Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Ask the earth to hold you


No matter how things are going in your life at this time, you can start right where you are. In just this moment, surround and contain the achy life as it surges for integration. None of us can tend to a future moment. In the attempt to do so, we fall into overwhelm and fragmentation. It’s just too much. Stay close.

For just one second, enter the fire and infuse it with presence, compassion, and holding. Renew your vow: I will not turn from myself and my vulnerability. No, not this time. I will not desert myself. I will no longer pathologize my emotional experience. Grief is not pathology. Heartbreak is not pathology. Rage is not pathology.

Two seconds. Then rest. Then three. More rest. As we send breath into the broken shards, into the lost pieces of soul, a new groove is laid down, new circuity is encoded.

Inside the core of the emotional activation, buried in the shaky embodied sensations, hidden in the unique images that psyche is bringing to you now… unrecognized wisdom, a forgotten creativity, a surging of sacred life energy.

Ask the earth to hold you, to share her soothing water, shade, and safe haven, and stay near as you open.

Find a friend, therapist, lover, ocean, moon, star, or holy roaring lioness to bear witness as you turn into the raw alive somatic world.

The seen and unseen ones are always here to help us, to reveal the way home. To illuminate the pathways of darkness and of light, each containing a particle of the mystery, a strand of love seeking you as a tender vessel through which it can come alive here. 





Befriending Yourself - you are invited to join me and my friend Jeff Foster at our new online membership site at the intersection of spirituality, meditation, and depth psychology. Dialogues, teachings, practices, live meditations, and a moderated support community. 

The next retreat - The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times - September 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado - registration open now

My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. 

My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2021. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Our life's purpose


It is so easy to take for granted that tomorrow will come, that another opportunity will be given to bear witness to a sunset, take a walk in the forest, feel the grace of a deer, or share a moment of connection with the one in front of us. But some part of us knows how fragile it truly is here, how tenuous, how shaky, and that this opening into life will not be here for much longer.

Before we realize it, we can so easily fall into the trance of postponement. The spell of tomorrow looms large in the personal and collective psyche. At the end of this life – which is sure to come sooner than we think – it is unlikely we'll be caught up in whether we accomplished all the tasks on our to-do lists, played it safe, “mastered” life, wrapped up our self-improvement project, or completed some mythical spiritual journey.

Inside these hearts there may be only one burning question: how well did I love?

There are soul-pieces and lost parts orbiting in and around us – unfelt feelings, unthought thoughts, unexpressed art, unimagined vision… the ghosts of our unlived lives. They circle and spiral not to harm, but to remind us of the rare preciousness of this human form.

One day we will no longer be able to look at, touch, or share a simple moment with those we love. When we turn to them, they will be gone. When they reach out for us, they will not find the form they once knew. The last moment to encounter the immensity of one more breath, experience awe at a color, the majesty of the sun, or the tenderness of the moon, or to enter into union with the vastness of the sea.

It will be our last chance to see a universe in a drop of rain, to have a moment of communion with a friend, or to weep as the light yields to the night sky.

One last moment to have a thought, feel an emotion, fall in love, or listen to a piece of music. To know heartbreak, joy, sorrow, and peace – to behold the outrageous mystery of what it truly means to be a sensitive, alive, connected human being.

What if today is that last day? Or tomorrow? Or later this week?

Knowing that death will come, how will we respond to the sacred and brief appearance of life?

Perhaps in the end our “life's purpose” has nothing to do with what career we create, what new thing we will manifest or attract for ourselves, or how successful we are in mastering life. Perhaps the purpose of our life is to fully live, finally, to touch each here and now moment with our presence, our warmth, our mercy, and with the gift of our one, wild temporary heart.

And to do whatever we can to help others, to hold them when they are hurting, to listen carefully to their stories and the ways they are attempting to make sense of a world that has gone a bit mad. To stay attuned to their sensitivity, to what keeps them up at night, at how they are making meaning here in this messy, chaotic, glorious place. To speak kind words to them and not forget the erupting miracle of the other as it appears in front of us. Perhaps this is the most radical gift that we can all give as we honor what has been given to us. 


Photo by skeeze


Befriending Yourself - you are invited to join me and my friend Jeff Foster at our new online membership site at the intersection of spirituality, meditation, and depth psychology. Dialogues, teachings, practices, live meditations, and a moderated support community. 

The next retreat - The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times - September 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado - registration open now

My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. 

My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2021. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Not pathology, but path


Confusion is not pathology, it is path. It has something to show us that whitened, reflective clarity could never reveal. There is wisdom inside the uncertainty, but it is only released into a psychic environment of curiosity, interest, embodiment, and warmth.

The feeling of disconnection is not neurotic, it is intelligent. It has something to show us that oneness could never reveal. Travel inside the felt sense, though the hidden passageways, and you will find the emissaries awaiting. The allies of multiplicity are not at war with unity, but fellow travelers with them on a journey of wholeness.

We are neither “separate” nor “one,” but the erupting holding field in which the energies of “separate” and “one” interpenetrate and dance the relative into being. Neither of these concepts are majestic enough to contain the mystery of the soul. While we may have a preference for unity and oneness over multiplicity and differentiation, it would appear that love does not share this bias and is ready at all times to equally employ either of its manifestations to be its envoy here.

Those visitors of raw, achy, lonely broken openness are not neuroses to be cured or mistakes to be remedied. The shaky vulnerability is not pathology, it is path. As our perception is cleansed, we see that these ones are not obstacles, but passionate, yearning requests into the tending to the lost grief, joy, rage, and peace of the unlived life.

The freedom we long for will never be found in the eradication of the unwanted, but only in deeper layers of attunement to the love and the information it carries.

At times the burning can seem unbearable. Such is the nature of the human heart. We may burn until we are translucent, but it is by way of this burning that wholeness is revealed.





Photo by Stefan Schweihofer

Befriending Yourself - you are invited to join me and my friend Jeff Foster at our new online membership site at the intersection of spirituality, meditation, and depth psychology. Dialogues, teachings, practices, live meditations, and a moderated support community. 

The next retreat - The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times - September 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado - registration open now

My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. 

My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2021. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times


Dear friends, registration is now open for The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, which will take place from 4-9 September at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Registrations will be taken in the order they are received. For more information or to register, please visit the retreat website.


A 5-DAY JOURNEY ROOTED IN REST, PRESENCE, AND THE ART OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP

For the last decade, JEFF FOSTER a spiritual teacher whose personal journey through suicidal shame and depression led him to the discovery of nonduality (wholeness), and MATT LICATA, a depth-oriented psychotherapist who has spent the last 25 years at the intersection of meditative awareness, emotional healing, and shadow integration, have been having a dynamic ongoing conversation about radically re-envisioning spirituality and the journey of healing: as a full and courageous embrace of our vulnerable humanness.

In meeting and working with with thousands of seekers of truth all around the world at retreats and in private sessions, and through their personal conversations and life explorations, they have uncovered something very precious, a sacred jewel of inner peace and aliveness amidst the noise and mess of everyday life. They are inviting you to join them in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado for five days of rest, exploration, play, discovery, presence, and compassion.

Weaving together the wisdom of the meditative traditions and the emotionally-attuned and shadow-sensitive approaches of depth psychology, Matt and Jeff will share with you a simple yet radical and perhaps life-changing invitation, one of true friendship: with our thoughts and feelings, with our bodies and minds, with each other, with our joys and sorrows, with our deepest inner life.


AN INVITATION TO REST
Has your life become an endless ‘self-improvement project’? After years of working on yourself, meditation, therapy, spiritual seeking and trying to “quiet your mind” or “lose your ego”, do you still feel far from where you wanted to be? Do you long to slow down, rest, come out of repetitive and exhausting thinking, and be deeply embraced, exactly as you are?

The Deep Rest Retreat is an invitation to slowness, simplicity, kindness and profound self-exploration. Through mindful awareness, compassionate presence, and the therapeutic power of love, we will learn - moment by moment - to “end the inner war” with our thoughts and feelings and to wake up to the sacredness of our ordinary lives. With their trademark gentleness and humour, Matt and Jeff bring a powerful core teaching of Presence which lovingly dismantles shame at its very root and wakes us up to the miracle of being alive.


A TYPICAL DAY ON RETREAT
Each day on the retreat you will rest in Presence with author and spiritual teacher Jeff Foster, who will help you drop out of your busy mind and connect with the living moment, your body and your feelings in his own unique, playful, human way. Through heartfelt talks, restful guided mindfulness meditations, silence, personal stories and honest dialogues, he will remind you that you are perfect and whole, exactly as you are. He will help you stay present and connected with yourself, no matter what life throws at you.

You will also explore the alchemy of psychological and emotional integration with psychotherapist and author Matt Licata, PhD, who will guide you into the mysteries of the heart with playfulness, humor, and compassion. Drawing on contemplative spirituality, the latest psychological research, and the power of the poetic imagination, you will discover the inherent wisdom buried in even your deepest pain, confusion, and longing.

In the evening there will usually be a dialogue on stage between Matt and Jeff, where, through poetry, humor, conversation and personal stories, they will explore the ground of a loving, embodied, nondual Presence – the place where spirituality and therapy come together, the Home we never left - and how the Divine expresses itself in the chaotic, sweet, glorious, sacred mess of our ordinary lives. Usually, during one or two nights on retreat, we will have an evening of movement and music, which many find deeply nurturing and supportive in the integration of the teaching.

In the space between meetings, you are free to walk, rest and play in the holding field of the Rocky Mountains, and enjoy delicious and nourishing food prepared by expert chefs at Sunrise Ranch, using ingredients grown locally using sustainable methods, and served with love. You may spend time alone and in silence, or connect and share with your fellow retreatants… however your heart guides you. We look forward to meeting you in Colorado!

Learn more about the retreat here


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother


May we hold all mothers in our hearts today, beholding the infinite forms that Mother will take in the unfolding of new form. Through the offering of her essence and womb, a vessel is opened through which life is made possible. By way of her being, an outrageous opportunity is given to make the human journey in a world where love is alive.

Whether or not you are able to thank mother for this benediction, you can thank her emanations which are everywhere, hidden inside the sun, the moon, the stars, and the trees. In the one in front of you, children, lovers, friends, and animals. You thank her by no longer postponing your participation here. To not wait another moment to remember what is most important and the sacred opportunity that has been laid out before you. For Mother is not only a person but is the activity of love itself.

The great Mother is alive within, weaving a field of containment and nourishment for life to erupt. As you slow down in the presence of another, stay close to their heartbreak and longing, take the risk of allowing them to matter, and honor the way they are making meaning of their experience, even if it does not conform to your beliefs and ways of perception... as you listen carefully to their stories, joy, and pain, speak kind words to them, mirror back their majesty even when they have forgotten… as you provide a sanctuary of holding where they can come to rest from a long journey of becoming.

No matter your relationship with mom in the physical world, you can connect with Mother now through an umbilical cord of pure light, for the bond with her transcends time and space. Just beyond the veil, the heart of the Mother and your little heart are one.

As the Tibetans believe, every being has at one time been our Mother, and has shown us the most profound kindness, care, and compassion, willing to give her life so that we may come into being. Let us remember this kindness and return it to others in infinite ways.

May all Mother-beings everywhere receive an outpouring of blessings on this day. May their hearts and their bodies be awash with grace, and may they come to know directly, even for a moment, how loved they truly are.






Befriending Yourself - you are invited to join me and my friend Jeff Foster at our new online membership site at the intersection of spirituality, meditation, and depth psychology. Dialogues, teachings, practices, live meditations, and a moderated support community. 

The next retreat - The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times - September 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado - registration to open soon

My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. 

My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2021. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

On grief


Sometimes I wonder if all therapy isn’t grief therapy when all is said and done.

The original Greek therapeia referred to a tending to, caring for, or sending breath into, not “curing,” “fixing” or even “healing,” per se, these more heavy clinical words. But by way of our own embodied tenderness, to infuse with life. To be a midwife for the birth of a new heart, one which will inevitably ache and long and break and shatter and open and crumble in the face of it all.

Things tend to not turn out the way we thought they would, for they are too alive, too creative, too magical, too vast, too mysterious, too majestic. This “not turning out the way we thought” is not evidence of mistake or that we’ve failed, fallen short, or done life wrong... but of the beloved and her activity here. And her care for form.

To fall to the ground, to stand back up again, to allow ourselves to be crafted, weaved as a vessel for love to come here, to somehow find its way in this miracle world of time and space. Only to fall again, to fail, to be lost, to be found. To grieve the crumbling and ending of one world, the death of a dream that has finished its time here. To allow the old dream safe passage now into the other world.

The grief of knowing on some deep level that all form must reorganize, must shift shapes - the people in our lives, who we have come to think we are, what has previously provided meaning, our own bodies, our own worlds of experience.

To grieve this consciously, to honor the uncertainty, to dare to finally see the dissolution not as error but as holy, painfully and preciously whole, and to stand in awe as the pieces reassemble. 



Photo by Ina Hoekstra



Befriending Yourself - you are invited to join me and my friend Jeff Foster at our new online membership site at the intersection of spirituality, meditation, and depth psychology. Dialogues, teachings, practices, live meditations, and a moderated support community. 

The next retreat - The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times - September 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado - registration to open soon


My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is available in both paperback and Kindle editions.