My husband is telling me about a sales approach he and his employees are working with where the whole point of what you are doing with a prospective client is to get to the truth as quickly as you can. Part of what expedites that process is recognizing that a “no” from someone is just as good as a “yes.” I absolutely love it when I come across honest and authentic teachings in the day to day, and sometimes, even from the most unlikely of sources. In this case, a sales method.

Can you imagine getting to the truth, whatever it was in your life, alone or with others, as quickly as possible? No hemming and hawing. No hedging. No blaming. No avoiding. And could you also imagine that responding with a “no” was just as valuable as a “yes” in getting to that very same truth? No need to pretend. No need to fear what it would mean about or for you. No need to defend your position, or form committees as a way to garner back-up on why you get to refuse what it is that you do not want. Or need. Or feel comfortable with.

I have to tell you that as a women, this one concept alone is so revolutionary that had I known it earlier, I would have saved myself a world of suffering in my interactions with others. Especially with men. For most of my life I did not even know that “No” was an option. Not even when it would have protected me, or been in my best interest. Or how about this one? That I had a right to it; without explanation or apology. Just because.

How often do we say yes when we really need to say no? We do it all the time. We do it because we do not think others will like our response. We do it because we do not believe we are worth more, or have a choice. We do it out of fear. We do it out of habit. And we do it because that is what we have been conditioned to do.

Think about it. Every time we take into ourselves, or our lives, something which does not belong, we violate ourselves. We override the truth of our existence. The refusal of what we really need or want diminishes the power and the vitality of what it feels like to be alive. It makes a choice, instead, to live smaller, unsupported, and bogged down by the wrong things.

Like the toddler learning how to use the word “No,” we might be a little clumsy in our early attempts to draw a line. And sometimes that is why we can’t get ourselves there. We are afraid of how it might come out. Maybe that is in part due to how many “No’s” we have squelched over a lifetime; creating a backlog that feels like it has the power to destroy if ever unleashed. It makes me wonder if this is why we have such difficulties as adults with young children when they first start to realize that “No” is a choice. They can be absolutely drunk with the power of it all; completely unconcerned that we are put off by their refusal of something that we want them to do.

Do we struggle with them around this because we have become confused over our own right to assert ourselves? Do we resent the idea that someone else gets to do what we have not been able to do for ourselves?

If getting to the truth as quickly as possible makes sense to you, the truth is, we have just as much right to say no as to say yes. A commitment to getting to the truth will always be facilitated by our ability to respond as authentically as we need to. And, our ability to authentically respond will always bring us to the truth in a far more direct and satisfying way.

Isn’t There Enough For Everyone?


I am talking one day with the carpenter who is helping us finish up the last part of construction on our home. We are conversing about vegetables and fruit trees; swapping stories around how we are struggling to get some of the harvest before the animals take it all. He tells me a funny story about a relative who sits, day by day, poised to kill anything that takes even a single piece of fruit off of one of his trees. Shaking his head, he says to me, “Isn’t there enough for everyone?”

My God, what a concept.The resonance of this simple question strikes deeply within me. Not just the words, but how he said it. As in, why do we ignore this truth? Why do we act as though there is not enough for everyone? Why do we make insuring that meeting everyone’s basic needs is more difficult, political, and judgmental than it actually is?

While I love many of the basic tenets around capitalism (not something, by the way, we have at this point in time), for a long while now I have been realizing it is not enough. That it needs to be supplemented, not legislated, with a philosophy that includes heart, soul, and human scale actions. Personally, I really resonate with the idea of sharing, and in my mind, this is very different than charity.

Sharing comes when I take what I have, and naturally and spontaneously spread around what I have as I encounter others with a need. It is an exchange between equals that has nothing to do with elaborate giving plans, tax write-offs, or “the “have’s and the have-not’s,” but instead is born out of the moment and from a call within that is looking for nothing in return; other than a chance to give. It is a kind of “what goes around comes around.” A loop, where I am both giver and receiver at some point in the cycle.

Charity, on the other hand, implies a hierarchy, and a hand out. A way where one of us is below, and one of us is above. Pity, guilt, resentment, and desperation are often the companions of charitable one-way “exchanges.”

What if we all took stock of what it is that we have more of than we need? And then decided to look around for where we might share that abundance. This is not done as a way to save anyone, or to boost a sense of ourselves as being “the generous one,” but as the purest recognition of how resources are meant to be available for all. And how that spreading of resources can initiate from anyone, and at any time; no matter their circumstances.

What do you have more of than you need? What could you intentionally plant, create, or generate more of so that you would have some left over to share? How about your time, understanding, patience, or willingness to be with someone if even for a moment? Not because you feel bad for anyone. But because you can. And because it matters.

Can you imagine a world where we fed one another out of generosity and abundance? A kind of continuous back and forth reciprocal relationship with those we come in contact with? Not something we do because we are looking for anything, but because it is truly the most natural way to be with one another, and with what is available.



I am hung up in more traffic than I want to be in. It is hot. The glare of the day is wearing on me. I have to go to the bathroom. I am all done with the whole errand thing. Physically, and by association, emotionally, I am on overload. I just want to be home.

Because of how much I do not want to be where I am, I have found my way into an old thinking loop about someone else. None of what I am thinking about is pleasant, in my control, or any of my business. Suddenly I catch myself: Where are you, and why, of all places to be, are you here, in this particular place, in your mind?

Now, I could give you all kinds of reasons around why I am trapped in this ancient thought pattern from the past. And it would sound real, true, and legitimate. Yet, something in me knows better, and it has been revealed in the question I have been willing to ask myself.

What I see in this moment is that I have left myself. I have flown the coop of my own roost because it is just too uncomfortable to be here in this body right now. And as uncomfortable as the thought pattern about this other person is, it somehow feels preferable, less awful, than how I feel right now in my own body. Recognizing this, I jump into all of the sensations I have been avoiding.

I turn towards the heat which leads me to adjust the temperature in the car. I turn towards being done with errands, getting that message loud and clear; leading me to cross everything else off the list for the day. I turn towards needing to go to the bathroom, and decide that despite what my mind has said about waiting until I get home, I am going to use the porta potty at the farm; no matter what shape it’s in.

This all sounds so obvious. Ridiculously simplistic even. It almost feels embarrassing to point it out like it is some kind of revelation. And I could almost go there, except for the fact that I know better. And what I know is this. Despite how natural it should or could be to turn towards our most basic needs, we often do not. Despite how obvious it seems to make the adjustments we need to be comfortable across a day, we often do not. Despite the simple truth that as mammals this is built in, for far too many of us, we do not connect to this for it has been lost to us.

It is nothing short of revelatory to notice that when your mind is going nuts, there is a absolutely a physical origin or corollary. And that if you can crawl your way into the experience of being in a body, you will find the resolve you are seeking. Try it. The next time you are in a difficult mind state, ask yourself, Where Am I? Begin with the body.


The Animal Truth


Do you ever have the experience of imagining yourself through someone else’s eyes, and coming up really, really short?

One of the things I regularly do is watch my mind to see what it is up to. What it is talking about, imagining, or fretting over. Other people typically come up for me whenever I am in the midst of diminishing myself somehow. Recently, I have been saying to myself; “I actually don’t know what is in that person’s mind regarding me, but I sure do know that what I am thinking about right now is in my mind, does not feel good, and is something only I can change.” 

I see this as being one of the most critical things we can do for ourselves, one another, and our relationships together. That being, finding ways to get to the truth about our experience ASAP. Otherwise, we see ourselves through the wrong lens while believing that our misery is caused by how someone else feels about us, felt about us, or might feel about us; a kind of fear-based conditioning that we as people live under and use as a way to keep ourselves in line according to someone else’s standards. Very problematic unto itself.

But it goes even further than that. As mammals, we do have the capacity to sense and to know not only how it feels to be around another, but how they are truly feeling about us; beyond words. This is an essential capacity for all of our interactions with others whether they be ones we welcome or dread. This is the part of us that cannot be deceived or misled with words. Kids are really good at this. So are animals. It is only the adult human who struggles to make sense around how they are being received by a member of their own species.

In order to get better at receiving accurate information during an encounter with another person requires that we clean up our own act first. That we get a handle on where we make up things in our minds out of fear or past conditioning. It requires that we start to listen a little more deeply when we are in the presence of others. More like an animal or a kid would; not through words but through the tone and the feel of it all. Not through our thinking minds, but in an overall body listening kind of way. Easy examples are noticing a turn of the gut, a tension that suddenly comes up, hair rising on the back of your neck, or a general feeling of dis-ease when you are around someone.

This is not easy to do because most of us have gotten out of the habit of listening and responding to this kind of information. Most of us discount those sensations because we cannot prove them, articulate them necessarily, or because it would be ever so socially awkward and inconvenient to act on that knowing. Many of us have even had this innate capacity actively conditioned out of us when we were young by the adults who found that level of truth too threatening and far too inconvenient.

It puts me in mind of something I once read by Anodea Judith where she spoke of when we are told that we have no right to feel what we are feeling or know what we are knowing, a lie about our basic existence gets created and instilled in us. Really take that in. When you refuse, or feel unable, to live and respond from what you instinctively know, you obliterate the truth of not only what is happening, but who you are.

That is what we are really talking about here. How is it that we will live with the truth of who we are, and what it is that we are experiencing, while being in authentic and satisfying relationship with others? This will always be a moment by moment, in the presence of others, kind of experience that cannot be ultimately figured out except in relationship. And except by giving yourself permission, and by taking chances around how it is that you get to respond.


Being Seen


We all want to be seen for who we are. At its very core, this is not about winning a personality contest. It is not about laying out your credentials for others to admire. It is not about garnering fame. Nor is it about amassing a fortune or ego gratification. Instead, it is about being recognized. And in that recognition, finding your true place in the world.

What we are talking about here often involves being known beyond what we can see about ourselves all on our own. Therefore, we cannot always go this one alone. We need help. And this is exactly the place where it gets so very tricky. For many of the distortions we hold about ourselves have taken place in the taking in and believing of false and warped reflections we have gotten from others over the course of our lifetime.

This is what can leave us unwilling or reluctant to count on others in this way. We can take this in many directions. Maybe we wall ourselves off trying to do it all on our own. Maybe we over-rely on others opinions of who we are. Maybe we go to the wrong sources over and over again; either in our minds, or in the relationships we continue to create. Any way we do it though, either by closing off or going after the wrong things, will always leave us off the mark somehow. That mark being, the Truth of our existence.

Inside each and every one of us is the Absolute knowing of who we are, and why we are here. But after years and years of the wrong information, we learn to forget. And to distort and manipulate. And to settle for lives not even close to being seen for who we are.

Like following bread crumbs through the forest, having no idea where we are going or where it will lead to, we begin this journey of self-discovery by tracing ourselves backwards towards that original truth; with the starting point being right now. As in, is there a place in your life where you feel dissatisfied around how you are being seen, or the place you hold in the world? Is there a part of you that not only yearns for something else, but actually knows there is something else here for you? How is it that you most want to be known, and therefore seen, in this world?

This is not a job description. It is not a way of gaining acceptance or having your worth externally validated. It is not a way of making money. It is not about forcing someone to see something about you. It is the inward essence and the outward embodiment of what lives deep inside of you; looking for a way out.

When was the last time you felt truly seen by another? An experience that felt complete unto itself. A reflection you could see in another person’s eyes when they looked at you that had nothing to do with what you could do or give to them? And if this has not been available to you, do you have any idea why not?

When I was in the desert living in circle with 12 other women, I had daily experiences of being seen. It filled me with such strength. I felt supported in ways I have often denied myself, or did not receive in my first communities growing up. And it all began when I made the commitment to myself that I was going to allow myself to be seen for who I most am, and who I most yearn to grow into. This was not an easy thing to do. It meant putting myself out there. It meant being vulnerable. It meant admitting that I wanted to be seen for what was most extraordinary in me.

Being seen for who we truly are is not one of those human wants that would be nice if we got it, but that we could muddle through without. No. Instead, this is one of those central, core human needs that gone unmet will leave us resorting to the wrong things, while traveling the wrong avenues, to get those wrong things; in the end leaving us unseen and unknown to both ourselves, and the world.