Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Learning How to Learn on the Spiritual Path

I've been noticing different spiritual "teachers" being afraid to use the term "teacher" lately. It really has to do with the fact that a lot of people have forgotten how "learning" actually works. We've been so inundated with rote memorization and mimicry that we confuse that as "learning." I remember loving my discussion-based classes in college because in those classes, the teacher was challenging us to think for ourselves. In that way, I guess I had to wait until college to get to some real teachers (at least regularly--I did have a few good ones through elementary to high school for sure).

In this vein of thought, I wanted to talk to you about learning how to learn because on the spiritual path. The teacher isn't giving you anything you don't already have. And just walking around trying to act like the teacher isn't learning. It's really just silly.

Unlearning How You Have Learned
All the Star Wars fans know where I got the above subhead. The famous line that Yoda says to Luke is that "You must unlearn what you have learned." But along with unlearning the falsities that you believe in (like you need to be successful in making lots of money or be pretty), you also have to unlearn all the faulty mechanisms for learning. The basic way that many of us are taught to learn is to simply swallow whole whatever the appointed teacher has to offer. Initially, challenging the teacher is considered insubordinate and improper. On the spiritual path, it's not that you are going to fight all the things a spiritual teacher has to say, but you're going to weigh what the teacher has to say against your own inner knowing. Only you can ever know what is right for you, but ah well, getting in touch with that internal knowing is half if not the whole battle, isn't it?

Ditching Your Third Party Support Mechanism
In this subhead, I'm referring to looking to others for internal answers. Now, there's a big difference between internal and external world answers. Here's an external world answer that I'll seek someone out to help me with: "How do I flush my radiator?" I have no idea. But there are other people who do, so I'll go find them to get help with that. Here's an internal question: "What's in my heart to offer to the world?" No one can tell you this. Other people can be helpful mirrors to you to reflect back what you already know, but they can't know your truth. I may tell people a lot of stuff about what I see, but without their discernment, that's just me speaking from my perspective. One of my current favorite pictures of myself has me taking a picture of something surrounded by the vastness of nature. It's a nice reminder to me of just how small my vision is, and so too is it for all teachers, guides, visionaries, psychics, and channels. This is why you can't rely on these these third-parties. A lot of people go to their angels and spirit guides, but that's no better. They are at a level of awareness that is far broader than the human level, but they are not a repository for your answers. They're here to help love and support you so that you can clearly connect with the answers that you already have within you and so that you can also connect directly to God.

Going Into the Void, the Unknown
Of course, part of what has been at work undermining true learning is a fear of the unknown. When you have to bet on yourself, you have to take full responsibility for yourself. You can't abdicate that responsibility anymore if you are really walking the spiritual path. Anything that any teacher says is simply about helping you to connect with your own inner teacher. It certainly is nice to have some external wisdom from a person in a body on this path. I know that I've appreciated it from time to time when I used to seek out teachers for support, but the relationship with the external world teacher is always meant to be a temporary one. If you really get to the center of what spiritual teachers are doing, it's that we're here to help you live your life in love and in its fullness. If you're already doing that, then you really don't need a teacher (although perhaps you may simply enjoy the friendship of a spiritual teacher if you've crossed that threshold).

Clearing Out the Ego and Beginning from the Bottom
But most of you haven't crossed that threshold. It's not that it's hard to get to, but it's that you simply haven't brought any awareness to where you've come from, where you're going, or how you're trying to get there. True learning is about "how you're trying to get there." Obviously, the spiritual path isn't about "trying to get anywhere," but initially aspiration is important. Aspiring to be a more loving and peaceful person is a worthy thing, and it helps to generate the energy to overcome the inertia and momentum that has been driving you towards insanity and suffering. So initially, this aspiration is important as you turn to face yourself in the mirror.

More About the Role of the Spiritual Teacher
In many regards, the spiritual teacher will help you to learn again. You don't go to a spiritual teacher to get your answers. You go to the spiritual teacher to get support on the energetic level to help jumpstart the car. You go to the spiritual teacher to get tools to cut away the dead matter and debris in your heart and around your soul. You go the spiritual teacher so that you see one small way to live in a little bit more freedom and love, but you do not go to the spiritual teacher to model yourself after him or her. That's ridiculous. You just need to be you, and what the teacher is modeling is that he or she is just being the way they are. That's it. Spiritual teachers aren't without foibles and faults. They're just people, and in so doing, I think that's how we help show you that it's okay to just be human, but with a heck of a lot more love and compassion. No one is perfect, and the spiritual path is not a path to any kind of idealized perfection.

Learning Basics for Your Spiritual Journey
Okay, so that's enough framework for the common situation that's out there. And really, the old paradigm of learning just creates a shit-ton of devotees--people dedicated to a spiritual structure or even a spiritual guru. This is not walking the spiritual path as much as it looks like it. It's just playing another ego game. If you learn to really know how to absorb spiritual truths and connect with your inner knowing, you can be an enlightened accountant and be totally committed to the spiritual path.

Here are some quick hits about spiritual basics and learning:
  1. It's about the message and not the messenger. The teacher is just a relay station or a helpful bridge back to yourself. No one stays on a bridge. They use it to cross over.
  2. Using multiple sources. Lots of people say lots of stuff. Sometimes it's helpful when exploring different spiritual tools (meditation, chanting, etc.) to see what multiple sources have to say about the tool before using it. However, when it comes to your inner knowing, you don't want to be checking with lots of external sources to validate your inner knowing.
  3. Checking information with your inner knowing--finding what feels true. I know that this is a big one for a lot of you because you don't feel like you're tuned into it. But go check around on this blog. I've got quite a few posts about how to develop your inner knowing like post on this link.
  4. Memorization is secondary or tertiary. Just because you can tell me all the Commandments or the 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism doesn't mean you're living by them. Let computers memorize.
  5. Challenge untruths. If something is said to you that doesn't feel truth, challenge it. Challenge the source. You don't have to, of course. After awhile, a lot of us simply smile and let whatever is said pass unless it's a near and present danger or we're guided to say something. But in the beginning, engaging with these things from a place of inner knowing can be illuminating and may show you aspects of the source in front of you that you would not have seen.
Letting Go of Useless Information and Learning Techniques
As you can see, the true spiritual path is anything but a passive, docile one where a guru leads you by the nose and holds all your answers. This path is truly empowering and is about you owning every aspect of yourself. Along the way, you're going to see some nasty stuff about yourself--perhaps how you abuse power or how you give it away. Whatever you see will teach you a lot, and learning from those lessons about yourself is one of the most crucial aspects of learning on the spiritual path. Learning how to root out the lies you've been telling yourself and letting them go is central to everything. Because the clearer you are, the clearer your inner knowing will be, and the more you'll be able to simply trust that you know all that you need to know. Then you can get the help you do actually need from an external source when you truly need it.

Today's picture is another gift from a friend. Thank you, dear one!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Free Q&A Spiritual Awakening Webinar

My next free webinar will be formatted as a question and answer session. Bring your questions about spiritual awakening and spirituality, or simply log on to enjoy the vibe of the session. I'll have it set up so that if you have a microphone and camera, then you can ask your question and have a short dialogue with me via video.

Time: 9am Pacific Standard Time on February 15, 2012.

Register for Q&A Session on this link

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An Unexpected, Spontaneous Spiritual Awakening

The Sacred Spiral of the Spiritual Path
Spiritual awakening, in its way, is always unexpected. It's not something that the mind can control through predictions and forecasts. It comes when it comes. And after it's arrived, you know what is real. Not in a mental way. You know what's real in a whole body, mind, heart, and soul way that transcends any words that I can put on a page, and for some of you, you've been waiting for this your whole lives in a way that you can't describe. When that door of light opens inside of you, you're already out the door, and while the rigors of fully embodying this beautiful awakening light--embodying the depth of you--may challenge you, you're already prepared for it.

For some others, you've had a big shift, a big spiritual opening. In this space, you get a glimpse of the truth, and then that glimpse is soon gone. I think the following blog post will be especially helpful to you:

Shifts in Consciousness and Spiritual Openings

But for those who awaken and are not prepared even though your soul is ready, you suddenly feel like you've been thrown completely out of your world without a compass or map. You feel lost even though you are finally being found by your true self. To you, I'm writing today.

Being Prepared Versus Being Ready for Awakening
I want to offer an important distinction as I delve into this topic. There's a big difference between being prepared for an awakening and being ready. I'm defining readiness as something that only your soul can decide. Your soul knows if it is ready or not. If it does not feel ready to awaken into this world, then it won't matter how much preparation for such a shift you do. Your soul will continue to sleep like a seedling waiting for the right conditions before it decides to sprout. If it does feel ready, then it sprouts, but some of you may not be prepared for this sprouting.

Some of you may remember my metaphor for the spiritual path as a garden, and in that garden, we do a lot of work to make space for spirituality to grow in our lives. So we clear away rocks and debris. We fertilize the land. We water it. We keep it clear of animals and people who would trample it or abuse it any way. And all of this preparation is in hopes that sun of God(dess) will shine on the land and work that amazing magic that sprouts something. When all of this preparation and readiness come together, a lot of beautiful magic happens all at once, and it can still feel incredibly overwhelming. Growth can keep you extremely busy watering things with love, plucking out fears, and driving away abusers of this sacredness until it is firmly rooted and can grow unaided.

But others of you have not been uprooting fears and digging out core stories filled with pain. Those rocks and weeds threaten to overwhelm your garden, and yet, the soul is so amazing that it may sprout for you. With no spiritual practice or tools, you feel like you did not call this awakening to you. You may feel completely lost in a messy life, and here you are being offered this most precious gift.

The Unconscious Preparation for Spiritual Shifting
Of course, I'm always a little skeptical about the people who say they haven't asked for awakening and that it just happened. This is possible, but after I get to know someone, there can sometimes be an interesting list of activities and things that they've been up to. The explanation I get can go like this:

"I totally never expected to have an awakening. I mean I've been meditating for the last five years, doing yoga for 7 years, and going to chant circles from time to time. I've read the Bible and listened to different spiritual teachers. You know, I try to live my life intentionally, but really, that's it. Sure, my mom was really spiritual, and dad took the family to church every Sunday growing up. But I didn't really like church, and well, I have my Tarot cards. I've done readings for myself all my life, but only myself."

The list may be longer or shorter depending on the conversation, and none of the lengths of time really matter. But a lot of people have very consciously been preparing to wake up even though they didn't know they were doing this. With so many of these spiritual tools far more available today, it's like a bunch of children playing with fire, and then something sparks. They all freak out and run around, yelling, "What's going on!" (It's really not a question though; it's just a lot of fear and a desire to stop the fire). But with awakening, the fire will not stop, and to try and slow it down brings enormous pain. It's time to let this fire burn.

Reviewing Your Past Actions
If you feel like your awakening came completely out of the blue, the first thing I encourage you to do is to review your past actions. Review your family's spiritual heritage. Strong spiritual lineages will also help push you further along, and your soul most definitely choose the family you're in for that extra push. A lot of us are here specifically to wake up and embody this awakening energy. It's part of being a way-shower. We're showing people the way to live in integrity, and for many of you, that's your whole purpose. It doesn't mean you have to be a spiritual teacher or spiritual healer. You simply have to be and to be in that space of "I am." It's not even "I am." The "I" becomes less necessary. It really becomes the "Am"--the space of deep being and presence that we all possess, but it has been over-run by the noise of the mind and the unconscious actions going on in the world.

So look at your different practices. You may not even call things "spiritual." Labeling is irrelevant to spirituality anyway. You may have a practice of doing one kind thing a day. You may be naturally intuitive, but you're so used to it so that you think nothing of it. You may be doing a lot of things and have done them for awhile. And all of those spiritual practices have built up momentum to overcome the inertia and counter momentum that normally keeps us locked deep in unconsciousness. At some point, you probably hit a peak moment that broke through it beyond just having a spiritual opening. In that moment, the glass shattered. You saw what's real, and everything is now changing.

The New Momentum of Your Life: Your Soul Takes the Wheel
I am sure that you feel quite out of control. It's a normal feeling. Of course, you were actually out of control before when your ego was running things. That was when you thought you needed the 4-bedroom house with 3-car garage, 6-figure job, perfect spouse, 1 dog, 1 cat, and 2.5 kids. You have no idea why you wanted those things. You were doing those things because it was expected, and people told you that what's you wanted. That's how most everyone is. We're just following the momentum of what everyone else is telling us; we're lost in the currents of these unconscious waves. It's like wanting to be famous. Why in the world would you want that? Do you know? If that's something you've contemplated, maybe you should start to question it now.

So the awakening has handed you the reigns to your soul, who is quite adeptly taking over and steering you to where you really want to go. This usually means the current sandcastle of your life is getting blown up because it was fake and untrue to who you are. All your safety issues are going crazy because you thought you needed all those fake relationships, your miserable job that paid you lots of money, and the spouse who cheated on you. You still want the safety of your misery back because you still confuse familiarity with safety. Familiar things are not necessarily safe, and your soul knows this. Your true self knows so much more, and it's time to start trusting it.

The Truly Unprepared Awakening
However, life is an amazing thing, so some of you to have woken up with no preparation at all. You really were just living in the dream and woke up. To you, I encourage you to check out the Starting Out section to start building a framework for understanding, and you should also check out the Surviving the Awakening blogs on this link--all of them. Because you have to build scaffolding (a framework of understanding and practices) around the house that's also being demolished and re-built simultaneously (awakening to your true self). It doesn't have to be a difficult or strenuous path, but it will take a lot of your focus. Because you have no other choice. You can't go back to sleep. This isn't just a spiritual opening. In a spiritual opening, you glimpse the truth, but after the conditions that help set it up go away, the opening closes. You go back to your regular life with a warm feeling, but the change has no significant momentum. You're not past the point of no return. In awakening, you are passed that point, and you're going to need to accept that. Acceptance is going to be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself on this path, and I encourage you to give it to yourself as soon as possible. After that, a good deal of letting go will be required as well.

Trusting the Unfolding of Awakening
Along with all of this, you're going to need to trust. Trust the process. Trust your soul's intelligence. Our souls are so smart. They know exactly what they're doing. Our minds have to play a lot of catch up and otherwise get out of the way. The old ego self will be demolished although parts of our personalities will continue. We don't lose who we are; we let go of who we're not and who we're trying to be. You're going to find that as you let go into this process there's a deep sense of relaxation in simply being you. You don't have to try to be any shape, size, personality, or anything else. You are just you. And that's perfect, and that's one of the many great gifts of spiritual awakening.

Unexpected Awakening Video
For some more thoughts on this topic, please enjoy this video.

Today's picture is another gift from a friend.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meeting People at Their Level

I'm going to break one of my rules...all right it's not really a rule. It's more of a guideline. Typically, I don't like to talk about spiritual levels. It's too confusing for people still very much in the ego mind. It's okay to be in this space--this describes most of humanity. But for the sake of speaking to those of you who are going through awakening shifts, I feel like it's helpful to give you a loose framework for integrating these shifts and for understanding how to be with people during a transitional time that can be challenging. To do so is to learn how to meet people where they are without judgment.

When You've Got Nuthin in the Tank
When you're really open and you've got no energy left-over for anyone else, it will feel like no one can meet your needs. Everyone around you feels like a drain, and it's very frustrating because you feel so open. Truly, being able to have so few boundaries is a gift, and as you connect with more deeply aware and open people, you'll be amazed at how effortless connecting deeply is. You'll see how little time matters in getting to know someone. It's not like the ego's stupid levels, which for getting to know someone would go like this:
  • First I have to see if this person is trustworthy, which usually means that they think and talk like I do (which doesn't actually have anything to do with trustworthiness, but it's how the ego judges these things).
  • Second, we need to spend a bunch of time together (depending on the person days, weeks, years).
  • Third, I might share something slightly intimate or revealing, but if I don't get the response I want, then that person is outta here.
But when you have no energy, it doesn't matter for the most part where anyone is at. You have to take care of yourself, and that usually means spending a lot of time with God and Mother Earth (nature walks are super helpful when you can't meditate anymore and just gotta move). Because the first thing you are learning during an awakening is that you absolutely have to bring all of your energy to bear on yourself. You're simply in too deep of a shift to run around connecting with everyone. It's not that time. The butterfly doesn't fly all over the place when it's still transforming in the chrysalis.

On Your Good Days, Swimming Back to Shore
Another metaphor that I've used for some time now is the metaphor of swimming out to the deep water. The deep water is the space of God: the divine mother and the divine father (To me, God really is both). You will have some friends who can swim out into that water with you, and during your more intense shifts, your deepwater friends may be the only ones withwhom you can be. But when you are in a lull, you may be able to swim back closer to shore where more of humanity is hanging out. This is meeting people at their level. Some people can only handle 3 inch deep water, some 3 feet deep water, and some won't even get into the water.

As you grow and develop, your awareness is opening, allowing you to see what depth someone can go to. A set of football buddies may not be able to swim out into the depths of the ocean with you (although people can surprise you, so giving people a chance from time to time is definitely a good idea). And if you expect them to, you're going to get really frustrated. So you learn to be in the depth that they can take, and when you need to swim out to the deeper parts of the ocean, you do that to take care of yourself. You're going to have real trouble dragging people out into deep water, and it isn't your choice to take them there. If loved ones don't want to be in that space, you must honor it even if it feels like it's getting lonely out in the middle of the ocean. That feeling is temporary. It's part of the ego that's still dissolving and is clinging onto you. As it dissolves and you become even more spiritually buoyant, you'll be able to swim out even further. =)

Continuing to Make New Friends
And of course, as you swim out further, you may find other people who can swim out to these new depths. It's important to understand that you aren't forsaking all your old friends. That too is an ego idea. You truly are learning how to honor the depths that you need to go, and that requires a lot of courage and self-love. Because ultimately, any of us playing small is a waste of our lives, if ever there was a way to waste it. Certainly, you can live your life anyway you want to, but the great change that we're all ushering into this world is being built off of this expansion. It's being built off of this amazing courage to be ourselves in our fullness and to not shrink within the confines of expectations and fears that tell us that we'll be alone, forgotten, or that we're evil people for leaving others behind. If anything, we are helping to show the way out into the deep waters and a more fulfilling way to live. Isn't it time to leave those shallow waters for something better?

When to Express and When to Let Go
For some people, you'll find a time to explain what you're doing so they don't feel left behind on shore, and for others, you'll simply need to let go without explanation. You can't expect others to understand what you're doing. Consider another metaphor: how do you explain an advanced calculus problem to someone who hasn't even learned Algebra yet? While the tenets and ideas of spirituality are simple enough, there's a level of consciousness that has to be present to fully understand and appreciate what you're doing. If one of your friends has severe abandonment issues, then to tell them that you feel like the relationship has completed for you will still ignite those issues. You can't account for other people's reactions. You can only tune in more deeply to your needs, your inner guidance, and your truth.

Trusting Your Actions and Your Words
Furthermore, I encourage you to deeply trust your actions and your words. As you embody this awakening energy, you're going to be more and more aligned with your truth. Trust what you have to say when you feel the need to say it, and trust what you are doing when you feel the call to take action. Part of having this awareness will lead you to naturally meet people where they are. You'll understand when someone only understands basic math, and when it's appropriate, you may explain something to someone in those terms. You'll know that to explain it in advanced calculus really won't make sense, and while what you may say may not be exactly correct, you're also learning where being exact does and does not matter. The real truth here is that you do know what to do and how to be with people, and it's time to let any remaining concerns about this dissolve.

Expectations from the Old Ego, Still Fighting the Currents
Still, it is perfectly normal for all of us to want to feel that our needs are being met. It can be a lonely road at times, but this is when we need to focus on our connection to God. Depending on your situation and the energy that you are in, you may need a lot of space, and perhaps no one in your immediate life can really hold space to nurture you. Or perhaps, you're simply not letting people in. It's a real balance, and that's why--as I always say--you absolutely need to be developing, cultivating, and trusting your inner knowing. For those of you who have very powerful spiritual teachers nearby or very in-tune spiritual friends, there are definitely times for letting them swim out to your level of awareness to be with you during your shifts. You will likely have to learn how to express some of your needs so that they know how to support you because everyone's needs are different. But the key thing is to honor these shifts and to not get caught up in trying to make those who aren't in this space try to perform a function for which they are not suited or prepared. It's like hoping your turtle will give birth to kittens; it's just not going to happen.

Conscious Shifting: How Long Does This Last?
As I'll always remind you, these shifts last as long as they need to; they last as long as you need them to. Where you are going, only you can say, but as you learn to release fully into your shifts, you'll will be able to re-meet some people who've been in your life in the past. The relationships will likely have to change to accommodate this new space you're in, but you'll be more able to meet people in denser vibrations without it really disturbing you. It won't be as bothersome, although it's unlikely that you'll want to hang out there. You'll probably find out that the deep water suits you just fine, and swimming with God at your side isn't that lonely after all.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Is Love?

It's time to talk about love again. What is it exactly that we're talking about when we talk about love? What is this feeling? Do you really know? Let's dig into it.

What Is Love and What Is Entangled With It?
Initially, love is like so many other things in our lives. It is simply accepted in the original form first supplied. This means that our general idea and sense of the feeling of love is coming from our family. Then we add a layer of social ideas from friends and mix in some very strange notions reinforced through media. Sprinkle in some passing encounters with different romantic partners, and here is one recipe for "love:"

  • Desire
  • Sexuality and fulfillment through physical release and sensations
  • Specific emotional feelings and sensations
  • Social obligation to someone
  • Expectations of certain behaviors
  • Pain (often verbal or physical abuse)
  • Projections onto the other person of who you think they are
  • Having only a few, specific situations where love is permissible to be felt or expressed
Somewhere in there, there might actually be real love. True love is unconditional acceptance. But in today's society with all the stories wrapped up in love, what people commonly think of as love is anything but unconditional. No, there are stories upon stories layered on this feeling, which we only allow ourselves at certain times and in certain ways. The depth and beauty of real love is lost in this mish-mash of endless expectations with a total lack of vulnerability. If you are wearing a suit of armor, how can you ever feel close to anyone? The other way many people go is to become open doors--to be victims--and let everyone do whatever they want because you think this is what you're supposed to do for a partner.

So, quite simply, the current idea in most people's minds about love is flat-out wrong, and it's why so few people are feeling nourished in relationships. It's also why we can't get very far in a conversation about spirituality until we take this thing apart to get to what's real and true.

The Real Truth About Love
I'm not going to call love in this regard as "spiritual love." I'm just going to call it love. Love is in everything. Calling it romantic love or brotherly love or whatever to label specific aspects gets in the way. The real truth about love is that it is available to you all the time with everyone. This doesn't mean it has anything to do with romance. Love has millions of ways of expressing itself, and each way is just as beautiful as the next. Sometimes, love is loud and strong when something is not healthy and someone is being hurt. Love is no push-over. Total and complete acceptance is not total and complete passivity, but only as you do your work to listen to your inner guidance will you know what's right for you to manifest in the way of love in any given situation.

Consider that you saw a child being beaten in the street by a man. Loving action may be a strong intervention in that situation. This may be a perfect unfolding of what's supposed to be happening at that moment, but you know in your heart what role you have to play. We are all extremely powerful beings and what we say and do shapes the world. To take those actions and say those words from a space of love re-shapes situations in ways that you can't possibly imagine, and when we're cut off from love, all the worst kinds of things can happen. I think the recent history on this planet has shown that.

Delving Down to Your True Love
There's probably a lot standing in your way to love. Love, as I said, isn't a push-over. Loving your father who beat you as a child doesn't mean you don't hold him accountable for those actions. There's a penance he'll have to pay at some point--if not to you, then to God and to himself. But you will only exhaust and deplete yourself with anger and shame. It's time to let those go. It's time to forgive and to learn how to love him for who he is and what he could offer. It really is an imperfect world, and no one is going to be coming through this shift cleanly. The spiritual path is a really messy path, and there's going to be the need for a whole lot of forgiveness and compassion to all the people and all the mistakes that will get made along the way. It is far better and ultimately easier to learn to forgive them then to harden your heart even more against people who don't know any better. And even if they do know better, forgive them anyway.

One of the spiritual teachers to whom I occasionally listen talks about many of us being the wayshow-ers and pioneers of this time period. If you have been drawn to this blog, you are very likely to be one of them. To do this work of showing the way means that we are delving into our hearts and finding love for both the people who help us and the people who hinder us. We are working our way to all the spaces in our hearts that are still cut off from us because of past grudges, shames, angers, fears, and sadnesses. It's time to clear that out and connect even more deeply to the vastness of love within us.

Exercises for the Heart: True Love Is Within You
Part of the core delusion people have with love is that they think it's outside of them. So they chase new lovers constantly trying to get from them what they already have inside them. It leads to a lot of disappointment because no one can ever have your love. As you learn to look inside and expand the love that you already have, the demands and expectations you place on a prospective romantic partner start to diminish. In turn, you may suddenly find it a lot easier to draw in amazing new loving partners as you find this inner abundance.

To start digging through all the junk in your heart, here are a couple potential exercises to consider:
  1. Rip up the checklist. Every item on your checklist for a perfect partner or for when it's okay to open your heart is a way that you're cutting yourself off from yourself. It's one thing to be discerning about the people with whom you choose to share yourself. It's another thing to constantly be bottling up your love and suffocating your heart. It will only lead to regular, daily suffering. Time to open up to love on a daily basis.
  2. Tell someone you love them every day. If you don't have an intimate partner to whom you can say this, find a friend. Tell your children. Make new friends to whom you can tell this. Heck, tell me. I can always use more love in my inbox. The point is to un-make the practice of saying, "I love you," something that only happens once in a blue moon and which brings with it a huge amount of neediness.
  3. Forgive someone. It may be time for that phone call, email, or in-person chat to let someone know that you forgive them. It can be a super healing moment for both of you. Even if the other person can't hear it (because they don't think they did anything wrong or whatever), the point is to open up your heart. You don't have to renew the relationship; you simply have to let go of the pain you're carrying so that you no longer suffer.
The Canvas That Holds all Colors
Here's one last metaphor for the nature of true love. Love is the canvas that holds all colors. It never rejects any paint no matter how dark or light the color is. It really gives us the freedom of choice in what colors we choose to make part of our life portrait. But even deeper, love is these colors too. When we start mixing colors together, new ones appear as old ones disappear. This represents the fluidity of love and the fluidity of life. Everything is always changing, but we do have our choices to make in terms of the colors we are creating and using. True love encourages us to make those choices consciously with a responsible and open heart.

The Wealth and Abundance of Love Grows
I can tell you that in my own life, I feel so much more love in me and around me than I ever did before awakening years ago. My heart has grown quite considerably, and in truth, I'm still finding out just how big it is. I encourage you to find out how big yours is. Tempered with the wisdom of the intellect, love is a potent agent of change. Much change comes simply through the power of our loving presence, and much can also come through loving action. You can't do any of this, however, until you know what love is. You need to go back. Go back into your seminal ideas and feelings of love, and do the work to peel away the untruths and lies that have gunked it up. Go back and return to that beautiful core in you that comes freely, easily, and without expectations or obligations. Go back and reclaim your heart. In so doing, you will reclaim your power, your soul, your life.

Thanks to a friend for her picture of the hearts today.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Spirituality EBook Now on the Nook

I'm happy to announce that my spirituality ebook, Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening is now available for the Nook. It's been available over at Amazon for some time, but I finally found some energy and time to post it for the Nook, which is Barnes and Noble's ereader for those of you who are unfamiliar. You can also get a pdf if you don't have an ereader on my ebook tab.

Why I Wrote the Book
I wrote this book as a road-map to help people understand themselves. It's aimed at giving you an integrative approach to spirituality. Meditation is all well and good, but it's only one of many steps in bringing spirituality fully into your life. Eating healthy and taking care of your body with exercise are just as spiritual as meditation, and in the book, I offer some tips and suggestions to help you see how it all interrelates. For too long, spirituality has been relegated to far off places or has been something that only happens one day a week, during which time some old dude tells you how awful you are and that you're going to a bad place after this life because you suck so hard. Not a whole lot of fun. Undoubtedly, it's why so many people have shunned religion, and it's probably part of why there's been this really strong push towards a secular society in Western Culture.

Putting all that aside, this book is built to meet you wherever you are at. It has 3 sections:
  • Connect
  • Heal
  • Awaken
The Connect section is about helping you to start paying attention to all aspects of your mind, heart, body, and soul. You don't have to do it all at once. The book will meet you wherever you are. You may only be ready to just get to know your heart, and that's fine. In essence, we have to start paying attention before we can really grow and evolve into the beings that we already are, and we all need to do it at the pace that's right for us.

The Heal section comes into play once you know what's going on inside you. You can't really heal blocked issues and change things that need to be changed until you know what's going on. Once you can see that you have two broken legs, it's a lot easier to understand why you can't run, and in bringing awareness to the problem, you can figure out what needs to be done.

The Awaken section takes you that next step to embracing your fullness. It doesn't mean that you will "awaken;" it simply is helping you further cultivate that space of awareness in you so that you can more fully enjoy your life. Because at the end of the day, whether you are labeled as "awakened" or not doesn't matter compared to how much you love living your life.

Moving Into New Spaces of Being
I hope this spirituality book gives you the challenge, the tools, and the courage to move into new spaces of being. If you have any questions about the content, feel free to drop me a message. I am always happy to hear feedback and to address the needs that you have.

Be well!

Buy Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening for the Nook

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Free Spirituality Webinar: How to Build Your Spiritual Practice

My next free webinar is called, "How to Build Your Spiritual Practice."

It will be at: 6pm Pacific Standard Time on January 18, 2012.

This webinar is meant for beginners, intermediates, and advanced. It's a webinar that will help you to start out with the right intentions in your practice. So many people have these grand illusions and delusions about getting to some perfect place in their lives, and that's not the point of spiritual practice at all. So this spirituality webinar will spend a good deal of time talking about how to question the assumptions we have and as well as how to look for the assumptions that we don't know we have.

This can be especially helpful for advanced and intermediate people on the spiritual path. Perhaps, you've been meditating for 20 years, and you feel like you "haven't gotten anywhere." Even if you intellectually know that there's no where to go, you may feel at a loss on your path after doing everything you've been told. In this way, this spirituality webinar would be better titled as "How to RE-Build Your Spiritual Practice."

As always, there's a deeper level of energy and connection that happens underneath the words, and for those people who simply want to tune into that, feel free to join in even if you're not that interested in the topic.

You can register for this webinar on this link:

"How to Build Your Spiritual Practice" Registration

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