Sunday, November 17, 2019

Both separate and connected


In close personal relationships, it is important to emphasize a secure attachment bond and the co-regulation of challenging emotional states. To practice kindness toward our lovers and friends, listen to the way they are making sense of their experience, attune to what they are feeling, and hold them during difficult times. To take the risk to allow them to matter and share our vulnerability, prioritizing connection and its value in our lives.

It is also essential to be on the lookout for unhealthy fusion, honoring the reality that we are not only connected, but also separate. Any secure attachment must include healthy differentiation, where at times the most skillful activity will be to establish firm boundaries, assert our independence, emphasize our own personal integrity, and allow the other to struggle with feelings of aloneness, uncertainty, and confusion.

At times we will disappoint those we love, and this will activate our historic core vulnerabilities. For many of us, disappointing another is not okay. It’s just not safe. The consequences could be devastating. There is an urgent impulse to do whatever possible to prevent the shattering of their heart and the achy confrontation with their own unlived life. But we must see if this is really the activity of love or if it is something else. To allow the other to meet the reality of their own heart is an act of profound mercy and compassion.

While from a transpersonal perspective, we can speak about unity and oneness, within the relative we are also distinct, each with our own unique histories and ways of organizing our experience. Each with our own fate and relationship with the divine. With our own path to travel. To dissolve these differences into some homogenized spiritual middle does not honor the sacredness of form.

If we do not consciously explore the reality of our separateness, it will inevitably express itself in less than conscious ways – in tangled, looping, and unproductive conflict – unleashing unmetabolized shadow into the relational field. Like all work of depth, this art form evolves slowly, as it marinates and cooks in the alchemical vessel of the body.

May we be kind to our partners as we navigate this territory together, honoring the vehicle of intimacy as one of the most transformative, sacred, and challenging that we have in our modern world.



Photo by Manfred Richter



Our annual spring retreat will take place April 22-27, 2020 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with myself and Jeff Foster. Please stay tuned to our websites, Facebook pages, and this blog for additional information. Tickets will go on sale on January 1. 

My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members. To learn about the program and put your name on the mailing list for future re-opens, 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 Ourselves in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020. 



Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The mystery of the "Other"


It is so natural to long for deep relationship with another, a fellow traveler with whom to navigate the twists and turns, to explore the uncharted lands of the heart and wild terrain of the body. To enter the dark and light places and seed them together with shared essence.

In our own unique ways, we call out for union, to no longer postpone entry into the temple. This yearning is pure, valid, and can be honored for its authenticity. While it may seem that we are forsaken, the return message is always given. It is found inside the longing, within the core of the burning and not in its resolution.

Alas, the prayer is heard. In response, the “other” appears. But is it the one we imagined? The holy other does not always appear in external form, but often as shards and pieces of soul, and luminous light-fragments of the heart.

Sadness rushes onto the scene: “When will you practice intimacy with me?” Loneliness is next, pleading for a moment of your undistracted attention. Shame, rage, despair, grief, jealousy, fear: “We are here too. Do not abandon us and turn away for some other lover.”

When we make the call for the other to return, the ancient ones will always respond, spinning and shifting the forms of the phenomenal world, arranging meetings and encounters with the emanations in all their glory and mess.

These ones arrive not as enemy to disrupt, but as the most true, faithful lover, never able to truly abandon you. Not to harm but to illuminate. Not to fragment but to seed wholeness.

In that encounter, we are reminded that we will never be able to be more intimate with another than we are with the unwanted lovers within. If we do not provide sanctuary and safe passage for the unmet inside, how will we ever truly recognize, breathe, and play with the beloved in external form?



Photo by Bettina Güber



My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members. To learn about the program and put your name on the mailing list for future re-opens, 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 Ourselves in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The purity of sadness


It's okay to feel sad, to be uncertain about it all, to be melancholic, to lament, and to grieve.

Despite the madness of our world and a collective disembodiment to the blue shades of the spectrum, these states are not evidence that something is wrong with you, that you have failed, that you need to meditate more, pray harder, become better at staying in the present moment, manifest the opposite of sadness, or that you are lost or beyond redemption.

It is high-voltage evidence that you are alive, with a tender beating heart, subtle and perceptive mirror neurons, and senses that are open to the chaotic glory of being a human being who is simultaneously broken and whole.

Just in this one moment, be sad. Fully. Not partially. Go inside the sadness. Find the sad one there. Speak with her, listen to him, feel what she is feeling, see what he is seeing, stay embodied to the reality that you are a vessel, a temple where the lost orphans of psyche and soma can come to rest.

Separate a bit from the visitors so you do not fuse with them. Dare to go close, but not too close. Intimacy without fusion. Relationship without merging, honoring your own integrity and perspective. Find the boundary which is provocative, but not flooding. Enter the middle. Provide sanctuary and safe passage for the broken pieces to unfold and illuminate. For they, too, are filled with light.

Sadness is not something you need to fix, cure, or transform. It need not be healed but held. You need not shift sadness into some “higher” state or apply teachings so that it will yield into something else. For it is complete and pure on its own.

With the fire of awareness and the ally of your breath, descend into your belly, touch your heart, tend to your throat. Go on a journey into the core of the feeling, the sensations, images, and the raw, shaky life that is longing to be held. And listen.

It is by way of this journey that sadness will be revealed to be what it is, a secret wisdom-guide and bridge into the universal heart, a messenger of power, mercy, and fierce compassion that wants you as its midwife.



Photo by Anemone123/ Österreich



My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members. To learn about the program and put your name on the mailing list for future re-opens, 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 Ourselves in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020.