Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The neural circuitry of the stars

The tragedy of relational trauma presents itself as a cellular fragmenting, more primordial than a mere cognitive dissonance, neurally-encoded and rooted in the soul.

In these fields of disorganization, we simultaneously long for and are terrified of “the Other,” not knowing whether to move toward or step away. This sort of essence-disorientation runs through the entire psychic and bodily circuitry.

For a young child, the attachment figure is God or Goddess, magician, and seer - without them the end is near. But when this figure is also the very source of terror for the little one – or are shocked and traumatized themselves – we find ourselves in uncharted waters.

It takes everything to sit in this field with a brother or sister who has been touched in this way, who has come to organize their experience around this sort of rupture and betrayal. At times, our hearts shatter and break in grief with them.

In addition to the chronic empathic failure and narcissistic injury which goes to the very core of our sense of self, what can be even more devastating is a deep knowing that “I’m alone in this.” The absence of companionship, of feeling felt and understood, is at the heart of trauma and devastating to a human being wired to rest within a relational field.

To provide even a sliver of hope, a moment of safety, where they can feel felt and understood, just one moment where they can re-link, re-associate, re-embody, and know a new world is possible.

To look up at you and see and feel and sense that you are there with them, that you honor who and what they are and the coherence and validity of their experience. That you will not demand they urgently transform or heal or be different in order for you to stay near.

Never underestimate the power of love and what we can do to help. A few kind words, listening to another and their story, holding them, offering shelter and refuge, helping them to feel safe, even if for only a few seconds.

To do this with just one person, one microsecond at a time, and then, together, allow this felt sense and knowing of safety to ripple out into the neural circuity of the stars. Always together.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The great friend

There are times in our lives when even our most precious beliefs and realizations fall apart and dissolve in front of our very eyes. What was so clear only days or weeks ago is transformed to dust.

Yellowed away by the alchemical putrefactio, me and my life and the way I was so sure it was supposed to turn out.

It’s tempting to conclude that something has gone wrong, some great cosmic error or mistake has occurred, we have failed, or we’ve been forsaken.

But this reassembling of our world is a sacred process and the path is everywhere. It is there in moments of holding it all together and it is equally there in moments when everything is falling apart.

In the fantasy that we have come to some resolution or “mastery” of the wildness and unending depths of the human heart, the beloved appears to turn the master into dust, which was precisely his or her role all along, a special arrow in her quiver. How tragic. What mercy.

The soul is always communicating to us. The great Friend is always looking for us, in the hope of drawing us nearer, but often in ways that are unexpected and even bewildering to the part of us that believes it is in control.

In order to get our attention, the soul must at times upset and dissolve the status quo, turning inside out the dreams and fantasies of me and the life I thought I was living… causing us to see that perhaps we have no idea who and what we are, what a relationship is, what healing is, what the Divine is, and where we will find meaning.

As we deepen in our inquiry, we might start to see this activity of somatic and psychic restructuring as the expression of a certain kind of grace… not the sweet, flowy, and expansive grace that is our favorite kind, but a grace that is fierce and wild and can have a certain disassembling energy to it.

It’s the grace of Kali, or that of the wrathful Tibetan goddesses or the moon, a raging grace, a creative and destructive reorganization of consciousness. But it is grace nonetheless.

Image by David Mark 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Matt's New Online Course: Soul-Tending in Times of Transition

Dear friend, 

Even though it may seem as if we are alone – and in part we must walk this path by ourselves – we are never truly alone, as unseen helpers, friends, and companions are always nearby. We can help one another in so many ways and it is in this spirit that I have put together the upcoming online course - Tending to the Soul

>>Learn more about the Tending to the Soul online course

Over five weeks, we’ll make a journey together of being and belonging, into the heart of embodied spirituality, relational neuroscience, and a psychotherapy of the soul. Starting Thursday, October 21st, we’ll meet within a healing relational field and immerse ourselves in the teachings and practices which are such an essential part of my writing and clinical work, including:

  • Slowing down and replacing habitual consciousness and perception with that of curious, compassionate, empathic attunement

  • How the spiritual path will inevitably ask us to step into the unknown and how that isn’t always going to feel certain, clear, and safe

  • Simple, yet effective self-attunement and soul-tending practices you can engage daily, even if you don’t have hours of free time

  • The discovery of a natural trust and confidence in our immediate, embodied experience, even in difficult times

  • The organic process of things “falling apart” and coming back together again and how cycles of rupture and repair are the essence of deep soul work 

  • The relevance of alchemy in a contemporary, embodied, imaginative approach to transformation and healing

  • Becoming an alchemist of your own life and working the the minerals and materials of your own heart  

  • The alchemical yellowing, the sacredness of dissolution, and the holy invitation when things fall apart 

  • Unearthing the alchemical tincture and medicine hidden inside the wound

  • How difficult and challenging emotional experience - especially in relationship - is the prima materia for the alchemist to work with in the laboratory of the soul

  • How any integral path of spiritual transformation can benefit from psychological, emotional, somatic, and relational sensitivity

  • The metaphor of light and the importance of “making the darkness conscious” on the path of wholeness

  • How we can use our relationship with spirituality to avoid a direct confrontation with “the shadow,” unresolved relational trauma, and “the unlived life”

  • The importance of radical honesty with ourselves on the healing and spiritual paths and the capacity to practice kindness toward the unwanted parts and pieces of the psyche

  • Becoming an alchemist of the inner landscape and working consciously with the “metals” and “minerals” of our immediate, embodied experience 

  • The transformative potential of the “blue” range of the spectrum of consciousness

  • How grief is a portal and temple in which we can enter into with greater awareness and compassion

  • Opening to “the unlived life” and what remains unfelt and unintegrated within us 

  • Meeting and dialoguing with the lost orphans of psyche and soma 

  • What it means to experience our feelings all the way through without falling into the extremes of denial or fusion 

  • The courage to walk alone at times, leading with our eccentricities, vulnerabilities, and sensitivities, which requires going against the psychic status quo

  • How the cycles of reorganization and the alchemical putrefactio are the soil from which the phoenix of the heart can emerge 

  • The inherent messiness of the spiritual journey, and the chaos and glory of what it means to be fully here and to participate in the unfolding of the soul

  • Unshaming and depathologizing intense, unwanted, and uncomfortable emotional experience, and honoring times of unknowing and liminality 

  • Updating neural and soul-circuitry with empathic attunement and embodied kindness 

It’s not easy to do this sort of work and exploration on our own as the path can become blurry, hazy, and even a bit lonely. Anytime we open to the shadow, the lunar, and the descendent current, it can be so helpful to have one another to shine a lamp in the darkness. For it is within these more dimly lit dimensions of the spectrum of the heart that a luminosity appears, what the alchemists refer to as the scintilla, or the sparks of light. 

In gathering together over these five weeks, we’ll participate consciously in the power and poetic beauty of the relational field to support us in cleansing our perception, opening our hearts, and remembering what’s most important. 

>>Learn more about the Tending to the Soul online course here 

As a reminder, we’ll meet live for five consecutive Thursdays, starting October 21st, at 11am Pacific/ 7pm in London. The live sessions will last around 75-90 minutes and include experiential exercises, talks and curriculum, sharing personal experience, and live interaction where you can ask questions. 

Remember, it is not necessary to attend live in order to fully participate. Many are unable due to other commitments.  After each session, you’ll receive a link to the video replay as well as be able to download the audio and a written transcript, and work through the material from the comfort of your own home on a timeline that works for you. 

I’d love to have you join me this fall - as well as friends and fellow travelers from around the world - where together we can create a safe, warm, yet provocative and creative relational field - and explore some of the mysteries of the healing journey. 

Wishing you many blessings on your journey and I look forward to connecting with you this fall, or later at some point down the path in whatever way we’re brought together. 

With love and appreciation, 


Friday, October 15, 2021

REPLAY of Matt's free live webinar


Dear friends, 

Here is the link to the replay of the free live webinar I held yesterday on Being and Belonging: Keeping Your Heart Open When Things Fall Apart. We plan to leave this up for a few weeks if you were unable to attend and you'd like to watch it (at no cost). 

A quick reminder that my new live online course starts next week – Tending to the Soul: A 5-Week Journey of Being and Belonging, and a Spirituality of the Heart. You can find all the details here

Inside the course we’ll be meditating together and exploring the nature of an embodied, alchemical, trauma-informed approach to transformation and healing, diving deep into many of the themes I speak about in my writing and apply in my own life and clinical practice.

I look forward to making this journey with you where, together, we can step into a holding environment and into the mysteries of the body, the heart, and the sacred world.

If you're unable to join us inside the course, we'll be sure to find other ways to stay in touch over the weeks and months to come, including writing here at the blog and future free videos and webinars

Please take care of yourself! 

Sending love,


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Matt Licata's new live online course - Tending to the Soul

Dear friend,

I wanted to let you know that my new online course, Tending to the Soul: A 5-Week Journey of Being and Belonging, and a Spirituality of the Heart, is now open for registration for a limited time.

We live in an era of unprecedented change and transition, which we can see happening all around us. Simultaneously, the same process is occurring within the vessel of the human body.

At times, the sacred world can seem so near. But at other times it remains hidden behind the veil of conditioned perception.

We hear that “the path is everywhere,” but what does that mean in our embodied, lived experience? How do we see and unearth the silver, emerald, and gold that are sparkling and alive as an organic aspect of inner and outer nature?

Over the five weeks we’ll be together, we’ll dive deep into many of the topics and areas of inquiry which I discuss in my teaching, writing, and psychotherapeutic work, to help support you on your own unique path of individuation and healing.

You can get all the details about the course here:

[Now Open] Tending to the Soul: A 5-Week Journey with Matt Licata

I look forward to spending this time with you where we can come together in the exploration of an embodied, shadow-inclusive, trauma-sensitive approach to our paths of psychological growth, emotional attunement, and spiritual transformation.

Take care and I hope to see you inside the course later this month. 



P.S. I'm going to be offering a free webinar on keeping your heart open when things fall apart this Thursday (the 14th), which will serve as an introduction to the course. You can register at no cost here

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Free live webinar with Matt Licata on Thursday

Dear friend, 

I want to invite you to a free live webinar on Thursday, October 14 at 11am Pacific Time/ 7pm in London, entitled Being and Becoming: Keeping Your Heart Open When Things Fall Apart.

>>Register for the webinar at no cost here

During the call, I'll speak about tending to the soul in times of transition, the journey of the wounded healer, and the nature of an embodied, shadow-sensitive, trauma-informed approach to psychological inquiry, emotional healing, and spiritual transformation. 

I look forward to connecting with you on the 14th! 



Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Trauma and the sacred wound

Excerpted from my free video on “Trauma and the Wounded Healer” 

Many of us interested in things like spirituality, yoga, meditation have been wounded in our lives – whether that be physically, emotionally, or at a deeper soul level.

Whether this wounding manifests as trauma, disorganized attachment, depression, or through any manner of personal or archetypal betrayals, it has a way of coloring our perception and affecting our capacity to feel safe.

Our increasingly speedy and fragmented culture has come to pathologize valid human experiences such as grief, melancholy, restlessness, and anger, giving rise to psychiatric and self-help communities determined to “cure” or “transcend” dimensions of our experience that contain essential data and information for our unique journeys.

The truth is that for some of us, initiation occurs by way of transition, dissolution, and loss. These experiences are not signs of error or mistake, but calls to depth and evidence of how our wounding can serve an initiatory function.

At times, deeper healing requires that the wound disclose itself in more subtle ways, that it open and reveal, where it can seem like things are getting worse.

This is really hard to let in: why is it taking so long to feel better, to heal? What am I doing wrong? I’ve failed, yet again. To really start to trust this process and the timeline that is guiding it asks so much of us, as we don’t really live in a world that supports this idea of the wound as initiation.

It’s not an easy life, that of the wounded healer – and certainly not one that we choose consciously. But is the honorable and noble inheritance of many who are called to the path.

To really embrace this invitation requires us to walk in this world against the grain - with our own sensitivities and eccentricities by our side - and remain open to deepening revelation of shadow, and to dare to consider the radical possibility that the ally will appear in infinite ways. Not to harm, but to reveal.

… I go more deeply into this in the free video and then more extensively in the 5-part self-guided online home study course, “The Path of the Wounded Healer

Image by Enrique Lopez Garre