Thursday, December 28, 2017

Only one prayer remains


Alone on an empty beach, overflowing with a full heart. My fellow travelers have gathered - the sea gulls, the ocean, the sand, and the moon.

The longing of a lifetime fulfilled in this moment. Only one prayer remains: Thank you.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 





Monday, December 25, 2017

How well did I love?


Sending love to my friends everywhere on this Christmas day. Thank you for sharing your sacred stories, pain, and joy with me in 2017 and for never letting me forget the courage, bravery, and unstoppable, outrageous, wildness, and creativity of the human heart.

In the face of an avalanche of painful emotion and limiting self-beliefs, we can fall down the rabbit hole and drown in the momentum of a lifetime.

Whose thoughts, feelings, and voices are they anyway? Are they my own, or am I carrying the exiles of unworthiness and trauma of my parents, grandparents, ancestors, and culture?

In a moment of activation, it’s not easy to cut through the trance and step outside the orbit of the conditioned psyche. The invitation is to flood the arising inner family with space, presence, curiosity, and compassion. To encode new circuitry and choose a new way.

Though it can feel like moving a mountain, here we are. Together. Now. It is up to each of us to bring these fruits can into the collective, not only for our own benefit, but for our brothers and sisters everywhere.

To remember what is most important, and to live from that. To take a risk in allowing another to matter, to allow this life to truly matter. To care more, not less. To set aside the fantasy of transcending our vulnerability and sensitivity, and instead making use of the broken and the tender as bridges into the hearts of others. To no longer stay on the sidelines, but to fully participate in the bounty that has been placed inside and around us.

To allow Christ to be born inside our hearts, raging and alive, buried in the core of our cells, organs, and synapses, overflowing with the water of life. To behold that wisdom essence as it re-colors our perception, cleanses our imagination, and bathes our nervous system in rest, creativity, breath, and new life.

May we pause today in awe, take a break from the holiday madness and remember the gift of life. Behold the utter majesty of being given a human body, the chance to touch the sand, feel the water, and explore the mystery with our fellow travelers.

On this new day, let us share the most profound gift of our presence, listening carefully to others and what is most alive in their hearts. To care deeply about how they are organizing and making meaning of their experience, and what matters most to them.

To speak words of kindness, to touch and hold them and do what we can so that they feel felt. To validate their emotional worlds and provide safe haven for their essence to unfold in the field between us.

And to remember that in the end, when we are passing from this world, there may be only one thing that truly matters: how well did I love when I was here.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 





Sunday, December 24, 2017

Primary experience and the nervous system


Emotionally-sensitive, somatically-grounded inner work is unique to each nervous system. We must discover for ourselves the most skillful, direct, and compassionate ways to open and enter into the body, psyche, and heart. No one can tell you what the right way is for you. The journey is individual by nature, requiring experiential, primary experience; a collective spirituality will never meet the longing within.

It is difficult to do emotional-shadow work on our own, and is often best approached via an empathic, attuned relational field, where our experience can be co-regulated, in very small doses, titrating and pendulating emerging feeling states by way of the relational field itself. To “borrow” another’s soothed, calm nervous system as we enter into the uncharted territory of the body and psyche.

The way of direct revelation and embodied, experiential discovery is not the easy way. It is not the path of five-steps to empowerment, manifestation, or thinking our way into permanent happiness, abundance, and bliss. It is a humble journey, heart wrenching at times, as we will inevitably be asked to compassionately confront the disowned selves that are longing for reunion with the inner family.

The goal is not to become dependent upon another in an unhealthy way, but over time to learn the art of self-regulation and be able to shift wisely, skillfully, and compassionately between the two.

Wherever you are on your journey, you can ask a guide to bear witness as you move into unknown territory, honoring the truth that reorganization requires an immense outpouring of courage and support. Find a therapist, lover, mentor, or friend; a tree, a bird, a mountain, or dog; the sky, the sun, the stars, or the moon. A God or Goddess, wise inner figure, or being of light. Allow your symptoms to merge into these protectors and enter into dialogue, practicing intimacy with the inner material, but without fusing with it.

It is unlikely we’ll ever fully understand or resolve the mystery of self and other, of separation and union, of sun and moon. But we can break open into the questions together, as beginners, as amateurs, and as servants of the mystery.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Friday, December 22, 2017

A creative dissolution


In each moment the sacred process of death and rebirth is playing out within us. With each breath, something in us is dying: some aspect of who we think we are or what we’re doing here, the death an old dream, a relationship we were sure would last forever, an idea about how it was all going to turn out.

In the face of this dissolution, the question isn’t so much how can we be reborn, but will we participate in death, fully, and with an open heart, paving the way for new forms to emerge, trusting that rebirth will take place according to a timeline originating far away in the stars.

In times of transition, our tendency is to rush to rebirth, quickly back into the known, in an urgent attempt to cure, maintain, or heal that which is dying, that which longs to transform. It is so natural to resist falling apart in our need to put it all back together. But it is only from the core of the womb of death - a death tended to consciously - that re-birth can come into being.

The invitation, which we can at times hear clearly, during the dark of night, in the slowness and the depths, during time with the moon and as we move in and out of states of sleep and dream, is to not abandon death in our rush to be re-born. To not short circuit the intelligence and creativity that death is, and to remember that rebirth is not possible without the creativity of dissolution.

Allow the death some time to unfold, to share its poetry and its fragrances, which are not partial, but of a light that is whole. In those times in our lives, when things are being rearranged and reorganized inside and around us, we can attune to what is truly being asked, whether it is to cure death and reassemble the known, or to allow the forms of love safe passage to continue their journey.

To honor the forms of love as they come into our lives and touch us and share with us their beauty. But equally allow them to dissolve so that new forms may emerge and enchant this place. To give them permission to dance and play and participate fully in the sacred return.




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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Healing core shame


Underneath so many forms of suffering is a pervasive sense of shame, a deeply-rooted sense that there is something wrong with us at the most basic level.

Often when I speak with someone who is struggling, there is an undercurrent of primordial shame which we can feel together, coloring their perception, emotional experience, and relationships with others.

Ordinarily, shame looms outside conscious awareness, but at times comes flooding into consciousness, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness. Despite our attempts to link the despair to some current aspect of our life situation, we are often unable to do so, as it is free-floating and erupting under the surface of things.

To uncover and to begin to illuminate, integrate, and metabolize shame in a way that is skillful, at times we must first confront and work through a variety of other beliefs, emotions, and somatic material, for shame is often hidden and disguised. Buried inside flatness, hopelessness, heartbreak, and rage, we often find core shame, affecting our ability to feel alive, find meaning, and discover joy in relationship with others.

While various therapies tend to specialize in one aspect of shame and seek to intervene at that level alone, shame is multidimensional and must be attended to in a way that is full-spectrum. We must discover in an experiential way how shame manifests in patterns of habitual thinking, painful repetitive emotions, somatic contraction and coagulation, and neurobiologically through dysregulating states of arousal and fight/ flight reactivity.

In this way, shame is not solely a thought, feeling, behavior, or activation of the nervous system, but a unique configuration of all of these, a way of protecting ourselves from an environment that is/ was not safe, incapable of holding and mirroring our unique subjectivity, lacking in empathic attunement, and threatening to our psychic survival.

Shame is not easy to heal as it is so core and underlies so many of our difficult emotions and limiting self-narratives, but it can be worked with. It must be approached slowly, in an embodied way, where we touch into the associated anxiety in very small doses, pushing ourselves just a little, but not outside our window of tolerance. To flood the shame with presence, warmth, space, and perhaps mostly importantly, with a radical sort of kindness.

If you feel called, and it feels safe enough to do so, you can begin to invite in the experience of shame, to meet that lost, frightened, abandoned, unworthy little one who has been carrying this shame for so long. To offer sanctuary for him or her, to listen carefully and with compassion to his or her story, to hold her feelings, to tend to his dysregulating sensations, and to provide a home for the shamed one to rest, from a long, ancient, heartbreaking journey.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Monday, December 18, 2017

The wholeness of the inner family


It can take a tremendous amount of practice, kindness, and an unwavering love of the truth to explore the various strategies we employ to take ourselves out of feelings we do not want to feel.

For a variety of reasons, certain feelings have come to be associated with dysregulating anxiety, triggering a subtle, survival-level sort of panic. In response, dissociative pathways are put in place to get away from the underlying vulnerability and back to safe ground.

At one time, this was an incredibly intelligent, helpful, and adaptive response, and likely saved us from overwhelming disintegration. In the abandonment of the vulnerability, however, we cut ourselves off from the aliveness we so intimately long for.

The next time you notice the impulse to escape - by mindlessly complaining, attacking another, shaming/ blaming yourself, or falling down a rabbit hole of repetitive, ruminative self-attack - be kind to yourself and just stop. Pause. Feel your feet on the ground. Cut into the momentum of self-aggression. Not this time.

For just a few seconds use your breath to help you enter inside the feeling that is longing to emerge, not as an enemy but as a lost soul-part, returning to be united with the wholeness of the inner family.

As you return into the tender, shaky life as it moves through you - slowly, with kindness, at a pace that is not overwhelming, yet pushes you a little – the somatic tangles and psychic knots will begin to illuminate, and come out of the shadows where they can be compassionately attended to with capacities you once did not have.

In this way we cut into the habitual momentum of self-abandonment. We begin to see that the intimacy, connection, and aliveness we want so badly can only emerge in our willingness to touch the vulnerability and provide sanctuary and safe passage for feeling. Vulnerability and aliveness are not-two, and co-emerge together, each a pathway into the other, interpenetrating and balancing each other in union.



Art by Toshiyuki Enoki


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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Saturday, December 16, 2017

To start over, to be humble again


Healing is not a state where we become liberated from feeling, but freer to experience it more fully.

To enter inside a mood, image, or emotion and be touched by its color, fragrance, and essence. To know firsthand the rarity and preciousness of having a human body, a sometimes shattered heart, and a miraculous, sensitive nervous system.

Not a transcending of our vulnerability, fleeing into a state of power and untouchability, safely hidden away in some protected spiritual cocoon. But something a bit wilder than that. Something more magical. More raw. At times, even more painful.

For some reason, we were given a heart that is whole, and we will never be satisfied with that which is partial. We will never be fully alive by embracing only those feelings and those dreams that our families, societies, and gurus claim are worthy and valid. But only through the courage and the mercy required to touch it all.

To partake of the entirety of the spectrum of this human experience, with as much curiosity, soul, and kindness that we can discover. To give ourselves permission to care, to take a risk in allowing another to matter, and tend to the heart it inevitably breaks in response to suffering, disappointment, and despair.

To see for ourselves to what degree the unconscious quest for power, mastery, certainty, and invulnerability may be an expression of fear, not love.

To at times crumble to the ground in awe at it all. Awestruck at the bounty that has been laid out before us. To fall apart. To fail. To get back up. To be humble again. To start over. To be a beginner. An amateur at the ways of love.

To realize how little we know in the face of the mystery.



Photo of the snow beings, Lapland 

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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Friday, December 15, 2017

As it emerges out of the stars...


One of the primary goals of the alchemists was to redeem spirit from its apparent confinement in matter. This holy work is alive for each of us, as we wander through this world, as we look deeply into the eyes of our brothers and sisters, embrace the trees and the mountains and the moon and the sea. As we encounter the darkness and the light and as we honor our longing to participate in the sacred.

The path of the heart is not only one of transcendence, of the movement from matter to spirit. But is also one of descent, of dancing and playing and beholding the mystery as it spirals out of the heavens and into the earth; into the mud, the mess, the chaos, and the unknown. 


To accompany love as its fellow traveler, as it emerges out of the stars and infuses the world of time and space.

As we hold these energies within us – and allow ourselves to touch the implications of what it really means to be an open, sensitive, vulnerable, and empowered human being – we discover our way, which is never going to be like anyone else’s. 


No one can touch the sacred for us, can feel heartbreak for us, and can know the mystery for us. It is only embodied, enlivened, primary experience that will meet the longing wired into this outrageous human heart.


Photo: heartbeat at the Baltic Sea, southern Finland


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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Thursday, December 14, 2017

When flooded with a waterfall of feeling


When flooded with a waterfall of limiting beliefs and difficult feelings, an invitation appears from within the center of the disturbance: to step into an alive, yet uncharted middle territory.
In a moment of activation, we seek familiar ground, engaging ancient strategies originating in fight-flight reactivity. To deny and repress, on the one hand, or to discharge the uncomfortable energy, on the other. Colored by survival-level panic - and fueled by a sense of urgency - we spin into action.

But is there another way?

Before we descend into the tangled activity of self-abandonment, may we replace the urgency with slowness, the splitting with embodiment, and the demand for relief with that of curiosity and a radical self-compassion. In the alchemical place between the opposites, we find ourselves in a realm of not-knowing.

There is sacred data here, which is free to emerge as we enter into the vessel, and as we rest deeply in the core of the restless, pregnant, hot, aliveness of the emotional-somatic-imaginative world. No processing or shifting or transforming or healing... for now.

To just stay close. To listen. To feel. To sense.

To honor, validate, and bring breath to the feelings that are arising now to be known, to be illuminated, and to be remembered. Not errors, but allies; sometimes peaceful, sometimes wrathful, sometimes neutral.

To dare to allow in the truth that you are not a project to be fixed, but a mystery coming into form. That your vulnerability is not a mistake that must be remedied or transcended by way of process in time.

To attune to the constellations of the emotional world and tend to the longing of the inner family, as its members surge for holding in a sensitive, open nervous system.

To pause in a moment of activation, to slow way down, and breathe deeply. To ground into the muddy earth, with the water and sky and mountains as your witness. To practice intimacy with what is, but an intimacy without fusion, and to provide safe passage for the sacred return.


Photo of the color and the light up the way in Lapland, northern Finland

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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 






Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Just ask the nixie


I’m often asked which psychology/ spiritual texts/ books I recommend for learning about psychic processes, re-authoring limited beliefs, transforming difficult feeling states, illuminating archaic organizing principles, updating outmoded working models, untangling somatic coagulation, etc.

What the latest findings in neuroscience, mindfulness, attachment, etc. have to say about personal growth, emotional healing, and transpersonal development.

After careful consideration, I’m going to go with Grimms’ Fairy Tales as the best template for approaching the mysteries of the psyche, the unconscious, and making the journey of meaning, purpose, and love; and to facilitate the maturation of the human heart. I’ve become quite convinced that everything you need to know is there. If you listen.


Just ask the nixie.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Some thoughts about psychotherapy


I’ve received a few notes recently regarding my thoughts about psychotherapy...

I am more of a poetic psychotherapist than a clinical one. As such, I am more interested in not-knowing, depth, meaning, and the future than I am in certainty, techniques, the past, or the healing of symptoms. In my experience, there is wisdom in our symptoms, and it is honorable to attend to them without any agenda that they transform or be healed.

This does not mean I am not interested in a person’s past or in the lessening of the pain and suffering they are experiencing. Of course, this is very important and I wish this for everyone I work with. But, for me, psychotherapy is much more than that. It is not a medical procedure, but a procedure of the soul, oriented in the care of the psyche and tending to the heart.

Sometimes we are asked to suffer in order to discover depth, to know ourselves, to know grace, but to suffer consciously, to actually participate fully in the inevitable disappointment, heartbreak, and deflation that life as a sensitive, alive, vulnerable human being will often demand. To find meaning in our suffering, to enter into relationship with it, to tend to it, to even become intimate with it. To not discard it but to discover its purpose and role as a true companion in our lives. To even take it as a lover.

This sort of therapy is not for everyone and I have no fantasy that the work I do is going to be right or most skillful for everyone. It definitely is not. These days, I no longer with psychotic, borderline, or narcissistic personality organization. Nor with severe depression, anxiety, trauma, or other clinical diagnoses. These situations, in my experience, are best responded to with very specific treatment plans and methodologies, and are to be taken very seriously.

My work is oriented toward the “ordinary neuroses” of love and work, as Freud referred to them, our inborn longing for existential meaning and purpose, innate yearning for intimacy and aliveness, and the reality of the transpersonal and spiritual dimensions of the psyche.

My training and interests for a few decades have been in the larger fields of depth psychology and relationally-oriented analytic practice, as well as the contemplative aspects of the wisdom traditions and heart-guidance of the wandering poets.

In my experience, the most important factor in therapy is the relationship between the parties involved, and not the technique or theory the therapist happens to believe or specialize in. It is neither theory nor technique that uncovers the ultimate medicine. While important, these are secondary to the psychic, emotional, and spiritual resonance and attunement between those working together.

And, dare I say, secondary to the love that is there in the field when we meet in this way. Even Freud is purported to have shared that “in essence psychoanalysis is a cure through love.” Some say love has no business in psychotherapy. I am not one of them. There is no psychotherapy (tending to the soul) without love; love is the basis for soul-tending. Of course I am not speaking about the expression of erotic love, but that of agape, the love that arises naturally in any true I-Thou relationship. The love of a midwife bearing witness to the birth of a new soul.

Psychotherapy for me is an alchemical process where client and therapist come together into a very charged sort of vessel to envision and discover the unique gold that is hidden inside each human heart. To discover the wisdom buried in the dark, and to transmute difficult emotions into their wisdom essence. It is not easy work, but is honorable and sacred. And at times really hard. And boring. And annoying. And lonely. And seemingly useless. And utterly alive. And magic.

To chart a course into the psyche with a fellow traveler is an act of love and courage, and shines a special light into a world that needs it now perhaps more than ever.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 



Thursday, December 7, 2017

The temple of human intimacy


In our modern world, intimate relationship can be one of the most profound vehicles we have for healing, a contemporary temple in which to explore the mysteries of the heart. But should we choose to approach intimacy in this way, we must prepare for a long journey through the dark wood, and into the exquisite, uncertain, chaotic terrain that we will be asked to navigate along the way.

While a holy dismemberment and reassembling may sound exciting and something to look forward to, we will likely have some pretty contradictory feelings about the whole thing. We want close relationship more than anything, and simultaneously we want nothing to do with it. The archaic fears of abandonment and engulfment circle in the psyche of the personal and the collective.

At some point, we must reframe our view of emotional groundlessness, embracing it not as something to be discarded or transformed, but beheld as ongoing revelation. This may sound like madness to the mind as it does not conform to the dream of manifesting endless positivity or to transcending our vulnerability in some disembodied realization. But buried in the core of the contradictions, in the union of the opposites, the water of life awaits.

In this sense, intimacy is a path of resurrection as well as crucifixion, not primarily a vehicle to remedy our own loneliness, unworthiness, and existential anxiety. Its most sacred function is not to make us feel better or to shield us from the potentiality of heartbreak, deflation, and disappointment, but to reveal wholeness.

In the birth as well as in the death, we will come face to face with the reality of the unconscious self, into uncompromising relationship with the wildness of the disowned internal other, and be asked to embrace the nakedness and exposure that the beloved is wired to call forward.

Nowhere to run. No secret trap doors. No meditating it away. No hiding out in the present moment. The only way out is through. Into the arms of the beloved, in whatever form he or she happens to take. Into our own arms, and into the unresolvable mysteries of separation and union. Perhaps there are none which are sweeter. And fiercer. And darker. And filled with light.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Spirit buried inside matter


The difficult emotions, the confusion, the struggle, and the heartbreak. The fear, the doubt, the ending of the relationship that was supposed to last forever. On any true path, we must confront and integrate the ending of dreams, the dissolution of one world so that another may emerge.

The hopelessness, the struggle, the devastation of the crushed longing. The disappointment that it was never going to turn out the way we thought. The painful wondering if we’ve done something wrong, if somehow we’ve failed.

These are the raw materials we have to work with on the path of the heart. Place them on the altar in front of you and bless them with safe passage. You need not transcend your vulnerability, problems, or neurosis to know this. For inside the broken is a wisdom found only there.

Sadness has something to show you that joy could never provide. Inside aloneness is a secret offering that can never be found in connection. Hopelessness, when entered, reveals meaning that hope is unable to reveal.

It is pure and creative inside the symptom, but remains unseen in the overemphasis on becoming and in the tragic loss of imagination. But the alchemists and tantrikas and the unseen ones and the moon, the sun, and the stars have come to remind us. To re-enchant the imaginal and pull back the curtain to reveal the gold behind the veil.

There is spirt buried inside matter. Multiplicity is just as holy as oneness. The dual and the nondual are not two. There is no separation between the raw tender feelings and the flow of wisdom essence. Each are made of the same substance.

“What about my passion?!” Rumi demands of God.

God says, “Keep it burning.”

“What about my heart?” asks 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.”

While the trance that there is something wrong with you is sticky and seductive, slow down, unplug from the unreal, and listen. Feel. Sense. We are conditioned to find a problem where there is an invitation. Place your hands on your heart. Attune to the aliveness of the inner body. Follow the breath back into essence.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Friday, December 1, 2017

Inside the symptom


When you are hooked in an avalanche of emotion and spiraling down the rabbit hole of ruminative thinking, a doorway appears.

From the perspective of wholeness, to be activated is a special form of grace. Not the sort of grace that is flowing, peaceful, and calm, but the kind that is wrathful, fierce, and relentlessly reorganizing.

At times, the emissaries of the dark will surge to resume their rightful place in the inner ecology of the heart. They contain light, but it is a light that is not understood in a world that has forgotten. Like a black sun, or a rose with poisonous thorns.

What appears as obstacle is revealed as path. Inside the symptom the cure is hidden.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO.