Sunday, March 29, 2020

In times of uncertainty

During uncertain times – where the personal, cultural, and collective status quo is shaken – listening and attuning to the manifestations of the unconscious can be an important way to stay connected with ourselves, with the soul, and with what matters most deeply to us.

Of course, many of us will be spending a lot of time and energy taking care of ourselves and our families, ensuring the safety of those around us, staying up to date on reports from organizations and agencies we trust, and following guidelines designed to protect as many of us as possible. It is both wise and kind to engage in all of this with a sharp, creative mind and open, flexible heart.

But in those moments when we find ourselves alone, social-distancing, and unable to distract ourselves in our ordinary ways, we may find ourselves in a unique situation to listen. Finally. To slow down. And listen to what it is the soul has been whispering to us.

The soul is always reaching out to us, by way of our dreams and fantasy-images, unexpected sensations in the body, irrational moods, and unexplainable “symptoms” of all kinds.

But usually we are too busy to listen, to feel, to sense, to enter into partnership with the voices, figures, and the lifeforce that is attempting to reach us.

For therapists (and everyone), you might pay careful attention to the counter-transference in these times, what emerges in your body and within the interactional field as you listen and attune to another, as they share their fears, fantasies, dreams, and images with you. For it is often through the body that the unconscious is able to find us.

I will not paint some Pollyannaish fantasy that there is always opportunity in times of uncertainty, fear, and challenge, for I do not believe it is that simple. For many, this situation will not be experienced as opportunity, but as tragedy. These ones could of course be me. And for these ones I pray.

For others, there is a unique invitation in times of isolation, where the rug is pulled away and the distractions are no longer there. Where the voices, images, and dreams have found a way in. The soul is not in us, but we are in the soul. And it is speaking.

My new book - A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times - is now available for pre-order at Amazon and will be published by Sounds True in November. 

My monthly online community, Befriending Yourself, co-facilitated with author and spiritual teacher Jeff Foster, is currently closed to new members, but periodically opens throughout the year. To place your name on the mailing list for additional information, please visit the course page here

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Social distancing and the scintillae of light

We may be asked to practice social distancing for now, which is wise and also kind, but this does not mean we must be distant to one another’s hearts. For the bridge between hearts is crafted of the scintillae of light.

There are times when the ground will fall away, and there are no longer any reference points from which to make sense of what is happening. The rug has been pulled from under the life we thought was here, and were counting on to provide stability, solidity, and sense.

The narratives are conflicting, the feelings are contradictory, and the path forward is hazy. It’s as if we can’t access what was so clear from even a few days ago. Even “a few days ago” feels so far away.

All of the work we’ve done – the surrendering, the healing, the insights, the discoveries, the realizations… for some reason, it’s no longer in reach. It’s as if we’re being asked to start over.

There is a sense that some sort of veil is parting, but what is coming next has not yet been given. At times it feels so alive in the unknown, but at other times it is disorienting, and we burn for resolution.

Rather than struggle against the uncertainty, we can give ourselves permission to enter inside it. There is a refuge here, though it is hidden and may not be accessible via ordinary means. We don’t live in a world that honors the wisdom in confusion and doubt, but we were never designed to live someone else’s journey anyway.

Stay close to what is here now, even if what is here is uncertainty, confusion, hopelessness, and just being a bit scared. These, too, are the path, but we must move out of the status quo, habitual perception, and collective trance to remember.

No, today may not be a day for answers, but to let our hearts break open together to the vastness of the question. To take the risk to love one another in a new way. To speak kind words, to listen and hold another’s grief, to stay near.

To use this time in solitude to remember how dear, precious, fragile, and precarious it truly is here.

Photo by Molly Rose Lee

My new book - A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times - is now available for pre-order at Amazon and will be published by Sounds True in November. 

My previous book - The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You - is available at Amazon

My monthly online community, Befriending Yourself, co-facilitated with author and spiritual teacher Jeff Foster, is currently closed to new members, but periodically opens throughout the year. To place your name on the mailing list for additional information, please visit the course page here

Sunday, March 15, 2020

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 ache 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 by Enrique Lopez Garre

Falling in Love with Where You Are: Embracing the Joy and Heartbreak of Spiritual Awakening - our annual spring, five-day retreat - will take place April 22-27, 2020 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with myself and Jeff Foster. More information here

My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Discovering the Beauty in the Wounded and Broken Places - is currently closed to new members, however will re-open later in the year if you'd like to add your name to the wait list. Learn more 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. Learn more here