The Magical Power of Gratitude

When I first moved to Sedona nine years ago I started going to the Unity Church here as a way of meeting people and finding community.  One of the things I did was attend a gratitude circle–at 8 am on Saturday morning!  Yikes.  I must really have been hungry and eager to commit to that!  Actually it has turned out to be one of the most pivotal experiences of my journey of awakening and transformation.    

I learned what the energy of gratitude feels like.   

I learned what it feels like to drop your energy and attention out of the head and into the heart.

We would always begin by closing our eyes and focusing our attention on the center of the chest–the heart chakra– and just breathe in and out of the center of the chest.  With soft music playing in the background, I learned how good it feels to do this.  You might want to pause reading and try it–you can actually feel the energy there.  As you breathe the feeling grows.  You know the phrase–heart warming?  Well, that’s the feeling.

Then we would begin sharing something we were grateful for that week.  It was amazing how we could alll somehow relate to what each one was sharing, even if the particular circumstances didn’t directly relate to our own lives. The feeling was there.  And I discovered how good gratitude feels.

The big take away from this group has remained over the years:  the ability to drop instantly into the feeling of gratitude in the body, without needing to even think of something to be grateful for–it’s an energy, a  big, powerful field we can step into at any time.

Also what I learned is that this energy of gratitude is like a big magnet.  When we live from this state of being, looking out at the world through eyes of gratitude, we automatically attract to ourselves more to be grateful for.

This is true of anything.  The feeling we walk around in all day attracts more like that feeling.  So if you walk around feeling glum, you will get more to be glum about.

So if you want to try it, begin by focusing your attention in the middle of your chest and take a couple of breaths.  Then think of something that simply makes you smile–a memory, something or someone you are grateful for or that you appreciate.  Doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it makes you smile.  Then just notice the feeling that memory stirs up in your body.  As you focus on that bodily sensation, you’ll find it grows.  Memorize that yummy feeling; breathe into it and let it fill you.  The more you do this, the more you can call up that feeling at any time.  Don’t be surprised if you find that people you pass in the grocery store or on the street smiling at you.  And don’t be surprised when magical things start showing up in your life!

Today I am grateful for the work I am privileged to do that changes lives.  I feel grateful for all of you that I’ve come in contact with and how my life has been enriched by that contact.

So receive this as my little Thanksgiving gift.  May you be amazed by the magic of gratitude.

Great blessings to you and to those you love,


Want to Change Your Life? Learn to Breathe!

I want to share with you about possibly the most important, most misunderstood, simplest, yet most complex functions of the human body:  THE BREATH.  I hope you’ll keep reading because what I’m going to share in this and coming articles can literally change your life.  For some, it could even save it.

I’ve been reading and studying lots about breathing over the years, since I work with it so much.  You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t know how to breath!  And you wouldn’t believe how powerfully you can change your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual/energetic health and well-being by learning to harness the power of the breath.  I’ve seen amazing changes in clients’ physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives just through intentional and conscious breathing.

That’s what I’m going to share with you in this and future articles.

One curious thing about breath is that it has this paradoxical quality:  unlike other body systems, it is an unconscious, automatic function, and yet we can take control of it and use it consciously.  And, get this, by using breath consciously, we actually can regulate all other systems and organs in the body!  That’s pretty powerful for something we barely even pay attention to.

Notice this for example—when something shows up, an emotionally charged situation—whether pleasant or unpleasant, our breathing automatically changes.  It just does.  We can start to notice that.  And we can turn that around and learn to take charge of our breathing to shift our emotional states.  We can shift our physical health through breath too.

So there is a lot to share about breathing.

Here’s the first installment:

Learning to breathe.  Really.  Did you know that 80% of our lung capacity is in the lower roughly 2/3 of the lungs?  That’s below the breast line. So many people I work with breathe only into the top part of the chest.  The shoulders and chest lift and contract, the belly contracts.   That’s like filling a glass with water and trying to keep the water at the top of the glass.  That is shallow chest breathing and, not only does it indicate stress in the body, it actually creates more.  It activates the sympathetic nervous system and the fight/flight response, which shuts down the frontal lobe (for rational decision making) and sends a rush of cortisol into the body.  Plus, you don’t get much breath in there.

Stop now and take a relaxed, normal breath and notice where you feel it in your body.  Your belly, your side ribs, back shoulders, chest?  Ideally when you inhale your side ribs should expand outward, indicating that the lungs are actually filling with air.  You should also feel it expanding your ribs in the back.  This actually feels really good as it stretches out those tight back muscles from the inside. Try it!

Notice when you fill the bottom of the lungs, that the upper chest and shoulders don’t move much.  They don’t have to.  You may notice that the shoulders actually get to relax and let go—what a concept. You may also notice a relaxed feeling in your head!  There’s a good reason for that—which I’ll talk about next time.

If you’re not used to breathing this way you may have to practice.  The next time you inhale, consciously send the breath down to your side ribs and back, letting the lungs fill up from bottom to top, and then let the breath sigh out gently, feeling the lungs deflate from top to bottom.  Keep practicing—close your eyes and just feel where the breath wants to go in the body.  You actually do breathe this way when you sleep, so your body knows how to do this, once your stressed out brain gets out of the way!!

So what does this kind of full chest breathing do for us?  A whole lot.  First of all, whenever we inhale the sympathetic nervous system is activated.  That’s like the gas pedal in the car.  When we exhale the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in—that’s the brakes.  So, conscious, deep, slow, circular, low lung, diaphragmatic breathing actually balances the brain and nervous system.  Let yourself feel the calming relief of the long, slow, gentle exhale.  (As a reminder which system is which—Sympathetic=Stress, Parasympathetic = Peace)

Practice this kind of breathing as a gift to yourself.  Let it be gentle, even in its fullness.  Don’t force yourself to breath too deeply.  Let the power of the breath gently, yet firmly open you, soothe you, heal you.

We all live in some degree of fight/flight/freeze activation.  Just the pressure of living in the 21st century assures that.  It has become our normal.  Learning to harness the breath and consciously using it to balance out our brain and nervous system will automatically bring us improved health and well-being.

Stay tuned to future articles for even more—like using breath to activate and balance the longest nerve in the body, improve heart function, decrease brain fog and inflammation, improve cognition and memory.  To say nothing of both your spiritual life and your sex life!  How about that!

Till next time—Blessings, and Don’t forget to Breathe!

Powerful New Healing Meditation & Special Phone Session


Special Phone Session

Thursday, May 21 at 5:30pm Arizona time (Check online to see your local time)
Cost: Live session plus Downloadable recording: $25
Click here to register

Would you like to

  • See and perceive the world in a new and expanded way?
  • Experience connecting more fully with your Higher Self?

  • Learn how our self healing practices actually change our DNA?

  • Integrate and entrain healing frequencies to balance and reprogram the brain?

  • Experience integrating eyes, brain, heart, chakras and higher self energies?

  • Learn how to ground it all into a new and expanded way to perceive?

Read on to learn more and how this powerful practice can create great shifts in your life

We see with our eyes, right?


Well, sort of….. 

Some thoughts on ”seeing”

Plus a new healing protocol and meditation practice that can help you change

         How you see

               What you see 

                     What you filter out…. and why

Here’s how this all came about:

One of my intentions going into 2015 was to ‘see’ more.  As an energy healing practitioner and spiritual counselor and coach,  this is obviously important. When I work, I shift into a higher, more finely tuned state of awareness and am shown how to track energy patterns in the client, release them so the client becomes more fully aligned with their soul and spirit.  So my request has been—I want to see more, more clearly, more fully.  And—I want to see what perhaps I’m still blind to in my own life.

Isn’t it funny how answers to our prayers show up?  Sometimes it’s instant–like with simple things.  Other times, little clues start appearing and we don’t even realize it till the clues start lining up and then it dawns–oh–this is what I was asking for!  That’s how it was with this.  A few bits of information about ‘sight’ and ‘seeing’ showed up here and there–seemingly unrelated, and then the pattern emerged.

One of the first things I ‘saw’ was how we much use words and analogies for ‘seeing’, as well as our physical eye muscles when we try to figure things out, to understand and make sense of what is going on, what decisions to make and which way to go next.

And I kept hearing about situations where those born without sight can learn to read ordinary books with fingers and toes, and ‘see’ without eyes.

I also noticed how the optic nerves, third eye, pineal gland and chakra line all converge in the center of the brain to create a grid like formation.

Those of you who’ve had a healing session with me lately know that a lot of work goes on in the brain both energetically and physically–shifting and releasing patterns, programming and imprints.

It was brought to my attention by Spirit that it was time to include the eyes in this work, and to do it in a specific way.

Did you ever notice how our eyes are kind of out there in front of everything, as if they are on guard and responsible—that they have to be the guardians of the rest of us hidden away inside.  The eyes watch, scan, and search taking in information and sending it to the brain for analysis.  And, because it is that imprinted and conditioned brain, we end up ‘seeing’ the world according to that conditioning.

Our eyes seek that which we long for, and yet, because of the brain programming, often filter it out.  They look for danger, and often find it.  It’s time to bring them home, give them a rest, and activate a new way to see.

I’ve been playing with an experimental meditation practice that works with the eyes, the optic nerves and the optical centers of the brain.  We see with our eyes, right?  Well, sort of…..  This practice actually helps change how we see, what we see, what we filter out…. and why.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that my concept of  ‘seeing’ has changed. As I’ve practiced this chakra/brain/eye/heart/higher self alignment and connection, my whole being ‘sees’–it sometimes feels like my whole body is seeing, not just my eyes!  Or perhaps perceives is the more accurate word.  I’ve also noticed that I can relax.  The perception is coming from deep within.  Wow, what a sensation!  And everything seems to manifest more easily and with clarity.

I didn’t get that until I actually practiced relaxing and pulling inward.  Many of us have used the word ‘centering’, as have I.  And for the last several years. I’ve been using the conscious practice of aligning with my Higher Self to clear, balance, restore and more fully connect.  Yet consciously bringing the eyes into this practice has deepened and expanded it in a powerful and tangible way.   It is something I must practice often, because the habit of ‘looking’ outward and straining is extremely ingrained.  After all, we ‘see’ with our eyes, right?

I’ve found that the busier I am, the more choices and decisions are before me, the more I need this practice, and then the easier it becomes to notice what to do, how to do it and how I might be standing in my own way.  It has brought a beautiful and powerful new ease and flow to my life, as well as depth to my meditation and healing practice.

I have been reminded of several verses from the New Testament of the Bible:  If thine eye be single, the whole body shall be filled with light.  And “I pray that the eyes of your heart be opened.”

I’m excited to continue working with this personally and ‘see’ what opens up!

I’m also ready to share the experience of this practice and how you can use it to facilitate changes in your life.  If you’re curious and ready, I’m offering a  group phone session at a special introductory price.

Here is the information:

Tuesday, May 19 at 5:30pm Arizona time (Check online to see your local time)
Cost: Live session plus Downloadable recording: $25

Note: If you are not available for the live session, register anyway, and you will receive the recording.
Click here to register

Numerology Series: 2015–A Year to Manifest–What?

888 2015 is an 8 global year—and 8 is the number of manifestation, abundance, fullness and expansion.

What does that mean and how does that work? Numerology is a system of looking at the vibrations carried by numbers, and working with them as symbols of information.   It is said that we live in a holographic universe, and that everything in it carries its own unique energetic and vibrational signature. Numbers are no exception. As we notice the numeric symbols that show up for us, we can interpret how these energies are operating in us to develop a clearer picture of the complex package of vibration patterns that comprise us.

All systems, such as numerology, astrology and many others, are glimpses into the operating system of the Universe. They are a way of systematizing Life, the Universe, and Creation that allows us to get clues into how it is all organized and how to navigate its sometimes seeming chaos. They are gifts—once we know how to unwrap them and use them!

When we talk about global numbers, we mean that, since mass consciousness subscribes to this calendar numbering system, the energy of the eight is the underlying energy floating around and influencing events on the planet. And, of course it combines with all the other numbers that operate in our energy field, such as our birth name, date and personal year, among others.   It’s a quantum entanglement thing, but that’s another story.

Eight is an outward number, and it’s about showing up and expanding, moving into new possibilities. Perhaps you’ve had some dreams and desires on the back burner for a while and you’ve been hesitant about bringing them forward.   Well this is the year to do so. What you think about will manifest very quickly this year! So notice!

Even if you don’t follow numerology or astrology, you may have felt within yourself some stirrings, either subtle or strong, of being ready to move forward, wanting to be out there more, wanting to make changes. Perhaps you’ve noticed a desire to express yourself in a new way, to take your work or personal life to a new level.   That’s all part of the energies that are available to us this year.

You may be saying—yes, I feel a stirring, an impatience, but I don’t know what to do with it. That is the invitation from your Soul to delve deep inside yourself and find out. Take some time to connect deeply and listen to your inner voice. Even listen to yourself talk about your confusion and frustration if that’s what’s showing up for you. This is also part of the eight energy: showing us what is blocking the manifestation of what we want.

We are constantly manifesting, so if you don’t like what’s showing up for you, pay attention. This year especially, we are being given the opportunity to shift the patterns that have kept us stuck—perhaps even this entire lifetime.

Notice any old self-doubt, second guessing tendencies in you that want to keep playing small! Be a bit detached, even as you engage, so that you can continue to monitor and notice the flow of energy and your own response to it.

Don’t hold back this year! Allow your ambition, your surge of enthusiasm, ideas and inspiration to flow. Depending on the other numbers in your chart, this year may well bring a turn in your business, career and financial situation.   You may be more noticed this year, with more opportunities coming your way, and more inspiration to make your own opportunities. It is an energetic flow, so notice it showing up and go with it!

To get your free personal numerology report, click here.

If, after reading this, you find you have questions, or are interested in more information, I have created a special follow up session:

  • A 30 Minute Phone or Skype personal, in depth, intuitive look at your numerology report that includes:
  • An intuitive look at your Life Expression, Life Path and Personal Year
  • What these mean for you
  • Additional calculations, including other versions of your name, and more
  • A tarot reading to provide clarity and guidance for your next steps
  • The session includes an emailed recording and photo of your Tarot cards

This is being offered for just $50 for 30 minutes.

To set up your appointment, contact me

I also offer full energy healing, clearing and realignment sessions to release troublesome energy patterns and provide clarity and guidance.  Learn more about sessions







I Looked and, By Golly, There Was a Rubber Band!


The other day a friend told me about someone who brings forth sacred objects, mainly gemstones, out of his mouth, after going into a deep trance stateMy first reaction?  Well, you probably can imagine.  But I just pulled back mentally, and did a bit of prayer/conversation asking what would be useful for me to know about this.  (By the way, it is called aportation and evidently, a number of people past and present do and have done that, including Sai Baba and of course Jesus.)
Last night at the gym I realized I’d forgotten a hair tie and I was going to steam and sauna.  When I walked into the steam room a rubber band was lying on the floor.  Coincidence?  Manifestation? Aportation?
We’ve been playing with manifesting and I think we’re being nudged to go into it more deeply and take it more seriously.  Serious—not in a somber sense, but as in paying more attention, even in each moment. 
That’s what came to me when I saw the rubber band—pay attention—there’s more going on here, and there is more possible. 
Did someone just leave it there?  Probably, but so what?  It all fit together like pieces of a cosmic jigsaw and I had what I had desired.  And it wasn’t even a big deal desire.  Yes, it would have been more uncomfortable sitting there with my hair down, but not life and death.  It was a reminder to pay attention, and to open the aperture of our minds to greater possibility.
It was a reminder to not slide into unconsciousness when in the middle of mundane activities.  Miracles—that’s what we call it when something outside our idea of what’s possible happens.  In a sense, everything about our lives is a miracle.  As our minds open to more possibility, miracles happen all around us every day in every moment.   Truly anything can happen if we just accept it as a possibility and relax into that.
Relax. That’s a biggie actually.  When I think back to the locker room, I remember the scenario:  I looked for a pony tail holder, discovered I didn’t have one in my bag, had a flurry of disappointment—actually projecting my emotions forward to the discomfort I would feel, and then said—oh well. Then I walked into the steam room and there it was. 
Tracking is important because it leads down the rabbit hole to all kinds of stuff about our expectations, projections, thoughts and habitual responses and how those actually do manifest our reality. 
I work with numerology a bit, and this morning I remembered that this is an 8 year—2+0+1+5=8.  Eight has to do with authority, power, confidence and manifestation.  There is a lot more to it, including bringing forward those aspects of ourselves that are not quite healed and ready to step into those qualities, or how we perhaps misuse them.  I’ll write more about that next time.  But I believe that we are being given the opportunity by Creator here to pay attention, and allow more to show up for us.   
So, pay attention today.  Notice what you notice, relax and allow expansion to happen. 
Oh—and post here what shows up for you—let’s see what happens!
 Don’t forget to visit my website: and sign up for your free numerology report!  If you  are coming to Sedona, be sure to look me up!

Free 30 minute Video Teaching and Heart Activation

Here is the video of a recent presentation. As you watch it, notice that it is activating energies within you, actually releasing and shifting old patterns and programming. It brings you into a body felt awareness of the intimate presence of your own Higher Self.

In this presentation, I explain how and why we are imprinted from birth–or even before, with deeply embedded fears and limitations. I discuss how these psychic wounds then influence our attitude toward God, Creator, Divine Presence–whatever way you refer to our original source. And we try to heal our shadow, our subconscious programming using the very methods that got us into this state to begin with, namely fear, guilt and shame. So, it’s basically like driving with one foot on the brake, and the other on the gas. No wonder we feel we never get anywhere!

Becoming compassionate with ourselves, and entering a heart centered state of neutral non-judgment, actually calms our brain and nervous system and allows subconscious programming to reveal itself–because it feels safe to do so. This helps us heal more quickly and painlessly. This video takes you to that state and shows you how to begin or accelerate the process of inner healing and transformation into more of our true divine nature.

So get a cup of something, a notebook, and settle down into this powerful and transformative healing experience.


A Fat Purple Foot, Oh My!

innovation_egg_hatching_light_180x144December 12, 2014

Something is finally breaking open inside me. It has been cooking for 2 weeks.  Or more accurately, my soul has been nudging to break through, like a bird hatching from an egg.  How exactly, I don’t know yet. But it shows up as a deeper level of feeling and sensing. Feeling too much it seems, feeling raw, vulnerable and emotional.

I’ve slowed down, way down, these last couple of months, leaving my job at the shop, back home after family visits, and now these last two weeks of practically nothing of my old routine. At least on the outer. Well, not nothing exactly, just not the same. The house is in good shape, taxes are paid, the bathroom has been redecorated, and I’ve done some painting. And resting and reading novels and watching movies. Private client sessions and a breathwork. Not exactly nothing, but a big change in pace.

There is a deepening and a softening. Two days ago I tripped over some dog toys and smashed my little toe into the door jam. I did some energy work and took arnica. Not too bad now really, but serving to further slow me down and notice. It has taken this long to stop the internal spinning. I haven’t been unconscious during this time—at least not completely. There is always an awareness, a noticing, as I watched myself doing a bit of this and that, checking in with Source/Spirit/Higher Self for the highest choice in each moment. So I wasn’t blindly filling the time with busy work. It was all pretty much done. Which, I must say, feels really good. Everything is in good order, long put off projects are finally completed. There is a feeling, a sense of a completion of something. A new phase is about to begin. But when, and what, and where, and how? All the ego questions, but with a deeper sense behind the questions—noticing the shift.

The answer is—it shows up when all is ready. And the first step is inner readiness. So back to the breaking open. There is a realization now of a barrier within. Another layer of something somewhere around the heart that is ready to peel back and dissolve. And like the proverbial flower and butterfly, it cannot be rushed. It takes time, stillness and attention.  The courage to notice and feel.  As more and more of the outer activities fall away, the attention is drawn to finer and finer awareness.

It is important to know and remember always, in every moment, that nothing is ever really wrong. Uncomfortable maybe, but never wrong. I’ve had to check on that a lot lately because the normal routine isn’t there now.   But no matter what, everything is useful if we notice and watch. Just watch. Get quieter and soften into the experience of whatever the moment holds. Noticing even what seems to be emptiness, nothingness. Breathing into the heart space and surrendering the mind to the heart. Gratitude for it all, gratitude for presence. It actually feels good physically to do this.

So what lies beneath this next layer? That will unfold. Right now, I just notice how guarded my heart has been. And that’s not wrong. We are all conditioned by our life experiences to protect, to guard, to be wary. We are evolving now. As we dare to open more deeply to our own selves, to become ever more tender, loving and compassionate with ourselves, we notice the pain buried deep inside.   It’s as if our pain had to hide from our own judgment of it. And when we stop judging ourselves, suppressed layers dare to peek out to be dissolved in acceptance and love.  I have found that it is amazing how quickly these feelings dissipate when we stop resisting, allow them to show up and then just breath.

The last couple of weeks, I have been noticing and feeling a lot of really deep pain, loss and upheaval in those around me—family, friends, clients. I can usually not take it inside. As an intuitive and an empath, I work with this a lot, and I know how to take care of myself. But it seemed overwhelming this time—feeling too much, too deeply, wanting to cry and not really knowing why, because in truth my life is really quite amazing.   Perhaps that’s why I bashed my foot. It crumpled me to the floor in tears. I somehow knew the tears were not just for the foot pain. It was too deep. And so as I sit and rest, I allow myself to notice, to open, to feel.

And what’s beyond this unknown layer? More light, greater depth and openness, a greater capacity for peace, love and joy, and a deeper ability to show up for ourselves, loved ones, clients and the world.  It’s exciting!

I often recall a quote attributed to Bishop Irenaeus in the first century: The glory of God is a human fully alive. It’s risky to surrender into the unknown, the breaking open, but therein lies what our hearts and souls long for: the freedom to embrace life and love ever more fully.

Breathing Bliss

This is a segment of some writing that came through a couple of mornings ago, as i sat with my morning cup, enjoying the still cool early hours, tuning in to Divine Presence.  Notice that it contains a helpful exercise for relaxing the mind.  It actually feels very nice, so I recommend it highly!
“Beloved, just sit and enjoy the music, the birds, the stillness.  You were wondering what questions or issues to bring up with us during this time of dialogue.  And in that moment when you stopped and heard the soft music, it stirred your heart and we connected and became one in complete love, acceptance and being completely comfortable just being present to each other.  Feel this.  Feel it deeply.  For while it simply feels ‘good’, it is in truth the most powerful force in the universe.  
Remember—Nothing can withstand the power of a healed heart.  And this feeling, this sensation of complete letting down, simply being, feeling the fullness of your heart, the complete calm—that, Beloved, is true healing.  You are indeed feeling the sublime sensation of oneness with ‘us’, with yourself, all that you are,  All That Is.  
Relax even more deeply into this now.  Feel the subtle tensions, which were below the surface of your awareness.  And let them go.  Speak peace to your body, your mind.  And let it reverberate throughout the universes, clearing the energetic grid of you and all your connections through all space, time, universes and dimensions.  
Bringing all into unity and harmony and greater freedom, peace and openness. 
For as you are able to relax into this sensation, you open yourself indeed to greater possibility than you, in your small frame of reference , can imagine.  And this, dear one, is where the great cosmic adventure of your soul lies.  Not in the known, the safe, but in the thrill of surrender.  
What if you let go beyond your ability to let go?  As you continue to say yes, and continue stopping your efforts to move forward, all opens to you.  So the surrender is very deep now.  Sinking deeper into yourself.  Do you see how the mind wants to challenge that?  Do you feel how your brain wants to hold on? 
 You have begin a practice with your clients of having them visualize their brains sinking down into the bottom of their skulls, coming ‘unglued’ from the top of their skulls.  And you see how this produces a physical sensation of relaxation.  This is the brain surrendering.  And now feel that sensation continue down the brain stem all the way down to the tailbone.  And now feel as it spreads effortlessly throughout your entire body, as all the nerves flood with fresh energy and vitality—information and light. 
And so, as you allow your brain to surrender in this way, your very physical being becomes an antenna for the highest vibrations of light and information from ever higher sources, and frequencies. So the efficiency of this vehicle of your human structure changes—in truth, and on a very ‘real’ cellular level.  
You have heard that humans are shifting from a carbon based DNA structure to crystalline based.  As cellular matter compresses through heat, pressure and time, organic matter becomes carbon, and with further compression, heat, and time becomes diamonds.  And so it is with you as humans.  Those of you who have been doing your inner work of noticing, clearing, releasing, surrendering and opening, are transforming your very physicality into something unheard of in your recorded history, especially on the scale in which it is happening now. ”
I encourage you to take this message with you throughout the day and practice relaxing your brain, feel the sensation of Divine Light flowing throughout your body, transforming cells, balancing body chemistry, clearing your DNA, healing, renewing and refreshing you!  Enjoy!

New Original Painting

This is a painting I completed a few months ago, and is part of my Masters Degree project in Shamanic Intuitional Practices which I received from Venus Rising University.  I’ve included the writing piece I did about this painting, the process of creating it, and what I observed through the process.
The painting, entitled Shaman’s Cave, is a gift to my dear friend and mentor, Linda Star Wolf, in gratitude for her teaching, support and friendship.
This painting is an example of taking a less than satisfactory work from its dark place in the back of the closet and looking at it with new eyes, fresh energy and a fresh perspective, and then finding that the painting takes off in its own direction.  I originally relegated it to the “maybe I’ll take this up later” pile because of dull colors and an awkward composition.  I brought it out again recently, brightened up the palette and added some additional elements to the design in an effort to redeem it. 

I usually have difficulty naming my paintings.  I just paint them, and only name them if they are being shown, and something needs to be on the card.  This one was different.  I saw from the beginning it was a shaman’s cave.  The interior of the cave was in darkness—kind of a black hole in the center of the picture, which artistically wasn’t desirable.  As I worked the texture and the color, standing back to look at the effect, I noticed two eyes emerging, in perfect placement. 

The “walls” of the cave became her headdress; she became a shaman goddess.  The darkness in the depths of the cave became light.  Color, form and features appeared.  And, as so often happens, she became me.  The cave is within me.  The inner shaman emerged. The painting took form in its own time, as the artist was ready to be the instrument of its emergence into form.  In the same way our own inner shaman appears out of the dullness and awkwardness into the fullness of light and beauty that is its destiny.  

The Spiral Journey-Once More Around

Just before the arrival of 2012 I moved into a sweet little house in Sedona. It was the completion of a cycle that had begun more than a year before, when I had moved out of my first home in Sedona.  It was an unbelievable journey that included a bout with breast cancer, camping out with friends in guest rooms and on sofas—even living in a camping trailer for a while. 

This little adventure took me from the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, to the beaches of Kauai and included completing the training to become an ordained Shamanic Minister, certified Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator, earning an MA in Shamanic Intuitional Practices and a PhD in Shamanic Psychospiritual Studies. It also took me to depths and heights of myself I didn’t know existed.

Finally I ended up where I began—back in my beloved red rocks of Sedona. Where I began, but not—meaning I’m not the same. Life is a spiral, not a straight line. So, as I took that year-plus turn around this spiral of life, I arrived back at the same spot, but from a higher perspective, wiser yet humbler, stripped of much I thought was essential, freer, more open, lighter, and a lot more courageous.

I’m far from the only one experiencing bizarre life rearrangements. However, I will say, that as a good Scorpio and 4 on the Enneagram, I’m pretty much wired to take things to extremes and be a bit of a drama queen.

But seriously, at every turn I see and hear about lives in upheaval. Aspects of life we have so taken for granted are shifting, being lost, shaken up, disappearing. We are being challenged to our very cores to step into these upheavals, to let go of so much that is familiar, and recognize and trust that in the letting go, we are being ushered into places of greater freedom and limitlessness. All those parts of our lives we thought we couldn’t live without—when we dare to let go, we find we can expand into something more—more free, more flexible, more courageous.

It’s a lot like the story of Moses and the children of Israel when they were being prompted (nudged by the hand of God) by decidedly uncomfortable circumstances in Egypt to launch out into the unknown of a “promised land.” We so often hold on to situations, circumstances and relationships that are less than ideal, but are comfortable because of their familiarity, when our souls have something more for us.

I’m learning a lot about the brain these days, and there is a definite physiological component to staying with the familiar, even when it is uncomfortable. We become addicted to the familiar, to the particular cocktail of neurotransmitters that releases in our brains around patterns of behavior, circumstances and relationships, even when those patterns no longer serve our highest good, our growth and evolution.

So all of that—both the spiritual and the scientific- is what I fall back on when my own circumstances are shaken, when life takes a turn that is decidedly not on my wish list. I’m grateful for the teachers who have shown me the tools that allow me to see the good, to breathe, to surrender and to trust. And I can now say I am grateful for the circumstances that have allowed me to move from an intellectual understanding to a gut level, life on the line, experiential knowing.

One such teacher phoned me recently, inquiring about my journey of healing breast cancer. The dreaded C-word had struck in her close family, and she needed to know what I did, how I handled it, the healers I’d worked with and, how I was now—was it all still working for me. She is someone whose wisdom, training and teaching have inspired and informed me personally, and in my own writing and teaching.  In fact, it was much of her teaching that enabled me to handle the cancer the way I did.  So no matter who we are, how much we know, we are all taking our turn in going deeper into release, trust, surrender and growth. I was grateful that my experience could serve.

There is another Old Testament story I remember and refer to a lot: during one of the battles, Moses was instructed by the Lord that the Israelites would prevail  so long as he held his staff up over his head. Of course, Moses’ arms grew weary, and each time he wavered and his arms started to droop, the battle would swing toward the enemy. The story is that his sister Miriam and brother Aaron stood on either side of him, and helped him hold up his arms.

They could not take over his job for him; he had to do his work. But they could stand with him and support him as he did what he was called to do.

So it is with us. As our family members and friends step into their own unique life experiences of learning, surrender, growth and transformation, we stand with them, lending strength and compassion as they in turn do their divine work.

One more OT reference comes to mind. When I began my own spiritual journey, I took with me a verse from Jeremiah: I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for good and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. I’ve held on to that. So far, so good. As I sit typing this in my lovely office, surrounded once again by beloved belongings, in the cozy tranquility of my new home, healthy, happy, freer and oh so grateful, all I can say is Thank You—to the Divine, and to all who stood with me as I did the work of this last year and made one more turn around the spiral of life.