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

Saturday, June 4, 2022

The Resting Your Nervous System self-guided home study course

My online course - Resting Your Nervous System: Embodying a Trauma-Sensitive Spirituality and Discovering a Felt Sense of Safety - is available in a self-guided home study format. Around 18 hours in length, it weaves together teachings and practices from the fields of relational neuroscience, depth and somatic psychologies, and the meditative traditions.

<<Learn more about the course here

The current times we are living in are unprecedented in so many ways. In addition to emotional, psychological, and physical stress, many of us are experiencing uncertainty and inner restlessness, an existential or even spiritual exhaustion that we may not be quite able to articulate.

But alongside this, there is also a glimmer of hope and possibility, a sense that something new is emerging, but not yet known. Many of the world’s great mystics, poets, and alchemists have noted that it is precisely during transitional times such as these when a doorway will appear.

This path of direct revelation unfolds by way of the human body. Now, more than ever, it is essential to find ways to rest our nervous systems, not only as a way to manage traumatic stress and core soul-exhaustion, but to deepen our relationship with the earth, our hearts, and to reconnect with the sacredness of what it means to be a human being alive on the planet at this time.

In Resting Your Nervous System, we’re not going to talk too much about neuroscience or brain anatomy. Please know that no previous knowledge (or even interest) in these things is necessary. Rather, it is my intention that the course be embodied and experiential – close and relevant to your lived experience.

I want to explore our nervous systems in a more “earthy” sort of way. The truth is that if you close your eyes and shift your awareness inside, you’re not going to find “a nervous system.” In this way, the nervous system is not some “thing” that exists inside you, or some abstract idea or scientific theory, but is actually a friend, a companion, an ally that walks with and accompanies you on your unique journey.

It is right there with you in your relationships, in your work and creative expression, as you wake up melancholic in the morning, meditate, do yoga, go shopping, pay your bills, gaze up at the night sky, come apart in a moment of overwhelm, fall in (or out of) love, or sit with a friend who is struggling. Your nervous system has its own particular wisdom and ways of perceiving, sensing, and navigating the mystery. Along with your soul, spirit, body, and mind, it is an essential dimension of your inner family, a majestic partner with its rightful place in the larger ecology of what you are.

It is my hope that the course deepens your awareness of what it means for you to be alive at this time, touches what is most meaningful and important to you, opens new pathways of experience and perception, and evokes an embodied, felt sense of compassion and connection to yourself, others, and the world.

We could really use that about right now: embodied, sensitive, open, warm, empathic, kind human beings who can listen deeply to one another and inside themselves, and to open to the possibility that perhaps there is no such thing as “individual” healing or awakening, but only a healing or awakening that includes all sentient life.

Photo by Welsh Pixie