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.
Spiritual inquiry is different than asking questions and trying to figure out the answers in the way that we usually do. Usually we pose a question to ourselves and begin to worry it over and over with thinking. We are sure that if we just think about it enough, research it enough, ask enough people about it we will figure it out.
Spiritual inquiry is much different. It does not use the mind to figure out the answer to a question.
In spiritual inquiry - also called meditative or contemplative prayer - the mind poses a question, rests this question into the heart, into God, into the absolute, and then patiently abides until the answer yields into form.
When these answers come, they come with an energy that is instantly recognizable as the truth. The truth does not need qualification or justification, and once this truth is experienced inside a person, they know it on a level deeper than mind. A person who has experienced the truth does not need external validation because they simply KNOW.
It is with this experiential insight into truth that abiding shifts in behavior and habitual patterns of thinking can occur. This is the beauty and power that The Work has to offer us.
When the mind sincerely asks the heart a question, and brings all of its pain and confusion to the door of the heart and lays it there in patience, and then waits in that sacred land of not-knowing, the heart will yield up an answer from a place beyond thinking, a place of truth.
The Work of Byron Katie, presence, and spiritual inquiry all beckon to this domain of the heart, of the absolute, of God. These modalities aid in our descent into the unknown, into the only place from which real insight, transformation, and creativity can arise.
This place is beyond time and space, and it is self-authenticating. This place is in everyone, and is available to anyone willing to suspend all conditioned beliefs and take the sacred plunge into the divine.
Have you ever had the thought "I'm not supposed to be here"? Have you had that thought anywhere - in this moment, at a particular juncture in time, or even existentially. It's effect is the same no matter where it gets set loose in your life.
"I'm not supposed to be here" flows under my day, deep deep down where I don't notice it. It's subtle, resounding impact on my moment to moment life is profound. How do I know the thick pervasiveness of this thought? How do I know how it is woven into the fabric of my unconscious? Because I've done The Work on it and I have seen it in action.
On the fly I can now simply say "I'm supposed to be here" and because I have often done Work on this thought, the words themselves resonate inside as true, and the world opens, if ever so briefly, to gentleness and indescribable sweetness.
The Work shows us exactly how a thought permeates our life, influences our actions and colors our emotions at every turn. That is one of the gifts of meditating on question 3 "How do you react, what happens when you believe this thought?" By meditating on this question you are SHOWN the horrors of believing a thought. That sounds extreme, but if you get close enough and subtle enough in your looking, the affects truly are nothing short of horrific.
I have a wonderful teacher in The Work who relates, after years and years of practice, that he can notice a thought float past and he has so thoroughly seen all the ways that thought wrecks havoc with his life that there is absolutely nothing in him that is tempted to latch onto it ever again. Now that is freedom.
That kind of freedom comes from really clearly seeing just what a thought does to your life, to your world. Without this clear seeing there will always be some part of you that figures it's a good idea to believe it.
Here's something else this same teacher once said (I really love him). He said that thoughts are like tools. As simple and as non-emotional as that. Thoughts are tools that we pick up and use every day.
Now think of some tools. If you pick up a hammer it's a good idea to know what it will do if you swing it, right? And need I bring in the image of a chain saw? Backhoe? We sure as heck want to know what happens when we power these things up. The same is true for thoughts.
Every single thought has it's own exact and particular affect when we pick it up and turn it on. The Work gives a way to clearly see what thoughts do when we fire them up and start using them (often willy-nilly) in our life.
"I'm not supposed to be here." Let's look. What kind of world do we live in when that thought holds complete sway? What's that life like?
Hell. I am always an outsider. Something else is supposed to be happening, and I need to figure out what it is. In a world where "I am not supposed to be here" is true I live with an energetic edge that forever keeps me outside of now - like the push that two magnets create - that energetic push is between me and the world, me and other people, even me and the chair I'm sitting in.
There's a sad, ashamed quality of looking that comes through my eyes. I feel fear. There is no rest. I am the Little Match Girl, always looking in, separate, freezing and forlorn.
That is the world that we live in when the thought "I'm not supposed to be here" is in power. When that thought is king look at the country he rules. Really look at it. What is that kingdom like? I'm not supposed to be here. Do you want to live there?
Now for a moment imagine that you are walking into a world where this thought is absent. In fact, no one in this entire world has ever even heard the thought "I'm not supposed to be here." What is that world like? Take a moment. Sense into it.
There is a deep coming home. A sense of indescribable joy begins to rise through me that cries 'can I be this lucky? Can it be this good'? My being begins to sink into here, to fuse and join with what is here. And I can hardly believe that I get to live here. The joy is almost to much to bear.
This is the world we live in. We are supposed to be here. You are supposed to be here. See what happens when you let that in.
A couple of years ago I was at a silent meditation retreat with Adyashanti. During one of the morning talks he spoke about throat clearing and weight shifting during meditation. His basic message was that these things are usually not necessary, and in fact are a way to bleed off nervous energy.
He went on to say that if the body remains still, and lets the nervous, shifty, want-to-do-something-about-it energy just be, eventually the energies release and integrate into the stillness. The commitment to stillness actually provides a physical example of calm that the nervous energy can map onto.
My ears perked up at his words. I had been experiencing a hard painful lump in my throat during the week of meditation, and figured it was a good idea to swallow in order to help move the energy. I trust Adyashanti, so when he spoke about keeping still and not bleeding off the energy I decided to try it.
Then things got a little crazy, and a perfectly fantastic 40 minute meditation ensued.
I decided right as the meditation bell rang in the session that I was not going to swallow for 40 minutes. Did you swallow even just reading that? I have no idea where this commitment came from, it just bubbled up fully formed as that dang bell rang.
Not only did I commit to not swallow, I simultaneously committed to rest my attention on my throat the entire time. That is to say I would be doing nothing to distract myself away from whatever sensations arose there. Yes, I committed to sit in a tortuous hell for 40 minutes.
Allow yourself imagine that scenario for a moment. Is spit starting to fill your mouth? Is the urge to swallow mounting in your throat? It is if you're anything like me.
So I sat. For 40 minutes, absolutely still, and completely focused on being present to my throat. Let me tell you, it was something else.
The urge to swallow would mount to an all consuming absolutely-have-to-do-it level, convincing me that it was by-God beyond a doubt true that I had to swallow. And right there, at the peak of intensity I would commit, just for that millisecond, to not swallow.
The urge to swallow came in waves, and each time at the peak I would hold out, and then the urge would slowly back off for a bit. And mount again. And so it went for the entire time. I got so close to giving in, and I didn't.
There was something that just absolutely believed it was a FACT that I had to swallow, and time and again it turned out to simply not true. I never HAD to swallow, despite almost everything in me telling me that yes, yes you do.
I can't say there was a resulting amazing shift in the painful lump in my throat. This surprised me as that was what I anticipated would result. Instead shifts came about in ways I didn't expect at all.
One was this clear, moment to moment repeated experience of totally thinking I had to swallow, followed by the simple not-trueness of it. To be shown over and over that something everything in me was saying was true actually wasn't was a deep lesson.
The other gift that came from the Spit Meditation, as I have come to call it, was shown to me several days after I came home. It was evening and my children were whining just before dinnertime. I felt the same sense of mounting intensity that said I HAD to do something to stop them from whining. The sense of urgency and if-I-don't-make-this-stop-I-will-go-insane was exactly the same as the sensation in the Spit Meditation.
I was able to see this very clearly, and in that had the capacity to ride out the wave. For the first time I fully appreciated how powerful the intensity of those kinds of moments were with my children. Of course I had noticed them before, but the Spit Meditation gave me a relentless experience of sitting with that kind of energy, so it became much easier to spot it when it happened elsewhere in my life.
I also realized a profound respect for just how powerful the intense energy was, and from that realization a compassion towards my self was born, as I saw how frequently it coursed through my day to day life.
I don't have a sweeping conclusion to The Spit Meditation, yet I have seen it's far reaching impact on my life, and I am thankful to whatever bubbled up in me that day several years ago as the meditation bell rang.