The more two people open
to each other, the more this
wide-openness also brings to
the surface all the obstacles to it:
their deepest, darkest wounds,
their desperation and mistrust,
and their rawest emotional
Just as the sun's warmth causes
clouds to arise by prompting the
earth to release its moisture,
so love's pure openness activates
the thick clouds of our emotional
wounding, the tight places where
we are shut down, where we live
in fear and resist love.
People often ask me
what it feels like to
have a career where
my job is to help
so many people…
It feels like having the
job of setting animals free
from traps while they are
biting the absolute hell
out of your hands,
thinking you’re the enemy.
Because pain avoidance is
happening at a society level.
That’s why they tell you to
‘cheer up’ or to ’just be positive’,
because when you find the
courage to sit with your pain,
you hold a mirror up to theirs.
I am so grateful for
the glorious weirdness
that is my life and for those
who travel this beautiful,
twisty road with me.
You are worth your imperfections
you are worth your bad days
you are worth your good
you are worth your confusion
you are worth your insecurities
you are worth fighting for
and you are worth loving.
And that’s a fucking fact.
Saying YES to happiness
means learning to say NO
to things and people that
stress you out.
You are destined to walk
the road less traveled,
the path with heart,
the journey of the soul.
Those who try to tame you
are scared of your power
AND their own.
Dear little one,
I want you to
wasn't your fault.
I love you.
Just like the Moon,
your greatest magic will
come in times of darkness
when you have no choice but
to trust your own power.
Forgiveness is one of the primary mantras preached by the ungrounded spirituality movement. This is not to say that forgiveness is a bad thing, but it is not the first place to go after an abusive relationship or traumatic experience.
Healing is. Putting our focus on forgiving a wrongdoer before we have actually worked through our anger and our pain is another way the new age movement sidesteps their own unresolved shadow and the principles of accountability.
I knew someone who had been stabbed by a lunatic and while they were bleeding, they were doing a forgiveness mantra for the stabber. Good thing someone else called an ambulance, or they would have died.
When it comes down to it, healing and forgiving ourselves is the important step.
If forgiveness of other arises organically, so be it. If it doesn’t, it’s not important. We are not responsible for those who wound us.
They can take that up with God.
Mantra for today
and every day:
4 things that get in the way of growth:
prioritizing everything above your rest
refusing to feel your tough emotions
forgetting to listen to your intuition
not being honest with yourself
There is no great reward for
being emotionally withdrawn,
no pity prize for bottling
No one is coming to congratulate
your chronic self-repression.
By opening up, maybe you will
inconvenience some people.
Maybe you will trigger
Maybe you will be rejected,
Everything comes with
a price and everything has
Authenticity may require pain,
but it also opens the doors
to joy, creativity, self-respect,
on the other hand, costs you
all the beauty of the world
in exchange for
a prison of comfort.
Is it really worth it?
Isn't it time to break free?
Spiritual bypass shields us
from the truth, it disconnects
us from our feelings, and helps
us avoid the big picture.
It is more about checking out
than checking in - and the
difference is so subtle that
we usually don’t even know
we are doing it.
Energy is everything
and it is everywhere.
It's in the food you eat,
the music you listen to,
and the people you
surround yourself with.
Always pay attention
We cannot simultaneously set a
boundary and take care of another
person’s feelings. It’s impossible;
the two acts contradict.
What a tremendous asset to have
compassion for others!
How difficult that same quality can
make it to set boundaries!
It’s good to care about other people
and their feelings; it’s essential to
care about ourselves too.
Sometimes, to take good care of
ourselves, we need to make a choice.
Some of us live with a deeply
ingrained message from our family,
or from church, about never hurting
other people’s feelings.
We can replace that message with
a new one, one that says it’s not
okay to hurt ourselves.
Sometimes, when we take care of
ourselves, others will react with
That’s okay. We will learn, grow, and
benefit by the experience; they will
too. The most powerful and positive
impact we can have on other people
is accomplished by taking
responsibility for ourselves, and
allowing others to be responsible
Caring works. Caretaking doesn’t.
We can learn to walk the line
between the two.
Today, I will set the limits I need to
set. I will let go of my need to take
care of other people’s feelings and
instead take care of my own.
I will give myself permission to take
care of myself, knowing it’s the
best thing I can do for myself
nobody can save you but yourself.
you will be put again and again
into nearly impossible situations.
they will attempt again and again
through subterfuge, guise and force
to make you submit, quit and /or die
nobody can save you but yourself
and it will be easy enough to fail
so very easily
but don’t, don’t, don’t.
just watch them.
listen to them.
do you want to be like that?
a faceless, mindless,
do you want to experience
death before death?
nobody can save you but yourself
and you’re worth saving.
it’s a war not easily won
but if anything is worth winning
then this is it.
think about it.
think about saving your self.
your spiritual self.
your gut self.
your singing magical self and
your beautiful self.
don’t join the dead-in-spirit.
maintain your self
with humor and grace
wager your self as you struggle,
damn the odds,
damn the price.
only you can save your self.
do it! do it!
then you’ll know exactly what
I am talking about.
Time does not heal wounds
of what has happened.
You need to clarify your feelings
and express them in a way
that defines in detail
what you have lost and
how much you care about
what you have lost.
(Peter Leech & Zeva Singer)
If you are not free
to be who you are,
you are not free.
(Clarissa Pinkola Estés)
If I have to sacrifice
my authentic self
in order to keep someone around,
in order to keep a job,
in order to abide by expired
traditions & outdated opinions,
count me out.
I will abandon anyone or anything
before I abandon myself, ever again.
No. I am not offended
by the word fuck.
I am, however, offended by
greed, hate, corruption,
fake people, prejudice,
a complete absence of empathy,
and close-minded humans who
have nothing better to do than
go around judging everyone based
on their personal view of the world.
If you find yourself
having to tiptoe
you're not walking
amongst your tribe.
Are you meditating to
tone down your feelings
or to really let your
feelings speak to you
about the personal truth
contained in them?
A JOURNEY TO THE ROCK BOTTOM OF TRAUMA
“The wound is the place
where the Light enters you.”
As someone who has recovered from what we now call Complex PTSD, I want to share my most important discovery, the one principle and insight that saved my life, altered my destiny, and ultimately led to profound healing.
The discovery? Awakening to my own indestructible Presence. Discovering who I really am, that calm, surrendered place in the midst of the somatic, emotional and psychological storm of the body-mind. The holy non-dual light in the darkness.
No matter how intense and terrifying my feelings got over the years; no matter how tense and contracted the muscles in my body became; no matter how my mind raced and spun and catastrophized over every tiny little thing; no matter how loud and violent the inner voices of fear and shame became; no matter how much I spaced out, dissociated from my body, went numb, lost myself in nightmares; no matter how hard it was to breathe sometimes in the midst of fear, crippling social anxiety and that crushing sense of unworthiness at the core of all trauma; no matter how many times I escaped into my addictions – binge eating, computer games, codependency and people-pleasing, fantasy, overworking, self-hatred, desperately attempting to control others; no matter how bad things got, there was a safe place I could always return to, a sanctuary of Self.
Many times I forgot this safe place of course. Many times I lost myself in the whirlwind of trauma again.
But then I would remember…
“Trust. Breathe. You are safe. Thoughts and feelings and bodily sensations have never hurt anyone.
You are here. It is now. You are not in the past. You are not in the future.
You are here. Now. You are breathing. You are safe...”
Sometimes the work of recovery felt impossible to do by myself. Many times I sobbed in the arms of my partner, or a dear friend. Once or twice I sobbed in the arms of a stranger. Sometimes I had to write out my pain, splurge it all on paper, let the paper hold me and ground me and give me hope.
Sometimes I felt I was about to die or go mad. Probably thousands of times I imagined myself being carted away in a straight-jacket, or a coffin.
And then, I would drop out of the mind again, come out of thought and its myriad futures, and fall back into the fucking earth. Into the ground. Into the couch, the bed, the grass, the living day, the reality. And then, spontaneous tears would come. Or spontaneous shaking. Or spontaneous fire, the sense of my own animal power.
“Here, Jeff. Come back here…”
Healing is messy. Healing is terrifying sometimes. Healing can also be blissful of course, some days. There is no “right way” to heal. We learn to expect the ups and the downs. We learn to expect the despair and the joy and the confusion.
Sometimes healing can come unexpectedly through a scene in a movie you’re watching, through a piece of music, a passage in a book, or a moment of stillness in a shopping mall. Sometimes a work of art, or a poem, or a conversation with a friend, healed and inspired and soothed me and brought me to Presence more deeply and quickly than any therapist or healing technique ever could.
Sometimes, feeling unable to go on, unable to escape myself, the only place I could go was the core of my deepest pain, into the abandonment wound itself, into the heart of the dissociation and the numbness. I took the risk of letting the numbness kill me (as my mind feared it would).
And every time, as I turned towards the abandonment depression, the cosmic tiredness, the searing sense of isolation, the voided void, the howling trauma core, every single fucking time it didn’t kill me, and every single fucking time I found that it was the safest place to be, and every single fucking time I found relief, relaxation, even sweet healing tears there, in the place I thought I would breathe my last breath. In the darkest place, I found new creativity, new love, new life.
I learned to bless my sweet body, in its full-on fight-or-flight mode, or its full-on “get me out of the moment” mode, bless the racing heart and the trembling limbs and the sweat and the nausea and that awful sinking feeling in the belly and that terrible sense of urgency to escape.
I learned to trust it all although I hated it all so badly sometimes!
I learned to trust it all although it felt so very hard to trust sometimes.
I started to become the parent - the mother and the father - I never had. The one that stayed with me in the pits of hell, who held me close and whispered,
“I am here. You are safe. This is just the passing intensity of the mind and body and nothing bad is happening, and you just need to remember to breathe, and it will all pass as it always has, and I am here with you through every breath you take...”
I learned how to be with the abandoned one inside, that terrible, lonely, searing depression at the rock bottom of all trauma. I learned to see that it was just a feeling calling for love, and it didn’t define me, and it wasn’t a threat, but an exquisite part of existence itself, that didn’t have to be cured or defeated, but loved.
Yes, I learned how to befriend the lonely one within, the abandoned one, the one who wanted to die,
I learned to breathe with it and see it as a frightened part of me desperately needing my love. I learned to take care of the lost child.
I found that I was bigger than my frightened mind, bigger than any feeling, however intense, bigger than grief, bigger than trauma itself, bigger than my own limited notion of myself. Layers of shame and fear began to melt away, layers of addiction, layers of mind, layers that were only trying to ‘protect’ me from raw life, and my raw self, and my raw feelings and bodily sensations, and my raw truth.
As all these outdated coping mechanisms fell away,
I learned to see and love my imperfections again.
To rejoice at my wonderful mistakes. To laugh at the absurdity of my moments. To let myself break down sometimes, to give up sometimes, to surrender, to not know. To let myself be seen by others. To stop repressing my authenticity and weirdness. To stop trying to be a carbon copy of other people. To pursue my own wonderful, scary, original path.
To let myself forget, and remember, and forget again.
To let myself be humbled, often.
To begin again, each day.
There are a hundred other things I could tell you about my healing journey.
But if I only leave you with one thing right now, let it be this...
There is a place in you of utter safety, innocence, stillness, purity. It is ancient and wise and has survived a billion nightmares. It is unnameable and crystal clear, as soft as the finest cashmere, tougher than diamond, and more loving than anything you could possibly imagine. It is fearless yet it holds the most overwhelming terror like a newborn baby.
It is not a destination. It is not a place you get to one day. It is not some far-off utopia.
It cannot abandon you. It is God before God.
It is you, your deepest self, prior to any trauma.
Obscured sometimes, yes, but never truly lost.
It is the eye of the storm. Utterly unmoving. Utterly still. Utterly powerful.
I am grateful to my deepest psychological pain.
It showed me the way Home. It cracked me open to my holy vulnerability and the preciousness of this human existence. It taught me things that joy and bliss and all kinds of worldly success could never, ever teach.
My trauma took me close to death, yes, but then it woke me up to more life.
There is so much hope, friend.
There is so much hope.
Normality is a paved road:
It’s comfortable to walk,
but no flowers grow on it.
(Vincent van Gogh)
You were not born on earth
to please anyone;
you have to live life
to express yourself,
not to impress someone.
Don’t pretend to be
someone you’re not,
and never lose yourself
in search of other people’s
acceptance and approval.
(Roy T. Bennett)
When a patient says he feels stuck and confused,
and through good intentions he struggles to become loose and clear, he only remains chronically trapped in the mire of his own stubbornness.
If instead he will go with where he is, only then is there hope.
If he will let himself get deeply into the experience of being stuck, only then will he reclaim that part of himself that is holding him.
Only if he will give up trying to control his thinking, and let himself sink into his confusion, only then will things become clear.
It’s okay if you:
Feel sad while on vacation
Feel joy while in the midst of grief
Feel confused after making a decision
Feel nervous for something positive
Feel afraid about good things
Feel overwhelmed during celebration
Feel relief during heartache
Feel conflicting feelings, all at once
Sit with it.
Sit with it.
Sit with it.
Sit with it.
Even though you want to run.
Even though it‘s heavy and difficult.
Even though you‘re not quite sure
of the way through.
Healing happens by feeling.
I don't care if you have letters
behind your name. I don't care
how much money you make.
I don't care if you're instagram
famous, or wear cool clothes.
I don't care if you're 6'2.
Tell me about what you've walked
through & how you came out on
the other side.
Tell me what's pained you &
how you've used it to transform
your life. Tell me how you've
integrated your shadows, tell me
what makes your soul ignite with
joy behind comprehension.
Speak from the nakedness of your
heart to mine.
I don't care about trivial matters.
I want relationships like the ocean -
where the depth has no limits.