Sunday, June 25, 2017

A nonordinary gold

Paradoxically to the mind, but in ways the heart knows natively, inside the core of the tender and the raw is a nonordinary gold, a jewel that is found only there. We may not see it at first, as it is shrouded in darkness, buried in mud, and hidden inside the strands of awareness.

This gold is available at all times, though it may appear in unexpected and unrecognizable forms. As contradictory life circumstances, achy feelings, dream symbols, or causeless joy. As the variety of symptoms which surge in an open nervous system, arising in our lives to seed meaning, and remind us of something we may have forgotten along the way.

The jewels tend to uncover most evocatively by way of the others who come into (and out of) our lives, especially if we will take the risk of allowing them to matter. As our lovers, children, family, and friends, these ones have an uncanny ability to push up against everything that seeks the light of holding within us. How annoying. What grace.

Through the appearance and disappearance of form, we come to know the inherent purity of matter, revealing its oneness with spirit, each weaved of the same luminous substance. Here, we see that form and formlessness are not two, dancing and interpenetrating with one another as they play and spin the relative into being.

As the veil parts and our perception is cleansed, the struggle to get from “here” to “there” dissolves into the vastness. What is left is pure potentiality, but this level of openness can be disorienting, especially as we see that there is no possibility of an incomplete moment.

No longer enchanted by the trance of “there,” we drop into the magic of the sacred world, in all its chaotic glory. Here we can play with form, seeing it as an expression of pure spirit, not fearing we will fuse with it and lose our way. And yet even if we do become lost, which we inevitably will, we can rejoice in the opportunity to be found once again.

Photo of Lamayuru, home for a summer, long ago, dreaming of the golden. I’ll never forget coming into Lamayuru after staying in Kashmir on the lake – the awe, the space, and the majesty of it all. It is like the moon there.

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

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 85% sold out as of June 1)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Vulnerability and aliveness are not two

Much is said these days about healing and spiritual awakening, and the deep joy, clarity, and peace that are the promised fruits of the inner life. Not much is mentioned, however, about the disappointment involved in waking up, and the immense deflation wired into the healing process.

Awakening can break our hearts and shatter old dreams. It is oriented in birth and death, creativity and destruction, and must by its nature dance in the full spectrum. Not only does it introduce us to transfiguration, but to the chaotic glory of the crucifixion and resurrection as well. Yes, the Kingdom is here, now, but requires your full participation for its qualities to emerge here.

While it is natural to have a bias for resurrection, inside the crucible dark and light are one. Here, crucifixion is holy and disappointment is sacred, for they are forerunners of wholeness. Death and life are not two. Confusion and clarity are not two. Vulnerability and aliveness are not two.

It requires a nonconventional, courageous commitment to participate in these pathways, and you may always find some resistance inside you and within the collective. It requires erupting momentum to reorganize what has until now been the status quo. “Getting what I want” is no longer the reference point from which you will be asked to organize your experience. Love is the new organizer and may have a different idea.

You may always be asked to provide sanctuary and safe passage for fear, uncertainty, doubt, and despair. These are the secret allies guarding the gate and have been placed on your path as disguised forms of love. They have not come to harm, but as portals into something new, quantum, vast, and non-controllable.

Dare to see that things are not always as they appear. Relationships ending, dreams collapsing, careers recycling, the death of a family member, and the infinite symptoms of the somatic and emotional worlds … drenched in purpose, soaking in meaning. Evidence not of error, failure, or defeat, but of the relentlessly creative nature of love as it emerges here.

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

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 85% sold out as of June 1)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Held, not healed

There are times when you become activated, hooked, and triggered, and the walls feel as if they are closing in. Thoughts that something is wrong with you, that you are unworthy, unlovable. Feelings of shame, rage, fear, and despair.

Before you conclude that all is lost, slow way down. Cut into the trance with your breath, soothe it with your senses, and dissolve it with the allies of the natural world around you. Feel your feet on the ground. A child has appeared. An orphan. One who has been on a long, tumultuous journey. She is lost and disoriented, he is longing for rest.

As the knock on the door becomes louder, you must decide if you will let this one in, or turn her away. Even though for thousands of moments the knock has fallen upon deaf ears, she has not given up. She cannot give up.

If you do not care for the lost ones, who will? You have asked your partners, your children, your family members, your friends. As much as they love you, they cannot open the door for you. You are the only one with the key.

No matter what is going on in your life, or how convinced you have become that you have failed, you can turn toward the door, now. Start exactly where you are with an intention to no longer abandon yourself.

The abandoned ones are in constant movement, spinning and shifting shapes in their longing to be seen and allowed back home. Appearing as thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories. As fantasies, symptoms, hopes, and dreams. Even as the colors and the mountains, the trees, and the stars.

With the intention for communion as your guide, the next time you are met by the burning, the restlessness, the claustrophobia, and the shaky, survival-level vulnerability, remember your aspiration. Weave together a sanctuary where the visitors can rest from a long journey. Provide safe passage such that their richness and meaning may be revealed.

Inside the heart, you will see that the lost ones do not need to be transformed. They do not need to be shifted. They do not even need to be healed. Only held. Go slowly. One second at a time, then rest. They are not in a hurry. They have been looking for you since beginningless time, and will never give up.

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

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 85% sold out as of June 1)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Meeting Dad in the mystery

May we hold all Fathers in our hearts today, in recognition of the gift of life they have given. Some of us are close with Dad, some are not. Some have very fond memories of him and some do not. Some of us never really got to know that person we call(ed) “Dad,” what moved and inspired him, what triggered fear in him or what brought him joy, what was really going on in his heart, or what he truly wanted from this life.

But the one thing we do know is that, just like us, Dad only ever wanted to be happy, to be free from suffering, and in his own way longed to enter into the mystery, to live a meaningful life, to respond skillfully to suffering and heartbreak, to know for even a moment the truth that love is alive here.

Also, just like us, Dad is/ was only able to use the tools he had been given to take the journey that was his. It is not likely Dad was raised by enlightened parents, learned about mindfulness, empathic attunement, or practiced yoga. Or grew up in an environment which fully held and mirrored the unfolding majesty that he was at the deepest levels. Just like us, Dad has acted out of his own pain, in ways that have caused suffering for him, for us, and for those around us. Just like we have.

We may never understand the nature of Dad’s journey, why he acts as he does, what scares him, touches his heart, or how he is making meaning of a crazy world; what his deepest fears and longings are (or were), what keeps him up at night, or what causes him to fall to the ground in awe. We may never be able to make sense of it. But perhaps today is not a day of answers or understanding, or even of healing, forgiving, or accepting. Perhaps today is a day of just one moment of sacred pause, heart-connection, shared presence, and remembrance. And meeting Dad in the core of the mystery.

Whether Dad is still on this earth or love has sent him elsewhere, it is possible to connect with him right here and right now, for he is alive inside every cell. For some unknown reason, love has placed him into the strands of your DNA, and in many (but not all) cases he has done his best to love you, given his own limited abilities and influences, developmental and karmic. Perhaps he has succeeded, perhaps he has failed. Or perhaps it has been mixed, as our love has been for him.

No matter what has happened in the past, or the nature of your relationship with this one we call “Dad,” he has provided the gift of life, a precious human body, and the opportunity to take this rare human journey, to explore the mysteries of love in form. While some of us may not be able to meet and connect with Dad in this way, if our time with him was just too painful or too destructive (we can honor this truth and need not shame or attack ourselves for it), we can hold this aspiration in our hearts, if (and only if) we are so called, and allow the seeds of love and healing to flower in their own way, in their own time.

May we honor Father on this day in all of his emanations and in all of his forms – personal, collective, transpersonal, and beyond – and may we be guided by the wisdom qualities that have come down through Father everywhere, since beginningless time.

May we embody these qualities and make use of these blessings to help others, to do what we can to reduce suffering in this world, and to never forget the inherent goodness in the erupting human heart.

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

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 85% sold out as of June 1)

Friday, June 16, 2017

New book available - The Path Is Everywhere

Dear friends, my new book - The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You - is now available here

Drawing on my personal journey as well as my work with others as a psychotherapist and guide, I wrote the book with the intention that it serve as a provocative, alive, and compassionate invitation to re-enchant our ideas about healing and spiritual awakening in the modern world.

Weaving together the wisdom streams of contemplative spirituality, relational and somatic psychotherapy, and the poetic imagination, The Path Is Everywhere reminds us that the depth and magic of the sacred world is always already here, buried in our emotions, bodies, relationships, and in the natural world itself.

You can order the book on Amazon here.  

Many have grown weary from a long search, exhausted from an endless quest to improve, hold it all together, heal all their wounds, and complete some mythical spiritual journey. But you are not a project to be solved. You are a mystery coming into form, and have the raw materials that you need, right now, to live a life of profound depth, meaning, and purpose.

I hope you enjoy the book and find it helpful on your journey. If you have found my writing interesting or useful over the years, I'd be grateful if you'd write a review at Amazon; thank you so much.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nothing safer than that

While the path of the heart may not always feel safe, you are the vast, majestic space in which all feelings come and go. Not a space that is cold, distant, and detached, but one that is overflowing with warmth and pregnant with the creativity of the unknown.

To turn from yourself in the face of activation, to get tangled up in the forest of shame, blame, resentment, and complaint, is unkind, and merely enforces the ancient, worn out circuitry of self-aggression. There is nothing less safe than attacking your own vulnerability.

But to stay with yourself in times of activation, to practice intimacy with the contradictions, and to renew your vow to never abandon the visitors as they appear. The invitation is to turn back toward yourself and breathe new life into the sensitive, the tender, the shaky, and the raw. Bear witness to the new circuitry as it forms.

When the old strategies of abandonment begin to fall away, all that remains is your burning heart. There is nothing more alive than that. To truly hold and care for yourself in radically new ways. There is nothing safer than that.

Photo by Martin Sojka – golden sunrise over Lamayuru, where I once found myself wandering, dreaming, lost, and found…

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A devastating ally on the path

The next time you feel abandoned, feel it fully. Let it all the way in this time. Not the story of abandonment, but the raw sensations that have been longing for your holding.

Embrace the shakiness, the brokenness, and the raw life that is moving through you. Don’t turn away, not this time. For your need yourself now more than ever.

There is a portal inside the abandoned one, buried in her heart, her body, and in the core of the emptiness. There is gold there, but it is hidden and requires new perception to unearth.

In the willingness to bring breath and to flood the feelings with the warmth of your presence, you will discover that which has never been abandoned. Take this one as your lover.

In the commitment to never turn from him or her again, everything will break open, revealing the erupting, tender aliveness at the core.

Even abandonment, when met, allowed, contained, and held, will reveal its purity, and clarify its role as a sacred, though devastating ally on the path.

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Spirit buried inside matter

All the form in your life—the conflicts, the struggle, the shit, the emotions, the symptoms, the heartbreak, the crushed longing, the dying dreams… the falling apart of hope, the despair, the sense that something is wrong with you… this is the rich material you have to work with. While it may seem that the freedom and aliveness you long for will be found in the eradication of the dark, it is filled with spirit, magic, and meaning.

It is this prima materia, as the alchemists called it, that is your connection with the sacred. You need not transcend your life, your problems, your symptoms, or your neurosis to know this. For inside the core of form is an intelligence that is found only there:

Sadness has something to show you that joy could never teach. Inside aloneness is a secret offering that can never be found in connection. Hopelessness, when held and entered into relationship with, holds meaning that hope is unable to reveal. Multiplicity is just as holy as oneness, matter just as consecrated as spirit.

It is pure and creative inside the symptom, but this is something our conventional world has lost contact with, in the overemphasis on becoming and loss of imagination. But the alchemists and tantrikas and the unseen ones and the moon, the sun, and the stars have come into form to remind us…

There is spirt buried inside matter, and matter is ragingly alive with spirit. Your feelings, emotions, your senses; the colors, the fragrances, the trees, the mud, and the water… there is no separation between inner and outer nature, they are drenched equally in spirit.

“What about my passion,” Rumi asks God. God says, “Keep it burning.” “What about my heart?” says Rumi. “Tell me what you hold inside it,” says God. “Pain and sorrow,” says Rumi. God says, “Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

Before you conclude that there is something wrong and that life has failed you, slow down. We are conditioned to find a problem where there is an invitation. Use your imagination and dream a new dream. Touch the earth. Place your hands on your heart. Attune to the aliveness of the inner body and listen.

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Like a rainbow

With your heart open, look carefully at the ways you habitually place others’ needs over your own… not out of genuine compassion for them, but as a re-enactment of an early environment of shame and unworthiness.

Just one moment of clear seeing. Pure curiosity. No judgment, no self-attack, no more violence. End the war. Now.

It is in this seeing that seeds are planted for a new way, one encoded with wisdom, attunement, and a wild sort of kindness. This encoding is not passive, but one that shatters the status quo as a forerunner of revolution.

Out of these qualities, which are not added to you, but revealed to be the always already substance of your very cell tissue, the seemingly solid distinction between self and other will reveal itself to be quite translucent.

Like a rainbow.

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A sacred conundrum

From the perspective of exhaustion and confusion, it is intelligent to seek relief from the uncertainty and 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 orient and take your next step. It is an act of kindness to practice self-care, to slow down, to weave a new story, and to soothe an overstimulated nervous system.

From the perspective of raw, reorganizing love, groundlessness and aliveness are one, for there is no life without embodiment to the flow of vulnerability in all its forms. Here, there is nothing to hold onto, no solid reference points to take refuge in, nothing to heal, and nothing to transform. There is no possibility of an “incomplete” moment and your experience is the expression of wisdom: naked, open, and pure as it is.

While the mind may spin in the attempt to resolve this mystery, this conundrum is sacred and has been placed inside you not to be solved with an answer but to be lived as a question. The relief and rest you are longing for may never be found within the field of conceptual resolution but only by way of intimacy with the contradictions as they dance in and around you.

Though the activity of love is infinitely tender and holding, in its essence it is everything. It is devastating as it is the end of one world, glorious as the dawn of another.

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The magic of emotion

As open, sensitive human beings, we may never be able to avoid the experience of emotional pain. This fact is not evidence that there is something wrong with us, but that we are alive.

Welcome. You are alive. Thank god you have a body and a heart and a mind which allow you to feel, and to make meaning of your feelings, and use them skillfully as a bridge to connect with others. Let us end the pathologizing of emotion once and for all, instead proclaiming together the holiness of feeling.

Sometimes it is as if our hearts are on the outside of our skin, rather than safely protected by the rib cage, hidden away in some fantasy of invincibility. Even the wind blowing, as it makes contact with the raw, tender, exposed flesh is enough to take us to the ground.

As we somehow take the risk of opening more, we might see that emotional vulnerability is in fact the only response that makes any sort of sense in a world that has gone a bit mad. In this way, we can re-contextualize and re-enchant our emotional experience, breathe new life into it and behold its sacredness. It is magic to be an emotional being, and we need no longer apologize for this.

Emotional pain has been pathologized in our world, along with vulnerability, heartbreak, grief, and any sort of state of feeling a bit down. We doubt ourselves and question our very being, afraid to trust in the purity and integrity of our experience exactly as it is.

But emotional pain is not pathology. Grief is not a condition to be diagnosed and treated. Feeling down and blue and a bit hopeless is not a disease which need be cured by consumption, whether that consumption is of material goods or new inner states. A broken heart is pure and is complete on its own, filled with intelligence, life, and seeds of creativity and expression. It need not be mended or transformed into something else. It is the vehicle by which the poetry of your life may flow and your unique individuality may come alive here.

To stay embodied with waves of grief, confusion, rage, fear, despondency, exhaustion, hopelessness, and doubt … to provide sanctuary and safe passage for the pieces of a broken world … to dissolve once and for all the trance of self-abandonment … this invitation is one that is radical and nonconventional by its nature, appearing now for your consideration.

To infuse the entire spectrum with breath, with life, with awareness, and with holding will liberate an eruption of skillful energy, and help us to make meaning, to bear the unbearable, and truly be there for others when they are suffering. And to be warriors in the world at those times we are needed most.

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Friday, June 2, 2017

The raw materials of resurrection

There was an idea that as you healed, you would feel less. That as you awakened, the emotional spectrum would narrow, into some safe, consistent, happy, resolved calm. But you are seeing that love continues to ask you to feel more, to hold and metabolize the full-spectrum of a broken open world.

There was an old hope that as your heart opened, the vulnerability would diminish, the shakiness would fall away, the tenderness would yield… but you are more raw now than ever before.

There was an old belief that as you deepened on the path that you'd be more detached, untouchable, not care so much about others and the world, resting as the great “witness” beyond it all, in some safe, constructed place of observation. But somehow, everything and everyone matter now more than ever, in spontaneous, unexpected ways.

Something new is being born inside you, but something else is dying. Rather than prematurely forcing rebirth to emerge, turn into the uncertainty, the contradictions, and the purity of the death of an old dream. For it is here that the womb of new life is to be found, where the raw materials of resurrection are woven into being by the Great Weaver herself.

While this level of trust may be disorienting to a mind longing for resolution, the body knows… the heart knows. Trust in the fires of disintegration. And the birth that can arise only from the ashes of that level of grace.

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Therapeutic companionship

Beyond all the theories, conflicting approaches, interventions, and strategies, for me therapeutic companionship is a process of bearing witness to the life of another as they come to befriend themselves in a way that was not possible until now. To excavate meaning where there was none, to find purpose in the core of the purposelessness, breath where there was no breath to be found.

This befriending is not ordinary or passive, not always flowing and peaceful. It is fierce, on fire, and an act of revolution. It is the light shining out of the core of the dark night, the outrageousness of the human spirit, and the basic goodness of the human heart.

To walk into the dark wood, into the disorienting and hopeless places, without knowing where the journey will lead, if we will make it out in one piece, or where new life will be found. Making sense together of where they have been, who they see themselves to be, and what they are longing to become. To illuminate what matters most to them and cradle it in our shared heart. To help them gather the pieces of the broken world.

To proclaim their experience as utterly valid, their feelings as ragingly honorable and intelligent, that they are worthy of love as they are. That despite the pain of the present, the traumas of the past, and the fragmented dreams of the future we will dare to reclaim the aspects, parts, and pieces of the soul that have been turned from, now longing to return home.

We will assert together that pain is not pathology, that they need not be "cured" in order for us to stay near, that their suffering is authentic, that their hopelessness well-founded. Even their doubt is holy when allowed into the inner sanctum. What they are is not some project to be improved, but a mystery to be lived.

And then, from that foundation of companionship and bearing witness to the sacredness of what a human being truly is—including the profound grief, despair, and moments of great joy—we are able to turn together into the unknown and bow before its immensity.

It is awesome, in the truest sense of the word, to bear witness in this way. To fall to the ground in the beholding of God in action, of the unstoppable wild bravery of the human spirit, and the relentlessness and creativity of love as it makes its way into form.

Photo credit: James Estrin/ New York Times

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

The magic of attunement

On a flight from Denver to Oahu, I sat next to a lovely couple who must have been in their early to mid-70s. I was struck by how attuned they were to one another - the slightest cue from one was received by the other and responded to. I could literally feel in my body each time they experienced this linkage, right-brain to right-brain holding in all its purity. At other times, they would return into their own individuality, weaving together and dancing in the middle, totally connected and totally separate simultaneously. It was like magic.

As soon as I thought they had lost contact, they would meet one other's glance spontaneously, as if to behold together the unspoken holiness of the relational field itself. No words needed. It was as if I could feel their mirror neurons coming online together, empathically in resonance, attuned to one another's arising emotional subjectivity. They were alive to what was needed in a given moment, but not more. Intimacy without fusion. Communion without impingement. All in a perfect flow of mutual co-regulation.

For some reason their dance, their play, their love... it really touched me, so much that I found myself weeping a bit. I didn't want to cause a scene or make them uncomfortable so kept to myself as much as I could. I know, those that know me, it's not like me to "not make a scene" or refrain from "making others uncomfortable." I really was trying to behave, though; it was only 45 minutes into a long flight after all.

After a bit more time passed, they pulled out their video player and were going to watch a movie together. I was curious how they would be able to remain connected and do this as there was only one headphone jack on their iPad. Would they alternate? Knowing them (as I had for about an hour now), I was sure one would just sacrifice the sound for the other, and they'd switch periodically, trusting they would be able to dialogue about the film after it was over, catching each other up to what parts each of them missed.

Before I realized exactly what was going on, the gentleman pulled out a Y-shaped thingy which allowed them to both plug their headphones in at once. I lost it. It was so perfect, and so them. Just more attunement and connection, this time taking shape as some weird looking modern electronic device. The tears flowed even more in reveling at their sweet connection.

They finally glanced over at me, my intention to not create a scene lost to the crushing power of love that flows between two people. They both smiled and the man patted me on the shoulder, his eyes near bursting into tears himself. We stepped into some sort of crucible outside time and space where the veil parted and only love remained.
I was so grateful that they allowed me into their sacred world for a moment, and into the mystery of lover and beloved as it unfolds here, into eternity.

Postscript: just before landing, I shared this post with them. The three of us just sort of silently wept together, holding hands... as we descended into Waikiki... three new friends, held by the beloved and her mysterious ways, and the sweetness of a Hawaiian sunset. There is truly never any such thing as an "incomplete" moment.

I feel quite confident I could die now. To know even one sliver of this love... I've been given so much more than enough.

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

If a child were to appear at your door

If a child were to appear at your door: cold, scared, and tired from a long journey…

If he or she were anxious, in despair, full of rage, or confused…

Would you refuse entry to the little one? Would you tell him to come back once he dissolved his fear, replaced his anger with gratitude, and clarified his confusion? When she healed her anxiety, mended her broken heart, and transformed her deep feeling of unworthiness?

Would you require these things before you allowed the little one in, held him, and provided shelter for her raw vulnerability to rest from an ancient voyage of becoming?

In your most authoritative spiritual voice, would you urge the little one to "get over it,” scramble to accept everything the way it is, return immediately to the present moment, urgently forgive those who have harmed him, quickly rid herself of her “ego,” or manifest a “higher vibration?”

Or would you offer sanctuary and safe passage from a long passage? A warm home in which the stories, the emotions, and somatic trauma of the little one can be illuminated, contained, and held in a tender womb of care and loving kindness? A place of respite for the little one to find some new meaning in a world that has forgotten and let them down.

As you provide a temple of refuge for the tired children of the heart to dwell, the gates to the mandala open and you will see just how relentless love is. It will never stop sending its emissaries here to find you, as the ultimate act of mercy and grace, to remind you of your innocence and your vast, majestic wholeness.

The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

To have a need

Many I speak with have come to the conclusion that it is not okay for them to have a need. Or that it is certainly not very “spiritual.” As little ones in our families of origin, expressing a need wasn’t always very safe and often met with dysregulating empathic failure. We learned that having a need was the fast path to hopelessness, disappointment, and shame, watching as attunement, contact, and affection was removed from the field around us.

Because it was too anxiety-provoking to allow for the reality of any sort of limitation in our caregivers, we defaulted to the conclusion that there must something wrong with us and that we are not worthy of having a need. While that realization was painful, we could temporarily rest knowing that someone was there to protect us … all the while shifting the blame to ourselves, laying the foundation for the deep shame that so many experience later on, especially in intimate relationship.

As adults, often this core belief gets validated by teachings which confirm that having a need is a sign of lack of progress on the path, evidence of not enough faith or trust, too much attachment, failure to “stay in the now,” to understand the teachings on “no-self,” or that we are lost in the “ego.” The shame and blame continue, but with flowery spiritual language replacing the voices of the original bad other.

Let us stand on the rooftop and shout out together, with the sun, the moon, and the stars as our witnesses: There is nothing wrong with having a need. It’s so human, to have some yearning in the heart, some longing for connection, to be met in presence, to be seen, to be heard, to be touched, to be held. We are relational mammals. We will not be overriding millions of years of evolution anytime soon, in the wake of learning some new teachings.

While having a need is perfectly natural, the reality is that it is unlikely your needs are ever going to be fully met, especially by another. With your heart open, make requests to your lovers, your friends, and your family. Know that they will sometimes be able to meet you, to see you as you are, and provide what you are asking for. When they do, you can rejoice and give thanks. And when they do not, you can likewise rejoice and give thanks, for the opportunity to tend to yourself in a radically new way.

At times we will feel complete, resting in the wholeness that we are, and not in contact with any particular need or desire. At other times we will be drawn to assert a need, to ask for help, to enact a firm boundary, to honor a longing in the body or heart, to state very clearly what we want. We can stay committed to both of these experiences as perfectly valid and authentic expressions of our true nature, willing to be utterly chaotically gloriously human, without apology.

Please continue to make requests of your lovers and friends, in all of their forms, while simultaneously remaining committed to the empowered, alive realm of self-care, no longer willing to abandon yourself, even if you are abandoned by another. To dare to be your own best friend, to attend to your body and your heart and your soul in wild and wise ways, even when the other is nowhere to be found.

And when some of your needs do go unmet, as they inevitably will, to no longer be seduced by the ancient conclusion of the little one who deemed herself unworthy as she longed to make sense of an environment that could not hold her as the mystery that she was. Instead, to slow down, breathe into your lower belly, open your senses, and step into the sacred world which is here now. To honor the power and holiness of the relational field, which is not oriented around meeting all your needs, but revealing how whole you already 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

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