Friday, June 22, 2018

Today may not be the day for answers


The contradictory feelings of hope and hopelessness, meaning and flatness, anxiety and rest. The shakiness and uncertainty in the belly. The tightness in the throat. The raw breaking inside the heart. The joy that at times is there, but never can seem to be sustained.

All the techniques, the teachings, the things to manifest, the new beliefs to take on, the worn-out ideas about the true source of peace, aliveness, and flowing abundance. Perhaps there were once answers to these questions, but now there is no answer to be found. Only a burning where the questions once existed.

This burning is the doorway, the portal, pure evidence of the connection.

A cosmic sort of exhaustion can come at times, where we find ourselves in the bardo between one moment and the next. We can’t quite go back to the way it was, but the rebirth has yet to appear. There is a creativity in the liminal but it can seem out of reach. We are asked to marinate in the womb of now, tend to the groundlessness, and find refuge in the unknown: to be midwife to the darkened illumination. There are signs and symbols and guidance all around and inside us, but their appearance is governed by a timeline written somewhere else.

As we bear witness to a new day, in awe at the gift that has been given… the breath is here. The heart is quivering. The birds have come. Sounds from the other world, another opportunity to hear, to behold the miracle of the senses. The sun has come up again. The moon is hiding nearby waiting her turn. For just one moment, the veil parts and the perfection is there awaiting our participation.

Your life is not an unending self-improvement project and your heart is not a venture to be undertaken, mastered, and completed. Perhaps today was never going to be the day when you figured it all out, got all your questions answered, or resolved the contradictions. It's just too wild for all that. Just too creative. Just too alive.

Today may not be the day for answers, but to let your heart break open to the vastness of the question. To fall to the ground as a humble lover of the mystery. And listen once again.



My latest book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 


My next two events: 

The Great Befriending: A Five-Day Journey of Self-Love, Deep Rest, and Coming Alive (with Jeff Foster), September 21-26 in Loveland, Colorado 

Stay tuned for details regarding a five-day winter retreat January 23-28 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A temple of rest


To transform the lenses of unworthiness, shame, and self-doubt we must go into the tender and reorient in ways that we cannot know ahead of time. It is not possible to know how reorganization will affect our relational lives, emotional experience, and embrace of the mystery.

If those familiar reference points are no longer available, what will we organize around? What will be the central image or vision by which we will navigate? Unworthiness, fear, and unintegrated feeling have become such close companions that we cannot know ahead of time what it will be like to make the journey without them by our side.

There is a certain excitement in this, but it can also generate a lot of anxiety and disorientation. The invitation is to be kind to ourselves during times of transition, honoring the actualities of what it truly means to heal. To slow way down and soften as we are asked to provide sanctuary for the wounds, grief, and unfelt joys of a lifetime.

To offer a temple of rest where the inner travelers can gather and unfold, to retrieve them from a lonely forest. We do not rid ourselves of unwanted material by locating it into shadowlands, which will only create the conditions from which it will erupt in less than conscious ways.

We will never heal by means of self-aggression and self-abandonment, which will only reinforce pathways of early empathic failure and the shame which arose from the deep sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. Awareness and clarity are critical; necessary, but not sufficient. We all “know” what we need to do and have seen that “knowing” is often not enough.

At some point it is only a turning of the heart which will heal the exhaustion, wounds, and pain of unlived life, where love is revealed to be the ultimate medicine. It is this that can penetrate the deepest layers of our conditioning and felt sense of separation.

May we do whatever we can to help our sisters and brothers along the way: hold them, listen to them, ensure that they feel felt. Speak words of kindness, provide contact and space. Share a soothed nervous system and softened heart where they can rest, where they can see, where they can know this love and the majesty that they are.



My latest book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 


My next two events: 

The Great Befriending: A Five-Day Journey of Self-Love, Deep Rest, and Coming Alive (with Jeff Foster), September 21-26 in Loveland, Colorado 

Stay tuned for details regarding a five-day winter retreat January 23-28 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The mystery of self and other


We come into adulthood with a pre-existing template consisting of our expectations in relationship, fears of getting closer or too far away, how much we can lead with our vulnerability, what is safe and what isn't (can I really allow them to matter?), and eventually come up against the achy reality that intimacy is likely to illuminate pretty much everything that remains unresolved within us.

As a part of this template, we tend to specialize in carrying either the separateness aspect of the relationship, or the connecting aspect, as our role in the relational dance. This is natural of course, to have a bias toward one side or the other, based on what was happening in the relational field while our little hearts and nervous systems were developing. The bias is not problematic per se, but what can be problematic is the disowning or the avoidance of the other pole, or the acting out of it in less than conscious ways.

A healthy, secure, flexible, nourishing relationship seems to require our ability to be both separate and connected, alone and together, alone while together, together while alone. If we deny our separateness, we end up in a state of fusion or merging with the other and that can lead to all sorts of sticky, gooey, enmeshed dynamics where we lose touch with our own integrity, needs, boundaries, and individuation. While if we deny our connectedness, we become lonely, lose contact with our shared vulnerability, and fall out of touch with just how interconnected we all are, and the great power and preciousness of that.

The result of the fusion state is a condition referred to as "pathological accommodation" (see the work of the psychoanalyst Brandchaft) where we'll do just about anything to meet the needs of the other, to privilege them far above our own, and compromising our own integrity for the security of staying close. We tend to the ghosts of the unlived life of our partners, not necessarily out of true compassion, but as an enactment of earlier environments where we were forced to care for the other as the only way to maintain the attachment bond. All the while longing for our own integrity, wholeness, and authenticity.

The result of the avoidant state is a condition referred to as "compulsive self-reliance" (see the work of Bowlby) where we cannot allow ourselves to depend on another, for the other to matter too much, or to share too much of ourselves, for all of this is just way too unsafe, uncertain, and likely to result in just more empathic failure. No thank you, I'll just do it myself. I'm good. All the while longing for connection, to be met, to be seen, to be held.

It is no surprise that we tend to attract (and are attracted to) others who embody those qualities we've disowned or lost contact with in ourselves. Finding that balance between privileging our own needs and that of our partner and friends is of course a dance that takes a lot of practice. We must be willing and have the capacity to tolerate a fair amount of anxiety as we will always be invited back into that pole which we've disowned. It's intelligent and kind to ask our partners to help us as we navigate this, knowing that at times they will be able to do so and at other times they will not, for whatever reason.

May we be kind to our partners, lovers, and friends (and ourselves) as we traverse this territory together which can and will ask so much of us. But also has so much to offer.



My latest book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 


My next two events: 

The Great Befriending: A Five-Day Journey of Self-Love, Deep Rest, and Coming Alive (with Jeff Foster), September 21-26 in Loveland, Colorado 

Stay tuned for details regarding a five-day winter retreat January 23-28 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado