You are the artist. Life is your medium. Intuition is your muse.

💙🌟 So much of the truth of our experience is abstract and is felt beyond our five senses. Many of us weren’t encouraged to validate and trust the intangible feelings of creativity, of wisdom, and of spiritual truth, mostly because others couldn’t see, touch, hear, or understand what we were talking about. There is little in the outside world to show for this abstract energy within, yet it feels real to us, more than anything else in the “real world.”

This is the artist’s way. She knows how true her experience within is. So much so that she HAS to make it tangible to the outside world. But until she creates it, she is alone with her knowing. She is asked to believe in her feelings, in her inner vibrations, in the insubstantial vibes of her musings. It is her faith in the unseen that gives her the strength, the courage, and the patience to engage and manifest her knowing.

🌈You are the artist. Life is your medium and intuition is your muse. 🌈 No one else can fully know what you know energetically, because god expresses through you in a way that is unique to your body, to your mind, to your soul contract, to your soul history, to your skills and your gifts. You, and you alone, are the holder of that unique vision, the protector of that sacred seed, the nurturer of that latent creation. 

For a while now, you have been experiencing life on a deeper level. You feel differently about yourself and reality. You know that there is more than meets the eye, but it all feels so abstract and so dam hard to explain to others. Your intuition is strengthening, and it has reached a level where it NEEDS to break out into the environment, to become tangible, tactile, real in the world, for all to see. You are invited to break into matter, to make the un-manifest manifest. Speak, breathe, move, share, write, draw, sing, express in any way you can. By yourself or with others, engage your fire. 

You might be clumsy at the beginning. It might feel super awkward: remember that your biology was shaped to accommodate a more subdued version of your light, a more measured expression of your god-force. Give yourself time. Be patient. Allow healing and rest to take place. But don’t stop taking action from that place of intuition. Keep engaging your fire. Whether in small ways, like texting to yourself a nugget of insight that came to your awareness during coffee with a friend, or stopping on your walk back from work to look at that rose bush and breathe with her for a moment, be with her essence for a while. Or in big ways, like pressing “publish” on your soul revealing blog or Facebook post that contains your raw fire, your volcano soul-truth, or signing up for those voice lessons, or having that overdue conversation with your husband or your sister. 

Whether small or big, keep engaging your fire. It will take you to your next step, your next bread crumb, your next expansion opportunity, your next soul assignment.

You are the leader of yourself, the leader of your medicine. You move ahead of your pack to stand alone for a while with what you know. Trust yourself like you trust life. Because you are life-force itself. No one else can manifest life-force through you like you can. xo

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You've Got This

If you are anything like me and growing up you adopted "pleasing" as a way of being seen and validated by your environment, then pleasing has kept you safe for a long, long time. Pleasing has built walls so you could protect yourself emotionally, spiritually and perhaps even physically, and survive your world. And maybe you have embarked on a journey of letting go of pleasing others in this way that is not healthy for you, and you know that others’ happiness and comfort is not your job nor your responsibility anymore. Maybe you have realized that what you really want is to know yourself beyond this pattern and you want to be able to love in a different way, with healthy boundaries. I get you.

Then you might come to a point where you ponder this question:  who was I before I began to please? Who was the little boy or the little girl before they fragmented into multiple “selves” to accommodate, to keep the peace, to manage others’ emotions? And when you ask that question, you might not know the answer... and that uncertainty might scare the shit out of you. Standing in such an existential unknown can be destabilizing like the ground is moving under you. In that moment, you feel that the protection and the safety you have worked so hard to build throughout your life is gone. Your thick skin has softened, your walls have come down, you feel exposed, more vulnerable than you have felt in a long time. And you wonder if this is good for you, if this is the right path.

I invite you to stay there. Stay right where you are. Don’t rush this part. This is the bridge, the gateway to remembering who you really are, who you were before you forgot. Remain with the uncertainty, in the in-between space of identity. You will emerge anew, in time.

But this is very important: during this time make sure you surround yourself with people who are emotionally safe and put yourself in environments that are nurturing, kind, life-giving, and expansive. If you can't find such people or environments, go for neutral. Neutral attention is better than emotionally abusive attention. The last thing you need during this period is to be walking on eggshells around people who need you more than you need them. Be selfish. You are tending to the most important of all relationships: the one you have with the mystery of life within you, who you really are. For now, you are your authority, your advocate, your bouncer. Ask for what you need, draw the line in the sand clearly, and stick to it. What you will discover in time will bring you more meaning, peace, and joy than ever before, and your strength, your power will return in a way that is even more grounded, like a volcano sharing her truth, uncompromisingly. Safety and protection will not be needed anymore, they will make way to clarity, focus, light, and power. You've got this. 

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The Pedestal

Oh, this is a juicy topic. It is of the hour. I am so fascinated by our desire as human beings to put others on a pedestal, to give our power away in order to feel some peace, some respite from our suffering, some lasting joy.

I did it. Beginning with my mother, for a long long time, then with “mother figures" like Sai Maa, and Anita, then with “father figures” like Wayne and with priests in the Catholic church growing up. I did it with men. Oh did I ever betray myself in my teens and my twenties, when I crossed the boundary line between “I want to share love with you” and “this is not ok but I can't remember where to find my voice”. I even did it with Paul to some extent. It is hard-wired in me, conditioned deep in my cells, to feel like another has my answers, another holds my worth, the key to my success, to my ultimate happiness.

Sometimes these happenings have opened up doors within myself and gave me access to more profound dimensions of life. I saw with my own eyes my father’s heart being cracked open with one single hug from Sai Maa; I can’t deny the depth of the experience of unconditional love I felt when Wayne listened to my every word, seeing the deeper and truer essence of me; I know how powerful the acceleration of vibration feels inside when in the presence of a human who has accelerated their own vibration to such a place that we can, in their proximity, attune with divine love, and grace; and I know how much I have grown into myself from Anita’s self-love message, how incredibly powerful she is on stage, reminding everyone of their innate beauty. For those experiences I am so grateful.

But my conclusion is this: ultimately, I do not access lasting joy, healing nor inner peace when the source of these things lay outside of myself. Each experience have convinced me more and more how important it is to bring these figures down from the pedestal and at eye level; everyone and anyone we place up there, the people with whom we feel less then, even if we think it’s for our own good, and to KNOW that we are "’that” which we admire in them.

We are IT. We are the universe, we are god, we are the sun and the moon, the ocean and the volcanoes, the light and the dark, the fears and the exuberance… all of it. The journey of the soul in human form is to fully OWN and FEEL the experience of that HUGENESS. Yes, we can be inspired by a teacher or an artist that speaks a truth that resonates with us, that awakens us. Absolutely! That is why we are here, to uplift each other, to walk together. But we should always take that truth back inside, to bounce it off against our inner truth compass, and know that the teacher doesn’t hold anything we don't have and that learning how to DISCERN truth within (not without) is the ultimate gift of love and freedom.

The role of a teacher is to nurture the leader and teacher in others, not to gain followers, and not to indulge in the pedestal thing. What we need today are leaders, everyday people, who are self-examined, self-responsible, and self-accountable, people who are able to honour the personal and move through to the impersonal of the issue, to share with others authentic stories and expanded tools of “self, soul, and source awareness” so individuals can embody their own wholeness, lead themselves into emotional and spiritual autonomy, and be empowered by their own knowing, independent of the teacher, and perhaps inspire others to do the same.

Being immersed in a powerful spiritual context like religion, just like being immersed in a powerful social context like the film industry or politics for example, especially if it’s from a very young age, it is incredibly complex within oneself to find the discernment of truth, personal or universal, in the face of the authority figures, alive or dead, in that context. To the individuals who are emerging with powerful truths, with such courage, clarity, determination, love, and perspective … I am so incredibly inspired by you. You are the medicine we need right now. The leadership we need. These accounts, experiences, and testimonials are life-changing, mountain moving. Not just for the storyteller, but for all who are witnessing and have, in some way or another, experienced abuse at the hands of authority figures. Including me. To you, I say thank you. And how can I help.

Love,

Anne

 

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Great Big Winters

We avoid the great big winters by honouring the small ones. We can tame the intensity of our great big storms by welcoming the daily ones, the moments that ask us to pause and rest, even when it feels so dam unproductive. 

 

We avoid the great big winters by recognizing the days that demand stillness and observation, by honouring the weeks when we need to rest, not do so much, even if it goes against our well thought out plans.

 

We avoid the great big traumas and dramas by honouring the small ones, the very subtle nudges in the body, the impulse of frustration, impatience, the whisper that says: this is not working, so pause, go in, don’t move, stay here, for now. Receive. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go, but be. Be of service to our insides... And breathe more.

 

It’s so much more joyful and a hell of a lot less painful to ride the small winters when they show up than to accumulate the fire until it blows up and burns the whole house down.

 

I like that much more 

The Celestial Sessions 2018

The Celestial Sessions on North Caicos… man, what an adventure!  Twenty showed up and dared to dive in and surrender to the ride of a lifetime… and it was! We belly laughed, a lot, we cried, a lot, we chanted our soul to the sun, we stomped our roots into the ocean floor, we sang our love for our heart, we declared our freedom out loud. We breathed like never before, taking in air through our skin, feeding our insides with life-giving oxygen like we didn’t know was possible. We frolicked, we played, hard, we held each other, we truly saw each other. We remembered our greatness and reminded others of theirs, gently, boldly, tenderly. We were courageous, we held each other accountable, we said yes to help, we said no to “no more, I’m done”, we asked for what we needed. And we loved. Oh man did we ever love. We loved deeply, feeling that love poured through our being, like the most beautiful light feeding every cell, animating the sleepiest parts of our body. 

At every turn, we were met by the great mystery. We were reminded gently and sometimes not so gently that we are much much more than our bodies and our minds. We were shown that truth and reality are different from one person to another, and that they can all co-exist, not one is more real or more true than the other. As our consciousness expanded, we saw how no one situation, thought, or perceptive is black or white. We can to navigate the grey areas of our lives. The perspectives that felt so dualistic, trapped, un-negotiable before opened up in a 360 array of truths and realities. How amazing is that!

The veil is thin on North Caicos. Manifestation was accelerated, and nothing was left hidden. The good, the ecstatic and the not so beautiful peeked through so we could experience the wholeness of who we are, the exquisite wholeness of our wounded humanness. When the uncomfortable stuff showed up, we gained perspective so we could see that it is only the shadow side of our next enlightenment, the part of our wholeness that is out of our awareness, for now. How incredibly freeing it is that we know that, that there is never a final verdict on the state of things, that we are always, always, invited to move through and beyond our limited circumstances.  In this expanded consciousness there is incomparable freedom, and we come to know that we can learn, heal, grow and create through joy, like we did as children. When we fully embody ourselves, when we allow the medicine and the wisdom that we are to be felt through and through, to be nurtured and shared from a place of deep authenticity, we come to know that joy is the propeller of all healing and creation, the force that brings us home.


I learned SO much this past week. I am so incredibly grateful for every single one of the participants who came to play with Jeff and I in the field of endless possibilities. I am grateful for my co-teacher Jeff for sharing his gifts and for imparting his contagious passion for the light in the sky and the light in all of us. And thank you Paul for nourishing our bodies with delicious food. Luxurious and healthy food support our healing so beautifully xo

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The Fire Of Our Solar Plexus

Excitement is a fire emotion, a take action emotion. So is anxiety. At the emotional level, they are both arousal feelings. At the spiritual level, they are both the element of fire. Except that with anxiety, instead of feeling inspired, we are stopped dead in our tracks, we back away, our fire remains unfulfilled.

One week before I was to lead my very first retreat, 10 years ago, I was really nervous. And I was frustrated with myself because up to that point I had been really excited about finally making this dream of mine a reality. But it didn’t feel so good now, I even thought of canceling the program. 

At the time I was working closely with Laura Kealoha, a Kahuna from Kauai, so I called her for some advice. She said: “Have you considered that this feeling you are having might actually be excitement, but it just feels different? Focus your anxiousness into a concrete action toward your goal, just as you would with your enthusiasm. Use that nervous feeling and put it into taking care of the details of the retreat, making handouts, finding imagery, writing the schedule, whatever is left to do. That energy you feel wants and needs to be actualized.” That simple yet brilliant piece of advice has stayed with me ever since. 

See, before it is influenced by the judgments and fears of the outside world, the fire of our solar plexus is pure excitement. The excitement of newness, of adventure, and the possibility of making something, of creating. A healthy solar plexus chakra is an adventurous spirit, willing to take risks, to give it all up to create something new. It is engaged, daring, fearless. As young children, we engaged this impulse in the body with delight and exuberance. It was pure creativity. 

Growing up, we begin to call the fire of excitement as nervousness, and eventually, we call it anxiety. We become more averse to taking risks because we fear failure, being judged, disappointing others, or losing people with care about. 

As adults, this creative fire in our solar plexus is still there, it never really left, it's our light. But when we feel it rising, we fear its meaning, and we suppress it. Instead of seeing the positive things that could come out of making a change or putting ourselves out there, all we see are the things that could go wrong, what I could lose, and how unsafe that would feel.

We know it well: the intensity in the body rises, we hold our breath which doesn’t allow for the fire to do its transmutation work or to let us know we are safe. Our attention moves away from our body, goes into our thoughts and the next thing we know we are not in control anymore, and all of our being is engaged in a fight to flight response. The same fire that once was exciting and joyful, is now scary.

I remember asking a client this question: What if your dream, what you genuinely want, actually comes true, how would you feel? Think about it. You get the book contract with the perfect publisher, you are able to purchase the house you have always wanted, you get recruited for your dream job, or you have the stage at Super Soul Sunday… whatever it is... how would it make you feel? She said with delight on her face: I would be so excited! And then her face changed, and she said: I would probably be a little anxious. She wanted to feel excited, but that feeling bumped up against her sense of worthiness and her belief in her own capacity.

When we are nervous about doing something that is really meaningful but scares us, we are engaging the fire of our solar plexus that is giving us the energy and the vitality to engage this moment. Without the fire, the moment would be flat, lifeless. The trick is to address this energy, look at it, question it, and engage. Give it an outlet.

This is easier said than done, I know that! If you are having a panic attack, knowing this info won't be very useful. It’s tough to bring ourselves down from that place. But in addition to deepening the breath, slowing it down, and bringing your attention to the base of your spine, one thing I find works well is instead of trying to take the emotion from anxiety to calm, try to shift it to an emotion that vibrates at the same frequency, like excitement. Tell yourself, out loud: “I am excited.” And smile. I found that to be so empowering, like I had tapped into a superpower I didn’t know I had.

Three years ago I was backstage about to open for Wayne Dyer, and I felt that familiar feeling rising in me. My thoughts were running wild: “who do you think you are speaking in front of all these people who came to see him, not you. What do you even have to say that is helpful or even interesting." I  caught the flu 5 days before, and I was still quite sick, so everyone would understand if I bailed. But I remembered what Laura said. I knew that really, deep down, I was freakin' excited about this! I wanted this really badly. The anxiety was my own self-doubt about my ability to do what I know I came here to do. My ego was doing its job, trying to protect me from what it thought was an imminent threat. But in reality, my soul was dancing with joy, and this fire in my belly was its way to tell me that it was with me all the way.  

To this day, every time I am about to step on stage, I hear the self-doubt voice. It’s still there. I don’t try to make it go away. That makes it stronger. I say hi to it. I acknowledge it, I love it, I express my gratitude for what it has done for me, keeping me “safe” all those years. I tell it that it can come along for the ride… but my heart is going to lead today, my soul will guide this thing. 

 

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A Morning Like This

💚A morning like today reminds me of how incredibly stunning life is. I still have bills to take care of, those didn’t get magically paid while I slept last night. And my house is still a chaotic mess, laundry didn’t fold itself during my morning meditation. And I still don’t know how this project I am working on will see the light of day, genius ideas didn’t come pouring in as I planted the seeds of my intentions before I got out of bed. I live in the real world. The spiritual path is grounded in the real world, laundry and all! But my experience of the real world has become quite magical over the past decade.

I found that when I have the courage and the trust to follow the impulse in my body, to engage life from this knowing that is always there to guide me, that has never left me, the perceived failures and setbacks are magic too. I found that following the impulse and co-creating with god includes a huge array of experiences, emotions, and results, including long periods of time doing nothing and what looks like the opposite of success.

This inner impulse, this knowing has been with me since I was a little girl. Although I stopped following it when I became a teenager, it reminded me it was still there in the car accident, when for a moment, time and space gave way to my truth. And although I still didn’t know how to come back to this truth in the years after the accident, this knowing showed up again, it surprised me when I found myself in a mess of snot and tears 5 years later when I sat in a conversation about feminine leadership with a small group of women. See, the accident had shown me the “what” I was made of, it reminded me of the essence of peace and creativity that was my truth. That day in the circle with the women when I surrendered to my heart, I was shown the “how”. I was shown that my body was essential, it was the "how". I realized that the way to living this truth of mine was to go into and through, with a whole lot of love and patience.

So I began by consciously living like that. I intended, in my meditation, to come to a place where I could sit quietly with myself and feel inner peace. For a couple of years, that was my sole intention. I desired inner peace more than anything else. I needed to become best friends with my body, to let it know that I was there now, that I loved it now.

Year after year I gained my body's trust, and I loved it more than it had ever been loved before. And peace came. I stuck with it because every time I healed a layer of pain, I felt lighter and I knew I was getting closer to my heart’s desires.

Magically, the lighter I felt, the closer I got to my soul. My soul began speaking to me more clearly. Before, I did have dreams and flashes of intuition, but now, my soul was talking directly to me, through the instrument of my body. I began to trust the impulses of inspiration, following the breadcrumbs of peak experiences, those moments where everything feels so perfectly aligned and meant to be, regardless of the chaos all around or what my mind says.

Looking back, I see a pattern. There are seasons in my years. Each year there are months of confusion and stillness, followed by months of healing and letting go, followed by months of clarity and vivid imagination, followed by months of engaging with actions and focus, followed by months of slowing down again. These seasons have their own ways of letting me know it’s their time. My days also have seasons.

At the beginning, it would take me a long time to listen. I’d fight the season of slowing down and stillness because of my driven personality and my strong (limiting) belief that “not doing” is stagnation and stagnation is bad. I perceived space with no-thing as setbacks, failures. I was very hard on myself for not being able to “figure this out.” Resisting this made everything take longer, and it hurt so much more.

But with the years I re-familiarized myself with the way these seasons speak to me, like they did when I was a little girl. When I see the chaos all around erupting, that’s my cue to let go of control, stay still for as long as it takes, and breathe. I know chaos is the precursor to clarity, but I need to get out of the way first. And when sadness creeps up in my body, that’s my cue to take time out from the world, go in and incubate with this abstract information. And when expansion lights up my insides, when I cry with joy reading an amazing book or watching a stunning sunset, I know I am now an active vessel for source, I am a lightning rod grounding god-force in my world. When before I would use this surplus of energy to “do” more of the things that didn’t work before but made me feel safe, now I use this energy to feed my imagination, my soul’s vision, my heart’s intentions. It's so delicious!

We don't live in a society that gives credibility to this cycle, to this way of creating our lives. But it is the wisdom of the ancients, and so many of us know this to be true. We know in our hearts that we don't want to live any other way, even if it means standing alone for a little while, "failing" a little.

This morning is one of these mornings when I feel so grateful for knowing what I know.

You know so much already, you have read the books, done the healing work. Trust yourself. The trick is patience, kindness with yourself, knowing who you are and what you want at a soul level. Trust that the song you feel in your heart is real and expect it to come true. You are the creator of it, simply because you are able to feel it and envision it. Feed your vision daily with the energy our your love, engage that power when action is demanded of you. Ultimately, the how and the when is not up to you. But your faith in you is.

And when lightning strikes and energy and enthusiasm fill you up, direct it toward your heart-song, your soul's intention. Don't waste it on other people’s dreams.

Like Wayne said: " Don't die with your music still inside you."

I love you

xo 💚

Pleased

💛One day I realized that my unconscious need to please was at the cause of my exhaustion, my disenchantment. I saw that I was betraying myself every time loving others crossed over the line into making sure they were happy. When the self-betrayal line was crossed, I no longer had access to my unlimited full-body-god-force-spiritual-energy anymore, but I was drawing from my emergency reserve tank, and that tank has its limits. Depleting myself was not love at all, nor was it loving. That day I decided I was done with betraying myself like that. I claimed it out loud so my entire being could hear me. I said: “I completely let go of the need to please” and I sent the words into the wind for the universe to hear too. The universe heard me. Right after I declared it, the things that had become difficult to do before, were impossible to do now. So I listened even more. I stopped doing what didn’t feel right anymore, even though my mind disagreed loudly. I listened to the impulse in my body that yelled : “Stop. No. Not now. Not Today. Not this week. Not this month. Not this person, for now. When the time is right, you will know. BUT NOT ONE MOMENT SOONER” So I stayed put. I stayed present.

During that inward period, during my time-out from the busyness of the outside world, I heard my body asking clearly for what it needed. Lots of stillness, contemplation, and writing. But when there was resounding “yess” in my body; when people, places, conversations resonated with my inside, I also listened, and I engaged the outside world, on my own terms. I’d check in with my body, always, to see if I truly wanted to be there, wanted to say something, or simply needed to breathe. To my amazement I saw that “pleased” was still happening, but in a different way, in a grounded, lower belly kinda way. “Pleased” was alive and well, but it was simple and easy, it was quiet and united, it was abundant, and all around. “Pleased” was happening on its own, it was a byproduct of presence and truth, and it wasn’t my responsibility. I wasn’t the manager or the director of it. This deeply changed me. Like Brenee Brown says: “I am not as sweet as I used to be, but I am far more loving.” Having untangled truly loving from the personal responsibility of another’s joy showed me that nothing is taken away. What is real and truly matters always remains. But we first, I had to let go.

Let go of the need to please, and all will truly be pleased.

Let go of the need to be needed, and all true needs will be met.

Let go of the need for connection, and remember you are connection itself, and you are never not safely whole.

Love,

Anne

xo

Rise Mother. Rise.

I have heard many mothers say that something awakened inside them when their first child was born. She looked into his eyes, she inhaled his skin, she sensed his breath on her neck, and she knew this is something she hasn’t felt in a long time: true intimacy. They met each other in the unconditional space of the moment, where there is very little to do and very little to say, but BE and FEEL. 

When Olivier was born and I placed him on my lap, we stared at each other for a long time. Our gaze was uninterrupted, solid, uncluttered with baggage. It was a straight shot between our hearts, and mine broke open. I cried. I felt weirdly calm, like I had arrived at some sort of destination I’d been wishing for, yet I was so incredibly terrified. I was broken wide open for the first time in a long time but I wasn’t sure I remembered how to live like this. I really didn't.

This unspoiled intimacy, this unbounded connection is often short lived, but can always be restored. No matter how old our kids are, that unconditional space is always there, waiting to be filled up with our grounded attention. We can only be emotionally intimate with others to the degree that we can be emotionally intimate with ourselves. The gaze is always there, always available, waiting to be met, but the world has left its imprint and we are tired, worried, lonely. In the moments we wish we could, we can’t sustain the intensity, we can’t remember where to put this kind of energy, how to let it in without loosing ourselves. It feels like it’s always a choice and there will always be a looser. It’s hard. 

But every time we intimately take care of our own heart, we remember who we are and what we truly need. Every time we wrap our arms around the hurt little girl that lives inside us and tend to her wounds, we grow our capacity to meet that gaze. Every time we are patient with the wild and untethered fire that moves through our creative body, we rise within ourselves. Every single time we stop betraying ourselves and come home to our soul, we know what we are capable of. 

For a moment, and a moment is enough, we know that the vaste infinity of the divine love we see in our child is a mirror of the goddess we truly are. 

Rise Mother. Rise. Your heart matters.

The Celestial Sessions Did Not Go As Planned... And That Was A Good Thing

Last July on North Caicos, I was sitting back in a lounge chair on the deck of my oceanfront room, making last minute tweaks to the program for the Celestial Sessions the evening before the participants arrived when I was startled by the voice of my teaching assistant Becky. She urged me to come down to the beach, telling me to come quickly before I missed it. What could be so urgent? 

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I turned 40 last week... and I ran away

I turned 40 last weekend. Although I usually love having friends and family celebrate with me, I felt the urge to be by myself. I couldn’t fully understand why but I was craving the quiet. The inner call was strong, "Go away in nature for a couple of days, be with the silence, your favourite book, a pencil and some paper." So away I went, and it was delicious! 

I set the intention to quiet my mind and witness what was brewing underneath the business of my life. Were there soul words whispered so softly within I hadn’t been able to hear them? Was there another layer of healing waiting to be acknowledged and released? Could I sharpen my clarity of self, soul, and purpose even more, to invite and allow into my life what was looking for me?

Here's a confession, I am terrified of being alone in the dark in the country! The first evening, I kept the lights out completely so no one would know I was there. The other nights were fine but that first night opened me right up to the other “stuff” that was lurking in my own darkness, my shadow, the parts I can't see if I don’t stop, immobilize myself, and feel. I fear that wilderness in me, that unleashed, untamed part of myself that desires to run free… but I loved coming face to face with it.

I left the snowy oceanside with a lighter body, a still mind, and a journal filled with musings and insightful openings into my perception. I LOVED that I listened to and asked for what I needed. It was incredibly restorative and revealing. 

Have you been contemplating retreating? Taking time away from your day to day routine? Do you have the desire to get some clarity, find inner peace, interrupt the noise in your mind, and simply stop and breathe deeply, breathe with intent? I would invite you to listen to that desire if it is coming up for you. It nags us and tugs at our awareness until we listen, take action, give ourselves the gift of space. And then we come home to ourselves again. We remember what really matters and what really doesn’t. We gain perspective and find some freedom. It is such a balm for our heart.

One last thing, if you haven't seen it yet, I shared a self-love meditation and a self-forgiveness visualization on Facebook live last week, here is the link. It is also accessible on my podcast. These exercises are very healing, they help shed light on the unconscious self-sabotage patterns.

In Divine Love,

Anne

Soul Reminder: You came here for a reason, find it, and know it's for you. Believe in what belongs to you. Be enthusiastic about it happening because you make things happen with your joy. 

Where Intuition Lives

The inner landscape of our being is a magical territory where intuition lives. The discovery, or should I say the re-discovery, of our body’s inner world is a sensuous journey that awakens us to the deeper, more subtle dimensions of our being. Making the trek within is the experience of fully feeling this life we are here to live and gaining access to wisdom and knowledge unattainable through the limited human intellect.

This is not how most of us have been taught to experience life. To give time, space, and voice to what is energetically stirring under the surface of the skin was not part of school curriculum or parenting approaches, back when we were kids. Yet, it is an essential component of a healthy, happy and self-realized life. It is often a journey we have to consciously choose to take as adults, when we acknowledge that living our lives based on the fears and worries accumulated from past experiences does not bring what we hoped it would. Reconnecting with the energetic body is reconnecting with our intuition, and it is the path to bringing back magic and infinite possibilities into our lives.

Intuition is our soul’s mean of communication. The Kahunas, the ancient Hawaiian shamans, believed that we could not truly know the soul or understand the divine spirit through the intellectual abilities of the mind. Trying to do so was a mere activity of the ego-mind, what they called Uhane. According to these wise beings, the way to connect with the divine self, our soul, our Aumakua, is through the instrument of the physical body, the Unihipili.

Spirit expresses and manifests through the tissue of the body. Out of the process of introducing silence within and placing our awareness in the heart, for example, one can feel, hear, see, sense, and taste the whispers of the divine spirit as well as the individual soul. Spirit desires to express through our entire organism, not just the mind. Being open to and allowing it to do so can bring about such a sensual experience. And it feels to me that there is not a more important purpose but to re-learn how to fully feel this wondrous universe unfolding through all of our senses. Presence in the heart is a great place to start, as our heart’s intentions are connected to the universe’s intentions of love, compassion, laughter, peace, and happiness.

As children we were highly intuitive. No matter the reason for our individual incarnation, we were all born without boundaries between our minds, our bodies, and the environment around us. We expressed our soul with exuberance and certainty. The awareness of our identity was not limited by the boundaries of our flesh, or the boundaries of our thoughts; it included All that is.

As souls on this path of remembering our true nature and allowing it to express through our being, we are invited daily to become aware of the subtle ways our intuition communicates with us. This requires becoming more aware of the energetic body, the light body, which can be experienced through feeling its expressions as sensations, images, sounds, tastes, or smells. It requires developing and fostering an intimate loving relationship with our inner landscape by practising a repeated awareness of our energetic body. In the beginning it can feel foreign, but the more we allow ourselves to fully feel all of the experiences, the perceived good and bad, simply feeling moment-to-moment becomes easier and easier, and our lives feel more authentic and meaningful. We become more adept at noticing the subtler dimensions of our bodies where intuition lives, where a more textured and sensuous experience of life desires to unfold.

Being connected to our intuition is a state of being in the present moment. This state is accompanied by a sense of assurance that we are connected to a greater whole and that our lives really matters. It is a complete experience of being connected to our minds, our bodies, and the environment around us, all at once, from a place deep within. It is the experience of knowing our true self as the expanded consciousness that we really are.

I Am Manifesto

I am not the body. I am not the mind.

I Am a boundless energetic and spiritual being.

I Am etheric and eternal, precise and latent energy flowing through a physical body, bubbling with possibilities and abundance.

I Am one with an intelligence, a universal consciousness I call the Divine, and I share its all-encompassing, all-knowing, and ever-desiring- to-expand qualities.

I Am this intelligence that gives life to everything.

My true nature exists at a deeper level than what I can see, smell, touch, taste, and feel.

Yet these senses allow me to experience and manifest in a concrete way my true nature in this world. J

ust as energy moves and transforms matter, my soul moves through my body and mind and transforms my being and my world.

When the spirit that I am can’t flow freely, I experience suffering.

When the spirit that I am is allowed to move uninterrupted, I experience peace, love, and joy.

But regardless of my experience, I Am Divine love and I am supported by this love, even when my mind forgets.

 

Excerpt from Be Feel Think Do p. 111

 

 

"BE FEEL THINK DO" PARENTING

We are human “beings,” but many of us rarely get to “be” in the run of a day. Simply being and feeling what is present in the moment is one of the greatest things we can do to find a sense of peace and joy and to be the best parent. Just because we are raising children doesn't mean that we can’t also be on our personal growth path. Personally, my spiritual journey and self-work accelerated when I became a mother. I eventually realized that my children are my greatest teachers.

Our children are our mirrors: clear reflections of their external world, uncompromisingly in their “being-ness” because social conditioning has not altered their connection to source. They show us who we are whether we like it or not. They amplify the parts we know, the parts we don't, the parts we love, and the parts we don’t.

How we react is the key.

I’ll always remember looking into the eyes of my newborn and seeing a love I had never seen before. It was pure, boundless, and without reservation. I remember the feeling of my heart breaking open. At that moment, I caught a glimpse of who I truly was. I saw a love that lived in me, a part of myself I had forgotten, left behind, a part I knew well when I was a little girl. I sensed he would be my teacher: showing me the way to a sacred place within myself where all the love that is needed resides. He embodied a certain groundedness and sense of knowing. Could I find and preserve that quality within myself? Was I capable of honoring this great soul?

One day, when my son was one and a half years old, he became upset and had a tantrum. Up until that age, Olivier was so content that I never had to deal with much beyond the usual toddler needs and wants: food, attention, and sleep. I was engrossed in my Ph.D. thesis, working toward a deadline, and very much "in my head." In fact, my attention was so accurately in my mind and abstract thoughts that I was, in some sense, disembodied. I was not giving him the attention he desired, and he was mad.

All of the tricks that used to distract him failed me. I felt completely overwhelmed as he became increasingly upset. I could feel the stress level rise in my body and felt myself wanting to scream: “Stop it! Give me a break!”

But I didn't scream, thankfully. I mentioned above that Olivier's birth inspired me to find a better way to live. My investigations had taught me about past conditioning, how we keep energy and information in our bodies, and how it can come to the surface when we are triggered. At that moment I was able to identify that my feelings were not because of his actions, they were because of my conditioning. My whole being was remembering a time when I wanted attention and did not receive it. My son was simply mirroring a deep discontent that lived in me, the part of me that wanted to kick and scream to get the attention I deeply desired. I took a deep breath as I directed my attention toward the pressure I felt in my body, and tears rolled down my face as I began to release this intensity in me.

I felt much better, he calmed down, and all was well. Now, this is easier said than done but in my book Be Feel Think Do I share stories and insights about this process, how incredibly freeing it can be, and how much we gain from this kind of healing.

When children reflect things we don't like about ourselves, it is important to own our "stuff," and not re-reflect it onto our child. To break these patterns we must own what is ours, and witness what is theirs. In fact, this goes for every relationship we have. It is a  powerful paradigm shift in the way are with each other.

There are two elements to the story about my son.

Firstly, Olivier was feeling upset and wanted attention: that belonged to him. That had nothing to do with me, or who I was; to take it personally would link his reactions to my identity and that would be unhealthy for both of us. My job was to witness and validate his feelings at that moment. The situation simply needed to be seen and honored with openness and love. Nothing needed to be fixed. He needed permission to feel what he felt without judgment. What I have found since then is that the problems pass by much faster when we don't try to change one another's reaction. The child feels it all and moves on to the next adventure.

The second element of this story were my feelings and reactions.  The intensity, the pressure, the anger, the sadness, all of what was happening inside of me was mine, none of it was his. What moved through me belonged to me. Even though his behavior triggered it, part of my job as a parent is to avoid projecting my reaction onto him. The situation was an invitation for me to witness myself, hold space for myself, simply “be” with what I felt. In that instant, I shed some baggage and evolved into a new and improved version of the parent that I wished to be.

When we catch ourselves projecting our emotions onto our child, we can stop, bring our attention within, and breathe deeply. It can be difficult because many of us have very ingrained limiting beliefs around tears and showing emotions, especially in front of our children. To move beyond that belief, we need to understand the difference between dwelling in our emotions and processing our emotions.

When we dwell in our emotions, we keep them stuck at the level of our thoughts. We repeat a story, and we stay in a closed loop of negative internal conversation. It feels heavy, and little to nothing gets resolved. Our relationships, with our children and others, will be affected.

On the other hand, when we process our emotions, meaning that we connect with the direct experience inside ourselves and fully feel the truth that moves through us, we not only free ourselves but we free our children from the tension. Children sense tension, even when we try to soothe and protect them. We don't help them when we do that. Instead, we teach them that there is an outer world and an inner world, one that is appropriate for the world to see and one that is hidden as a secret within. That is not a healthy belief.

When children reflect parts we love about ourselves, it is also important to acknowledge it and celebrate it. When my daughter was born, she came into this world screaming. I saw it as fearlessness and boldness. She came into this world with things to say and do, and the whole world needed to know, and she made sure of that. I knew that she was mirroring another suppressed aspect of my being. She was calling out the exuberant little girl I used to be, the one who spoke her mind and lived out loud. Her demands were simple: step out, speak up, and shine your light.

 

Happy International Day of Happiness

Here are some tips on how to radically shift your day to day state to being more authentically happy 😁❤

 

Begin every day with the feeling you desire: Your body and mind are made up of energy and this energy responds and shifts accordingly to the energy in your thought and your feelings. The late Dr. Wayne Dyer taught that what affects our reality more than our thoughts are the feelings we experience within our own heart. Feeling our desired outcome allows us to increase the manifesting power of an intention. Happiness is an abstract concept, so I recommend you choose a feeling that is more tangible. Gratitude is one of the most powerful, a conduit for bringing joy into your life. Every morning, when you awake, bring your attention to your heart and breath deeply. With your eyes closed, quietly repeat these words, as if you are communicating them to your heart: "Thank you, thank you, thank you." Take your time and feel each word, experiencing within you the feeling of gratitude.

 

Practice feeling joy without cause: If your sense of happiness relies on external expectations, your happiness will come and go. If you identify with your body, your mind, your career, or your possessions, you will lose your sense self as those things go away. To connect with a sustainable happiness, first, connect with your eternal essence, the part of you that never comes and goes. You can feel your eternal essence: take a few deep breaths and direct your attention to your heart, see if you can experience the joy of that immortal self within. Stay with the sensation for as long as it’s there.

 

Voice your boundaries: Keeping things in that need to be said drains us of our innate joy. Be respectful of your inner self by giving it a clear voice when boundaries need to be established. When you hear that little voice inside say "this is not ok," say something. No matter what others think of you, no matter what you think others think of you. Speak your clarity in the moment, not long after the impulse arose in you. Speak from that place within where wisdom comes from, and let the chips fall where they may. People can handle it.

 

Care out loud: Expressing what is moving through your being is the best antidote to the feelings of disillusion and resignation. Your voice chakra was meant to "sound out" the fiery passion of your solar plexus and the soulful wisdom of your heart. When you interrupt that flow of energy at the throat, you create pressure in your body. Sometimes that pressure turns into anxiety. Then the mind picks up on it and chats away with negative thoughts, and you find yourself less than happy. Share with exuberance your enthusiasm and your love for the things that inspire you, that bring you awe. Like a child who doesn’t know how to restrain the movement of joy moving through his or her body, and cares out loud.

 

Seal the deal: When you go to sleep at night, take advantage of the last few moments before sleep whisks you away to bring back into your being your desired feeling. Dr. Wayne Dyer used to say that whatever your state is before you go to bed, you will marinate in it all night - so make it good. Bring your attention to your heart and breath deeply. Feel the feelings and the sensations within your being of expanded emotions like compassion, gratitude, love, and peace. Let the night take you away with all the treasures needed to sustain your joy until the morning. Magic happens when we sleep. The universe rearranges itself to meet us, to meet our desired feelings.

 

Remember, we were all born happy, it is our innate essence. We don't need to find happiness outside; we need to remember it within the universe of our own heart. That's the secret. 

Love

Anne

My Interview in The Soul Booth with Nancy Regan

I was excited, thrilled to have this conversation with my dear soul friend Nancy Regan in The Soul Booth! For Nancy, this is a heart project she has been working on for two years and to be her first guest is such an honour.  In the interview we go deep!  We talk about Dr Wayne Dyer, Be Feel Think Do (the book and the progression : ), the wisdom of our feelings and much much more. Would love to know your thoughts! Love, Anne xo

Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions: 13 Habits for a Soul-Realized Life

New Year’s resolutions are typically goals that we set for the coming year, results we plan to achieve. For example: “This year I will exercise, meditate, or somehow succeed more… and I will stress, drink, and over eat less.” Optimistic and caught up in the spirit, 'New Year’s Eve You' makes promises on behalf of 'Future You', and Future You never has a chance, because goals set in the future often stay in the future, and we find ourselves making the same resolutions the following year. 

There is only ever right now. That's why deciding what you will be in the future is never as powerful as making changes in the present moment. Start thinking about how you want to live your “nows.” The best way to make your intentions a reality is to re-conceptualize resolutions as daily commitments, more like a “New Day’s Resolution.” 

Over the past 10 years I have gone through an incredible journey of deepening my connection to my soul. I consciously wanted to feel more inner freedom, to be more at peace with my emotions, and I wanted the assurance of knowing I am fully on my path. From year to year I have accumulated habits that have made this desire a reality. I’ll share a handful of them with you below - some of them might not be for you, but they all work minor miracles for me. 

Before you read them, I invite you to ask yourself what it is you really want. How do you want to feel on a daily basis? Then, with love and intention, make small changes to your daily routine - and expect big, juicy results. 

Here are 13 daily habits I want to share with you (arranged more-or-less chronologically).

As soon as you wake up take three deep and slow breaths. The first moments of the day are very sacred. You get the chance to set the tone for your day. A deepening of your breath will bring your attention to what really matters: your Being. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Reach for your in-breath from your lower abdomen, completely fill your belly and ribcage with air, then drop your jaw, soften the muscles around your mouth, throat, and neck, and breathe out through the mouth, softening your belly. 

Feel gratitude in your heart first thing in the morning, after your 3 deep breaths. Say out loud, “thank you” three times and manifest feelings of joy and gratitude as you say the words.

Smile before you get out of bed: smile and allow even more of that joyfulness to come in. You don’t need a reason, you are simply training your being to attract and notice more situations that bring about joy, laughter, and contentment.

Ask: “How can I serve?” You came to this earth with gifts and you are meant to share them with the world. Beware of the question, “how can I get what I want?” which keeps you in strategy level thinking. Asking, “how can I serve?” will attract situations where you can use your gifts to inspire others and yourself. Being of service brings meaning, happiness, and a deepened connection to spirit. 

Drink a glass of warm water before consuming anything else. It gives your organs a head start and aids digestion. When we support our digestive system, our body doesn't have to work as hard, and we have more energy for other systems in our body.

Drink a green smoothie. After the water, head to the Vitamix. A green smoothie that includes more green than fruit will awaken your digestive system with all the benefits of organic leafy greens. I have found that a daily habit of drinking green smoothies has added to my energy and vitality.

Come back to the breath and the heart as often as you can. When stressed or confused, when sad or angry, when nervous, anxious, overwhelmed, fatigued, or frustrated, when you feel out of sorts, or uncomfortable, bring your attention back to your heart and breathe deeply. When in doubt of anything, bring your attention back to your heart and breathe deeply. Even when you are feeling great, bring your attention to your heart and breathe deeply, anchoring this feeling in your being. Your breath in your heart is where your soul lives. This habit brings you back home to you, helps you reset your compass, and you can do it dozens of times a day. In fact, you can spend most of your time in that space. 

Meditate: I officially learned how to meditate in 2009 at the Chopra Centre. I have used the Primordial Sound Meditation and the Chakra Sutras on and off for the past seven years. More and more, I see meditation as a way of living, of being grounded and aware moment-to-moment, as opposed to being reserved for a specific time and place. Each moment can be an opportunity to meditate. Try to bring and keep your awareness within as you go about your day: when you are eating your meals, driving in your car, having a conversation with a family member or a friend, brushing your teeth. If you need help with grounded and whole body awareness, here is a meditation I recorded: http://anneberube.com/meditations/

Stay active: I try to sweat three times a week, with Hot Yoga, running, or a power walk. I also have a stretching routine I do most mornings when I wake up. I am Kapha so I sometimes find it difficult to get my body moving. I have found that getting my heart to race for even a couple of minutes every day really has an impact on my stamina, my overall energy, and my ability to be even more active. Don’t make a big deal out of it but try to raise your heart rate every day.

Hug the people you love and make sure they feel seen and loved. Family is at the heart of my life. When the four of us are at peace with each other and everybody feels seen, inspired, happy, and well, the heart is healthy. When the heart is healthy, there is nothing we can’t do together. We tell each other that we love each other everyday and we hug a lot!

Don't eat after 7pm: Intermittent fasting is highly recommended by nutritionists and naturopaths. It gives your digestive system a rest so your body can focus its energy on other important functions. I have done a few 18 hour fasts but what I tend to do on a regular basis is to give my digestive system a full 12 hours of rest. All that is required is to resist the temptation to snack before bedtime.

Falling asleep with your desired feelings in your awareness. As Wayne used to say, you will stew for 8 hours in the state that you fall asleep in. Think about your desired feelings and allow those to be the last feelings you have before your conscious mind shuts down and your soul becomes even more active. Wayne had the habit of saying every night before going to bed: “Good things are going to happen.” He had a little sign made and it was hung on the wall beside his bed. If you fall asleep every night believing that good things are going to happen, they most certainly will.

Believe that you can have it all, then make a promise to yourself to not compromise or settle. You have a huge destiny to live out.

That’s it! These are things that over the years have become habitual for me. They are my antidote to New Year’s Resolutions. These practices accumulated in my life little by little over the years and I am so grateful for them. I’d be thrilled if even one or two could be helpful for you!

Love

Anne

On Self Love

“How can I authentically practice self love if I don’t truly love myself?” My client’s question took me off guard as it illustrated one of the limitations of the world of self improvement. So much advice is predicted on self love, but what if the feeling isn’t there? We cannot command self love to manifest, nor should we “fake it till we make it.” But I believe we can nurture it along. The key to the practice ofself love is… “practice.” The following are ways that you can begin to practice self-love now, and remember, it’s just practice, so be gentle with yourself.

1. Tend to your instrument: First and foremost you are a spiritual being with a desire to be human and not the other way around. Make a daily priority of nurturing your mind-body-spirit connection by practicing presence and awareness with conscious breath and meditation. Your body is the instrument your soul has chosen for this human adventure. Be kind to it. Be sensitive to the feedback and power of this incredible spiritual-biological miracle that you ride around in. Attuned and optimized for the manifestation of your soul's destiny it will support you in your quest for self love and soul realization.

2. Turn your compassion inward: Be mindful of your inner dialogue and notice how you speak to yourself. Would you let another person speak to you that way? Just like everyone else, you need acceptance, attention, and the permission to feel and heal. Don’t avoid your own internal suffering or discomfort, instead meet it head-on. Be your own best advocate, the kindest and most compassionate person you can imagine.

3. Practise forgiveness for yourself: We all know the importance of forgiving others: by letting go of anger and resentment, we not only release them but we free ourselves from negativity. But what about forgiving ourselves? Years ago, through shamanic journeying, I came face to face with my own five year old self. A little girl who’s beauty, ferocity, exuberance, strength, humour, and connection to spirit brought me to tears. Yet, as I gazed upon her, her exuberance began to fade into an intense sadness. In my haste to become an adult I had left her behind. The feeling broke my heart.

“Forgive me,” I pleaded. And she easily did.

But the hardest part was yet to come, I needed to forgive myself. I choked on a range of emotions as I breathed through the process. As I did the little girl and I began to merge together and become one. The gesture of self forgiveness was tremendous.

I realize now that the this unconscious guilt had been keeping me separate from innate parts of myself that were crucial to my happiness and self actualization.

You can practice self forgiveness without shamanic journeying: look in the mirror and lock eyes with your reflection. Breathe deeply and look deep into your eyes with kindness and tenderness. Consider that these are the eyes of the beautiful, fierce, exuberant, strong, funny, little child that lives in you. Offer the same compassionate and generous forgiveness that you would naturally extend to any innocent child. With each deep breath, soften your heart and allow yourself to accept all that you are, smile at yourself, and with your final breath whisper, “I love you.”

 

Here is one of my very favourite videos on self love. It's a clip from Luc Besson's movie Angel-A.

 

 

Daily Practice - Who Am I?

On the path of self-discovery, questions are way better than answers. A well-formulated question is our number one tool to expand our awareness and the boundaries our human experience. Answers close doors. Although they reassure us and give us comfortable reference points, they interrupt the flow of possibilities—ones we never considered—and narrow down the spectrum of possible outcomes. When we answer a question about who we are, we create perimeters within which we exist, and everything that is not a part of the answer becomes unacceptable and separate from us. We divide our humanness into little pieces, separating ourselves from our Divinity.

Conversely, when we ask a question without trying to answer it too quickly, we open our minds and our hearts to what is outside the box of what we already know. When we ask questions without looking for answers, we send signals to the divine intelligence that we are open and ready to discover something new, something we don’t know yet. Like Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “To ask the ‘right’ question is far more important than to receive the answer. The solution of a problem lies in the understanding of the problem; the answer is not outside the problem, it is in the problem.”

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is, “Who am I?” It is a simple, powerful question that includes its own answer, “I Am.” These last two words represent the Divine intelligence. When we ask the question, we ask the Divine intelligence to guide us toward remembering our own Divine nature.

Personally, I have done this every day for several years. It has led me to a deep understanding of my nature as a spiritual being. This practice has brought clues, insights, awareness, and healing that have all been part of deepening that knowledge.

The practice is as follows: 

This practice is best done early in the morning in the moments before you get out of bed.

Begin by closing your eyes and bringing your attention to your breath. Deepen your breath and allow it to be slower than normal. Five counts in through your nose, reaching for the in-breath in your belly first, then moving it up to the chest, then exhaling five counts out through your mouth, dropping your jaw and softening your throat, your neck, and your lips.

Now bring your attention to your heart. Imagine your mind is in the actual space of your heart as you continue to breathe deeply. Quietly within, ask the question, Who am I? Repeat the question for about three minutes, slowly, staying connected to your breath and your heart. Don’t try to answer the question; simply ask it and feel it. Answers might come from your thoughts, from your guides, from the Divine. Don’t stay attached to the answers that might arise, just notice them and go back to gently asking the question and being present to your entire body.

At the end of the three minutes, take one last, deep, in-breath in gratitude to the opportunity to converse with the Divine, saying thank you, and releasing the question on your exhalation. Surrender the details of how and when the question will reveal itself - the how and when are not up to you. The answer will present itself in Divine time, and it is out of your hands. Once the practice is over, go about your day, keeping your mind open to messages or synchronicities that might arise.

Asking Who am I?, with your attention in your heart, will communicate to your heart and soul your deep desire to truly know yourself and meet your eternity. Your soul communicates through feelings. Feeling the question and the gratitude will bring you in close proximity to your soul, to your true nature, where insights can be revealed.

Our Life Force

At the core of our human experience, before the stories, the narratives, the judgments, the intellectual concepts, or the dogmas come into our awareness, there is a life force. This life force is the impulse of the soul, it is Love. We are connected to it fully first thing in the morning. We were connected to it fully when we were born. It is at the base of all experiences, it is the breath of our life, the heart of our being, at the heart of be. We knew this force innately when we were young and we played freely and explored it, with awe. Now, as adults, we are invited to return to it, to remember this core impulse, this love, that stems from within.

Either this force is allowed to flow, or it is not. Naturally, without interference, this love wants to move, transform, and grow. It also deeply wants to make itself known to our awareness.

The energies provided from our environment from conception onwards can be put into two categories: either the energies from the environment were life-giving or life-threatening. Experiences and environments either invited growth or invited protection. An environment of growth is where there is unconditional love, acceptance, and freedom to feel and express in one uninterrupted movement. It is a milieu in which there is very little judgment, control, or unexamined fear. I remember this as playing freely in the forest with my friend. Nature was a life-giving energy during my childhood. My friend and I talked to fairies and laid on our backs on bright green moss, looking up at the trees and the clouds dancing. I remember this energy when I’d have an idea for a show to entertain my friends or plan game and I could just act on it, make it happen. When the environment invites growth, when it is safe for us to simply be, our soul recognizes itself, we become aware of our grandeur and brilliance, and our life force is invited and allowed to move and grow in the way it intended to.

On the other hand, when the environment requires protection, for whatever reason, that impulse of growth is interrupted, limited, inhibited. Protection mode is a state our whole body goes into when it feels unsafe. It is often referred to as the fight-or-flight reaction in the body or the sympathetic system. In the face of perceived danger, the body adapts. Cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, the endocrine system’s stress hormones, are released to give us more energy. Blood starts to flow away from the vital organs and toward the extremities to be able to fight the threat or run away from it. The blood thickens to help clot faster in the event of an injury. The breath becomes quicker and shallower. The heart rate rises. The immune system weakens by virtue of energy being expanded to other systems. This is all very good in the face of true danger. If we find ourselves in life threatening situations where we have to fight or run away from a dangerous animal, for example, these body reactions are very important. But in our modern society, we tend to tap into the sympathetic system of the body even in the face of non-life-threatening stressors, like a conversation with our boss, a crazy work deadline, the pile of dirty dishes on the counter, the news, despair we take on from someone else, or even internal stressors like negative thoughts and undesired emotions, whether conscious or not. The body doesn’t see the difference between real and perceived, and it adapts to the stressor in the same way it does with the real threat.

As a child, I remember this feeling. It came up in the classroom when I was yelled at and singled out for being distracted (and distracting) and not attentive. It came up when the tension was high in our house. When I knew I’d better tiptoe around and measure my words, as it felt that an emotional bomb could go off anytime. It came up when I’d feel adults around me saying words that didn’t match their energy and it was confusing to me. When I was 5, we lived in New Brunswick for a year so I could go to English school and we stayed with my mother’s cousin for a few months. One evening before bedtime, I walked over to the kitchen where she was tiding up from dinner to say good night to her. When I tapped her back to get her attention, I accidentally startled her. She abruptly turned around, showed me her fist, and said: “If you do this again, I’ll punch you in the nose.” I remember my body getting hot. I remember being so confused and scared. (As my body carried this memory, I became more prudent with adults.)

The thing is, even if they happened a long time ago, our body responds today in protection to past traumas and we still get triggered in our body. In fact, many of us live in constant fight-or-flight, mostly unconsciously, because of childhood traumas. Many of us live under stress everyday. And most of the time, the emotional stress is not caused by an actual distressing situation, but by suppressed emotional pain and the worry of possible future pain, outside our conscious awareness.

When the body is in protective mode too often, our whole being is affected. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing is compromised. That is why under stress, we can’t optimally function or heal easily from an illness. On the contrary, when the body-mind-soul feels safe and is relaxed, it taps into its parasympathetic system, which is the body’s natural rest state. This state supports the body’s growth, healing, and cell regeneration. In this state the body-mind-soul can thrive. When we are in growth mode, we feel connected in the moment, at peace with the past, and excited about the possibilities ahead. We experience peace and joy that are unconditional.

When the body is in protective mode, when it is combatting against a life-threatening element, we can’t optimally live and thrive. We can’t do both well at once. In his book The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton talks about how the energy used to protect oneself takes away from growth. He explains:

“The mechanisms that support growth and protection cannot operate optimally at the same time. In other words, cells cannot simultaneously move forward and backward. (…) In a response similar to that displayed by cells, humans unavoidably restrict their growth behaviors when they shift into a protective mode. If you are running away from a mountain lion, it is not a good idea to spend energy on growth. In order to survive -that is escape the lion- you summon all your energy for your fight or flight response. Redistributing energy reserves to fuel the protection response inevitably results in a curtailment of growth. (…) Inhibiting growth processes is also debilitating in that growth is a process that not only expands energy but is also required to produce energy. Consequently, a sustain protection response inhibits the creation of life sustaining energy.”

That is why stress and unprocessed emotional pain eventually take away our joie de vivre, our ability to love deeply, and our vitality and we don’t get to experience the extent of who we truly are. The protective mode of the body keeps our soul’s desires from being fully known to our conscious awareness, it keeps love from fully manifesting through us.

If we could be in growth mode all the time, it’d be no problem. We would be light and love beings creating at will, never hurting ourselves or any one! But because we didn’t grow up in a vacuum, and we are after all three-dimensional beings, living in a material world and subjected to the laws of duality and separation, we all have adopted certain protective patterns and integrated them into our bodies.

To varying degrees, we have all experienced emotional traumas. We have experienced a separation from knowing with every cell in our body that we are safe, loved, and that we matter. It can be the experience of our birth, going from the warm watery womb of our mother to the cold atmosphere of the earth or a premature birth and having our gestation period interrupted and not being able to be held by our mother, isolated for months in an incubator. It can be the severed connection from a parent experienced as a child lost in a shopping mall for minutes or the separation experienced from a parent leaving the home to never return. It can be the hurt experienced after proudly bringing an art project from school only to have it ridiculed in front of our siblings, or being told repeatedly that we are stupid and won’t amount to anything. It can be the distress felt by the mother while she was pregnant, because she was overwhelmed by the unplanned pregnancy, or the father’s inability to bond with his child after the birth. It can be the trauma of abuse by a parent, a caregiver, a sibling, a family member, a neighbour, a friend, a priest, a schoolteacher, or a coach. It can be the trauma of devastating accident, an injury, or the death of a loved one at a young age. These hurt leave unique traces in the pathways of our bodies.

Our adaptability is very useful in situations like learning to walk, ride a bike, or how to write. Even our incredible resilience in the face of adversity is what makes us survive the most intense situations and supports us in taking the actions that are needed. Our adaptability and resilience are gifts and recognizing that they play a vital role is important. There is an intelligence in the madness of suffering.

However, in order to move beyond protection into growth, beyond survival into thriving, it is important to recognize that these energetic patterns are unconsciously running the show. They were important back then but today, they might not serve us anymore.

That is our healing work as adults. To go back to a full body awareness of this life-force, of this innate love. To go back to simply being. To support our body in remembering its primary function as a processor of energy, as conduit for the soul. As adults, we are constantly presented with opportunities to fully feel these past traumas, once and for all. We get to choose. We might avoid them for a while, perhaps unconsciously at the beginning and then consciously because we don’t want to feel the feelings. But the situation will continue to occur and reoccur, until we open ourselves up to the healing.

I want to be clear. When I talk about processing these ancient patterns, it’s not about traumatizing ourselves over again by dwelling in the memory and the hurt. It’s about reestablishing a proper movement, an innate flow in the body. It has very little to do with the actual memory in the mind or the mental distress. It’s an impersonal kinaesthetic process.

At first, a loving presence will be needed, or at least a loving attitude towards ourselves. That day in the leadership course, had I not been supported by the teacher or the group, I would’ve right away engaged my habitual pattern of flight. I was looking for the exit door. But instead of leaving, I stayed. I was in a womb-like environment where there were no judgments and a tremendous intention for growth. Growth took over me. Love took over me. I felt my life force pushing through the layers of the onions, layers of past emotional pain living in my cells and taking its rightful place within my being. There was barely any content attached to the experience. It’s only afterward that I realized the story related to the healing.

Reacquainting ourselves with feeling at a cellular level and with the way our body processes energy, is the work of Be Feel Think Do. It is the core of living an embodied spirituality. It is the path to remembering who I am. Feeling clears the body and allows it to be an ideal conduit for our soul to express through and reveal itself to us. Feeling the emotions as sensations in the body allows for the patterns to lessen their grip on us. It gives us a chance to see more clearly and make choices that will support a growth environment in the body an din our life. A growth environment is the state of simply being, without interference from fear. This is how we were meant to be.