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Allowing Yourself to Feel

 

Video Blog Summary: Illusions are Convenient

Can you feel it? The days are getting shorter and the time change has added to that. To me, it feels like things are closing in. And visually things are closing in with the increasing darkness.

In my tradition of the medicine wheel, we call this the time of introspection. The seasonal conditions of darkness are encouraging us to look inside.

And this year, it’s extra special with the prospect of a COVID winter. Some of us barely emotionally survived the last round of COVID isolation.

One way we tend to manage this is to unconsciously do things to avoid feeling. Behaviors such as: buying things, compulsively working, drinking more, smoking pot, eating our feelings, compulsively exercising, etc.

It’s not that I am against these things in themselves, it is the way we do them that matters.
Are we doing them for their own sake? Or are we doing them to avoid feelings?

Rather than trying to eradicate these things (which...

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Own Your Openness Video Blog

 

I speak about the importance of being conscious of when you are open and when you shut down. This allows the choice of walking with your heart open and being connected to life.

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How Much Beauty Can You Stand?

There were some tough lessons at the Summer Solstice Ceremonies this year. Challenging and painful, but critically important.
 
Several days into our gathering, Ann Coughlin and Eve Costello conducted a series of ceremonies that guided me deep into the beauty of my heart. After each successive ceremony, I found myself to be more and more open and sensitive.
 
When I returned to sit around the fire between ceremonies, I noticed even the most subtle forms of sarcasm or cleverness became difficult to be around. I could see how it created separation and feel how painful that was. 
 
I remember saying to Ann, "It's a whole different deal when your heart is this open." I saw that throughout the week I had been on both sides of being sarcastic and being affected by the sarcasm. 

I couldn't help but think, how could we participate in something so beautiful and then immediately indulge in divisive sarcasm, cleverness, and criticism?
 
It soon...
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Unconditional Openness: An Honest Conversation with Myself

I woke up with the thought, "What if I was just totally open and supportive to my friend?”

Then, a part of me pulled back and thought, “I will wait to do that after I see if another piece falls into place in our friendship.”

I continued the conversation with myself: Hold on, why not just offer my openness and love regardless? It is not going to make the chances of things falling into place any less. In fact, it would seem to increase the chances of that happening.

It suddenly occurred to me that I seem to only let my total openness and love out when people are being how I want them to be. Then I will offer them my sweetness.

It is like I am reinforcing their behavior. When they act how I want them to act, I reward them with my openness and love. When they are not, I hold it back. Yuk- more conditional love.

Hmm. What if I just offered people the sweetness of my heart unconditionally. If they mistreat it, then I could think twice before being vulnerable in that...

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Living in the Big World

The notion of the big world came from interacting with my cat when I lived in Oceanside, California.

There was a fenced-in area on my patio that she could be outside but still protected. But if she went out the gate she was in the Big World. There were coyotes out there.

While she liked the safety of the fenced world, but she was always happiest and seemed most alive when she was out in the Big World.

Walking with your heart open requires you to live in the Big World. Life is live. The Big World is vast. You are directly interacting with all of creation and whatever walks in the door. This can feel overwhelming.

When we become overwhelmed and frightened, we tend to go into our heads. Metaphorically, the intellect is the fenced-in yard that my cat resided in.

In our intellect, we control everything and we feel safe. When reality becomes too daunting and overwhelming, we rewrite the script so it more manageable and convenient. This is how we create maya or illusion.

Our mind...

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Modeling Openness

Openness is the most fundamental element of establishing a natural way of being in our culture. But being open takes courage as it leaves us feeling vulnerable.

Many follow the lead when someone offers us openness, but hesitate with being open when others are not. We are selectively open. This makes sense if you do not have the skills to walk openly, but we need people to model openness when it is not the norm.

Finding a place that is safe to express and experience your heart is essential for learning to walk with your heart open.

But after you acquire some experience and skills to walk openly, it is essential to take your openness out into the world so that other people can observe and experience it.

It can be daunting to let your light shine in an environment when everyone is playing it safe. People may look at you like you are strange. And from their perspective, it is strange. Observing you being open likely feels strange and uncomfortable to them.

But if you stay...

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Buffalo Medicine: Reliability and Dependability

Reliability, dependability. Consistency and steadfastness. Durability. My tradition calls it Buffalo Medicine.

It is grounded. It is not flashy. It does not draw attention to itself. People with buffalo medicine quietly go about their business supporting and uplifting everyone and everything around them.

Reliability is a funny thing. Without it, someone or something is really not of much value or worth. If it is not consistent, you can't depend on it. When it really counts, like when your heart is open and exposed, you can either rely on someone or not. And if you cannot rely on them, what good are they?

To walk with your heart open and to risk being vulnerable, you need people around you that you can count on. If you can not rely on them to support you and do what they say you are going to do, it is going to be difficult to be open and take risks.

Buffalo Medicine is the most powerful medicine there is because it provides support when it really counts.

So you need to be able to...

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"Never Give Your Heart My Friend unto a Foolish Heart"

The Grateful Dead song, Foolish Heart, written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia, came into my head to help me understand a vital lesson. The main lyrics are, "But never give your heart my friend unto a foolish heart."

I had been sharing tender, vulnerable things about myself to critical people. Spiritual teacher, Bart Anderson, shocked me one day by saying, "They don't deserve your heart." This seemed to go against everything that I had learned from him.

He continued, "Well, look at it. You and the people you are sharing with are coming from two totally different places. You are opening your heart and being vulnerable, and they are criticizing you and using it against you. Why would you do that?"

I didn't have a good answer. But I did stop doing it. He called it "discernment."

Years later I recognized a similar pattern sharing vulnerable things with careless people. And, investing lots of energy in them. It was not working out well. I was getting hurt. This is when I...

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