Offering Ourselves as Love

heart locket

“I do it for the joy it brings. Because I’m a joyful girl. Because the world owes me nothing; we owe each other the world.” – Ani DiFranco.

I woke up Thanksgiving morning with a heavy heart. Even though I had a full day planned, with dear friends in an outrageously beautiful home up in the mountains, there was a deep loneliness in my heart.

Curious, I lay in bed and breathed into it. Not trying to make it go away, just softening, being present with myself, and allowing it to inform me. It was old, achy, familiar, and had a story attached to it about feeling like life had forgotten about me.

The thing is, that story no longer fits. Life is good. I know what I’m here to do on this planet and have the great privilege of doing it. I have a soulful, deep, and loving community. I’ve gone through great challenge and come through the other side softer and more loving, and I’m deeply connected to spirit. Still, most of my life there’s been a longing in my heart, a sense of missing out. As if the universe were holding out on me.

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Choosing Love

Several years ago, I went through a four-year, dark-night-of-the-soul initiation of chronic physical illness, where I had everything stripped from me—my ability to function, my work in the world, many of my friends, and who I knew myself to be. I was in a free fall of uncertainty, and when I spiraled down to the bottom what was left was the Divine.

It was this relationship that sustained me.

In recent years, in my work as a somatic psychotherapist, healer, and guide, I’ve come to learn an essential lesson that’s made all the difference in my life: When “I” try and “heal” anyone from my own personal will, I end up feeling burnt out, exhausted, frustrated, and burdened from having taken on their “stuff.”

When on the other hand, I partner with the Divine, when I stop doing and start surrendering to that larger force of grace that has the ability to transform everything, miracles occur.

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Cleaning Up My Act

I have something to reveal to you. Something that people are always surprised by when they first get to know me: I’m a bit of a mess.

Not my inner world, mind you. Although I’m not perfect, I’ve spent years cultivating clarity, healthy boundaries, integrity, connection with the divine, self-love, patience, empathy, compassion, and many other important inner-world staples.

I’m talking about my outer world. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but my kitchen, for example, is a wreck. There’s a build up of gunk on my electric burners. A spider has made its home in the shelves above my fridge. And there are weeds, I kid you not, growing through the wall underneath my sink. Mostly I keep the cupboard doors closed and pray that the hole in the wall will somehow magically go away. It hasn’t yet, but I keep praying.

But something’s changing. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had a strong internal impulse to clean up my act.

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After the Flood: How to Heal Collective Trauma

sunlight through rain 1
Colorado has just lived through a collective trauma. Through it we have learned what is reliable (like community) and what is not (like the roads). One of the most challenging aspects of collective trauma is that there are many people, living side by side, having the same experience from radically different perspectives.

And the gap between those perspectives is sometimes big enough for a car to fall through.

The torrential rains have stopped here in Boulder. And life, for some, is returning to normal. The sun is shining, people are going back to work, and others are ripping up carpets from their basements, or assessing their damages. Stores are open, as are many roads.

But members of our community are still unaccounted for. Lyons and Estes and Jamestown are still underwater, so to speak. And the town of Salina has been destroyed.

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Flood of Grace

heart water drop

What a week. The Colorado floods are proof that devastation, anxiety, great love, tenderness, grief, generosity, helplessness, and grounded service all live side by side. What we think of as solid (roads, buildings, structures) is not. What we think of as ephemeral (love, care for one another, generosity), is not.

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Cracked Open

On Tuesday, I fell in the shower and cracked my tailbone… and it was one of the most sacred experiences I have ever had.

Let me explain.

I was groggy, not yet awake, and my mind was spinning. The night before I had had thick dreams about being on trial. My attorney had abandoned me right when it was my time to defend myself and I felt betrayed. I woke up hung-over with fear. I knew something big was unraveling inside of me, and it had to do with my relationship to victimhood.

I got in the shower that morning, barely back in my body, and realized, once the water was running, that my handsoap was on the sink. I stepped out to get it, slipped, and whoosh — landed smack on my tailbone.

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Open Letter to My Clients

henna hands

I realized something at the grocery store this morning, as I went to pay for my collard greens and sweet potatoes and organic chocolate and lamb.

My clients feed me.

Maybe it should have been obvious.

But for some reason, it wasn’t until that moment—when I pulled out a $50 bill that a client had given me the day before—that it clicked:

I am in a sweet, reciprocal, intimate relationship with the 50+ beautiful souls who I see in my private practice and whom I teach.

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How to Be Human

stone heart
It’s Christmas, which I don’t, being a Jew, celebrate. But, just for the record, I’m a fan of Christ—the light, the faith required to love in the face of impossibility, the healing capacities, the realization that we are all divine at our core—these are things I know to be true. And even if I didn’t, I’d still be here—smack in the middle of the darkest time of the year, the inward season— gestating the light-filled seeds for the next year. And where am I exactly? Santa Barbara. Running away, I realized this morning, from my longing. The funny thing is, it isn’t working.

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Meaning as Medicine in Chronic Illness: You are What You Believe

When we develop a chronic illness, our basic way of understanding the world dissolves. At least that how it feels. At least that’s how it felt in my case.

Somewhere in my 2nd year of living with severe multiple chemical sensitivities, I began to feel as if I were in a dying process. Not a physical death (though there were many nights when I wondered if I’d wake up in the morning), but a psychological death. I felt like my way of understanding who I was in relationship to the rest of the world, had been stripped. I was no longer a teacher, or a workshop leader. I was no longer a nature guide, or a healer. Hell, I wasn’t even someone who could buy groceries without feeling like I was going to pass out. I felt purposeless and adrift. Although I was doing everything I could to heal, I wasn’t sure I was someone who was healing. In short, I had begun the descent into the “underworld.”

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There’s No Right Way to Be Sick: How to Befriend Yourself in the Midst of Suffering

You’ve got to give the inner critic props for its tenacity. You know what I’m talking about, that voice inside that, even when we are flat on our backs with suffering, chimes in with: “Is that all you got?” Even in the midst of our sickness, it eggs us on, saying things like, “If only you were a better person, then you wouldn’t be sick.” or “Come on, stop complaining, get it together,” or my personal favorite: “If you were more spiritual, you would be well by now.”

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