What Does the Mirror Have to Share with You?

I explore and play a lot with a core concept of unity consciousness that everything we think and feel is reflected back through our relational experiences. The relational experiences may be with people, with nature, with our bodies and one of my favorites ways…with horses. More about horses later. First, I'd like to share a story.

View looking north to San Francisco from the top of St. Joseph Hill

View looking north to San Francisco from the top of St. Joseph Hill

Sunday morning, the sun was out and the air was crisp and cool, offering ideal weather to be out in nature. I felt so alive in my body and ready to move so a friend and I hopped on our mountain bikes and started up a local mountain that offers an array of wild flowers in bloom and a beautiful expansive view of the Bay Area at the top. On clear days, views reach all the way up to San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Tamaulipas, North to Oakland, East to Mount Hamilton and Lick Observatory and South in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Often hawks float above surfing the wind and if clouds are around, they share a shape-shifting dance in the sky.

Not surprising that on this weekend morning lots of people were out walking their dogs and hiking the trail and my friend commented that often when he rides he will pass people on the trail and say hello and they don’t always respond with a “hello” back. I asked him why he thought that was so. He replied, “because they wear ear buds and don’t hear me.”  

Hmmmm, this got me curious to explore.

I wondered what would happen if we greeted everyone we passed with a smile and a “hello” while holding the thought and feeling, “I see you and appreciate your unique presence in the world.” My friend’s eye opened wide with playfulness and he said, “YES! Let’s see what happens.”

So as we approached a group of three, we focused our attention on seeing them and expressing a “hello” from our hearts without any attachment for a response. Each one responded with a big smile and “Good Morning!”

We didn’t just blast a “HELLO!!” at high volume to everyone. We first noticed the state of the other, and as we approached someone who appeared a bit more reserved and “inward” focused, our greeting was quieter.

As we continued to meet each person and group with our greeting, we noticed varying responses. Sometimes eyes would light up and big smiles would explode across faces and we would hear vivacious hellos and good mornings and sometimes it would be a twinkle in the eye or a quiet hello.

Every time, Every. Time. we received a greeting, both verbal and non-verbal, in response that felt like an opening of hearts connecting to see each other.

Our conversation on the ride home spotlighted the way the external world reflected our internal state of being and we noticed that through giving to others, we felt gratitude, alive and nourished.

What I continue to learn is there is no end to love, joy and gratitude when giving from a state of wholeness. However, when I attempt to give from a place of depletion or separation from my heart, the relational experience gives feedback that offers a redirection to explore the thoughts and feelings inside.

It’s a continual practice and takes courage to stay open and curious and not walk around with a closed heart. What helps me too is the awareness that we are all radiant beings connected through an invisible field sharing a human experience and that the feedback and information is just that, information to explore.

Infinite portals exist for exploration and one that I find both powerfully revealing and gently compassionate is stepping into a round pen with a horse. Why? The gentle way a horse provides feedback. Because they are a prey animal with a highly attuned nervous system, they sense and respond to the electromagnetic signature we broadcast and physically show through their movement what we what we are thinking and feeling. When they feel an incongruence in the relational field, it activates the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight/freeze) and their first response is flight.

An example of incongruence may look something like this. We separate from our heart the moment we believe a judgment like “I did something wrong” or “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do this” and feel emotions like fear, worry or frustration, the horse senses this separation and will move away.

It can be challenging to find you when you’ve abandoned yourself. What I appreciate about the equus experience is the gentle way the horse provides this feedback. Through compassionate exploration, when you return and remember who you really are, the horse will quickly respond to this shift and move towards you.

What people often find after having an equus experience is that everyone becomes a horse. Our animal bodies sense and respond to what is broadcast in the relational field just like horses, we just have forgotten how to tune into this information. So, if you’re curious to see how you show up, lead and express yourself in your relationships and open your heart and remember who you really are, I invite you to join me for an upcoming equus experience.

And I’m curious to hear what you’re noticing. Please share in the comments below what your relational experiences are showing you.

With love and gratitude for your presence in the world.

Welcome 2017!

As the first day of 2017 winds down, I feel deep gratitude and excitement for all that is possible. 2016 sure included big work and a personal practice of surrendering over and over. A dear friend expressed it in these two words that describes the journey perfectly. "Fierce Grace."

I am grateful for this Fierce Grace and all the relational experiences that continue to guide me home to love and strengthen my trust in the organizing intelligence of life.

As many of you share your personal journeys both in words and non-verbal expressions, you show me we are on this journey together having individual experiences contributing to the whole collective process. THANK YOU for all your work!! I'm so incredibly grateful for you!

A conversation with my sister last week inspired me to write down my evolving practice over the last several years. I share it with you in humble gratitude for all the beautiful generous souls (there are SO MANY) that have shown up in my life and supported the creation of this practice.

Gratitude for this moment, moment by moment.
When feeling stuck, ask this question, "What would love do?"
Listen with an open heart.
Surrender my will to the will of the Divine.
BE the full expression of love in service to the well BEing for all.
Love this body that carries this expression around. 
Laugh, dance and play in community! 
Turn inward and soften when noticing and feeling the pain of separation. As my friend Brandy expresses, "PAIN is a call to Pay Attention Inside Now." 
Meditate each day.
Embrace my shadow with compassion.
FEEL the infinite love surrounding and supporting always...falling deeper and deeper into the Divine love that I am, that you are, that we all are.
See the Divine in all.

My prayer for 2017

Now, together, may we walk this journey of life in love, kindness, and joy moment by moment returning home to love and wholeness, radiating this infinite, unconditional Divine love to all beings everywhere. May all beings experience this love and inner peace.

I love you.

Cracking the Shell and Integrating Your Shadow

I read this quote on a friend's Facebook post last week that put into words the shadow integration work I've witnessed with clients and in my own world. 

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.
— Cynthia Occelli

I'm in awe of the courage and commitment clients demonstrate and self-compassion they develop when cracking the shell and shattering limiting beliefs on their integration journey. At times the journey may feel hard and impenetrable and requires bravery to explore the rigid thinking and unconscious patterns creating suffering. Then when that shell cracks, it opens to expose the exquisite beauty present in all beings. 

Then this morning I read this blog post written by 12-year-old Teo, a brilliant young man with autism who does not yet use verbal language. In the last year he started sharing his world using a letter board method of communication call RPM (Rapid Prompting Method). He has a lot to share!

As we peel away the hardened outer layer of ourselves, our soft and smooth souls are revealed. What will you decide to become today? This egg will become egg salad. (Referring to an egg in a photo) I will become a better friend to other autistics who come here today to do RPM with Lenae.

I am so incredibly grateful for Teo's openness and generosity to share the depth of his wisdom and offer a very different perspective of autism. Our society carries a painful story of individuals with autism that does not embrace Teo's wholeness and misses the wonder and curiosity that Teo's wholeness embodies. My pre-verbal 14-year-old son Ian teaches me every day that the way to connect occurs when I slow down to Be.

This is simple in concept and challenging in a culture that rewards hard work and conditions us to embrace a pattern of Doing. The result is we forget how to slow down and Be. There is very little room to open to connection and develop trust when we're in the director's chair running the show, keeping track of details and problem solving all day long. With all that mental activity, life gets exhausting and you may not even be aware how much this pattern of Doing leads your life and blocks access to your inner wisdom.

It may look like this. When we believe we need to get something done, we push through the exhaustion which trains the body to ignore the cues to slow down. When the mind and body no longer work together as an integrated team and we move fast in Doing mode, we also miss subtle cues in relationships and always ultimately with self, creating a sense of separation. The longer we override the cues, the louder the pain becomes and life and relationships appear to fall apart. It's like there is a greater consciousness watching and waiting for us to slow down, connect to inner wisdom and develop an inner trust.   

I use the pronoun "we" because I am intimately familiar with this pattern and have been working on integrating and repatterning the "director" strategy that operates out of fear for years. It's not that the director is bad or wrong. The need to control the external environment originates in fear for survival. When leading from the heart and an integrated mind and body, this director softens and becomes kind and compassionate and listens with curiosity and an agility to respond with flexibility to the ever changing environment.

With the years of practice Doing and problem solving, the analytical mind wires the brain to search for a cause, identify a problem and develop a solution. I got really good at this when my son started having seizures at one year and was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2. It's been quite a journey and I practice slowing down every day! So it may take practice, patience and persistence to integrate a different way of being and create a healthy, integrated mind and body that thrives in any environmental condition.

The process can be super painful and challenging (mostly when I resist) and each time I catch myself Doing in all the various forms, the wisdom to slow down and listen integrates a little deeper and the next time I may start listening a littler earlier. I now see this as divine wisdom guiding me to lead from the heart. 

If you're feeling overwhelmed and like the world is cracking apart or you notice you've been pushing and overdoing to the point of exhaustion, here is a practice I share with clients and personally use when I notice an inner pressure creating discomfort. 

I invite you to experience this process as an observer witnessing your animal body and analytical mind doing what it does. As an observer, you will stay present with what moves through and be less likely to personalize the experience.

  • Start with focusing your attention on your breath and take a few, long deep breaths.
  • Then focus on your hands. Rest them on your lap with palms facing up, open and relaxed. Notice any sensations of your blood pulsing in and out of your hands and stay here for at least a few breath cycles up to as long as feels relaxing. As you stay here, continue deepening and lengthening your breath.
  • Ask yourself the question, "What am I feeling?" Notice any physical sensations in your body. This isn't about trying to fix anything, stay with the noticing. Your mind may jump to analyzing, that's totally okay. Notice that and a phrase I use is, "I hear you and thank you for being such a powerful mind, I choose to stay here with the sensation now." Whatever you notice is okay, there is no wrong way to experience what is alive in you. Just notice what moves.
  • This step is optional depending on your environment. I suggest this step when you are in a space where you won't feel any need to control the sound that surfaces. Some clients do this in a car or in a room when no one else is home. It may surprise you what moves through as you open and drop resistance and be with what is alive here. During exhale, open to the possibility of a sound surfacing. It may rise up as a quiet sigh all the way up to a loud scream. Again, there is no wrong way to experience this.

If you give this a try, I would love to hear what you find by sharing in the comments below or drop me an email. We're in this together and as we share and support each other through our shadow integration, we show each other what's possible. Your presence matters! Thank you for BEing you.  

Love, Diane

If you're interested in exploring more shadow integration, I've collaborated with Clayton Ainger to offer the 48-Hour Negativity Detox Retreat June 24-26 at the beautiful Spirit House in Woodside, CA. You will find all the details here. Or explore The Integration of You on my website for options ranging from monthly community calls to a 13-week integration journey.

The Winds of Wisdom

Last night, I was lying on the couch reading a book as my “ageless and all-ages” son Lane typed away at his computer and asked me to read something…..THIS something.

It’s funny to think about. When you are 11 years old, you are also 10 and 9 and 8 and 7 and 6 and 5 and 4 and 3 and 2 and 1. Just because you give yourself a present age doesn’t mean that’s your age. A part of you will still want to play with toys or play silly games. You have already had all those ages.

So think about it like this. You are in a singing competition and there are 10 stages. As soon as you get through 9 you have conquered those. You might not have to do those ever again but the experience you get, then benefit you later. Live your life. Take chances. Be crazy. Don’t wait, because right now is the oldest you’ve been and the youngest you’ll be ever again.
— Lane Hunter

Wow, his wisdom works for all ages and I see this beautiful expression as the essence of the Integration of You program. He is so my son! We are all connected...one heart, one mind, one love.

This theme of living now and taking chances is showing up everywhere. What I hear from my clients over and over again lately is “I am ready to feel whole, free and live my life with joy.”

They humble me with their courage when exploring the depths of the subconscious and the patterns that create pain and suffering. They meet themselves with a curious eye and “I”, an open heart, and sense of wonder for what they learn through the journey of integration, turning suffering into wisdom.  

It takes bravery to see what wants to be seen, hear what wants to be heard and feel what wants to be felt, especially the parts that feel scary. It takes humility and a flexible mind to consider a different perspective. It takes vulnerability to open the heart and listen in stillness for the soul’s melody and harmony of life.

At times the journey feels intense and hard and there is no way around it so when we do the work in a safe space supported by community, compassion and grace, the energy moves with more ease and gets freed up for creativity and play. Through the journey of integration, what also surfaces is the awareness of innocence and self-compassion and a much kinder world. In these moments of exploration, pain transforms into freedom, suffering transforms into wisdom and separation unifies into wholeness.

I am so incredibly grateful for family and community who have supported and continue to support my personal integration journey laying the foundation and preparing me for the next steps in my journey. Now, in collaboration with amazing friends and powerful partners, we have co-created experiences to support the integration journey. You’ll find details and links for the upcoming retreat offerings on the homepage here and please reach out with any questions. 

We are in this together. I consider you my soul family and stand with you, seeing you, loving you and trusting your journey accessing all the answers within you and remembering who you truly are. I believe the path to a peaceful world begins within and let’s do this! The world is waiting for you to love yourself in your wholeness and radiate that love to all beings everywhere!

With infinite love and blessings of ease and joy,
Diane