Meditation Alone is Not Enough ~ Trauma Resolution and the Need for Therapeutic Relationships

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Meditation Alone is Not Enough ~ Trauma Resolution and the Need for Therapeutic Relationships

Meditation is much harder when we have yet to feel the wounds and release the trauma held in our nervous system. In the past few years, through a deep commitment to working with my trauma, my mind has quieted much more than it used to. Meditation has changed because my whole life has naturally become more of a meditation, not just the time I am sitting on my couch in the morning. The healing work I have done has regulated my sympathetic nervous system (mobilization and arousal) and deactivated the fight-flight response that was always over-engaged. As a child who endured tremendous adversity, I adapted by being hyper-vigilant, mobilized, ready for action, ready for a fight. I had to protect myself, and my nervous system […]

Nurturing Goodness in Children and Ourselves ~ The Indigenous Nature of Soul

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Nurturing Goodness in Children and Ourselves ~ The Indigenous Nature of Soul

Years ago, while in the final moments with a life coaching client, I said something I’d never said to anyone: “You are goodness.” I was surprised at the spontaneous words that poured from my mouth. It was as though something in the far reaches of my soul knew exactly the unique acknowledgement my client needed to hear. For, at that moment, this erudite man of determined reserve leaned forward and began to sob. How dearly he needed to be seen. How dearly had he longed to touch his forgotten goodness. There is goodness in each one of us. Goodness is our true nature. Yet, for many, if not most, we have forgotten it. Inculcated with false ideas of what it means to be a good, […]

6 Empowering Gifts of Anger ~ Reclaiming Voice and Choice through Red-Hot Primal Energy

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6 Empowering Gifts of Anger ~ Reclaiming Voice and Choice through Red-Hot Primal Energy

There are many negative views on anger swirling about. We perceive it as dangerous or wrong, largely due to our conditioned upbringing, what we’ve witnessed in our neighborhoods, and the violent stories broadcasted around the world. How many of us were told anger is inappropriate? And how many experienced adults getting unreasonably angry at us, and without repair; or witnessed people unleashing anger at each other, causing us and others to feel unsafe? It’s therefore quite normal and expected that we grow up fearing anger and doing our very best to avoid it, within and without. In the field of psychology there is something called victim-perpetrator fusion. For instance, a child who has a father who is overwhelmingly aggressive and unpredictable is likely to believe […]

Unleashing Your Creativity ~ 16 Practices and Mindsets for the Reluctant Artist

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Unleashing Your Creativity ~ 16 Practices and Mindsets for the Reluctant Artist

Creativity is something we tend to resist in ourselves. We grow up believing “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”, or “I am not an artist”. And with the forces of industrial civilization demanding that we do things just so, followed by endless assessing and reporting on how well we do things just so, we have all succumbed to what I call The Disease of Being Right. Wrong must be avoided at all costs. Such is the short leash on our creativity. In his book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon MacKenzie discusses how he used to go into elementary schools to teach students how to make sculptures from sheets of steel. When he began each class, he always started with the same question: […]

When Kids Long for Your Ignorance More than Your Knowledge

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When Kids Long for Your Ignorance More than Your Knowledge

“It’s only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.” ~ Henry David Thoreau  A friend unreservedly praised her wise young daughter while proudly showing me a picture of this rising star. Only 18 years of age, she, at the time, had already left home, knowing, as she had for many years, exactly where she wanted to live—in the progressive community of Nelson, Canada, amongst others she held as like-mind. With a wistful smile, my friend recounted an outstanding mindset her daughter had which she relentlessly advised her mother of—“question everything”; to look beyond the literal, the surface features of life, and sense that lying beyond the veil of reality most in the West traditionally acquiesce to. This young seeker knew there […]

The Adventure We Long For Lies in our Childlike Heart and in Feeling the Unexpected

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The Adventure We Long For Lies in our Childlike Heart and in Feeling the Unexpected

“Tiny humans see magic and possibility where big humans only see mess and responsibility. May we see the magic again through their eyes and rediscover all the possibilities life has to offer.” ~ L. R. Knost A child is excited to wake up in the morning. Open to surprise, she wanders through her home and yard drawn to the next thing capturing her attention. Maybe it’s the dog, or her new magnetic toy, or the bright golden dandelion blooming through the sea of green grass. Each moment is filled with wonder for this young one, a bubbling awe leading her from one fascination to the next. Each moment is an unfolding adventure. As people depart the wonders of childhood for the predictabilities of life, however, […]

Beyond Feelings it is the Unmet Need that Deserves and Desires Empathy

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Beyond Feelings it is the Unmet Need that Deserves and Desires Empathy

“Sometimes someone isn’t ready to see the bright side. Sometimes they need to sit with the shadow first. So be a friend and sit with them. Make the darkness beautiful.” ~ Victoria Erickson When feeling frustrated, angry, sad, overwhelmed, or any other unpleasant emotion, it’s because a need is not being met. A child disgruntled at school may have an unmet need to move. A parent overwhelmed may have an unmet need of relaxation. A person struck with anger may have an unmet need of safety. Anger is their response to not feeling safe. The feelings are signals for a very important human need not being met.  Acknowledging someone’s feeling is a beautiful gift. Saying, “I can see how sad you are”, or, “This is really painful, isn’t […]

Surrendering to the Business of Life

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Surrendering to the Business of Life

Surrender, and you’ll find that the real Business of Life does not lie in your hands, but in the hands of Life. There’s a time when learning the tricks of business development is important; when it’s wise to set a few goals, create a vision, set up a website and social media presence, and learn strategies from those more experienced in commercial enterprise. And then there’s a time when the rules of business must be set aside, for now you hear Life calling you more clearly, more urgently than ever, saying, “You’re ready. You’re working for us now. That period of your life is over!” Entwined in these words is a recognition that you’ve done the work. You have, through years of deep self-reflection, healing and many […]

Your Fears and Beliefs Create the Edges of a Child’s Playground, and Your Own

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Your Fears and Beliefs Create the Edges of a Child’s Playground, and Your Own

“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for.” ~ Grace Murray Hopper  Child safety has become obsessive in our society. Children are being controlled to the point of having their natural play-spaces and freedom ripped away from them at an alarming rate. For instance: “…nearly 20 homes on Esgore Drive, in (Toronto), were threatened with $90 fines from the city if they did not remove hockey and basketball nets from their street in the next 20 days.” The article goes on to say that, “A bylaw… states that ‘no person shall play or take part in any game or sport upon a roadway and, where there are sidewalks, no person upon roller-skates, in-line skates or a skateboard, or riding in […]

Awakening to Darkness ~ Feeling Below the Threshold of Pseudo Spirituality and Light Chasing

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Awakening to Darkness ~ Feeling Below the Threshold of Pseudo Spirituality and Light Chasing

It’s not about feeling better, but being better able to feel. Spiritual teachers speak of awakening to the light, but how many speak of awakening to the darkness, to the grim, bleak, utter vile parts of us that shudder at the thought of being seen? It seems so simple to point skyward and say “Transcend!” It seems so clean to rise above it all, to just meditate, do your chants and say your prayers; to drink your green smoothies, say your affirmations, wear your crystals, and live the life of your dreams. It seems so wonderful to be spiritually correct, nice and nice, with a sanguine look on life. But in my experience something far more raw and real is needed from us. Something much […]