Tuesday, April 24, 2018

An old dream


There was an old dream that opening our hearts was always going to feel safe, that somehow love promised that.

That allowing another to matter was going to be easy, that staying close to our vulnerability was somehow not going to feel shaky and at times unbearable.

That to heal meant we’d be in some protected, resolved, untouchable state where we had transcended the sensitivity of being an open, naked, alive human being. That somehow healing meant we’d only have to live in one narrow band of the spectrum.

But the beloved has no interest in our fantasies of invulnerability, of sure knowing as to what is coming next, or conforming to anything. He or she is just too wild for all that, too creative, and oriented in the mystery.

In whatever form the beloved is currently appearing in your life – as an intimate partner, a child, a fellow traveler, as one who triggers and annoys you… as an animal friend, a sunset, a color, a vision, as the water or as the moon… these ones long for your burning. For permission to penetrate and be penetrated by you.

… for that quivering in your heart, for your tender not-knowing. To stand in awe as you touch this world together, not as an expert or master, but as an amateur and a beginner… sometimes broken, sometimes whole, sometimes a mess, but always alive.

When we are totally unclothed – of all our spiritual concepts and fantasies of certain, safe knowing – love will show us what we are. When the known crumbles away, all that remains is this burning heart. There is nothing more alive than that. There is nothing more sacred than that. There is nothing safer than that.




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




My next two events: 

The Path is Everywhere: A Weekend Intensive, June 15-18 in Loveland, Colorado

The Great Befriending: A Five-Day Journey of Self-Love, Deep Rest, and Coming Alive (with Jeff Foster), September 21-26 in Loveland, Colorado 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Shadow illumination


To engage the work of the shadow, to travel along the descendent current into the unlit places, is a radical act of courage and kindness. For when we re-embody to the unwanted – and touch it with curiosity, warmth, and attunement – we remove the burden from others to metabolize it for us, which they cannot do. We are then able to love them, and to set them free.

In this way, love is not something we urgently seek more of or even something we can “give” to another. Rather, we become the activity of love itself, in all our interactions with the phenomenal world. With other people, with the trees, the sky, the ocean, the sun, and the moon. Even with the colors, the sounds, and the visions that emerge here.

For most of us, the disowned material of soma and psyche is most vividly displayed in close relationship, especially as we take the risk of allowing another to matter to us, to make that journey with them into the unknown fires of intimacy. As nearly all our wounding arose within an interpersonal environment, it will be most powerfully activated – as well as untangled and transformed – within a relational field.

As the ancient beliefs, emotions, and feelings erupt out of the body, they do so seeking refuge and sanctuary where they can unfold and illuminate. While the visitors of the nervous system may appear to be working against us, they are emissaries of wholeness, harbingers of integration who long only for reunion.

From the perspective of the day world, they may seem dimly lit, darkened, and unclear. But from within the dream and the underworld, they are filled with light.

With curiosity, openness, and kindness as our guides into the depths, we may discover that the shadow is in some paradoxical way only love in disguise, come to re-introduce us to life, to the fierce power embedded within our vulnerability, and to the field of warm, tender, open space that we are.





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



My next two events: 

The Path is Everywhere: A Weekend Intensive, June 15-18 in Loveland, Colorado

The Great Befriending: A Five-Day Journey of Self-Love, Deep Rest, and Coming Alive (with Jeff Foster), September 21-26 in Loveland, Colorado 

Friday, April 20, 2018

A servant of the mystery


Emotionally-sensitive, somatically-grounded, cognitively flexible inner work is unique to each nervous system. We must discover for ourselves the most skillful, effective, and compassionate ways to bring illumination into body, psyche, and heart. No one can do this for us. The journey is individual by nature, requiring experiential, primary experience; a collective spirituality is not going to be subtle, nuanced, or creative enough to meet the longing raging within.

It is difficult to work with and integrate shadow on our own as by definition it dwells outside conscious awareness. In this sense it requires an “other” to hold and reveal projection, where surges of the visitor can be co-regulated, in very small doses, titrating and pendulating emerging feeling states by way of the relational field itself. To “borrow” another’s soothed, calm nervous system as we enter into uncharted territory.

The way of direct revelation and embodied, experiential discovery is not the easy way. It is not the path of five-steps to empowerment, manifestation, or thinking our way into permanent happiness, abundance, and bliss. It is a humble journey, heart wrenching at times, as we will inevitably be asked to compassionately confront the disowned selves that surge for reunion.

The goal is not to become dependent upon another in an unhealthy way, but over time to learn the art of self-regulation and be able to shift wisely, skillfully, and compassionately between the two. This is the hallmark of secure attachment: the capacity to care deeply for ourselves while at the same time allowing the other to matter, building resources within us which are rich with skillful self-compassion while also turning to others to co-regulate difficult states of experience.

Slow way down. Ground into the earth and open into the heavens. Ask a guide to bear witness as you move into unknown territory, honoring the truth that reorganization requires an immense outpouring of courage and support. Find a therapist, lover, mentor, or friend; a tree, a bird, a mountain, or dog; the sky, the sun, the stars, or the moon. A God or Goddess, wise inner figure, or being of light. Allow your symptoms to merge into these protectors and enter into dialogue, practicing intimacy with the inner material, but without fusing with it.

It is unlikely we’ll ever fully understand or resolve the mystery of self and other, of separation and union, of sun and moon. But we can break open into the questions together, as beginners, as amateurs, and as servants of the mystery.




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




My next two events: 

The Path is Everywhere: A Weekend Intensive, June 15-18 in Loveland, Colorado

The Great Befriending: A Five-Day Journey of Self-Love, Deep Rest, and Coming Alive (with Jeff Foster), September 21-26 in Loveland, Colorado (tickets on sale starting April 13)