Love is not a strategy. It’s a quality of soul, a gift of essence. So are generosity, gratitude and appreciation.
When you harness these qualities to an agenda — whether that’s building your list, promoting your offers or growing your networks — you disconnect from the deep sources of support and nourishment.
The real danger isn’t lack of authenticity — it’s the suffering caused by disconnection.
My friend Melanie celebrated her 19th birthday, this month. Melanie has cerebral palsy. For much of her life, her mother has cared for her at home with the help of a series of caregivers who feed her, bathe her, change her, carry her from bed to wheelchair to bath and back.
In 19 years, Melanie hasnt spoken a single word. She cannot hold up her head, or hold a spoon with her hands. She is petite, with bird-bone wrists and slender fingers. When she smiles, I see her grandmother and mother in the twist of her mouth, in the tiny wrinkles in her forehead.
Melanie doesnt speak. Yet her ability to create through the power of relationship is astonishing. And her communication skills are exquisitely sophisticated. She communicates in images and feeling states. Much the way Devas communicate, she shares a portion of her vibrational field with me so that, for the duration of our conversation, I experience the world as she does.
Slow down! Ive said to her, more than once. Youre going too fast – Im missing half of what you show me. Listening to her is, in some ways, like listening to someone speak a foreign language; one which I understand but in which I am not fluent. It takes effort. It can be exhausting. And exhilarating.
She uses capacities that all of us have as seeds or potentials within us, because they are capacities of our soul. Yet most of us havent developed the kind of skill and sophistication that Melanie has. Her skill with energy technologies offers a glimpse of our species future – she embodies potentials that the rest of us are still blundering toward with the clumsiness of toddlers.
Since she doesnt use language in the ways we do – either to obscure or to illuminate – her presence is her message. The qualities of her being are highly refined, distilled, intensified by her lack of speech. In her presence, you feel what shes feeling; you experience her inner state without veils, projections or hidden agendas.
The flipside of Melanies sophistication with subtle energies is her sensitivity to her environment. Her energy field is diffuse, her boundaries transparent. She feels whatever the people around her are feeling, and any incoherency, turbulence or lack of integration in her environment can be intensely painful for her.
Being highly sensitive myself, I understand something of what this means for her on a day to day basis. Engaging with other people can be exhausting or healing, depending on their inner state. Increasingly, she creates people and situations around her that support qualities of peace and comfort, love and delight. Her newest caregiver has a young family — small children who adore Melanie and play happily with and around her.
She is patient with the gap between her reality and theirs. She is patient with herself, with her always-painful body. Her perspective is both more immediate and more spacious than most of us can manage. She inhabits a different part of the continuum of being than many of us – without the intervening skins and masks that bind and protect us.
It’s a courageous way to live. The power of perfect vulnerability.
For many years now, Ive had a daily practice of attuning to the Devas, and partnering with them to create my life, my business, and my world as consciously as I can. These partnerships have been a source of immense blessing. They have helped me grow, take my place in the ecology of being, and become a source of light, love and blessing in the midst of all my human vulnerability, frailty and imperfection.
We are earth angels. We have the power to shape our world through the choices we make, and through the qualities we cultivate, hold, embody and express.
Everything that exists in the material world has a spiritual counterpart, which holds the pattern or blueprint for its perfect unfolding. I call these subtle-energy beings Devas, a Sanskrit word that means Shining Ones.
Your home has its own Deva, as does your family and your business. There are Devas of place — of landscapes, cities and countries – and Devas of Nature, who hold the pattern for every tree and blade of grass, every body of water, rock, planet and galaxy.
Devas of spiritual qualities hold the pure essence of the qualities in their care.
Qualities such as love, service, tenderness, compassion, clarity, joy, play, light, adventure, humor and purpose are at the heart of all creation. They are the essence around which all incarnation takes shape, and they are the core values around which you build your life, your business, your family, and whatever else you choose to create.
By attuning to the Devas of spiritual qualities, developing relationships with them and partnering with them, you can cultivate your own ability to embody these qualities and radiate them into your life and your world.
These qualities are already within you, as seeds or potentials. But some of them may be more fully developed than others.
During this holiday season, when the pressure of entrenched expectations and old family patterns can trigger toxic emotions and unhealthy ways of relating, you can call on the Devas for help.
When Cousin Susan makes the same joking reference to your weight or your unmarried status that she makes every year; when Uncle Bob launches into his theory that global warming is a left-wing plot to take over the world; when you find yourself wondering whether you were captured by an alien tribe and forced into this family against your will as a baby – call on the Deva of Clarity, Simplicity, Peace, Wisdom, Appreciation, Humor – or any of the qualities with which you want to fill yourself, your home, your relationships, and your world.
By setting a clear intention to embody these qualities, you have the power to choose your own experience, and to shape the situations that unfold around you. But by itself, your personal power is limited. When you call on a Deva for help, support and partnership, it lends its power to yours, to help you hold a field of love and blessing that embraces everyone at your holiday table.
Through this sacred, creative partnership, miracles happen. Conflict, projections, old stories and bitterness melt in the light of the Sacred, of whom we are all fractals (even Uncle Bob!).
In any situation, the clearest, strongest energy prevails. When that energy is one you intentionally set, and hold as a field for everyone around you to participate in, if they choose, you become a source of light, love and blessing.
As my gift to you – for the holidays, and for the rest of your life, if you wish – my wonderful designer, Richard Miller, and I have created a set of online Deva cards for you to explore and play with. They come with written instructions as well as a guided audio meditation to help you focus and clarify your intention, and choose a Deva to help you fulfill it.
You can use these cards to deepen your relationships with the Devas of soul qualities, and to develop these qualities more fully within yourself. Share the cards with the people you love. Use them every day, if you like, to set an intention for your day. Play with them in various ways, and let me know what happens in your world as you develop deeper relationships with these Devas.
My dearest wish for you is that you express the radiance, beauty and miracle of your inner being, and bring the power of your presence to bless and shape a world in which you and everyone you love can truly flourish.
Many blessings to you and your beloveds in this season of the returning light.
PS: Heres the link to the online Deva Cards.
At the end of our first class of Sovereignty Kindergarten, I gave the wonderful people in our group a homework assignment: To make a physical space that celebrates and honors them. Something that reminds them, in a concrete way, of everything that makes them who they are–unique, unlike any other person in the world.
This Sovereign Self Space celebrates their gifts and talents, their quirks and foibles, their accomplishments, heart and love.
Then, they are to spend some time with this space each day, developing and growing it, if they wish, or just hanging out in it and taking in the fullness of who they are.
Lindsay sent me photos of a giant collage she’d made for her Sovereign Self Space. Her accompanying email was so insightful and filled with realizations about her patterns, that I asked her if she would be willing to share it with you. She very graciously agreed. So here is her lovely email, along with my response to her.
You may relate to many of the things she talks about here.
I did my homework! But I’m shy about showing it to everyone so I’m just sending it to you.
It was interesting because in the beginning there was a lot of resistance but then I just hit this flow. And I liked it. I liked the feeling about not thinking about how it had to be and just making/creating/writing without a voice editing it.
And it ended up being a circle. Which was not the plan.
It started very literally, then became more abstract, then ended very poetically.
I made note of various monsters that came up, like my “there’s no time monster” and my “seriously, you think you can solve your problems by sitting around doing arts and crafts” monster, and my “you aren’t doing it right! Go review EXACTLY what Hiro said so you FOLLOW THE RULES” monster, and my “what is the point” monster.
But now I like it. Although part of me wants to go back and ‘fix’ parts of it. Which I’m trying not to do.
Which makes me realize how careful I am to edit myself before I go into public (by public I mean be in front of anyone who is not a close friend – and that group is small). How cautious I am of what I say and how I say it.
So that being in public can be really stressful for me if I’m not on a stage (like at the front of the classroom), or in charge (as in the head of the group), because then I’m not in a position to craft the image of myself as I want people to see me. And I don’t think that constant desire to present only a portion of myself is very sovereign . . .
Of course, I’m willing to have you look at it because I know you’re here to help. I thought maybe in looking it over you might be able to observe some things about me that I can’t see through the haze of all my need to construct a narrative about who I am, even to myself.
Lindsay, this is wonderful–an intriguing mix of inner and outer qualities and accomplishments, and the underlying patterns that they reveal.
Thank you for taking the risk to explore all of the feelings that this exercise stirred up in you. It’s great that you met those parts of yourself that want to be right, follow the rules, feel not-good-enough and need to have their story straight before showing it to the world.
We all have these selves within our ego-structure. And, since everything including the ego is made of the same soul-essence, each of these parts of your self holds, in its heart, a spiritual truth.
The need to please or to be seen in a certain light is, in its essence, the need to belong, to be loved, to take your place in the circle of life, and to contribute to your world.
The expression of these needs becomes distorted through fear and misunderstanding about your own nature and your place in the world, but the needs themselves are universal, and fundamentally human.
We’re not here to do away with the urge to present a certain image of ourselves or construct a narrative about ourselves for the world. Rather, we are here to meet that urge with love and curiosity, and to discover the jewel hidden within it.
That willingness to explore, to be curious and open to whatever you find in yourself, brings you into your sovereignty.
The voices within you that say: Who do you think you are? What makes you think any of this is interesting? You didn’t do it right! and so on, are fragments of your wholeness. So they have the memory of wholeness within them.
As their sovereign leader, you can help them feel safe and heard–first, by inviting them to tell you their stories and listening for the underlying fears in which those narratives are embedded; and then by holding up a mirror so they can see their own essence.
When you help these fragments of your selves reconnect with their wholeness, they lend the power of their gifts to the shaping of your life.
This is one of the main tasks of sovereignty–bringing the inner selves that live in your kingdom into harmonious relationship with each other, and making your kingdom a place where all of your selves are liberated to grow into their full potentials.
These feelings are so universal, yet we’re shy about talking about them, because that exposes the most vulnerable parts of our selves. We feel ashamed, tender, afraid of judgment or criticism, so we all walk around hiding our feelings under masks that stifle our power and creativity.
You’re brave for having done the homework with such clarity and determination to seek out the truth about your self and your patterns.
Your willingness to share this publicly is both an act of courage and of great generosity. We learn from each other. And in sharing our most vulnerable selves, we make the world safer and kinder for everyone. Thank you so much!
If you feel like playing kindergarten with us, go ahead and create your own Sovereign Self Space. A sacred space that celebrates you. Come back and share photos and stories, if you feel moved to.
I’d love to hear what comes up for you when you share your self more fully and honestly with your world.
Each time we risk being ourselves, we open up a channel for greater intimacy, closeness and connection. Our world needs you–your particular, unique, quirky, wonderful self.
What do you suggest when someone is not at all sure of her grounds to assert her sovereignty? Like when the opposing forces are trying to trump her ace with the threat of hellfire and damnation? Maybe she mostly doesn’t believe in these things, but a tiny little bit of her thinks they might be possible, and so she is cowed?
Amna, to develop sovereignty you have to begin by knowing yourself. This means sorting through and clearing out the assumptions and beliefs you’ve inherited from your culture, your family, your religion, schools, media, society. And also sorting through and uncovering your own biases and unexamined points of view.
These assumptions and beliefs are forms of energy.
Once you’ve cleared them, you’re left with your own inner truth, which is the bedrock on which you can build a sustainable life.
Threats of hellfire and damnation are forms of energy intended to frighten you into obeying someone else’s rules, or buying into someone else’s version of reality. Fundamentalism is always prescriptive. It claims to know The Truth, and attempts to define reality for you. It does not honor your soul’s knowing or respect your sovereign right to choose your own path.
If you grew up in an environment that implanted such belief systems in you, the energy of those beliefs is still inside you. It’s not enough to know, intellectually, that they aren’t true. You have to actually remove that energetic implant, and replace it with your soul’s presence. With what your soul knows to be true.
There are a variety of ways to do this. When I’m working individually with clients, I look clairvoyantly at the beliefs and patterns that are embedded in their energy bodies, and use clairvoyant healing techniques to remove them. Then I help them fill up the spaces we’ve cleared out, with their own soul, and with the qualities that their soul brings.
If you’d like to learn more about sovereignty–what it is, and how to practice it–please join us for Sovereignty Kindergarten. Starting July 14th, we’ll spend six weeks together learning skills to help you discover your inner sovereignty and apply it in your daily life. Early bird discount of $100 until July 7th.
Continuing this series of questions about sovereignty, here’s a question from Rebecca Leigh of Smart Fresh Writing, about how to stay sovereign when you’re dealing with a chronic illness.
My question relates to sovereignty and physical ill-health / incapacity.
On one hand I have a sense of being placed in a physical prison, and having my choices limited.
But I also have other conflicting feelings about it. Some days I feel angry because no-one in my kingdom (my body) is obeying my commands. But then I feel sad and guilty because I think that I must be a very poor Queen for my kingdom to be in such disrepair. It hurts.
How can you live as the Queen or King, when it feels like the whole kingdom is rebelling?
Bec, I’m so sorry you’re feeling ill, angry, sad and guilty in your relationship with your body and your health.
The thing is, the sovereign is the leader who serves, rather than She Who Must Be Obeyed. Your inner selves won’t take kindly to being ordered around. Why would they?
Sovereignty brings all of your selves into right relationship with each other, and restores the inner order and pattern of your wholeness.
Its function is not to command your body to do what you want, but rather to create safety and support for all of your selves–to create an inner kingdom in which each self can flourish. Sovereignty means that you provide wise leadership, draw the very best out of your selves, and bring them together as a family to create the life that’s in harmony with your soul’s purposes.
A kingdom rebels because the needs of its members aren’t being heard and met.
We are not a singular self, but a collection of selves. And each of our selves is sovereign too; each one has the capacity for wholeness. Each of our selves emerges from the same Sacred source.
Our selves may become distorted and disconnected from their inner essence, but at the heart of every aspect of our selves is wholeness.
At the heart of pain, physical illness, incapacity, there is still wholeness. This is not just a nice idea, but a very real vibrational field which you can experience. It can be harder to access in the midst of physical pain, illness and disability, but we are fundamentally whole, even when we don’t feel that way.
This doesn’t mean that the physical disability is necessarily healed. There may be karmic or genetic reasons for it. But it does mean that you can know yourself as whole even though your body is disabled.
When you stand in your wholeness–when you identify yourself as whole, rather than identifying yourself as ill or disabled–then you can meet your illness, pain and disability with respect, love, delight and compassion. Remembering always that each of your selves has at its heart a truth and a gift that you need, in order to grow into your full potential.
You can talk with yourselves, especially the ones that carry illness and pain, and ask them to tell you about the spiritual truths at their hearts. Let them know how much you need their gifts, to create the life that’s yours to live. Listen to how they feel and what they need. Not with impatience or condescension, guilt or blame, but simply because they have wisdom and strength that are essential for your well-being.
Honor their sovereignty, and they’ll help you create a healthy personal ecology.
How do you handle illness, vulnerability, and pain? I’d love to hear your insights and comments, as well as your questions about Sovereignty.
If you’d like to learn more about sovereignty–what it is, and how to practice it–please join us for Sovereignty Kindergarten, starting July 14.
Sovereignty Kindergarten begins in a couple of weeks, so my next few posts will feature questions that folks have been asking me lately, about sovereignty.
This one is from Sarah, who very kindly gave me permission to share it with you:
What can you do when you get into a situation–particularly in a relationship, of any kind–in which you have set a precedent of disrespecting your sovereignty, so to speak (for example, doing favors for someone when you really don’t have the capacity)? How can you re-assert your sovereignty when you suddenly realize that you’ve been neglecting it?
I ask because I’ve been in situations like this, and tried to re-assert my sovereignty, and it has backfired. Usually the other person reacts as if I’ve thrown a shoe at them, no matter how careful I am in communicating. How can we do this in such a way that supports both our sovereignty and the other person’s?
Sarah, thanks for the great question.
When you change–when you take responsibility for recognizing your own capacity, honoring it, and acting accordingly–the relationship between you and your friend changes as well.
Change may bring up ancient fears for your friend: Fear of being abandoned, of not being taken care of, of having to take responsibility for himself, or for having to change what may have been a comfortable dynamic for her.
So the first thing to recognize is that your friend’s reaction is not about you. It’s a response to her own fears, emotions, thoughts and beliefs. And it may come from a much younger self, rather than from her wholeness.
When you ground, center, and become present in your own space, you can see each element in this situation–yourself, the person you’re relating to, and the relationship between you–just as it is, without judgment or sentimentality.
This means that you can see who your friend is, beyond his or her reaction to the change in your relationship, and you won’t take their reaction personally.
And if you do find yourself feeling defensive, or trying to explain or justify your actions, you’ll be able to step back, check in with yourself to see what you’re feeling and what you need, and take care of your needs first.
Once you’ve taken care of yourself, you can talk with your friend about the changes you’re making, about the ways in which you’re trying to be more honest about your capacity. You can tell them how you feel about the process–the hard and the good around it. And you can ask for what you need from them, without being attached to whether or not you’ll get those needs met by them.
You might say something like:
I know in the past when you’ve called me because you’re feeling alone and unappreciated and want to talk, I’ve set aside whatever I was doing to talk with you.
What I realize now is that I haven’t always been honest with myself, at those times. I haven’t paid attention to what I need, and I haven’t been honest with you about what I can offer.
So there have been times when I really didn’t want to talk to anyone, or I was in the middle of a project of my own, but I didn’t say so. I’m sorry about that.
I’m working on taking responsibility for myself–checking in to see how I’m feeling and what I need. So when I do say Yes, it’s because I’m really able to be present for our conversation. And when I say No or Not Now, it’s because that’s what’s true for me in that moment.
This means that when you call me, I may not be available to talk right then. I care about you, and I will be there for you in whatever ways I can. My commitment is to be honest with myself and with you. I’ll tell you if I’m not available to talk with you when you call. If I know when I’ll be available, I’ll tell you that too.
And since I’m practicing asking for what I need, I’m going to ask you now if you would like to tell me how you feel about this change in our relationship.
Try it. See what happens when you shift the terms of your relationship so it’s more in alignment with your own truth.
Some of your friendships may naturally fade away. Others will become energized and stronger because you’re standing in your sovereignty, and respecting your friend’s sovereignty too.
Honesty is a good basis for real friendship.
How about you? I’d love to hear your insights and comments, as well as your questions about Sovereignty.
If you’d like to learn foundational practices to strengthen your sovereignty in a playful, light-hearted way, join us for Sovereignty Kindergarten, starting July 14.
As I sit here at my desk, writing this post, the room beneath my study is full of boxes. Most of my library is packed in sturdy, brown cardboard containers, scavenged from the liquor store in the village where I live.
I’m moving house again.
And even though the move is still a couple of months away, I’ve begun the process of withdrawing my energy from this place that’s been the home of my heart for the past three years.
My ancestors made the perilous journey across the Arabian Sea from Persia to India nearly 1300 years ago. Something of their peregrine spirit must live in me, because I’ve moved so many times during my life.
First, from India to North America, when I was just 21 years old.
The shadow of that first leave-taking is imprinted in my body. These past few weeks, I’ve dreamed repeatedly of my childhood home. And woken confused by the chitter-chrreee of eagles instead of the caw-caw-caww of crows.
The spirit of transformation is my guiding star.
This means that I choose life at the tideline. Right there, on the shifting shore. Welcoming the incoming waves. Knowing I’ll soon wave goodbye to the outgoing ones.
A rhythm as constant as my breath.
There’s a reassuring constancy to the rhythms of change. And an art to living improvisationally, responding to the tides without being swept away.
Surfers know this in their bodies.
For me, transformation happens most effortlessly, with the least amount of resistance, when I give myself safety, stability and support.
This is not the safety of a battleship or an aircraft carrier. It’s the safety of a sail boat. Or a surfboard. Something small and light and responsive enough to ride the waves without capsizing. Something as fragile as the coracles in which my ancestors sailed east, to India and freedom.
My sail boat is made of sturdy, durable materials. Daily rituals and routines that sustain me.
Lighting a candle each morning to welcome the spirit of my home. Invoking the spirit of grace. Invoking the qualities that add buoyancy to my life.
Paying attention to my feelings.
Eating consciously. Going to bed early.
Choosing presence and nourishment. Choosing connection, soul, heart.
Choosing what I truly love.
These practices are a boat when I’m on the sea. And when I return to shore, they form a lap.
A lap formed by the simple act of sitting cross-legged on the sand.
A lap that is an invitation to be held for a while, in safety and comfort. A lap doesn’t impose or insist–it’s just there, an available and loving support.
The cat or child who visits a lap curls up in it easily, with no thought of “should” or “ought”. The familiar warmth of the lap offers comfort, a place where we’re loved, accepted, restored to our selves.
It is, by its very nature, a temporary resting place, not a permanent dwelling.
When the refuge of the lap has worked its magic, the cat stalks off to chase seagulls across the beach; the child runs out to play in the shallows.
The lap reminds us that we are held; we are loved; we are safe. Visiting a lap restores us to the essential friendliness of our world.
So I’ve been contemplating laps. And turbulent tides. And how I can–simply by sitting with conscious intent–make a lap. Right here on the shore of the restless sea.
A lap for each of you to visit for a while. To restore yourself to your Self, whenever you choose.
How about you? What are some of the ways you make a lap for others? What are the laps that shelter you?
- 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.
- 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.