We memorize ourselves into existence. And we do this through all that has come before; giving us a sense of solidness and known-ness. A kind of comfort and stability that comes with years and years of thinking and doing our lives in the same way, leaving us in the position to say “This is who I am.”

And as much as we all desire this place, it is ultimately limiting.

For what if there was something more? Something beyond what you were told, and what you now go on to tell yourself? Something that somewhere deep down inside you yearn for? More to the point: You Are. Or could be.

It would mean, of course, learning to know yourself as more than the familiar concepts and constructs. And it would mean taking a chance. A big one. It would mean being curious and open. Brave and alive. It would mean being nothing less than who you truly are.

But given the filled-to-the-brim and fast pace of so many of our lives, this can be all too difficult to tune into, never mind respond to. Luckily though, we are in the season that knows all about this. Winter. The deepest, stillest and most essential of all the seasons is right at our finger tips. And if we can learn to align with this powerful rhythm, we will be naturally drawn into its downward and inward ways.

Try being with this kind of energy for just one minute each day throughout the long winter months ahead. You can do it by intentionally sitting yourself down and allowing yourself to be. As you are. Do not try and do anything to yourself. Do not look to fix. Do not even move. And when you feel a settling all the way down to your bones, wonder gently to yourself about your relationship to nothing-ness, stillness, and quiet.

At first it can feel like a kind of death; some kind of intolerable exercise in the painful. And it is. But if you look deeply enough, what is dying are all of the things that get in the way. What is dying is the noise. What is dying are the ways we have memorized the wrong things about who and what we are.

I think the reason that winter can feel so long to us, is because of all that it asks. Because of the way that it calls for a kind of reckoning. And because it can leave us crawling our way to the end. For sure it is a task master. But it is one that will gift those courageous enough to be with her, with many, many insights and blessings for years to come.

“Just Because”


Do you ever do anything just because? We used to. As a matter of fact, many of us used to do it regularly when we were children. As in, just because it felt good. Just because the urge arose. Just because something bubbled straight up out of us in the moment. No reason. No explanation.

Everything does not require a reason. An agenda. A goal. Not everything is an opportunity to get ahead or to spin ourselves in a certain way. Take giving for instance. Do you ever give just because? Not in order to receive anything in return. Not because you have to, or because you think you should. Not because you are expected to or because it makes you a good person in your eyes, or in the eyes of another.

But just because. Like a child who has created something, and was thinking of you in the making.

This is not easy to do. We all have our ideas, hang-ups, and habits around what it means to give. Maybe you do it as a way to keep people close. Or keep others from rejecting you. Maybe it is how you feel good about yourself, or somehow superior to others. Maybe you do it to satisfy what you will not give to yourself. Maybe you do it in the hope that your gesture will be reciprocated. All of it creating an ends to a means where the true spirit of giving gets obscured.

In the season of the often loaded nature of gift-giving, and amidst all of the confusion and unconsciousness that can surround why we give, what would it be like to get more clear on why and how you give? Would it mean spending less? Obsessing less about the price of the gift and what it means about how you feel towards the recipient? Would it mean opting out all together, or partially, or creating a new tradition as a way to choose something more authentic?

It has long been a source of sadness to me to know that the average family will spend to such an extent at this time of year, that they will spend the next year trying to pay off the debt. Only to clear it just in time to start all over again. This does not seem like generosity or love, but instead a kind of insanity based on some very warped ideas around what giving is.

Notice yourself as you make choices around giving. What qualities are present for you? Pay attention to the feeling you are having in the purchase, the anticipation of, and then the moment of giving. The thoughts and feelings you are having are an important piece of information; giving you clues about when you are coming from the “just because” place of a child, and when you are coming from obligation, resentment, conditioning, debt and the like.

Sense Care


I am in an Ayurvedic training where I am learning about the the ancient system of Indian health and healing. Right now I am steeped in an area Ayurveda calls “sense care.” This includes a paradigm, practices, and ways of being that recognize the essential role that our five senses play in physical health and psychological well-being. It is an understanding and a deep respect for the powerful impressions that get made on us based on what we take in from our environments through our senses.

Think about it like food for the mind and the body that comes in through the five doorways of hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell. With the information that comes in possessing the power to either nourish or starve. Uplift or degrade. Bring balance or chaos. Calm or unrest. Healing or disease.

With this as a recent and welcomed back drop to how I am experiencing the world, I cannot stop thinking about the children. The ones who are coming up now in The Age of Technology. The ones whose senses, particularly sight and hearing, are literally being assaulted, obliterated, violated and distorted. Innocence stolen. Minds overrun with harmful images and messages. Insidious impressions weaseling their way into our children’s minds and bodies. With all of what they are taking in setting the standard for what it means to be fed.

Maybe you think I am overdoing it?

Well, how about the statistic that recently made its way to me that says that two thirds of our 7 year-olds have already seen porn? Need I say more? Once a child has taken in that level of sense impression, and at such a young and tender age, where does it go? What does it do to them? How does that not foul a once open, curious and pristine mind? How does that one ever get undone?

I’ll tell you how. It doesn’t. It does not get undone.

One has to begin to wonder what this is doing to their vision. And I mean this in the broadest sense; as in what their life and the life of the world looks like to them looking through the images they are receiving across a screen. And what of their precious hearing? What is all of this training them to listen to? And for. Could this be part of the reason that the generations coming up now are so riddled with so much anxiety? For the truth is, the words and images that our children take in matter. A lot. Far more than is currently being recognized and addressed.

And while I am rolling out the big guns here with the porn, there are countless and daily examples of how our children’s senses are being overwhelmed. Examples large and small, seen and unseen, idiotic and damaging. Don’t take my word for it. Just pick up your own head and look around.

When a human being is young, the predominant brain wave states that they are in are highly suggestible. Makes sense, right? We want the young of our species to be moved by, informed by and molded by the environment that they find themselves in. We want them to learn based on what they are ingesting via the experiences of the world around them.

And for a very long time this made sense. It made perfect sense when we were being shaped by a natural world. But now that the predominant experience of our young is coming more and more from something man-made, and by something that is far too often a very disturbed representation of what man can make, our children are in trouble. For they do not yet possess the essential defense mechanisms, cognitive maturity, nor coping skills to sort through and make sense of what is coming in. Instead, it all just goes in.

Can you imagine it? Can you imagine all of the images and the words that our little ones are ingesting now that have absolutely nothing to do with health or beauty or truth or love? Everything, literally everything, that they take in is shaping and forming them. What if we really, really knew this? And what if we acted on their behalf as the gatekeepers who kept  out what is not fit for the innocent eyes and open ears of a child?

Common sense around the senses would dictate that we would never want to expose our children to what is harsh, frightening, overwhelming, or just overall beyond their ability to digest. To come back to our food connection, would we give a steak, alcohol, cocaine or soda to a newborn? We would not because we understand that it is beyond their capacity to handle, and with certain inputs, even dangerous. That any of these things would only harm them, even if they were not inherently problematic to a more mature being. But too often, we are assuming that something is fine for our children based on looking at it through the eyes of an adult with a developed brain. But this has got nothing to do with what children actually need.

Look through their eyes. Listen through their ears. Sense through the heart. Then decide.



Strength Beneath The Surface


I want to talk about winter and why I love it so. I want to talk about it through the walk I took this morning after a two day snow storm, that had dumped upwards of two feet, was finally over. And I can sum it all up in two words: depth and stillness.

As I stepped out onto the road, the hush that came through the snowy cushioning on the trees and on the road was palpable. More than palpable, I could feel it to the depths of me. I felt it in the sound my boots made as they met the un-plowed road, and I felt in the quiet of the forest with animals hunkered down and un-moving. The power of this cushioning came into full relief when I did not even hear the car that had come up behind me. Even with a big, weighty, noisy machine, winter and its ways had dampened and subdued its impact. It is times like this when I almost have the feeling of traveling under water. Of moving at the bottom of a big, white, beautiful ocean of space and stillness.

And then there are the trees, and the way that you can see right through them. The space that opens up once the foliage is gone, offering the opportunity to see right down to the bone. Both inside and out. And the way that the sound then both travels differently, and is lessened; giving rise to a feeling of immense spaciousness both within and without.

At my turnaround point, I laid down in the road. It was so still. And this is why I do it. Why I make it a point to get outside all through the winter. For out of that stillness comes healing, creativity, inspiration and a deep, deep knowing beyond the push-pull of the mind. Beyond the inner and outer expectations. Beyond the noise of the world.

Align. Align with this energy and watch what happens. There is a reason for phrases like “winter wonderland.” A reason for why we have stories that talk of the magic that only comes out of deep and wintery places.

In the room where I do my daily practice, the wall behind where the wood stove will go has not yet been finished with the stone that will eventually cover it. Today, sitting on my mat after my walk, I looked up to read the words, “Strength Beneath The Surface.” And while this is the motto for the drywall company, in that moment I knew it was also the motto for winter. For that is what resides in the roots; beyond the dressing of the foliage and beyond the activity of doing. A kind of deep, still, quiet strength that can only make its way to the surface when we choose to align with the depth and stillness of winter.

What would it be like for you to take a cue from this season and all that it knows?