Photo by h.koppdelaney by way of Flickr
Friday, December 30, 2016
It is no secret that, for many, intimate relationship is one of the great amplifiers of the unlived life. We can count on our partners to relentlessly illuminate everything that is longing for wholeness within us. Not because they have some agenda to do so, but simply by the nature of the crucible that forms when we allow another to truly matter to us.
We come to our relationships with an already-existing patterning that formed long ago, crafted of both personal and collective material. While this template can be updated and itself longs for reorganization into more integrated forms, until reconfiguration it has a way of looming over us and coloring our perception. It functions in large part by way of a time machine where, when activated, it is as if we have left the “here and now,” crossed the liminal, and found ourselves back in the “there and then.”
There are aspects of ourselves that are aching to come out of the shadows and into the warmth of holding awareness. Not to harm, but as forerunners and emissaries of wholeness. There is nothing like a close relationship to remind us of the orphaned emotions, feelings, and vulnerable parts of ourselves that have lost their way in the tangle of somatic and psychic pathways. They are exhausted from a long voyage to reach us, but have not given up.
The reminder of this truth by way of intimacy can at times be a bit agonizing, as the beloved may seem to have extraordinary powers to open the raw, tender, and naked dimensions of our being. But this achiness is sacred and its embodied exploration is holy. Inside the ache is a jewel. Go there.
Please be kind to your partners in response to the inevitable conflict that will arise as you make this journey together. Learning how to harness the energy of conflict – and to engage it directly, skillfully, and with an open heart – is essential on the path of intimacy, and requires the encoding of new circuitry. The transformative art of rupture and repair is one that is endlessly profound, revealing that relationships of vast depth and meaning are *not* those which are free of conflict, but those where working through conflict is embraced as path, as a unique and transmutative vessel of purification, love, and healing.
This is a difficult and alchemical realization to come by, and one that is unfortunately not all that popular in a world that has forgotten the gold that has been buried in the dark. But here we are. It is up to us to bring these fruits into the collective.
Photo by h.koppdelaney by way of Flickr
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
THE WAY OF REST: A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF PRESENCE
with Matt Licata and Jeff Foster
5 Days of Mindfulness, Courage, and Love at the beautiful Sunrise Ranch, Loveland, Colorado - July 26-31, 2017
Information/ registration - (registration officially opens January 1st, but details are available now) - we do expect the retreat to sell out and will take registrations in the order they are received
What would it be like to live a life that is not based around fixing or improving yourself, transforming into someone else, healing all your childhood wounds, or completing some mythical journey of awakening?
What would it be like, to awaken from the trance that you are broken, unworthy, unloveable and far from enlightenment?
Join authors and speakers Matt Licata and Jeff Foster as they share a radical form of mindfulness, which is also an ultimate act of self-compassion: an invitation to be exactly what you are, and awaken from the trance that you are less than Divine in your beautifully imperfect humanness.
On this popular 5 day retreat, we will take time out of our ordinary lives to turn towards the stillness of the heart, and discover the peace, joy, aliveness and, yes, humor, that is always, already here. We will come to realize that freedom is wired into us and is not dependent on whether we first improve ourselves, become worthy, find all the answers, or get “enlightened” by way of some sort of spiritual process.
Visit the retreat home page here
When it comes to the present moment, we are all beginners, all amateurs. There are no teachers and no experts, here in the aliveness of Now. Matt and Jeff do not have pre-prepared answers for you! They are not here to fix you or make you into something second-hand. They are original human beings, just like you, sharing from the depths of their lived experience, inviting you to come closer to yourself and perhaps find your answers there. On retreat, you become your own guru, your own therapist, your own loving parent. Matt and Jeff simply facilitate this Homecoming, inviting us in their gentle yet direct way to a radical self-love in which even our ‘unlovable’ parts are welcome…
During the retreat, we’ll rest together in silence, share intimate dialogues and guided meditations, all the while tuning into to the power of the field of loving presence that is always around and within us. We will bathe in a radical yet simple truth: that we have already arrived Home, that we never left Home in the first place, that we are perfect exactly as we are, even in our imperfections… and that we can return to this realization in ANY moment of our lives!
We will turn courageously toward our unmet heartbreak, grief, despair, and hopelessness – as well as toward our natural joy, peace, wonder, and bliss – and come into contact with the wisdom, the love, and the wild uniqueness that is always here. As we befriend ourselves and our immediate experience, through curiosity and an uncompromising and unapologetic kindness, we will touch a profound rest that is filled with the revolutionary qualities of love, compassion, and huge creativity.
While not formally a silent retreat, we will be returning time and time again to the silence of the Heart, meditating and contemplating reality together and exploring the a life beyond belief. In addition to regular group meetings – facilitated by Matt and Jeff – there will be plenty of time to explore on your own, both the inner landscape of the heart as well as the natural world in the beautiful Colorado mountains.
It is important to note that while these retreats often result in deep, therapeutic healing, they are not therapy groups. Rather than engaging in our personal narratives of past and future, we will be diving into a field of presence together in which we can rest in the dimension of the heart that has never been unhealed and is not in need of transformation, healing… or even understanding.
Jeff Foster studied Astrophysics at Cambridge University. In his mid-twenties, after a long period of depression and illness, he became addicted to the idea of ‘spiritual enlightenment’ and embarked on an intensive spiritual quest for the ultimate truth of existence.
The spiritual search came crashing down with the clear recognition of the non-dual nature of everything, and the discovery of the extraordinary in the ordinary. In the clarity of this seeing, life became what it always was: intimate, open, loving and spontaneous, and Jeff was left with a deep understanding of the root illusion behind all human suffering, and a love of the present moment.
Jeff was voted #59 on Watkins Review’s 2014 list of the world’s 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. Jeff has published five books in over six languages. His latest book Falling in Love With Where You Are is now available from Non-Duality Press. His new book - Way of Rest: Finding the Courage to Hold Everything in Love - was published by Sounds True in 2016.
Jeff's website can be found at: http://www.lifewithoutacentre.com/
Matt Licata, PhD is a psychotherapist, author, and teacher, with clients and students worldwide. For 25 years, he has been on the forefront of the dialogue between therapeutic and contemplative approaches to healing and spiritual transformation. He mentors students seeking graduate degrees in psychology and spirituality, and is editor of A Healing Space, a blog dedicated to the exploration of the journey of embodied spirituality in contemporary life.
Matt is author of the The Path is Everywhere: Uncoveringthe Jewels Hidden Within You, which will be published in April of 2017. He is also author of the forthcoming The Only Way Out is Through, a behind-the-scenes look at the ways spiritual beliefs and practices can serve a defensive function in the avoidance of unresolved emotional wounding.
Matt's website can be found at: http://www.mattlicataphd.com
As you attune to the “other” in front of you – as well as to the emerging disowned “other” within – a third presence will fill the space between, forming a vessel of sanctuary to hold the pieces of the broken world. There is something unique, precious, and provocative about the relational field and its ability to illuminate the heart, and to reveal that which has yet to be integrated.
The psyche is infinitely creative and will use unmet emotion, vision, longing, and dreams to reach you, in its unending quest for wholeness. The waves of anxiety, the whispers of hopelessness, the unresolvable and contradictory feelings. There is meaning embedded into these attempts at communication, but non-ordinary perception is required to uncode it. To do so, you must move against the stream of a world that has disavowed the jewels buried in the rich soil of the dark.
Something is disintegrating, and old forms are falling away. What once seemed so important no longer is. The identities you needed to maintain no longer seem so compelling. Your relationships, your work in the world, the way you spend your time… these are all aching to be reconfigured and brought back into alignment with the deepest truths you have discovered. The old hopes and dreams have lost their magnetic charge, but have not yet been replaced by new vision. Where you were going to find meaning and depth has been called into question.
You are alive. Stay near. You are right on track.
It is natural to grieve the dissolution of form, for this is a requirement to prepare the field for sacred reconfiguration. The path of the heart is always of the unknown and is full-spectrum in its nature. It will ask everything of us, and even more than that, and yet even more. While there is never a day off, really, for the traveler of the heart, it is a journey which bears fruit beyond imagination. Anything less will never meet the longing within you.
Photo by Julien Orre