Thursday, August 22, 2019

Into the vessel


When doing psychological or spiritual work, as the alchemists remind us, we must apply the proper heat to the material arising within the vessel of the body.

If the heat is not subtle enough, too intense, not intense enough, or of the wrong quality, the transformation we long for may remain out of reach.

The specific nature of this heat must be discovered by each of us in the fire of our own direct experience. We cannot take another’s word for it, use someone else’s fire, or apply a second-hand flame. It takes a lot of courage and trust to allow this fire to disclose itself within the crucible of the heart.

An improper or premature fire, someone else’s fantasy of the flame, or a heat that oriented in self-abandonment and self-aggression will scorch, deaden, or re-traumatize. Discovering the most skillful medicine for our unique psychic and somatic organization requires that we become artists of the inner landscape.

At times, a more passive, slower, yielding fire and flame, resting in the background field of awareness, infusing thoughts, feelings, and sensations with space, presence, receptivity, and compassion.

At other times, a flame that is more active, imaginative, fiery, and alive. Not a mere resting in the display or surrounding it with witnessing awareness, but entering into intimacy with the material, nor oriented as much in clarity, but in relationship. Not witnessing, but penetrating. Unearthing and differentiating the images, figures, colors, and fragrances that dance within the psychic world. Dialoguing, unfolding, unpacking, listening.

The invitation is never into mastery or perfection, but only into humility and experimentation.

In this way the images of fire and flame are metaphors for the activity of love itself... as alchemists of the inner world, archaeologists of the soul, twirling and playing with the many flavors, essences, and substances of life experience.

The heart is endless in its depth. You are endless.




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 

My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members but will likely re-open later in the year. To be on the mailing list to learn about the program, please visit the site here


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 2020. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The temple of relationship



It is no secret that, for many, intimate relationship is one of the great amplifiers of the unlived life. We can count on our partners and close friends to relentlessly illuminate everything that remains unresolved within us. Not because they have some agenda to do so, but simply by the nature of the vessel that forms when we allow another to truly matter.

We come to relationship with an already-existing patterning that formed long ago, crafted of both personal and collective experience. While this template can be updated and itself longs for reorganization into more integrated forms, until reconfiguration it has a way of looming over us and coloring perception. It functions by way of a time machine where, when activated, it is as if we have left the “here and now” and found ourselves back in the “there and then.”

There is nothing like a close relationship to illuminate the orphaned emotions, beliefs, and vulnerable parts of ourselves that have lost their way in the tangle of somatic and psychic pathways. It can be a revelation to see how we attract and are attracted to those aspects and qualities in the other that we have disowned in ourselves.

It can feel a bit achy and agonizing to realize that the beloved, in whatever form he or she may take, seems to have extraordinary powers to open the raw, tender, and naked dimensions of our being. But it is a sacred ache, oriented to the mystery.

May we be kind to our partners in response to the inevitable disturbance that will arise as we make this journey together. Learning how to transmute the energy of conflict by way of skillful means and an open heart is essential and a secret doorway into the evolutionary potential that relationship offers.

The practice of rupture and repair is a lost art in our world. Through the reparation of neural pathways and planting seeds of wisdom and compassion, it reveals that relationships of vast depth and meaning are not free of conflict, but those where working through conflict is embraced as path, as unique and powerful temples of purification, love, and healing.


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 

My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members but will likely re-open later in the year. To be on the mailing list to learn about the program, please visit the site here

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 2020. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The great weaver of soul


At times a visitor of melancholy will appear, arriving from the night world, from the moon, not to harm, but to reveal.

A tenderness, a disappointment, a shakiness, a quivering. The guide has arrived but wasn’t quite what we thought. Such is the way of the heart. As we are made into dust, the fire is tended.

At times we will be asked to be midwife as an old dream dies: a person we thought would always be by our side, the way we thought it would all turn out, the way we offered our art to the world, what would bring us purpose and meaning. These ones are no longer able to continue the journey with us and open a portal into a golden, purifying grief.

While it may be tempting to replace the burning with bliss, the sadhana of disappointment demands that we listen, to the stories and feelings and whispers and longings, and place the shattered pieces on the altar in front of us. To receive light as we turn... and turn and turn toward a sacred reassembling.

Even if we cannot love, accept, or receive what has come, we can always bow. But what this bowing looks like will never conform to others' paths, dreams, and ways and must be discovered within. For the map of that territory is unprecedented, crafted of unique fragrances and weaved into us alone by the great weaver of Soul.

While the mind may long for resolution, the heart knows that love is too vast to be mastered or resolved. We will never integrate love, but only stand in awe as it integrates us.


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 

My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members but will likely re-open later in the year. To be on the mailing list to learn about the program, please visit the site here

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 2020. 




Saturday, August 3, 2019

And listen once again...


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.




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 

My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members but will likely re-open later in the year. To be on the mailing list to learn about the program, please visit the site here

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 2020.