Sunday, February 23, 2020

The encoding of new circuitry


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.






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

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The vastness of the relational field


When we experience heartbreak, tragedy, uncertainty, and grief, we are touched not only by our own personal, biographical layer of experience. Additionally, we find ourselves in an archetypal situation, a surrounding world where we are not alone.

Sitting next to us is every other human being who has also been shattered by pain, trauma, and sorrow. Depending on our cosmological orientation, perhaps also that of the animals, the earth, the mountains, and the stars who, too, know death.

Is it my pain alone that I am feeling, my personal emotional overwhelm, my trauma, my grief, my uncertainty, my anguish? It’s so much to hold. Or is it that of the ancestors, the stories and feelings and memories and images of those who have come before, or even have yet to come? It is not always easy to tell and the weight of tending to it all can be unbearable at times.

Here, the ancestors are not only those ones related to us genetically (my grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother’s experience) but also our universal ancestors throughout history. These ones, too, have carried these same burdens, have struggled to find meaning in these experiences, and have through their longing come to unearth the wisdom, courage, and guidance buried in the darkness.

We can see or sense these ones in vision, prayer, and ritual, and also in fairy tales, mythology, literature, film, and religion, as well as hidden in secret places that we cannot name in words.

While recognizing our common humanity and history—and the vast relational field that we share with others who have come to know healing, wholeness, and mercy—doesn’t necessarily make the pain go away, it provides a context or container of holding in which we can find the strength, the hope, and the vision to find a way through, to discover a light that has never truly gone out.

To reveal to us that we are connected in ways that are not immediately apparent, but come shining through with the force of love in ways that will astonish us, if we will allow them.



Art 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 - will be opening to new members later this month. 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. 


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Enrollment in Befriending Yourself closing tomorrow


Dear friends,

I wanted to share some recent writing with you and to let you know that Befriending Yourself, my online membership site co-facilitated with Jeff Foster, will close tomorrow (February 12th) to new members until later in the year.

As a reminder, members receive two live interactive video sessions each month, pre-recorded teaching videos from me and Jeff, bonus meditation downloads, and entry into a private Facebook group where friends from around the world share their experience on the path of transformation and healing.

We do offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you'd like to try the community you can cancel at anytime. 

For those unable to attend live (many are not) we will send out video replays, audio MP3s, and downloadable written transcripts for each session.

>>> Click here to learn more about Befriending Yourself

I hope you all are well and I look forward to connecting online, on retreat, or through my writing during the year. 

Warmly,
Matt



BEFRIENDING OURSELVES IN A NEW WAY
The next time you find yourself caught in repetitive thinking, spiraling within shame circuits, and drowning in a cascading waterfall of overwhelm, slow way down.

Feel your feet on the earth. Breathe deeply from your lower belly. Open your senses.

Come out of the seductive, sticky storyline which has started to loop and is no longer safe, subtle, or nuanced enough to contain the majesty of what you are.

With the miracle of here and now awareness, call off the war. Underneath the circulating heat, spin, and claustrophobia is a tender soft core that is longing for just one moment of your curiosity, warmth, and compassion.

Stay close. Be a friend to yourself. With the fire of your own presence, break the ancient trance of self-abandonment. Turn your body into a temple where a transmutation may occur. While the habitual groove is out of the shaky center, just this once step off the battlefield and turn home.

Recognize that you have been activated and flood that moment with slowness, mercy, and tend to the experiment. A holy invitation. Open to a new way as you ask: What is it that I need right now? What have I abandoned in myself? What is being asked to be tended to, right here and right now, with a storm of lovingkindness? Why have you come, I am listening, I will not forsake you.

In this, seeds of empathy are planted in your nervous system and scattered within the cells of your heart, watered and soothed with new forms of self-care as compassion pathways are grooved and brought alive. Suddenly there is so much space. Breath where none was to be found. You are already held by something vast.

Through this aspiration to no longer abandon yourself, you come back into your power, grounded and embodied in the reality and perception of the warrior, a warrior of love, come here not only to heal yourself but as a vessel of presence and transmutation for all beings.



THE MAJESTY OF SOUL
Spirituality is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, where one method is the right medicine in all situations. There is a whole spectrum of valid human experience that must be tended to through multiple perspectives. Forcing ourselves to adopt a certain practice when there is no soul resonance or it is contraindicated within one’s immediate experience might be viewed as an act of aggression.

For example, with certain forms of trauma, awareness-based meditation isn’t always the right remedy. Where there has been traumatic rupture, dysregulation, and disorganization, “resting in open awareness” can very easily overwhelm and re-traumatize a sensitive nervous system. A prescription of “more mediation” may not be the most wise, skillful, or kind.

Or, with traumatic organization acquired prior the acquisition of language, questioning thoughts and working at the level of thinking is not going to be sensitive enough to attune to this level, which is better tended to relationally, emotionally, and somatically, where within a safe, attuned relational field we are able to access, articulate, and integrate previously dissociated experience.

At times, it is structure- or resource-building that is most needed, supportive work to repair a fragile sense of self-organization, traumatized nervous system, or tragic disorganized attachment. At other times, what’s most needed is uncovering, illuminating and integrating shadow and unconscious process, reclaiming experiential responsibility for that which had to be disowned at an earlier time.

At other times, an existential way of exploration is most indicated, where we explore subtle levels of meaning, freedom, meaninglessness, and aloneness. Or the transpersonal band by way of psychic, subtle, causal, or nondual pathways. As always, the invitation is into discernment and non-homogenization.

The point is that if you do not resonate with a particular way of working, or if it not helping you or even harming you, trust yourself and your own integrity. Honor your experience. It is fine to experiment, of course, but there is nothing wrong with you if a particular method is contraindicated at a particular time in your life. It doesn’t mean you’ve “failed,” are incredibly “unspiritual,” or have succumbed to a “low vibration.” It means you are alive.

Spirituality is unique to each human heart, nervous system, and soul. There is a map written inside you that is in a language that only you can decipher. A pre-programmed, secondhand discovery will never do. You’re just too majestic for that.



RUPTURE AND REPAIR
In any close relationship (where we take the risk of allowing another to matter) we open ourselves to confrontation and integration of the two archetypal energies of abandonment and fusion. At some deep core level there may always be some hesitancy in moving into this territory, which is valid and need not be shamed or pathologized.

We come into relationship with a rich template of past relational experiences – will it be safe? To what degree can I count on the other to see me as I am, to provide holding for my eccentricities, sensitivities, and historic core vulnerabilities? Can I truly trust them? Will they turn from me? Will I lose myself? Is this all going to be worth it?

Inevitably, ruptures will occur within the relational field, in that tender intersection between ourselves and another. But we must remember that rupture is natural, organic, and quantum. From this perspective, a healthy relationship is not one in which there is never any conflict, but one in which rupture is repaired, by way of empathic linkage, shared resonance, and a simultaneous honoring of our own separateness and integrity. The cycle of rupture and repair allows the relationship to unfold, deepen, and disclose its secret essence.

Each of us arrives into the space between ourselves and the other with biographical, cultural, and archetypal patterning, scripts, and worlds of imagination. Our images and fantasies intermingle and interpenetrate to weave the relational field, along with the mysterious Other, the third who also appears. It is through this intersubjective dance of illuminating, articulating, and making sense of our experience with the other that the templates become ripe for revisioning.

This is why, in part, close personal relationships can be so achingly painful, on the one hand… while being the most unique and transmutative temple on the other.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Grief and the passageways in the landscape of soul


Grief is not something we “get over” by following pre-prescribed stages, but a partner that we dance, play, honor, argue, and weep with as the cycles unfold. Its appearance and the ways it longs to be tended are unique for each psyche, heart, and nervous system.

The timeline for this voyage is not knowable by the psychiatric community, nor by insurance panels or teachers of spirituality, but is birthed in the heavens. To rush, force, or pathologize the experience of grief is to work against nature.

The grieving process may not have an endpoint or state of completion in which we come to some final resolution, where we “finish” and land in some untouchable place, free from our embodied vulnerability, somatic aliveness, and from falling apart and breaking open yet again.

While some may hold this fantasied end state as a goal which comes about as we “master” life, the heart is not interested in mastery. But in entering the mystery in more subtle and sensitive ways.

The heart itself is endless, and the visitors of grief may companion us in their various forms for a lifetime. Not come to harm, but to reveal a portal into depth. Shifting shapes, circulating, and rotating, as they open and close passageways in the landscape of soul.

Grief is not so much a process that we “make it through,” but a non-linear, unfolding shepherd and emissary of the unknown. It moves not by way of straight line, but by that of circle and spiral.



Art by Myeongae Lim



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 - will be opening to new members later this month. 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. 



Sunday, February 2, 2020

Within the spiral of healing


Within the spiral of healing, we will be asked to revision core beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world. To become a poet, painter, and sculptor of new life.

So many of our limited beliefs arose from an environment of empathic failure, where the brilliance of a little heart was unable to be held, where the majesty of the emotional landscape was unable to be recognized and mirrored back… seeding pathways of unworthiness and shame.

Even if we did not experience overt neglect or abuse, an environment of consistent misattunement accretes in the psyche over time, where even subtle traumatic organization can take root and flower.

Yes, these narratives and feeling states have their origin in the past. But they must be maintained in the present to stay alive. This is a liberating discovery as while we cannot change the past, we can reorganize perception in the here and now.

This is not easy, and requires the capacity to tolerate, contain, and integrate the underlying anxiety that these beliefs, feelings, and behaviors helped to keep us out of.

Though we may genuinely wish to transform our experience, we simultaneously remain invested in certain ways of thinking and feeling, in order to maintain the protective function they have served. As painful as this is, it has adaptively kept us away psychic experience that threatened to take us down.

We must discover to what degree we still require this protection, or whether it is no longer serving our deeper longing to feel alive, connected, intimate, and free. To what degree it is keeping us out of life, out of full embodied participation in the magnificence of the human form.

We can’t just tear the old organization down in one great enlightenment experience, think our way out of it, or “manifest” it away in five quick steps. It happens slowly, by way of the activity of love.

As always, just what this “love” is cannot be revealed to you by another, but only by way of a secret language that has been placed inside you, awaiting your discovery. It is by way of attunement to this whisper that the poetry of new life will flow.



Art by alto2



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 - will be opening to new members later this month. 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. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Free live webinar with Matt Licata & Jeff Foster - The Courage to Face the Unknown



I want to invite you to a free webinar that I'll be offering along with my friend Jeff Foster on Tuesday, February 4th, at 11am PT/ 7pm London time.

The Courage to Face the Unknown: Trusting Our Deepest Selves in Times of Uncertainty, Insecurity, and Doubt… <<<REGISTER HERE

On the webinar, we will step together into the beauty of the unknown, paradoxical, and unsolved aspects of life, and open to a place of deep inner confidence and trust in a world that seems to be changing fast.

As open, sensitive human beings, we will inevitably by met with experiences of disappointment, doubt, and confusion. Rather than view these visitors as obstacles on our path, turning from them and into self-abandonment and addiction, we are each invited to turn into the wisdom and intelligence found in their core.

It is a fantasy to believe that we're supposed to "know" at all times what to do with ourselves or "how" to meet a world in chaos. There is another invitation inside the not knowing itself where, paradoxically, the water of life may be found... right inside the great paradoxes and contradictions. Right inside the mystery itself.

I hope to see you online on the 4th!


Warmly,
Matt


Sunday, January 26, 2020

The art (and heartbreak) of disappointing another


In any close relationship, we will inevitably disappoint the other and let them down.

This can be incredibly activating, especially if our role in early relationships was to set aside our own needs, where tending to the other was the primary way that we received love and attention.

In a field of narcissistic organization, we are not seen as a subject in our own right, but as an object in the perceptual field of another. Our sense of worth is derived by how well we are able to regulate and care for the emotional needs of that other. Especially at a young age, this is a very tenuous situation to be placed in.

For many, we will do just about anything to not disappoint, for to do so opens the doorway to seemingly unbearable feelings, images, and impulses. The invitation, as always, is to slow way down and bring curiosity, awareness, and kindness to our experience in these moments as we begin to encode new circuitry.

What is it like for you to disappoint someone? To let them down? To fail at living up to their expectations, no matter how hard you try?

What are the core beliefs that arise during these times, the feelings that you will do just about anything to get out of, the habitual behaviors you engage to avoid a direct confrontation with your own embodied vulnerability?

What do you imagine the consequences will be if you are not able to “make them happy,” or remove their anxiety, emptiness, self-hatred, and the pain of their unlived life?

Will you be abandoned if you disappoint them? Or will you be the target of rage and attack? Will you be shamed? Unsafe? Should you just go ahead and try to make them feel better at all costs, even if detrimental to your own integrity?

To what degree have you come to organize your life around the unconscious belief that your role is to urgently heal, fix, and cure the other when they are upset?

And for those of us who identify with being healers, therapists, or counselors of any kind, what does it mean about us if we are not healing, but disappointing?

It’s some very rich territory that we can investigate, as alchemists and archeologists of soul… a whole fountain of sacred data we can mine in this experiment. It is an act of mercy and compassion, for both ourselves and others, to take some time and explore this.




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 - will be opening to new members later this month. 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. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Matt's online community now re-open to new members - Befriending Yourself


Dear friends, we've just re-opened membership to Befriending Yourself, the online community I am co-facilitating with my friend and spiritual teacher Jeff Foster. I know some of you are already part of the community, but for those who are not we'll be registering new members over the next couple of weeks, at which time we'll close until later in the year.

Each month, you'll receive videos from both Jeff and I (individually) where we speak about our own experience and that of working with others in the areas of healing, spiritual transformation, trauma, shadow, and what it means to truly "befriend" ourselves at the deepest levels.

In addition, we'll also meet twice live (currently on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 11am PT/ 7pm London) where we'll meditate together, talk about this journey, and take questions from participants. If you're not able to join us at that time (many are not) we'll send out a replay of the video, downloadable audio, and also a written transcript of what was covered.

Finally, there is also a private Facebook group (optional) where members around the world share their experience and support one another.

I look forward to seeing you online, on retreat, or in whatever way life brings us together this year!

Warmly,
Matt