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,

When the Printer Goes Offline

Today is the third day my son is home with a fever and he asked for help with printing something out for homework. The printer was offline and as I worked with the issue, this conversation occurred.

Lane "Mom, I'm so frustrated."

Me: "Why Honey?"

Lane: "Because I've been sick for three days, haven't been able to go back to school and I'm getting behind on homework and this printer won't work. I'm SO MAD."

Me: "Okay, how about you let me work on the printer and you take as long as you need on the couch to feel the frustration and anger."

Lane: "What do you mean?"

Me: "Notice the sensation in your body, notice what anger and frustration feels like and stay with it, notice it's movement and if you want to make sounds, let that out too. Sit with it as long as you need to."

He looked at me with a look of 'hmmmm, okay, your words don't necessarily make sense but the concept is worth giving it a try.'

He sat on the couch and I heard sounds of his body moving and expressing. Then he was back next to me and the printer was now online and ready to print. 

Hmmmmm, interesting. Thank you Lane for the beautiful mirror. What I notice is when I allow time to feel whatever emotion is present and wants to move, the more I experience the flow of energy moving within and in relationships with ease and grace. Emotions are not bad or good. They ask to be felt and move through with ease when I don't resist...just like waves move through the ocean.

Here's is a practice that works for me that you may try when you feel stuck and "offline?"

  1. Create space where you are able to focus your attention inward. If possible, remove external distractions from your environment. This may mean physically moving to another space or just closing your eyes where you are. 
  2. Notice the sensations in your body and rather than trying to figure out why you're feeling a particular way, stay with the sensation.
  3. Notice where it lives in your body and notice the vibration of the sensation.
  4. Be your own comfort and invite compassion to support you as you feel. If this is a challenge, ask nature for support. You can lie on Mother Earth, lean against a tree, take a walk on a trail, lie in your bed bundled in a cozy comforter.  
  5. If you notice thoughts surfacing, invite your attention back to the physical sensation. In the words of Dr. Joe Dispenza, "Where you focus your attention is where you focus your energy."
  6. Lastly, I will often play with the sensation, inviting it to move with gentle encouragement and tenderness.
  7. And notice what you notice.

Love, anger, joy, sadness, gratitude, confusion, ecstatic joy, shame, bliss, guilt, peace....it's all here. If you're interested in exploring all aspects of being, I invite you to join the Integration of You Community where we are gathering together in community on a journey of wholeness. 

With love, Diane