Friday, September 30, 2016

Into the realm of pure aliveness

Underneath the unfolding narrative, just beyond the rich, compelling storyline – even below the colorful emotional landscape – there exists a rich, mysterious world of sensations: a somatically-organized field of intelligence, creativity, and aliveness.

It is dizzying here, awash with particles of the unknown. Something is pulling you, but it can be disorienting to a mind longing for resolution. The urge to return to the known, to get a hold of “your life,” and to renew the dream of control can appear as overwhelm in the nervous system.

Without pathologizing the movement back to ground, allow the mind the rest, even for just a moment. Dare to consider that nothing has gone wrong, nothing need urgently be resolved, and that no answers are coming… for now.

You are in the non-ordinary world of presence – strangely familiar, but dreamlike and excruciatingly fresh. The mind will continue its search for what is wrong, but here there are no “problems,” no complaints, no shame, no blame, and no spell of unworthiness.
There is nothing to be fixed, cured, transformed, or shifted. There is no “spirituality” here, nor any movement to replace one experience with another. Just pure aliveness.

Descending into the body, into the unknown, into the wide-open unprecedented realm of the here and now is exhilarating, yet there may always be some fear, anxiety, and trepidation about it all. These surging feelings are not evidence that something has gone wrong, but only of how open it truly is here.

Within the wisdom field of what you are, there is no longer any “transformation” or “healing” as you have come to think of these terms. Nothing is “unhealed” or in need of transformation. Just raw, naked, experience, free from interpretation. Tender, open, and warm. Rippling with intelligence.

What you are is the erupting union of inner and outer space. Your body is an invitation, an entryway and threshold into the activity of this union. Out of the shimmering, pregnant, aliveness of pure awareness flow the qualities of compassion, attunement, and presence.

Please don’t forget what you are.

Photo by Robert Maschke

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Intimacy with the unwanted

We want to share our joy, our happiness, and our peaceful clarity with others. It is so natural to want to uplift those we care about.

But perhaps the greatest gift we can give to another is the willingness to provide a home for the unwanted and abandoned within us.

When we offer sanctuary for our own unmet grief, loneliness, hopelessness, and confusion, a permission field arises in the space between. By removing the burden from the other to metabolize your emotional world for you, you are finally able see them as they are, an unprecedented expression of creativity and love.

As you stay attuned and intimate with what arises in your immediate experience, you discover that what whatever appears does so longing for just one moment of your compassionate, holding presence. It is this one moment that is a revolution, cutting into billions of moments where you have turned from the raging fire of what you are.

And in this discovery you realize that the erupting emotional world was never an obstacle to your path, but only the colorful, spacious, and vibrant path itself… inviting you into aliveness, calling you home again. For you now see that it is only in the abandonment of present experience that suffering can take root in this world.

In the space of this clear seeing, love is revealed to be taking form at all times as an alchemical holding crucible, in which two hearts unfold together – neither separate nor one – but as an expression of unknown, untamable, unresolvable creativity. It is out of this embodied wholeness that all healing emerges.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mindful Self-Compassion event

Dear friends, I’m organizing an online training with Kristin Neff and Chris Germer around their excellent work in mindful self-compassion, and am looking for a small studio audience to join us for the recordings which will make up the foundation of the course. There is no cost to attend. 

The sessions will take place in Louisville, CO, from December 2-4. The recording and eventual course, while I’m sure will be of great interest to clinicians, is being designed for the general public, and not specifically for therapists. The sessions (and subsequent online course) are open to anyone with an interest in the topic. 

If you have questions or are interested in attending in December (in person in Colorado), please write to

Kristin Neff, PhD is the author of the book “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself,” which I highly recommend. To learn more about Kristin’s work, please see

Chris Germer, PhD is author of “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions” and co-editor of the highly acclaimed “Mindfulness and Psychotherapy” and “Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy: Deepening Mindfulness in Clinical Practice.” I often recommend Chris’ work to friends, colleagues, and clients. To learn more, please see

Thank you. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Into somatic illumination

Though it may seem obvious, there is a profound difference between feeling your feelings and engaging with them at an interpretive level. Staying embodied to surging sadness, rage, worthlessness, or abandonment – as feeling and sensation – is not the same as talking to yourself about why you’re sad, when it's going to go away, who caused it, and how it is evidence that you are not enough, that you have failed, or that something is wrong with you.

We may say – "Oh, I'm fully in my body. I'm in direct, intimate contact with the raw feelings and sensations of anger, sadness, grief, shame, and hopelessness. Don't tell me I'm not feeling all that! I've 'been sad' for so long!" But if you will pause, slow way down, and get curious about what is most true, you may discover that often what you are in touch with is a subtle narrative that you have wrapped around your immediate experience, which is now orbiting around the aliveness.

As you engage the practice of sacred return, you may discover that in part the function of the storyline is to keep you out of the vulnerability that is erupting under the surface. In this way the narrative has served to protect you from the naked, groundless territory of somatic illumination, which you have come to believe you do not have the capacity to stay with and metabolize. While you can honor the security these strategies have provided, you may also start to ask if you truly need to be protected any longer from the transmuting and reorienting nature of love.

In this discovery it is important not to shame yourself by weaving a secondary narrative about how you’ve failed and will never 'get it right,' but to return with non-urgent kindness and meet what is longing to be met. You may have to come back over and over and over again, re-committing to staying with the powerful, often disturbing aliveness for short periods of time – not so long that you re-traumatize yourself or become totally overwhelmed, but long enough where you continue to build your tolerance for the intensity which is yearning to re-emerge into the wholeness that you are. But you can push yourself just a little, with a fiery sort of care and compassion, for you have capacities now that you have until now forgotten, with a commitment to no longer abandon the majesty of what you are.

We can descend underneath the storyline - and into the caverns of the body - not because the storyline is 'bad' or 'wrong’ or ‘neurotic’ or ‘unspiritual,’ but because it is one level removed from the fire of direct experience. It is within the very core of this holy fire, in the alchemical crucible of the body, where healing emerges. In this sense, healing and transmutation is a somatic process, rather than a cognitive one. The tangles of the heart and the knots of the body are unwound in within the alive field of embodied vulnerability. Where the heart and the body go, it is there the mind will follow.

Offer yourself the benediction of presence on this new day, and watch in astonishment as a new pathway of love, care, and compassion unfolds and illuminates within you. As you become the activity of kindness and attunement to your immediate experience as it erupts in the creative field of the here and now, you will very naturally provide a holding space in which others can discover this for themselves.

This is a profound act of love that you can offer here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A sacred disenchantment

It is inevitable on the path of love to feel surging waves of disappointment, as things never turn out quite the way we thought they would.

This disenchantment is not an error, but one of the great gifts of the beloved – to reveal the limitations of the conceptual and remind us of how open and creative each unfolding moment truly is.

Rather than struggle against the deflation, we may come to discover it as sacred. For if we provide a home for the death of an old dream, a womb will be prepared in which new forms of love may emerge.

Photo by Robert Jahns aka Nois7