These days it's easy to slip into reaction. There's so much to be reactive about, things that we feel threatened by, things that push our buttons. But let's all take a breath...
Surely we are mature enough to recognize that reactions don't help matters. But we all have them. We're humans, after all, and humans are full of emotions, opinions, agendas, and desires. We are deeply buried under centuries of conditioning. We grasp for what we desire to make us happy (or fulfilled, comfortable, free, etc.) and we push away from anything we fear will keep us from it.
With so many of us (7.9 billion!), each with our own view of things, how do we navigate our relationships in a helpful rather than harmful way? That seems to be the question of the day. With so much deception, misinformation, disinformation, distortion, fabrication and flat out lying in the social media arena, how do we know what's real and true? Is there a way?
The thing is that our lives are intricately interconnected with all of life. We can't destroy one part of it and escape the impact of that destruction, even if it is thousands of miles across the globe from where we live. This isn't opinion, it's scientific fact. Quantum physics already proved this phenomenon years ago. It's called quantum entanglement. If you don't believe me, look it up.
What this means is that what happens to any of us actually happens to all of us. It may be on a level that is subtle or hard to see, or that takes time to play out, or that we simply ignore...but that doesn't mean it's not happening or impacting us. It absolutely is.
If you find yourself feeling tired, or headachy, or depressed, or lethargic, consider that part of why you feel that way is because your energy is being slimed on a daily basis by crap happening in the world around you. It's true because it's a fact that we can't escape the energies around us. We are all swimming in the same pool. If someone pees in the deep end, it doesn't mean we can escape it by staying in the shallow end.
Since we can't escape each other, how can we learn to live harmoniously? How can we share the pool without swimming in so much pee? And just like that, we enter the realm of emotional and spiritual maturity...
Since we are fallible human beings with pretty big, primed egos, we're gonna pee. We can't help it. It's part of who we are...until we emotionally mature and spiritually awaken ourselves. So how about we all get busy taking a deep dive into ourselves to grow. It's not hard, and it's a hell of a lot easier than spending our whole lives swimming in pee...
So how about we - as a human race - check ourselves into "spiritual growth school" and get a clue about who we really are. We don't have to look too far. The truth is here. It's been here for ages. All we have to do is own it.
Look around. It's pretty clear that what's been done isn't working. We're destroying ourselves. And that includes all of life on this planet because remember, we're intricately interconnected through quantum entanglement.
One way out is to wake the freak up, stop pissing in our pool, and start relating to each other differently. We are actually heart-centered beings filled with love, compassion, and joy. This is our true nature, the essence from which life is created.
We discover this when we awaken. Then, we realize that the pain we bear is our own doing. Human error and wounding is what causes hurt, harm, and destruction. Human error and wounding is what creates the imbalances and disharmonies life struggles with. Wounded humans wound other humans. Life overall suffers when we suffer, and we suffer when we live disconnected from the truth of who we are. It really is that simple.
We all want the same things. All of life wants the same things - to flourish, to be happy, to live with freedom and prosperity and harmony with the world around us. So how about we stop hurting ourselves and each other and start loving ourselves and each other instead? How about we live with compassion forward instead of selfishness? How about we overhaul the systems we've created that generate pain and replace them with equanimity? How about we do, and see what happens...?
Hello my friends.
Those of you who know me personally know that I've practiced the kundalini yoga and meditation tradition for 22+ years now. There's a reason for that, and I'd like to share it with you because many people are asking me how I deal with the stressors of the day.
Of all the things I've explored over the years to heal and uplift the quality of my life experiences, kundalini yoga and meditation are the most powerful, hands down. The techniques work thoroughly, fairly easily, and quickly on a subtle level, which is what I believe makes it so powerful. Transforming the subtle obstacles inside of ourselves is what ultimately creates the greatest lasting changes in our lives, and in our relationship with the rest of the world.
You can learn more about the powerful impact of meditation, plus access my personal kundalini yoga story and some beginner tips, here or by clicking on the "KEY #1" tab at the top. Whatever you do, I invite you to devote space in your life to self-nourishment of some sort through these trying times. That is something we can all do that makes everyone's lives feel better.
Since we all swim in the same life ocean, no one escapes the waves of pain being broadcast around the world through the experiences of other humans under siege. The reality of the world we've created — whether consciously or not, directly or not— is that stressors are a consistent part of it, which is why having the capacity to stabilize our mental-emotional-energetic state through time is essential to our sense of genuine peace and happiness.
These are trying times to be sure, even if not the most trying we've seen throughout history. This is why I strongly encourage those I connect with to try meditating in the kundalini yoga tradition. I don't know of anything easier or more powerful for uplifting and stabilizing body, mind, and spirit so effectively and quickly.
Thank you and blessed peace be...
It's a funny thing. Everyone I know starts the new year off emboldened to meet a goal they've been dreaming about. They have a mission with a clear sense of the outcome they want. Then about two months in, they've lost steam and the goal slips away yet again.
Are you one of those people? Has your new year's resolution slipped quietly away to the background once again, despite your determination just weeks ago? Why does this happen?
Over the years, I've explored the concept of true change and how to achieve it in our lives. It began with a dream to change my life because I was unhappy and tired of feeling like my dreams were out of reach no matter how hard I tried. Then one day I realized my approach was all wrong.
Just as with the rest of life, changing things on the outside without changing them on the inside doesn't last. We can achieve short-term gains that way, but not sustainable ones. And it's the sustainable gains we're after. Otherwise, we pretty quickly default right back into our old mental-emotional habits and struggles no matter what the scenery around us looks like.
We've all heard the famous quote that grew out of something Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." But how do we live by this quote? How can we make our daily actions reflect this quote? I'm going to give you a 5-step roadmap to one sure-fire path right here:
Step 1: Get to know yourself. I mean, really know yourself. Not just the superficial reflective perspective of yourself, but your deepest self, your truest self, your hidden and secret self. How do you do this? Meditation is one great way. Therapy or counseling is another. Shamanic healing is another. Spending time connected with nature is yet another. Service is perhaps another. And if you really want to play ball, take on a worthy project that disturbs your sense of comfort and challenges your status quo. These activities are gateways out of the psychic traps of our mind that allow us to peer behind the curtain of our lives to see the real truth. Until we deal with our conditioned self (the one that shows up in these endeavors), we can't deal with much else with much integrity.
Step 2: Stay a learner. As soon as we think we know something, we've closed the door to our personal growth and spiritual maturing. It's also true that when we close our mind and heart to new information, we trap ourselves in an "ego-validating echo chamber" filled with egoic pride. This effectively destroys our capacity to connect with life in a genuine way. As it turns out, the saying there's always room to grow is actually true. Until we are all enlightened masters, we have room to grow.
Step 3: Devote to a spiritual practice. Dedicating ourselves to a spiritual growth practice such as meditation strengthens our inner constitution across the board, making it easier for us to navigate the challenges in our lives with more presence and grace. We naturally and gradually mature through our experiences in this life, but we do so even more powerfully when we engage in a practice that is designed to help us along our journey of spiritual awakening. Taking on such a practice transmutes inner obstacles and opens divine doorways we don't generally have access to otherwise.
Step 4: Stick with it long term. It's inevitable that when we take on a new practice or habit for the long haul, we pretty quickly hit resistance. Resistance is what strengthens our resolve toward mastery of whatever it is we're doing. In the kundalini tradition, we call this "Shakti Pad." It's a thing, and an important part of the transformative process we're in. If we cave to our resistance, we stay stuck in our old ways. But every time we push ourselves through the resistance, we gain back some energy to keep going, and we strengthen our resolve. Move successfully through this cycle of overcoming our resistance enough times, and we stabilize our road to magnetism and a strong inner constitution to gracefully and confidently meet the challenges that are inevitably a part of our lives. Every time we master one of our obstacles, we make our journey that much easier and smoother overall.
Step 5: Ditch self-judgement. Personal development and spiritual maturation are life-long endeavors, not something we accomplish and then check off our "to do" list. Most of us don't suddenly become enlightened or wholly and unbiasedly compassionate and loving beings because we took a year-long spiritual workshop or spent our summer hiking in the woods. These practices are catalysts, to be sure, but there is no end to this path of the soul's evolution. There is always more to learn and refine. Remember Step 2? So don't slip into self-judgement because you cussed out the driver who cut you off or caved into your old habits. Just make note, recommit to your goal, and restart your endeavors. That will get you farther faster than bashing yourself into a state of self-loathing or rejection over it. No one is perfect because there is no "pinnacle perfect." As soon as we reach one goal, we find another waiting just beyond it that we couldn't see, no matter what our endeavor. So rest into the flow of the journey, celebrate your wins, and use your resistance and any slip-ups to recommit yourself to what you're truly ready for - the powerful and empowering change you dream of mastering.
Maybe you're like me. Maybe you're not, but for years I admired people who told me they meditated regularly. They seemed so solid, calm, and clear no matter what was happening. Plus, they were genuinely loving, confident, and happy people.
I wanted to be like them, but I just couldn't get into it. I tried several times over the years but my life was super busy and I struggled to sit still. I was always distracted and could never get my mind quiet while meditating. Wasn't that the whole point?
So I gave up on it pretty quickly, deciding that it just wasn't for me...until one day I signed up for a 4-day silent Vipassana retreat in a nearby town. Vipassana is a mindfulness meditation technique out of ancient India in which you practice observing your thoughts and emotions as they arise, without judging them or dwelling on them.
I'd heard people say how powerful of an experience vipassanas were for them, so I thought I'd give it a try. I had no idea what I was in for, and on the first day, I thought I might literally go mad. We spent the entire day in silence, not making eye contact with other participants, and moving in and out of 2-hour meditations. I almost got in my car and drove home, but didn't want to drive in the dark, so decided I'd leave the next morning.
But when morning came, the teacher gathered up all of us newbies after the sunrise meditation and took us to a private room for a dharma, or teaching. The first thing he said was that he knew we might be feeling absolutely crazy and overwhelmed, ready to bail and go home. It was as if he read my mind!
He went on to explain why that happens, and said not to panic. He assured us it would get better, and said we were just now in the middle of the battle with our mind. He added that he understood why we wanted to leave and it was entirely up to us if we did in fact leave, but encouraged us to stay.
I decided to stay. After the dharma, I went to my car and got my suitcase and bedding out again. Yep, I was that close. I was so ready to leave that I'd packed up my stuff and put it in my car. Then the teacher saw me and invited me to stay for the dharma. To this day I am immensely grateful to him for that.
The rest of day 2 was pretty tough, but I made it through. The food they provided was so good and the place so peaceful, I figured it was worth sticking around for. Plus, things were tense at home, and the break from that felt good.
Day 3 I actually awoke with a smile and sauntered into the sunrise meditation room feeling like my world had been covered in fairy dust. It was as though a switch had been flipped inside my head. I eagerly sat on my cushion and set myself for our meditation. I was calm and ready. For two hours we sat, and I was in heaven, smiling the entire time.
The rest of that day and all of day 4, I existed in a bubble of total bliss and calm. I felt genuinely at peace inside. I'd never experienced anything so amazing in my life! And I was astounded at the transformation.
Skip ahead several years to today. I've been meditating regularly since then. My practice of choice since 2000 is kundalini yoga and meditation, and I rarely miss a day. Friends and family ask me how I stay so calm and non-reactive during such trying times. Well, I can say without a doubt that it's a direct result of regular meditation.
What I know now that I didn't know then is that we have no idea how powerful of a hold our mind or psyche has on us until we stop and actively observe it. It's unrelenting and often unkind. It's overwhelmingly pushy and arrogant. It's tiresome in its sense of authority, and it runs the show of our lives until we learn how to put a stop to it...wihch is a good idea because the conditioned mind does not generate the best outcomes in our lives when it's behind the steering wheel of our car.
But we don't know any of this until and unless we stop to see it. Our lives are so busy and filled with distractions that few of us make space to do so. Yet for all the healing techniques I've practiced over the years, meditation is one of the simplest, easiest, and most powerful ones I know of to put things right inside and give us back our personal power. It's so amazing that I cannot imagine what my life would be like without it. And I'm grateful every day that there's no good reason for me to find out.
It feels important for us to connect, and for our connections to be nourishing. I don't know about you, but I love the sound of a clear-running stream. This was taken on 2.6.22 at Mayfield Park in Austin, TX. Thought I'd share. Take 16 and relax...
It's here! I'm excited to announce that this book is now available on Amazon. It's the perfect DIY guide and workbook for navigating through your breakup pain and cultivating the capacity for a more fulfilling life and relationships. This goes way beyond supporting you through your grief and pain. It's more than a few simple journaling, self-love, or visualization exercises. The unique techniques in this book are proven effective and transform you at your core, like a caterpillar emerging as a butterfly. You can buy your copy here...
Boy, do I know that feeling well, that feeling of "What the heck is happening?? My life is falling apart!"
One day you wake up and everything changes. Maybe it's something someone says or does. Maybe it's an unexpected event or accident. Maybe it's just you, but suddenly your world is turned upside down and you know somehow that there's no turning back.
Your gut drops. Your heart races. Your breath tightens. You feel faint or thin...
Such deep change can feel scary and unsettling. It destabilizes us, shakes our foundations, and asks us to take a leap of faith...a big one. Even if we initiate and want the change, it's scary. Thank goodness for dear friends and spiritual communities.
Years ago I described such a change by saying it felt like my life was written onto a piece of paper, shredded into bits, and thrown into the wind. I had no idea where those pieces would land. I felt lost and rudderless, a tiny boat in a vast, lonely ocean.
I sunk into a deep depression. I isolated and hid from the world. I didn't want to see any happy people because I was so miserable. I hated my life and had no idea how to fix it. Hell, I wasn't even sure that I wanted to. It was a very hard time for me that turned out to be wildly transformative. I've since learned that this is a thing.
The common term for this experience is "the dissolution of self." It means there's a shedding of what no longer serves us so that what does can enter. But the us undergoing the dissolution is our notion of who we are — our conditioned self or ego — not our true self. The conditioned or ego self is transient and finite, a fabrication of our mind. The true self is whole and infinite, an expression of Source.
The strange thing is that on some level, we know the change is necessary. We know the life we're living is not "it" for us. We know that we have to let go and leap into the unknown if we are to have any prayer of discovering whatever it is we truly long for.
Even sensing all of that, I was just terrified. Terrified of going on alone. Terrified of letting an old love go. Terrified of having regrets. Terrified of not being able to recover. Terrified of sinking my boat. Terrified...
Again, thank goodness for dear friends and spiritual communities.
I know now that these big transformational experiences are an essential part of our spiritual growth, maturity, or evolution as humans. Call it what you will, but sacred teachings across the globe say that spiritual evolution is the soul's greatest desire. They also say that ignoring the deepest truth of our soul is what keeps us living in suffering.
Sometimes we have to meet ourselves right where we are, in all of our broken down, messy, emotional glory to see who we really are, raw and undisguised. When we do, we realize that all the shit we've been clinging to is just fluff and isn't who we really are. We also realize that we are way more amazing than we previously thought!
And then, something wonderful happens: we wake up to a new level of love inside. And everything changes. We see things differently. We feel things differently. We relate to things differently. We stop pushing away from or clinging to things, and we let go instead. We relax into the flow of not knowing, somehow feeling that we are safe and held, and that everything is okay just as it is.
In each moment, we are here, breathing and choosing. It's a beautiful mystery, this life, isn't it?
I remind myself of this often...sometimes daily!
We see in history over and over again that people's dreams eventually manifest. Take airplanes, for example, or speed trains. Once an idea forms into a thought, it's already on its way to becoming a reality.
This is why our thoughts are so powerful, especially the ones we say to ourselves.
But things don't just magically happen. The dream - our thoughts - must be nurtured into being, just like every other living thing.
How do we nurture them?
By devoting our attention and energy to them. What we focus on, we feed our energy, life force, or prana to, and it grows in strength. At some point if we continue to feed a thought, it becomes "a thing" in our life.
Once here, if we want to keep it thriving, we must give it our loving attention, just like every other living thing. All living things thrive on loving attention. They shrivel up and disappear without it.
Dreams - ideas - are living things. They need loving attention to thrive. So do nightmares. If we feed our "loving attention" to a nightmare, the nightmare grows in strength just like a dream does until it becomes "a thing" in our life.
This is why mastering the mind - our thoughts - is such a powerful act. The thoughts we have drive the rest of our lives whether we consciously realize it or not. What we say to ourselves in our mind is most important.
The yogi masters say we have 1000 thoughts with every wink of the eye. Since 95% of the 50,000-80,000 thoughts we have a day are delegated to our subconscious psyche, a mere 5% are in our conscious awareness. This means that 95% of our thoughts happen outside of our conscious awareness, which renders us in command of a mere 5% of how we create our lives...!
Mastering the thinking mind is one big key to mastering our lives. It's also one big key to spiritual awakening and maturity, which is essential to our path of ascension. It can be done when you know how to do it. Special tools and techniques are called for because the mind is slippery and sneaky and secretive. It's even deceptive.
The shift starts with self-awareness of the thoughts we're having. Though this may sound easy, it's not. First, we have to bring our energy to stalking our thoughts because they are fast. We have to really focus on them to catch them, like a wolf stalking prey.
Then we have to recognize the ones that are false and release them. The trick is knowing which thoughts are false, because if we can't sort that, we believe them all. Let me share a little secret: we all have faulty thoughts because we all have faulty beliefs. They come from our social wounding and conditioning. No one in this reality is exempt.
Then we have to bring in the higher truth that resides outside of our conscious mind, yet exists nonetheless. This takes a trusting relationship with the Divine Source of all that is, and a connection to our truest nature. As children of this Divine Source, we are of its nature. This fact is easily forgotten, hidden, or skewed in the face of a lifetime of social conditioning and emotional wounding, yet it is still true.
Mastering the thinking mind is a process that's best taken one step at a time.
When you begin to stalk your mind and its thoughts, you may be appalled at what you find. Most everyone is, including myself. As we begin to catch all the shit running through our mind about ourselves or others, it's easy to slip into self-judgement. But self-judgement is not the pathway out of our subconscious habits. Facing and embracing the lies, faulty beliefs, and emotional pain that drive them is. Doing so allows us to heal and release them so we can hold ourselves with greater compassion and a more genuine truth.
Are you feeling the power in this? Are you ready to do this work? Book a coaching session to get started.
I was talking with a friend and colleague today and a phrase came out of my mouth: push culture. We were talking about how in our lifetimes, we've put a lot of energy into creating certain things in our lives, and how that path just isn't fitting for us anymore.
I find it curious that in the past week, I spontaneously had similar conversations with several other people, too. The gist of it is that after spending literally decades of our lives building our professional services, pouring our energy, time, heart, and soul into them, they haven't taken us where we imagined they would. They are not flowing or flourishing in a way that feels aligned with all that we've fed into them.
This isn't a complaint. It's an observation.
We seem to be standing on an invisible threshold of some kind. The past is what was, and however we try to drag it along with us into our future, it doesn't want to come along. And the future is in a state of white out right now. We can't see what's there, and our old ways of interacting with life just aren't working or no longer seem to apply as we move forward.
We're so conditioned to keep pushing that it feels strange to stop pushing and simply pause, listen, watch, and be.
The lack of motion or momentum is creating tension, and that's what led to the phrase "push culture." We are so used to pushing forward through the fog, through challenge, through doubt, through stress, through pain, through change, through whatever to achieve what we believe we want or are told to, that we struggle to stop pushing. It feels awkward and uncomfortable. Yet today there's this deep inner sense that pushing now not only doesn't work, but is not the way forward.
Who can say why. Perhaps the old paradigms we've relied on as a work culture for centuries have run their course and are headed for the trash bin. Perhaps the invisible work templates we've built our service delivery on are undergoing an upgrade and we don't yet know what that upgrade involves or how to engage with it. Doing what we've always done is no longer the way, but we don't see what is the way (and we want to see it clearly). All we know is that what we've done before not only no longer works, but no longer applies.
In my conversation with Gerry Starnes, a well-known shamanic practitioner in Austin, TX, he pointed out that pushing is the masculine way, not the feminine. As the feminine stream of energy moves to restore a healthy balance in our reality, perhaps we are feeling its hand shifting our way forward. While we can't be certain of anything, this notion does fit with the times and the larger context of energy we are experiencing in the world these days.
The short of it is that we are in an awkward, uncomfortable, transitional, in between place. We want to be of service but we don't know how that looks anymore. We want to move our life's work forward, but the road we were on has taken us to a dead end. We want to align with or tune into what's next for us, but we can't seem to pick up the right frequency.
Many of us are feeling uncertain, questioning what's next and how to move our lives forward. We are so used to pushing, and when what we are pushing against fades away, we feel a bit lost...like a boat with no water to sail on.
So what do we do?
At times like these I rest into my spiritual training. I invite myself to stop worrying, surrender, release what no longer serves even if I have no idea what's next and even if I've poured my heart and soul into it, stop pushing, and relax into the flow of what is. Being fully engaged with what is will show us what's next. Our only true concern is what is before us in this moment. The rest is an unknown that will only be revealed as we rise up to meet it.
So stop worrying, my friends. It does no good. Surrender all the ideas in your head about how things "should" be. There is no "should." Release what isn't working or moving your life forward in the ways you want. Its job in your life is complete. Stop pushing against things that don't seem to want to move. Force isn't the answer. And relax into the flow of what is, because your presence there will reveal what's next.
Like me, you may be wondering wha't in store for us in 2022. Will we finally break free of covid pandemic concerns? Can we return to our normal lives again? Can we enjoy ourselves without worry? Most of us are asking questions like these, so I took a peek into what those in the know are saying...
According to psychological astrologer Jennifer Freed, 2022 brings us "an opportunity for reevaluation, repair, and rapid expansion." Okay, that sounds pretty good...but it may also involve some pretty intense change.
Astrologers The AstroTwins say "as old systems break down, space for new ones will emerge. And as the new year begins, we're in the thick of that in-between place, stumbling around in a state of cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance is basically when we feel confused about what to do because our thoughts, feelings, and/or beliefs are in conflict inside. I'd say this fits in rather well with "reevaluation, repair, and rapid expansion." It's often true that inner tension fosters outer change.
Vedic Astrologer Katy Jane, PhD, says that "after two years of a pandemic, we've come to the well parched. Now we have to assert even more effort to become un-parched. Pump after pump, we're expecting refreshment of a certain kind only to get something else upon the return home. That something else is this: the knowledge that our thoughts create reality. In times past, we may have casually considered this notion...But in 2022, the reality-creating power of thought begins to affect all aspects of our lives. We wanted water, and we unleashed the power of the Mind instead."
Oh boy, does this resonate! I've been feeling it for a while now...that it's important to bring an even higher level of awareness to our language and speaking as a way of creating a different reality. For example, people are quick these days to say "They are..." or "It's their fault that..." or "They are the problem." I say let's be mindful of words like "they" or "them" when exploring divergent ideas and quit pointing fingers because such words and actions feed "us-versus-them" divisive energies when in the highest reality, there is no "us" or "them." There's just a "we," a human race trying to survive and thrive.
There's a lot to be said about the potentials of the year 2022, but this is what came through for me:
Every challenge is an opportunity for us to grow, expand, open, and spiritually mature a bit more. Let's make full use of this reset in our reality.
As always, remember that if you change nothing, nothing changes.
Join me in dissecting the wild and crazy ride of being a living, breathing, feeling, thinking human. "Like" if you do and share if you want.