Little Deaths


As I write this, we are upon a full moon lunar eclipse. An astrologer I love talks about how all full moons are chances for deep release, and that an eclipse amplifies this opportunity. This eclipse though is even more powerful because it is in a house where the Lord of The Underworld (the planet Pluto) rules. Meaning, we can think of this astrological moment in time as an even greater chance for release. A little death, if you will.

Now death is not something most of us want to think about, never mind read or talk about. Many of us even going so far as to act as if it won’t happen if we just don’t admit it. And yet, it is an experience we will all have. It is an experience that everyone we know will have. So why not get more skilled at it? Why not choose to meet it, as opposed to fearing it?

Not meeting death on its own terms will always come with a cost. Much of which we may never realize until the actual moment of our death. A moment where we will no longer have the opportunity to make course-corrections to our lives. So while the moment of death may be a powerful learning indeed as some door swings open, wouldn’t it be “better” to open that door all along the way as you live your life?

Swami Kripalu, the namesake of the yoga tradition that I teach from once said, “The ordinary person dies just once, and for them, death is painful. But the yogi dies a little bit each day, and for them, death is just the next thing.” Can you imagine that? Can you imagine physical death just being the next thing? Can you taste the freedom in that? The zest for life that would originate out of that attitude?

Of course, this would mean a lot of preparation. An intentional way of being with your life where you willingly let go of things over and over and over again. Releasing that grudge. Dropping that old and harmful belief about yourself. Putting down that habit that you know is hurting you and those around you. Honing in on all the things, large and small, that don’t matter a single bit when you hold them up to the light of your own death.

Today could be a start. Use the power of the eclipse to think of something that plagues you. Run it by Death to get some clarity about how valid it is. Then take whatever it is, write it on a piece of paper, and burn it. Let it die with the flame. Let this little death be the start of learning how to meet Death on Death’s terms, and watch how your life lights up because of it.

The Ancestors


Whether we think about it consciously or not, on some level we all know how our past can influence our present. Whether it is the childhood we got and how it continues to impact us, a health issue that runs in the family, a family secret, wealth passed on, being a college legacy, or carrying the hopes and dreams of those who came before you. In whatever the form, the truth is, what came before us, is in us. A part of us. That doesn’t change. But what can change is how we choose to be with what came before.

In the Energy Medicine training I am in, there is a lot of focus on the ancestors and it has gotten me to think in different ways about the people who came before me. Ways that are taking me beyond the stories I was told, as well as the ones I have told myself. A new light being shed on things I took for granted, didn’t recognize or believed were set in stone.

This week I decided to make space on my alter for my ancestors. I had no idea what I was going to do. I had nothing to place on my alter to represent them. But I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I decided to begin by cleaning things up. Which in hindsight seems like the very place to start when working with our past; a desire from within to clean things up. One that says, things can be different.

So I began by taking everything off the alter. A kind of clean slate for myself and my ancestors. This turned on another truism for me; once we open to cleaning things up, we actually have to do something with that intention. We can’t just think about it and expect things to change. We can’t just wallow in the blame or the bad luck of the bloodline and expect that our lives will be any different.

As I cleared each item I was tuning into what I wanted to keep, and what I didn’t. This is the discernment phase that says, “I get to choose. Things are not chosen for me based on what came before.” I get to decide how to move these things through my life; what to keep, what to let go of. I found myself with four possibilities in this very tangible process of discernment: What to Keep. What to Repurpose. What to Pass on. What to Let Go of.

That about sums it up. What is it that got passed on to us that we actually and truly want to keep? Not because we are supposed to, but because we have done our due diligence to determine its importance in our lives. What is it that we got that doesn’t quite work in its current form, but could be rearranged to suit us? What is it that we have that no longer serves us, but could be offered to another in a way that serves them? And finally, what just absolutely needs to go?

To know ourselves is to know who came before us. But it doesn’t stop there. It is also to own the sacred responsibility that what we choose to carry forward, and how, is always ours to decide.



One of the things I am always wondering about is how can we make the changes in our lives that are not only necessary for some specific reason, but that would actually bring us closer to who we truly are, and what it is that we most desire. While I have explored with myself and others many, many reasons for resisting what we most need to do, it still confounds me. And while there are those who have laid out clear maps to what stops us and how we can change, more often than not, we don’t.

What’s going on?

I just can’t seem to accept that we would work so thoroughly against ourselves. Sure, maybe we don’t feel like we deserve it. Maybe we don’t know any other way. Maybe, as Freud would have said, we have a death wish. But still…Something continues to nag at me. It feels like there is something that is so much Greater than all the roadblocks we put up, that is just bursting to get out.

This past week I had a mundane experience around all of this that felt anything but mundane. I take a weekly yoga class that has been bringing me through road construction that is slated to last for four years. Right at the beginning of this, my husband gave me an alternative route to take. But the first time I tried it, I overshot where I was supposed to turn off and had to spend time trying to figure out how to get back to where I was going.

Since I don’t have GPS or a cell phone, it truly was me trying to figure it out. It created some tension over being late for class, so I never tried it again. Only, the delays have been getting worse; in response to which, I have been leaving earlier and earlier.

But for some reason, unknown to me consciously, this week an impulse came over me to try the alternate route again. It was incredible! The roads took me past farms and wild life sanctuaries. The mountains in the distance stood in contrast to a clear blue sky with fluffy white clouds sailing along. I saw two hawks sitting on top of a barn overlooking their domain. It was all so magical. And it took far less time, and I was far less tense.

What the heck had I been resisting? Prior to trying the new route, like a rat in a maze, I was immersed in a myriad of traffic lights, construction, car congestion, pollution and stress. Not to mention moving through a kind of visual urban ugliness. And right next to it, this whole time, was a kind of traveller’s paradise that I had been turning my back on.

I know we can prefer the devil we know and I know there are many, many facets to why we change and why we don’t. But on that day, it felt like beyond all the specifics, all the things we do and do not know in this regard, it really does boil down to some kind of unconscious readiness. Some kind of alignment with what already exists within us, or at the very least, right next to us. And while we can know some of what allows us to be ready or not, there is also something mystical at play here. Something unknowable by our rational minds that want it all to add up so perfectly in terms of exactly what we need to do. Leaving us to believe that there is some magic formula code out there that we just need to break.

This makes sense to me. Think about all of the advice, all of the information, all of the programs and all of the degrees and theories that focus on change. You would think we would have it figured out by now. Since we don’t, there has got to be more to it. More than it’s because of our past, or because we are weak, stubborn or without willpower.

What if all the doing has us running right past something? What if instead of trying to fit ourselves into the existing models, the million dollar question we need to be asking ourselves is, “Given that I want something else, what do I need to do in order to be ready?”

Bottom line? What if instead of all the efforting and all of the failed doing, this is about accepting what is already there and already wants to happen? This then becomes an issue of timing and evolution; like a flower blossoming in the spring that has done nothing more than say “Yes” to its time. This is in no way to say we give up or make up excuses. Instead, I am proposing we wonder what it would be like to believe that there is more to what we know about change. And from there, to tap into what it is inside, beyond good and bad, that wants to change, and ask it what it needs to blossom.

Holy Rage


A conversation that seems to be cropping up more and more between my husband and I centers around some version of how to hold the “irritation,” the “frustration,” the “impatience,” dare I say it, the “rage,” that we are both experiencing when we look out at the world and see what is happening.

I put all of those hot button words in quotes to draw our attention to something I believe is crucial here. That being, the so-called “negative” emotions, the very ones we are most afraid of, and have been the most conditioned to suppress, are often sacred inner guidance coming to reveal something to us about what is happening. Like when a firm stand needs to be taken because the behavior or the circumstances are so off-base and out of alignment. Or because something is in violation of what should be inviolate; like when it comes to what supports Life, and what does not.

To work with such intensity is to say Yes to claiming enormous personal responsibility for how you understand and let these emotions inform you. For at their highest use, they are incredibly powerful and life-changing. But it is like learning to work with fire. Things can get burnt. Things can get out of control. Which is why so many of us are afraid to recognize and honor the message that is being conveyed to us by the fiery ones.

To be clear, this is not an excuse to go off on others, or to give you a pass because you are over tired and don’t have the bandwidth to be more patient or tolerant. Instead, it is an exercise in getting to know yourself so well that you can distinguish between a holy message and an out of balance response on your part.

To work with such charged emotions means opening up to the possibility that these seemingly troublesome feelings have a place; without indulging them or defending harm done. This requires developing a lot of self-awareness because god knows we don’t need one more of us justifying our rage as something useful and deserving in the world.

At their best, these fiery emotions can be a kind of holy rage that wells up from within. A kind of wild and transformative fire that is born of a steadfast commitment to a better way; offering up renewal and rejuvenation in its wake. But here is where practice and self-reflection comes in. For to wield fire is to know its power and its limitations. It is to get clear that this is never personal to another person, only to the behavior. And it is never about the reckless, self-indulgent “raging” driven by social media, party politics, victim mentality or a need to be right.

So, if you’re up for it, the next time you’re experiencing one of the so-called fiery, and even to many of us, dangerous emotions, wonder to yourself, “What’s this all about?” You will need to be relentlessly honest with yourself. You will need to be clear about where the emotion is coming from. And you will need to hold that however it’s used, it’s being done for the highest and best good of all.

P.S. If you catch a whiff of “they deserved it,” you’re in the wrong place. At its most balanced there is a clear and steady flame to holy rage that never feels out of control and never carries an intention to harm.

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 was talking to a friend recently and she was wondering why it had taken so long for her to recognize that some of her long-standing friendships, ones that had fallen away over the past few years, had actually, never worked for her to begin with. Had always been too much work. Had never fed her. In effect, had left her empty.

I have spent a great deal of my life thinking about this very thing. More to the point, struggling deeply with needing and wanting more out of relationships when “more” was just not available. With breaking off parts of myself to make things work. Or lending parts of myself to the relationship to make up for what was not coming in from the other side.

Historically, I would stay and believe I should just be glad for what crumbs were available. Or, I would try and get the other “up to speed” so there would be the possibility that I could get fed in a way that made sense to me. And then, of course, I could chip the edges of myself off in the misguided belief that maybe this was the fix. Just be what they seem to want you to be, and maybe you’ll get what you want.

The message always being: Just slot in. Don’t rock the boat by wanting more. There is nothing more available. Take what is here and be happy you’ve got anything at all.

When it seems that crumbs (or even toxins or junk) is all that’s available to us, we will gobble up even the most un-nourishing of relationships in our desperate attempts to fill that need-based longing inside. We will convince ourselves that it is good enough.That it is what we really want.

To be clear, I am not talking about using others to fill a void that only you can fill. Nor am I talking about this from the consumptive, modern day model that says we all need more “friends,” followers and “likes.”

What I am talking about is the real, biologically-based drive to be in good company. To be seen and honored for who you are. To be in connection where all of you gets to be there. Never has this been more assaulted or relegated to the basement than in the past several years. Never have we been more lonely, fearful, socially awkward and prone to believing in sub par, sloppy second-hand substitutes like online connection and “social” distancing, as being the cure for what ails us.

All the while, the central dilemma that each and every human being will face, how it is that I can be fully who I am and have that be met in a satisfying way, gets twisted and distorted, rendering us helpless to know what it is that actually makes for healthy and satisfying relationships.

But as always, changing this lives right here, in this moment. Lives right in the next interaction you have that leaves you hungry, sour, and craving something else. What is that something else, you might ask?

Only you can know that. The trick is, can you be courageous enough to ask the question, listen for the answer, and then actually do something about it?



For New Year’s Eve I had the good fortune to be with a friend who was guiding an intention ceremony. As we moved into a meditation, instead of asking for something specific and of my own making, I found myself spontaneously asking the Universe what it most wanted me to know at this time.

The answer came immediately and brought up so much emotion, it was hard not to break out sobbing in a room full of people. What I heard was this:

Can you see the perfection in it All?

It’s so telling to me that my question was responded to with a question. I did not get some final and definitive answer, but instead an open-ended invitation into something quite profound. For in those first moments of more than hearing, but actually feeling that invitation down into every part of me, it was clear that I was being asked to set aside all the ways that I don’t see the perfection in Life.

All the ways that I think I know better. All the ways that I reject or twist away from what is because I don’t like it. Because it doesn’t fit with my narrative. Or because I believe it’s unfair, and therefore, should not be here.

What I knew to my core in that moment was that I was in no position to know what should or should not be. And not in a criticizing or punitive way that left me feeling bad somehow. But as an absolute Truth of existence that is always there whether I know it or not. And, that should I choose to align with that Truth, everything, literally everything in my life not only changes, but becomes possible; taking me to where I most want to be with myself, others and the world.

That being, at peace with it All.

So what if the choice to not fight with anything, to see it all as having a place, is the ticket to everything we all desire? Equally, what if our refusal to see the perfection in everything is why we are so unhappy, afraid, dissatisfied, sick and disconnected?

This is to be the energy of 2023 for me. Want to join me?

If so, start with low-stakes moments in your day. What I mean be this is, can you be open to the idea that the traffic, the unwanted post on your feed, the mess someone left in the house, the weather, etc., are not necessarily a problem, an irritation or an outrage? But instead, that what you consider horribly imperfect, and therefore unwanted and not supposed to be here, is in fact an act of Perfection.

This even goes for the moments when you fall back, can’t find the perfection, and then use your response as a way to either beat yourself up or rail against what is happening. In these moments, consider that everything, absolutely everything, has a kind of rightness to its existence. A kind of perfect fit and necessity. Even when we can’t or won’t see it. Even when we think we know better than Source and Life itself.

P.S. For anyone believing that this is condoning bad things in the world, I encourage you to look deeper.

Hail Mary’s


I was traveling home by plane this week, and as these things go, my first flight was delayed enough that it looked like I would not make my connecting flight. That meant I was going to either spend the night, and all the next day, in Dallas waiting for an evening flight, or, I was going to get re-routed to DC, get put up in a hotel for a couple of hours, only to turn back around and catch an early flight.

As you might imagine, I didn’t want either one of these scenarios. So I decided that I would do the only thing I could do: I would place all of my focus, all of my attention, all of my energy, on what I actually wanted. Getting home that night.

Now, I’m not so naive as to not know that there are many, many factors beyond my personal focus at play in the Universe that would be influencing this outcome. I also know that the human mind and energy field is a powerful apparatus for creation. I decided that I would see what was possible if I kept my mind focused on what I wanted, versus what I didn’t want.

This is the opposite of what we usually do. Typically, we obsess about the outcomes we don’t want any part of. We make plans around what we don’t want, and then we make contingency plans based on that. All the while focusing (if you can call it that) on what we don’t want. And if you’ve ever paid attention to one of these moments, you know that while you are busy imagining all the worst case scenarios you don’t want any part of, you feel awful. Stressed. Chaotic. Angry. Anxious.

Which brings me to my next point. Staying focused on what I wanted kept me feeling calm, open and optimistic. Hopeful. Certainly in a much better mood. It also highlighted for me how often we don’t really go after what we want because we feel as though we will be disappointed. It feels like if we don’t really go for it, then It won’t be as painful if we don’t get it.

That night, I kept thinking about the football expression, “Hail Mary Pass.” How when it is all on the line in the final moments of a game, with nothing to lose by going for it, the quarterback will huck the ball as far as he can with all the players that can get free, making a beeline for the end zone. With the hope that someone may come up with the ball. A kind of all in, last ditch attempt. Exhilarating. And potentially, disappointing. But ultimately a no-holds-bar effort to go for what you want.

And so it was that I ran through the mega city airport of Dallas, going for my own Hail Mary, even with the great unlikelihood of making it as I was past the time of takeoff. As I came ripping around the corner to the gate I looked at the first stranger I saw and said, “Hartford?” to which he responded, “Delayed.”

I burst into tears.

Why the tears? Because in that moment, I was crystal clear that my efforts to go for it had been responded to in a big and beautiful way. This is something I yearn to live more and more connected to on a regular basis. And why not? The world is going to do what the world is going to do, and then, at some point, it will all be over.

Why not go for it? Why not align with all the invisible support available to us?



I grew up Catholic and I went to Catholic schools all the way though high school. Beyond religion, my parents believed they were procuring a good education for me and my siblings. And I was getting a great education.

In shame.

Shame was how the nuns and the priests kept the exuberance of youth in line. It was how they got us to be quiet, compliant and obedient. While it kept the order as far as they were concerned, it took a toll on me; leaving a deep and indelible mark of fear and apprehension. One that said there was something inherently wrong with me anytime I did not agree with what was being offered up. Anytime I did not line up to what the status quo was demanding of me, automatically put me in the place of not just feeling wrong, but being wrong. Inherently.

To say the least, it put me at odds with myself; undercutting my self-esteem, confidence and creativity, along with undermining my sense of ease with others. For when you feel the ever-present potential of shame and it’s result, feeling inherently wrong according to another, it’s hard to let down. Hard to trust. Hard to be yourself.

It literally took me decades to unwind from all of this. Just in time, it seems, to be living through the most “shamey-ist” of times I have ever witnessed. All being played out under the banner of being politically correct, a good person, virtuous, inclusive and caring.

Look around. Somehow we have come to the place where we have allowed ourselves to be shamed into the medicine we use. Into what we put into our very bodies; whether it aligns with our beliefs, or not. Shamed into how we speak and interact with others. Called out for using an incorrect pronoun or for challenging questionable relational mores. Shamed for feeling differently. Canceled and censored across social media when we do not line up with the narrative du jour.

Worst of all, shamed for asking questions, for using common sense, for pointing out obvious discrepancies, mixed agendas and attitudes that separate.

As someone who grew up under the dark and heavy shackles of shame-based approaches, what I will tell you is this: When you shame someone, you may, for a time, coerce or scare them into behaving in a certain way. But you will never, ever, have their agreement. You will never, ever, have their heart and soul. You will never, ever, have their goodwill or genuine allegiance. You will never, ever, have the necessary checks and balances to keep those in power from doing the wrong things.

And you will never, ever, have an authentic contributor to the common good whenever you manage a person through the power of wrong. For shame destroys freedom, love of life and fellow man, creativity and authentic connection.

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe those in the position of shaming others care not for us to live in that place of sovereignty and conscious choice, but instead relish our head down, tail between our legs, obedience. Maybe they, as the nuns did, prefer keeping us afraid to question. Afraid to choose differently. Afraid to call out the harm being done.

But at some point that shame goes sideways. Always. Shame drives people into resentment, secrecy and acting out. Shame keeps a populace infantilized and reactive. You need look no further than the Catholic school kids I went to high school with. We were the craziest at partying, having sex and acting out all kinds of subversive behaviors. All the things where shame had been applied the most heavily by our “teachers.”

I propose we learn to make our choices from a mature and internal place. One connected to our heart and soul, and therefore, by its very Nature, inextricably bound to doing right by not only ourselves, but by the group as well.

As my yoga teacher once said, there is the compassion and other forms of moral behavior you put on like you would a coat because you were told to. Shamed into. And then there are the ways of living and being with others and the world born organically from within. Life-affirming behaviors and perspectives that naturally arise when you are aligned with an open heart, a clear mind and a body free from stress.

But this would take time. And a ton of personal responsibility on each of our parts. Not to mention a whole lot of courage to not allow yourself to be bullied into something by the shame police. Choosing instead, to live from a place of understanding, forgiveness, encouragement and open discourse.

I’m in. You?

Cleaning House


When I got back from being away on vacation, quite unexpectedly and with no plan ahead of time, I found myself compelled to clear everything out before I put anything away. That first afternoon back, I spent 5 hours clearing and cleaning out shelves and closets. It went by in an instant.

That urge has continued on into this week; with any spare moment being given over to organizing, consolidating, using up and passing on. I imagine this will go on for at least another week as I feel a deep inner urge that goes beyond just “getting rid of stuff.”

I know we typically associate the Spring with the season that we do our big yearly cleaning. And it’s true. After a winter, there is this welling up to clear out and air out. A kind of sweeping out the cobwebs and all of the cold and stagnant places. A necessary and practical ritual to let go of winter’s ways in order to open up to new growth.

But for me, the Fall is the season that has the greater impact in my life. Maybe it’s because as someone who went to grad school and then on to teach around an academic calendar, this time of year always feels like my New Year. My time to get clear and cleared out to get ready for what is to come.

But as the years go on, it feels much more primal and embodied than that. It feels like a necessary prerequisite for my very continued existence; both physical and spiritual. A way for me to honor what has come before, and to pare down to make way for The Great Unknown.

If you think about it, for most of our cellular memory as human beings, we had to align with the seasons. So even though we would be in the height now of the gathering time, historically it was also a time when you had better get really clear about what your stores were, and what it is that you would be carrying into the darkest and sparsest time of year.

So, while practically speaking, it may not be so true for many of us in terms of physical survival, on some level, it is. For you cannot survive or thrive when you are bogged down and filled to the brim with excess and extraneous baggage.

What would it be like for you to use this time of the year to deepen into what truly nourishes you, while eliminating what does not? This is about holding the fullness of the harvest with the knowledge that winter is coming. That means we need to make some clear and sometimes difficult decisions about what to keep and what to let go of for the sake of a more robust surviving and thriving.

For the Truth is, The Great Unknown does not suffer extravagance or thoughtlessness.

So, if you’re up for it, take time this Fall to reflect on what matters most to you. Then look at your surroundings and begin to evaluate whether what you have in your life has value to you. Or not. More pointedly, did it ever really have value to you? Even further, will it have any value to you in the future, or will it serve as a burden to your existence?