The purpose of this blog is to provide a holding, attuned, and provocative space for the mysteries of your heart to unfold. All of you is welcome here, in all of your glory - the painful, the joyous, the heartbroken, and the weary. The invitation is to see your entire life as an expression of high-voltage, creative guidance, and for you to offer yourself to the endless and infinite dimension of love that is emerging within and around you right now.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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