience than in our interpretations of it, turning our bodies into a crucible of open awareness, filled with the qualities of warmth, attunement, and revolutionary kindness.

And in doing this we call off the war. We dare to practice peace. To step off the battlefield and into the unknown mystery of the body, and the wisdom-field of the always blooming, awakened heart.



The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now 

New book – The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – to be released in June