Blessing What Is Different

A couple of years ago, a healer offered me a practice that I use on a weekly basis. It’s a personal blessing that I offer to myself whenever I feel uncertain, afraid even, of being who I truly am when it means being different than those around me. The practice has been life-changing, and is as simple as lighting a candle and saying, “Bless me when I am different.” 

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this. There is a deep and profound healing happening in this simple ritual when you name and acknowledge your uniqueness and ask to be blessed for it. Imagine that, your differences blessed! This can be a big departure from the experiences many of us have had where our unique ways were not received by the world. Maybe we were even ridiculed, punished, left or avoided for being divergent somehow from the expectations of those close to us.

Do you know what I’m talking about?

That place in you that says it’s not safe to be who you are? Afraid to say what’s on your mind. Afraid to walk your own path. Afraid to be different.This way of living hurts not just you, but everyone around you. For in this condemnation (and make no mistake about it, this is what you are doing) of who you are, the world misses out on you and what you bring. Not to mention that it gives the world the wrong message. That being, to be different is bad, wrong and therefore, to be denied.

Now you might be thinking, but what about all the focus on diversity now? If you take a close look, yes, there is more awareness around tolerance for the “big” differences among us like race, gender and sexuality. But we are woefully failing when it comes to many others areas; like tolerance politically, or around medical choices and freedoms, or which side you are on for hot button topics like Roe v. Wade.

As I see it, the genesis of the problem here is that we are starting in the wrong place. We are going from the outside in as opposed to the inside out. For until people can truly accept what is different about themselves and honor it, no diversity training, no legislation and certainly no public guilting and shaming will ever get people to truly accept what is different in another until they can first find it within themselves. Oh sure, you’ll get outer compliance, you’ll get people signaling to others how tolerant they are, but it won’t be a real and true thing.

Instead, it will be something people do when others are watching or when it garners them likes on social media. Believe it or not, it gets even worse. When you are doing something you don’t truly believe in, not only will you have to pretend, you will also miss when something really needs to be said that won’t be said because you fear looking like an un-inclusive person. This kind of distortion between us breeds distrust and paradoxically enough, less acceptance of the differences among us because we will resent others when their differences are included, but ours are not.

Blessing what is different begins within you in relation to yourself, and is a sacred act that once undertaken for yourself, is automatically extended to everyone and everything around you. Try it for yourself and see. All it takes is a moment, a candle and a heartfelt blessing.



I have been trained in and have practiced Yogic and Shamanic techniques and philosophies for many years. In ancient times, both were part of one root in India; sharing essential world views and spiritual sensibilities. While I love so much about both traditions, perhaps my favorite of all is the concept and practice of intentionality that I use to create a foundation for how I live.

Living with intention is a deep practice; resulting in the ultimate knowing that the “how” and the “why” of what we do is more important than anything. The “what” of how we live pales in comparison to what lives behind it.  Every single time. This is vastly different than the way modern living is obsessed with the “what.” What you look like. What you do. What you give. What your credentials are. What others see in you.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen the ways that the “what” of something can be very deceiving. How it can be a false representation of someone’s true intentions. In other words, something can look very, very good in the what and be an absolute abomination when it comes to the intention behind it all. Easy examples are the marketing strategies that convince us that the companies care about us or the planet when all they are doing is trying to sell us something. Or how about the leaders in life, on all levels, who present as so caring when all they want is your vote. Or your silence. Or to remain in charge without challenge.

In a world that so rewards the “what,” even when it costs us all far too much than we should ever pay, it can feel like too much work to be fully intentional in your actions, your thoughts and in your exchanges with others. There may be no immediate reward, no external benefit or prize given. It may even cause you lots of extra effort or cost you in terms of something.


Because to live with more intention requires a kind of honesty and whole-heartedness that the world does not always recognize, or appreciate. And because this way of living demands an unwavering focus on getting to the bottom of why you do what you do, why what matters to you matters to you, and then cleaning up your act when you are out of alignment between the why and the what of how you live.

Motherhood was by far my greatest and most strenuous teacher in this regard. Interestingly enough, as the world grows more and more insane, I find myself at the threshold of another time of great teaching in terms of what it means to live with intention. No matter what. What this means for me is that I cannot use the outer circumstances of the world to dictate to me the why of my what.

Instead, I am working on building my muscle of intention ever stronger by being as focused and deliberate as I can be; even in the midst of destructive and unreasonable times that would say there is nothing I can do.

Maybe you’ve noticed it too. All the ways that there are more and more demands being placed on us to live a certain way, to believe a certain thing, to line up with a particular narrative or ideology. With the penalty being, if you do not express the what in the way it is mandated, you are a (fill in the blank with the latest of social media’s accusations du jour).

The antidote to this is to choose “for” something, and then to line your life up with that. Every thought, every action, every word. This is not easy to do in a world with so many damaging choices and so many harmful demands to slot into the what of someone else’s ideas of what your life should look like.

Being intentional is to be discerning. It is to be fearless in the face of your own fears around how others will feel about the why and the how of what you do. It is to stare down the voices within you that would say you do not have permission to choose your why and how you live. It is to know when you are crumbling in your attempts to live with more intention because you do not know whether or not you are worth such an elevated existence.

But the Truth is, it’s already there inside you. If you doubt it, just look at the ways you admire those in life who have really chosen to focus their attention to live more intentionally. Maybe it is an athlete. Or an artist. Or a great teacher. More likely, it is someone you know living a “regular” life. To see this in another is the experience of the seed recognizing the plant. So I would ask you, what is it that you admire about them and then look beyond “the what” to their why and how for clues as to how you might proceed.

Finally, since you already possess within you the seed of living with greater intentionality, what is one small thing you could do today to tend to that seed? And then, what is one small thing you could do tomorrow? And then, the tomorrow after that, and after that…

For to live intentionally is a lifelong pursuit.



When the Wrong Things Are In Charge


Because I grew up in alcoholism, I am highly sensitive and keenly attuned to what I will call, “the wrong thing being in charge.” What I mean by this is that my internal radar picks up on people and circumstances in the world promoting, even mandating, that what is harmful be accepted as the norm. I know intimately the devastating and far-reaching impact the wrong thing can have on us individually and collectively; robbing us of satisfying relationships and a sense of ease, faith and security in the world.

The upside is, I carry this sensitivity with me everywhere I go. So it is very easy for me to spot other versions of the wrong thing being in charge. For instance, this capacity allowed me to see decades ago the interference screens would have on the health and well-being of our kids and our families; which is why my children were not given cell phones, why they were not allowed on social media and why their screen time exposure was kept to a minimum.

Spotting the wrong thing running the show is why I got out of conventional medicine, conventionally grown food and any other misaligned systems where I could figure out a way to opt out. Recently, when the University I taught at required that I, a student and teacher of the breath, wear a mask while I taught, I said no. These are my most obvious examples. There are more. Both large and small.

Whether you agree with my interpretation of what constitutes the wrong thing being in charge doesn’t matter. What matters is this: How often do you agree to something that in your gut, you know is wrong? It doesn’t even have to be some main stage world issue. It can be as simple as not saying something when someone near you is promoting the wrong ideas, or asking the wrong things of you.

When we allow the wrong things to be in charge in life, we play the role of the victim. The one who has no say. No power. Believe it or not, we derive benefit from this. How? By believing that because it is not up to us, that someone else is in charge, we can abdicate the responsibility of our lives and our actions to someone or something that is outside of us.

This disempowering abdication asks, Who am I to say something is off? Who am I to challenge the status quo?

Who you are is someone who can look around to see how all the wrong things we have let be in charge, have left us ill. Right down to our very souls. We are sick with the acceptance of what we know is not right.

Lest you believe this is far beyond you and your little life, it is not. We are sensing beings who know immediately when something is off. This is a built-in knowing that reveals itself to you every single day. And you don’t need to have grown up in alcoholism to come by it. Why? Because your capacity to know down deep the right and the wrong of something is within you. It is only a matter of whether or not you will tune into it.

Maybe it is that small tug in your gut. The feeling that something just doesn’t add up, or smell right. It is akin to the record skipping, or the moment in The Matrix when there is a visual glitch in the program.

To be clear, this is not about pointing the finger or shaking an angry fist at the news. Instead, it is choosing to see when something is off, and doing whatever is yours to do. Whatever is within the scope of your power to right that wrong. To stand as a beacon. Not as one who calls out another’s behavior for their own glory, but because it is so.

We deny this role in our lives for all kinds of reasons. We don’t want to be “that person.” We are afraid others will not like us. Maybe they will mock, leave or ridicule us. Maybe we will lose something. Whatever our reason, we have become complacent and lethargic after so many years of being enslaved to the wrong thing. It has become the new “normal” now to just go along.

To be mediocre, silent and compliant.

But if you want something else, begin to pay more attention to the radar that lives within you, and learn to act on it. Tap into that feeling that something is “off.” Even if you cannot articulate why. You will have to pay very close attention here because it is very easy to miss. Especially since so many of us have grown so accustomed to accepting the wrong things, and believing that this is just how it is now.

My advice? Be willing to be the one, in whatever way you can, to say “The Emperor has no clothes on.” Not as a way to elevate your status on social media, not as a way to lord something over others and certainly not as a way to put yourself in the position of deciding right and wrong for another. But as a bona fide acceptance and hard won capacity of growing into being an adult who lives by a solid personal code of right and wrong. And who carries that with them everywhere they go.

No matter what.


An Intentional Life


I am recently back from guiding a women’s retreat in the mountains. As we got close to the end, what seemed to be on each woman’s mind was, How do I take what I have discovered here and bring it back into my life? Even more importantly, How do I make it stick?

These questions have been on my mind ever since. Because really, what does it matter if when you go away, you can tap into what you really need and what’s most important to you, but can’t integrate it into your life on the daily? Who cares if you are up on all the latest and the greatest that the Internet and the apps have to offer, but find yourself cycling through endless experiences of trying the next thing out there that’s trending; with no real enduring change for the exchange of your precious time and energy.

Not to mention the disappointment, and maybe even self-loathing, when once again you can’t get the changes you want, to stick.

I can only say what has worked in my life. That being, getting very, very intentional about how you are living. Getting clear about what matters most to you, and then lining up everything, absolutely everything, to that. Through time, trial and error, and yes, effort, you begin to create a life that is holy. Why? Because it is based on what is most important in all the worlds. It is created by living through and above the ups and downs, the fads, the busyness, the mandates, the pressures, the marketing, the constant allure of the screens, and every other manner of distraction out there.

Living like this requires digging deeply over and over again to get to what you most want. This applies whether or not you are tired, feel like you have the time or are worth it. And it absolutely applies no matter who you are with. This is not easy to do. It’s like training for an ultramarathon that will take you through all kinds of terrain, some for which you will be prepared and some for which you will not. And oh by the way, it never ends.

Hearing this can feel overwhelming. As in how could a person possibly get to this? Well, there is no getting there. Only a kind of commitment that strengthens over time; ultimately giving way to greater and greater satisfaction such that the efforts pale in comparison to the return. That return is you, and a life well-lived.

Thinking about this all week has brought up a bunch of gems I’d like to share with you. To live intentionally…

  • Is to want more and to go for it.
  • Is to learn to stand for something. No matter what.
  • Is to let go of old ideas and habits. Again and again.
  • Is to learn to see every challenge to your intention as a chance to strengthen your resolve.
  • Is  to let the very best in you be called forward.
  • Is to be stronger than the naysaying; both within and without.
  • Is to let yourself be shaped and forged by a larger vision for your life.
  • Is to give up trying to belong based on fitting in.
  • Is to believe you are worth it.

So now we cycle back to the beginning question, How do I stick with it? I would say, figure out what you want more than anything else in the world and hold that as your enduring and unrelenting focus.



How Blessed We Are


Recently, I went for a walk in the forest as the snowstorm giving us close to a foot of snow up where I live, was winding down. Needless to say, it was magical. Everything draped in a soft, sparkly white covering. Everything so very, very still. Nothing moving in the woods, but me. And at times, not even me, as I felt called to be still as well. Wishing at times that I could just lay down in it all and stay there for a good long time.

There is nothing like Nature to help us Remember.

The natural world is my go-to for so many important and vital things. For communing and for clearing out. For remembering and for grieving. For connecting and for learning. For listening and for receiving guidance.

On this particular day though, it was a time of revelation. It hit me how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to be in the woods in a snowstorm, for pleasure. Because it pleases me, and because it calls to me. Because I am nourished by it. And because at the end of it, I can go back to a warm home and shed my wet clothes effortlessly. Being in no danger of overexposure or recklessly expending energy when survival is at hand.

There was a time when no one would be in the woods on a day like this for pleasure. We would either be snowbound, or out looking for help. Or perhaps, scavenging for food or fuel if we had run out. In that moment, it struck me how very, very fortunate we are to be able to be in relationship with the natural world in a way where our survival is not being challenged. It also struck me how very, very callous and ignorant we have become about Her importance in our lives.

That importance having nothing to do with what She can do for us, or as a way to control Her, but as an opportunity to be reminded of what should never be forgotten. Like how to be a human being. One who lives and breathes the beauty of what is all around us for no other reason then because it is who we are. For no other reason than because we understand our place in the order of things.

Sadly, and dangerously, it seems we need a lot of reminding these days about what it means to be human. About our real role and place here on Earth. But I will tell you, all you have to do is start spending time outdoors, without trying to fight or control anything, and it very quickly becomes apparent who you are and your true place in the order of things.

But maybe that’s it. Maybe the reason we less and less have a connection to Nature is because we don’t want to know. Some of us want to go on pretending that we are the ones in charge; driving forward an ever-increasingly inhumane agenda. Others of us have grown accustomed to letting that happen.

We have come to believe that we can force, coerce, distort and destroy without consequence. That Nature is against us, instead of us.

Somewhere down deep though, we know that in Her presence, our false assumptions, our false gods, our false ways of living, do not hold up. So we do not go to Her. Because we do not want to know.

But I will tell you, She will either be our Saviouress or our Destroyer. And it all depends on whether we take these times and see what a blessing it is to be able to be in the woods for pleasure, or…