Saturday, December 16, 2017

To start over, to be humble again


Healing is not a state where we become liberated from feeling, but freer to experience it more fully.

To enter inside a mood, image, or emotion and be touched by its color, fragrance, and essence. To know firsthand the rarity and preciousness of having a human body, a sometimes shattered heart, and a miraculous, sensitive nervous system.

Not a transcending of our vulnerability, fleeing into a state of power and untouchability, safely hidden away in some protected spiritual cocoon. But something a bit wilder than that. Something more magical. More raw. At times, even more painful.

For some reason, we were given a heart that is whole, and we will never be satisfied with that which is partial. We will never be fully alive by embracing only those feelings and those dreams that our families, societies, and gurus claim are worthy and valid. But only through the courage and the mercy required to touch it all.

To partake of the entirety of the spectrum of this human experience, with as much curiosity, soul, and kindness that we can discover. To give ourselves permission to care, to take a risk in allowing another to matter, and tend to the heart it inevitably breaks in response to suffering, disappointment, and despair.

To see for ourselves to what degree the unconscious quest for power, mastery, certainty, and invulnerability may be an expression of fear, not love.

To at times crumble to the ground in awe at it all. Awestruck at the bounty that has been laid out before us. To fall apart. To fail. To get back up. To be humble again. To start over. To be a beginner. An amateur at the ways of love.

To realize how little we know in the face of the mystery.



Photo of the snow beings, Lapland 

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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Friday, December 15, 2017

As it emerges out of the stars...


One of the primary goals of the alchemists was to redeem spirit from its apparent confinement in matter. This holy work is alive for each of us, as we wander through this world, as we look deeply into the eyes of our brothers and sisters, embrace the trees and the mountains and the moon and the sea. As we encounter the darkness and the light and as we honor our longing to participate in the sacred.

The path of the heart is not only one of transcendence, of the movement from matter to spirit. But is also one of descent, of dancing and playing and beholding the mystery as it spirals out of the heavens and into the earth; into the mud, the mess, the chaos, and the unknown. 


To accompany love as its fellow traveler, as it emerges out of the stars and infuses the world of time and space.

As we hold these energies within us – and allow ourselves to touch the implications of what it really means to be an open, sensitive, vulnerable, and empowered human being – we discover our way, which is never going to be like anyone else’s. 


No one can touch the sacred for us, can feel heartbreak for us, and can know the mystery for us. It is only embodied, enlivened, primary experience that will meet the longing wired into this outrageous human heart.


Photo: heartbeat at the Baltic Sea, southern Finland


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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Thursday, December 14, 2017

When flooded with a waterfall of feeling


When flooded with a waterfall of limiting beliefs and difficult feelings, an invitation appears from within the center of the disturbance: to step into an alive, yet uncharted middle territory.
In a moment of activation, we seek familiar ground, engaging ancient strategies originating in fight-flight reactivity. To deny and repress, on the one hand, or to discharge the uncomfortable energy, on the other. Colored by survival-level panic - and fueled by a sense of urgency - we spin into action.

But is there another way?

Before we descend into the tangled activity of self-abandonment, may we replace the urgency with slowness, the splitting with embodiment, and the demand for relief with that of curiosity and a radical self-compassion. In the alchemical place between the opposites, we find ourselves in a realm of not-knowing.

There is sacred data here, which is free to emerge as we enter into the vessel, and as we rest deeply in the core of the restless, pregnant, hot, aliveness of the emotional-somatic-imaginative world. No processing or shifting or transforming or healing... for now.

To just stay close. To listen. To feel. To sense.

To honor, validate, and bring breath to the feelings that are arising now to be known, to be illuminated, and to be remembered. Not errors, but allies; sometimes peaceful, sometimes wrathful, sometimes neutral.

To dare to allow in the truth that you are not a project to be fixed, but a mystery coming into form. That your vulnerability is not a mistake that must be remedied or transcended by way of process in time.

To attune to the constellations of the emotional world and tend to the longing of the inner family, as its members surge for holding in a sensitive, open nervous system.

To pause in a moment of activation, to slow way down, and breathe deeply. To ground into the muddy earth, with the water and sky and mountains as your witness. To practice intimacy with what is, but an intimacy without fusion, and to provide safe passage for the sacred return.


Photo of the color and the light up the way in Lapland, northern Finland

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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 






Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Just ask the nixie


I’m often asked which psychology/ spiritual texts/ books I recommend for learning about psychic processes, re-authoring limited beliefs, transforming difficult feeling states, illuminating archaic organizing principles, updating outmoded working models, untangling somatic coagulation, etc.

What the latest findings in neuroscience, mindfulness, attachment, etc. have to say about personal growth, emotional healing, and transpersonal development.

After careful consideration, I’m going to go with Grimms’ Fairy Tales as the best template for approaching the mysteries of the psyche, the unconscious, and making the journey of meaning, purpose, and love; and to facilitate the maturation of the human heart. I’ve become quite convinced that everything you need to know is there. If you listen.


Just ask the nixie.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Some thoughts about psychotherapy


I’ve received a few notes recently regarding my thoughts about psychotherapy...

I am more of a poetic psychotherapist than a clinical one. As such, I am more interested in not-knowing, depth, meaning, and the future than I am in certainty, techniques, the past, or the healing of symptoms. In my experience, there is wisdom in our symptoms, and it is honorable to attend to them without any agenda that they transform or be healed.

This does not mean I am not interested in a person’s past or in the lessening of the pain and suffering they are experiencing. Of course, this is very important and I wish this for everyone I work with. But, for me, psychotherapy is much more than that. It is not a medical procedure, but a procedure of the soul, oriented in the care of the psyche and tending to the heart.

Sometimes we are asked to suffer in order to discover depth, to know ourselves, to know grace, but to suffer consciously, to actually participate fully in the inevitable disappointment, heartbreak, and deflation that life as a sensitive, alive, vulnerable human being will often demand. To find meaning in our suffering, to enter into relationship with it, to tend to it, to even become intimate with it. To not discard it but to discover its purpose and role as a true companion in our lives. To even take it as a lover.

This sort of therapy is not for everyone and I have no fantasy that the work I do is going to be right or most skillful for everyone. It definitely is not. These days, I no longer with psychotic, borderline, or narcissistic personality organization. Nor with severe depression, anxiety, trauma, or other clinical diagnoses. These situations, in my experience, are best responded to with very specific treatment plans and methodologies, and are to be taken very seriously.

My work is oriented toward the “ordinary neuroses” of love and work, as Freud referred to them, our inborn longing for existential meaning and purpose, innate yearning for intimacy and aliveness, and the reality of the transpersonal and spiritual dimensions of the psyche.

My training and interests for a few decades have been in the larger fields of depth psychology and relationally-oriented analytic practice, as well as the contemplative aspects of the wisdom traditions and heart-guidance of the wandering poets.

In my experience, the most important factor in therapy is the relationship between the parties involved, and not the technique or theory the therapist happens to believe or specialize in. It is neither theory nor technique that uncovers the ultimate medicine. While important, these are secondary to the psychic, emotional, and spiritual resonance and attunement between those working together.

And, dare I say, secondary to the love that is there in the field when we meet in this way. Even Freud is purported to have shared that “in essence psychoanalysis is a cure through love.” Some say love has no business in psychotherapy. I am not one of them. There is no psychotherapy (tending to the soul) without love; love is the basis for soul-tending. Of course I am not speaking about the expression of erotic love, but that of agape, the love that arises naturally in any true I-Thou relationship. The love of a midwife bearing witness to the birth of a new soul.

Psychotherapy for me is an alchemical process where client and therapist come together into a very charged sort of vessel to envision and discover the unique gold that is hidden inside each human heart. To discover the wisdom buried in the dark, and to transmute difficult emotions into their wisdom essence. It is not easy work, but is honorable and sacred. And at times really hard. And boring. And annoying. And lonely. And seemingly useless. And utterly alive. And magic.

To chart a course into the psyche with a fellow traveler is an act of love and courage, and shines a special light into a world that needs it now perhaps more than ever.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 



Thursday, December 7, 2017

The temple of human intimacy


In our modern world, intimate relationship can be one of the most profound vehicles we have for healing, a contemporary temple in which to explore the mysteries of the heart. But should we choose to approach intimacy in this way, we must prepare for a long journey through the dark wood, and into the exquisite, uncertain, chaotic terrain that we will be asked to navigate along the way.

While a holy dismemberment and reassembling may sound exciting and something to look forward to, we will likely have some pretty contradictory feelings about the whole thing. We want close relationship more than anything, and simultaneously we want nothing to do with it. The archaic fears of abandonment and engulfment circle in the psyche of the personal and the collective.

At some point, we must reframe our view of emotional groundlessness, embracing it not as something to be discarded or transformed, but beheld as ongoing revelation. This may sound like madness to the mind as it does not conform to the dream of manifesting endless positivity or to transcending our vulnerability in some disembodied realization. But buried in the core of the contradictions, in the union of the opposites, the water of life awaits.

In this sense, intimacy is a path of resurrection as well as crucifixion, not primarily a vehicle to remedy our own loneliness, unworthiness, and existential anxiety. Its most sacred function is not to make us feel better or to shield us from the potentiality of heartbreak, deflation, and disappointment, but to reveal wholeness.

In the birth as well as in the death, we will come face to face with the reality of the unconscious self, into uncompromising relationship with the wildness of the disowned internal other, and be asked to embrace the nakedness and exposure that the beloved is wired to call forward.

Nowhere to run. No secret trap doors. No meditating it away. No hiding out in the present moment. The only way out is through. Into the arms of the beloved, in whatever form he or she happens to take. Into our own arms, and into the unresolvable mysteries of separation and union. Perhaps there are none which are sweeter. And fiercer. And darker. And filled with light.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Spirit buried inside matter


The difficult emotions, the confusion, the struggle, and the heartbreak. The fear, the doubt, the ending of the relationship that was supposed to last forever. On any true path, we must confront and integrate the ending of dreams, the dissolution of one world so that another may emerge.

The hopelessness, the struggle, the devastation of the crushed longing. The disappointment that it was never going to turn out the way we thought. The painful wondering if we’ve done something wrong, if somehow we’ve failed.

These are the raw materials we have to work with on the path of the heart. Place them on the altar in front of you and bless them with safe passage. You need not transcend your vulnerability, problems, or neurosis to know this. For inside the broken is a wisdom found only there.

Sadness has something to show you that joy could never provide. Inside aloneness is a secret offering that can never be found in connection. Hopelessness, when entered, reveals meaning that hope is unable to reveal.

It is pure and creative inside the symptom, but remains unseen in the overemphasis on becoming and in the tragic loss of imagination. But the alchemists and tantrikas and the unseen ones and the moon, the sun, and the stars have come to remind us. To re-enchant the imaginal and pull back the curtain to reveal the gold behind the veil.

There is spirt buried inside matter. Multiplicity is just as holy as oneness. The dual and the nondual are not two. There is no separation between the raw tender feelings and the flow of wisdom essence. Each are made of the same substance.

“What about my passion?!” Rumi demands of God.

God says, “Keep it burning.”

“What about my heart?” asks Rumi.

“Tell me what you hold inside it,” says God.

“Pain and sorrow,” says Rumi.

God says, “Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

While the trance that there is something wrong with you is sticky and seductive, slow down, unplug from the unreal, and listen. Feel. Sense. We are conditioned to find a problem where there is an invitation. Place your hands on your heart. Attune to the aliveness of the inner body. Follow the breath back into essence.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Friday, December 1, 2017

Inside the symptom


When you are hooked in an avalanche of emotion and spiraling down the rabbit hole of ruminative thinking, a doorway appears.

From the perspective of wholeness, to be activated is a special form of grace. Not the sort of grace that is flowing, peaceful, and calm, but the kind that is wrathful, fierce, and relentlessly reorganizing.

At times, the emissaries of the dark will surge to resume their rightful place in the inner ecology of the heart. They contain light, but it is a light that is not understood in a world that has forgotten. Like a black sun, or a rose with poisonous thorns.

What appears as obstacle is revealed as path. Inside the symptom the cure is hidden.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Untangling the pathways


Some are put in the position of emotionally taking care of an adult early in their lives, at a time when they themselves need more than anything to have their own inner experience mirrored back to them. A template is formed which, until compassionately confronted with clear seeing, orients the way they see themselves and engage in close, intimate relationship.

In these early configurations, the little one’s sense of self becomes tangled up in the other’s moods, anxiety, dissatisfaction, and well-being. The job of the little one is shifted from unstructured play and discovery into attending 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 we look carefully, we might see how this template continues to play out in our lives. In our phobias around having/ expressing needs, in fixation on whether we’ve disappointed someone and what that means about us as a person, in the shakiness 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 a deeply rooted disavowal of our own psyche, body, and heart.

We come to see our own self-worth through the changing emotional states of those around us, on guard at all times: Have I disappointed someone? What can I do to make them feel better? Should I take more responsibility for the unfulfilled longing in their hearts? They are heartbroken, 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’d be willing to do just about anything to receive even a limited amount of holding.

Articulating, 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, struggle, and unlived life of others. The invitation is to withdraw the projection of our own worth from others and locate it inside ourselves. This withdrawal is a great act of kindness, both for ourselves and the world. And also for them.

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



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Sunday, November 26, 2017

The eruption of a core vulnerability


When caught in the grip of an ancient, limiting belief; when you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of unworthiness, shame, and blame, convinced that something is wrong with you; or when a core vulnerability has erupted and is coloring perception… the outline of a new path appears.

It starts with the willingness to pause, to slow way down, to cut the momentum, and to allow the visitors safe passage, to provide sanctuary for the allies of wholeness, as they bring light to hidden places.

For just one moment, shift your sacred life force out of the repetitive thinking, for it has lost its freshness, spontaneity, and creativity. It can be re-enchanted at a later time, after you’ve tended to the raw life that has come from beyond.

Rather than trying to understand, transform, or heal the old voices (you’ve tried a million times), just this one time instead descend into the mystery and the non-conceptual aliveness of the body. Drop into the vastness of space. Use your breath to enter into that field of not-knowing and into pure imagination.

Open your senses and meet what has come, what has found you in the inner temple. Listen. See. Touch. Feel. Sense.

Attend to the fire as it blazes. Allow the slow, healing rains of kindness to soak your belly, your throat, and your heart. As awareness begins to drift back up into the old, vivid, compelling story of what has gone wrong, gently return it into the open field.

Attend to the flow of energy as it circulates. Hold yourself in a new way. At a later moment, from the ground of a calm, soothed, spacious nervous system, you can go back in and explore meaning. You can engage thinking from the spirit of play, re-authoring and re-enchanting the words, discovering a new story and new purpose.

In a moment of activation, you need not follow the ancient path of self-abandonment, shame, blame, and self-aggression, especially during times when you need yourself more than ever. Choose something different. Just this time. Even for one or two seconds, that is enough. A new world is born from that.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving


On this new Thanksgiving day, it is so easy to take for granted that tomorrow will come – that another opportunity will be given to witness a sunrise, to spend a moment with those we love, to be astonished at the crystals in the newly fallen snow, to truly behold the majesty of the deer on our morning walk.

But another part of us knows it is so fragile here, so precarious, so outrageously precious and at times so heartbreaking, and that this opening into life will not be here for much longer. Recognizing this, let us give thanks on this new day by no longer postponing our time here, by not waiting any longer. By remembering what's most important to us and what it is that truly matters. By doing whatever we can to help others, by listening to them so that they feel felt, by holding them as we enter into the mystery together.

At the end of this life, it is unlikely we'll be asking if we accomplished all the tasks on our to-do lists, manifested all the things we dreamed we wanted, played it safe, perfected ourselves, spent more time at work, or achieved all our inner and outer goals.

In that moment, there may be only one burning question left: how well did I love?

Did I pause each day to behold the utter miracle of just one unfolding here and now moment? Was I willing to take a risk, to feel more, to care deeply about this life, to allow another to truly matter to me, and to allow myself to feel awe at what is here? 


Did I stay close with the untamed, unresolvable movement of sweet and fierce grace as it took form as the others in my life, and as the wisdom flow of imagination, emotion, and sensation as it surged out of the stars and into my experience? Was I willing to fall in love, to truly fall in love with this life, and equally participate in the breaking of this one wild heart?

Did I spend my time here wisely, wandering with my fellow travelers as a humble servant of the mystery, open to the parting of the veil and the revelation of the temple that this place truly is?

What is it that remains unlived… for you? And what will you give to know this? To break the trance of postponement, to once and for all end the spell of unworthiness, and the dream that there is some love coming tomorrow. To remember what is most important and to organize your life around that.

The bounty and the harvest of thanksgiving is upon you, always already here, the true Kingdom, erupting in the here and now as the cells and the beating of your very own heart.

I hope I make it all the way through this sweetest of ever thanksgiving days, but if for some reason I do not, this would have been enough. I have been given so much more than enough.


Photo by Carl De Souza

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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Tuesday, November 21, 2017

When caught in a looping storyline


When you notice yourself caught in a looping storyline, shaming and blaming and attacking yourself and those around you, it can take a tremendous amount of life energy to cut the momentum. Habitual reaction to a waterfall of emotion and core beliefs occurs automatically, if not illuminated by new levels of compassionate awareness.

It can feel so urgent, this habit to spin, this need to find relief, as we disconnect from our senses, abandon our vulnerability, leave the tender fire in the belly, and lose contact with the life force as it longs to be met.

In these moments we are invited to walk a path, to encode new circuitry, and to lay down a new groove in an overstimulated nervous system. In order for the new pathway to take solid form, it must be fueled by action, by making a new choice, by doing something differently in a moment of activation.

To train ourselves to come out of a looping, unhelpful narrative and into the immediacy of our experience is a revolutionary act that upends the status quo of billions of moments of abandonment, dissociation, and self-aggression.

While it often feels impossible in the moment, we must discover for ourselves, to become alchemists of our own bodies, psyches, and hearts, to experiment and bring this new way into the world. Perhaps it is needed now more than ever.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Sunday, November 19, 2017

When sitting with a friend in pain


At times, you may find yourself with a friend who is upset, falling apart, confused, hopeless, sad, and afraid. Nothing is making sense anymore, they are overwhelmed, and the emotions are unrelenting.

You are unsure how to help.

While their pain may trigger you, and bring alive an avalanche of urgent, anxious, fixing energy – activating the shadows of your own unlived life - an invitation has appeared.

Slow way down. Ground awareness in your body and listen. Not just to the words they are saying, but to the secret request that is emerging out of their heart. Perhaps they are not asking for you to fix, cure, or even heal them. Perhaps their deepest longing is not for advice or teachings or even being reassured that everything is okay. It is not okay, and that is okay.

While you may be burning with the need to talk them out of their experience – overflowing with solutions, techniques, and processes – return into spaciousness. Infuse the environment with pause, rest, and resonance. With the slow circuits of empathy and presence, step into the vessel and seal it with non-urgent loving kindness.

This may not be the moment for you to give your friend an answer, but to hold them as you confront the vastness of the question together.

Offer the gift of a soothed, calm, and regulated nervous system. Turn your heart into a temple and sanctuary where together you can validate their feelings, and provide safe passage for their process to unfold. Do what you can so that they feel felt, that they need not heal in this moment in order for you to stay near.

Never, ever underestimate the power of love. Even one moment of empathic, attuned, contact can change our lives forever. Please don’t forget that for many, they have never actually known this sort of holding – or have had it in only very small amounts.

You have tremendous power to be a vessel in which healing can come into this world, to help another make new meaning and find new breath. To slowly dissolve the trance of unworthiness and know their true nature. Please do whatever you can. And please never, ever give up on love.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Friday, November 17, 2017

Regulating with another



While one goal may be to regulate very intense feelings and emotions on our own, at times the most skillful and kind approach is to reach out to another for help, for a friend or partner or therapist to share their soothed, relaxed, grounded nervous system such that we may regulate with them.

Where, together, we can return into our window of tolerance and breathe deeply, bringing in new perspective, new levels of meaning, and to reorganize our experience in a new way.

This reaching out to another is not a sign of “codependence” or that we’re doing it wrong or that we’ve failed, but is the reality of a human nervous system, which is a miracle, really.

We are relational beings with open, sensitive, vulnerable hearts and mirror neurons and can offer one another so much. To listen to one another and attune deeply to what our brothers and sisters are feeling and how they are making meaning of their experience.

It can be difficult to truly reach out to another when we are struggling, when we are suffering, confused, or in pain. Many of us did not have a safe place to share our feelings, our fears, our trauma, and our confusion. Stepping into this sort of trust is sure to bring forward so much within us.

It can also be challenging to listen, to feel deeply, and to let ourselves be touched by the pain and the struggle of another, as doing so has a way of constellating any unresolved emotional material deep within us. To set aside any demand that the other change, shift, transform, or heal – just for a moment – so that we can make contact without any agenda except to listen with our hearts open.

Yes, it’s hard. And at times heart-wrenching. But perhaps it is worth it. To take that sort of risk, to push ourselves just a little, to share ourselves with our friends, family, co-workers, lovers, and counselors. To reach out when we need help and to truly be there when that same request is made of us. To explore the realities of self-regulation and also co-regulation, self-love and other-love, to dance in those opposites as we move deeper into the mystery.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

To bring light to the symptom



In a moment of activation, when our emotional world is on fire and we've fallen off center, an invitation arrives. An opportunity to choose something different, to encode new circuitry, and to replace the ancient pathway of self-abandonment with that of curiosity, awareness, and holding.

First, to slow way down and reaffirm an old vow to bring light to the symptom, to offer breath where there previously was none, and to care for ourselves in a way that was not possible until this very moment.

To drop into the body and feel our feelings, sense our sensations, and soothe our stimulated nervous system with compassion and presence. To send life into the belly, the heart, and the throat... and any other area which longs for our attention and kindness.

Once we have come back into our window of tolerance, with our feet resting in the earth - perhaps still a bit shaky, vulnerable, and open - from this more grounded aliveness in the here and now, we can begin to illuminate and reorganize the core beliefs that are looping with the emotional and somatic material. Engaging the path of neural integration, we bring together the various layers of our experience, explore their interrelations, and plant the seeds for future freedom.

To begin to unwind and infuse each level with new awareness, with understanding, with compassion, with attention. Untangling the wounds of the heart, the contractions of the body, and the conditioned narratives that have emerged in the attempt to make meaning of our lives. To send new life into the limited beliefs, painful feelings, and unskillful behaviors that have grown out of our response to trauma in all its forms - personal, cultural, intergenerational, and collective. To flood this material with breath, with spirit, and with soul.

To attend to each layer, in turn, bringing light into the darkness, in a way that is full spectrum. While awareness and insight are necessary and non-negotiable, perhaps even more important is the infusion of a new type of kindness and compassion. Mere insight is not enough. Conceptual awareness is not enough. Clarity is not enough. We have seen this. Rather, it is some activity of love that seems to be required, to give birth to a new world. But what this love is must be discovered by each of us, not as a concept, but as a movement of revelation within.




Photo: Colorado autumn glory


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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Monday, November 13, 2017

Unconventional allies


As we learn to trust the wisdom contained in our immediate experience as it is, we step inside a larger vision of what we are.

In the core of the fear, the uncertainty, the confusion, and the despair there is something real attempting to break through. Feeling is not pathology but a forerunner to wholeness. While it may appear that we have been forsaken, the wildness and creativity of the heart is always present. There is no off switch.

There is intelligence inside the symptom, but the nature of this light is very rarely in accord with the way we thought it was all going to turn out. At times, we are invited into the realm of the dust, back into not-knowing, a liminal place that is simultaneously disorienting, yet outrageously alive.

We can begin to embrace the very radical possibility that even the confusion, hopelessness, darkness, and doubt are valid and unique portals into our true nature. They are unconventional allies, operate outside the status quo, but are radical emissaries of love, come to remind us of something vast and majestic.




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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Saturday, November 11, 2017

The agony of an untold story


"Talk therapy" gets a bad rap these days, from caricatures of analysts and couches in cartoons to the shaming of "one's story" by certain forms of spirituality, quick to label any hint of narrative or subjectivity as evidence that a person has lost their way.

Clearly articulating our story, the way we have come to make meaning of our lives and experience, into a field of empathic, non-judgmental, attuned, right-brain to right-brain connection can be incredibly healing, reorganizing, and transformational.

While the reality of the power of a true I-Thou relationship has been known intuitively for a long time, the field of interpersonal neurobiology has discovered the mechanisms of what is actually happening during moments of empathic attunement, and the neural integration that is fostered within this field. This is not some sort of airy-fairy pseudoscience and positive thinking. Read the research and see. Or just open your heart and feel.

Often when I speak with someone who is deeply invested in their spiritual life, they will preface their communication with, "Well, I mean, not to get into my story or anything..." As if "having a story" was somehow evidence of not being spiritual. Something to be ashamed about. Some obstacle to transcend, "get over," or do away with, some clear manifestation of being "lost in the ego."

This is madness.

I love what Maya Angelou has to say on the matter, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I find this to be so true.

Of course, it is important that as friends, therapists, counselors, and healers we work at multiple bands of the spectrum, also including the emotional, somatic, and spiritual. That we send breath and life into each level, using whatever skillful means at our disposal to attune to what area might most need attention at any given time.

As many of us know all too well, it is easy to drown in our stories, to fuse with them, and be flooded or engulfed; to forget that no story will ever fully encompass the entire majesty of what we are. But that is not indication that story is impure or an obstacle to our healing and awakening. There is pure wisdom buried in the story if we will take the time to allow its meaning to unfold. It is the fusion that is the issue, not the story. We must make this discernment in the fire of our direct experience.

The appearance and navigation of story is not evidence of some spiritual failure or that you've fallen short. But evidence that you are a human being. Welcome. We human beings are storytellers. It is a very valid, creative, and honorable aspect of our holy brains and nervous systems, of our souls. Rather than shame and attack our storytelling capacity as error, let us embrace it as a gift from the Gods, and engage it with our hearts open.

Get to know in a really clear way the story you are telling about yourself, others, and the world. Get curious. Listen closely. Travel inside the story, with breath, into its very core and secret places. Illuminate it with awareness and with compassion. From this ground, you can then decide if you’d like to update the narrative, re-craft the story of your life, re-envision a new perspective, re-enchant the plot and cast of characters, bringing forth a more integrated view, perhaps one that is more up to date and a reflection of the deepest truths that you've discovered, not just inherited from an earlier time.

The goal is not to "not have a story," but to have a flexible relationship with story, playing and dancing and dreaming with the lens through which you see yourself and engage reality. As a creative, open, and luminous pathway in which you journey as the hero or heroine of your own life. And to use your story as a way to connect with others, to truly meet and touch and be touched by them, to love and be loved. To help them with everything you have within you.

Go ahead. Tell a story. Dream a new dream. Author a new poem of your life. The Gods are listening. Your heart is listening.





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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 




Thursday, November 9, 2017

Updating the template


Painful feelings of shame and unworthiness have their origins in early empathic failure, chronic misattunement, and the reality of an inadequate holding environment. In order to make sense of this pain, we adopt a variety of limiting self-beliefs organized around the conclusion that “there is something wrong with me.” This primordial organization in a little nervous system sets off a template that can be very subtle, and can require tremendous levels of awareness and compassion to unwind.

Especially for those who were required to play the role of caretaker in early environments, where their entire sense of self came from abandoning their emotional world and attending to the other, they must go in as alchemists of the heart and the body and throw light into the dark places, for true compassion cannot arise from the activity of self-abandonment.

The invitation is to illuminate and update these beliefs (and their energetic resonances in the body), which have formed the lens though which we see ourselves and others, and the structure through which we engage in relationship. To begin to discover that these old compensatory beliefs are not true in any objective sense, but merely prior best efforts to make meaning of an earlier time, and carry absolutely no evidence whatsoever of your worth as a person.

To enter into relationship with the beliefs, the feelings, and raw sensations that long to be held. To enter into dialogue with the inner figures who seek just a moment of your attention – the scared little boy, the little girl full of rage, the ashamed and the forgotten, the lost and abandoned children of psyche and soma. To listen to her story, offer sanctuary and safe passage for his painful feelings, to flood him or her with a moment of pure empathy and compassion. To slowly begin to tend to that which could not be metabolized at an earlier time. To unburden the little one from the pain and trauma he or she has been carrying for so long.

When a painful feeling or sensation appears, slow way down and ask: what am I believing right now about myself that may be giving rise to this feeling? Flood the belief, the feeling, and the sensation with awareness, with warmth, with life, with breath. Start in the body and feel what is there, sense what is there, and then begin to uncover the limiting self-beliefs. And once they are out in open awareness, we can then begin our journey of re-authoring them into more integrated forms.



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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. 





Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Pain is not pathology


At times, you may be asked to sit with another who has been touched by the darkness. To allow them to fall apart in your arms, to unravel, to be without hope, and to feel lost. You may sense there is some sort of wisdom unfolding, but it is chaotic, groundless, and not easy to stay with.

While it is natural to want to do whatever you can to help them feel better, listen carefully to what it is they are truly asking for. Extend to them a calm, regulated nervous system, where their experience can be validated and held, exactly as it is. Ensure them – with words and with your presence – that they need not ‘get over it,’ ‘accept everything as it is,’ shift into a ‘higher vibration,’ ‘stay in the present,’ be cured, transformed, or ‘healed’ in order for you to stay close, and to love them.

To provide such an environment for another, you must first offer safe passage for the unmetabolized in yourself: the unmet sadness, abandoned shame, discarded grief, disavowed hopelessness, and deserted aloneness. If not, you may find yourself rushing to talk the other out of their experience, urgently spinning to relieve them of their feelings as a way to cut into your own anxiety and discomfort. All the while subtly and unconsciously disavowing the raging intelligence buried within the dark.

Together with them, make the commitment to not pathologize their experience. Pain is not pathology. Hopelessness is not pathology. Grief is not pathology. Shame and rage are not pathology. They are path. Seed this wisdom into the relational field and watch in awe as a new world unfolds.

As you attune to the ‘other’ in front of you – as well as to the alchemical ‘other’ within – feel the creative flow of love as it fills the space between, crafting you both as vessels of sanctuary for the pieces of the broken world, for the shards of confusion, and for the crumbled hopes and dreams that have dissolved in front of your eyes. Honor the holy truth that the forms that love take will always fall apart – for this is their nature – in order that they may come back together in more integrated and cohesive ways.

Within the aliveness of the relational field – despite the pain of the present, the traumas of the past, and the broken dreams of the future – you may see that it was only love after all, taking whatever form it must so that it may unfold itself into this world, in ways the mind will never understand.

Please do whatever you can to help others in whatever way you are able: attune to them, validate their feelings, listen carefully to what they are saying, and how they are making meaning of their lives. Feed them, hold them, speak kindly to them, allow them be what they are. And remind them that love is here and is alive.



Photographer unknown


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

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO.