The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now
Friday, March 31, 2017
With my parents looking through some old photos, this one emerged from the vaults. Wandering, broken open, in awe, some things never change… circa autumn 1992, Manikaran, Northern India.
This yogi was so nurturing and kind to me. We were living in the woods and he would always be awake before the sun, making chapati and feeding me. I never saw him eat himself, though I was told he had a few teaspoons of milk and rice each day (for the last 70+ years; no one had any idea how old he was). No matter what was happening, he made sure the crazy blue eyed white boy was fed and loved and held and cared for.
Every few days we would go to Khirganga to a meadow where Shiva apparently meditated for 3000 years. At the end of the road were the most amazing hot springs, where he guided me to rest in the pools of presence. For him, we were in the abode of Shiva and his healing waters… we just rested there together and remained astonished at it all, the whole display.
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 April
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
It is unlikely today is going to be the day when you figure your life out. When you heal your past. Resolve all your wounding. Get all your questions answered. Or know what is coming next.
It is unlikely today will be the day you finally manifest all the great things you think will make you happy. Call in the soulmate that will complete you. Permanently wiggle into some state of high-vibration and invulnerability. Or complete some mythical journey of spiritual awakening.
What a relief. A day of celebration… of what you are. And of the end of the dream of postponement.
You need no longer delay full, embodied participation in the miracle as it surges out of the darkness, the fragility, the shakiness, and the uncertainty. The invitation is into the opposites and the contradictions, where that which is unknown and unprecedented is taking form, where the energies of separation and of union co-emerge and spin out the relative world.
Today may not be the day for answers, but to finally let your heart break open to the vastness of the question. To stand on the rooftops and proclaim that you are not a project to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.
Buried inside the glory and the mess, right in the core of the not-knowing is pure creativity. This is what you are. Love has come into form, somehow, by some grace, as your feelings, as your imagination, as your body, and as the ragingly unique signature of the cells of your heart. There is no greater miracle than this. It is complete. You are complete.
Return into slowness and into this current breath, which contains all of the seen and unseen worlds. You are here, rippling and pregnant with life, and there is no urgency on the path of love.
Resting at sunrise in the holding of mother ocean, central Florida
The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Hidden underneath the rich and textured narrative, erupting under the colorful flow of image and emotion, there exists a fertile, vibrating, mysterious world of sensations: a somatically-organized field of intelligence, creativity, and aliveness.
As we enter the body with breath and awareness – descending under the conditioned and guided by new levels of curiosity, kindness, and care – we may come to appreciate our neurosis, our heartbreak, our fear, our disappointment, our “failure,” our doubt, our confusion, and our fragility. No longer viewing these forms as evidence of our lack of awakening or that we have fallen short… but as unique portals and invitations back into the center.
As the trance of shame, blame, and unworthiness burns up in the warmth of awareness, we find ourselves at the threshold of the sacred world. It is exhilarating here inside the opposites, but simultaneously terrifying to a mind longing for resolution, certainty, and control.
As we become aware of the ways that we distract ourselves from the open, center-less, alive nature of immediate experience, we can then make a choice to re-embody. We can return to the life of the senses, to our uncompromised commitment to self-kindness, to no longer apologizing for what we are, and to fully participating here in an unfolding miracle... setting aside the dream of postponement until a future moment.
In this place of heart-centered, compassion-infused embodiment, we can no longer pretend we’re not feeling what we’re actually feeling; whatever guest arrives in the home of the heart is allowed, surrounded in warmth, and taken directly into the inner sanctum. Inside this secret chamber, your neurosis, your fear, the deep need to be special, the frenetic scramble to be seen, to be “awake” – all this begins to become dismantled, dissolved, and taken apart by love.
While this disassembling is sure to involve both sweet and fierce grace, it is a movement of wholeness, and evidence of the full-spectrum nature of the path of the heart.
Friday, March 24, 2017
Early relational experiences are encoded in neural circuitry in the first 18 months of life. Stored as implicit memory, they are inaccessible by ordinary awareness, forming templates through which we engage the world. In a moment of activation, the templates come surging online. Before we realize it, previously sequestered material has flooded our perception.
Our expectations in relationship – whether we can count on others, are worthy of love, will allow another to matter or whether we can take the risk to lead with our vulnerability – are organized in a fragile little nervous system that yearns for connection. The neural pathways are tender and responsive, as we seek attuned, right-brain to right-brain resonance with those around us. We want to feel felt, have our experience held and mirrored, and for pure space in which we can explore unstructured states of being.
While this encoding is deeply embedded, it can be rewired. While it may feel entrenched, it is not as solid as it appears. Even if your early environment was one of 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 lover, a friend, a therapist, a baby; a star, a deer, a mountain, the moon – love is hidden inside the caverns of neural circuitry. It is the substance which forms the neurons and their synapses, lighting up heart-cells in a moment of connection. Each time you attune to another – or to the unmet inner “other” within you – a new world is born.
As long as breath is present, you can update the narrative, recraft your perception and re-envision a new story. You can make new meaning of your life, re-imagine your purpose, and renew your commitment to being here. Slowly, you can revise your circuitry with pathways of holding awareness, flooding it with empathic attunement, presence, and warmth.
No matter what is happening in your life, you can start right now, in this moment. The opportunity for reorganization is always here and wired deep within you. Don’t give up. Love will never give up on you.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Let us not forget the descendent current, flowing into the unlit places, the lower worlds, and the dark caverns of the psyche. The invitation here is one of embodiment – into the vulnerability, the chaos, and the deflating activity of the beloved as she enters into form to reveal wholeness.
There is something illuminating the way, but just what that is cannot be apprehended by way of the conceptual. There is no map here for the territory is too alive, too creative, and too sacred to be pinned down, controlled, and known ahead of time. While this degree of pure space may be disorienting to a mind seeking resolution, it is exhilarating in the depths of somatic being.
It is easy to disconnect from this current, as we overly identify with the ascending, the upward, the light, and the transcendent. In the rush to exit immediate experience – for something that is higher, purer, less messy, and less contradictory – we turn from the waters of life and lose touch with essence.
While it is natural to have a bias for one current over another, let us not do so at the expense of fragmentation. In ways the mind may never fully understand, there is a luminous middle place where the currents intertwine. It is buried in a secret chamber inside your own heart. Rest there.
Art from Jung’s Red Book
The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now
The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now
Monday, March 20, 2017
Something new is longing to emerge, but you cannot skip over the process of dissolution in order to create the conditions for its appearance. Rebirth will come, but can only arise from a conscious, embodied, and compassionate confrontation with the darkness as it longs for metabolization within.
The invitation before you now is to reimagine. To slow way down. To realize that nothing is urgent and that the timeline for resurrection is held in the stars.
Though it may appear to be yet another ordinary Saturday, nothing is ordinary inside your heart. Go out into the water and the dirt, and mingle your essence with the muddy earth. Allow her to help you to hold the sacred material, and to provide it safe passage so that it may reorganize.
There is guidance all around and inside you: your fellow journeyers, the sun, the moon, the animals, and the stars. The trees, the sky, your feelings, and the native intuition buried inside you.
You are being asked to re-enchant your world, and to seed it with new vision.
Friday, March 17, 2017
At times, a child will appear at your door. She will be cold, scared, anxious, and tired from a long journey of becoming. Her heart may be broken, rage may be erupting from her body, and she may be confused and uncertain about who she is and what is being asked of her.
How will you respond when she comes calling?
Will you allow her entry, move toward her with love and curiosity, and provide a sanctuary for her to fall apart in your arms? Or will you first demand that her fear convert to joy, her anxiety be healed, her confusion turn to clarity, and her heart be mended?
Will you take the risk of caring deeply and listen carefully to the dreams, the stories, the feelings, and the vulnerabilities which emanate from the little one in front of you?
Or will you admonish her to “get over it,” to urgently forgive even if she is not ready, quickly “transcend” her heartbreak with spiritual techniques, or require that she stay unwavering in the present moment? Demanding that she first surrender the dream of a separate self.
The “other” is always appearing, in both inner and outer forms. Look carefully and you will see. Externally as the people you are in relationship with, who provide endless opportunities for you to remember. And internally as the unmet other of the unlived life. Of the abandoned feelings, emotions, and somatic material that have been sent away into the forest of the unconscious, in the hope of protecting you from the full-spectrum nature of the path of the heart.
The tired, open, and luminous children of love will continue to appear, not to harm or as an obstacle along the way, but as alchemical allies of integration and wholeness. By way of feeling, sign, symbol, and soma, they will do anything to reach you. Before you turn from her and demand that she be someone other than what she is, open the door and see.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Buried inside even our deepest neuroses are the raw materials of love. In the tantric and alchemical traditions, those less-than-awakened thoughts, feelings, emotions, impulses, and raw sensations are the prima materia for us to work with. The shit, the piss, the dirt, the darkness, the failures, the disappointment, the deflation: this is the sacred material we have to work with as alchemists of our own lives.
Rather than becoming consumed with some mythical journey in order to get from “here” to “there,” where we get rid of the darkness, we turn it all upside down and travel inside it with courage, compassion, and creativity. No longer organized around “here to there,” but how will “there” erupt into form, how is it that we will become a transparent vessel in which love can come pouring in here to the world of time and space?
Yes, it will often be quite messy, utterly contradictory, and unbearably confusing at times… and so very human. But the invitation is to enter into intimacy with our neurosis, explore its color, texture, fragrance, and underlying energy, because we care so much, and want to know what is most true.
And what we discover is something quite luminous, that this material we have come to identify as “my life” is pure and sacred as it is, and inseparable from love itself. It is love in disguise, appearing in whatever form it must in order to reach you.
Monday, March 13, 2017
As you wander under this evening's full moon, allow the lunar current to part the veil. For just one moment, allow the archaic dream that something is wrong to dissolve in her wholeness. For this is her secret offering.
The shakiness, the doubt, the raw tenderness in your heart: it is not a mistake. You need no longer apologize for your sensitivity, for your vulnerability, and for the achiness that is surging within you. They are wisdom in disguise, luminous and creative doorways through which the poetry of your life will flow.
Gaze into her realm and receive the invitation to union, and to remember what is most important to you. To behold the shattering reality that love is alive, and that you are the vessel through which it may come to know itself in form.
Without you, love has no hope here. The lunar one and her emissaries are here to help you. Please don't give up on love, for it will never, ever give up on you.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Though unfolding outside conscious awareness, we carry the unconscious of those who have come before us. At some point in our journey, we will be asked to confront, integrate, and tend to the unlived lives of our personal and collective ancestry. This confrontation is a radical act of love, not only for yourself, but for beings everywhere.
Look carefully and see what you are holding, by way of your parents, grandparents, their parents and grandparents, and beyond: What dreams remained unfulfilled for them? What were their deepest longings? What secrets were they never able to share?
What kept them awake at night? What brought them alive and unleashed their creativity and uniqueness? What visions were not permitted to take form?
What were they required to disown in order to fit in to a world that had lost its sensitivity and soul? What became buried in the shadows of their unlived lives?
As you create an inner sanctuary in which this material can emerge – by way of feeling, image, symbol, and meaning – the seemingly solid lines between past, present, and future will dissolve. What is left in this process of dissolution is an invitation, a thundering call to integration, and into a journey into the uncharted territory of the heart.
In the mandala of wholeness, past, present, and future co-emerge and interpenetrate, each offering a unique passageway into your true nature, and into the jeweled-like qualities of what you are.
Art credit: in the liminal, carving by an unknown artist by way of Flammarion’s L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Honor the role that the inner family has played until now: the unlovable one, the unworthy one, the broken one, and the one who has not been seen. While a battle has been raging inside, the invitation is into surrender. You can call off the war.
Surround these ones with your awareness and breathe warmth into their center, into the images and symbols that have played within you for so long. They never intended to harm, but only to protect you from the raw, fiery tenderness of your own heart.
While you once required this protection at an earlier time, it may no longer be serving its original function. You must look and see for yourself. When you are ready, while honoring what the safety that has been offered, you can provide safe passage for the old ones to end their tired journey, and return into the vastness where they can rest.
At some point along the way, it is no longer necessary for you “let them go” in any active sort of way, by means of some psychological or spiritual process. For they will let go of you when their function is no longer required, in a way that is organic and reflective of true nature. For they are longing to return this sacred task to you, that of the embodied tending to the aliveness your own heart.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Learning to suffering consciously is an art that has been lost in our times. By training yourself to enter into an intimate, curious, embodied relationship with difficult psychological and emotional experience, you reclaim your right as an alive, sensitive, empowered human being. And proclaim your willingness to practice transmutation for the benefit of life everywhere.
Each time we turn from a painful feeling, bodily sensation, or disturbing emotion, we practice self-aggression, encoding circuitry of self-abandonment, as we hope to end-run the reality of our vulnerability. The split-off material is not healed, but placed into the shadow, where it is sure to surge in less-than-conscious ways in our relational worlds. We need only look around (and inside) with eyes wide open to see the consequences of this.
It is by way of compassionate confrontation and integration of the full-spectrum that we dance within the opposites and provide sanctuary for the unconscious to come into form. Through this integrative and consecrated activity the meaning of our experience will be revealed, and its role on the journey ahead clarified.
At times, the ally will appear in a sweet, peaceful, and light form, which we can take refuge in and be grateful for. At other times, the form will be fierce, wrathful, and of the dark, oriented not in peace, but in wholeness. While not as easy, we can come to be grateful for this one as well, who has not come to harm, but to reveal.
While the mind may turn from the wisdom and the love buried inside the shadows, the heart knows. The body knows.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
On the path of the heart, we will inevitably be asked to re-imagine and breathe new life into concepts that have lost their meaning along the way. Words like “growth” and “healing” must be seeded with new vision and brought alive again in the fire of direct experience.
In many ways, the journey has very little to do with “growing.” But is one of shedding and deflation, of recycling and reorganization. What is it that is being “grown” within us?
To what degree are we willing to rest in not-knowing, realizing that we’re never going to resolve or come to terms with the wildness of love as it takes form here? It’s just too creative for all that. For it is within the field of not-knowing that new meaning can emerge.
For many of us, “healing” has come to refer to a condition in which I no longer have to be in direct contact with my vulnerability, my sensitivity, and only in touch with a small band of the emotional spectrum. But this is not healing. It is partiality. And this will never satisfy the longing for wholeness that has been placed inside us from beyond.
For the alchemists, the first phase of the journey requires a confrontation and exploration of the negredo, the embrace of the black. Here the reference points around which we have previously organized our lives are dismantled. Even our deepest realizations and discoveries are converted into pure space.
While the temptation is to spin into resolution, to find answers to questions, and to be reborn as quickly as possible, a new invitation has appeared: to rest in the dark, rich, pregnant groundlessness. While it may seem that something is missing here, it is overflowing with essence.
Yes, all that you were so clear about even a few days can dissolve and lose its meaning: who you thought you were, how you would spend your time, the relationships you were sure would always be there, what was truly going to bring you the life you envisioned.
Something new is longing to emerge, but you cannot skip over the process of death in order to create the conditions for its appearance. Rebirth will come, but can only arise from a direct, embodied, and compassionate confrontation with death.
The invitation before you is into re-imagination. Sink into the muddy earth. And provide safe passage for the reorganization. There is guidance all around and inside you: your fellow journeyers, the sun, the moon, the animals, and the stars. You are being asked to re-enchant your world, and to see with new vision.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
What would it be like if you took the day off from becoming someone or something different? Or just a few hours? Or moments?
To set aside the grand project to improve yourself, heal your past, be someone different, or to learn something new. To figure something out, to manifest new things or experiences for yourself, to replace what is here for something different. To dare to allow in the life-shattering possibility that nothing is wrong, nothing is truly missing, and that your life is not a project to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.
To take a walk on this new day knowing that you are already fully connected. That there is nothing you must first learn or solve or understand or even heal in any conventional sense. To allow in the implications that you might not need to improve this moment. For these implications are revolutionary.
To allow in for just a moment the possibility that you have everything you need to fully participate here, in the sacred word that is all around you, with all of its glory, confusion, excruciating hopelessness, pure hope, causeless joy, and shattering heartbreak.
It can be exhilarating to allow this in, to give yourself to this, for just a few moments. And also quite disorienting. The mind will scramble to find the reference point of a problem, to orient around and to defend against the utter spaciousness of being. It’s so open here.
But the mind contracts in response to so much space. Wait a minute, there’s something wrong, isn’t there? I could have sworn something is wrong? There must be something that needs to be fixed, healed, shifted, or transformed; some more growth, understanding, insight, more realization which must first occur before I can fully show up here, fall to the ground in awe and gratitude, and commit to this life.
It’s just an experiment. Just for a few moments. Don’t worry. You can return to the life of there being a problem later on today, if you’d like. And attend to what must be attended to. But for now, look up into the sky, rest on the muddy earth, touch the water, feel your heart beating. You are alive. You are here. Everything that has ever happened, everyone you have ever met has brought you to this moment. By some miracle of grace, love has come into the world of time and space as you, as your life, exactly as it is, as an expression of the great mystery.
The breath is coming in and out now, whether you believe that you deserve it or not. The earth is unconditionally supporting you; you are not falling through space. But the breath will be gone at some point, usually much sooner than we’d all like. Breathe deeply now. And attune to the miracle. You need not postpone your participation here any longer. We never know if we will be given another opportunity tomorrow.