Thursday, September 21, 2017

Weekend gathering with Matt Licata and Jeff Foster

Dear friends, registration is open for the October 14-15 weekend in Ojai, CA with me and Jeff Foster. This will be our only gathering over the next six months, with the next five-day retreat next year in Loveland, CO from April 4-9. We've sold about 75% of the seats for Ojai and do expect it to sell out.

We'll meet three times a day, on both days, as well as have a book signing on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

To learn more about the weekend or to register, please visit

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The contradiction of healing

While there is a part of us that very genuinely wishes to heal, awaken, and transform conditioned ways of seeing, there is often a lesser known part that has an unconscious investment in maintaining things the way they are. We wonder why after years and even decades of working on ourselves, meditating, praying, surrendering, doing yoga, and going to therapy it can seem like nothing is changing.

Our avoidant strategies – those historically configured ways of organizing our experience and disconnecting from feeling, vulnerability, and the creative (at times disturbing) aliveness of pure immediacy – arose to serve a very specific function, to protect us from overwhelming anxiety that threatened the survival of a ripening little brain and nervous system.

This dissociative activity was not neurotic, but was intelligent, creative, and skillful given the capacities we had at the time. The ability to split-off from unbearable experience saved our lives. But many are discovering that these same strategies are no longer serving a life of aliveness, intimacy, and connection.

Before attempting to dismantle the protective strategies (which is often a re-enactment of earlier self-aggression), we must face the actual implications of what it would really mean to transform and heal. To slow down and really allow these in.

The implications are revolutionary and will change everything as we will no longer be able to take refuge in the often subtle and unconscious trances of inflation and unworthiness. While the prospect of this may seem thrilling, this sort of essence-reorganization opens the doorway to reunion with the lost abandoned ones of the psyche and soma, with that survival-level anxiety that our defensive organization has successful kept us away from for so long. Hmmmm.

While this doesn’t sound all that fun, we sense that true healing is not possible without embodiment to our vulnerability, without offering a sanctuary for all that we have disowned and disavowed at an earlier time. There is no awakening without a compassionate and provocative confrontation with the activity of dissociation in all its forms, including the ways we use spiritual practices and beliefs to re-enact early strategies of self-abandonment.

It really is a conundrum, this being human: we want to heal but we don’t want to be too vulnerable, to take too much risk, to turn back into that anxiety, shakiness, tenderness, and raw unguarded life that is our true nature.

As you become more and more aware of how all of this plays out in specific ways in your own life and relationships, the invitation is to honor the sacredness and intelligence of the conundrum. It is not some mistake or cosmic error, but the activity of love itself, taking form as paradox, contradiction, and a fiery sort of wisdom, placed inside you as a gift and benediction, the prima materia you have to work with on the path of the heart.

My new book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 

The next event, The Magic of Being Fully Human, to be held in Ojai, CA on October 14-15. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

When caught in a loop of excessive thinking

The next time you notice that you’re attacking yourself, caught in a looping storyline about how you’ve failed, how you’ll never get it right, how there is something just fundamentally wrong with you …

When you’ve become lost in a repetitive narrative about how someone has misunderstood you, how you are not being seen in the way you’d like, or when find yourself complaining about your life or another person …

Just stop.

Before you abandon yourself and leave your immediate experience, parachuting into the unstable waters of rumination, shame, and blame, slow way down. For this is no ordinary moment. You are being asked to care for yourself in a new way, to cleanse your perception with space, with kindness, with compassion – to pause and to encode a new pathway.

With the ally of the breath, shift your awareness out of the overwhelming narrative, for it is no longer safe there. It is not serving you to travel down the conditioned rabbit hole of unworthiness and self-abandonment any longer. These are the leftover grooves of an earlier time, and ache to be reorganized by way of empathy, attunement, and embodied presence.

Conserve your precious life energy, remove it from that which is no longer working in your best interest, and direct into your belly, your heart, your throat. And ask: what feeling is wanting to be met now? In what way am I being asked to care for the vulnerable, the tender, and the shaky within me, to no longer project it outward in the movement of self-abandonment and self-aggression? How am I being asked to tend to myself in a new way? To touch the erupting, raw, achy life that is surging now for holding.

Look carefully, with curiosity, patience, kindness, and compassion and see the ways you leave the embodied world of pure feeling, bailing on your vulnerability as you escape back into the conditioned narrative of complaint, resentment, shame, blame, and self-attack. Return home.

While it may seem you are longing for something outside you, in these moments you are only longing for your own presence. For you need yourself now more than ever. This world needs you now more than ever.

My new book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 

The next event, The Magic of Being Fully Human, to be held in Ojai, CA on October 14-15.