Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Your vulnerability is not a mistake

It is not an error
that you have been born
a sensitive human being,
with a tender nervous system
and a heart that is sometimes

Your vulnerability is not a mistake,
but a portal into aliveness.

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The re-enchantment of "healing"

There’s a lot of talk about “integrating” or “healing” traumatic experience which I believe has led to a lot of confusion.

It's important to re-envision words like “integration” and “healing," as they have lost their relevance, aliveness, and magic. Additionally, for many they have become further tools of shame, blame, and self-attack, re-enactments of an early environment lacking in empathic attunement. We must breathe life back into these ideas in an imaginative, grounded, and creative way.

Often what is meant by “integrating” or “healing” trauma (loosely defined here as experience characterized by unbearable or overwhelming affect) is that one day we will “get over it,” “transcend” it, meditate or "manifest" it away, or otherwise purge it from our psychic-emotional-somatic being.

In my clinical experience (in sitting in the fire with many courageous men and women with the most heartbreaking histories), this view of trauma is in large part inaccurate, aggressive, misguided, and at times even dangerous and violent. There are some things that happen to us that we will never “get over” nor would this even be an appropriate goal or lens to use in approaching the sacredness of the human temple.

Let us set aside any spirituality or “healing” which is (unconsciously or subtly) rooted in self-abandonment, self-attack, and self-hatred and replace it with slowness, empathy, and a grounded, relentless compassion. We must re-enchant this entire area of inquiry with love.

But if what we mean by “integration” is discovering a place inside us where we can hold and contain our experience, make sense of what happened in new ways, and discover deeper meaning, then these concepts can come alive again. Slowly, over time, guided by new levels of kindness, clear-seeing, and multileveled awareness, we can begin to bear that which has been unbearable, providing sanctuary and safe passage for the pieces of the broken world to re-organize.

As we train ourselves to re-inhabit our bodies even in the face of profoundly disturbing cognitions, feelings, and sensations, we can begin to weave a more "integrated" narrative of our lives, re-authoring the sacred story of who we are, our purpose here, and what is most important to us. We can gather the pieces into a coherent whole and begin to trust in the validity of our experience again.

The goal then is not some fixed state where we have successfully purged an aspect of our self-experience from what we are, as if it were some wretched foreign substance, but rather to find a larger home for it within us. Slowly, we can allow what has become frozen and solidified to thaw and become flexible. Ultimately, it is love that will soften the wounds of the body and the heart, for they will never unwind in an environment of self-aggression. It's just not safe or majestic enough there.

Over time, beyond merely holding and containing the sacred wound, we are invited to practice intimacy with it, to come even closer than we imagined possible to the lost children of the psyche and soma … discovering that they have not come to harm, but only to return home, to resume their instinctive place in the inner family.

In this way, perhaps we can salvage these concepts such as "integration" and "healing," at least for today, re-envisioning and re-enchanting them with the force of an uncompromising and unapologetic compassion, soaked in the wisdom-essence of our true nature, as we open into the mystery together.

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Breathe it into your cells

Use your breath to direct attention into the center of whatever feeling is arising. Send awareness inside your emotions and saturate them with light. Surround whatever appears with your presence, as a parent would cradle their shivering little one with a warm blanket.

For you are the parent to the orphans of the somatic world, as they emerge out of the unseen requesting safe passage in the vastness, one of love’s children on the journey of sacred return. Though their appearance can be disturbing and intense, they come not to harm … but to know themselves in form, as consciousness seeds matter with its qualities.

As you practice intimacy with the display of the embodied world, naturally attune to the breath as it passes in and out of your lungs. Take a moment to behold the miracle this truly is, to be given even one more breath on this new day. The implications of this alone are enough to take you to the ground and cut through the trance that something is missing.

As holy as the breath is, there is another substance passing through you. It is flowing in and out of the center of your heart, is subtle, and is apprehended only through one of your nonordinary senses. It is untamed, creative, and out of control, and keeps the stars from falling out of the sky. It is the substance pure love.

Oxygenate your entire being with this sacred material, and allow it to wash and nourish you. Breathe it into your cells and allow it to recycle in the four directions. Be a vessel in which this substance can pour into a world that has forgotten.

Please do whatever you can to help others, and never forget that even one moment of empathic, attuned presence can change someone’s life forever. Listen to them. Really, listen to them. Slow way way down and look into their eyes. Hold them. Share your calm, regulated nervous system with them. Dare to allow them to matter. Care for them and how they are making meaning of their experience.

Never forget that they are an erupting miracle of presence. Don’t forget. For we never know if we will have another chance.

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Opening a portal into wholeness

To whatever degree we have not provided sanctuary for unmet feelings of abandonment, loneliness, shame, and rage, we can count on our partners, children, and close friends to continue to offer this opportunity to us in a seemingly endless number of ways.

How painful. How excruciating. What grace.

It is outrageous what love will do to reach us… the relentlessness of the symbols, signs, and guidance, shapeshifting and taking unexpected forms in order to open a portal into wholeness.

A sunrise, a tree, an unknown longing that appears early in the morning. The moon, a deer, the water, the clouds… the flow of emotion within you. While these ones may appear as ordinary visitors on an ordinary day on an ordinary star… look again. Listen. Feel. Taste. Touch. As they dance their way into being, they pull back the veil so you can peer into the infinite, astonished by what is happening behind the scenes. It is anything but ordinary inside the crucible of your heart.

As we descend into the muddy earth and ascend into the heavens, we reclaim our birthright as embodied, tender, vulnerable human beings. Willing to fall apart, to be a mess, to not know how it will all turn out, to forget and remember, and to return over and over again into the mind of the beginner. Willing to participate fully in the chaotic glory and rare opportunity that has been provided here, to bear witness to the activity of love as it makes its way into form.

There are no experts and no masters on the path of love, only her humble servants. Ever at the feet of the beloved as she pours her body into the world of time and space… standing in awe at the miracle, at the luminous play of dark and light, and the unfolding union of spirit and matter.

Artist unknown

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

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother as the activity of love

May we hold all mothers in our hearts today, beholding the infinite forms that Mother will take in her journey to seed matter with her darkness and her light. Though it may appear otherwise, she has never given up on you, and never will. In this way, Mother is not only a person, but is the activity of love itself.

Through the offering of her essence and womb, she becomes a vessel through which life is made possible. By way of her form, the most outrageous opportunity is given to make the embodied human journey in a world where love is alive.

Whether or not you are able to thank mother for this offering, you can thank life everywhere by no longer postponing your participation here. By not waiting for another moment to remember what is most important or to give yourself to a world that needs you now more than ever.

The great Mother is alive within you, weaving a field of containment and holding for beings everywhere… as you slow down in the presence of another, stay close to their heartbreak, take the risk of allowing them to matter, and honor the way they are making meaning of their experience, even if it does not conform to your beliefs and ways of perception…

… as you listen carefully to their stories and their joy and their pain, speak kind words to them, and mirror back their wholeness and majesty even when they have forgotten… and as you provide a sanctuary of presence where they can come to rest from a long journey of becoming.

No matter your relationship with mom in the physical world, you can connect with Mother now through an umbilical cord of pure light, for the bond with her transcends time and space. Just beyond the veil, the heart of the Mother and your little heart are one.

As the Tibetans believe, every being has at one time been our Mother, and has shown us the most profound kindness, care, and compassion, willing to give her life so that we may come into being. Let us remember this kindness and return it to others in infinite ways.

May all Mother-beings everywhere receive an outpouring of blessings on this day. May their hearts and their bodies be washed in grace, and may they come to know directly, even for a moment, how loved they truly are.

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

In the middle is the secret place

Falling apart, holding it all together. Then falling apart, then coming back together again. Cycles of clarity and confusion. Hopelessness and hope. Heartbreak and bliss. As the seasons of the natural world unfold, so do the creative and destructive aspects of love as it makes its way into matter.

Inside the opposites it is relentlessly creative, but there is no solid ground from which to orient. Some sort of death has occurred, and we know that things cannot stay the same. Something is calling, reaching back into the present from a future that is marinating in the womb of Now. But what will be reborn from the ashes is not yet known.

Rather than scramble out of death and into rebirth prematurely, stay in the fire. It is unknown here, naked and fresh, and pregnant with essence. See that death does not need to be “healed” or “transformed,” for it is outrageous, wild, and utterly pure on its own. Enter inside the broken and discover the raw life that is found only here.

If you remain too identified with “falling apart,” you lose contact with innate radiance, and become misattuned to the flow of embodied experience as it is. You disconnect with the magic of presence, with the wisdom of the earth, and the realization that nothing is 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 natural vulnerability and the spontaneous mystery as it appears, turning from the surging reality that things could fall apart and reorganize at any moment. It is true that raw, tender heartbreak could approach 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 place. Stay there. It is here where you will find the rest you are longing for, the remedy to the exhaustion of becoming. 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 particles of the sacred world.

Photo by Donnchadh Murphy

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pain is not pathology

When sitting with a friend in pain, it may not be the moment to provide answers, but to hold them as you confront the vastness of the question together. They are not a project to be solved, but a mystery of love unfolding into form. At times, there is no apparent solution, but only raw, naked life, as it erupts in a sensitive nervous system. Care for them, hold their hand, make them some tea… walk with them into the fire of their immediate experience, trusting in its validity and intelligence. They are vast and contain multitudes.

The invitation is to stay in the complexity, the contradictions, and the energy of the opposites, for it is alive here and overflowing with a nonordinary wisdom. Dare to affirm with the earth as your witness: Pain is not pathology. Confusion is not pathology. Heartbreak is not pathology. Only path, this time appearing in a fierce and wrathful form. In ways the mind may always struggle to understand, at times grace will appear as darkness… but it is still grace nonetheless, come to re-order and seed meaning.

At these times, it is not usually answers that are most helpful, or strategies, techniques, and teachings. Give them the gift of a regulated, soothed nervous system, one that is not urgently scrambling for a cure. For it is your presence that will relieve them of the burden that they must transform, “get over it,” or “heal” in order for you to stay close.

Yes, something is attempting to break through, but just what that is cannot be known in a field of urgency, which is very unsafe, for it is not able to circle and provide sanctuary for the sensitivity, the vulnerability, and the tender unfolding of a heart in pain.

Slowly accompany them as they return into their window of tolerance. Contain the fire with the cooling rain of nonjudgmental, empathic attunement. Once some calm has returned, listen carefully as they attempt to make meaning of their experience, explore together the purpose of their symptoms, and stay close as they attempt to make sense of their life. Construct a crucible together in which the feelings, thoughts, and sensations can be held and integrated, weaved into a larger vision of who they are and honoring what is most important to them.

Within this sanctuary, which is alchemical by its nature, even pain, hopelessness, and confusion are revealed to be harbingers of integration, disguised messengers of soma and psyche who have come to herald new life. As your perception is cleansed, the purity of these ones will clarify, and their purpose will become known.

Photo by Johnny Franzen

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

Monday, May 8, 2017

Magic in the forest

It is so alive in the forest today, the light losing and finding itself: the yin, the moist, and the receptive, overflowing with Shakti and the golden wet essence. It is ripe and the moon is here… the unseen ones have gathered for an extraordinary meeting.

The honored guests are hidden members of the inner family: the achy, confused, and vulnerable ones, and the one who is uncertain about what is coming next. The one who has lost hope, unsure about why she is here, unable to fit into a world that has become lost in the trance of becoming.

It is pregnant here and so open, but too wild and imaginative to conform to your hopes, fears, and the way you thought it was all going to turn out. Here the grand project of self-improvement has no meaning, for the crucible is enchanted with love, no longer any possibility for the perception of an “incomplete moment.”

Yes, it can seem the guests are obstacles along the way, clouding your path and interfering with your longing for intimacy and aliveness. But in one moment of embodiment and clear seeing, it is revealed that the path is everywhere, and that the nature of any obstacle, when metabolized in luminous awareness, is pure wisdom, none other than the direct way home.

Something is being reorganized, but it’s not possible to know who you will be on the other side. It’s just too unprecedented. The activity of love is relentless, sending its high-voltage emissaries of deflation, shakiness, and melancholy to reveal wholeness and the unfolding reality of the natural great perfection.

Drop into the muddy earth by way of the descendent current and into the sacredness and purity of matter. Here, the seemingly solid dividing line between awareness and the forms which arise within it falls away and dissolves into the holding of the stars.

Love will continue to appear in new and ever-creative configurations, so that it may seed new forms in the majesty of the here and now. And in the union of inner and outer nature, form and formless are revealed to be one, of the same substance.

What you are is magic. Your heart is magic. Please don’t forget what you are.

Photo: deep in the light-forest of Karnaistenkorpi, Finland

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

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pure imagination

On the path of the heart you will never be asked to “get rid of your story,” as if it were some defilement to cleansed perception. At times you will wear it as an ornament and at other times you can set it down, allowing it to rest from a long journey, picking it up again and playing with its textures, colors, and fragrances, dancing in the contradictions as you open into the mystery.

We human beings are storytellers. Go ahead, tell one. Then listen carefully as the characters, plots, and settings share their wish to be authored in more integrated forms. Practice intimacy with your story, touching the beauty, the pain, the joy, and the heartbreak of your life as it has unfolded over the months and years. Hold it close, but not so close that you become engulfed and lose perspective. What you are is pure imagination, as the great tantric master Willy Wonka reminds us.

What story are you telling? It is a kind one? Does it represent the deepest truths you have discovered about your experience? It is alive? Is it whole? Does it embrace you as you fall into the mystery? Is it rooted in the actuality and raging creativity of the here and now, or is it a remnant of an outdated there and then?

Hold your stories close and allow them to breathe and share their soul. There’s no need to be afraid. You will not be tainted, or lose your way, or fall from grace, or lose your “powerful” nondual realization. Come into the playground of the relative world, with all its richness and color. You need not fuse with it or become lost, but enter inside as a courageous archeologist of the heart. Because you care about this place, about how you and your sisters and brothers are making meaning of a crazy world, a world that has forgotten, and fallen into trance.

Go ahead, get messy, get gooey, send your awareness into the untidy, the chaotic, and into the muddy earth that is your glorious body and imagination, for there is no greater temple. End the spirituality of disembodiment and aggression, and dare to care for form as much as formlessness. For it is equally sacred. Cradle the form in your arms as you would a newborn baby, as it aches to come alive here and share its essence.

We’re all storytellers. This seems to be a unique expression of being human, of interacting with our world and exploring its meaning, its purpose, and its contours. We don’t know if a rose tells a story about itself, or a deer, or the moon, or an owl. In any event, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about or to think of as lesser than other modes of being and expression.

Even your story is pure when met with eyes wide open, a luminous and irreplaceable expression of the mystery that you are. What you are is pure imagination.

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, May 4, 2017

The mystery of self and other

When our embodied, subjective experience is empathically held by another, our nervous systems down-regulate, our minds soften, our hearts open, and we come into a primordial sort of rest.

While our true nature as open, luminous awareness is the ultimate holding environment, as relational beings we are wired to rest within a relational matrix. To enter into this field with another, woven and constructed by the alchemical substances of presence and of space, is one of the great mysteries of the play of formlessness and form.

As we dance in the contradictions of self- and other- holding, we become a vessel through which the opposites of separation and union can unfold here. While the mind will spin to resolve the mystery, it was placed inside you by love itself, which by its nature is unresolvable, untamable, outrageous, and wild.

Never forget the transformative power of just one moment of pure kindness and what it can do in a person’s life … that person including yourself. It is wide awake, in perfect balance, and is the activity of revolution.

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Confronting the beloved within

It is so natural to long for deep relationship with another, a fellow traveler with whom to explore the mysteries of intimacy. Someone with whom you can walk into the uncharted lands of the heart, unsure where the journey will lead but pulled by the call to union.

“I want to share the burning,” you cry out! The tenderness, the joy, and the aliveness of what it means to enter into partnership with the holy other. To no longer hold back, to give everything to remove the remaining shreds of separation, and no longer postpone what you know is possible. This yearning is pure and can be honored for its authenticity and power.

In response to this primordial call, the “other” appears. Sadness rushes onto the scene: “But when will you practice intimacy with me?” Loneliness is next, pleading for a moment of your undistracted attention. Anger, despair, grief, self-loathing, jealousy, fear, and shame: “Us too! Please do not abandon us, and turn away for some projected lover! We are here and long to share our essence. Your prayer for true intimacy has been answered!”

Um … okay, but this is not what you expected. This response simply does not conform to your fantasies of the way you thought it would be. Where is the soul mate? The twin flame? The “good other” come to remove the existential flatness, the unbearable loneliness, the penetrating emptiness, and to confirm who it is you think you are.

Out of your genuine yearning, the ancient companions will always respond, as an embodied confrontation with the unconscious is required in order to realize intimate union. The lost soul pieces come not as enemies but as true, faithful lovers, seeking just one moment of your presence, attunement, and the light of your holding. While they remember being rejected in the past, they come nonetheless, never losing faith in the undivided condition of your true nature.

As you go deeper, you will encounter a profound truth along the way: you will never be able to be more intimate with another than you are with the unwanted lovers within. If you have not provided shelter for the unmet within you, how will you ever contain the wholeness that is the beloved?

Art by Cameron Gray

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

5-day retreat with Matt Licata & Jeff Foster in July in Colorado

Dear friends, thank you for your notes regarding my 2017 schedule. At this time, the only public event this year will be a five-day retreat in July with my friend Jeff Foster at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado.

We do expect the retreat to sell out (it's about 75% full currently) and will take reservations in the order they are received. Learn more about the retreat here

We look forward to spending this time with everyone in the mountains in July! 

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


A hope from beyond...

While the work of integration and encoding new circuitry is not easy, and requires just about everything we have, there is hope. While it can seem like moving a mountain, the pathways are open, translucent, and not as solid as they appear. In their own way, they long to be reorganized into more integrated and cohesive forms. They are hopeful that they will be restructured.

I do not speak all that often about hope, as I am a great fan of hopelessness as a wrathful and transformative companion on the path. There is magic inside hopelessness but the art of mining that gold has been lost in our modern world. You can still find it, it is buried inside your heart.

It is not some disembodied, theoretical, philosophical hope that is offered here. It is embodied, untamed, creative, and alive. It is not a hope that things will always turn out the way we want them to, or that love will always conform to our hopes and fears, or some surety that our most cherished dreams will not be shattered. It is much more radical than that.

It is a hope that is a wild sort of confidence in your true nature, which has never been unhealed. It is the kind of hope that you stand on the rooftop, shout out in the four directions, and embody with the sun, the moon, and the stars as your witness.

It is the hope of wholeness, and the utter workability and sacredness of your emotions, your feelings, and the temple that is your own body. It is the hope that your vulnerability, your tender heart, and your ripe being is a gift here, without which the planets may fall out of orbit.

It is the kind of hope that is not passive, but is the material of revolution.

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 27, 2017

Alive in the darkness

Love is the totality. It is whole. It is transmitting in the light but is also raging and alive in the darkness, shining brightly in ways the conventional world may never understand.

Within the confusion, sadness, despair, and grief, something very real is attempting to break through the images and identities that are no longer large enough to contain you.
Something is dying and making an attempt at rebirth.

It is incredibly rich here, but what this is may never conform to the fantasy of a life without vulnerability and confrontation with the unconscious.

Art credit: alchemical vessel releasing vapour by Elena Ray

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The death of an old dream

It is inevitable at times that the rug will be pulled out from underneath us, and we will come face to face with the naked, tender, glory, and mess of what it means to be an alive, sensitive human being. Things will fall apart, old dreams will die, relationships will end, and the allies of deflation and disappointment will dance in our hearts. Before we spin into the trance of shame, blame, unworthiness, and defeat, let us turn into the brokenness where the particles of aliveness await.

It is tempting to become convinced that something has gone wrong, that we have failed, this time as a good spiritual person. “Spiritual” people don’t experience anxiety, depression, rage, jealousy, fear, and hopelessness … right? What about staying the now? Stuffing the rage and forgiving everyone before you’ve digested the deep pain that was caused? Accepting and loving everything that appears without first confronting the heartbreak? Repressing the grief and replacing it with a consistent flowing gratitude for all that is. Clearly something has gone wrong … hasn't it?

Inside the deflation is a hidden truth that the path of the heart is not oriented in how we can manufacture a life where this does not happen, where we can remain safe and untouchable on the sidelines, in some transcended (dissociated?) state … for periodic eruptions of the beloved and her unknown emissaries is wired into this particular star. The rippling encounter with the tender and the groundlessness is not an indication that something is wrong with you, but is high-voltage evidence that you are alive. For this disenchantment is the prima materia that he or she has to reach you. These are no ordinary moments. This world needs alive women and men, now more than ever. Please stay awake.

Rather, the question during these times is: are you going to use these reorganizing and shattering experiences as vehicles though which to befriend yourself, to attune to the unprecedented flow of feeling with you, and to weave a sanctuary for the wisdom-pieces of the broken world to be held and illuminated? Or, will you fall back into your habitual, conditioned history, attack yourself, your tenderness, and your sacred vulnerability, spinning into the habitual fight-flight urgency of shame, blame, resentment, and self-aggression?

It is not pleasant when the rug is pulled out and old dreams collapse, as this activity seeds the experiential field with the radical, fierce envoys of deflation and disappointment, who are here to reorganize, not to maintain the status quo. But it was never the status quo that you were after any way. You’re just too wild for all that.

Seen with an open heart and perception that is cleansed, you will apprehend this reorganization as a wrathful form of grace, filled with a light that is only found in the core of the dark—preparing, marinating, and opening you into something beyond what you’re currently able to imagine … arranging the particles so that the mystery of what you are may fully come alive here.

Art by David Ho

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Opening into the middle

Co-emerging with a disturbing emotion or feeling-state is an invitation into the center, into the alchemical middle territory between the opposites of repression and fusion.

While the ways of self-abandonment are infinite, the most reliable is to disembody and begin thinking, to shift our awareness out of the surging, pregnant aliveness in the belly and the heart, and back into the numbing flatness of the conditioned storyline. It is believed to be safer here, more sure, and more certain, but there is nothing safe about disembodiment.

Yes, the voices can be relentless - sticky, loud, seductive, and claustrophobic. "Something is wrong." "You are not enough." "You have failed." "You must escape." "There is a horrible problem here that must urgently be handled." "You must improve yourself... and quickly."

These are the voices of the orphaned one who is longing to finally be seen, to be met, to be heard, to be felt. Spinning and scrambling to make sense of a misattuned world, she will do what she must to reach you. She wants you out of the fire and back into safety for this is all she knows, an earlier version of you without the capacity to turn into the somatic aliveness and offer the healing rains of loving presence. She is trying to care for you in the only ways she knows... but a new level of care is erupting underneath the surface.

When you find yourself pulled into the extremes of denying or repressing what has come, on the one hand, or fusing with it on the other, fueling the ancient story that something is wrong with you... the invitation is into slowness, into rest, into a primordial sort of opening into the middle. Nothing need be understood, shifted, transformed, or healed... for now.

The invitation is into holding, not healing.... for it is from the ground of this embodied, intimate, naked embrace with what you are that all healing will organically emerge.

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

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

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