Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Buried in the newly fallen snow

As you continue on the path, you are sure to meet many orphans of the heart – abandoned ones of the psyche and the somatic world, who have been turned away and denied holding in the crucible at the center. Personal and collective allies of integration, surging within and around you, seeking communion and permission to return home.

Sadness, shame, heartbreak, and rage – ancient travelers an on old journey, tired and in need of rest. Loneliness, confusion, joy, and fear – secret messengers sent from inside, to remind you of an inner part that you have lost contact with along the way.

At an earlier time, you were unable to provide safe passage for the voyagers, attuned sanctuary where they could support you as a fellow traveler for the journey ahead. But they have not given up. 

Whether during a conversation with a friend, hidden in the blue in the morning sky, or buried in the unfolding crystals of the newly fallen snow… within flowing water, inside a vague sense of longing for home, or by way of a vivid, translucent figure of the dream world, they are appearing at all times, and will never stop trying to reach you.

While at times they will come in sweet and peaceful forms, at other times they will utilize energies of deflation, ferocity, and wrath, whatever they must to remind you of what you are. In this way they are relentless, making use of the entirety of the phenomenal world to illuminate your path and to reveal how majestic it is inside you.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rest for the journey ahead

As embodied, sensitive human beings, it is likely at times that we will be asked to meet with waves of confusion, uncertainty, hopelessness, and disappointment. And in the wake of these feelings, to lose contact with who we are and why we’re here. To conclude that something has gone wrong and that we’ve been abandoned by grace. What was so clear only days or weeks ago is somehow no longer in reach.
While it is natural to conclude that these feelings are clear evidence that we’ve failed and fallen short, a hidden call is emerging within, attempting to reach us and to break through an old dream of partiality. While this surge of integration can feel achy and can take us to the ground, it is an emissary of surrender and a portal into reorganization. In order to step through, we must replace the movement toward resolution and symptom-relief with curiosity and new levels of attunement and self-compassion.
Look around. Listen carefully. Open your senses. There are images, feelings, messages, and signs, appearing out of the depths, with information for the creativity of ever-present rebirth. Through dreams, your imagination, pure vision, color, and sound – and through the drumbeat of the earth and of the heart – the doorways of the unconscious are opening, revealing wholeness in unprecedented and unknown ways.
Slow down, breathe deeply, touch the ground, and open to the possibility that nothing has gone wrong. From the exact place you are in, you can open and soften into what is presenting itself. Even if you cannot understand it, if the mind is spinning in its attempt to put it all back together, again, slow down. The heart knows. There is a primordial permission inside the earth to fall apart and allow things to be reorganized.
Underneath the ancient story of what is missing in an alive world of somatic information, inviting a new level of trust in your experience exactly as it unfolds here. The entirety of this material is valid, filled with life, and a luminous reflection of your unique path.
Provide sanctuary for the material of the unseen as it emerges here, and as it seeks communion with you in creative and unknown ways. Offer a home for it and for the lonely, the confused, the hopeless, and the disappointed. For these ones are not obstacles, but allies of integration, filled with meaning and reminders of wholeness.
In ways the mind may never understand, they are providing rest for the journey ahead.

Photo of my little friend Alma, opening into the infinite

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A sacred deflation

From the perspective of exhaustion and confusion, it is intelligent to seek relief from the uncertainty, and to replace the groundlessness with something more stable. Honor the call to safe passage and something to hold onto. You need not pathologize the longing for solid ground from which to take your next step. It is an act of kindness to care for yourself in whatever ways you are able.
From the perspective of raw, reorganizing love, groundlessness and aliveness are one. For there is no intimacy without relentless embodiment to your vulnerability in all its forms. Here, there is nothing to hold onto, nothing to “heal,” and nothing to transform. The urgent requirement for an “improved” moment has fallen away into the vastness.
While the mind may spin trying to resolve this mystery, the conundrum is holy and has been placed inside you as the activity of primordial creativity. The relief and the rest you are longing for will never be found within the field of conceptual resolution, but only in fiery embodiment to the contradictions as they appear.
Though the activity of love is infinitely tender and holding, in its essence it is everything. At times it will employ the energy of deflation, to end one world so that another may begin. This deflation is non-ordinary and is sacred, and is a secret doorway that you can enter.

Artist unknown

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Coming together, falling apart

Falling apart, holding it all together. Then falling apart, then holding it all together again. Cycles of integration and disintegration. Chaos and cohesion. Stillness and rest. Sanity and confusion. As flows the natural world, the unfolding of the heart is alive and of the unknown.
In ways the mind may never resolve, wisdom is pouring through you, washing away everything that is less than whole, preparing you for what is next. But what is next is always of the nameless and will never be approached ahead of time by means of the conceptual. Stay close, and attune to the creativity as it emerges out of the here and now.
While the narrative that you are “falling apart” is rich and multi-layered, look carefully and see if you were ever “together” to begin with. You are the vast space in which “together” and “apart” dance in union. Rest for a moment and honor the wholeness that is moving within you.
If you remain too identified with “falling apart,” you cut into the natural aliveness that is the essence of pure, immediate experience. You lose contact with the radiance within, and become misattuned to the flow of somatic experience, exactly as it is. You disconnect with the intelligence of embodied presence, with the wisdom of the earth, and with the realization that nothing has ever been wrong with you. You forget that the darkness, when provided sanctuary, is brighter than a thousand suns.
But if you remain too identified with “holding it all together,” you disconnect from your natural vulnerability and the spontaneous mystery as it appears, turning from the surging reality that your heart could break at any moment. It is true that raw, tender sadness could approach you at any time, requesting safe passage inside you. But it is through this broken aliveness that the poetry of your life will flow.
Right in the middle of “falling apart” and “holding it together” is the secret essence. Stay there. For it is the greatest, most radical act of kindness to provide the gift of pure rest. It is here where the light and the dark are in union, where integration and disintegration emerge as one in love, and where lunar and solar weave together the substance of the sacred world.

Artist unknown

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Your vulnerability is not pathology

Your confusion is not pathology, it is path. It has something to show you that clarity could never reveal. The nature of chaos is wisdom, but you must provide sanctuary to receive its essence. For this revelation will only release into an environment of a fiery, attuned kindness.
Your feeling of disconnection is not neurotic, it is intelligent. It has something to show you that oneness could never reveal. Travel inside the felt sense and into the hidden passageways. And you will find the emissaries awaiting.
You are neither “separate” nor “one,” but the erupting holding field in which the energies of “separate” and “one” interpenetrate and dance the relative into being. While you may have a bias for oneness over multiplicity, love does not share this bias, and is ready at all times to employ either equally as its envoy here.
Your loneliness, your shakiness, and your fear are not mistakes. Your vulnerability is not pathology, it is path. Here, there are no “obstacles,” only endless invitations. The freedom you are longing for will never be found in the eradication of the unwanted, but only in the love and the information it carries.
There are surges of somatic activity that contain very important information for your journey. If you will offer safe passage, you will receive the secret offering: Nothing is missing, nothing is out of place, and nothing need be sent away.
Yes, the burning can be unbearable. Such is the nature of the human heart. You may burn until you are translucent, but it is by way of this burning that wholeness is revealed.

Art by Lyse Marion

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Only love in disguise

To engage the journey of the shadow, to travel along the descendent current with your heart open, is a radical act of kindness and courage. For when you re-embody to the unwanted, you remove the burden from others to metabolize it for you, which they cannot do. You are then free to love them, and to set them free. In the course of doing so, you set yourself free, as well as everything around you.

In this way, love is not something you urgently seek more of or even something you can “give” to another. Rather, you become the activity of love itself, in all of your interactions. The “other” is then no longer related to as an object that may or may not be able to meet your needs, or someone who can take care of your unlived life for you. They are a subject in their own right, seeking to make meaning of a crazy world, and, just like you, longing for aliveness and connection.

For many, the sequestered material of the soma and the psyche is most vividly displayed in close relationship, especially as we start to allow another to matter to us, and as we take up the risk that vulnerable, exposed, embodied intimacy will always require. As nearly all of our wounding arose within an interpersonal environment, it will be most powerfully activated – as well as untangled and transformed – within a relational field.

As the ancient beliefs, emotions, and feelings erupt out of the collective, they do so seeking sanctuary where they can unfold and illuminate. The invitation is to infuse this sacred material with the revolutionary energies of full-spectrum attunement. This holding is not passive but is alive and radical, and of the nature of pure creativity.

You need not abandon yourself any longer. You need not postpone participation here any longer, until a future moment when you are “healed,” “awakened,” less confused or are in possession of some new information.

With curiosity, with presence, and with kindness as your guide, you can discover that the shadow is in some paradoxical way only love in disguise, come to re-introduce you to the raw aliveness of the exposed heart, and to the field of warm, tender, open space that you are.

Art from Jung's Red Book

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hidden, shadowy forms of love

If a child were to appear at your door – cold, scared, and tired from a long journey…
If he or she were anxious, heartbroken, raging, and confused…
Would you refuse entry to the little one? Would you first demand that his fear dissolve, her anxiety be healed, his confusion turn to clarity, or her heart be mended?
In your most authoritative spiritual voice, would you urge the little one to first "get over it,” to accept everything the way it is, to urgently forgive those who have harmed him, to fall into the bliss of the moment, or to drop into the state of no-self?
Or would you provide sanctuary and safe passage from a long voyage? A warm home in which the perceptions, the emotions, and the sensations of the little one can unfold, be illuminated, and be metabolized in a field of loving presence.
As Rumi reminds us, “Look as long as you can at the friend you love, no matter whether that friend is moving away or coming toward you.”
The friend is always appearing, in both obvious and disguised forms, as the others in your life as well as the unmet "inner other" at the door of your heart. As an image, a memory, a felt sense, or as a vision. Even as a color, the wind, the mountain, and as the moon as it floods the worlds with its lunar current.
The visitors of aliveness will never stop looking for you, they will never give up. For as hidden, shadowy forms of love, they will continue to dance and shape-shift around you, until you turn toward them and allow them to come inside.

Photo by Imgorthand/Vetta via Getty Images

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trust in the fires of disintegration

Maybe there was an idea that as you awakened the spectrum would narrow. That you would feel less. Maybe care less. That your sensitivity, your vulnerability, the rawness… that these would dissolve into some state of invincibility. That somehow you would transcend the erupting reality that the beloved could come in at any moment and remove the rug from underneath you.
But love is always asking us to feel more, to meet and touch and infuse the full range of the spectrum, to use whatever comes our way as a sacred (yet often wrathful) ally as we are crafted into a more luminous vessel for love to come alive here.
As the veil parts and your perception is cleansed, what remains is unknown. It is not approachable from what has come before. Somehow this is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. We are in the realm of pure creativity, which will never, ever conform to our hopes, fears, preferences, and dreams.
Something new is being born inside you, but something else has fallen away. An old dream, an outdated vision, a second-hand invitation. While it is uncertain, a bit unstable, shaky, chaotic, and groundless in the womb of now, a light shines out of the darkness, arriving with a fierce call.
This summons is rippling with the new, with an unprecedented sort of compassion, and is of the nature of full-spectrum aliveness. For love is ready at all times to make equal use of the energies of creation, preservation, and even destruction to seed the mandala around you. Everything that is partial will be recycled and re-integrated into the wholeness, but often in ways that are bewildering to a mind longing to return to the known.
While it may be terrifying and disorienting to the density of the mind and what has come before, the creativity of the new is overwhelming and outrageous. Trust in the fires of disintegration. For everything that is less than whole must be burned away, and out of the ashes of the unknown love will emerge in the most astonishing ways.
Stay close and keep your eyes open. Not just your ordinary eyes, but the pure vision that sees out of the heart.

Photo by Eugene Sergeev

Friday, November 11, 2016

Within the core of the heartbreak

It’s okay to be sad, and to allow your heart to break. To fall to the ground and bear witness to the dissolution of a vision of the way things were going to turn out.
Rather than spin away from the death as if it were a defeat, the invitation is to travel inside it. Within the core of the heartbreak there are jewels, and a golden bridge which connects you with others. Now is the time to recommit to what is most important and to remember why you have come.
It’s okay to fall apart, and in this to see if you were ever “together” to begin with. What you are is the vast, majestic field in which “together” and “apart” dance as lovers, revealing to you that the path of the heart is endless. And needs you now more than ever.
The forms that love take are by nature arising and dissolving in each moment. For this is the way of form. But love itself is that which never comes and goes.
You never know what form love will choose to take in the future, for there is no love in the future. Love is only now. You will never be able to resolve or pin down the movement of love as it is infinitely creative and at all times unfolding into greater wholeness and integration.
If you become too fused with a specific form you believe you need love to take, your heart will always break when love obliterates that form for something new, which it always will. For this is the gift of form. This dissolving and reorganization is a special kind of grace that the mind cannot know. But the heart knows. The body knows.
Before you seek to “heal” your heartbreak via spiritual process, turn to your heart and ask if it truly wishes to be mended. For this breaking is sacred and is the activity of a special envoy of love, sent from the unseen to dissolve old dreams… so that new forms may emerge. Ones that will be beyond imagination.
Be grateful for the forms of love while they appear, but allow them their own organic process of death and rebirth. Seek refuge not in love’s forms, but in the field of love itself, that which never comes and goes. For this is what you are.
Today may not be the day where answers will come, but to let your heart break open to the vastness of the question.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sitting with a friend in pain

At times, you may find yourself with a friend who is upset, falling apart, confused, hopeless, sad, and afraid. Nothing is making sense anymore, they are overwhelmed, and the emotions are unrelenting.
You are unsure how to help.
While their pain may trigger you, and set into motion an avalanche of urgent, anxious, fixing energy, a doorway has appeared.
Slow way down. Ground awareness in your body and listen. Not just to the words they are saying, but to the secret request emerging from their heart. Perhaps they are not asking for you to fix, cure, or even "heal" them. For they are not broken.
Join together with them, get on their side, as you proclaim together that pain is not pathology. That confusion is not pathology. That hopelessness is not pathology. That sadness, grief, not knowing, and feeling down are perfectly valid and not evidence that they have failed and are unworthy of love.
This may not be the moment for you to provide an "answer," but to hold them near as you confront the vastness of the question together.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The courage of the human heart

Our expectations in relationship – how much we will allow the other to matter, whether it is safe to assert a need, our fears around being loved as we are, the excitement and terror around leading with our vulnerability – originated in a fragile little nervous system that was longing for empathy and connection.
The strategies we developed to protect us from inevitable empathic failure arose intelligently at an earlier time to prevent overwhelm and massive dysregulation in a developing little heart.
Look carefully and you will see that these strategies are nearby, awaiting reorganization. But the implications of this rewiring are earth-shattering. To dissolve the dream of unworthiness is a radical act that will change everything. One world will end, without any knowing of what will come next. This is risky.
The neural pathways are tender, open, and responsive, as we seek attuned, right brain-to-right brain resonance with those around us. We want to feel felt, to have our subjective experience held and mirrored, and for the space in which we can explore unstructured states of being. To rest in the mystery of what we are.
While this encoding is deeply embedded, it can be reorganized. While it may feel so entrenched, it is not as solid as it appears. Even if your early environment was one of consistent empathic failure, developmental trauma, and insecure attachment, it is never too late. The wild realities of neuroplasticity and the courage of the human heart is unstoppable and an erupting force of creativity.
Through new relational experiences – with a therapist, a lover, a friend, a baby; or with a star, a deer, a tree, a sunset, or with the moon, it will be revealed that love is the basis of all neural circuitry. It is the substance which forms the neurons and their synapses, and lights up the cells in your heart in a fresh moment of warmth, presence, and kindness. Each time you meet and attune to another, receive their love, return it with your presence, and stay close with the “other” within you, this new world is born.
As long as there is breath moving in and out, you can update the narrative. You can make new meaning of your life, make a new commitment to the miracle of the here and now, and learn to flood your immediate experience with presence, warmth, and acceptance. Slowly, over time, you can embed your neural circuitry with the new pathway of holding awareness.
No matter what is happening in your life, you can start right now. In this moment. There is only ever this moment. The opportunity for reorganization is always here and wired within you. Don’t give up. Love will never give up on you.

Photo by David C. Schultz

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Erupting, alive, unprecedented

Being aware of surging vulnerability in the body is not necessarily the same as experiencing it, of meeting it and going inside it to surround it with your raw, warm presence. It is not necessarily the way of full-bodied, full-spectrum penetration.

While clarity is one pathway – and deeply important – the way of the heart is another.

It is relatively easy to train yourself to stand back from the messiness of the emotional world – in some clear, safe, untouchable, detached place – dissolving everything as it arises into empty space. That is fine. Dissolve away. 

But it is something different altogether to take the risk of intimacy, of allowing yourself to be touched, to move beyond the great witness of your experience, and into the world of the lover.

The beloved has no interest in your safe witnessing. Only in communion. Only in your naked, intimate presence. Here it is often quite messy, a bit out of control, wild, untamed, and sure to never conform to the way we thought it would be. The creativity burns away the known and reveals essence.

This field of creativity is what you are. Erupting, alive, and unprecedented. Dancing outside the conceptual world altogether, yet ready at all times to infuse the conceptual with color and light.

Photographer unknown