Wednesday, January 17, 2018

When caught in unhelpful patterns of thinking


The next time you’re hooked into a waterfall of ruminating, unproductive, repetitive thinking, just notice what has happened… and then stop. Commit to caring for yourself in a new way. Shift awareness from the limiting beliefs and back into the open mystery of the here and now.

Replace the self-abandonment with embodied presence. While there are an infinite number of ways to engage in fight/ flight avoidance, none is more efficient than drowning in thinking. While it may feel like moving a mountain, to cut through billions of mind moments of becoming tangled in thought, slowly over time you can chart a new way.

Become fascinated at how quickly you abandon feeling and in detail how this process plays out for you. Which feelings will you do just about anything to not feel? What behaviors do you tend to engage in to protect you from those feelings? What are you believing about yourself in a moment of emotional flooding?

Just this once, cut into the momentum of self-aggression. This time, I am not going to attack my own vulnerability. Stay with the feeling and allow it to unfold, to make its journey through the temple that is your body. As you notice the very compelling temptation to go back into thinking about what you’re feeling, just this time return into the aliveness of your belly, your heart, and your throat. Use your breath to help you to regulate. Feel your feet on the ground. Listen to the sounds around you. Look up into the sky. Engage your senses.

Once the intensity has calmed – once the limbic arousal has come down and you have returned into your window of tolerance – you can then go back and reflect on what happened, see if you can make some sense of it, using your mind and your intuition both to provide needed guidance. You’ll have a much more fruitful inquiry if you first attend to the emotions, feelings, and sensations which are longing to reach you.

You can practice this any time you feel like you are falling down the rabbit hole, you are triggered and hooked, becoming flooded by what feels like unmanageable feelings of rage, shame, unworthiness, or sadness. Even for just a few seconds. There is no urgency on the path of love.




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

My next event is a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. Tickets went on sale on January 1st, 2018 and registration will be taken in the order it is received. 




Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 retreats and intensives


Dear friends, thank you for your notes regarding 2018 retreats. At this time, there are only two programs scheduled:

April 4-9 The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Tickets are on sale and we're about 60% booked. To learn more, please visit http://bit.ly/2lCNV7X.

June 15-18 The Path is Everywhere, also at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland. Tickets will go on sale February 1st. To learn more, please visit http://www.mattlicataphd.com/events.html. A description is included below. If you would like to be on the mailing list for this program, please write to me via my website as we will likely limit attendance to a smaller group.

Look forward to seeing everyone this spring in the mountains!

The Path is Everywhere weekend intensive: 


During our time together, we'll explore therapeutic, somatic, and meditative approaches to psychological growth, emotional healing, and spiritual transformation. The journey of individuation, becoming who we truly are, is one that by its nature requires that we work at the full-spectrum of what it means to be an open, sensitive, empowered, grounded, kind, emotionally mature human being.

Psychotherapy and shadow work, mindfulness and compassion training, meditation, body awareness, and relational work each offer a unique set of views and tools addressing the nature of a rich life of inner abundance and resources, one that is imbued with purpose and meaning, oriented in our innate longing for wholeness.

Within the holding context of a safe, empathic, yet provocative relational field that we will create (and discover) together, we will explore these approaches as well as the mystery that the path of the heart truly is, the value of not-knowing, and how it is love itself that is the ultimate medicine.

The weekend is open to anyone interested in psychotherapy, spirituality, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, or healing. We'll meditate together (no experience required!), explore what an integral approach to spirituality and healing might look like for those of us in the busy, modern world, and have plenty of time for questions, sharing, and discussion.

We'll begin on Friday evening at 7pm and end Monday morning at 12pm, meeting for a total of eight sessions. You will be well nourished at Sunrise Ranch, with fresh, local, organic food, including plenty of choices for those on special diets.



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




Sunday, January 14, 2018

Attuned to the inner family


Usually when we think about the “others” in our lives, we are referring to those we are in relationship with – our friends, lovers, children, families, and co-workers. We are asked to attune to their unfolding experience, to care about how they are making meaning of it, and to enter consciously with them into the relational field itself, where something unknown and creative is emerging.

But there is another “other” found inside us, weaved of the lost pieces of our hearts, broken dreams, partly digested feelings, and the entirety of our unlived lives. Just like the external others, these inner family members also long to be known, to be held, and to be honored. They appear in infinite forms – as vivid emotions, images, memories – and even as color, music, and poetry as it enters and fills us.

In this way, relational work is not only with an external other but simultaneously with the abandoned children of the psyche, the body, and the personal and collective unconscious. As we deepen our inquiry and our perception becomes cleansed, we start to see that the dividing line between the inner and outer other is quite transparent, luminous, flexible, and non-solid. In some mysterious way, they dance and play together, appearing before us as emissaries of wholeness.

It is to the degree we are able to empathically attune to the arising inner family that we will be able to truly hold another. If we are not able to attend to the inner darkness, chaos, and contradiction, we will never be able to practice intimacy with these qualities as they inevitably and organically emerge in our most intimate relationships.




Photo by Donnchadh Murphy


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

My next event is a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. Tickets went on sale on January 1st, 2018 and registration will be taken in the order it is received.