Thursday, February 21, 2019

A spiral of grief


The image of the spiral and sense of an unfolding process occurring deep within the heart, circling the material of our lives in all its varied layers is such a rich imaginative lens through which to navigate the unique journey we are on.

At times, it can be incredibly frustrating and repetitive as we spin around the same themes, without seeming like there is much movement. At other times, we encounter some crack where the light breaks in; what seemed at first glance to be a mere repetition is somehow different, revealing a piece of the mystery that we couldn't quite see at an earlier time.

The alchemists called this spiral the circulatio or rotatio which was envisioned as a sacred process, a touching and re-touching of the heart, of the material of our lives, where we circle or rotate around the essential themes that are unique for us, that form the prima materia of our own personal opus. From an alchemical perspective, while it may appear that we are no making any progress and stuck, things are not always what they appear.

Even if we no longer grieve the sense of a personal loss, we may be asked by forces larger than ourselves to grieve for the ancestors, the ones yet to come, and the earth and her fertility. At some point, perhaps we can no longer discern between our own grief and that of a galaxy being born and dying.

Grieving is not only personal but cultural, historical, and archetypal. As it humbles and purifies, it opens a portal into the mystery. The invitation into that place will be unique for each of us and regardless of how it appears—sweet, fierce, peaceful, or wrathful—it the activity of love, of the beloved one as it appears here, spinning and twirling out of the stars and dancing the worlds of time and space into being.


Photo of the aurora unfolding light by Noel Bauza


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

The next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, 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

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day


Wondering what to give your friend or lover this Valentine's Day?

Give them the gift of your presence. Take a moment to make tender contact with the one in front of you: allow them to matter to you, be curious about how they are making meaning of their life: what moves them, scares them, keeps them up at night, lights their heart on fire. Touch their longing to feel heard, to feel seen, to feel felt. Flood them with the warmth of empathy, attunement, and deep listening.

Stay close to the actuality of their lived, embodied experience. Send your presence into the core of their heart, into the cells of their nervous system, and into the secret caverns of their body. 


For just one moment, remove the burden that they change, become someone different, or see things the way you do. Set aside the secret requirement that they confirm who you think you are in order for you to love them.

Make contact with the one in front of you, as if it were for the very first time. Allow the dream figure you have created to dissolve in the place of clear seeing. Say goodbye to the one you hoped was there, needed to be there, or feared would not be there. So that you can finally see the one who is here. No, they were never going to turn out the way you thought they would. For who and what they are is too wild and creative for that. Meet the one who is actually here, for that one is an outrageous miracle.

In addition to contact, provide your beloved the space to be who he or she is. Through the cells of your heart, the light-strands of your DNA, and the mirror neurons lighting up in your brain, let them know you are there for them, that you will stay close… but not so close that you fuse or engulf them with the shadows of your unlived life.

If they need you, you will be there, but not otherwise. You will not impinge upon the unfolding of their unique journey, even if it triggers you. You will allow them to live their life, make their own mistakes, make their own meaning of what is happening, and to chart their own course. You will allow their heart to break, to touch the depths of their own pain and vulnerability, and to stand in their existential aloneness, with you by their side in deep, mutual knowing just how alone the path can sometimes feel.

Honor your separateness as well as your connection, and provide space in which they can make the journey in their own way.

And even if you find yourself alone on this day, the beloved is waiting for you inside the mirror of your own being. Look carefully and you will see. Even within this field of aloneness - which we are all standing in together - you are in the perfect place to make this same offering, by giving these gifts to yourself.

Be your own Valentine and watch what emerges from that radical commitment to self-care and non-abandonment. Watch as this world lights up with the outrageous activity of love and as the veil separating "self" and "other" reveals its translucency.

Stay in close, intimate contact to whatever is arising within you and offer the space for your experience to unfold and illuminate exactly as it is. For you will never be able to provide to another what you are unable to give to yourself.



Wishing my friends a Valentine's Day of true intimacy and wild aliveness, from the holding of the Boulder mountains. From the clear water in the creek, from the ducks and the geese, and from the deer who have come near to give the gift of their presence on this new morning. Humbled on the muddy earth. Totally alone. Unbearably connected. I feel you. And honor you. And accept, with honor, the gift of your being.






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

The next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, 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



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sacred return


When your emotional world is on ablaze and you are looping in the claustrophobia of ruminative thought, pause and return attention into your body, into the senses. It can be hot, sticky, and suffocating inside the loop, where thoughts are triggering feelings which hook you into more thinking which give rise to disturbing impulses, all of which reflect the burning of your historical, core vulnerabilities.

Before we know it we are stuck in habitual consciousness, in the circulation of old, embedded pathways, longing for the encoding of fresh, spontaneous, creative circuitry. But it only takes one moment to return to curious attention, shifting awareness out of the swirling narrative and into the life that is moving through you.

The voices are not wrong or bad or unspiritual or “illusion,” but are operating within a confused, charged mass and spiraling of unworkable energy. You can return and listen at a later time, once the fire is cooled, for they too carry information and intelligence. You can dialogue with them, ask why they have come and what they need, and come to terms with them in your own way.

In this, you offer rest for the guests of the psyche and surround them with warmth. While it may appear that they have come to attack and take you down, they only wish to be allowed back home, to take their rightful place in the ecology of the heart. They represent aspects and figures and fellow travelers who have become lost in a lonely forest and despite their wrathful appearance seek the light of your awareness.

They have something to contribute but can only do so in a clouded and chaotic state until met and washed with love.

The offering of this sanctuary is what allows relationship to take place, the arising of a field of safety, empathy, and attunement where the entirety of what you are is permitted to make the great sacred return.


Photo by Kristendawn/ Vancouver


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

The next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, 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

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Holding and being held


The image of “holding” is such a majestic one as it evokes not only early personal experience, but also archetypal material which expresses this same psychic patterning throughout culture and time, and the ways we human beings have found solace in “being held” by transpersonal figures, energies, and by the natural world itself.

Some are familiar with the concept of a “holding environment” as elucidated by the late British psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott, a warm and poetic description of a relational configuration rooted in empathic attunement and right-brain to right-brain resonance.

As the matrix of secure attachment, it provides the rich, creative terrain from which we can explore reality, resting and playing in unstructured states of being. From this ground of safety and creativity, we journey out of the familiar, encounter and experiment with the not-yet-known, and stay embodied to the full range of human feeling and experience.

Any effective holding environment is made up of adequate qualities of both contact and space, the weaving of these allowing for an experiential navigation of that evocative middle territory where there is intimacy without fusion, closeness without engulfing, tenderness without impinging.

Without good contact and without the space in which our natural being can unfold, we lose touch with the mystery. When we are held in this way, we can rest, explore, take risks, and open into the sacred. A supportive holding environment provides the soil in which a little baby’s brain, heart, and nervous system can differentiate, grow, and come alive. What a miracle. Real magic.

And from this ground and scaffolding of unstructured rest and exploration, we realize that no matter what is going on in our inner our outer world, how lost or confused we are, or how much emotional material we’re being asked to tend to, that we are always being held, by something vast, which we can return to as our true refuge, especially in difficult times.



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

The next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, 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