Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Free videos and webinars from Matt Licata



Dear friend,

I hope this post finds you well. I wanted to let you know about six free videos you can watch below, on topics I write about and inevitably come up in my clinical work. 


These short webinars cover areas such as the nature of an embodied spirituality, alchemy and the inner fires of transformation, relational and contemplative neuroscience, self-compassion, meditation, and the endless polishing of the heart.

I hope you find them interesting and relevant.

Warmly,

Matt



Tuesday, November 22, 2022

All therapy is grief therapy


Sometimes I wonder if all therapy isn’t grief therapy when all is said and done. The original Greek therapeia referred to attending, caring for, sending breath into. Not “curing,” “fixing” or even “healing,” not these heavy clinical words. But by way of our own tenderness, to infuse with life. To surround with warmth, to take the risk that this holding will always ask of us.

To be a midwife for psychic and somatic reorganization, to bear witness to the birth of a new heart, one which will inevitably ache and long and break and shatter and open and crumble in the face of it all. For that is the nature of this human form, which is crafted of particles of mystery, of mercy, of grace.

Things tend to not turn out the way we thought they would, for they are too alive, too magical, too majestic. This “not turning out the way we thought” is not evidence of mistake or that we’ve failed or done life wrong, but of the beloved and her activity here. And her outrageous care for form.

To fall to the ground, to stand back up again, to fail well, to be lost, to be found, realizing that love will assume any of these forms, shifting shapes as it spirals out of the stars and makes its way into this miracle world of time and space.

To grieve the crumbling and ending of one world, the death of a dream that has finished its time here. To allow that dissolution and provide sanctuary and safe passage for these forms to continue their journey into the other world.

The grief of knowing on some deep level that all form must reorganize, for it is its nature to do so: The people in our lives, what we have come to think we are, what has previously provided meaning, our bodies, our own worlds of experience, with even our greatest revelations ground into dust and sent back into the galaxies from which they came.

To turn toward the broken and grieve consciously, to honor the uncertainty, collecting the shards and the ashes and shepherding them. To dare to see the dissolution not as error but as holy, painfully and preciously whole, and to stand in awe as the pieces reassemble.



Monday, November 14, 2022

Already held


In those moments when we are held, our nervous systems down-regulate, our minds soften, our hearts open, and we come into an ancient sort of rest. That rest that we've been longing for in a lifetime that always seemed just out of reach. The rest from becoming.

While our true nature as open, luminous awareness is the ultimate holding environment, as tender human beings we are wired to rest within a relational matrix. To enter into this field with another – weaved of the alchemical substances of presence and of space – is one of the great mysteries of the embodied world.

Held by another, held within by our own hearts, or held by a star - despite the pain and confusion and hopelessness and doubt - somehow we are already held. It's not something we must earn or deserve or frantically search for.

Held by the morning light as it comes into a room, by the song of the birds, a rainbow, by the imaginal world. Somehow. Already held.


This morning looking out at the beauty of Moloka'i island

Sunday, October 30, 2022

The heart knows


So many of us feel shame related to our trauma, wounding, and sensitivities, as if they’re evidence that we’ve failed, it’s our fault, that something’s wrong with us, and that we’re broken and beyond repair.

Even if we “know” this isn’t accurate, that cortical knowing is no match for the subcortical fires in our limbic and bodily circuitry, where unmetabolized grief, sadness, and rage dwell as the shattered children of our unlived lives.

The emotional pain is tragic in and of itself, but underneath is a psychic homelessness and deep sense that we’re alone, which is really at the root of trauma. Here, we long and burn for the missing companion.

As human beings, we are wired to co-regulate - to rest, explore, and play within a relational field. We were not crafted to “do it all on our own” - the nervous system that goes with this particular star is one designed to flower in a relational vessel.

We can do so much for one another, to transmute personal, collective, and transgenerational trauma and trance: The words we use, the softness in our eyes, our presence when we listen, taking the time and the care to ensure that the other feels felt and understood.

So many of us are living in a way that has been toned toward a felt sense where it’s just not safe to be who and what we are.

If you want to help someone in your life, start by helping them to feel safe.

While the mind may conclude that a moment of safety is inconsequential, the body knows, the heart knows. If we look carefully, we may see just how that one moment ripples out into the neural circuitry of the world.


Photo by Boris Gonzalez 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

How well did I love?

 

It is so easy to take for granted that tomorrow will come, that another opportunity will be given to bear witness to a sunset, take a walk in the forest, listen to the birds, or share a moment of connection with the one in front of us. But another part knows how fragile it truly is here, how tenuous, and the reality that this opening into life will not be here for much longer.

Before we realize it, we can so easily fall into the trance of postponement. The spell of tomorrow looms large in the personal and collective psyche.

At the end of this life – which is sure to come much sooner than we think – it is unlikely we'll be caught up in whether we accomplished all the tasks on our to-do lists, played it safe, healed all the wounds from our past, or wrapped up our self-improvement project.

Inside these hearts there may be only one burning question: how well did I love?

One day we will no longer be able to look at, touch, or share a simple moment with those we love. When we turn to them, they will be gone. One moment will be our last to encounter the immensity of one more breath, experience awe at a color or fragrance or blooming of a violet, or to enter into union with the vastness of the sea.

It will be our last chance to see a universe in a drop of rain, to have a moment of communion with a friend, or weep as the light yields to the night sky.

One last moment to imagine, to feel an emotion, fall in love, or listen to a piece of music. To know heartbreak, joy, sorrow, and peace – to behold the outrageous mystery of what it truly means to be an open, sensitive human being. To know firsthand the preciousness and rare, unique opportunity to have a human body and nervous system.

What if today is that last day? Or tomorrow? Or later this week?

Knowing that death will come, how will we respond to the sacred and brief appearance of life?

Perhaps our “life's purpose” has nothing to do with what job we find, what new thing we will manifest or attract for ourselves, or what new belief system we take on. But to fully live, to touch each here and now moment with our presence and with the gift of our one, wild heart.

And do whatever we can to help others: to hold them when they are hurting, to attune carefully to the ways they are making sense of a world that has gone a bit mad; to meet them with empathy and kindness, and listen to what keeps them up at night and what brings them alive.

To speak kind words and not forget the erupting miracle of the other as it appears in front of us. To companion them and be an open, warm, spacious vessel through which love can come into this world.

Perhaps this is the most radical gift we can give.


Photo by David Mark 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The breath is here


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 Penny - pen_ash

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Private Sessions with Matt Licata


Dear friends,

I’m writing to let you know that I’ve recently opened some private sessions via Zoom. There are only a limited number of spaces available and I hope to make more sessions available later in the year. 


To sign up, please visit my scheduling page


To learn more about me and my work, please visit my website


Please note that these online sessions are offered in the form of spiritual mentorship, counseling, guidance, coaching, and consulting. Online sessions are not psychotherapy, which I provide in-person only, and only to residents of the State of Colorado.


Please take care of yourself and I look forward to staying in touch over the weeks and months to come. I’ll be starting a new online mentorship program in the beginning of 2023 and will send details later in the year. 


Warmly, 


Matt



Photo by Abhay Bharadwaj


Sunday, October 9, 2022

A temple of refuge

 If a child were to appear at your door: uncertain, afraid, and exhausted from a long journey…


If he or she were anxious, in despair, full of rage, or confused…

Would you refuse entry to the little one? Would you tell him to come back once he dissolved his fear, replaced his anger with gratitude, and clarified his confusion? When she healed her anxiety, mended her broken heart, and transformed her deep feeling of unworthiness?

When they first completed some self-improvement project, healed all their past wounds, or completed some mythical journey of awakening?

Would you require these things before you allowed the little one in, held him, and provided shelter for her raw vulnerability to rest from an ancient voyage of becoming?

In your most authoritative spiritual voice, would you urge the little one to "get over it,” scramble to accept everything the way it is, return immediately to the present moment, urgently forgive those who have harmed him, quickly rid herself of her “ego,” or manifest a “higher vibration?”

Or would you offer sanctuary and safe passage from a long passage? A warm home in which the stories, the emotions, the grief, and somatic trauma of the little one can be illuminated, contained, and held in a tender womb of care and loving kindness? A place of respite for the little one to find some new meaning in a world that has forgotten and let them down.

As you provide a temple of refuge for the tired children of the heart to dwell, the gates to the mandala open and you will see just how relentless love is. It will never stop sending its emissaries here to find you, as the ultimate act of mercy and grace, to remind you of your innocence and your vast, majestic wholeness.




Friday, September 16, 2022

Resting Your Nervous System course starts on Monday


RESTING YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM: OPENING YOUR HEART, LISTENING TO YOUR BODY, AND REMEMBER THE SACRED


Dear friend, 

I’m writing to let you know that my online course - Resting Your Nervous System: Opening Your Heart, Listening to Your Body, and Remembering the Sacred - is now open for enrollment for a limited time. You can learn all about the course in the link below:

>>Learn about the Resting Your Nervous System online course here

Resting Your Nervous System includes over 18 hours of pre-recorded video teachings, exercises, meditations, and video-based responses to frequently asked questions, which you can engage at a pace that is right for you. Each of the 12 curriculum sessions lasts for around 90 minutes and is made available in video, audio, and written form.

Additionally, the course will include three new live sessions, which will take place on October 6, October 27, and December 8, at 10am PT/ 6pm in London. The live sessions will last for around 90 minutes, during which we’ll rest and meditate together, and you’ll be able to ask any questions about course content or your own path of transformation and healing. 

If you’re unable to attend the sessions live (many are not due to other commitments), you’ll receive a link to watch, listen to, or read the transcript of the session at a time that is convenient for you.

Now, more than ever, it is essential to find ways to rest our nervous systems, open our hearts, and really listen to our bodies, not only as a way to manage stress and core exhaustion (personal, cultural, collective, and planetary), but to deepen our relationship with the earth, with soul and with spirit, and to reconnect with the sacredness of what it means to be a human being alive on the planet at this time.

In the busyness of our inner and outer worlds, It can be so easy (and understandable) to forget the rare opportunity we’ve been given, take for granted this precious human body and our capacity to feel, to know a felt sense of connection with others and with nature, and how limited our time is here in this place.

It is my hope that the course deepens your connection with yourself and with your life, touches and reminds you of what is most important to you, opens new pathways of vision and perception, and evokes an embodied, felt sense of compassion for yourself, others, and our world.

We could really use that right now: embodied, sensitive, open, warm, empathic, kind human beings who can listen deeply to one another and inside themselves, and to bring these realizations and experiences into the neural circuitry of the world.

COURSE DETAILS:

Starting on Monday, September 19, you will receive access to the first session’s video teaching. Each week, a new video (and accompanying audio and written transcripts) will be sent which you’ll be able to work through at a pace that is right for you. As a reminder, our three live sessions will take place on October 6, October 27, and December 8, at 10am US Pacific time (6pm in London). 

Again, if you’re not able to make it live to the three interactive sessions (don’t worry, many aren’t) you’ll receive a video replay, audio MP3s, and downloadable written transcripts that you can engage at a time that is convenient for you.

In addition to the video curriculum and live sessions, you will receive additional pre-recorded teachings and guided practices, designed to help you bring the material alive in your own personal experience. You can engage these exercises on your own, in the privacy and comfort of your own home, at a time and pace that works for you.

Some of the topics we’ll cover in the course include:
  • The importance of resting the nervous system, especially in uncertain and transitional times, and how doing so supports both emotional healing and spiritual transformation
  • How any integral approach to our spiritual lives must include awareness of and sensitivity to trauma and relational wounding
  • How a felt sense of safety is the foundation for psychological growth, emotional healing, and spiritual transformation
  • The essential role of the body in healing, especially in times of overwhelm and stress
  • A not-too-technical, experiential understanding of the nervous system and its role in healing and spiritual transformation
  • The relationship between trauma and feeling unsafe, and how “safety” is the ultimate medicine for attachment, narcissistic, and other relational wounding
  • How and why we cannot “think” our way out of trauma and other types of attachment and other wounding which occurs relationally
  • The meaning of “integration” and how trauma is a dis-integrating or “de-linking” experience
  • The need for experiential process in healing the emotional brain
  • Neuroplasticity, new experience, and the encoding of new neural circuitry
  • The unconscious investment we may have in not healing and honoring the realities of what true healing will always ask of us
  • Establishing a list of specific, individualized practices you can engage in the moment when you notice yourself falling out of your “window of tolerance”
  • The role of contemplative practices such as mindfulness, breathing, and yoga - and discerning when they are being used in healthy vs. dissociative, less-than-healthy ways
This is just some of the territory we’ll be covering together. You can learn a lot more about the course here.

It is my intention that our work together provide a real holding field in which you can go deeper into your own experience, open your heart, and come to know the sacredness of this world in a deeper and more meaningful way.

If you have any questions about the course, please write to support@mattlicataphd.com we’ll respond as soon as we’re able.

I look forward to connecting with and making this journey with you over the next few months.

With appreciation,


Matt


P.S. Please note that this course was originally offered live, online in the spring of 2021, as well as through a pre-recorded version via my website. If you have already taken the course, please stay tuned for details on how you can register for the three new live sessions at a discounted price. If you have any questions about this, please write to our team at support@mattlicataphd.com.





Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Reminder - free live webinar with Matt Licata on Thursday the 15th


FREE LIVE WEBINAR WITH MATT LICATA - THURSDAY, SEPT. 15


Dear friend, 

A quick reminder of my free live webinar tomorrow - Remembering the Sacred - Thursday, September 15 at 10am PT/ 1pm ET/ 6pm in London. 


It’s an act of kindness - for ourselves, for others, for nature, and for the world - to take some time each day to slow down, breathe deeply, feel our feet on the ground, and attune to what’s unfolding in our immediate, embodied experience.

Otherwise, that which is unlived within us - unfelt feelings, grief, sadness, rage, even forgotten joy - is unable to be metabolized and mined for the soul-nutrients it contains.

When our experience remains unprocessed and undigested, we may find ourselves uninspired, flat, unexpectedly tired, or even depressed, unable to fully be here, to help ourselves and others, and to participate in the bounty of the sacred world.

During the webinar, I’ll speak about:

  • Slowing down and the practice of embodied attunement
  • The dynamic, fiery nature of compassion and lovingkindness
  • Turning into the body (and nature) in times of overwhelm, stress, and activation
  • The alchemy of everyday life and the endless polishing of the heart
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow (on the 15th) where we can spend some time together resting, meditating, and just being with one another. 

Warmly, 

Matt 



Monday, September 12, 2022

Free webinar with Matt Licata on September 15


FREE LIVE WEBINAR WITH MATT LICATA - THURSDAY, SEPT. 15

Dear friend, 

I'll be offering a free live webinar - Remembering the Sacred - on Thursday, September 15 at 10am PT/ 1pm ET/ 6pm in London. 


It’s an act of kindness - for ourselves, for others, for nature, and for the world - to take some time each day to slow down, breathe deeply, feel our feet on the ground, and attune to what’s unfolding in our immediate, embodied experience.

Otherwise, that which is unlived within us - unfelt feelings, grief, sadness, rage, even forgotten joy - is unable to be metabolized and mined for the soul-nutrients it contains.

When our experience remains unprocessed and undigested, we may find ourselves uninspired, flat, unexpectedly tired, or even depressed, unable to fully be here, to help ourselves and others, and to participate in the bounty of the sacred world.

During the webinar, I’ll speak about:

  • Slowing down and the practice of embodied attunement
  • The dynamic, fiery nature of compassion and lovingkindness
  • Turning into the body (and nature) in times of overwhelm, stress, and activation
  • The alchemy of everyday life and the endless polishing of the heart
I look forward to seeing you on the 15th where we can spend some time together resting, meditating, and just being with one another. 

Warmly, 

Matt 



Sunday, September 11, 2022

Resting Your Nervous System live course re-open with Matt Licata

 

RESTING YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM: OPENING YOUR HEART, LISTENING TO YOUR BODY, AND REMEMBERING THE SACRED



Dear friend, 

I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

I'm writing to let you know that I’ll be re-opening my online course - Resting Your Nervous System: Opening Your Heart, Listening to Your Body, and Remembering the Sacred - which will include three new, live interactive sessions where we’ll gather as a community to rest, open, and spend some time together.

I’ve heard from many of you over the last weeks and months asking if we could find a way to meet online during the fall season and am looking forward to connecting with you for 4-5 hours of live teachings, meditation, and exploration with one another.

Resting Your Nervous System includes over 18 hours of pre-recorded video teachings, exercises, meditations, and video-based responses to frequently asked questions, which you can engage at a pace that is right for you. Each of the 12 curriculum sessions lasts for around 90 minutes and is made available in video, audio, and written form.

>>Learn about the Resting Your Nervous System online course here

I'll be posting more about the course later next week and the official start date is Monday, the 19th. Though do remember that you can work through course material in a way that works for you and your schedule. The live sessions will take place on October 6 and 27, and December 8. It's not necessary to attend live, though I'd love to have you, and we'll send out video, audio, and written transcripts after each of the sessions.  

FREE LIVE WEBINAR: Additionally, I'll be offering a free live webinar - Remembering the Sacred - on Thursday the 15th. You can sign up for that (at no cost) here

Do take care and I hope to see you online soon!

Warmly, 

Matt

P.S. Please note that this course was originally offered live, online in the spring of 2021, as well as through a pre-recorded version via my website. If you have already taken the course, please stay tuned for details on how you can register for the three new live sessions at a deeply-discounted price. If you have any questions about this or would like to register in advance, please write to our team at support@mattlicataphd.com.

















Thursday, September 8, 2022

The little one at the door


In those inevitable moments when you’re being flooded by activating, confusing, or overwhelming images and feelings, you might imagine that an important figure of the soul has appeared at the door (of your heart) and is knocking.

It could be a young child, infant, or even a fetus; a lost teenager, a worried adult at midlife, or an elderly person nearing death. Or perhaps a wounded or frightened animal, a mythic or spiritual figure, or some other one who doesn’t fit into any of these descriptions.

Often, this figure is young, and for understandable reasons. We open the door and the little one is there, exhausted from a long journey.

He or she is wondering, hoping, pleading, "How about now? Is it safe? Can I come home? Will there be anyone to hold me? I know it wasn’t possible last month, last year, last decade, last generation. But what about now? I'm not here to harm, cause more pain, or interfere with your healing, I just want to come home and rest and play again.”

It can be helpful to personify the activating experience, to drop into the felt sense of the situation, and “allow” it to take form as a figure. It’s more natural to open our hearts to a little being there, with that innocence, and find our way into relationship.

In contrast, it’s just not all that native to open our hearts to an abstraction, like “anger,” “sadness,” “fear,” or “panic.” How do we open our hearts and souls to a concept?

If we can “allow” the emotion and sensitivity to express itself by way of an image or a figure, we enter into communion with the one who has been carrying that shame, rage, and loneliness for so long. We travel into their world and see it with those missing qualities of empathy, holding, and care.

As we deepen in our inquiry we may start to discover that this little one really does have her own autonomy. “We” don’t create her, but in some way she’s actually already here. She has “created” herself.

Tending to her is the activity of love.

Please take care of yourself, 
Matt

P.S. I'm going to be offering a free live webinar - Remembering the Sacred - on Thursday, September 15 at 10am PT/ 1pm ET/ 6pm in London. Sign up here at no cost



Photo by Shiva Reddy 


Thursday, September 1, 2022

Light for the pathway home


Often, in my clinical work, a client will report the appearance of a young child, an innocent animal, or even something like a wilted flower, representing a younger part of themselves that has been carrying shame, pain, fear, or rage over the years (decades).

In some cases, it turns out these images and figures represent not only personal material, but intergenerational experiences which have been taken on for the tribe, the culture, or even the collective.

As they appear - in our dreams, waking imagination, or spontaneously in meditation or on a walk in nature - we may discover that they are sad, lost, enraged, or afraid; shaky or uncertain as to whether they can trust us, whether we’ll actually listen and be there for them this time.

Or, if instead, they will be abandoned, marginalized, or turned from, which has very likely been their experience many times over the years, as they’ve not found a home in which they could return. From their perspective, perhaps they have tried many, many times to reach us, only to be ignored, repressed, or forgotten.

But they will continue to look for us, in the hope they can come home again, to take their rightful place in the larger ecology of what we are.

It is love, of course, that lights up their pathway home.



Photo by Lisa Runnels

Access free videos and learn about my online courses

Thursday, August 25, 2022

To care in a new way


In a moment of activation, the emissaries arrive. Spinning, twirling, visitors from another time and place. Not come to harm but to reveal, for reunion.

A great meeting is being assembled. Invited guests and uninvited, weary travelers, exhausted from a lifetime of seeking light, those inner figures representing heartbreak, joy, grief, and aliveness.

When you find yourself overwhelmed by habitual, ruminative thinking, in the cascading and looping, the grooved-in pathways of disembodiment and self-abandonment appear, whispering, “come this way. It is safe here.”

With the power and presence of the warrior’s sword of compassion, stand on the rooftop and proclaim, “No, not this time. This time I choose differently.”

Slow down and feel your feet on the ground. Breathe deeply into your lower belly. Shift out of the spinning and into the aliveness of the body. While it may appear otherwise, safety is found inside the visitor, in her core, in his essence, and is revealed by way of empathic attunement.

It is an act of kindness to not fuel the dysregulating narrative, a radical act which takes practice, courage, and the willingness to fail. Something is erupting under the surface, longing to be integrated and allowed back home, but it is uncertain, raw, and unknown.

The invitation is into the shaky interior, with the breath as guide into the darkened landscape. Dare to care for yourself in a new way. With a fierce kindness, drop underneath the conditioned history and into the hot, claustrophobic, pregnant life that is surging to be held. Bear witness to the wisdom unfolding there.

At times, we must set aside our agenda to understand, change, even to heal… for a moment. We can return to transformation later once we have come back online and into the safety and regulation of now, when the self-abandonment has been reorganized with newer circuitry of empathic holding.

In doing this we call off the war. We dare to practice peace. To step off the battlefield and into the mystery. Here we bear witness to the opposites as they co-emerge, spin, and swirl, revealing a third presence that is majestic and alive.


Photo by Bilderwelt68

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The full-spectrum nature of healing


There is a certain death that occurs as part of the healing process, in the deepening of self-awareness, something that does not survive illumination. While it is tempting to spin out of the uncertainty and into rebirth, there is wisdom and a purity within the reorganization itself, which we cannot know if we abandon it prematurely.

The dissolution itself is initiation as it offers vision not available in the scramble to put things back together. An old part of ourselves that has accompanied us for so long, a fellow traveler is no longer permitted to continue the journey by our side. The crumbling of an old dream – my life and the way I was so sure it was going to turn out.

This prior soul-companion can be another person or it can be a member of the inner family - an image, a feeling, a lens through which we’d been seeing ourselves and others; a part of our world that has come to the end of its meaning, the end of its life.

In order to be initiated in this way, we must slow down, return into the earth and the mud and the ground, and somehow cut into the urgency to enter into the next phase while the current one is still being illuminated. To take some time to mourn the reassembling of our world, to grieve all that we will inevitably lose as we heal and awaken. To set aside what we will get, what is coming next, and attune to now.

To tend to the pieces of soul, the shards of the heart, and the fragments of the psyche that are being dissolved, to honor the role they have played, for standing by us for so long, and providing refuge during difficult and transitional times. To grieve the loss of their companionship and allow them to continue into whatever realm is next for them, permission to travel and experience new things.

To stand in awe at this process, despite the profound pain and grief, to care for all of it as we allow the mystery to reveal itself in deeper and deeper ways. To know that healing and awakening is messy, glorious, and full-spectrum… and is not only an act of creation, but one of destruction as well.


Image from Liber Novus, Jung’s Red Book

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Already held


Many are familiar with the term “holding environment” as elucidated by Winnicott, a warm and poetic description of a relational configuration rooted in empathic attunement and right-brain to right-brain resonance.

As the matrix of secure attachment, it provides the rich, creative terrain from which we can explore reality, resting and playing in unstructured states of being. From this ground of safety and creativity, we journey out of the familiar, experiment with our vulnerability, and stay embodied to the full range of human feeling.

Any effective holding environment is weaved of qualities of contact and space, dancing in the holy middle where there is intimacy without fusion, closeness without engulfing, tenderness without impinging. This is the soil from a little baby’s brain and heart and nervous system grow. What a miracle. Real magic.

While honoring the interpersonal aspect of holding, there is a transpersonal dimension as well. From this perspective, open awareness itself is the ultimate holding environment. Training ourselves to access, become familiar with, and relax into our true nature reveals the deeper dimensions of contact and space, where we come to the embodied realization that we are always, already being held, by something infinite and vast.

While as an infant we depended upon another to provide this environment for us, it is wired into the human heart. Every inner experience is made of this space, luminous, and undifferentiated from awareness itself. From this perspective, what we are is the quintessential holding environment. Those substances which cause a little nervous system to grow, unfold, and differentiate are the same that keep the stars from falling out of the sky.

While it is unlikely we will ever resolve the mysteries of self and other, intrapsychic and intersubjective, personal and transpersonal, or sun and moon, we can apprehend the miracle together with awe, remembering that we will always be beginners on the path of love and humble messengers of its outrageous, relentless activity.



Friday, July 29, 2022

E-mail service for Matt's blog being discontinued


Dear friends,

Please note that moving forward, we have decided to discontinue the email service associated with this blog (this will be the last post that will be emailed out). 

I will not be discontinuing the blog itself, though!

If you are interested in receiving periodic emails from me regarding new writing and upcoming online courses and events, and information about free videos and webinars, please sign up for my main mailing list here. We do not mail out very often, will never share your email, and will never include any spam or ads. 

>>Sign up for Matt's mailing list here

In order to continue to read the posts made here at the blog, you'll simply need to visit manually at https://alovinghealingspace.blogspot.com/.

Thank you for your interest in sharing this path with me. I look forward to staying in touch over the months to come.

Warmly,

Matt



P.S. I'll be relaunching my online course on "Resting Your Nervous System" with new live sessions starting in September. Please stay tuned for more information about it, and also a new ongoing study-practice group that will begin in the new year. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Seeds of holding and light


Over time, as we deepen in our practice, we may come to discover that taking care of our unresolved emotional wounding and unprocessed trauma, and resting our own nervous systems isn’t something we do only for ourselves. 

It’s something we do for others and also for the world.

Untangling the trance of disembodiment and self-abandonment is itself the activity of love, for the earth, the ancestors, and also for the ones yet to arrive here.

Through our own unique play of embodied compassion, seeds of holding and of light are planted which then ripple through the neural circuitry of our star.


Photo by John_Nature_Photos

***Thank you for your emails regarding the next online course. We're going to be relaunching the Resting Your Nervous System course, with three new live sessions, to start in September. I'll be sure to post details here or you can sign up for my main mailing list to ensure you receive all of my updates. 



Saturday, July 23, 2022

Untangling the circuitry of self-abandonment


Some are put in the position of emotionally caring for an adult early in their lives at a time they themselves need more than anything to have their own inner world mirrored back to them. To be seen as a subject with an interiority, not merely as a narcissistic reflection of the other. Until reorganized, this template orients the way we see ourselves and engage in close relationship.

In these early configurations, the little one’s sense of self becomes tangled up in the other’s moods, anxiety, and injured self-esteem. The job of the little one is shifted from unstructured play and discovery into tending to the unlived life of a caretaker, a task that is not designed for a young nervous system, nor for a tender little heart.

If interested, we can explore how this template might be at play: in our phobias around having/ expressing needs, in the fear around disappointing someone, in the hesitation around allowing another to matter. In the terror of relationship, on the one hand, and in the painful longing for it on the other. In the existential confusion about where we end and the other begins. In the ancient conclusion that caring for another requires primordial disavowal of our own psyche, body, and heart.

Having come to see our own self-worth through the changing psychic states of those around us, we find ourselves wondering: Have I disappointed them? What can I do to make them feel better? Should I take more responsibility for the unfulfilled longing in their hearts? They are upset, surely that is somehow traceable back to me, right? I’ve failed somehow, right? As a little one longing for any sort of empathic connection, we’ll do anything to receive even a limited amount of psychic (and physical) holding.

Accessing, illuminating, and untangling the tentacles of this template can go a long way in healing chronic feelings of shame and unworthiness, where we begin to differentiate our worth as a person from the moods, suffering, and unlived life of others. To withdraw the projection of our own basic goodness from others and locate it inside ourselves. This withdrawal is a great act of kindness – for ourselves, the other, and for the world.

It is by way of this disentangling that we can truly love ourselves and others and act from the radical force of true compassion, not merely re-enact the old pathways of self-abandonment and empathic failure.



Saturday, July 16, 2022

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 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.



Saturday, July 9, 2022

Disappointing another


In any meaningful relationship, we will inevitably disappoint our partners, families, and friends. To skillfully navigate the energies of disappointment is a real yoga that can take quite a lot of awareness (and compassion). The landscape of disappointing another can be incredibly challenging, especially if our role in early relationships was to set aside our own needs for another, where caring for them was the primary way that we received love and attention.

What is it like for you to disappoint someone? To let them down? To not be able to save them? To feel that you could be doing more to care for their unlived life? To not be able to mend their broken heart? What does it mean about you if you disappoint them? What are the consequences if you are not able to “make them happy” or remove their anxiety, meaninglessness, or uncertainty?

Will you be abandoned if you disappoint them? Will you be the target of rage and judgment? Will you be shamed? Are you unsafe? Should you just go ahead and try to make them feel better at all costs, even if detrimental to your own self?

What are the feelings and emotional conclusions you are asked to tend to in the wake of your letting another down, when you aren't able to help them, see them, and be there for them in the way they need in a given moment? When no matter how hard you try, they feel that you have misunderstood and let them down.

Aren’t we supposed to meet their anxiety, heartbreak, phobias, and symptoms in a way that is consistently helpful, empathic, and supportive? Say insightful things? Give wise advice? Fix them? Cure them? Heal them? Make it all go away? What if we fail and they become disappointed? What does it mean about us as humans (and healers) if we are not healing, but disappointing?

It’s some very rich territory that we can explore.


Photo by Guzi11

Thursday, June 30, 2022

It's okay to feel sad


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 jensphotography

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Free video - The Alchemy of the Heart


Dear friend, 

I recently recorded a video on "The Alchemy of the Heart," which you can watch here:


During the webinar, we’ll explore:

- The importance of taking time each day to attune to the images, feelings, and other living messages that are reaching out from the soul

- How metaphors and images from the alchemical tradition can help us on our unique journeys of individuation and healing

- Bringing awareness and compassion to those parts of us that may have an unconscious investment in keeping things the way they are

- How our deepest emotional vulnerabilities and sensitivities are unique passageways into the soul

In this free short webinar, I speak about the nature of healing through the varied lenses of the alchemical imagination, relational neuroscience, meditative awareness, and depth and somatic psychologies.

Each of these doorways provide a series of perspectives and practices through which we can come to know who we are as open, sensitive, relational human beings, with bodies and feelings that can sometimes shatter and hurt.

But it is in the core of this shattering, inside the shards of the heart and fragmented pieces of the soul that the mysteries of healing are to be found. It is inside the wound that the tincture is flowing. The ancient alchemists — our friends on the journey — referred to the illumination arising out of the darkness as the scintilla, or the sparks of light.

Healing may never look quite like we expected or imagined – it’s just too wild and untamed for all that. It requires that we question the status quo of the culture and shift our perception outside the intergenerational matrices of collectivity and trance.


Photo by Colin Watts

Saturday, June 11, 2022

A light found only there...


There’s something about periods of liminality and transition which contain a hidden doorway into reunion with what I sometimes refer to as “the lost orphans of psyche and soma,” a group of internal friends and allies that we will meet along the way. 

This “confrontation with the unconscious,” as the Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung referred to it, is a vital and necessary part of any journey of depth, and requires that we come face to face with what we’re doing here, what’s most important to us, and how we’re going to make use of the sacred life energy we’ve been given.

As so many of us have experienced, there are times when things fall apart, our hearts break, old dreams fall away, and our lives just don’t turn out the way we thought they would. In one way or another, the status quo becomes disrupted and we find ourselves in unknown and shaky territory. 

We may even be surprised by unexpected experiences such as anxiety, depression, restlessness, and a profound loss of meaning.

The invitation in these moments is to collect the shattered pieces into a holy vase and place them on an altar in front of us. 

Inside the broken shards is a light found only there, what our friends, the ancient mystics and alchemists, referred to as the lumen naturae

In order to perceive and be touched by that light, however, we have to come down into the earth, feel, and grieve. The unveiling of the hidden light is the nature of the alchemical opus, the great work of the heart that is unique for each of us.

If we look and listen carefully - as we're waking up in the morning, falling asleep at night, out in nature, with a friend, or preparing a meal - we might see or hear or sense this light as it longs to make its way into our perception. 


Photo by Kevin Schmid