Stepping Through Portals

As I write this, I’m in Portales New Mexico, the morning after John and I taught a weekend workshop to Counseling grad students and therapists at Eastern New Mexico University.  It was part of the summer school program there, and definitely out of the box for some in the group.  The course was titled The Journey Inward and during it we introduced them to Shamanic Breathwork and taught about the shaman as wounded healer.

As you can imagine, there was a fair amount of skepticism about what the weekend would bring, but to their credit, everyone showed up and more importantly, came back the second day.  Their professor was the one who brought us in to present this decidedly edgy material, and she was our biggest fan—engaging fully in her own process, which gave students permission to do the same. 

Doors were definitely opened, paradigms shifted and much inner healing and release took place in that room over those two days.  What a privilege—and what fabulous “work”!  Love doing this! It was not lost on us that the name of the town, Portales, means doors in Spanish, or as it became for these souls, a portal into another dimension of themselves.  Beautiful to be a part of.

So, to catch up a bit :  I haven’t blogged in  a long time. Couldn’t.  Didn’t know how to talk about it.   About a week before I wrote the last blog, which was pretty much a breezy recap of a delightful summer in Sedona, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Me, health nut, fitness nut, spiritual nut.  I had thought, wow, I’ll share the journey, all the insights, the highs, the lows.  (Lots of drama of course)  Truth is, I didn’t know where to begin.  I hated talking about it in a way, as I felt that would glorify it, give it energy.  But in a way not talking about it gave it energy too.  Plus, dealing with it took a lot of time and energy. 

Obviously, from my opening report, I feel fine now, in fact, better than fine, so you don’t need to race to the end to find out.

I’d always said if I got cancer, I would never do the cut, burn, poison route, which is all the medical community has to offer.  But I tell you, when you sit in a doctor’s office and they tell you that you have to do this or else, it gives you pause.  I chose the natural route and began working with a naturopathic oncologist—lots and lots of supplements, Vitamin C IVs—all of which amounted to around a thousand dollars a month.  I had surgery too—right before Christmas.  The tumor was supposed to have been about 2.5 cm and it didn’t appear that any lymph nodes were involved.  So it looked easy—take it out, take the supplements and call it good.  Except the tumor was nearly 6cm– they didn’t get it all even after a second surgery a week later–and 11 lymph nodes were involved.   I was told to begin chemo immediately, or face having it in bones, liver and lung in a few months.  Even the naturopath concurred.  I felt betrayed.

I know that all matter is energy, and that everything that shows up in our material world is a manifestation of an underlying energy.  So treating this from the physical, as if it were separate from soul and spirit was foreign to me.  Everything I’ve studied and practiced spiritually and energetically for the last number of years screamed at me that this path of treatment was wrong for me, that I couldn’t do it.  And yet, while I had an intellectual grasp, I wasn’t able to bridge the gap and step into really KNOWING in the depth of my gut that I could heal energetically.  And I knew enough to realize that if there was any doubt in me, I needed to go ahead and have treatment along with the energy work. 

I felt somehow that I needed to surrender to the chemo—it was supposedly the mildest, and didn’t cause hair loss.  I felt that if I didn’t have the treatment at this point, I’d be in some kind of spiritual denial lala land.  I had the thought that I might be claiming a healing where I was actually covering up my fear of  having the chemo.

So, I had the first chemo treatment.  Nasty business, I have to tell you.  They give you so much stuff, shots to protect the immune system, shots for nausea, shots to counteract the shots.  My life was taken over by IVs and shots and supplements and blood tests. 

“God, is this really the plan?  Is this how it has to be?”  I felt myself being sucked into the vortex of fear of all the negative energy the C-word carries with it.  And I couldn’t pull myself out. During this time, I was working with a dear friend and energy healer, Angelica Joy, who helped me get to some place of peace with it all.  Another dear friend, Gerard, hung out, walked my dog, and made me laugh. 

When I went back to get the second treatment, they said, sorry, we can’t give it to you, your immune system is too trashed.  If you feel like you’re getting anything, go right to the emergency room because you have no defenses.  Really?  It was as though Spirit said—had enough?  Ready to claim the healing?  So I said thank you very much and walked out.  Haven’t been back.

I am working with an energy healer in San Diego—Dr. Hector Garcia.  He’s a miracle worker truly and his specialty is cancer.  He’s a modern day shaman in a white lab coat.  He tracked the energetic source and cut it off.  Now I am resting in my healing, taking supplements to detox the body and getting on with life. 

This was a powerful call to put into action the spiritual principles and energy work I’d been studying.  It was a wake up call to put my life on the line with these things, and decide whether these principles are true or not.  I know many who have successfully used Western medicine to treat themselves.  That is their path.  Many have found deep spiritual significance in their lives as a result.  My path was different. 

I’m back living in Sedona now—just got here a couple of weeks ago.  I am glad to be settling in among my beloved Red Rocks again.   What a whirlwind of learning and growth!  It has prepared me for this next phase of life, which began this weekend. It was a portal for us too.

Sedona Summer Recap and Now–Moving On!

Dear Friends,
I haven’t posted a new blog in over three months.  So much was happening and it was all so fun that I either didn’t take the time to stop and write, or just didn’t know which of all the amazing occurrences to pick out to share.  Both I think.

Summer in Sedona is delightful:  hiking in the magical red rocks, swimming and picnics at the swimming hole on Oak Creek. My little dog Cheney is a champ–runs all over the trails and loves to swim in the creek. John and I and Cheney took John’s airstream down to Rocky Point, Mexico for a few days where we enjoyed swimming in the Sea of Cortez, yes, even Cheney swam a bit, but mostly eating fresh seafood, drinking beer and margaritas and smoking Cuban cigars.  It was a profoundly spiritual experience.  Really! Especially having fish tacos and beer for breakfast in an outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea!

I also had the wonderful privilege of co-facilitating the first installment of Earth School for Souls.  The series of classes was a great success, with some of the participants telling us it was the most powerful thing they’d ever done.  The experience of opening the way for others to heal and awaken was both humbling and exhilarating beyond description.  I loved doing it!

In the middle of August I hosted a wedding reception at my home for my dear friends, Pam and Jim.  I turned the house over to the team of volunteers who removed all the furniture from the great room and proceeded to turn it into a party venue, complete with dance floor and sound system!  The preparations were a powerful example of people coming together egolessly to serve friends, working, playing, laughing and putting on a terrific event. 

Meanwhile, my landlady announced that she was raising my rent in January, so I started thinking about what I would do.  At the same time, I was receiving lots of emails from my old art school in Scottsdale (Brio Fine Arts, I highly recommend them) announcing some very interesting classes for the fall and winter.  So, after many agonizing days and nights of indecision, I decided to move out of the house and spend the winter back down in the Valley taking art classes. Besides, I love the warm winters down there.  So, I packed everything up, put it in storage and headed down the hill.

I am doing an experiment in letting go.  Letting go of having my own home, not exactly sure of what comes next–all very interesting experiences.  I should say, however, that where I’ve landed for the next few months is pretty wonderful.  My good friends, Steve and Karen, suggested that I stay with them, as they would be away much of the fall months.  So, I’m living in a lovely, large home on a golf course, complete with a housekeeper twice a month!  Maybe there is something to this letting go business!

Art is coming along too.  I had felt pretty stuck and uncreative, and all it took was a few classes to revive the spark and get me unstuck.  I’ve completed several paintings I’d started in Sedona, but knew there was something off about them.  I can now, for the first time,  say I love my work!

This experiment is calling forth all the tools in my spiritual toolbox.  I’m back in the Valley of the Sun, where I lived for 12 years, but I’m not the same person who lived there then.  It is a magical time; I feel more at home in my skin, more at peace with life,  and happier that I could ever have imagined possible.  I catch glimpses at unexpected times of the flow of Divine Creation in ordinary life happening all around me.  I am able in these moments to see myself as a cell in the great body of the Divine expressing itself in so many different ways as this thing we know as Life.  It is a great joy and blessing to see  and feel this, to take a deep breath and jump into it with both feet and let the flow of it take you to greater adventures.

Speaking of which, I have recently embarked on a new adventure which I will be writing about in the weeks to come.   Yes, weeks, not months this time.  Blessings everyone!

Ain’t it Amazin’, Gracie!

I recently read a book that had a huge impact on me.  I picked it up at the library “by mistake”.  Ha! I live I Sedona, I know better than mistakes!! I got home, looked at it, wondered what it was, and thought I’d read it anyhow.  Funny how Spirit puts things in our paths when we’re open and allowing. 

The book is an ostensibly simple story about a woman’s life, told through the perspective of how her soul orchestrated a life contract so it could learn and experience certain things.  The story showed how when we incarnate, we forget there is a plan and then wonder why on earth we’re doing the things we’re doing, and what the point of it all is. So, we judge and condemn ourselves and others, blame everyone for our pain, make what we consider to be huge stupid mistakes, ad nauseam. You know the feeling?

So, when I looked at my life from this higher perspective – and really this story could be about any of us—I got such a different view.  So much self-judgment, fear and doubt about this journey I call my life simply disappeared, leaving nothing but love and compassion behind.  I became able to look at the people around me differently too, seeing them as souls on a journey to learn, grow and experience.  I have become free of the compulsion to judge their paths, personalities, and choices and can  simply honor and bless them — and myself too.  I see how courageous we all are to have embarked on these journeys we call life and bless all of it.  Wow, what a liberating shift this has been! 

I felt a strong desire to share my experience by leading a study group.  After my friend John read the book and had a similar experience, we decided it would be fun to co-facilitate it.  We submitted a proposal to our minister here at Unity of Sedona and were approved to offer the workshop, which we’re calling Earth School for Souls, at the church.  This is new for me.  I’ve worked with some groups in the past, but this is different.  I’m so glad to be sharing the experience with John, as we each bring different skills and perspectives to the group. 

Our dear minister, Mark Pope,  reminds us to simply allow Spirit to use us as we are, to surrender to being a channel for grace in whatever way it wants to come through us.  So, last Sunday we announced the workshop at church and were met with a great deal of enthusiasm.

As divine timing would have it, this past weekend I also participated with 24 other dear friends in what was originally termed Chaplain Training.  It was a deeply transformational weekend, beginning with a heart opening ceremony in which all of us experienced opening to divine energy more deeply than ever before.  It also included a death ritual, in which we imagined that we only had two more hours to live.  We surrendered attachments to people, places, things, attitudes and judgments.  We wrote a last will and testament.  And we wrote last words to loved ones, and also to those we have less than loved.  We surrendered our plans, our wills, our dreams.  Then we burned it all. 

I realized as I gave all that away, that none of it was real or important except the love I had given and received along the way from family and friends.  It may be that I never felt the love for all of them as strongly as I did in that ceremony.  So, I will share what I wrote with them so they don’t have to wait till I’m gone from this body to know it.

I truly felt as though I had completed my old life lessons.  I felt I had done well with this life and could return to heaven having completed my curriculum.  That felt good.

So on Saturday, we all began new lives.  We spent the day sharing deeply with each other and the love, compassion and rejoicing were astounding to behold.  The depth of oneness among us continues.  I’m happy and excited to be embarking on this path now, so free, so clear, so opened, so full of love and light.  All of us are forever transformed.

I have spent the last couple of years pretty quietly, doing a lot of inner healing, coming to a lot of realizations.  It is obvious now that this year is about me showing up, stepping up, and allowing whatever gifts, talents and abilities I have to be seen and shared.  I wrote about that last time, and how my big earrings remind me that I’ve outgrown the phase of my life where I played small and safe.  How wonderful it is that as the activity of grace has so prepared me for this time, and now I’m ready to say yes, I will serve.  I will speak, share, show up because I’ve been so filled with light and grace that it is just overflowing.  And it feels so good. 

The book, by the way is A Hit of Heaven  by Andrea Avari, PhD.  It is available on or through the author’s website,    And for those of you in the Sedona area, the study group is being held at Unity of Sedona in the sanctuary, on Monday evenings, beginning August 2, at 6:30pm.  The suggested love offering is $10 per class or $50 for the series of 6.  The book is required, and we have them available for $10.  Pre-registration is requested but not required.  Email me at if you want more info.

My friend John the eloquent writer and poet has posted a new blog and I highly recommend that you check it out at

More Fun on the Path–Revisited

I imported my old blog posts into my website, and they all got posted to Facebook!  I figured–no accidents, so I took another look.  If i do say so myself, there is some good stuff here.  Maybe I should listen to myself more often!!

Last night I attended a pool party and BBQ for “grads” of a Native American shamanic energy healing workshop series I attended earlier in the year. Before we’re allowed to eat and play, we begin the evening with a review of one aspect of what we learned, taking the teaching deeper and learning new ways to apply it in our lives. So, the evening is a nice combination of learning, remembering, reunion with close friends, meeting new people, and then moving on to food and fun.
These Shamanic energy healing techniques and teachings are ancient, even thousands of years old and have been passed on through generations of medicine men and women. I feel very privileged to be learning them, incorporating them into my daily life, and seeing how they correlate with the other spiritual paths I’ve been studying and practicing.

As we gathered in the home of one of the instructors, seated ourselves on cushions around the room, we began as always by passing the bowl of smudge to clear the energy and our auras. I love the smudge, the fragrant smoke that is mostly white sage. I noticed how much it’s like the incense in the Catholic Church, with the addition of some different herbs. But the process and purpose are the same. We cleanse ourselves and allow our prayers and our intentions to be purified and holy, to float with the smoke into the heavens.

Then we pass the talking stick. I love the talking stick too. Every household should have one, if you ask me. When you hold it, you automatically step into the place of knowing that you are intending to speak your heart’s truth, whatever that is. Somehow just holding on to that stick gives the courage to say the hard things. And the “rules” of the stick are that you can speak safely, and the other party has to listen with their heart and not interrupt. So, we began our evening with the instruction to share something about ourselves that people don’t know, and that it was to be a fairly deep something. We were told to filter through layers of ideas of what to say until we came to something that made us feel vulnerable to share. 

As the stick went around the room, we heard beautiful, sincere, confessions, really, of vulnerability and fear and then how these feelings transmuted into goals, hopes, aspirations, accomplishments, learning and growth. I only knew about half the people in the room, so it was a beautiful thing to listen to these men and women speaking so freely from the depths of their souls. And we learned from each other by listening. We learned how much alike we are, how we all struggle with so many of the same issues. And we laughed and celebrated and encouraged each others’ goals and determination in moving forward.

When it was my turn, I spoke about how I’ve played it so safe. Like so many others, I lived according to what I thought people expected of me, deciding what behavior seemed appropriate, and acting accordingly. Of course, I have no idea what people expected, only what I came up with in my own mind. Not a formula for authenticity, boldness and daring by any means. 
For a number of years now, my friends have been telling me I have gifts to share, that I’m a teacher and an inspiration and that it is time for me to show that side of myself. I shared with the group last night how the workshops I attended had challenged me, bringing up fear of — well, of what? Being exposed as a sham? Of acting inappropriately? Of looking foolish? I don’t know, all of that I guess. 

I’m happy to say that through these workshops and teachings, I burned through all that. I seemed to have a fear of being seen and maybe falling short, so I played it safe and nice. Now I know that my soul wants to show up and play bigger and harder. 

So, the question then is—the one that’s afraid—is that the True Self? The Highest Soul? Or is it the ego trying to keep things the way they’ve always been. I think the answer is obvious. So, you could say, I’ve come out.   I’ve determined to allow the Light of this Soul to be seen. After all, Whose are the gifts and talents? And if they are of the Spirit, it is Spirit shining through, not this little vulnerable ego, which really is nothing more than a pattern in the brain, not even real. 

Today in church our minister, Mark, told a story about finding himself called to stand and speak before and audience, back when he was still in his barely awakened hippie stage. He recounted how a wise elderly woman sitting next to him reminded him that it wouldn’t be him speaking, but Spirit, and the best thing to do is just relax and surrender and let Spirit show up the way it wants to. 

That’s such profound truth. If we could live our lives that way, just letting Spirit show up in us, through us, and as us, we would watch in delight as Life unfolds in magical, mysterious, miraculous ways, far beyond anything we could imagine. I actually do that a lot, and it is amazing and awe inspiring. Plus, a lot more fun than I could come up with! Through grace, I continue to discover more areas of life to surrender to Spirit, areas where I’m still contracted, fearful, cautious. Grace continues to show me when I need to challenge the voice that says you shouldn’t, or you can’t, or you’d better play it safe and dull.

So, one of my really secret, powerful spiritual tools is my earrings. I’m now called to let Spirit shine big through me, so I started with my earrings. (Spirit doesn’t expect us to get up one day and walk on water, you know) I used to wear little, conservative, safe, inoffensive earrings. Now I pretty much wear the biggest ones I can find. They remind me to show up and shine.