Permission Granted

Are you exhausted? Maybe here’s why, Dear One…

For the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence — as hunter gatherers or agrarian peoples — this time of less daylight brought rest. Before electricity made it possible to ignore the yearly cycles of light and darkness, it’s likely that our ancestors spent much more of the winter asleep. Ah ha!

But we have a multitude of flashy distractions to help us deny or ignore our own evolutionary need for quiet and rest. Human evolution can’t possibly have caught up with the speed of our modern technological advances. 

With all that light, we’re  drawn outward. Toward all that must be done. We indulge our fascination with the endless possibilities for work and play, always occupied, always busy doing, doing, doing.

We are a culture addicted to doing. If we’re not catching up on work, these dark evenings are likely to find us exhausted, scrolling through social media or watching Netflix.

When we’re not running so fast or collapsed in distracted recovery, the subtle messages that draw us to our own wisdom can’t help but emerge. Only we’d rather avoid them, right? Maybe that’s why we stay so busy. Amped up on caffeine to get through our long list of have to’s, it’s easy not to notice that deeper primordial ancient impulse calling us back to the quiet.

What December usually brings are parties and staying up late, with an amped up light show everywhere we turn. Then we can’t help but be distracted from going inward to nourish ourselves with what we most innately crave. Usually we don’t even feel the longing. Instead we call it depression. 

I’ve been wondering lately if SAD — seasonal affective disorder — is less about the lack of light in our lives near the winter solstice and more about how we don’t attend to our very real human need — body and soul — for downtime.

But maybe this year, it could be different. 

As we move day by day into the December darkness and approaching Solstice, I invite you to let yourself off the hook of all that over-doing, and receive the spaciousness and revelation that this growing darkness can bring.

Beyond just our bodies’ need to harmonize with our surroundings, if we allow it, this time offers a chance to tune in and listen for a deeper calling from our essence. And settling in to listen for the longing beneath all our doing opens us to the Wisdom this time can reveal.

During the few weeks before and after the solstice there is less than one minute’s change in the amount of light and darkness.

As much as we may try to distance ourselves within the comfort of our homes, we are undeniably a part of nature and it’s cycles. At this darkest part of the year I invite you to experience your body’s natural alignment with its surroundings, with Nature that you are undeniably of

So try this…Give yourself permission, if only for a few minutes during these rare evenings, to sit quietly with all the lights off.  

With each in-breath receive the darkness, as if a gift to your tired being.

Let each out-breath invite some tight muscle or mind grip to let go. 

Notice your body’s inclinations. What part of you is wanting to sink down in relief?

Then listen for what’s here. Do you feel a longing to light a candle and watch the flame dance in the darkness? Notice your own mood, thoughts, and awarenesses. 

This may not be easy for you. Sitting still you might notice what a challenge it is to release the mind’s perpetual occupation with planning, plotting, and puttering. Ah, sweet mind! It’s been doing it’s thing so incessantly, for so long! So be gentle with yourself. See if you can sit with this discomfort and let yourself just feel it. You will not die, I promise! Then listen for what’s beneath it. What do you most need, Dear Friend? 

Would the simple pleasure of a few quiet minutes be something you might like to infuse into many of your evenings as we come closer to the solstice on the night of Sunday, December 20th?

If so, please join me either in person for a socially-distanced outdoor Winter Solstice Gathering or for a Virtual Solstice Gathering on Zoom.

How to Take Yourself on Vacation if You Can’t Travel: Feminine Embodiment Practices to Amplify Joy and Make it Through This COVID Winter

This week the COVID numbers are going up everywhere. Thanksgiving is canceled. Christmas might be too. I haven’t seen my daughter in LA in a year. And she won’t let me come visit this year either. “It’s too dangerous, Mom!” she says. So I guess I’m grounded…at least for the time being.

I wanted the warm air and ocean breezes. I wanted a sense of freedom. I wanted a good diversion from my Zoom screen and my comfortable, but oh so familiar home. Dammit, I just wanted to get away!

Then last week a new computer update messed with my printer interface. That was it!  Feeling powerless with the accumulated build up of this all pervasive COVID-inspired craziness, I broke down in frustrated tears, stomping up the stairs, and swearing at everything that isn’t working in the world right now. 

When I finally collapsed onto the couch and caught my breath, I realized what else was going on. Without the spontaneous diversion my out-in-the-world life used to hold, I’d been at home, working way too hard and forgetting the very principles I teach. Geesh!

Like almost every woman I know these days, that familiar masculine drive gets in the way of the beautiful life we’re here to live. 

Even when I forget, at least I know my way back home…

Determined to stay in the moment – the feminine’s realm of pleasure – I found my jacket and went outside for a walk. 

November in New England doesn’t offer what we usually think of as beauty. Autumn’s blaze of maple red and poplar yellow were gone. Only the oaks and pines remain to offer their hint of color to the landscape. But I was determined to take in what was there, not fall back into complaining about what wasn’t. 

I’ve found that all that’s needed when spending time in Nature — like any good meditation — is to drop the doing and simply receive the beauty that’s there. 

First I noticed how my body relaxed as I walked on the path’s soft earth and took in the breeze on my face. Those last oak leaves had turned a rich, waxy cordovan like leather. I let the way they dangled delicately from their stems, pirouetting in the wind, draw me in for a longer moment. 

Then the contrast of white birch and green pine caught my breath. There’s so much beauty there! As with the crunch under my feet and the subtle autumn leaf scent that transported me back to childhood visits at my cousin’s farm in Ohio. And above me, the sky was a clear blue–a rare joy for a Berkshire November. 

As I returned ten minutes after a left, I realized I wasn’t just back home to my house, but in my centered self again. 

There is so much beauty here if I really look. What we need right now more than ever is to receive a greater dose of the medicine that’s already here to help get us through. No matter where you are, there is beauty waiting for you to receive it. To tune in to the present moment and simply notice what’s there. 

Only it’s not so simple, is it? You’ve likely been well trained to prioritize work and what must be done first before you can allow yourself to have even a moment of pleasure. Beware! This is the fatal trap that deprives you of joy. Every one of us has a feminine essence that revels in pleasure. We just don’t feed it. Joy lives in receiving what is here right now. 

Even if–like me–you can’t get away to those warm ocean breezes and sand between your toes, your imagination can help shift your mood, as long as you let yourself receive the delight that your senses and memory can conjure.

If you’d like a taste of your own feminine magic – and the pleasure it will bring – I’ll be offering a luscious, long (and free) visualization/meditation this Tuesday evening at my private FB group, Divining Beauties

Join me at 8pm EST Tuesday evening for a 45min FB Live deep dive practice to help you remember what you love and find more of it, right here, no matter where you are and no matter what else is going on. This is one of the practices I plan to use this winter to access my own feminine sensual delight! If you’re not already a member at Divining Beauties, ask to join here

Hope to see you Tuesday night!

Mary

PS – The CDC says this COVID spike should peak by mid-January. That could mean that travel by March might just be possible. And that’s what I’m hoping for. My feminine will be ready to enjoy every moment, receiving the delight of sand between my toes and those moist jungle breezes. Consider joining me at the Haramara Retreat in Mexico. Check it out right here.

How to manage uncertainty

Wow, has November been one wild ride!!

All week I’ve been reeling from the precariousness of this week’s election.
Shocked at how close we came to the unthinkable. 
Disturbed by a country where half the population’s values aren’t yours.
Feeling ungrounded and adrift in a sea of waiting game.
And now finally, it’s clear, and there’s hope again!

But… who knows what’s yet to come in the COVID-crazed winter! It’s the “who knows-ness” that makes us feel scared and disconnected.

Humans don’t like uncertainty, we do everything in our power to protect against it.

When I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed on Wednesday morning,
and stepped outside to feel the sunshine on my face, I felt something change.
it was Nature’s beckoning that helped me find my way back
to what is ALSO just as real as the news.

I’m not a scientist. I don’t understand why, but being out in Nature makes humans feel better. I have my suppositions, supported by what science is learning about mushrooms and trees and our new understanding of our vast interconnectedness with the more-than-human world.

But this week the why didn’t matter.
What did was how I felt calmer when I got back into my car after a hike up to Laura’s Tower. 
Taking in nature’s leaf-dropping wisdom let me let go of some of the angst, my anxious mind’s preoccupations, and tune in to a knowing far deeper.

Our bodies and senses receive the natural world around us.

Wednesday’s immersion in nature shifted me and expanding my perspective.
Being out in Nature always does! Have you noticed?
It’s what I SO needed that morning… and do every day.

In this email – and those to come this fall – 
I’ll be offering the practical sense-based practices I employ
to help me come back to joy and balance NO MATTER WHAT else is going on.

AND… in case you’re longing for a break
I have something coming in March to tantalize you with!
(You can check it out down below.)

Because connecting to the pleasures that are ALSO here
waiting for you to receive them
will provide way more than just getting through what’s coming.

Uncertainty is tough, and here’s why…

As humans we like to KNOW what’s coming. It makes us feel safe. Like we’re in charge. Only, we’re NOT in charge. If we actually realized all that could befall us despite our best laid plans, I don’t think we’d ever leave the house!

Life is uncertain.
This year with COVID, the election, and the protests for racial justice, it may feel as though the life you knew is gone, maybe even for the better. But beyond all the uncertainty, there’s another truth, just as real. And it’s been my message for years.

The masculine energy in us likes to have a plan, to project into the future and use our brilliant brains to figure out how to get all the details right so things work and we’re safe. Such a beautiful and necessary tool! 

The feminine part of us knows how to flow like a river, trusting in her wisdom how to move past rocks that stand in her way. When there is nothing to count on and our very future is threatened, she knows how to come back to a sense of safety and security in the face of the unknown. The feminine’s magic comes from grounding in the now.

You’ve got this, no matter your gender. It’s the feminine that trusts, beyond evidence, because we feel what’s ALSO true. When we have access to the body’s sense awareness and its inherent deep knowing we come back to our senses, so to speak. Only most of us weren’t taught how to tune into Nature and her wisdom. 

Because this is true… 
We do have support! And far more than can imagine. We’re used to thinking that it’s all up to us to figure it out.

Yet beneath us we have an Earth that holds us more beneficently than we can comprehend, feeding our bodies with what they need to thrive and our souls with daily sustenance, if we remember to tune in. The very air we breath has the exact proportion of oxygen necessary to perfectly nourish our lungs and blood and every cell in our bodies.

We didn’t need to do anything to earn this gift. Receiving it more fully through our felt senses — the feminine’s in-this-moment territory — can break through uncertainty’s illusions if we allow it. We calm down when we drop out of fear and remember our connection to Nature’s holding.

Tuning into our senses and the ever-present pleasures that surround us DOES make a difference. Especially when so much is uncertain. But for most of us, we’re out of practice with receiving pleasure. We’re all about doing, getting things done, producing. And of course we need that. But when we live in a masculine world, unpracticed in accessing the pleasure our feminine essence brings, life is all work and we miss out on the joys that help mitigate so much struggle. 

I’ve been working on my laptop most of the morning, but when I glance out the window, I first notice the white birches, bright in the sunshine. Behind them a tall pine offers a green backdrop with dark woods just beyond. But then I catch sight of the flares of orange bittersweet. I know this plant is invasive and killing the trees, but I can’t help loving its beauty, and receiving what it brings to the November brown.

This was one moment. Probably a ten second break from the work at hand. But I feel refreshed, allowing in this simple touch with nature. The work seems less difficult and I carry a bit more joy into my day. 

This practice is so simple. I bet you do it already. You might just intend to do it a little more often for the joy it brings. I doubt it will give you any immediate answers to climate change or resolving a polarized country. (But who knows?)  

Here’s what I do know…

When I feel myself grounded remember what’s ALSO here right now, my mind is sharper, my intuition more on target, and I feel calmer. Then I’m far more in touch with the resources I need bring my energy and focus to my work and the world.

Would you like more practice?

I booked my 7th retreat at Haramara over a year ago,
before there was even a hint of COVID on the horizon.
I’m still weighing the risks, but just might decide to take a group of us to Mexico this March.

There are the uncertainties…
Will it be safe to travel by then?
There’s no way to know right now, My Dears.
But feel into this.
If you feel the tingle of a maybe bubbling up inside, then let me know!

If we go and you decide to join me,
you’ll experience more fully how to ground in trust and in your senses,
expand your access to your own feminine energy,
and receive an incredible dose of the beauty and pleasure Nature has to shower upon you,
in this entirely open-air paradise

I need to make a decision by early December.
If you think you might like to join me, DO let me know asap.

Enjoy this spectacular day and the hope it brings, Dear Ones.
And join me next week for more supports to expand your feminine to manage life’s uncertainty with grace and grit!

It’s Time to Let Go of Needing to Be “Special”

Autumn is a time of letting go. Facing all the uncertainty of this strange year, I’m wondering if you’re feeling as I am that it’s time to let go of what’s not been working?

We all seem ready for a real change. And fortunately we’re helped right now by a rare moment of synchronicity with the natural world during this short season when our ancient foremothers believed the veils between the worlds were thinnest. 

No one is trick-or-treating anyway, so I’ll be using Halloween to hallow what wants to die in me.

You see, I’ve been noticing lately an old pattern that’s ready to go. Like all habits, it began innocently enough. And it made me feel really good at first. But I’m realizing now that it’s actually ensnared me for too many years! I know it’s time to let it go. 

My life has been run for way too long by a need to feel special. 

I felt special sitting on my daddy’s lap as a toddler as he read to me every night, before my other four siblings came along. 

Special with my mother’s effusive, “GOOD GIRL, Mary!” learning that obedience could earn me that special feeling. 

Special in my 4th grade class of 35 kids, when my teacher caught me whispering, and with a mock scolding smile chanted, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary.” (It’s amazing how strikingly clear that memory still is!)

Special getting good grades, when I realized that I could earn specialness.

Special winning blue ribbon rosettes at the county fair for my meticulous sewing.

And intoxicatingly special when Randy held my hand in our 9th grade assembly. That began decades of striving to be special to men. 

                .   .   .

But trying to earn all that specialness came with a price. My happiness was dependent on someone else letting me know how special I was. Or me striving to prove it to myself. When I didn’t feel my partner’s adoration, life felt dull and uninteresting. No one was feeding my special appetite. 

I’ve spent half a century chasing approval to feel valuable and worthwhile. With years of good therapy and spiritual development, and oodles of self-development workshops, I know the roots of all this. And at my core I know I really am good enough, whether or not someone else or my successes make me feel that way. 

But this fall I know I want the help of something wiser and more powerful than my intellect to really let this thing go.

That’s why I’m turning to Nature’s guidance and a wisdom that lives in all of creation. Like the leaves falling right now — letting go of the life they’ve known all summer as they surrender to the wisdom of the seasons’ cycles — I can feel the impulse to let go, too. And the encouragement.

Nature lets go every autumn. She can show us how when we let her in. Her example can help us trust that what’s dying now will make space for new life to be born. 

    .  .  .  

I’ll be building a fire in my backyard firepit on Sunday evening, November 1st, using ritual to support me in helping my worn-out grasping to be special die. We don’t like to think about death. But autumn has always been a time to honor the dying, even if our materialistic culture has reduced it to a children’s cartoon-ish Halloween trick-or-treating. Still, if you’re willing to take it on, there’s a deep and powerful opportunity now to use this brief season for a broader view of the transformation it invites.

Are you curious about what’s wanting to let go in you? Something likely just below the surface right now? That troubling pattern, belief, or situation you know is old and not serving you anymore, but is comfortable because you know it so well. 

Take a moment now or sometime in the next few days to begin to listen for your own inner wisdom. Then journal your discoveries before the end of the month, when Nature is uniquely supporting you to allow real change to find you. 

Ask yourself what is ready to die? 

  1. Write about a habit or way of thinking that has lost its usefulness and is holding back your happiness or potential?
  2. Remember FIRST how this old pattern might have served you. How did it bring you what you needed so badly? How did it benefit you? Can you allow yourself to acknowledge what was good and what came your way because of this old strategy? If you can acknowledge its benefit, you’ll also be able to more easily let it go.
  3. During these few liminal days when cultures all around the world honor the dead, follow their ancestral wisdom to guide you as you create your own simple ritual. Tear off a small piece of paper and, in a few words, write what you’re ready to let die.
  4. The ancients used fire to symbolically burn away what was no longer needed. Light a candle or, if you can, a bonfire and speak your intention as you burn the slip of paper and the words you’ve written to call out this old pattern. Watch the flames eat your sacred offering.
  5. Then, notice how your body and being feels. There may be regret or confusion or a sense of freedom. Honor whatever is there and be gracious with yourself, allowing all the time that’s needed to integrate. 

The darker days to come will offer you time to let what’s old decompose. And it’s likely that between now and the solstice, you will watch flare-ups of this old pattern before its dying embers completely smolder and extinguish themselves. Allow this letting go have your attention in order to take the time it needs, just as seasons compost leaves into rich humus and fertile soil.

I hope you’ll join me next weekend — in person here in Western Massachusetts or in your own private ritual. Allow the mystery of this liminal season, nighttime darkness, and the full moon’s brilliance to help you honor and let go of what wants to die in you. Then you’ll be cleared out for what you want to be born!

As always, sending my love,

Mary

Finding Grounding and Balance in COVID times

In this message, I’d love to share with you a little gift and an offering.

With the uncertainties of this COVID time
I’ve noticed how much my private clients have needed grounding.
And how much I’ve needed it, too.

So…
1. I planned an in-person event for September’s Fall Equinox
(See more here)
2. I amped up my own grounding practice and began starting every client’s session with a few moments of grounded mindfulness.
I thought you might enjoy listening to a short version…

You see, when COVID landed, life as we all knew it hit the brakes… 

My retreats and every in-person event I had planned screeched to a halt. 
And I haven’t seen a client in my office since February. 
I felt confused, ungrounded, lost in the what ifs.

But here’s the thing…
As my life was forced to change
I began to see what what I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise…
I could see more clearly exactly what hadn’t been working all along.

I’d put up with A LOT,
made due with situations that weren’t pleasurable (to say the least!)

I was working way too hard, 
putting off what I knew would make me happy.
And then feeling ashamed of myself.

I’d acclimated to living with that undercurrent of yuck!
But COVID came like a fierce March wind to wake me up!

Here’s what I learned…
I was unbalanced WAY too far toward the masculine end of the spectrum. 
Doing, doing, doing.
But out of touch with being in the moment with my emotions and senses,
IN SHORT… what I was FEELING,
and the feminine wisdom and joy that are my birthright.

Maybe we all have been?

When research began to speculate that we were all safer out in the open air,
that’s where I went.
And where I found real grounding.
Rain, snow, March muck, whatever.
No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

I began meeting a client or two on the phone, walking down Haley Road to the river.
Or we climbed the trail up to East Rock side by side
(6′ apart of course). 

Almost every day I got myself outside…
and I found a balance I’d needed BADLY,
but wouldn’t have chosen without being forced to.

You, too?
What’s your story?
Maybe you’re just now getting this balance thing…
That your joy — the core of your feminine being — is sourced in connection.

But not just any connection.
Connection to yourself first.

I needed time and space to hear the wisdom that wants to speak.
That’s what I find most easily when I’m in Nature.

There without the distractions,
I can tune into my senses to really feel what’s really going on
and what brings me joy. 
In that expansive state my body relaxes,
and I can choose the next wisest step.

In every private session I share with a client,
I listen to my intuition for what might be of greatest service to her in that moment.
Then I let a guided meditation flow through me.
These have been so helpful to those I serve that I’ve decided to record a few to share with you. 

Take a moment now to find your ground now.
To sink into your deeper wiser self
and remember the grounding that’s always there for you.
I hope you enjoy this little gift… and those I’ll keep sharing right here.

And stay in touch. 
Connect with me if you could use a little help these days. 
You’re not alone!

Sending much love
Mary

A FREE Spring Gift For You!

Happy Spring day, Dear One!
I’m coming to you today with a little gift.

Recently I was on a hike near my home
— my senses gobsmacked by the birds and moss
and honeysuckle blossoms scenting the air.

In every direction there was some new delight to take in.

Since I had my phone in my back pocket,
I decided to record the sense meditation I practice
to feel more awake in my body
and connected to all the natural world offers me,
if I’m aware enough to receive it.

Maybe you’d like to take this meditation along
next time you’re out walking
— or even sitting at an open window?

You can download it below.
Enjoy.

Nature Walk Sense Meditation Email graphic (2)

What Sources Your Happiness?

Do you wonder?
I’m curious about joy.

When was the last time you were deeply happy?
Take a minute now to remember!
You can enjoy it right now, if you like.

Untitled design-15

If you let yourself,
even the memory will bring with it a visceral feeling in your body.
Notice how joy feels.
Likely, it feels good.

That bodily connection with an experience – past or present –
is my definition of intimacy.

I’ve felt it
…each time I held my seconds-old newborn children to my breast.
…in the arms of a new beloved encircling me for the first time.
…singing a soaring soprano line of Brahms Requiem with 150 others. 

These were some of the most extraordinary moments of my life.
Surprises of delight and wonder.

But I believe this intimacy – this deep felt connection – can also be invited.
We can choose it, if we decide to,
and even make it a practice.

You see, I don’t believe spiritual practice demands a certain posture
or particular location or somber attitude.

The essence of each of us — what some call the soul
longs for a connection that is deeply intimate.

But so often we believe we’re alone, separate from what we need,
and that robs us of a connection that’s more possible that we imagine.

In fact, we need that deep connection to our joy now more than ever.
Trouble is, for most of us unless we choose otherwise,
our neural pathways are grooved to notice what’s wrong instead of what’s right.

Blame it on our fight or flight, primitive vestibular brain
or early childhood patterning
or simply our preoccupation with whatever is occupying our mind at the moment.

Our day-to-day lives have the potential to be filled with far more joy than we allow,
regardless of what else is going on.
Unfortunately most humans are so out of practice attuning to their senses
that they rarely notice what’s also there to en-joy at any moment.

There’s the crescent new moon in the western sky at dusk.
The clarian call of a particular melodic bird song you can’t ignore,
or don’t choose to.
White splashes of blossom in a greening world.

IMG_8169

Our connection to the natural world ignites our joy
simply because we are OF Nature, not separate observers of it.
After 500 years of belief that humans are above nature,
here to dominate and control it,
As we realize what Joanna Macy refers to as “the greening of ourselves.”
There’s a connection we can only ignore if we numb our senses to the truth…

The beauty we sense in nature helps us remember a visceral connection to joy
that always exists.
And is always possible, if we allow it.

Weekly over the past month
I’ve been sharing a 5-step sense medication practice to help you reconnect to joy. 

By pairing the mind’s focus and intention with our senses’ awareness
we invite a deeper felt sense of connection with the world around us.
Then there’s more joy in any moment we choose.

Since you’re likely inside at this moment, look out a window.
NOTICE what catches your eye. That’s step #1.

Next, step #2, ask yourself WHY.
Why did your glance go there first?
Was it the color that attracted you, or ???
The more time you give this step
the more accessible the next will be.

Now, step #3, let yourself feel how fortunate you are
to have this glimpse of beauty.
Feel the THANK YOU of gratitude emerging in you.

If you allow yourself to recognize the fullness of this truth,
…if you give yourself permission to feel amazement for your good fortune
…to have sight in the first place, to live on a planet with beauty abounding,
…to have this particular instant of exquisite sight
you may also feel a WOW in your being!
Step #4 invites awe and wonder.
Appropriate reactions when we contemplate the miracle of our existence and this moment.

Step #5 is more a result than an action you’ll need to make.
When we feel this fullness, this intimacy with anything around us
it’s hard not to be aware of the truth of our interconnectedness with everything.

In this state, we feel open and welcoming.
We sense the beauty and connection with others and our surroundings.
We enjoy our differences and an interdependence that feels deeply intimate.

This sense of awe can feel numinous and quiet.
Or its very visceral power can drop us to our knees.

But as body and being unite,
we remember our connection to All That Is and feel whole again,
engaging our natural desire to reach out to help others.
The connection is so full it might be called Oneness… or Love.

Enjoy!

 

 

Have you missed REALLY sensing your feminine self?

Today, mother or not, 
it’s easy to forget that we live in bodies built for pleasure.

You see, Western culture teaches us to idolize the mind…
Still does. 
Without honoring the balance that the feminine brings 
physical pleasure has been turned into a shadow perversion
most women naturally distain.
So we learn to ignore our senses and mistrust our pleasures.

Our cultural ethos says,
“If we know enough we’ll feel safe.”

Only, I’m sure you’ve noticed…
though it’s vital to our safety,
all that information isn’t bringing us more happiness and contentment.

https://youtu.be/7_dgXcw1Ymg
Here’s a one-minute practice to help you FEEL more of that.

What we need and crave, 
especially during this COVID time,
is connection.

Question is…
where do you find more connection when socially distancing is insisting you have less?

Seeing folks on Zoom has been a help for some.
Last week my family virtually celebrated my son’s college graduation.
The connection was so precious, none of us wanted to end the call.
I was super grateful for Zoom!

But perhaps with all the virtual focus
— and our mind’s preoccupation with trying to make sense of it all —
we’ve numbed ourselves to the connection and pleasure that is ALWAYS available,
pandemic or not.

We have 5 senses and a most exquisite world to enjoy more than we do,
to even viscerally feel a tingly sense of awe and wonder.
(step #4 in this week’s sense meditation practice in my vlog).

Unless we’ve forgotten how to notice.
Unless we’ve let our senses atrophy.
Unless we’ve devalued the joys of living in a body,
Unless we’ve diminished our feminine capacity to receive
— instead overdoing, overthinking, overgiving.

My mission, Dears, is to help us remember who we are
as women, yes, but as humans! 

We are mind and body.
Head and heart.
Doing and being.
Remembering to give yourself balance is the hard part!

We’ve been celebrating motherhood today,
but the primal, elemental experience of being a woman
isn’t limited to birthing and succling.

We are built for intimacy with our bodies,
and an innate capacity to connect on a deeper level 
with everyone and everything we draw to ourselves.   

The work I do as a spiritual counselor and intimacy coach
is to help folks delve beneath the mind’s preoccupations
— and the stories and compensations we create to manage life’s suffering —
to reconnect to what is also true.
Always true.
And always there to help us feel safe and alive again.

I love this quote by Yeats, 
“The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

Connecting to our senses
brings us back to a place of connection with a deeper sense of ourselves
and everything around us…
back to this place of home and steadiness
and a visceral knowing that we can trust all that is always here to support us.

No matter what’s going on in our world
— right here, right now, always —
we have the support we need to manage and to thrive.

Take on this practice, if you like.
And watch the precipitous escalation of your joy.
Isn’t that what we need now, more than ever???

What’s Bringing Me Back Home to Myself Again?

***Sensual Sanctuary Series Week #3***

We’re months into this odd year of COVID. 
Most days I’m enjoying this new normal
of more time to enjoy a hike with a friend 
– 6 feet apart, of course. 

But there are other times, especially these days,
when I completely unravel over the smallest of frustrations.
Maybe you, too?

I’ll share in this week’s video how daffodils bring my back home to myself.
Good thing, because I can get completely lost in my mind otherwise,
like just this morning!

Today it was my earbuds not pairing with my phone. 
No big deal, right? 
But I’d been deep in a sticky conversation this morning with my partner
about when and how to social distance.
And then we were in a rush to get out biking.
…a perfect setup for trouble.

This damn WiFi! 
Uh… no, it’s Spectrum and my lousy reception! 
Wait! Which one is it?
I can’t remember…
Did the pairing work last week? 
I think. 
But maybe…! 
Oh, shit.
I can’t remember…..!!!

My frustration soon devolved from confusion to overwhelm,
as I stood sobbing in my driveway for all the world to see,
screaming at my phone, 
sure I was not-so-slowly slipping toward Alzheimer’s,
and convinced that no one would want to care for me. 
All this in the space of about 3 minutes. 

Ah, the fearful mind!

When it takes hold, I’m likely to lose all sense of reality 
and slip into a fatalistic miasma of wild predictions. 
Most minds tend toward similar trajectories, left to their own devices. 
Guess I’m human.

Fortunately I know my mind well enough by now
not to believe everything it thinks, 
and to be compassionate to the scared little girl inside 
who learned early she needed to be perfect and always have it together to be safe. 

And… I have the wise teachings of the natural world to bring me back home.
Ahhhhh….

In today’s video I’ll sing you into May
and share Step 3
of a body-based presence practice that helps me remember what’s also true
when I’m overwhelmed or worried or disoriented 
by the radical shifts in the tempo of our lives since COVID.

Because no matter what else is swirling around in my brain, 
what’s also here is MAY!

When I look around and really SEE what’s there,
— like the daffodils from my garden that I use for the practice I share in the video —
I’m back to a reality that is likely more true 
and definitely more helpful 
than what I’d imagined just a few minutes earlier.

Enjoy with me this step-by-step process
for taking in more of the pleasure that’s right here waiting,  
whenever you choose to simply take a moment to notice what catches your eye.

First 
NOTICE what in your surroundings is drawing your attention right now, 
— like my daffodils — or whatever your eyes notice in this moment.
Stay with it for a few breaths, really seeing, tasting, smelling it.

Then
be curious about the WHY. 
What about this object allures you… the color, line, texture, scent? 
Acknowledging the particulars will wake you up to more joy.
Exactly what we need right now!

Finally – as this week’s step – 
let your heart open in GRATITUDE 
to feel what Joanna Macy calls the “primal WOW of life.” 
It’s what this moment offers to shift your mind and your day.    
You just have to remember to say thank you.

Please join me next week on Mother’s Day for Step 4
perhaps the most transformative one yet
to help you move toward a visceral, more potent connection
with your body, your senses,
and everyone else who lives on this magical and beautiful planet.

I believe this work has the potential to heal the world.
It starts with tiny choices we make over and over again.

I’m loving sharing this 5-step process with you.
What are you noticing for yourself?
As you really NOTICE what’s there to please you,
ask WHY you were drawn to it,
and say THANK YOU,
what’s changing for you?

Please let me know in the comments below!


Could a Closer Look Be All You Really Need? Step #2 to Awakening your Senses and your Joy

***Sensual Sanctuary Series Week #2***

With more time at home,
and lots to keep me busy,
I’m beginning to feel a little stir crazy.
Maybe you, too?

I miss the variety my daily life used to offer.
Spur of the moment meet-ups.
Hugs with an old friend I bump into on the street.
Catching up over drinks at Prairie Whale.

Now I need to look a little closer
to find the spice that variety used to give me.

The spice I need is right here,
But I’m likely to miss it unless I DECIDE to really take a look.

That’s why I’m sharing this 5-week, 5-step video series
and the simple process I use every day
to help me remember the joy that’s right here,
whenever I DECIDE to take a real look.

Otherwise I’m likely to numb-out to what’s actually there to please me.
And that’s a darn shame,
when there’s so much else to take me into spirals of worry and sadness and despair.

I need these sense practices to bring me back to WHAT’S JUST AS REAL!

That’s why I’ve been developing this 5-step sense meditation practice for years
and sharing it with every client I see.
I believe they are that essential!

It’s too easy to forget that joy and sorrow live together
Life is a BOTH/AND paradox…
as much as we’d like to simplify it and push away what is hard to hold.

With all that can freak us out right now, personally and worldwide,
we need practices to
~ bring us back home to a deeper connection that’s always here.
~ remind us of the joy and beauty that’s everywherealways

You have all the tools you need.
Nothing to buy or download from somewhere else.

Take a look around you right now..
Notice what’s there there that catches your eye.

That’s what we did last week in Step #1.
Simple, right?

Now… for Step #2
Why does it please you?
Why did it catch your eye?

Really look…
Was it the color?
The way it caught the sunlight through the window?
Or its delicacy, like the stamen on these peach blossoms?

ANYTIME we come back to what we feel and sense
— letting go, even for a few seconds, of the incessant preoccupations of the mind —
we land back home again in a grounded centeredness we may have forgotten.

Next week I’ll add Step#3 — for more fully receiving what’s here to bring more joy to life.

Until then…
Decide to NOTICE MORE  
Notice what pleases you.
Stay with it for a few breaths… 
really seeing, tasting, feeling.

Then ask WHY.
What is it that pleases you?
What touched you?
Acknowledging the particulars will wake you up to more joy.
Exactly what we need right now!

If you’d like a hand to hold during this difficult time,
I offer a number of FREE ways to work with me below.

Or maybe you need just a bit more?
Like a sweet woman who messaged me last week.
Sheltering at home with no way to distract herself,
stuff was coming up she knew she couldn’t put off any longer.

If you could use an extra boost right now, please let me know.