Sunday, January 31, 2016
We are wired as little ones to do whatever it takes to maintain the tie to our caregivers, including disconnecting from specific feelings, emotions, and ways of being that threaten the attachment bond. This isn’t because we were neurotic, pathological, not ‘spiritual’ enough, caught in a ‘low vibration,’ or victim of some sort of ‘personality disorder.’ Rather, it was an act of breathtaking creativity, designed to prevent breakdown and overwhelming dysregulation in tender nervous systems and ripening little hearts.
Rather than shame ourselves for our protective strategies, we might see them as a certain kind of grace, descending upon us to keep us here, hearts beating, and open to life in a star where love is alive. Instead of spinning off into blame and rage, we could honor the activity of even early disembodiment as the reflection of a cosmic sort of intelligence. The path will appear in infinite forms, including in ways the mind will never understand. But the body knows. The heart knows.
From the perspective of wholeness, there is no ‘wound’ from the past that must first be healed in order for you to fully show up here. In one miracle instant you can end the dream of postponement. In each radiant here and now moment, the abandoned material is on vivid display around you, appearing as your feelings, your emotions, the anxiety in your belly, as your lovers, your children, even as a raging winter sunset above you. It will never give up. It will search for you forever, yearning for just one moment of your time, your holding, and your warm embrace. It is surging out of the relational matrix seeking metabolization and completion within you.
It is the most radical act of fierce embodied care to send warmth, awareness, and holding into the core of unmet rage, shame, despair, and heartbreak – and to cut the momentum of abandonment and the developmental need to fight or flee. It is a tremendous act of kindness to infuse presence into the center of the raw sensations as they ripple through your torso, arising as expressions of sacred, revelatory data.
No matter how things are going for you, you can start right where you are, for very short periods of time. Surround and contain the intensity, as it surges for integration. Even for one second. Two seconds. And then three seconds. Push yourself a little, with fiery, committed self-love, but not so much that you go into overwhelm. Find a friend, a therapist, a teacher, a lover, a co-worker, a tree, a deer, an owl, an ocean, a moon, a star to bear witness with you.
It will take everything you have to re-establish the pathways of aliveness, eventually coming to see that they have been on fire inside you all along. You must decide if it is worth the burning, the uncertainty of the unknown, and the non-negotiable requirement to stay embodied to your vulnerability along the way. I have been honored to accompany many courageous men and women who have decided that it was. And for that I am grateful. Please know that your work is never for yourself alone.
Early registration closes today - Falling in Love With Where Your Are - with Matt Licata and Jeff Foster
Dear friends, a reminder that early registration closes tonight for my April retreat with Jeff Foster in Colorado. We are about 80% full and do expect to sell out.
Falling in love with where you are: loneliness, courage, and freedom on the path of the heart. More information here.
For those of you unable to make the Colorado event, we will be offering another five-day retreat at Kripalu in Lenox, MA in October. It is looking like these will be our only public events together this year in the US. Jeff and I are both looking forward to seeing everyone and spending this time together <3
Friday, January 29, 2016
As the reorganizing activity of love infuses the relative with its essence, it will do so by means of contact and space. These primordial qualities are alive in all our relationships, with other people as well as with the unmet ‘inner other’ of the rich somatic landscape.
By ‘contact,’ we commit to staying close to our immediate experience. Whether shame, rage, or heartbreak is washing through, we surround it with warmth, holding the vulnerability as it surges, for it is our connection to aliveness.
Rather than seeking relief from the sacred material, the focus is shifted to curiosity: what is this? What is its color? Its fragrance? How does it feel in my body? As it washes through, what conclusions do I come to about my life and worth as a person? What are the specific ways I turn from myself to get out of feelings I do not want to feel?
By no longer abandoning ourselves as we had to do at an earlier time and place, we make a vow of self-kindness. We commit to calling all of the orphaned children home, back into the womb of presence, so that they may come to completion within us.
The component of ‘space’ refers to returning over and over into unstructured states of being, where nothing is ‘unhealed’ or in need of transformation. We come to rest in what we are, with nothing to create or destroy, nothing to manifest, no ‘higher’ vibration to enter into, no addiction to endless self-improvement, no ‘other’ needed to complete us, and no more investment into the dream that we are incomplete. We soak in immediate experience, exactly as it is, rather than in our interpretations of it.
These qualities of contact and space are not outside you, awaiting some future moment when you ‘awaken,’ ‘heal your past,’ or become someone different. They are here now, weaved into the cells of your heart and throughout the pathways of your miracle nervous system.
As you offer these gifts to yourselves and to others, the mysteries of separation and union come alive. And through your care and your love, a luminous holding environment is woven, into the stars and the mountains and oceans, available for all beings everywhere.
Photo by Johnny Franzen
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
When you are triggered, it can feel like moving a mountain to soothe the pathways of abandonment, and to stay embodied to the energy as it surges through your belly and nervous system.
Something is longing to be met, that is for sure. An avalanche of previously disowned feeling, emotion, and sensation, seeking some sort of completion that was not available at an earlier time.
It may seem that there is no way for you to close the loop, that it’s just too much. Open your heart into the too-much-ness, slowly, for very short periods of time, and then rest. Even for just a couple of seconds, use your presence to touch what is emerging – just enough to light up a new path, but not so much that you overwhelm or re-traumatize yourself.
Soften into your belly, into the panic, and take pause from the ancient belief that you must quickly understand, shift, or transform your immediate experience. See that there is nothing to ‘heal,’ but only something to hold. Offer sanctuary for the movement of life as it washes through you, and it will integrate and liberate on its own. Care for yourself in new and wild ways.
To provide a home for sacred metabolization is one of the greatest gifts of love that you can give – not just to yourself but to those around you. To reclaim embodied responsibility for the orphaned pieces of your psyche and soma is not easy and requires a lot of practice. But more than anything, it demands an unconditional commitment to seeing the entirety of your inner experience as worthy, as valid, and as the very seeds of the path forming around you.
Despite how difficult it can be, the fruits of this work are infinite, they are eternal, and to do this may be why you have come here: To make an offering to a weary world, and to do whatever you can to help others, to rest in their majestic true nature.
Photo by Kazim KUYUCU
Monday, January 25, 2016
While there are many valid reasons for being in relationship, it is possible to use the inherent provocation of intimacy to come closer to ourselves, if that is in fact what we want. It is okay if we want something else.
But if we do choose the crucible of intimacy as one of the greatest illuminators of our unlived lives, we can count on our partners to continuously remind us of what remains unresolved within. Of that which is longing to come out of the shadows and into the warmth of awareness. This reminder can be excruciating.
From this perspective, the promise of intimacy is freedom and wholeness, not a life where there is no negativity, conflict, or vulnerability. There is no promise of ‘high vibrations,’ unending joy, continuous connection, and safe respite from a weary world. In this crucible everything that has been abandoned lies in wait, yearning for holding and integration.
As we remove the burden from the ‘other’ to take care of that which we have disowned in ourselves, we plant the seeds of a new heart. For to return this task to us is the wildest, most tender, most devastating act of love that they could offer.