I find that I prefer speaking over writing these days. We'll see if that keeps up, for now YouTube videos it is! I have been on a roll.
I realize that everyone has a preferred mode of taking in information, I imagine that videos are good for some of you and less so for others.
This link will bring you to YouTube where you can watch a video about the six week teleclass that I am teaching beginning in the middle of October called "Yes! That's My Business". The video is a bit of an infomercial AND it contains some interesting ideas and explorations about what we take to be our own business. I think it's worth watching even if you aren't considering taking the class itself.
When I reference "my business" I am referring to the idea that there are three kinds of business - mine, yours (other people's), and God's/Life's. Byron Katie has a fabulous, succinct video in which she lays this idea out with classic Katie panache. Click this link to watch Katie's video.
When we believe something is for sure, without a doubt our business to deal with, take care of, take responsibility for, a concept is laid right over top of whatever it is we are looking at in reality.
This conceptual overlay by it's very nature changes the our ability to directly perceive reality. Can you see this in your mind's eye?
I see the thing I take to be my business - whatever it is - mothering, what I eat, how I treat people - I see it sort of floating there, and then I see a very thin film get dropped over it as soon as I believe that it is my business.
The thin film prevents me from clearly seeing what is going on, and it also begins to tighten, constrict, and truss up the actual thing sitting there. When this film and constrictive, controlling energy that is created when we believe something is our business is firmly in place, our innate love and presence cannot come though as easily and wisely "see" this thing we are taking to be our business. The natural, love-propelled response or right action latent within us is muted, or even completely transmuted.
In practical terms, when I take mothering to be my business (I have 2 children) I begin to relate to them through a lens of tension. It feels tight and frightening to be the mother. I begin to see my children as objects that I have power over, objects I have to deal with, objects that I have ultimate responsibility over.
I innocently believe that this thought - mothering is my business - keeps me a good parent. The true effect is much different. And, right underneath the thought that mothering is my business is the belief that something deeply loving, wise, and beautiful would not arise to be with my children if I were to let go of it being my business. I believe the thought keeps me being good, and without it I would run away, or be negligent. When I believe that it is no wonder I hold onto the idea that mothering is my business - my integrity allows nothing less.
I go into all of this more thoroughly in the video - I invite you to watch it if you are called to. I love getting comments and questions in the comments section below the video - as well as via email.
I hope you have a beautiful day (I am spending my afternoon on my cozy sun porch, rain falling heavy and delicious outside on the green fields.)
Radical Self-Care has been coming up again and again as I work with people. This is a rich, meaningful topic, and I want to share some practices and inquiry questions with you that invite deep Radical Self-Care into your daily life. These practices and inquiry questions invite Radical Self-Care to become a lived part of your experience rather than something that remains up on a shelf in your mind as a nice concept.
There is a deep belief that many of us carry, a half submerged, hiding-in-the-depths-of-subconscious belief that says "I don't deserve self care."
This belief, when sat with patiently and really listened to often reveals itself as a hurt child, a little one that has lived inside of us for decades with unkempt hair, bruises on their face, in a little scrabbled-out hovel with a pile of filthy threadbare blankets for comfort.
This little one is the energetic form of the belief that "I don't deserve self care." Seeing these little ones for the first time can break your heart open, or cause you to pull back in fear or revulsion. All reactions are OK.
One way to access this little one inside of yourself is to listen to exactly how the thought "I don't deserves self care" sounds. What is the actual sound of the thought as you hear it in your head? What is the energy of it, the emotion of it? With sincere listening to the way the thought is said in your mind the little one will often appear.
Sometimes the little one will appear as a child, a baby, or a teenager, and sometimes as another entity - a stone, a monster, or cartoon creature. All will have the unifying element of being personified, and all will convey a vast amount of information in their very form, the essence of their physicality, in their eyes, in how they look at you or don't.
All of the information they hold is there for you to discover, but beware of any pushing or insincerity on your part. These little ones yield to honest listening, to a true willingness on your part to really hear how they are doing, to what their world is like. They are just waiting to he heard, and will wait for you for eternity.
There is a lot more to say an know about how to be with these little ones. It is an area of inner work that I am drawn to. I will write about that more at another time.
Right now I want to talk about a line of inquiry questions born from past dialogues with the little ones. Dialogues that I have entered into with my own little ones, as well as dialogues I have facilitated between clients and their little ones.
This line of inquiry uses what I call Heart Inquiry Questions. These questions are asked of your own heart, with your hand or hands place over your heart. As with any type of inquiry question you ask the question and then simply listen. In a Heart Inquiry you listen of the actual felt place right between your hand and heart.
So first take a moment to put your hand or hands over your heart and connect with the feeling there. Then ask:
What is the absolute most loving this I could possibly do for myself right now?
Ask this, and then just listen, listen to the place right between your hand and heart. Sense into it. The answer is there in the quiet.
This question can be asked on the fly. It can be asked when you are devastated, when you are exhausted, when you are at your wits end. It can be asked in the middle of a calm, peaceful meditation. It can be asked of this moment, right now. And it can be asked of a day, a week, or a year.
A beautiful, effective way to explore this question is as follows. With your hand on your heart say
"Show me, show me what a day (a week, a year) would look like where I hold self-care as a guiding value. Show me what it would look like if I was devoted to deep self-care, and allowed that to guide and inform all of my decisions, to infuse my life."
And then just sit with that. Allow yourself to be shown what that would look like, what that life would be like. Let some people arrive in your mind's eye. Maybe your family, maybe friends, co-workers. How do you relate to them? How do you treat them when this beautiful deep devotion to self-care is informing your decisions, you actions? What happens there?
Now, once you have explored that thoroughly, explore the opposite world. With your hand on your heart ask
"Show me, show me what a day (a week, a year) would look like where I completely dismiss self-care. Show me what it would look like if I relegated self-care to the least important thing, if I never allowed any self-care to come though into my daily life, actions, or decisions. Show me what that would look like."
And then just sit in that. Let your heart really show you what that life would be like. Notice how you treat other people in that life.
After you have explore that world, that life, come back to the question
What is the absolute most loving this I could possibly do for myself right now?
And let your heart guide you. It knows, the heart knows how to bring radical self-care into your life, and if you listen, you will hear. Trust what you hear, and take that incredibly brave step and begin to act on what you hear.
I had such a beautiful meditation this morning. I asked to be show anything I needed to know about the upcoming Immersion into the Heart of Listening Retreat at Light on the Hill.
I often use this sort of inquiry question for guidance. The wording basically goes something like this:
"show me, what am I ready to see, what am I ready to know about ...... " and then fill in the blank with whatever is close to your heart.
And then the indication is to just sit in that question, listening to the quiet wild unknown all around you, listening to your inner most heart-of-hearts.
This morning I did this inquiry for guidance about the retreat. I was shown a ring of beings sitting in a circle, holding a deep listening together. There was some sort of mysterious portal open within the circle, a pool of spiraling luminosity created by the sincere intention and listening of the beings. The stuff of the portal and the stuff of the beings were in essence the same, a beautiful mysterious swirling of light and deep dark.
This is the sacred gentle power of sitting in retreat with beings that are willing, that have a calling to sit deeply and quietly in their own hearts, listening for the voice of the Beloved. I invite you here.
Love and peace to you,
~ A Three Day Retreat at Light on the Hill, September 20th to 23rd. Details here. (Credit for Certification Candidates available.)
Good Morning Fellow Travelers of Earth,
Last week I sat on the porch under the silent soaring moon. I had just finished a walk up the big hill out behind my house, the moonrise vast and terrible in its beauty, when a belief reared its familiar visage, Hydra heads and tentacles undulating, inviting me to look again at its intricate form.
This familiar, lived-long-by-my-side belief is thus..."There are things I actually really have to figure out. "
Right!? I mean...right!!?? Part of me screams 'of COURSE there are things I really actually have to figure out!!! It is sacrilegious to even entertain the possibility that this could be questioned! "
Is that true? There are things I actually really have to figure out?
No. The thick fabric of the night swelled up and around me and took me in as its own. Crickets, bullfrogs, the neighbors dogs, a thrumming fabric, rich and moving. I sat in that river of sound and life and began to drop into a deep immensely silent space beneath it.
And as I sat there I saw that this river of life is always coursing around us, beautiful, complete, intelligent, flowing above a stillness and silence immeasurably vast. Usually we pucker up and contract into ourselves by believing things like "There are things I actually really have to figure out." Do you feel that? Just writing the belief tightened me up, actually puckered me up from the root chakera to the crown, separating me, closing me down, making me sad and alone.
And that's question 3 of The Work - how I react and what happens when I believe "There are things I actually really have to figure out." I somehow suck myself energetically up and out of the living silence present everywhere. I'm suddenly tight, alone, separate. There is a sudden complete reliance on my mind, and it is frightening. I can feel the energy of thinking actually swirl up through my body and into my head. Everything around me is an object to be used. The entire vibrating night becomes something to be used by me for my survival, and my mind is caught in scanning and hunting for what best to use. A hard lonely world of objectification.
And then back to question 4 of The Work - what am I with out the thought There are things I actually really have to figure out?
I release all over my body. I feel myself weave into the backdrop of life. My eyes open and I see things with wonder, the hard calculating predator is gone from behind my eyes.
There are some beliefs that come back for you again and again, dancing you home. This is one of mine.
And....two upcoming events, the first completely FREE -
~Inquiry Circle Friday August 10th from 6:16 to 8:15p.m.. Please email me for directions . Let's delve into listening together ❤.
~ A Three Day Retreat at Light on the Hill, September 20th to 23rd. Detailshere. (Credit for Certification Candidates available.)
I don't really do sales pitches. I feel uncomfortable with them. However, I do do commitment. And I like to work with clients who find a place inside of them that calls them to Sit down and be still. The time for seeing and healing is NOW.
If this call is in you, if you resonate with what I am saying, I can meet you there. I have the capacity and love to be with people as they dive deeply on their journey.
Life has given me enough that I have seen some territory.
I once lamented to a friend of mine (who happens to be a life coach) "how could anyone EVER want to work with me? Look at what a mess I am!"
She said "who would you trust? A guide who'd studied a lot of maps and read a stack of books about some wild land? Or a guide who'd walked up and down those boulders, under those cliffs, and through those nights themself?"
When she put it that way the answer was clear. I'd want the guide whose feet had walked through the dark and cold, the guide who'd sat in the swamps, listening to the sounds in the night, waiting for grace. I'd want someone who'd been there.
I haven't trekked close to every wild country out there, but I've trekked some. I'm walking one right now, imprinting on my heart its rocks, its pitches, and its soul rending vistas. Vistas you only see if you climb though the dark and tangled underworlds.
I didn't have humility when I was younger. I don't always have it now, but it's found some purchase and I pray it grows. Humility is the only place you can truly sit with someone. I pray for it to pour through my soul. That sweetness is something worth any price.
I am now a Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. I also work with presence, energy, and singing bowls. Inner Child work and the practice of Feeding the Demon are modalities I use as well -in my own inner work, and work with clients.
I now offer three types of Packages - Devotional, Dedication, and Hot Damn, There's Nothing Else I Want to do More Right Now Than THIS. (The latter really being an actual thing I offer - I offer it because it is where I have found myself for the past 5 years). These packages offer an immense amount of support to people on a soul journey who are ready to look deeply, and are a truly amazing way for those just starting to embark into spiritual work.
I also offer Personal Intensives. A Personal Intensive is a two day solo retreat hosted at various healing locations. During the two days I work with the retreatant in four sessions per day, for two days. The remainder of the time is spent in solitude doing something that calls on a soul level - perhaps meditation, journaling, resting, singing, or walking. Talk about dedicating some time to your inner world! The Personal Intensive will gift to you over and over.
The three Packages and Personal Intensives are described on my website - www.sacredive.com. You can read about them, and you can email or call me if you have any questions.
I use Inquiry, or prayer, for most of my decisions. In that spirit I invite you to take a quiet moment and see if you are guided to work with me.
I hope you are enjoying many or some, or all of the moments of this day.
Once upon a time there was a man who was a man, but more and more often a heart carried about by a body. You could tell by his eyes. At times his heart leaked out through them, and when it did, the blaze of light left no doubt. On the day of this story, the man took his fishing boat out on the lake. He needed big bodies of water to soothe him, and though his roots whispered to him of south Florida, he stayed.
The lake, as all lakes are, was usually a lake, but on this day it was tremulous glass. Glass that shook and slipped on itself, revealing the lake’s insides green and brown, woven with ripples of sunlight. He didn’t notice the underwater world unfurling below him as he opened up the motor and soared out. His mind was on the little bit of smoke curling around the motor, speed, and barely hidden thoughts of trouble. His heart was beaming radiant through the cracks in his eyes and seeing the water for what it was.
The boat swung out in a soaring arc across the lake, and from the midpoint, sighted a willow on the far shore and focused.
The boat lifted and fell, lifted and fell under the willow that stretched out past the shore, lolling its wild head in the wind. Grey rocks lay at the tree’s base. They called for human hands to stroke them, pick them up, and feel them pulled across cheeks, smooth and elemental to the land. He reached his hands up and, with a movement uncharacteristic to his eyes, tied the boat to a branch with hurried yanks. The sun poured golden though the long leaves of the willow and filtered down to the bottom, caressing the rocks and whatever was there.
He hopped on a thick trunk of the willow and walked to shore. As he balanced in the beauty tumbling all about him, his eye was caught, or perhaps his heart flung his head to the side, and he saw a black fish glistening on the rocks. He walked over to the fish moving with futile breath. Gently, and with utter lack of impatience, he slipped his hands under the heavy body and eased it into the water. Did heaven dip through earth right then? Was it drawn by the love that flooded through his hands into the fish? I think so. The tail of the fish flicked fast through the water and she was gone.
He glanced at the waves lapping the shore, the soft wet spot where the fish had laid, and waded back to the boat. He started the engine with a click and nosed out from under the arms of the willow. Suddenly the fish was back, swimming close to the boat. Her head was above water and her gills fluttered with the alien breath. Her eyes bulged hugely at him, her lips kissing and sucking the line between water and air.
H had no thought: there was just the fish and the waves cresting silently over her back, washing down in rivulets of silver. She looked at him with eyes that perceived from the same bundles of nerves and snapping electricity as he. Two souls sought a toehold on form, and finding it they jumped, scaling the enormous cleft in evolution. Something brushed together brief and deep, in a way that does not give a second glance to time.
She swam up to the boat and he reached down stroked her head with fingers and palms. She leaned in and rested.
And so they stayed. She circling the boat, gazing at him with crazy fish eyes and kissing big fish-lip kisses, and he speaking softly to her about anything that was there. Time passed, towering clouds sailed before the sun, and the man, who was certainly a man, became a little scared as his mind looked in on the scene. With a curl of wrist he set for the far shore. The fish kept up, flexing her thick tail in powerful pumps. Parting the water’s surface for one last look, her heart shifted and settled in perfect line with the boat, and he was gone.
I sat in a cathedral built in the twelve century, having fasted for several days, quite quiet in mind and body. Tourists moved about, taking photos, reading plaques, sitting in prayer, the collective noises a soft patter dropping into the immensity of calm. Streaming shafts of sunlight sifted through the towering expanse of silence.The space created by the hand-hewn stone columns was powerful, visceral. All I could do was sit and be.
As I sat in the vast stillness of space held by the soaring walls and columns, something clicked inside and I knew that was what I was. Absolute eternal stillness, complete unto itself.
Somehow the ancient space held by the cathedral revealed to me what I really was. I could see it. It embodied a reference point for me, and embodied it so plainly that what I am resonated in recognition.
The moment passed and my focus came back to two young Italian women getting up from the pew in front of me. One of them had gorgeous long red curly hair that bounced and swirled around her. A wave of jealousy hit and I thought "I want her hair." Quick mental flashes of how my life would be better with her hair. What it would get me.
The contrast to the moment before was extreme, the difference jarred into my cells. The Work was alive in me that afternoon, and straight away I asked, I want her hair, is it true?
The answer came instantly, not in the form of a yes or no, but as an image of trying to attach the woman's hair to the eternal column of stillness. It didn't work. It couldn't be done.
The two things are made of different stuff, and one cannot mix with the other. It was like trying to make two positive magnents touch, they don't. The column of eternal stillness - absolutely timeless, stillness itself, unending and complete. The woman's hair - ephemeral, fleeting, of the world of form.
I saw the hair next to the column of stillness and I saw the hair burn away, their essences fundamentally different. The hair a flicker of flame, here and gone.
This is what you are. You are not your hair, not your job, not your position in life, not your image of what you think you are. All of these things melt immediately when held next to what you really are.. and there you are, shinning, vast, reaching though eternity with a play of form arising, dancing above you, and then melting away forever.
Good Morning All,
I hope this bright day finds you well. I am delighted to offer a second retreat at Light on The Hill in September. This past weekend a group of beautiful souls gathered with me there for retreat. It was sweet & deep, and I am filled with gratitude and some astonishment for the amazing depth of the container created for slow, peaceful inner looking by the sincerity of all present.
Retreat is an opportunity to bow out of our daily life and responsibilities for a bit and shift down into a deeper part of ourselves. This deeper part is always there, but is often half hidden, or fully hidden by the cares of the world. So much can be seen on retreat. If you are called to a time-out for deeper looking - I welcome you.
Here is the official announcement ... take a quiet, breath-filled moment upon reading it to see if you are called to come. The heart can be trusted in such matters, and I invite you to place your hand on your heart as you listen in. This simple act can have wondrous effects on inquiry and listening.
Move into stillness and listening at the beautiful Light on the Hill retreat center in Van Etten, NY. Let the ancient quiet of the hills hold you as we move into heart-based inquiry using The Work of Byron Katie.
Daily morning walks, three periods a day of silent meditation, guided meditations, extended silence, and group sessions support you to invite presence into old beliefs and thought patterns. Molly Larkin will join us again, bringing her strong and steady presence to the group, holding space with beautiful grace.
We will spend this time together honestly sensing in and listening to our own hearts, to the wisdom and perfect guidance therein. Space and time is opened for patient, loving inner child work integrated seamlessly with The Work.
These precious inner children embody all of our stressful thoughts, and when we take the time to get quiet enough to sincerely listen to them, to really be right there with them, these little ones will tell us everything about their world - what they are afraid of, how they feel, and what they need from us to feel safe and joyful again.
In my own work I have found that every stressful thought is embodied by a little one, and by sitting with them with nothing but love and acceptance, a powerfully visceral healing can happen. The Work can be done gently and patiently right there while holding the little one, leaving no one out.
There are a variety of shared rooms in cozy, simple cottages and huts located on the retreat center, as well as the option to stay at one of the many local BnBs. Enjoy access to 236 acres of woods, streams, walking paths, a labyrinth, Stillpoint Sanctuary, and hilltop vistas.
We will have vegetarian food prepared by Light on the Hill chefs, provided to us daily with sweet love.
Space is limited, so if you know you want to come, get in touch with me!
This retreat is open to all levels of experience.
Certification Candidates receive 10 credits upon completion.
$365 ~ room and board additional.
To sign-up and receive more details on lodging and meals respond to this email.
September 20th -23rd,
Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon.
Last week I spent 5 days sitting in silent meditation with Sharon Landrith, a teacher of Adyashanti's lineage. There is something in me that wants to drink and drink and drink of that deep silence and stillness, and I keep going back for more.
When my kids were younger we went to a Sunday gathering that our neighbor hosted. It was a spiritual gathering, and I remember at some point the leader said if you wanted to find a teacher, and open to something deeper in your life, light a candle every night for a month, and look into it for 30 minutes.
His words triggered rage. I thought 'this guy is obviously retired, and he's got the time. Some of us around here actually have to WORK!!' I was SO pissed.
How could he have the audacity to tell me that there was that kind of time to be had? He didn't know! Locked into the identity of an organic farmer pulled up by my own boot straps, my life was built on devotion to non-stop work, and had been for years. I honored no space for contemplation.
Looking back I see I yearned for that quiet candle gazing so so badly. The depth of the rage was equal to the depth of the yearning.
Several years later when life started to up heave I remembered his guidance. I sat every night with a candle, gazing into the pure beauty of the soft flicker. Within a month I found my first teacher.
It is a journey to really trust and honor the call for quiet and stillness. Our culture does not support it. Value is placed on doing, achieving, and building up a life. We are not taught the sacredness of quiet stillness and keen listening for the whisper of God. If the yearning is there, heed it. It is the voice of God calling you home.