A Gift of Devas

Today, I celebrate my 62nd birthday. Six decades on this Earth, and I’m still learning:

  • to be here more fully
  • to love more freely
  • to live more joyfully
  • to share my gifts and blessings more abundantly
  • to trust more deeply
  • to surrender to the creative flow of the universe more nakedly
  • to let the power of grace sweep through me more fluidly

These are the gifts of incarnation.

In the past year, my business has continued to flourish — grown sweeter, more spacious, more grounded in practical blessing. I’ve had the privilege of serving brilliant, creative people to grow into the fullness of their being; to heal the past, shape the future, and unfold the miracles of their lives and businesses.

I’ve had the privilege of writing from my heart, celebrating your successes and mine, mourning our collective losses, giving and receiving comfort and strength in community.

Those of you who have taken classes and programs with me, who have worked with me in mentoring sessions and retreats, have deepened and enriched my life with your vision, courage, and commitment to shaping a kinder, more positive world. Your wisdom, power and creative genius are boundless.

I am so grateful for you! Thank you.

Thank you for honoring me with your presence, your trust, your willingness to dive deep. Thank you for bringing your most tender, vulnerable selves into our conversations — on the blog, on the phone, face to face, heart to heart.

Thank you for giving your all to transform even your most painful patterns. Thank you for daring to tell new stories; for giving birth to your own astonishing beauty, brilliance, and gifts – each and every day.

This year has also brought me my beautiful granddaughter. She was born just over a month ago. She reminds me, every day, of the power of vulnerability, of the astonishing love that brings us all into the heart of life, into kinship and community with each other.

My heart is with you as you navigate the sometimes rocky terrain of your lives and businesses. Things aren’t easy, right now. Fear and loss, pain and grief are as much a part of our world as joy, delight, wonder and sustenance.

My birthday wish for you is that you live cradled in the grace of your soul; that you unfold your miraculous gifts; that you bless and love your own life and the life of your world. That you feel safe. That you know you belong here. That you know how deeply you are wanted, cherished, supported, and loved.

We need each other. In this time of creative chaos, we need our human connection, our willingness to listen and to take care of each other in ways that support our wholeness.

May you follow the call of your soul into the miracle of your life. May you be blessed, and blessing. May you discover and share all that you alone can bring to the world. May you be the Deva of those gifts that shine in your heart.

Responsibility Troll, Meet the Angel of Responsibility



The word lands with a heavy thump of burden and obligation. It stands hunched-over and stiff-necked with shoulds and expectations. A painfully bristling virtue that leaves us feeling bad about ourselves because its standards are so high, we’re afraid we’ll never be able to live up to them.

A grim Troll of a word with a Calvinist edge to it, its arrival strikes a sting of reproach–our failure to meet its exacting standards seems inevitable, built into its structure.

So what is responsibility, really? Who or what are we responsible for? Do we get to choose? Or do our responsibilities arrive pre-ordained-the mighty Troll who casts a long shadow over family, work, relationships, business, life…

Part of the confusion we feel arises because responsibility is both a body energy, and a spiritual quality-and the two are very different from each other.

As human animals-particularly if we’re female human animals–our bodies are genetically programmed to be responsible. This is Nature’s way of ensuring the propagation of the species, of making sure we’ll take care of our children through the long years it takes for them to grow to maturity and be able to survive in the wilds of the world.

It’s this Responsibility Troll that brings my whole being into a state of instant alert when I hear a child’s panicked voice calling: “Mommy!” at my local grocery store. Even though my sons are grown men, happily living their own lives, that cry of “Mommy!” raises the atavistic hackles of my body. My heart beats a quickstep and adrenalin surges through my arteries. Mommy is ready to leap into action-to protect, shelter, comfort, respond to a child’s distress.

Because the Responsibility Troll is a body energy, you can’t will it away-it has its own purpose, its reason for being. To function effectively, we must understand its nature, honor it, and negotiate a working relationship with it.

When there’s no obvious place for the Responsibility Troll to direct its considerable power, it fixates on work, or on the people around us. It’s convinced it knows what’s best for everyone, and also convinced the world will fall apart without it.

When it’s doing what it’s meant to do, it’s an evolutionary and useful being. Not so helpful when it lumbers in where it doesn’t belong.

You can experience the Responsibility Troll by thinking of something or someone you feel responsible for. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? That heaviness, that sense of overwhelm? Or that punishing self-righteousness-all point to the presence of the Responsibility Troll.

On the upside, it is hard-working and reliable, determined to make things work no matter what.

If the body energy of responsibility is a troll toiling in a coal mine, the spiritual quality of responsibility is a creature of sunlight and wings. Because it emerges from wholeness, as all spiritual qualities do, it understands that you–and the situation and everyone involved in it–are a radiant soul, filled with infinite power and potential. It knows that each of us has everything we need to be whole, healthy and fulfilled. No-one is broken; no-one needs to be fixed.

The Angel of Responsibility knows this. So when you fill yourself with its presence, you naturally respond to people and situations in ways that honor your own sovereignty and that of everyone else as well. You experience yourself and everyone else as already whole.

This doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye to pain and suffering. Suffering exists. You meet it with kindness, honoring your own and other people’s vulnerability and need as aspects of wholeness.

When you become the Angel of Responsibility, you respond with empathy, support, respect, and love–offering what your heart calls you to offer. Knowing that the person you are offering help to is also helping you–that you are in a dance that weaves together call and response, love, support and kindness, giving and receiving.

Both you and the person being helped are Angels of Responsibility, learning the steps to the dance so you can dance it more effortlessly, with greater joy.

Ultimately, our responsibility is to cultivate those qualities within ourselves and in our lives that bring us to our natural state of wholeness. This requires discernment and choices.

We choose what we say yes to, what we say no to. And our yes-es and our no-es shape who we become. They also shape what we offer to the world.

If you work on your business hunched over as the Responsibility Troll, gritting your teeth to make it through that next project, pushing yourself harder, you add to the suffering of the world. Each time you treat yourself unkindly, telling yourself the end justifies the means, you increase the sum of unkindness in the world. You contribute to a lack of empathy and generosity.

How you do what you do determines the quality of your life. So when that Responsibility Troll shows up, give it something to do that lets it fulfill its natural function. Then invite the Angel of Responsibility into your presence. Become its shining, winged self, and see what happens next.

Oh, and listen for the tune that brings the Angel and the Troll onto the dance floor together.


I’d love to hear your stories. How do you feel when the Responsibility Troll shows up in your life? Do you have rituals for welcoming the Angel of Responsibility?

Best Friends

Today is my best friend’s 60th birthday (Happy Birthday, Judith!). She’s probably still asleep as I write this. I want to celebrate her birth day, celebrate her, celebrate our friendship.

We’ve been friends for twenty years. We’ve seen each other through family tragedies, deaths and divorce. I was with her when she gave birth to her beautiful daughter, who is now a radiant sixteen-year-old. She drove me home from the hospital after my hip replacement surgery last February.

Since we live in different cities, we talk on the phone every couple of days. Once a week, we exchange healings that keep us growing, that help us transform our lives in the direction of our dreams.

When the skies darken around us, we remind each other of the still-invisible horizon.

When something wonderful happens in my life, she’s the one I call. We celebrate our accomplishments with delight. And laugh hilariously at each other’s jokes.

When one of us is overwhelmed or in despair, wondering why we’re doing what we’re doing, the other is there as Witness, as Keeper of the inner truth of our miraculous, magical selves.

When my wings falter, hers buoy me.

We’re both strong, independent, opinionated women, which means we don’t always agree with each other. But we do always love each other. And rely on the other to love us back, even when we’re not all that lovable.

We all need a best friend. And we each need to be a best friend too.

Being a best friend anchors me in love and commitment in a different way than being Mom to my sons, or sister to my sisters. Ours is a bond that’s freely chosen. And chosen anew each day.

How about you? Whom do you choose to love? How does your best friend live in your heart? And what kind of best friend are you?

Playing With Time


I’ve been thinking about Time lately. Of all the ways we structure our lives around it.

When you’re tearing your hair out because your to-do list has turned tyrannical, time becomes a cage, fixed, rigid, inescapable.

After all, there are twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, fifty-two weeks in the year.

Yet there are cultures that don’t measure time this way. The Gregorian calendar adds an extra day in February every leap year to account for the day that doesn’t quite fit into our annual template of time. The Zoroastrian calendar handles this anomaly of time by moving the entire calendar up a day, once every four years.

What this meant for me, as a kid, was that I had two birthdays each year — one on my regular birthday, and one on my Zoroastrian birthday! Which seemed like a perfectly sensible thing, since I think your birthday is the most important day of your life. And two of them are twice as magnificent as one.

But I’m meandering, which tells you something about my relationship with time. . .

Some cultures use time as a measure of distance. For example, in Nepal, the distance between one village and the next is measured by the time it takes to walk there. Not by miles or kilometers.

Time is a way of mapping how we live, and our relationship to time is shaped by our culture’s way of being in the world.

In India, people are astonished by the impatience of Western visitors, by the way they push against time. Time in India is dilatory . . . slowly, slowly, my Indian compatriots say, waggling their heads from side to side. What’s the big hurry? Everything will happen in its own time.

In our culture, time is limited. Limited, precious, not-enough. This creates urgency, a pressure to pack in more and more into every nook and cranny of the day.

And yet, time is much more elastic than we realize. Time is a variable we must come to terms with in the physical world, but it doesn’t exist — at least, not in the same measured way — in the realm of energy and spirit.

Imagination — which is a quality of spirit and energy that’s readily available to us — invites us to play with time lightly, loosely, creatively.

My imagination carries me instantly across this beautiful bay in front of my window, and lands me gently on top of that sunlit mountain glowing on the far edge of the horizon.

And my imagination brings me back to my living room, back to the chair I’m sitting in. Simply. Instantly. No time involved, and no effort.

If I wanted to make that journey physically, I’d have to cancel my day’s appointments, drive to the ferry dock, buy a ticket, get on the ferry, and spend most of the day getting to the other side of the strait. I’d have to find a place to stay overnight because I’d be too exhausted to make the journey back the same day.

Two intersecting realities — two very different relationships to time.

Because time as we understand is a much more fluid phenomenon in the realm of energy and spirit, what we think of as past, present, and future all happen more or less simultaneously.

This means that we can change a pattern, heal a broken heart, or transform a family story almost instantly. Not only will the changes we make alter the course of our own lives, but they’ll also change the trajectory and history of our lineage. Spiritually and energetically, our ancestral heritage will be transformed, as will the potential lives of our children and the generations that follow us.

Our history and our future can change in an instant, when we engage with time in this way.

To integrate this change into the physical world, however, we must relate to linear time, or time as we know it.

This means you can change a pattern profoundly in a single hour. And the effects of that change will begin to unfold in your life almost immediately.

But you’ll still have to become the person who embodies that change. And because you live in physical reality, this may take some time.

For instance, this morning I spent an hour or so of physical time, energetically and spiritually creating the next phase of my business. After a long sabbatical, I will be teaching group programs and workshops again, starting this fall.

While some of the work involved in doing this takes place in the physical world — reviewing and revising curriculum, outlining new programs, developing a marketing plan and so on — much of the work I’m doing right now takes place outside of time as we commonly think of it.

To create something new, I must first bring into physical form those aspects of my Self that carry the qualities of what I want to create. So this morning, I invoked the spirit of education within me.

I attuned to my inner educator, who carries decades of experience and skill in teaching, program planning, curriculum development and so on, and who also participates in the activity of the Deva of Education — that deeper spiritual Presence which holds the blueprint for education as a universal quality of wholeness and divinity.

I asked the Deva of Education for its help, inspiration, support and guidance in shaping these new programs, in developing curricula that will bless and benefit the whole ecology of my world.

And I asked specific questions: What do my clients and students need most? What does my community need right now? What does my world need? What do I need?

How can I shape my work to meet these needs in a healthful and balanced way?

Then I walked myself — quite literally — through an energetic process to inhabit my future self, the one who teaches these classes and programs.

Here’s how I did it. You can follow along, if you like. Just apply this process to whatever you’re creating right now.


Attune to the energy field of the Self that I’m incarnating — the Me who is teaching and healing in a flourishing, collaborative learning community.

Place this energy field about four feet out in front of me. Close my eyes, ground, and center. Once I’m fully present, stand up and walk into the energy field of my newly incarnated self.

Stand in this energy field and experience it. How does my body feel? How am I standing, holding myself? How do my muscles feel, my bones, my breath, my pulse and heartbeat? How is the weight distributed across my feet? Constriction? Spaciousness? Where? In my chest? Shoulders?

I’m not trying to change anything – just experiencing what is, in this new version of myself.

Continuing to experience myself teaching, healing, mentoring, writing, speaking. What am I feeling? Certainty. Joy. Creative enthusiasm. Spaciousness.

Mentally: Clear, precise awareness. Expanded awareness includes the field around me, and everyone who engages with that field.

Spiritually: Connected. In flow. Radiating. Whole.

Allies: Invite my allies — those who love and support me in this new incarnation of myself — to come and stand in a circle around me. Feel them holding the space of my new incarnation so it is grounded, sturdy and strong. Feel their support and love for me in my new incarnation.

Now look around. Expand my awareness so I get a bird’s eye view of the world, the universe, the cosmos, with my new incarnation as the central point of view. Notice how my newly incarnated self affects my environment. Who is changed or transformed by it? How? And how do those effects ripple outward into the world around me?

Continue to stand in the energy field of my new incarnation. Invite the Me that inhabits it to begin to transform the Me that I am right now.

Not forcefully, and only to the extent that my present self is willing to be transformed.

Invite those aspects of my present self that are ready to be drawn into this new incarnation to flow into it now.

Invite those aspects of my present self that are ready to be transformed, to change and alter. To move closer to my new incarnation.

Experience what’s happening inside me as I do this.

Now ask my soul to create a direct, clear sunlit path from my present incarnation to my new incarnation. A path of golden light leading from where I was sitting, to where I’m now standing.

Ask my allies to hold the space of this path with me, to hold it steady and to help me walk it in strength, power and confidence.

Still standing in my new incarnation, ask my soul to give me a gift that will most directly help me get from my present self, to my new incarnation.

Receive the gift (for me, this was a pair of giant golden feet) and experience how I feel as I hold this gift in my hands.

Now walk backwards along the sunlit path from my new incarnation into my present self, carrying the gift with me.

Step back into my present incarnation. Return to where I was sitting at the beginning of this exercise. Experience how I feel in my body now.

Let the gift I’ve brought back with me find its rightful home in my body. Where does it belong? Let it flow in there. Experience what this feels like.

Next, invite a circle of my inner selves — all the different aspects of myself, which together hold all of my life’s experiences — to come and meet the gift I’ve been given, in its new home in my body. Invite them to touch the gift, to smell and taste and hear it, to ask it questions, to get to know it, to come into relationship with it.

Do any of my inner selves have something they want to say about their experience with the gift, and with what it brings to them?

Invite the gift to expand and to transform each cell of my body and my energy body — to bring me closer to my new incarnation.

Give thanks and blessings to the Sacred, to my allies, to my selves, to my soul, to my new incarnation, and to the Wholeness that embraces us all.


And that’s how I played with Time this morning, to meet and embrace my still-being-born self.

What are some of the ways you play with time? Stretch it like silly putty? Condense and expand and roll it around?

I’d love to hear your stories.

Swimming In the Sea of Story

dreamstime_xs_12053496 grotto

Walking around my backyard a few weeks ago, with the sun on my skin, the sea below and eagles calling across the bay, I slipped into a state that I used to inhabit as a child — an imaginative trance in which, even as my feet pressed down on damp grass, I found myself climbing up a steep bank, skidding on loose, dry soil, steadying myself against the rough trunk of an arbutus tree.

At first, as I scrambled up that bank, all I could see were spring-green bushes, their leaves rustling in the wind. Poplar saplings, with their sharp, citrus scent, brushed against my face. Overhead, a wide swath of cerulean sky.

Then, through an opening framed by salal bushes, I saw it: the Sea of Story. Glittering emerald and turquoise, carnelian and silver under a blazing midday sun, it stretched to the edge of the horizon. The air smelled like new bread and oranges, and the briny tang of olives. The sun stung my skin as I slipped and skidded down the bank and dove headlong into the water.

Now, in what we call real life, I can’t swim. But submerged in the Sea of Story I felt as happily at home as a seal or an otter. I dove down deep and my fingers left trails of phosphorescence through a sea that glistened like shot silk. Underwater, I opened my eyes, and gasped: In a turquoise light, stories glimmered and swirled and spun in the currents. Stories floated by, transparent as jellyfish. Some darted around in colourful schools; others bloomed and glowed in solitary splendour.

The sea magnified sounds, and in the distance, I heard singing. The throbbing heartbeat of drums. A deep gong resonated over a silvery shiver of bells. I turned to look for the source of the music. Behind me, I saw a man with scraggly hair and bad teeth kicking at a bed of coral and shouting furiously in a cockney accent at an old woman. She was bent over at the waist, gathering stones off the sea floor. Each time she picked one up, she murmured to it, kissed it, and placed it carefully in a woven basket slung over her arm.

After a while, the old woman gathered up her skirts and hobbled off on the trail of a giant clam. A swarm of children ran out of the shadows towards her, shouting and laughing as they chased a short, chubby boy around a tree whose branches, heavy with jewelled fruit, swept the sandy ocean floor. The children shrieked and giggled and in their gleeful chase, knocked the old woman down. Her basket of stones went flying, splashing in every direction.

I leaned over to help the old woman up when something cold and clammy wrapped itself around my waist and began dragging me into the shadows of an undersea cave. The thing that had me in its grip smelled of fish, cold and slimy, as tenacious as an octopus. I struggled and kicked and screamed out to the children to help me, but they were busy playing and didn’t hear my cries.

As the children’s voices receded into the distance, my eyes adjusted to the gloom and I could see the walls and roof of a rough cave that glowed a dim, emerald green. A deep chuckle echoed from somewhere in the shadows, and a woman’s voice, as cool as mint, said: To swim in the Sea of Story you have to open your arms wide.

Who are you? I shouted. You kidnap me and drag me here and now you’re talking in riddles! Show yourself.

You humans are all so impatient! she replied. Not to mention impolite. She snorted and hawked and harrumphed, and then said: I am the Guardian of the Sea of Story. This grotto is my home. You’re here because you asked to know yourself, to know the world around you. All real knowing begins with story.

Look around. All the stories that have ever been told live in these waters. People have fished here for them since before the world began. They’ve shared them with each other around campfires, under starlight, in dreams and visions. They’ve whispered them in the ears of sleeping children and sung them in the dark of winter in the igloos of the Inuit. For thousands of eons, people have shouted and chanted and danced and played with Stories.

I peered into the shadows where the walls of the cave met the sea. The woman’s voice was a clear bell that rang and rang again all around me. But all I could see was a wild, emerald light dancing across the water.

The woman chuckled again. You won’t see me until you come face to face with yourself, she said. Start by looking in the nursery.

The emerald light flickered and blazed for a moment in the farthest corner of the cave.

In the nursery, you’ll find embryo stories waiting to be born. You can choose any story that speaks to you. Nourish it, grow it in your heart and in your belly. Give birth to it. Then live with it.

She made that hawking sound again, and spat. I distinctly heard her spit.

But first, she said, drop that bag of stories you’re carrying in your arms. Release them into the sea that is their home.

Her cut-glass voice set my teeth on edge. I opened my mouth to say something sarcastic, but there was a heaviness in my chest that tugged at me. I looked down and saw that I was clutching a great big, prickly bundle of stories tightly against my chest. So tightly that my arms ached. The bundle of stories squirmed and wriggled — its thorny edges dug into my heart.

Where did these stories come from? And why hadn’t I ever noticed them before?

The woman’s voice, neither young nor old, emerged from the deepest part of the cave. Open your arms, she said, kindly. Let your stories go. They have work to do. There was a hint of laughter under those cool tones.

Trembling, I dropped my squirmy bundle. The stories I’d been holding so tightly wriggled free and swam away towards the mouth of the cave. My arms felt empty, and cold. I felt suddenly naked, unprotected.

What do I do now, I whispered.

Why, swim around until you find a new story you want to follow, she replied. Or — and here her voice dropped into a deeper register — you can call the stories that are your heart’s companions, and they will come to you.

Feeling foolish, I mumbled into the darkness: Here, stories! Here, stories!

No, she cried. If you want your stories to find you, you must call them with all the love and longing in your heart. They must know you need them. You must want them more than anything in the world. When you can’t live without them, they will come to you. Call them like a child calling his mother in the middle of the night. Like a lover calling her beloved when he returns from a long journey. Like your lungs calling your breath home.

I stood with my back against a sturdy fir tree in my back yard that morning, and sent my voice and my heart out across the water. Calling my stories home. Hearing them in the cry of wild geese that echoed over the bay.

Every morning since then, I call — and then, I listen. Most days, a story finds me. It slips its hand in mine. It becomes my playmate for hours or days or longer. It helps me discover something about who I am, who I can be.

Together we carve new paths through our beautiful, tragic, funny world. We right wrongs, sing of old sorrows and emerging joys. We get to know our neighbours.

We enter the hearts and lives of friends and enemies. We understand the language of people who live in faraway places, and discover they are as close as my own breath. As familiar as my heartbeat.

  • You are a sovereign being,
    a fractal of the Sacred,
    a fractal of Wholeness.
  • The flow of your life.
    The soul of your business.
  • Grow your business.
    Grow yourself.
  • Expand your life. Evolve your business.
  • The art of alignment. The miracle of action.
  • Trust in the power of your perfect unfolding.
  • Permission to grow, to flow, to know.
  • You learn about freedom by experiencing what it feels like to be bound.
  • Beyond your beliefs, beyond your drama — the truth of your life.
  • Success is becoming the person who can ask for hugs and holding when your own strength has deserted you.
  • Embrace the mystery at the heart of creation.
  • Your soul sends out tendrils of light and fragrance into the world.
  • You are the gift — and the giver.
    You are the Love, and the lover.
  • At the heart of all things — even limiting beliefs and painful programming — is wholeness.
  • Surrender is an act of will. It is aligning your will with the will of the Sacred.
  • You learn about sovereignty through the experience of being dethroned.
  • Love transforms.
  • Your soul's purpose is to participate in wholeness, to express wholeness.
  • True Desire is a messenger of your soul.
    It leads directly to your soul’s purposes.
  • Unfold the miracle of your life and business.
  • Business = Love in action.
  • Everything you need is already within you, waiting to unfold and express itself.
  • Your inner world shapes your outer world.
    Success is an inside job.
  • You are the story, and the story-maker.
    Your life is yours to shape.