Reflections on the gift of this human life

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I knew it had been a while since I'd written a blog. But I just looked, and it's been over a year.

Words are powerful. They are one of the best tools at our disposal for creating our lives and our stories. They shape how we receive the world and also how we are received by it. They clue us in to how we feel and where we have been wounded. They shake with our passion and our fears. They ring out with our victories. They connect us and disconnect us.

Sometimes we hide behind them or try and use them to control how others perceive us. When used kindly, they can lead to an unfolding like a flower or the cleansing rain of tears. When used to manipulate or deceive either our own selves or others, they become like a weapon which can cut deep, with no truth to rinse the cut and begin the healing.

Have you ever been through a transformation so deep it felt like being born anew? All the words and stories you were so used to using suddenly weren't right... You shed all your identities like skins and in your new naked, tender, vulnerability it was like learning language and life all over again. In times like that, all you can do is hold yourself close and love yourself back into who you always have been, but fresher, clearer... perhaps more minimalist. And a little closer to your own sweet soul.

To speak preemptively during this period of incubation would be to throw the new baby out into the harsh world, defenseless and soft. Sometimes we need to hold our tongues and allow what wants to be born through us it's gestation before we voice it and watch it being blown around in the wind, from ear to ear.

This last year has been one of deep transformation for me. It's held unexpected news, deaths, miracles of forgiveness, some increasingly deep and rich friendships and the soft disintegration of others. It's held sacred ceremony and work and adventure. It's held successes and failures. It's held mistakes and lies - the biggest mistakes being the lies I tell myself. It's been letting myself be opened again and again by the beauty of this world... no matter how many reasons fear finds to close myself off. In this last year, I began traveling again and I had incredible adventures in India. I also finished a two-year program in Integrative Energetic Medicine. I have had periods of disorientation and confusion, followed by such deep clarity and knowing... only to lose myself again, at a different detour in the road.

And now I rest in the sweetness of seeing how all of these experiences have brought me to deeper levels of compassion, presence, trust, and vulnerable authenticity.

In closing out 2017, I found myself filled with wonder at the very simple truth (and the key to why energy medicine works): that there is almost nothing in this life that, when looked at with a loving and compassionate gaze, won't soften.

Now I'm not talking about the kind of love that is fear in disguise - the kind that wants, that fears losing. No. I'm talking about pure Love. The kind that sits in silence and waits for us to reveal ourselves. With no expectations or agenda. That doesn't see us as we were or as we could be, but sees us right here and now. Exactly as we are. And that sees our beauty, not in spite of our imperfections, but because of them. The kind of love that this life has guided me back to, the kind of love that we each deserve to receive, and that we each are capable of giving. The kind of love that we fear, while we so desperately long for it, too.

To look at the world with that kind of love is at once so simple and yet also one of the most challenging choices we have. So once more so you can really take these words in:

There is nothing in this life that, when looked at with love, won't soften.

I invite you to try it.

Attitude of Gratitude: day 23-30

Where I often spend Thanksgiving is pretty rustic with no internet. The smart phone I got a little over a year ago has changed that for me and I'm no longer quiet as 'disconnected'... but it's still lovely to have an excuse to not check email or post to my website. These things are possible, but slightly annoying on a phone, so I practice my connection in other, more solitary ways. I take my camera with me and record for myself. It also means I can later update you on what I saw and was grateful for:

  1. Waking up on a lazy morning with nowhere to be and nothing to do.

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2. Feeling the sun and quiet while meditating without any of the pressure to 'get started with the rest of my day.'


3. A cozy fire in the fireplace and a relaxed study buddy.


4. Abundance in food and family with lots of love and laughter and nourishment and an awareness and gratitude for where this food comes from and everything that went into growing it and preparing it for me to eat.


5. Sun coming out after several days of rain, providing warmth and a different light in which to see things.


6. A walk in the woods and my grandma's stories of elves and gnomes and magic echoing through my head.


7. Messages left for us by nature... if we're listening in.


8. Familiar spaces and all the memories that go with them. A sense of history and connection without obligation or attachment.


9. Cozy shelter, surrounded by plenty of fresh air and wide-open spaces. Home and wild, all rolled into one - just the way I like it. And gratitude for the love of others that keeps it maintained and enjoyable.


10. Trees that teach us to root down, stand tall, grow upwards, bend with the wind, die to be reborn. There is something beautiful in how they stand and yet flow.


Coming out of this holiday and this month of gratitude, I know I have much to be thankful for everyday. I hope you had a wonderful celebration and as the focus now turns to gifts and giving, I hope you find it in you to give to those who challenge you, to love those you're not always sure you're able to (especially yourself), and to receive all that the Universe wants you to be open to. This is a time of unrest in our country. May we all be a listening ear, even when we think we 'know' and may we stand like a tree or a mountain, in the name of Love, when it comes to what is right.

Attitude of Gratitude: day 22

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Today was a long day of teaching and packing and driving. In many ways, it was a very surreal day filled with things that felt contradictory and not very settled. But I am grateful for:

  1. the students who came to class with love and commitment.
  2. Safe travels for us and others on the road.
  3. Plenty of snuggle time and a large, fuzzy head on my lap to keep me warm.

Attitude of Gratitude: day 21

Today is one of those days where the timing of things is never quite where you want it to be, and yet somehow, everything manages to get done. I'm getting ready to go out of town and there's always a list to cross off before vacation can happen. So even amidst all the to-dos, I made time to get on my mat for 30 minutes and slow my breathing - it helped! So did gratitude:

  1. My practices that shift my mentality from freak-out to peaceful, even when there's lots to get done.
  2. A quiet home practice with my beloved spirit animal to keep me company.
  3. The feeling of accomplishment and being able to finally cross things off my list that have been on there wayyy too long!

Attitude of Gratitude: day 19 and 20

A balmy, Saturday morning that turned suddenly cold and windy. A cold and windy Sunday with dramatic clouds and brightly lit trees.

I am grateful for:

  1. The beauty of nature that always brings me into a sacred pause and helps me hit the reset button.
  2. The honor of witnessing someone in complete vulnerability and the deep connection that can result. And how much more beautiful we all become when it happens.
  3. That so many people are beginning to respond to times of stress by carving out time for themselves.
  4. The freedom of tears and allowing myself to fully feel my experience. And the deep compassion and love that always already exist, just below the tears.