Monday, December 17, 2018

Into the creative middle


Becoming curious about and “staying with” a difficult thought, feeling, or bodily sensation is not the same as passively wallowing in it, becoming flooded by it, merging with it, becoming enmeshed in, or fusing with it.

The invitation is into a very pregnant, creative, and not easy middle territory in between engulfment and the other extreme of rejection, turning from the life that is emerging, and abandoning ourselves in moments of emotional activation.

Navigating and holding the tension of those opposites is a much more fiery, active process rooted in the aliveness of our attention, care, compassion, and interest in psyche and its manifestations. It is oriented in curiosity and the longing to care for ourselves in a new way.

In this we dare to consider that even our most challenging symptoms, emotions, recurring thought patterns, vulnerabilities, and sensitivities are intelligent, filled with sacred data, and worthy of our tending.

We must go slow as we explore this new landscape, for seconds at a time testing the waters as we overwrite the circuitry of shame and self-aggression with that of compassion and attunement.

We must pay careful attention to our window of tolerance and while pushing up against it and exploring its borderlines, to not push ourselves into overwhelm or retraumatization. It can take a lot of experimentation and practice to discover this area of experience for ourselves.

Even one or two seconds, then rest. And then maybe three seconds and then rest. And then care for ourselves by taking time away from inner work and nourishing ourselves in other ways – taking a walk, talking with a friend, taking a bath, doing some yoga, playing with our dog, making a nice meal, spending time in nature.

No urgency, no great hurry, no glorious self-improvement project to complete by the end of the week. Just love. Slow. Curious. Caring for ourselves in new and wild ways. One second at a time.


Art by Couleur/ Ilona in Freiburg


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

The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster 

Friday, December 14, 2018

A moment of revelation within


Engaging the pathway of the broken and the whole, we weave together the various layers of our experience, dance within the opposites, and plant the seeds for future freedom.

Untangling the wounds of the heart, the contractions of the body, and the worn out narratives that have emerged in response to personal, cultural, and collective trauma. Falling to the ground in awe at the pain, the glory, the mess, and the preciousness of this human form.

To flood this material with breath, spirit, and soul, attending to each layer, in turn, bringing light to the darkness. Thawing the frozen, untangling the complexes, and flooding cells with new vision. At times giving up, then remembering, giving up again, and remembering the beloved as her infinite forms wash through this place.

While awareness is required to find the light, mere insight is not enough. Clarity is not enough. We have seen this in our own experience. Knowing, while necessary, is not sufficient.

Rather, it is some activity of love that seems to be required, to discover new breath, to infuse this heart, this nervous system, and the soul of the world with new life.

But what this love is must be discovered by each of us, not as a concept, but as a movement of revelation within.



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

The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A home for the wrathful and fierce


The ally is not always peaceful and oriented in clarity, but at times wrathful and fierce. Throughout history, we find images of both forms of psychic guidance, the latter evidenced by India’s Kali and Tibet’s Palden Lhamo. These ones are considered protectors of the dharma, guardians of wisdom, compassion, and truth.

Despite their disturbing forms, they are helpers nonetheless, whether we view them as parts of ourselves, aspects of the archetypal unconscious, or as autonomous beings with their own subjectivity. Despite appearances, they come not to harm, but to reveal.

At times, they take confusing and aggressive forms, which we see in certain depictions of Christ on the cross, in dismemberment rituals of the shamans, and the putrefactio and mortificatio operations of the alchemists. These images can be disrupting as they provoke confrontation and contradiction, questioning our deepest beliefs about healing and transformation.

We must decide for ourselves how we will tend to these images as they come in dreams, literature, myth, fantasy, and symbol, but one possibility is as a doorway to integration of the darkness within – to touch and metabolize our own unmet rage, unacknowledged narcissism, repressed grief, and dissociated joy – providing a home for this material in a world that does not ordinarily provide a holding environment for it.

To discover the wisdom within the core of these thoughts, emotions, and sensations, entering into partnership with them that we might transmute this energy as way to help ourselves and others. To include the fierce, wrathful side of the psyche so that we are not forced to locate it outside ourselves in a way that will generate additional suffering.

In this embrace, we reimagine the way we have come to see ourselves and others and care for life in new ways. It seems this world needs the wild, relentless, creative energies of compassion, clear-seeing, and skillful activity now more than ever. It is up to each of us to prepare these bodies, psyches, and hearts as vessels where love can erupt and come alive here.


Photo by MabelAmber


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

The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Today may not be the day for answers


The contradictory feelings of hope and hopelessness, meaning and flatness, anxiety and rest. The shakiness and uncertainty in the belly. The tightness in the throat. The raw breaking inside the heart. The joy that at times is there, but never can seem to be sustained.

All the techniques, the teachings, the things to manifest, the new beliefs to take on, the worn-out ideas about the true source of peace, aliveness, and flowing abundance. Perhaps there were once answers to these questions, but now there is no answer to be found. Only a burning where the questions once existed.

This burning is the doorway, the portal, pure evidence of the connection.

A cosmic sort of exhaustion can come at times, where we find ourselves in the bardo between one moment and the next. We can’t quite go back to the way it was, but the rebirth has yet to appear. There is a creativity in the liminal but it can seem out of reach. We are asked to marinate in the womb of now, tend to the groundlessness, and find refuge in the unknown: to be midwife to the darkened illumination. There are signs and symbols and guidance all around and inside us, but their appearance is governed by a timeline written somewhere else.

As we bear witness to a new day, in awe at the gift that has been given… the breath is here. The heart is quivering. The birds have come. Sounds from the other world, another opportunity to hear, to behold the miracle of the senses. The sun has come up again. The moon is hiding nearby waiting her turn. For just one moment, the veil parts and the perfection is there awaiting our participation.

Your life is not an unending self-improvement project and your heart is not a venture to be undertaken, mastered, and completed. Perhaps today was never going to be the day when you figured it all out, got all your questions answered, or resolved the contradictions. It's just too wild for all that. Just too creative. Just too alive.

Today may not be the day for answers, but to let your heart break open to the vastness of the question. To fall to the ground as a humble lover of the mystery. And listen once again.


Photo: heartbeat at the Baltic Sea


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

The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Wisdom in the dark


When we engage in any work of depth, we will inevitably come up against a cultural bias toward the light, the upward, the clear, and the whitened. But the invitation of wholeness requires that we travel the entire spectrum. We cannot sidestep the blackened areas, those dimensions of psyche that are hidden outside ordinary awareness.

We may never want to go into these places—the shadowlands of our core vulnerabilities, dissociated feelings, psychic inconsistencies, unmet narcissism, and habitual self-absorption. Especially if we identify as a spiritual person cultivating the light, conditioned to pathologize so-called “negative” experiences of fear, rage, jealousy, and depression, this tending to the dark can upend the status quo.

We can’t wait around until we feel like doing it or feel consistently safe and certain. Or until we know how to do it ahead of time. These may not be given. To enter the unknown with curiosity and compassion requires that we touch and integrate the energies of deflation. But this dissolution is initiation as it offers vision not available in the clear, reflected, held-together state.

It is as if a fellow traveler is no longer permitted to continue the journey by our side. The crumbling of “my life” and the way it was supposed to turn out. This prior companion can be a person or a member of the inner landscape—a fantasy, vision, or image through which we’d come to see ourselves and others. Somehow, it has finished its time here and is requesting liberation.

But will we love this one enough to allow them safe passage?

In order to go through the initiation and participate fully in the creativity of the death-rebirth cycle, we must slow down, return into the earth and listen to the music, poetry, and guidance found in the depths.

There may always be an urgency to cut into the dissolution and get to the next phase as quickly as possible. But there is wisdom in the dark which is preparing the vessel for the next illumination.

The invitation is to allow the old to wash away and to grieve the death of an old dream. This grief is holy and opens the heart to imagination and revisioning.



Art by Krista Marleena

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

The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster