What Torch Are You Carrying?

Greetings from the Sonoma Ashram in California.  It’s a beautiful place to breathe deeply, go inside and pay attention to how I am being with myself.  How deeply am I loving myself?  What parts of me need even more love?

This is from Shadow Work ® – a powerful healing journey that I use to access parts of me that are a bit buried but still wreaking havoc.  “We love all the time and we can’t stop (loving) because it’s who we are.  And when we love someone and lose them in some way, we feel the pain of that loss, and we find a way to keep that lost loved one with us by carrying something painful for them.  We carry a torch for them.  We memorialize them.”

This is one explanation as to why we behave in certain ways that remain perplexing to us.  It also explains why we haven’t manifested or experienced things we really want!  Like financial abundance, a lasting relationship, that perfect job.

These shadows show up in our adult lives often in ways that are destructive or obstacles to our living our lives to the fullest.

We are loyal to a fault at times.  We continue to carry the torch our parents or grandparents held even if it wasn’t a healthy one for them – and not a healthy one for us.

What torch are you still carrying that you are ready to put down soon?

I’ve been carrying hidden beliefs about money that came from my maternal grandfather who worked at 3 am in the “meat district” in Manhattan.  Earning money meant working as hard as possible – blood, sweat and tears. And even then….it was never enough.  Baked goods were our treats; and the meat he brought to fill our freezer was like gold.

I also find some hidden beliefs from my father.  We had years as a kid that he was out of work and there was fear.  He lived beyond his means later on in his life….it meant there was some shame about money.

I’ve been putting these torches down for a while but I still find them “in Shadow” — however, I’m preparing to put them out once and for all.   <3  #blessed

Again – what torch are you carrying that you may be ready to put down soon?


Imagine a society where the highest value was your relationship with yourself?

The relationship you have with yourself is one of the most important relationships you will ever have during your lifetime.  And even though we spend 100% of our time with ourselves, this relationship tends to be difficult…challenging.

Our society places a lot of value on external relationships; judging others for whether they are “in relationship​ with someone else​” or not​; ​someone else other than yourself​ or God.

(Gosh imagine a society where the focus was on your relationship with God as the primary goal and intention in life?  To cultivate that to the nines and value your life in terms of how that relationship was going…how good your communication was…how much sacred intimate time you spend together and how that does or doesn’t meet your needs?  But I digress…)

Okay though – let’s bring that last side bar above to the present relationship with YOU; between you and you.

What ​is your primary goal ​for your relationship with yourself?

What IS your intention for your relationship with yourself?  Are you communicating well?  Are you spending sacred intimate time with yourself and if so, how is that going?  ​Are you being kind, respectful, loving?  ​

I just had the first (almost) free weekend in about a year (no joke).  Circumstances​, ​snow storms, canceled clients, etc – and I ended up with ​almost no​ plans on FridaySaturday and Sunday.  ​Free time ​is something I have been craving (along with ​the ​spac​e​ to continue writing my book) and it was interesting to see what showed up​ instead.

Instead of pure, spa-like relaxation, I found some anxiety​, antsy-ness.  I found myself going through motions of old patterns that started when I was quite young.  I watched my mind – which went to town about things I was concerned with or unhappy about.

After some time it was really amusing!  But that’s because I’ve cultivated enough space between my thoughts and the ability to witness myself that I was able to SEE what was going on…

I was able to stop the thoughts, consciously choose what I wanted to do and laugh at myself. 
​I recently learned some new language that I’ll share with you.  In this example of what happened over my weekend, I moved between 3 different “minds.”  The ​first one is called “Emotional Mind” — and this is like a speeding train.  It’s when the mind distorts things and your emotions run wild.  This is not when your feelings are high because of something truly happening.  This is the mind doing what the mind does…taking you on a journey.

The second “mind” is called “Reasonable Mind.”  This is how it sounds.  This was me when I became aware that I was in “Emotional Mind” and stopped myself (got off the moving train).

The third “mind” is called “Wise Mind” and this is the feeling and experience you have when you’re in the flow.  When you are tuned in, aware of your intuition, following your inner guidance.  This is the “mind” I am in when I am teaching, leading, writing, working with clients, with my children…

The Lesson here is to notice.  Bring mindfulness to your thoughts and actions and notice what you are doing.  I moved myself out of “Emotional Mind” by pausing and asking myself to stop and in essence come back to “Reasonable Mind.”

It’s not always easy to bring awareness to places there typically hasn’t been, but it’s helpful to bring tools in to use and practice.  In this case, you can ask yourself, “What mind am I in right now?”  That question will give you some distance and then the ability to make a choice.

So although this article today is about being alone and what comes up for you…it’s very much about how to develop an excellent, loving, respectful relationship with YOU.  Getting to know yourself better and using healthy tools to soothe yourself, or to make conscious healthy decisions for yourself, are vital.

​Anyway, ​later I was able to enjoy being alone with myself.  I meditated, did yoga, went for a fabulous walk in the woods, wrote ​more of ​my book and ended the whole weekend by taking my daughter to dinner and watching the Academy Awards with her.

How do you feel when you are alone​ and how have you been relating with yourself lately? ​

Let’s Remove the Obstacles to Intimacy in Your Life!

Are you feeling unfulfilled and disconnected?

Single and touch deprived?  Feeling the need to share and have someone listen really deeply to you?

Ready to discover what it feels like to experience pleasure, passion, joy, and laughter ​again?


Allowing other things to get in your way?

The simple, exquisite process of ​intimacy (or into-me-you-see) starts ​from ​within—and ultimately transforms every area of your life​. ​

The kind of intimacy that nourishes every cell in your body and soul brings you a feeling of joy and peace from deep within. It is the kind of love story you read about, but typically feel like “that’s for everyone else and not for me.”  Well, today’s article will show you the clear path – three simple steps – you can take right now to unlock your heart​, CREATE THE SPACE ​and bring you back to deep love and divine connection with your lover, your friends and your family.

Showing up for something new where you know you’re going to ​TAKE RISKS to be ​your authentic self takes courage.

Unlock Step #1: Create ​A Sacred Space in Your Home Tonight

Twenty-five years ago I started spending a ​lot of amount of time at ​Kripalu.  The healing I did there was profound but when I came home, it got lost in the ​shuffle of my busy life.  I got distracted by my endless “to-do” list, my work, my son, cleaning the house, etc.  Almost anything could distract me from sitting quietly and connecting deeply with myself.  Until I create a sacred space for myself​ – and then my life changed.  ​

At the time I was living in a tiny apartment in the city and did not have any extra rooms to light candles in or meditate in. What did I do? I set up a small table in the corner of the dining room (of all places!) and every single morning I sat down at that table, lit a candle, and meditated. ​ I created a space for INTIMACY WITH MYSELF.  ​

You can create a sacred space just for you (or for you and your beloved) anywhere in your home.  This​ would​ ​become ​your space to breathe, meditate, do yoga, journal; connect with yourself, your partner and the Universe.  Give yourself the gift of 5-10 minutes (more is better but even a few minutes is fabulous) to come back to your heart.

Unlock Step #2: Speak Your Truth

Speaking your truth is ​sometimes ​harder than it sounds​.  ​

Most of us when we grow up are taught to hide the truth.  Not to be so bold and honest for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings, right? ​​​ However, not speaking the truth ​eventually​ erodes ​the very core​ of our being​; our sense of self and our confidence. Suddenly we don’t know who we are anymore.

​Creating more intimacy in your life means sharing who you are; your essence.  And your words express who you are.  ​Speak your truth – share your true opinions, your clear desires, your discerning needs, your thoughts, feelings…all of it.  Start small – choose someone close to you who is also on a personal growth path.  Practice, get feedback and get good at it.  Then try with others​ who you are less comfortable with​.  Don’t let your hiding get in the way.  Intimacy means allowing people to see who you truly are (and you, them.)

Unlock Step #3: Assume Everyone Is Doing Their Best

How often do you hear people taking something personally. The doctor was late and it was an affront to you; the guy speeding on the highway is “out to get me” — even the weather can be a perpetrator!

My experience is that most people feel this way. They grow up wondering why the world is against them and take most things that happen personally.  Making a shift to assuming everyone is doing their best and not out to get you brings you to a deep place of love, acceptance and forgiveness. 

In some ways this is not an easy task.  You will need to find a way to remind yourself but believe me the practice is well worth it!  The next time you find yourself wondering why the traffic light at the corner hates you, or the impending storm has your number, take a breath, remind yourself that the Universe is good and actually has your back (whether you believe that or not) and assume everyone around you is doing their best, that none of these things are personal to you (the world doesn’t revolve around us which is the good news!).
If you truly believe this, you will ​easily ​create more ​intimacy​ in your life than you ever thought possible. These three steps to unlock your path to intimacy ​are life-changing.

Being seen and known for who you truly are is one of our deepest human needs. Join me in opening your heart to the constant state of love that is possible and unlock the path to true intimacy in your life.

​Give yourself the gift of time, and intention to make space for intimacy.  Invite your partner, or friend to share openly and honestly.  Find the right environment where you can get your touch needs met.  Create a sacred space in your home to ground, and connect with yourself.  You won’t regret it!

Seeing the Beloved in Everyone – Part 2

This article is the second one of a series on seeing the Beloved in Everyone (you can read Part 1 here)

Do you have to BELIEVE that everyone you come across with is a potential life partner? Or best friend?  Or lover, beloved in order for this practice to work?

Well, YES.  But also NO.  In some way, this is a “fake it ’til you make it” practice.  Because OF COURSE you don’t fully believe that everyone in the workshop room is potential lover of yours.  Not if you ask and respond with your mind, with your thinking/assessing/judging mind.

But if it were really, 100% true?  Then what?  How would you act in that room?  How would you feel about yourself?  Would you:

  • Feel more relaxed?  Less anxious about making a connection with someone?
  • Stop worrying that all the good ones are taken and know that “yours” is right around the corner?
  • Feel exuberant, ecstatic, gleeful that everyone you meet in that space was an opportunity for something interesting to occur?  
  • Feel confident to initiate a conversation, ask for what you want? 
  • Say “no” with ease?  And “yes” with ease?

The thing is that we are all invited to Be Love in every moment; we are “charged” with it.  But something stops us.  We worry about being judged, we’re afraid people aren’t going to like us, we are afraid of being honest, we get scared, etc.

When you’re surrounded by love (which this practice brings right to you), you become who you truly are….because there is no reason to be anybody else!  No need to impress, to say the right thing, to pretend to be someone you’re not.

So again…

I invite you to continue practicing seeing the beloved in everyone. When you jump to judgment or assessment of someone else, you are immediately taken out of love.  This will immediately block you from getting the love you want in your life.

Fake it till you make it….and you WILL MAKE IT.  ​

For those of you that come to the Intimate Puja Circles, how does this help you frame them differently? 

Do this for an entire day and then SHARE on our FB page what you notice​!  I’d love to hear from you!  ​

Seeing the Beloved in Everyone – Part 1

What if instead of looking around a workshop (or online even before it starts), or at an event you’re at, or party you were invited to, and deciding there’s no one there you’re attracted to, no “mate material,” no one there you want to have sex with…what if…

INSTEAD — you saw EVERYONE AS A POTENTIAL LIFE PARTNER???  How would that be for you?

Imagine walking into a room of 100 people, half of them the gender you’re attracted to and knowing deep in your heart that all of them are possible life partners, soul mates, dating prospects, lovers?

How cool would that be?

This article is the first one of a series on seeing the Beloved in Everyone.  Tantra is about seeing and experiencing the divine in yourself first; and understanding that everyone you come into contact with a reflection for you.

The practices we do bring us a deeper love – for ourselves; and the ability to then attract more love to you whether that be with a new partner or your current one.

Some Tantric principles that apply here:

1. We are all divine beings.
2. We reflect each others’ divinity.
3. Truthfully, we are all one aspect of God (but that gets more complex than we are talking about here).
4. Love is the path to awakening.
5. Transformation and awakening happen at a speedier rate when you’re in relationship. 
6. Everyone you meet is love but is struggling with the past (traumas and fears).
7. Our duty as awakened beings is to bring love wherever we go.

I invite you right now, today, to practice seeing the beloved in everyone.  Seriously, later today when you go to the grocery store – as you walk in the door – repeat after me, “Everyone in this supermarket is a potential lover” (even if you’re in relationship, practice this).

For those of you that come to the Intimate Puja Circles, how would that change them for you? 

Do this for an entire day and then PLEASE WRITE on our FB page what you noticed?  This is LIFE CHANGING.  Seriously. 

The Modern Practice of Puja

SUMMARY FROM LAST WEEK:  Puja is an ancient cultural tradition that has unknown roots. Some scholars believe that the practice began during Vedic times (1500 – 600 BCE) where the word puja has been found in the Sutras (which were composed to describe domestic rites, prayers, rituals).  In these years, it appears that puja mostly referred to the time when a priest was visiting a home to offer a ritual to the family.  A deity was being honored and was considered an invited guest.The puja ritual helped the family embrace the god/goddess’ spiritual essence so that it permeated the home and the people in it.   

In the 1980s, a man named Charles Muir, is said to have been one of the first teachers to bring tantra to the modern world in the west.  Honestly, I doubt this is true.  His book, “The Art of Conscious Loving” is fabulous (co-written with his wife at the time, Caroline Muir).  He and Caroline developed a sexual healing technique known today as “sacred spot massage” and as we know, anything with a focus on sex gets popularized quickly!  I’m not judging their work; I have found it very healing myself and recommend it to those drawn.  

And then there is Osho – the mystic, and the revolutionary the sex guru. Born in 1931 in Kuchwada, Madya Pradesh, India, Osho supposedly became enlightened at the age of 21.  He followed a career as a philosophy professor, later traveled all over India and was worshipped by thousands of people.  Around 1970 he started initiating devotees and in 1974 he started an Ashram in Poona.  In 1981, he relocated to the US, offering his version of tantra to the folks who joined him at his ashram in California.  

The question of WHO created the version of Tantric puja that embraces intimacy instead of meditation to a deity is unknown.  However, the question still remains whether we are honoring of the puja practice in its origin or diluting an ancient practice and doing a disservice.  

Let’s review the components I enumerated last week:

1.  The deity is invited to the ceremony.

2.  The deity is offered a seat and his/her feet are ceremonially washed.

3.  Water is offered for cleansing.

4.  A cloth may be wrapped around the deity.

5.  The deity is then adorned with incense, ornaments, jewels and more.

6.  A burning lamp, or candle, is waved in front of the honored one.

​​​​​​​7.  Foods such as cooked rice, fruit, and sweets are offered.

8.  The attendees bow to take homage in the energy the deity is providing.

9.  The attendees walk around the deity.
​​​​​​​10. The attendees leave.


And now let’s compare them to the Intimate Puja Circle as I choose to lead it:

1.  Women and men are invited to the ceremony.

2.  The women are offered a seat.

3.  Cleansing is done before we arrive at the puja ceremony via movement, sometimes water, sometimes fire, often breathing and releasing.

4.  Cloth is provided on the altar to create sacred space for our divine experience.

5.  The women most often adorn themselves (and we adorn the altar with ornaments, jewels, incense, etc.)

6.  We have a representation of a candle on the altar.

7.  Foods such as fruit and sweets are offered.

8.  The participants honor each other via non-sexual touch, eye gazing, energetic connection to begin to see/feel the divinity is in each of us.

9.  The outside circle moves around the goddess in the center.

​​​​​​​10. The participants leave at the end. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

So as you can see, the steps taken during a puja ceremony are similar here and there which fares well for staying in integrity.  But the real, the underlying question is whether or not the Intimate Puja Circle is a journey towards awakening.  And my answer to that question is YES. 

It can seem like it’s about getting touch needs met, learning to say “yes” when you mean “yes” and “no” when you mean “no” — and it can seem that it’s about having a good massage, or raising sexual energy which feels good.  It can seem that it’s about getting together twice/month and being in community.  For some, it can be about making money, or living in a nice home or meeting their life partner.

And there’s the thing — all those things are great!  They truly are….it’s so important that our words express our highest truth, that we are most often expressing our authenticity, that we feel good, get good touch regularly, make enough money so that we feel comfortable, and meet a life partner if that’s what we want.  I would never and will never underestimate the importance of these aspects of our lives.

And yet, it’s all for nothing if it’s not about AWAKENING.  This ancient practice (along with other ones of course) have demonstrated over the years to be a tool on the path to awakening.  It has the capacity to transcend who we think we are, and help us find out who we really are. The sacred ritual has the capacity to open our hearts to the Truth — the the Oneness of the Universe, to deep honest connection with God/Spirit and to realize that we are forever held in love.  And that we are love and nothing else is true.  Imagine that!

So in the end, I believe it has much to do with intention.  How I hold the space when I facilitate is paramount to what gets created, expressed and manifested in that space.  And just as important is how everyone in the room holds the space.  I realize there are different degrees of understanding and also we are all on different stones on the same path….but the overall intention is sacred and loving.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Let’s Get Scholarly Before We Get Sexy: What is a पूजा?

As I mentioned in my last article, the word puja is a sanskrit word that translates to mean sacred ritual, or ceremony. It is used by the Hinkus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others for a variety of reasons. It is most often used to honor a deity (god or goddess) to celebrate her character traits (and ideally see them as a reflection of what we have inside ourselves, too). A puja happens on specific Hindu or Buddhist holidays. It is also used during specific celebrations like a birth or death, and is basically the prayer and ritual itself to honor the occasion.

Pujas vary in terms of how they are done. Some people do them daily, some less frequently, and some just for special occasions. How they are organized, the steps taken, the deities honored, can all vary according to culture, region in Asia, religion, family tradition and individual practice. The good news is that it doesn’t matter. The location isn’t dictated either. The ritual of Puja is done in temples, at home or in an outside location for worship.

The temple (or mandir) pujas tend to be more elaborate with statues of gods and goddesses, jewels, beautiful scarves, candles, incense and more. They tend to be led by a “temple priest” or pujari, whose honor it is to take care of the puja, and welcome the Guest (god or goddess) each morning.

Pujas done in the home are usually less elaborate. As long as they are done with the sacredness that is intended, they have the capacity to be beautiful, soulful, spiritual ways to honor deeply.

Whether they are done in the home or in the temple, in the east pujas often follow similar steps outlined here:

1. The deity is invited to the ceremony.

2. The deity is offered a seat and his/her feet are ceremonially washed.

​​​​​​​3. Water is offered for cleansing.

​​​​​​​4. A cloth may be wrapped around the deity.

​​​​​​​5. The deity is then adorned with incense, ornaments, jewels and more.

6. A burning lamp, or candle, is waved in front of the honored one.

​​​​​​​7. Foods such as cooked rice, fruit, and sweets are offered.

8. The attendees bow to take homage in the energy the deity is providing.

9. The attendees walk around the deity.
​​​​​​​10. The attendees leave.

Puja is an ancient cultural tradition that has unknown roots. Some scholars believe the practice began during Vedic times (1500 – 600 BCE) where the word puja has been found in the Sutras (composed to describe domestic rites, prayers, rituals). In these years, it appears that puja mostly referred to the time when a priest was visiting a home to offer a ritual to the family. The deity was considered an invited guest and the puja invited the god/goddess’ spiritual essence to permeate the home and the people in it.

We can already begin to see how pujas in the west reflect the ancient traditional pujas of the east.

Stay tuned for next week’s article on how puja migrated to the east and whether or not the modern practices of the west are in fact in integrity with the true practice of puja.

What is a Puja Anyway?

Each step up the spiral black metal staircase was intentional, careful…curious, and cold on the bottoms of my not-yet-summer-callused bare feet.  My breath deepened as I arrived into the space I thought was only a sleeping space.  Instead when I raised my eyes, I found myself in front of a beautiful altar and lambswool rugs with cushions for us to sit together.  The altar set with a bright orange silk cloth was covered with statues of deities, photos of holy looking men and women, posters of Hanuman and Krishna and Ganesh, a small picture of Ram Dass, a candle burnt at the tip, beautiful boxes and other obvious keepsakes of experiences from a younger time.

He invited me to sit facing each other; to breathe together.  To gaze into each others’ eyes.  The energy, potent and powerful, ran through my veins and through my entire body.

Soon Shubal asked me if he could perform a Durga Puja for me.  Not quite knowing whatit was exactly, but sure it would be an honoring experience, I said yes.  Soon he was chanting in sanskrit (the ancient language of India), and although I didn’t know everything he was saying, there were many words I recognized:  Durga, Kali, Shakti, Om and more.  Flowers landed at my feet and Shubal performed many ritual acts of acknowledging the divine goddess in me.  I sat with my eyes closed and took in the energy.

I had been leading “pujas” of the western variety for years.  Although they are quite different, in form and structure, from the one my soon-to-be-beloved performed with me that day, the intention is the same and the outcome similar.

The word ‘puja‘ is a sanskrit word that means offering.  However, many sanskrit words have more than one meaning and such it is with the word ‘puja.’  As I understand it, puja, also means reverence, honor, worship and adoration.  It’s used by the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and others — as a ceremony to honor a very special occasion; it’s also used more often as part of a sacred ritual, or practice to support opening to the wisdom of the Divine — our individual and collective source.

Puja is done differently in the east and the west; but it is also performed differently from person-to-person, teacher-to-teacher, student-to-student.

What does the Durga Puja I experienced have in common with the Intimate Puja Circles I lead?  They both:

1.  Invite God, or the Divine, into our awareness.
2.  Assert that we are each an individual reflection of the Divine.
3.  Use breath to presence yourself.
4.  Are a sacred ritual, or practice.
6.  Result in feeling more deeply connected and loved.
7.  May use pranayam or asana to open the body.
8.  Are symbolic expressions of honoring the goddess within.

And more.

Come Back to Love: A Self Loving Lifestyle

​It’s a powerful time right now.  The Earth is showing us her power, the dark is entering the light, it’s renewal time for those celebrating the Jewish New Year and on the Hindu calendar it’s ​the holiest of holidays – Navaratri.
​If you are feeling tired from all the energy swirling around – I’m not surprised.  I am!
​All of these holidays/events, suggest that it’s time to enrich yourself by ​pausing, breathing more deeply, taking things in slowly (rather than allowing things to rush past you) and considering carefully and intentionally how you want to spend your time.

​​​​​​​According to the guru at the Sonoma Ashram, Baba Harihar Ramji (Babaji),
​”Navaratri is a time to enrich yourself with whatever you feel you are lacking. Be it good health, emotional strength, material wealth.​.​.whatever you need, this is the time to hold that prayer in your heart.  Receive Mother’s blessing as you observe Navaratri with focused devotion.​”​
Navratri–or the nine sacred days–mark the most auspicious days of the lunar calendar according to Hinduism.  Celebrated with fervour and festivity all over north India, and every Hindu community the world over, these nine days are dedicated solely to Maa Durga (goddess Durga) and her nine avatars.
Each day a different celebration, honoring and acknowledging a different aspect of the Goddess — of SELF.
​​​​​​​Most people do not incorporate enough self LOVING activities that support the mind, body and spirit and counter the stress in their lives or celebrate all the different aspects that make us the unique, beautiful and brilliant beings that we are!

​During this week, and next…a time of renewal (Rosh Hashonah), finding balance (Equinox) and enrichment (Navaratri), take a moment to sit quietly, and allow yourself to dream of the ways you are ready to LOVE YOURSELF even more.

​​​​To that end, ​here are a few suggestions:

  1. Take regular baths​ and add Epsom salts. Not only do we need down time to relax and soak, but our modern lives require us to have more magnesium (since stress depletes it from our bodies). ​L​ight candles, put on ​your​ favorite movie, and indulge in this nurturing ritual. Add 1-2 cups of salt and relax!
  2. Get a massage this week​. Massage has a drastic effect on easing stress and anxiety, as you already know! But do you mostly give massages, rather than receive one yourself?
  3. Perform a daily​ self-massage (another way to get one)! For the same reasons as above, a daily massage with warm​ sesame​ oil will do wonders​ for you. ​
  4. Create a daily routine. Find set times to wake up, eat, and sleep. The regular rhythm​ ​allows your body to relax into “knowing” what to expect and when​.​​
  5. Practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep before 10 pm​,​ do not watch TV ​after 9 pm, and sleep with the lights off.​ Wrapping your feet in a cool wash cloth is soothing to your adrenals and helps you sleep better! ​
  6. ​​​​Meditate and breathe. If nothing else, five minutes​/day and at best – 20 minutes.
  7. ​​​​Tired in the afternoon? The practice of Y​oga ​Nidra​, performed around 3–4 pm can have profound effects on rejuvenation.​ So can adding a delicious super food smoothie!
  8. Avoid too much sensory stimulation (I’m working on this one!)​ Give yourself​ a cell phone holiday through the day or consider yoga or a walk instead of watching TV.​​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​And here’s a suggestion for some SELF-LOVING herbal and essential oil support:

  1. ​​​​​​​Ashwagandha is a beautiful adaptogen, bringing balance to stress just about anywhere in the body. It has a particular affinity to the adrenal glands and can help promote sound sleep.
  2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Rose or Lavender oil ​help your body relax and calm down; the rose reminds us of LOVE and brings that “Come Back to Love” feeling right back!
  3. Tulsi tea is wonderful for balancing…

​Last but not least, create a ritual for yourself to honor the different aspects of the Divine Feminine in you (whether you are male or female bodied). This refers to your ability to be flexible, to flow with change, to shift directions if it feels like you’re heading away from, not closer to, your authentic path. It refers to times when you are able to just BE (and not DO) and to the ways you listen to your own heart (and to others as well.)

How to Come Back To Love Even When It’s Hard

Recently I went through one of those life trials where I might instead think, “Another f—ing growth opportunity!”  F.E.A.R was running the show.  Do you know some of the acronyms for “fear?”  Fck.Everything.And.Run is my favorite.  Also, False.Evidence.Appearing.Real another favorite of mine.

As you know I spend my life practicing “come back to love” — not only professionally…but very much so personally…in everything I do.  From parenting to relationship to taking care of my pets to self-care and so much more….BE-ing LOVE is what I believe is the reason we are here on the planet.  And it’s a spiritual practice.  It’s not just a state of being (for those you thinking that if you were in relationship, you could BE LOVE then…..”if only.”  No, it’s about BE-ing LOVE now. In this next breath you take…and the next one).

I know it’s just words on the screen right now for many of you. And for others it’s easy – you feel happy and joyful and, well, loving!  But what about when it gets hard to love?  When the rubber meets the road as it did in my life recently.  “Oh, I got a taste of my own medicine,” Greg said.  (smile!)  And I did (the good tasting kind though).

What I trust is that the Universe brings us around and around to experiences on purpose.  It isn’t random — it is purposeful in that the experiences have sometimes hidden, and sometimes obvious, but always POTENT — messages and growth opportunities for us.  And it is the ones that touch upon our deepest wounds where the rubber meets the road, coming back to love feels impossible and we’d rather run in the other direction instead of facing the truth.  This is CBTL at its best and highest level.

My personal story:  

Many of you know that I have experienced a fair amount of loss in my life.  My mother died when I was 10 years old, my father 20 years later and my partner a few years after that.  That’s the very short butchered headline version but it’s enough in order to share the rest of this story.  You get the point.

In the early days after my mother died, I felt very closed off, shut down and not open to deep connections.  I had a boyfriend who loved me but I could not open my heart to him.  I had a few good friends but feared making new ones lest I need to share my heartbreaking story and feel it all over again – so I stuck with the friends I had.

Growing up and good therapy (and a supportive husband) really helped.  I spent the better part of my 20s and early 30s healing some very deep wounds.  And guess what happened?  I learned to trust again, open my heart, connect in precious ways with my children, my partner, my friends.  My whole life changed.  I felt happy.  I was beginning to learn that love was available to me.

These days I experience myself as someone who trusts people, trusts the world and trusts life.

Enter new relationship.

As I said just a moment ago, the Universe (God) brings us what we need to heal the next piece on our life journey.  The specific details of what happened aren’t important to share.  What IS important to share is how mistrusting I had been in this new relationship – which SURPRISED ME so much!!!  What?  Me?  Seriously.

Of course, God set it up so that I could feel mistrusting.  But mainly I watched my mind create story after story – chock full of reasons to mistrust him, to mistrust the relationship.  Stories the mind makes up are very easy to believe. (Try it right now….tell yourself a story about something or someone and see how easy it is to believe!)

You see our minds (I call our minds, our egos…the opposite of love) do not want us to wake up and BE LOVE in a conscious way all the time.  The mind has another agenda — attachment and distraction mostly.  The mind wants to bring us down.  (Look at any sad or angry feeling you have right now and you will see that it comes from a THOUGHT or belief you have; a thought that comes from the mind.  The thought shows up and the feelings in response/reaction happen as a result.)   

I told myself a lot of stories that led me to believe that my partner was not trustworthy and that I could not trust the relationship.  And what I wanted was for him to do something differently.

Here’s the key: The key is that I wanted him to change; to do something differently in order for me to feel better.  I wanted him to stop X and do Y so I could rest easy and feel trusting.  HOWEVER (and here’s the key really), if he had acquiesced, I would not have had the opportunity to turn it around and look inside instead.  And this was the HARD PART.  This was the “Come Back To Love” boot camp.  My triggered parts were screaming and yelling (inside) in fear….I wanted to run away, leave and I felt very justified to do so.  I even had some of my friends convinced (hey, a good story is a good story!)

  • It’s easy to be loving when all is going well.
  • It’s easy to be loving when you’re not triggered, or feeling reactive.
  • It’s easy to be loving when something, or someone is nice, kind, open, heartfelt, adorable.

It’s really hard to be loving when you’re doing the really hard work of healing; this needs to be done first.  AND, as I said before, this is where the most POTENT opportunity is.  This is where you clean out the cobwebs.  This is where you have the opportunity to experience LOVE at its highest level; getting closer to a state of awakening, or enlightenment or perfect peace. 

This is where you begin with yourself (and God/Universe who brought you this experience) and know that it’s between “you and you.”  I knew after looking at this over and over again for a few months that I needed to focus on my part.  And my part was between me and me.  My part of the story, of the roller coaster I felt like I was on, was about my own mistrust.  Ways that I was still not trusting men, not trusting love and not trusting myself.

It’s too much to put in this one journal entry, this one article (you’ll hear A TON about this in my book when it’s published) but suffice to say that:

  1. I felt triggered because I was telling myself reasons not to trust.
  2. I believed my mind was telling me the truth.  Then I was reacting to those thoughts.
  3. I wanted my partner to change so I could feel better.
  4. I had the awareness and wisdom to look at myself and turn things around so I could see what was happening between “me and me.”
  5. I trust the Universe brings me situations/people/circumstances so I can do the next piece of healing that my soul is ready for (in this case: TRUST)
  6. When I looked at myself, I could see there were still things from my past (that had to do with my parents and my father in particular) that still needed healing.
  7. I did a lot of really deep healing work.
  8. I learned to trust at an even deeper level than I had been trusting; and I see how mistrust had crept in and was hanging around…until I could see it and heal from it.

After reading this, I’m curious what your take-aways are? (click that link and you’ll land in my inbox.) I said a lot and any one of those paragraphs above could be a chapter in a book.  There is so much to say.

Come Back To Love is a practice. I had an experience of CBTL when it was hard to do.  It felt impossible. I was convinced I was right and he was wrong.  I wanted him to stop.  Once I saw myself, my own story from my past, worked on my relationship with my parents, my parts inside relaxed and felt trusting again.  Or perhaps trusting at a level that I haven’t before.

This to me, is CBTL at its best!