A New Year


As we stand on the threshold of a New Year, contemplating what it is we would like to change within ourselves, there is no better time than right now to really feel into the deep connection between what resides in each of us, and what it is we are watching play out in the world.

This can be hard to see because none of us wants to imagine the darker sides of the world existing within us. And, because it is far easier to blame the world for its current state than to figure out how to change yourself to contribute to the world you would like to see.

This week, I’m going to do something I’ve never done: Share an entry from my journal. I do this in the spirit of my experience serving as an example of what is possible when one woman dedicates herself to looking closely at how she engages with others when the going gets rough.

I am aware that as I shed my fears around others and how they might respond to me, as I get more skilled in seeing what I see, as I get less willing to carry what is not mine, as I become less interested in doing penance for another’s dysfunction…I am able to be in a place of naturally and organically arising clarity and compassion for the one who stands before me.

More tolerant. More accepting. More appropriately boundaried. Less reactive. Less desperate to have them be something I need them to be. Separated from the morass of dysfunction between us, I am able to claim a piece of Earth to bear witness to them. Their struggles. Their magnificence. 

And in that moment, there is no separation between us. No difficulty we cannot resolve. No need to blame, shame, manage or control. No need to take on what is not mine. Instead, a naturally arising organic compassion that knows beyond the labels. That offers from a place beyond good/bad; right/wrong; what he said/she said.

A holy place beyond what you need to do and who you need to be to confirm my worldview and for me to feel safe. This is where I aspire to live. This is where I yearn to be with another.

For what I know to be true is this: The only way for me to find my way into this state of being is through the committed effort on my part to learn how to be with myself in such a way that I run down every single personal response to another and claim it as my responsibility to figure out why I feel the way I do. Why I think what I think and react how I react.

A lot of work. Yes. A lifetime of work. But the rewards are great. And vast. They touch the generations to come and reach into the past to heal the wounds of our ancestors. They lay the foundation of Life here on Earth, with others, based on what we all yearn for. Peace and love between us.

And so, it is no small thing to wonder about yourself. To dedicate time every day to ask yourself the question, “How’s it going for me?” To pause long enough to hear and feel deeply into a real answer, and then to set yourself to the task of pulling on that thread long enough to get to the end of how it is you are feeling. And why. 

It won’t happen overnight. Nor will it be easy. But in the end, when you come to know how you tick, you are more generous with how others tick. Along the way, those ticking time bombs between us, get defused.

Tapping Into The Hermit Within


I write this blog on the day of the Winter Solstice. A time of year many of us dread because of the increased darkness with all of the scarier feelings of loneliness, low mood and more that can go with it. But there’s another way we can look at this time of year as we head into the winter season. A way of being with the much needed and seasonal rhythm of slowing down and going within as we send our energies into the roots that hold what most sustains us.

For a deeper exploration of the natural capacity to focus inward in this way, I turn to the archetype of The Hermit: The one who intentionally withdraws as a sacred act of devotion to the exploration of what lies within. The one who chooses consciously to retreat in the service of accessing and becoming more acquainted with the deep self. The one who decides to strip their existence down to the bare essentials in order to truly know themselves.

Sounds like an incredible recipe for a meaningful life. And it just might be the very antidote some of us are looking for in a world that is increasingly bent on selling us the meaningless and the superficial. A world organized around giving us the shadow side of The Hermit. That being, all of the ways that we can withdraw and check out in extraordinarily disconnected and destructive ways.

The “dark side” of The Hermit looks like socially isolating yourself; numbing out with substances, withdrawing from meaningful endeavors and connections, getting lost in the fantasy world of the screens. This is so easy to do because of all that we are bombarded with on a daily basis and because it is practically demanded of us that we “retreat” through the use of all the medications that have become the acceptable way now to withdraw in modern times. But when you truly understand the role and the power of The Hermit’s choice to withdraw, you’re more inclined to find your way back to the light-filled side of this archetype that withdraws, ultimately and always, in search of Truth.

That’s why The Hermit is never about checking out, but instead is a map for going below the surface of the conditioning, the societal pressures, the lies, the false realities, the obfuscations and the latest binge experiences being offered to us. This archetype is a direct route to reality with a capital “R.” A conscious and conscientiously chosen retreating as a way of respecting the complications and confusions of the realities of life in a body by giving yourself time out of time to align with true and life-giving versions of what this life is really all about.

This can be done formally by going away on a retreat. But it can also be something as immediate as your very own breathing, where you intentionally pause between one breath and the next in an effort to give yourself a moment’s withdrawal from the onslaught of the daily fray. You can carve out an hour for a walk, create a moment to step outside and look at the night sky, draw a bath, drive in silence or take a night off from the hypnotic and externalizing barrage of what comes out of the screens.

In so doing, your reward is great for The Hermit is the sage, the wise-one, the one who welcomes solitude and silence as the path for knowing how to be with all the seasons of Life. Even the darkest and scariest of them all.

Your Right To Your Own Health & Healing

Years ago, I was in a Holistic Health Counseling Training. It was one of the most profound and generous trainings I have ever been involved with. And I have done many. What made it so profound and generous was that we were offered every approach under the sun when it came to perspectives on health and healing. A smorgasbord of ways to approach things like diet, healthcare, spirituality, lifestyle issues and more. It was left up to us to sift through all that we were given; choosing for ourselves what worked for us, and what didn’t. 

Looking back, I can see that the founder of the school, beyond his desire to convey content, understood something vital, life-affirming and humane. An approach far too often missing in our conventional healthcare systems. The approach being, a basic trust in each other of our ability to choose for ourselves when it comes to what makes the most sense to our lives, along with what it is we personally need in order to be well. 

This is something I aspire to embody in the health and healing approaches I offer to the world. I am not being falsely self-deprecating here. Instead, I fully understand how difficult it is to not try and influence another when you believe you have the fix for them. When you believe you know better than they do about what is going on for them, and what they should do. Even must do, from certain “modern” public health perspectives.

But I want something more than to persuade or coerce another into my belief system. The “something more” is not just for me, but for all of us. I want a world where we trust each other at the level of recognizing that each of us truly does know what we are doing. Even if it cannot be understood by those around us. Even if we ourselves do not fully understand it. 

But why take that chance with one another? Because this way of being creates a world where we pay homage to the journey each of us is on. No matter what we might make of it. Because when you trust deep down inside that another has within them the capacity of inner wisdom to know their life, their body and what it is they need, you give them the great humanitarian gift of empowerment, agency and personal responsibility. 

The sacred act of you having faith in them, including your willingness to set aside your opinions and dogmas, carries the capacity to inspire and to help another move mountains in their own life. For when a person can trust themselves, what it is they are knowing and sensing from the inside out, you support them in becoming their very best. When you can stand in with another who is lost and confused without trying to get them to do what you think they should do, giving them the space to come to something on their own, they will exceed all expectations you, and even they themselves, might have of what they are capable of.

This is what changes lives on the personal level and what then goes on to change the life of the world.

Each person’s health and healing is unique to them and it is a deep, deep disrespect and a fundamental undermining of another’s humanity to try and take this from them. To ever try and co-opt the journey they have chosen for one of your own making. Each person’s journey of health and healing far exceeds a moment in time merely focused on a cure at the physical, mental or emotional level. Instead, the journey each of us is on is our soul’s deepest expression in physical form. 

To interfere with that expression by trying to manage, control, legislate, or mandate what another does in this regard, is a sin against humanity. 

(If this resonates, consider taking a look at the upcoming program I’m offering called The Healer Within.)



Do You Know When You Are Overdoing It?


Last night I taught a yoga class focusing on the Sanskrit word, Bramacharya, which translates into “energy management.” It seemed like a great class focus given we are in the middle of the holiday season where it is so very easy to get depleted because we are over-doing and over-giving. In other words, mismanaging our energy by spreading ourselves way too thin. And maybe even, for all the wrong reasons.

All in the name, by the way, of participating in the “most wonderful time of the year” as that old song goes. What a concept. Drain yourself in order to be part of the greatest season of the year. This alone should raise some red flags. But because so many of us have so wholeheartedly bought into the idea that to be with this season, we must overdo, we miss the fact that what we are doing is actually taking from us. Stealing from our vital and sacred well of deep energy reserves that our heart, mind and body depends upon to be balanced, clear and well.

Leaving many of us having a far less than wonderful time of year as we experience greater levels of burnout, anxiety, depression and overwhelm.

To remedy this is to shift away from participating in the overdoing paradigm which says how much we care is based on how much we do (or buy), to choosing to develop instead a relationship with our energy that feeds and honors its preciousness. A commitment that says, “I will take care of you because that is how important you are to me.” And if you doubt the importance of your energy, tune into the last time you didn’t have the energy you needed and how hard your life became. How hard it was to feel well, be patient, care and more.

How do we begin to make a shift like this? By paying attention moment to moment to how we feel as we move through our days making all of the choices we are making.

This might sound like a lot to do until you realize that we can break it down into one simple but profound question: Is this choice giving me energy or taking from my energy? Begin to use this wondering as a way to navigate through your day as you eat, do your errands, cook, watch something on the screen, converse with someone, talk to yourself, plus all of the other things you do as a matter of course without ever wondering how it is impacting your sense of aliveness and vitality.

Every single choice you make carries with it the power of feeling more energized or more depleted, and by simply paying attention to your energy levels in response to those choices, you are given a map for navigating an often draining array of choices in the world when it comes to what we are being offered. Choices that are often dressed up as something vital to us and what we need when actually the opposite is true. Like for instance the overdoing of all the sugary “treats” that leaves us bloated and gaining weight. Or how about all the over spending so characteristic of this time of year that leaves us anxious as to how we will pay for it all.

To come to know what is actually working for you, often means noticing what is not. It means taking stock, without judgment, after a choice has been made to see whether you feel better for it. Or worse. Just by charting whether you feel filled or depleted, you can use this vital information to shed some light on your tendencies to do more than is either necessary or good for you and your life-giving energy.

A More Honest Existence


After returning home from being away for Thanksgiving, I find myself naturally drawn to cleaning out the refrigerator, food drawers and cabinets. Then I take the cleaning out and organizing into my office and bedroom closet. This goes on all week. It feels good.

In the process, I feel a deep connection to people from other time periods who would be clearing out the previous year in order to make space for storing what was needed most for the winter to come. A kind of necessary and life-saving taking stock if you wanted to survive a long, hard winter. “Taking sensible precautions” as I heard someone say recently, to ensure you and yours had what you needed.

In a world of “anything and everything” at your fingertips 24/7, all of the stuff being just a click away, the necessary practice of taking stock to survive is no longer a lived reality for many of us. But it should be. In fact, it really, really needs to be.


Because whether we think we need it or not in modern day existence, taking stock provides a deep reality check. One that promises to keep us honest and in alignment with the Truth of existence.

So even though taking stock in this way may not, at the moment, be an issue of imminent survival as it was for our ancestors, there is something so fundamental and so very necessary about lightening up in a world accelerating at a faster rate than any human being has ever lived through before.

It stands to reason that if we are going to successfully, joyfully and honestly align with the speed of change happening, whether we like the pace or not, we must be willing to jettison the stuff. I include here not just the material things we accumulate (often unnecessarily) but also all the ideas, beliefs and habits that keep us trapped in denser and slower versions of the reality that stands before us; both what is possible and what is required of the times we find ourselves in.

This is not easy. We love to cling to the familiar, to what has always brought us comfort. Whether that is actually so or not. I would argue that a great deal of the stuff we accumulate has very little to do with real comfort, or survival, for that matter. Instead, being more about living on the receiving end of too much advertising and too much belief in something external giving us what we truly need in order to be okay.

I began writing this piece on the day of the full moon. Full moons are often associated with releasing and letting go. But in order to do this, we have to first be willing to look at things as they actually are. Then we must be willing to ask ourselves some very hard questions when we see that maybe, just maybe, what we have bought and bought into, isn’t working for us.

I know this can feel like a lot, but it promises a lot to get clear about our lives and how we are living. So instead of focusing on what is too hard to get clear on and let go of, what if you focused on that clear light feeling you get after cleaning out the closet or the garage or the basement? That feeling of greater spaciousness and inner ease when you let go of what no longer serves.

That sense of freedom and inner order that you experience after the physical clearing out is something that also translates into more room for an expanded awareness of possibility, the Mystery and a greater sense of preparedness around how to be in the world in these times. Add to this the vow we often make, after taking the time and energy to clear out the stuff to be more conscientious about not filling the space back up, and you have yourself  a commitment to choose differently from now on. More intentionally.

If this resonates, you could add a little affirmation into the mix to make it all so much more powerful and likely to stick. For instance, “I freely release what I no longer need in order to make room for a more honest existence.”