Wholeness and the Heart of Daily Practice

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My students often ask me what I do, on a daily basis, to stay present, grounded and focused on what matters most. Everything I teach and share is a response to this question, but — distilled to its essence — my daily practice is an ongoing communion with the Sacred in the everyday world.

The central organizing principle of my life is Wholeness, which is the expression and activity of Source in all forms of life. By embracing wholeness, I become a Source of all the qualities with which I want to fill my life and my world.

So, in everything I do, I seek wholeness, harmony, right relationship with my world. 

From that first waking moment, emerging from the undertow of dreams, to the last mumbled litany of thanks before surrendering to the embrace of night, I measure the choices before me against one question: Will this choice bring me into greater wholeness, coherency, harmony and integration, or take me further away from it?

The choices I make each day emerge from this profound commitment to wholeness. Wholeness speaks through my heart’s deepest desires; through the wild, clear call of my soul; through the patient wisdom of my body. So, I listen — for what is being asked of me by my world, for my heart’s true response. 

Then, I choose the course of action that brings my inner ecology into a state of greater harmony and wholeness. 

At its simplest, my daily practice is one of attunement to wholeness, and to the soul qualities that are part of the ecology of wholeness. By expressing these qualities in my own life, I contribute to the sum of these qualities in my world. 

So, today, I extend my love, appreciation, and blessing to everything I encounter – to my own body, feelings, desires and needs; to the air I breathe; the chair in which I sit to type these words; and to the communion of our relationship – you and me, communing heart-to-heart through these words. 

The daily practice of being a Source of wholeness, participating in the activity of wholeness, is a living reminder that we are all fractals of the Sacred. We shape our world through our thoughts, feelings, choices and actions. We are the activity of the Sacred made manifest.


Celebrating

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I spent this weekend at a beloved friend’s wedding. Her community, and that of her new husband, gathered to celebrate their joy, their love, and the birth of their new family.

There are primal forces that lend their power and blessing to any birth. Devas of Earth and Cosmos, ancestral beings, Devas of Love and Birth, Union and Delight — all the multi-dimensional allies of this marriage’s incarnation were present at the ceremony, along with family, friends and beloveds.

It was the most intimate of gifts — sharing the birth of their great creative adventure with those of us who love them. Their journey together will transform them, these beloveds who meet each other with such gladness and courage, with such willing, tender, newborn hearts.

Knowing their devotion to their own souls and to each other, we trust that they will love each other into infinite blossoming. They will shape a marriage that will support them in becoming more fully themselves. And we marvel at the generosity with which they offer this radiant gift of a wedding, inviting us to share in the miracle of human love, its possibility and promise, its sheltering, shining wings.

Bright blessings, my friends — to your unfolding delight!


We are the many faces of Wholeness

We are the many faces of Wholeness


The Art of Belonging

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-family-walk-image16635513 A couple of weekends ago, I spent a delicious three days with my sons, their partners, and my wonderful little granddaughter, who is not quite two years old. Since we live nearly three hundred miles apart, we had rented a house at a lakeside resort half-way between her home and mine, for our family gathering.

The first thing she did, when her dad carried her into the house, was scramble out of his arms and race off to explore her new surroundings.

It was a large, two-story house, with a living room, dining room, kitchen, and bedroom on the main floor, a sturdy, covered deck that led out to a beautiful garden, and three more bedrooms upstairs.

My granddaughter wandered around the entire downstairs with her hands clasped behind her back, like a very small general inspecting the troops, and offered up an excited play-by-play of her discoveries: “Door!” “Couch!” “Chair!” “Glass!” “Daddy!” “Up!” And, “What’s that?!

As she named each thing, she patted it tenderly, talking to it in an intimate cooing babble that none of us understood, though we all felt her delight and wonder, her ecstatic appreciation, and found ourselves smiling wider and wider as she circumnavigated her new universe.

Eventually, she made her way out onto the deck and carefully climbed down the stairs to the garden, proclaiming her adoration for each bush and flower so loudly and with such glee that we trailed after her, helpless honeybees in thrall to the sweet mysteries of this tiny, pony-tailed adventurer.

Watching her, I realized she was making herself at home. Getting to know each room, each bit of furniture, each patch of grass and garden shrub — making all of it her own by adoring the rugs, the chairs and couches, the doors and dishes, the paintings on the walls (“What’s that?!”), the books on the coffee table, the wondrous fragrance of cedar railings.

She stroked and petted everything, snuggling into the world around her by naming it, delighting in it, loving it, being intrigued, astonished and bewildered by it – absorbing and being absorbed by all of it.

She was offering us a master class in the art of belonging.

We are born knowing we belong. Belonging infuses every cell of our bodies, and brings us into ecstatic, sensual relationship with our world. From the moment we discover the Other in the world around us, we are drawn to embrace it, surrender to its mystery, find our place of belonging with it and within it.

Belonging leads us to feel deeply at home in the world. Engaged. In love. Safe. Secure.

To know we belong is to know we are loved, wanted — essential to the well-being of the whole.

The breakfast table in our vacation home became more fully and proudly itself because my granddaughter loved it as she sat, coloring, on its polished surface; because I adorned it with a small vase of flowers; because our family ate our meals there, and enjoyed ourselves and each other around its generous girth; because we loved and appreciated its sturdy spaciousness.

And each of us became more ourselves because of our relationship with it – for the brief time that we were there, we belonged together.

So, why is it that, as we grow up, grow older, we sometimes feel like new immigrants who’ve been dropped off here by accident – through some failure in the cosmic delivery system? Why do we feel like refugees from a distant star – as though everyone else speaks a secret language that we can’t decipher?

Why do we feel exiled from the country of our belonging?

More urgently, how do we find our way back?

Our souls are the first home of our belonging. On a soul level, we are one with everything, so our experience is always one of belonging.

When we incarnate into the physical world, we enter a world that’s defined by boundaries and limits. We enter the world of form, in which everything and everyone we encounter is utterly unique – individual, discrete, unlike any other.

When we encounter Otherness, we long to merge with it, to feel that first, primal belonging by fusing with the people we love, or admire and want to emulate. The longing to merge is innate – we are born with it. But we misplace it by making objects out of the people around us, and trying to become one with them.

The longing to belong is holy desire – it’s the longing to be one with our souls. When we follow that longing inward, to the place where we are always at home, it naturally brings us into right relationship with the world around us as well. We belong as effortlessly as my little granddaughter did in our very temporary vacation home.

If, on the other hand, we abandon our souls and look to the Other for our belonging, we feel exiled. Lonely, invisible, isolated. Restless. Filled with a longing that can’t be assuaged.

When these feelings assault us, they offer us an important reminder that we’re encountering one of the central paradoxes of incarnation, in all its sometimes painful complexity.

These feelings are not problems to be solved, but rather, portals to the deeper truths of your soul, your incarnation, and the essential question of how, to whom, and where you belong.

At the essence and unity end of the spectrum of being, you don’t have to do anything to belong — you belong, because you are a fractal of the Sacred, a fractal of Wholeness, and belonging is the nature of your soul.

It’s within the boundaries of your life that you experience the pain of not-belonging.

When you disconnect from your soul, you feel lost — you feel as though you don’t belong. This disconnection happens for many reasons. You may be ill, or exhausted, and that leads to disconnection. You may be living a life that isn’t right for you, or that is not in harmony with your inner being. This will lead you away from your soul too.

Your responses to life’s experiences can contribute to disconnection. You may have lived through experiences of dislocation — of not being rooted in geography and place, or not being anchored in a loving family and community, or other forms of exile, trauma, or instability. Each of these experiences can lead to a pattern of turning away from your soul, looking to the world around you for safety and belonging.

Your body needs rootedness and flow, stability and adventure, safety and freedom. If any one element in these seemingly contradictory pairs of needs is not met — if there’s too much of one and not enough of the other — it affects your first chakra, and your ability to be present in your body and in your life. That, in turn, affects the way you use your energy, and it shapes your relationship with the world around you.

You know that you belong, when you experience and live from your own center, and rest fully in your place in wholeness. You have to feel safe, to do this.

When you don’t feel settled and at home in your body, you move outside yourself to seek safety from others — loved ones, family, friends, society, even ideologies. You project onto them the power to bestow what only your soul’s presence can give you — belonging, love, acceptance, appreciation, and all the rest of the qualities of soul that are as essential to your life and well-being as air, water, and food.

So, when your childhood or adult experiences are ones of dislocation, this contributes to a pattern of moving away from your own center, out to the periphery of your energy field, where you can more readily tune into & parse other people’s feelings, thoughts, beliefs & ideas, to help you fit in. You think, ‘If I can just figure out how to fit in, I will belong, I will feel safe.’

The attempt to fit in is the sword that slices through belonging, because it takes you away from yourself. Instead of your soul being the clearest, strongest energy in your life, other people’s energy, ideas, feelings, & beliefs colonize your center.

And, with that, you experience the pain of not belonging.

So, how do you get back to yourself, to your own belonging?

  • Take your energy back from everyone & everything onto which you’ve projected your belonging.

    You belong to yourself. You belong to your life. You belong to the Earth, to your soul. This isn’t just a lovely sentiment, it’s an energetic reality.

  • Connect with your soul. Talk with it about this excruciating pattern of wandering away from your center, in order to fit in. Ask it to be the clearest, strongest energy in your body & your life.
  • Connect with the Deva of the Earth. Ask it to fill your first chakra with its presence. Open up your feet chakras; invite more Earth energy in through your feet, up through the energy channels in your legs, into your first chakra.

    The Deva of the Earth is one of the primary elements of your first chakra, and its presence is essential to your sense of belonging. When the elements that form your first chakra are out of balance with each other, bringing in more Earth energy will help restore harmony in your first chakra, and with it, a greater sense of peace & sovereignty.

  • Participate, joyfully, in the life of your world. You experience belonging through love, devotion, commitment, absorption.

    Begin by extending your love to the objects in your home, and experience the love that flows back from them to you. Develop deeper relationships with the Devas of your home, your neighborhood, the geography and landscape of the place where you live.

    Cultivate your relationships with the Devas of your hometown, your region, your country. Find out what they’re up to. Ask how you can participate in and contribute to their work of unfolding the patterns they hold for a peaceful, harmonious, loving, beautiful home, neighborhood, landscape, city, country.

  • Make friends with The Deva of Belonging. It will help you anchor the quality of Belonging in your body & your life, if you ask. Explore ways in which you can participate in its activity of unfolding the pattern of Belonging in the world.
  • Surrender to the gifts of this journey — it will take you to your own becoming. Hold both your painful feelings, and your deeper sense of belonging, in your spacious, generous heart.

    There’s room for all of you, and for everything you experience — the grim and the glorious, the wounded, wounding, healing and healed.

Reclaim your belonging, first by reconnecting with your soul – and then by loving your world from that powerful center of love, sovereignty and wholeness.


May wholeness, love and peace prevail in every heart.


The With-ness of We

This is a confession. And an exploration.

It’s been more than a month since I wrote a blog post. First, it was my 60th birthday, and then I went away on retreat, and somehow, I found my feet on a winding path in a parallel life in which there was a blessed absence of deadlines and to-do lists–the kind of silent spaciousness I hadn’t known I’d missed until the horizons opened and melted into an infinite sky.

I treasure the friendships I’ve made online. I love sharing my heart in this strangely intimate, utterly public space. I’m enriched, enlivened, provoked, delighted and enlightened by your comments, your stories, by the experiences and ideas we share here together.

My friendships, both online and off, are food and water for my spirit. Together, we create synergies that can and do change our world, make it richer, brighter, more nourishing and beautiful.

And, without solitude, I can’t take any of it in. Being an introvert by nature, I need a rhythm of connection and seclusion, as much as I need each in-breath and out-breath.

Especially when there’s a lot going on in my life, as there is right now. I need quiet in which to feel what I’m feeling, to dream new shapes of my work and my life into being, to explore the intersection between my inner genius and the needs of my world so I’ll know how to serve, what I’m being called to partner with now.

As in any dance, timing is everything. Stepping forward when the music calls. Gliding into retreat in the adagio.

How about you? How do you nurture your own inner rhythm of connection, of solitude? How do you step into this dance of the With-ness of We?

The Art of Belonging–Happy Birthday, Canada!

Yesterday was Canada Day-the birthday of this exquisite country that’s been my home for most of my adult life.

I went for a walk this morning, and was struck by the purity of the air, which fills my lungs with sweet, life-giving oxygen. By how clean the dirt path is, under my feet. By lush and sparkling beauty all around me. Tall cedars and firs, in shades of rich viridian green, reach upwards into clear blue sky. Grasses along the side of the road sway gently in the breeze, their ripe heads nodding in blessing.

Above all, I am surrounded by silence and silver bird calls, enveloped in a friendly solitude that puts me firmly in the midst of the natural world. I pass just one other person on my walk. She waves as she jogs by. The morning is mine to savor. And savor it I do!

I’m in love with this place, this seaside village where I live, this country that is so shyly generous, that offers itself modestly, without fanfare. I’m in love with this place that is my home. My home!

I’m an egg that’s found its nest.

It wasn’t always like this. For much of my early life, I longed to belong. To my family, who gave me love, shelter and the safety of tender hearts, but to whom I remained a mystery. To the world of my school, where all the girls seemed to know the secret of How to Be that eluded me completely. To India, which embraced me in one breath and repulsed me in the next.

I longed to be like everyone else. And yet, I wasn’t. (Neither was anyone else, but I didn’t know this then!) The pain of being different is a two-edged sword-to feel separate from others shreds the heart. But the deepest cut comes from feeling separate from yourself, from your own tender, radiant spirit.

That longing to belong took me on a journey far from myself. And stranded me on alien shores, far from the hearth of my heart.

Now here I am, almost sixty years old, surprised by belonging. It slipped in when I wasn’t looking. By living my life, I’ve made a life. Here in the Pacific Northwest, halfway across the world from where I was born.

I’ve rolled into the nest that perfectly cups my heart.

Happy birthday, Canada!

Happy Thanksgiving, Baby

This week I had the amazing privilege of being present (although we were on opposite sides of the country) at the birth of a baby girl. And then the delight of connecting with her and her mother a few days after they returned home from the hospital where she was born.

I’m still awe-struck by the incredible power, beauty and sacredness of that moment, when this new being first incarnated into her earthly body. To see a soul in all its radiance, as yet undimmed by the necessary container of the life that it will shape, and be shaped by, is to witness the Sacred in a moment of breathtaking intimacy.

And to see her again, a scant four days after her monumental entry into this world, gave me the rare opportunity to witness the first handfuls of earth that form the foundation of the life that she will build — with the help of her family, her community, and each and every one of us who contribute to the world she has just stepped into with her perfect little feet.

Her mother is deeply engaged in the sacred task of birthing and nurturing this baby, who is both a powerful, limitless soul, and so utterly vulnerable, so dependent for everything on the people who love her. Landing on this earth is not an easy transition to make, and today, this baby was overwhelmed by the newness of her surroundings, including her own body, which at the moment is a foreign land.

She is also vulnerable to the onslaught of attention from all the people in her life who love her and want to see her and hold her and welcome her into the world. So she escapes into sleep, and hangs out with her soul friends, those non-physical beings who are her closest companions, and who have supported her in choosing and then traveling to this incarnation. It will take her time, and a growing feeling of safety, to land in her body.

In many ways, the process that she’s engaged in right now — the experiences that she has and the ways in which she copes with them — will leave a lasting imprint on her life. To witness these processes at work at their very origins is to see the origins of our own adult patterns of connection and disconnection, of radiance and dimming, of opening out into our lives and contracting away from them.

If we are fortunate, we will have, as our first caregivers, women and men who not only love and adore us, but who understand both our sovereignty and our vulnerability. Who honor and see us for who we really are — the Sacred made incarnate — and who also honor and guard our vulnerability, our need for seclusion, until we are able to land more solidly in our own skin.

This baby’s mother is a wise and loving woman. She will give her daughter the precious gifts of recognition, protection, nurturance, and abiding love at the very start of her life, when she needs them most.

And yet, the essential needs of the newborn are ones that we all share. For love, acknowledgement, warmth, attention, nurturance, respect, sovereignty, tenderness.

We are, each of us, flowers that bloom from the heart of the Beloved, whose light shines within us and illuminates our world. And we are much more vulnerable than we care to acknowledge; dependent in every way. On the air we breathe; on the water that is our first element; on the earth that supports us; on the love and kindness and work and prayers of people around the world, most of whom we’ll never meet, but without whom we would have neither food nor warmth nor the shelter of the human family.

We have so much to be grateful for. And we ourselves are expressions of life’s gratitude for us. For our brave willingness to shine our light. For the commitment that we make to being the face of the Beloved for our daughters and sons, our mothers and fathers, our lovers and friends and neighbors.

I am so thankful for each of you, and for the light that you shine in our world. May you be blessed. May you continue to be a blessing.

Seeing Whole

These past several weeks have been a time of extraordinary events and significant transformations within the life of my family. They have included the sudden death of my children’s father, and the wedding of my youngest son — the ending of a life, and the beginning of a new one — within a fortnight of each other. Each of these events has brought a new world into being. A reminder that in every moment, the world is being renewed — not, perhaps, by momentous events, but by the ordinary encounters of each day, which give birth to the world we co-create together.

Imagination and intent are among the most potent forces with which we shape our world. A Mongolian shaman once told me this story: In his tribe, the training of a shaman begins with teaching the child how to shoot with a bow and arrow. The first time the child shoots an arrow from his bow, it is often clumsily done-the arrow falls short of its mark, wobbles, lands on the side of a yurt, or on the ground. The entire village comes out to witness the child’s initiation, and, he said, “the entire village immediately forgets” these first clumsy attempts at shooting. Instead, everyone in the village “sees” the child as shooting the arrow perfectly . . . and eventually, he does.

His story tells us about the focused and conscious use of the collective imagination to support the growth and unfolding life of the tribe’s children. And it illustrates the way in which we each have the capacity to bless and support each other. By taking responsibility for how we perceive the people in our lives, we help them flow into their wholeness. We help them shape their present and future in positive ways.

A couple of weeks ago, at my son’s wedding, I met family and friends whom I hadn’t seen in several years. As I greeted and spoke with each of them, I could feel, in my body, the stories or images they held of me. Some of these were based on our past experiences together. Others were projections of their own inner worlds. Some were stories they had been told, others were stories they had constructed for themselves out of their desires, beliefs or expectations about how things should be.

Most of the people I reconnected with that day were loving in their intent. And yet, the particular lens through which they viewed me acted as a force that exerted a pull on my energy field to conform to the shape of the story, the image that they held of me. It took effort to stand apart from these perceptions, to be myself in that moment, to not flow into the configuration of these expectations and perceptions.

We’ve all known the feeling of ease and acceptance when we are with someone who meets us where we are, without preconceptions or projections. We feel seen, heard, and understood. We can connect with each other on a deep, heart level.

In each encounter, we have a choice. We can identify with and see only the parts. Or we can serve the wholeness in each other, and in ourselves, by inhabiting our own wholeness, the fullness of our Presence. When no part of ourselves — no matter how painful or needy or fragmented, or powerful or magnificent it might be — is left out of our hearts, then we see only wholeness. We see people as they are, in all their beauty and vulnerability, their discord and their joy. Our seeing then draws into manifestation the wholeness that lies at the heart of us all.

  • 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.