Splintered Emotions

I got a splinter in my finger the other day and it hurt. I left it alone and didn’t try to remove it because I knew the additional pain that would ensue if I were to perturb it any more than it already was. At times over the next day or so it wasn’t a thought but then I’d bump it and the throbbing reminder of its presence was definitely noted. Such a tiny sliver caused so much disruption to my whole being when I agitated it. I finally decided that the only way to once and for all relieve this discomfort was to intentionally cause myself more pain whilst I had a go at it with needle and tweezers. I breathed through it, endured the intensity of the process, and when it was over felt a multilayered relief wash over me. Whew!

20141011_120639-1So in order to relieve my pain I had to cause myself more pain. Hmmmmmm. I couldn’t think it away or wish it away or distract it away because until it was removed it wasn’t going anywhere. This is true for emotional splinters as well. In order to relieve the pain and sadness that you wear on your heart and spirit you have to cause these splinters to intensify until they burn out of your energy field. The attachments (triggers, agitations) that you carry throughout your life were caused in the past but remain in your energy field as emotional splinters that control your overall being and when they get bumped by a wrong comment or break up or something else they continue to fester because you have not taken the time to get to the root of the pain/sadness because the only way to do that is by giving it your full attention by intentionally going towards it and nobody wants to do that. You don’t want to feel sadness or pain because you are so afraid that if you do it won’t ever go away and you will stay stuck with that feeling. Newsflash: You Are Stuck With That Feeling And It Controls Your Life. If this wasn’t true then you would not be reactive or fearful or worried about…..at all.

Yes, the reason that you repeat patterns, stay stuck and unhappy, keep searching for the right location, job, car, dress, physique…. is because they are all distractions that you manifest in order to avoid staying with your discomforts. You heal your pains only by feeling them fully until they no longer need to be felt and by noticing what the deeply ingrained roots are to these patterns and by breathing through the whole thing without running or distracting from it. All these triggers and attachments can be traced back to childhood and pre-childhood. I know this now because after Jillie left her body almost 3.5 years ago all my pains showed their full expression at once. Fear of abandonment, being alone, why didn’t I, I should have done something different, who’s going to love me, how do I know I’m good enough, safe, okay, how will I live without her, who am I without her, what am I missing…

I wasn’t the person I am now before Jillie left her body and before I began my process of healing. I was existing on the treadmill of life; fearful, worried, desperate for attention, needing to be loved even though I couldn’t actually feel. Minutes after I stopped them trying to resuscitate Jill I asked my friend Charlie his thoughts about suicide and told me two things: 1- that no feeling is good or bad or right or wrong and that if I find that there are patterns in my life that no longer serve me then maybe I will make a change, or not and 2- that Jill is now in a place of peace and love and joy so why don’t I try to meet here at that frequency while I still have a body. At that point I didn’t hear him but something in me did and I’m grateful, so listen up because I might be your Charlie talking to you right now.

I had spent 43 years in my own way and it didn’t serve my heart or spirit so I began the process of allowing my feelings their full expression without judging them or stopping them no matter how rough they got which included suicidal wailing at the kitchen counter with a butcher knife and laying prostrate on the kitchen floor with dried throbbing lungs from sobbing so much. I began to notice things the more I allowed these waves to have their way. I learned that no matter how much I tried to escape my sadness I could only elude it temporarily. I noticed that my emotions were like wind gusts or ocean waves crashing on the shore; no matter how much I tried to put up my defenses to stop them, they always found their way to me and tossed me about but the interesting part is that when they were done tossing me about I was okay. Bruised and exhausted but okay.

The process of healing emotions is a practice just like joining a gym, it takes commitment and practice. So in order to strengthen your heart/spirit you have to be willing to become completely vulnerable to all your feelings without judging them as good or bad or right or wrong. Vulnerability is not weakness but instead the foundation of a spiritual warrior’s strength because he or she who is willing to feel it all and be okay with it is the one who knows peace. As I allowed my life process to unfold kept reminding myself to stay and breathe, stay and breathe, sip some water, stay and breathe. This practice, along with writing about what I was learning was the key to feeling and healing my emotional splinters and finally allowing all parts of my being to be okay and peaceful.

Wishing you peace, love, friendship, and joy. Namaste :o)

Life Practice

lily pad

I like the word practice. It means still working at, doing, learning, not done with. The practice of yoga is something I began in 2012. It is one of the top two decisions of my life; the other was Jill who left her body in 2011. I have gotten “good” at yoga and will participate in a teacher training sometime this year so I can begin leading practices. It feels like it is on my path. It’s interesting that anything that is a practice is something that requires daily dedication, mindfulness, heartfulness, awareness, willingness to keep trying, and “failing and succeeding” albeit I often hear in yoga practice that the beauty of falling is getting back up. I agree. Take note of other areas also labeled as practice; law, medicine, religion, karate… I once wrote a piece title “Life’s Yoga, A Practice Of Being” about the dedication required to heal emotional wounds and to learn to let go of patterns that no longer serves you.

Well what I want to know is do you practice life? Do you have a daily dedication to mindfulness, heartfulness, awareness, and non judgment? How is your life? Are you living peaceful and content or existing dramaful and worried? Do you think that by merely changing thought patterns or eating habits or adding exercise or prayer or affirmations that everything will get better? If that were true then the world would be a different place wouldn’t it? A better job or haircut hasn’t done it either, right? There isn’t any external fix for an internal emotional scar and you can’t think your way to happiness and peace. A white knuckle approach to your existence will not create peace and contentment. It will create temporary distractions to your embodied pains and sadness. Do you worry, are you always thinking, is your mind restless and your body always needing a fix? Did you give up one temporary distraction for another; booze for attention, for sex, for yoga, for running a marathon, for religion, for money, for Facebook likes or comments…….? Is your heart and spirit crying for something that you desperately want to fix but can’t seem to find the “answer”? These are all signals from your guides (angels, higher self, god….) that perhaps it’s time to make a dynamic shift from existing to living and that the only way to do so is by beginning your practice of life. Life’s practice is just that, a practice. And it requires your willingness to learn a new way of being, to stop thinking your way through, and instead feeling your way through.

I remember how terrified I was of everything. I wanted to be liked, approved of, noticed, have a lot of money, and most of all not feel all my sadness I had been carrying around my entire existence since birth like a leadened cloak on my back. The thought of feeling my sadness scared me so much that I did everything to avoid it. Drugs, alcohol, sex, work…. anything to not acknowledge my pains that self perpetuated more pain through misdirection. Even in all my years with Jill I wasn’t peaceful and content. I knew great love with her but was unable to truly and healthily participate in our relationship of it because I was carrying all my unresolved baggage around with me and she had hers as well. We are best friends and soul mates and we still had our own life scripts to play out.

After Jillie left her body I became so broken and at the very bottom of my being that I could no longer contain my pains in this vessel (they wanted out) so I went back to drugs and alcohol and suicide thoughts as well for awhile until at some point I decided that I wanted out of these self imposed chains that were killing me. It was at that point that I began the practice of life. It wasn’t neat or pretty or easy in any way and I spent many days and weeks on the kitchen floor sobbing at all my loss and sadness and abandonment. But I will tell you that I would do it all over again if necessary so as to know the peace that is me now. No more worries or fears of any sort. I am like a lily pad on the water; no matter how much the waters churn up and down and around I float without permanent disruption. Everything I write is everything that I practice and know and after a certain point in your own life practice the practice of practice becomes less necessary because the triggers that once held you hostage and misled your life are no longer there. Perhaps you’ll notice this one day yourself.

The practice of life begins with breathing and noticing. Take notice of when your mind is noisy and you are constantly thinking, worrying, or obsessing about something and then you suddenly take a gasp of breath or say just let me catch my breath. When you are in your head you are not breathing. Don’t judge yourself for this, just notice it. By beginning to notice your patterns you can recognize when you are in your head and playing that same old tape and repeating the same pattern in a different color. All your childhood patterns are still present in your adult body and your attachment and reactivity are programmed into your psyche which is there to keep you out of your heart space. Your heart knows love and peace, which is its natural state. But your mind (ego) knows drama and chaos and wants to keep you reeling through your existence. Begin to notice how you make decisions. Do you feel one way but instead listen to the noise in your mind and decide counter intuitively? Perhaps it’s time to begin to feel your way through decisions. Your mind has many choices about something but your heart always knows the one true decision. As I’ve written before, you know when you meet someone and instantly your hairs stand up on your neck literally or energetically but your mind says give him or her a chance, or you need the money, or ……. And afterwards when it doesn’t work out you say “I knew it!” That is it. Heart centered guidance is always the choice because it is in alignment with your guides and the flow of life.

The next time you find yourself having to make a decision stop, pause, take a breath and feel into it. See what your heart and gut are telling you and follow it. Don’t worry about what may or may not be the result and just follow your guidance. This is a beginning to life practice and it stems from your breath which emanates from your heart space. Close your eyes and through your nose slowly inhale and pause at the top and then slowly exhale; three times. Wishing you peace, love, friendship, and joy.


Ian J

Wholehearted Or Holehearted

This coming Wednesday will be three years since Jill left her body. Interestingly, that year (2011) it was the day before Easter which this year is today. I didn’t choose this day to write but felt it come on and grabbed my laptop. I have been feeling my way through life for the last two and a half years since Jillie left. I say two and a half because for the first six months after she left I did everything in my power to not feel anything; drugs, alcohol, distractions, suicide thoughts (butcher knife at my chest trying not to dive on the ground and 100MPH driving with blurred sobbing eyes)…. but nothing took away my suffering. Nothing.

Suffering doesn’t begin to describe where I was at and is a one eighty from where I am now.I once heard that religion is for people who believe in heaven and hell and spirituality is for people who have been to hell. I am definitely spiritual but it wasn’t my choice and is also my greatest blessing. You see, I spent decades on the treadmill of life unfulfilled, scared, and feeling a hole in my heart. I wasn’t happy or whole and kept trying to be by any means possible but didn’t get anywhere except nowhere. Even with the amazing love that Jill and I had (and still have) I still carried all my emotional scars. I was trying to think my way through a process that required feeling. I needed to feel to heal and my fear of feeling all my sadness and pains was so great that I stayed stuck which perpetuated all my sadness and pains. I was stuck in self destructive patterns of everything and anything you can think of and probably the same ones as many of you. Numbing and running from my sadness, insecurities, and pain, getting into and out of “relationships” that not only didn’t serve my heart and spirit but proved that I wasn’t worth loving even though that’s all I wanted. To be loved, seen, and accepted for me; kind, vulnerable, loving, caring, tender, smart, beautiful…. Sound familiar? I wasn’t living wholeheartedly, I was merely existing holeheartedly.

Jill’s exiting her body broke me to my core into shards of horrific horror and isolation. Notice that I say leave her body because we don’t die. We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spirits having a human experience. By allowing myself to stay with my pains and using tools of introspection and non-attachment to my thoughts and feelings I made my way through a self healing process that transformed me to who I am now; peaceful and content. I only wish one thing for me and everyone; peace, love, friendship, and joy. I no longer have fears or worries and rarely get a noisy mind. I heard a yoga teacher refer to it as monkey mind; thoughts bouncing around like apes in the treetops; never resting and never at ease.

My friend Charlie said to me, upon walking away from Jill’s body when I said to stop trying to revive her, that Jill is now in a place of peace and love and joy and why don’t I try to match her at that frequency while I still have a body. Those words embedded in my being for later use because at that point I did not want or know how to keep living. It took a great effort of not doing anything for those words to take full affect. I say not doing because that is exactly what I needed to do, I mean not do, well you know what I mean. I decided that instead of running from my sadness and pain that I would see where it leads. I decided that all my decades of running from my feelings hadn’t gotten me anywhere so I would allow them full expression and see what happens. That meant staying with my discomfort which is a very light, cozy word that we often hear in yoga practices. “Stay with your discomfort and breathe into it and notice your thoughts and how you want to get out of the discomfort.” I wrote about this last summer and how to learn to stay with the bad sad feelings. Here is the link 

I have been guiding some people through their own spiritual/emotional transition/crisis/curiosity and tell them what I learned from my intuitive self in processing my hell. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Keep coming back to breath with whatever the feelings are and let them have their full say. Keep breathing and feeling and with the breathing and feeling there is space for healing. With allowing feeling and staying open to whatever might come next I was able to begin to see how my patterns of fear and pain and sadness and lack of self worth….. were all rooted in childhood patterns that were ingrained in me by my parents. They weren’t intentionally ingrained but instead came from my parents who had the same programmed into them by their parents and so on…. all of whom never looked at or resolved their own pains and thus passed them on. Like an emotional herpes that flares up at the slightest signs of stress. An ugly metaphor but spot on. All reactivity as an adult is the same trigger(s) as when you were a child. So in order to not feel the way you do now you need to allow yourself to feel the causes of the feelings. To feel the roots of the pains. The next time you feel the wave of sadness, pain, anxiety, trigger come up see if you can pause and take a breath and feel into what it reminds you of. What does it feel like? Does it remind you of when you were five and mom and dad fought about something, or when you were three and mom was crying and begging dad to not leave or to stop cheating, or when your were seven and you learned to toughen up and stop crying, or when you’re loved one left his/her body and abandoned you.

You can learn to see and not judge what you feel, just notice. By seeing and feeling you’ll begin to have awareness and understand that 1- that is not now, 2- just because it was that way does not mean it has to continue to be that way, 3- who you are is a beautiful heart and spirit who is doing the best you can with the tools you learned as a child, 4- if you can recognize that your button (trigger) is being pushed and take a breath (three is ideal to gain the space to pause) that you don’t have to react anymore to it, and 5- you always have a choice and if your heart is guiding you to do something that your mind is in contradiction to then follow your heart because that is in alignment with what love (spirit, source, god, universe…) knows you need to do. Your holehearted existence can be a wholehearted life if you are willing to do some emotional processing. And repeat this to yourself: Life is not what I experience but how I relate to what I experience.

Wishing you peace, love, friendship, and joy. namaste



Find The Residence Of Your Pain.

The residence of my pain is in being human. It is in my humanity, my open wound bleeding, it is in loving, it is in letting go, it is in dying, and in my palpable erroneous fears, it is in learning and unlearning, it is in my faith and my faithlessness, it is in the shadow my heart throws off as what’s open and innocent expands to know itself in deeper and deeper measures. The residence of my pain is in the earth innocence I lost when I was four years old, finding her over and over again when the separation is upon me, when her abject fear and sadness is activated upon the humanity I wear. The residence of my pain is in the small that remains even when I am the big, when I am that which I am, “here,” in the authenticity of the moment that demands I be just that, as life gathers to me more of itself, (and in my resistance to hold what surely most be beyond my bodies capacity too,) I contract and fall separate and fall a light sleep, but never, out of innocence that is my love exemplified. The residence of my pain is in opening in innocence again and again in trusting its love who’ll receive me.  The residence of my pain is in having to walk through the dark, “knowing” the lights right here.


This was written by my wife Jill. Her knowing and light were guidance for all who know her. I’m thankful to participate with open heart in all love knowing full well that it is available to all who are willing to feel.

Jillie cookies

Your Mind Is Your Enemy

Well, not exactly your mind but your thoughts that are created by your mind’s ego. Are you stuck, unable to change the job, leave the “relationship”, trying to make someone or something okay, repeating the same thing over and over and over?All this drama, sadness, pain, fear, and frustration are created by your ego.

It wants you to be chaotic. The windier you mind is getting blown about the more it keeps you stuck. Your ego wants you to ignore your heart’s guidance (intuition, gut instinct). The longer you stay in pain and suffering the better it is for your ego and the worse it is for your heart, spirit, body, and soul. You are always tired, fearful, and literally or energetically looking over your shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop or be thrown at you. Your guilt keeps you from leaving because you believe (mind) that it is your responsibility to make it right or that you owe that person or situation even though you feel that you should get out, run, move on, or move out (heart).

This constraint was created in you long ago before you knew you were being programmed to exist fearfully instead of living heartfully. It took me 44 years to figure this one out and only because I was in so much pain and sadness that I knew that if I didn’t heal these wounds I would continue to exist in the world and likely die broken. I was terrified to change. Scared to let go of all that I knew to which I clung like a life raft with a slow leak in it knowing full well that it would not keep me safe or alive and eventually cause my own demise.

My fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of not having it figured out was the boulder on my soul which crushed my spirit, weakened my fragile self worth, and made me sick with allergies, illness, injury, and drama. Lots of drama. All of it self imposed because I didn’t dare look behind the curtain because I didn’t know what was there and not knowing what was there was scarier to me than the scary I was already existing with.

Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we make a shift and sometimes even then we don’t do so. I was heartbroken into a million pieces and had two choices. Heal myself or exist like this until I physically died, for I was already emotionally and spiritually dead at that point.

Somewhere inside of me there was an ember of light that wanted to burn brighter and I needed to learn how to fan that flame of love and hope. I had already tried throughout my lifetime to figure my way out of drama and pain so I had to learn a new way of doing so and that way was by stop trying to figure it all out and just let go of the “life raft”.

Let go of ill-preconceived notions of what should or shouldn’t be, who I am or thought I was, what my life needs to be happy, why I can’t be alone, and why I’m not good enough. A Buddhist quote is ‘let go or be dragged’ and this is the only truth.

I learned that no feeling is good or bad or right or wrong and that if there patterns that no longer served me then I would look at them with compassion and without judgment and see what they’re about. I learned that I can’t think my way out of emotional pain and the only way to heal it was to feel it all the way. This meant that whatever feeling arose I would allow it full expression like a wave rolling into the shore and see what was left afterward. I learned that the more I let go and stopped trying to stop feeling “bad” or “sad” feelings the stronger my spirit became and more willing to bend with these waves of emotions understanding that they were waves that come in and out, the same as nature.

I learned that these energies in motion have their purpose and to try to suppress them meant that they would arise somewhere else in a self defeating way. I learned that breath of life is literally breath of life and the more I learned to breathe when these rogue waves battered my emotional and spiritual shores the more I was able to bob up again and again and eventually learn to surf them instead of being swept under by them.

In summary I can say this: if you find that you are at a crossroads in your existence and are tired of being tired and want to know real peace and joy instead of bouts of harmony and temporary fleeting satisfaction then I suggest you try a new approach to how you are. Fighting your feelings is like yelling at the rain; don’t bother for it all has it’s purpose and even though you may not like or understand it, in time you will find that a new growth will occur and blossom into something you never knew before. Slow inhale, pause, slow exhale; three times. Wishing you peace, love, friendship, and joy. namaste

You Create Your Suffering

You create your own suffering AND you can learn to recognize what and why you do so and shift it. Here is some of what you do. You stay in a situation or “relationship” that not only doesn’t serve your heart and spirit but also diminishes your peace, sense of security, and physical health. You try to make something okay that won’t be no matter what you say, try, or do and even more importantly is you forsake your inner child’s safety to make someone else temporarily okay at best. You all have a loving, sensitive little boy or girl inside of you who only wants to be nurtured and to feel safe yet you have been taught to put yourself last. You fearsake ourselves for the sake of others. I did all of this for more than four decades and finally learned why and stopped doing so.

The truth is that we create our own suffering because we all have deeply ingrained patterns (emotional scars or grooves in our spiritual bodies and psyches known in Sanskrit as samsaras) that were embedded in us as children by our parents who were doing the best they could with their unresolved samsaras. Our patterns are all very similar; wanting to be loved for who we are, fear of abandonment, fear of loss and dying, fear of not being good enough and rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of being sad, fear of being afraid, fear of not having direction, fear of not being successful, fear of slowing down (because if we do then we have to spend time with ourselves and feel our feelings)…. All these patterns are created because our minds want us to operate from fear and keep us in drama whereas our hearts want us to live with love and be guided with trust and peace. You see basically you are operating as physical adults with emotional reactivity of wounded children. You know the stove is hot yet continue to touch it.

I have been helping some friends lately through some very difficult and painful circumstances and transitions regarding their “relationships.” I use quotation marks because the word is of no substance if it is rooted in fear motivated reactivity and patterns. The painful circumstances of today are manifestations of patterns that repeatedly come up in an attempt by your higher selves (heart guidance) to recognize that you are touching the hot stove over and over again and to understand the roots of this addicted, self destructive behavior. An example of this is the way that you will do and say anything you can to make your “partner” feel safe or loved or not pissed off with you. You cannot make someone else healthy or happy. It is not your job. The only responsibility you have is to heal your own wounds and by doing so open to a lighter, more aware (enlightened) perspective of life, us, and others.

Seeing situations, ourselves and others for how and who they are instead of how we think it/they/we should be is a step in freeing from suffering. When you expect someone/something to be a certain way and it doesn’t turn out so then you are disappointed thus creating your own sadness. When you believe that you can control the outcome of something and it doesn’t turn out the way you have been trying to make it happen then you are disillusioned thus creating regret. When you don’t trust that life has a rhythm and flow to it and instead try to make sure it fits neatly into a box then you are unhappy and thus looking for another way to fix your problems. I have learned that my mind had been controlling my existence through fear based manipulation even though my heart had always longed for peace and love and safety. I have learned that my heart’s guidance is always best for me no matter what my mind is telling me. A good example of how you know this to be true is when you meet someone and immediately your gut intuition (heart instinct) tells you run the other way but you don’t because your mind is saying give him or her a chance, it’ll work out, I need the money…. and afterwards you are looking back and saying “see, I knew I was right!” This is heart vs. mind. Heart keeps you on path through trusted guidance and mind keeps you off track through fearful manipulation.

Life process is fluid and whenever you try to control, convince yourself, or make it so then you are trying to force a change in a river current. A first step in learning to let go and trust life process is recognizing (without judgment and with self compassion (don’t beat yourself up)) that you do or say or stay in things because you are afraid of change and/or don’t honor the value in yourself. Again, don’t beat yourself up, you have learned to be who you are from the time you were born and just acknowledging that there are patterns that don’t serve you is a courageous act of love and acceptance of yourself. With this new awareness you can begin to see your patterns in action and again not judge yourself for doing it again.

A second step in this healing is remembering to breathe. Slow inhale, pause, slow exhale (three times) is usually sufficient to get you out of your head and into your heart. Try it right now……………………………… …………………………… …………………………… Do you notice how your energy shifts down into your torso and towards your legs and feet? This is the grounding energy of breath. It helps to restore a balance to your energy field and spirit (if only temporarily) and allows for space to choose another way of being in lieu of your pattern. Another step is to begin to feel where these patterns come from. What does the pattern remind you of? For example, in an unhealthy “relationship” you feel that you want to leave for you know it is better for you but you don’t budge; perhaps the root is because someone you love died when you were younger and the fear of abandonment and failure has carried over into all your “relationships”, or your parents fought all the time and stuck it out so that’s what you’re supposed to do, or mom always tried to make everyone happy in the house even though she wasn’t…… get my drift? The triggers, fears, and blames you have now were created in your past and still hold sway over your present circumstances.

I was listening to the song Hold On today as I drove home from the market. Click on the link to hear the song when you’ve finished reading. Hold on doesn’t mean you should stay in or do something that isn’t good for you because in time it will get better because it never does until you begin healing yourself and not deceiving yourself into believing you can fix it or them. Hold on means to trust in life (god, spirit, love, universe) that

everything will work out as it should for your best interest even if you don’t understand it or like it all the time. The tighter you grip on with fear the more the fear restricts your life but the more you let go with a loving heart and conscious breath the easier and more peaceful your life becomes. If you are tired of feeling the way you do and would like to shift your being then start where you are. Wishing you peace, love, friendship, and joy. namaste


Foggy Mind blurs what it

Another New Re-Solution

There is a common thread that runs through the energy fields of people I know who have asked me for my perspective in navigating emotional turmoil. There is fear motivation that disables people from following their heart’s intuition even though they know their actions are in complete opposition to their spirit’s true knowing.

We are all spirits (light and love) with a body and not merely bodies with spirits. We are pure love energy and when we run into situations that overwhelms us (life) we grasp for safety. Safety for us is believing that everything will be “okay” and the moment it feels like it won’t be okay then fear dominates motivations/actions/reactions and when we operate from fear then we are out of alignment with our hearts which are guided by spirit, love, god, source…… however you refer. We are given experiences because we need to learn (see) certain things. It’s not about what we experience but how we relate (respond or react) to what we experience. If everything is a lesson then the question is what are you supposed to learn? Well another question involves all the other people within your experiences; what are they supposed to learn? what did their energies agree to experience before incorporating? what lessons do they have to see? Additionally, why do you think that you need to make it okay for them but not okay for you? In other words, why do you believe with your mind (not feel in your heart) that you need to forsake yourself (fearsake yourself) for the sake of others?

Perhaps it’s about letting go and learning to trust in the only truth which is that everything works out the way it’s supposed to and rarely if ever the way we expect it should. We are all born screaming into this world from birth on and are programmed to be addicted to drama and chaos by our parents who were programmed the same way by their parents and so on…..The programming is fear based (mind, ego) reactivity instead of love centered (heart, intuitive) decisions. The perspective with which you interpret and relate to the truth determines whether or not you can know peace and the more you try to control things the more you feel out of control. Why? Because you only have influence on what is happening and mistake it for control. Life is what it is and not what you think it should be. Life is fluid and has a rhythm to it and even though you may not always like it or understand it, to trust it is to know peace. To be okay with impermanence and uncertainty is to know peace.

I know that my wife Jill was supposed to leave her body almost three years ago or she wouldn’t have. To be angry about it is like yelling at the rain when it’s “supposed” to be sunny. Everything has its purpose and its okay to not know what the purpose is but with practice and seeing things for what they are alot of it comes to make sense in a peaceful way. Your path is yours to walk and although someone can walk along it with you only you can walk in it. People get sick and leave their bodies, this is the truth of human existence and perhaps rather than fearing death which can dominate your existence it’s time to embrace life for however long you have it. The more we worry the more we miss out. Worries are illusional barriers to things that don’t exist (and might not ever exist!). The past is done and happened exactly as it should have or it wouldn’t have, and the future isn’t here yet and might not ever happen the way you think it will.

I was recently asked by a friend who was amidst a storm of yuck and trying to keep it together for her kids, “How did you resolve losing your love and being at peace and being in a good place?” I didn’t resolve losing love because it didn’t die, it only shifted the way I can perceive it. I healed my numerous childhood pains and fears of abandonment, being good enough, material validation, being wanted and loved …… I can feel love all the time when I breathe into my heart and many times it comes through as Jill’s love in signals like songs, or numbers, or other ways. I don’t speak non body but I can feel it. Your heart is the best navigator of your being and when you can be aware of what your mind is trying to sabotage then take a few slow breaths and come back to heart center where your alignment is with love, god, spirit, and source….

It’s interesting that I was asked about resolving my lost love. Resolutions have already been made by many of you to begin this new year. When I look at the word I see re-solution. Trying to find a solution again to the same something that I was not able to solve before and once again running into this pattern that does not serve your spirit. You see, when you attempt to solve with your mind a pattern that was imprinted in you then you are trying to think your way through something that can’t be thought through. That doesn’t work because it is putting a bandage or cover up on a wound that has deep emotional roots. I know that you only want to be “happy” and feel the good stuff but without feeling all your feelings then you will never know true joy and peace but instead temporary states of distraction disguised as satisfaction.

You eat or drink too much because……… you don’t feel worthy or handsome or pretty? you are stuffing down or numbing emotions that you can only suppress with distraction? you don’t believe you deserve to be loved? You put everyone else before yourself because…. you don’t value your own feelings as much as others? you feel loved and validated when you make others “happy”? you are afraid to speak up for your needs because you are afraid you won’t be loved or will be abandoned? Why do you believe that changing yourself from the outside in will make you happy? See what I mean? Your patterns are heart rooted disruptions that have been festering since childhood and presents themselves in a plethora of sabotaging ways. And this tangled infection of reactive emotions steers you precariously through your existence. When you only change the circumstance and not the pain then you can only elude sadness but cannot escape it.

Are you ready, once and for all, to get to the root of the problem instead of ping ponging yourself through however much time you have left in your body? Of course you are. You’re always ready and right now is the time to start where you are. First: slow inhale, pause at the top, equally slow exhale; three times. Next is feel how your energy comes down into your heart space and grounds you to the earth again. You’ll notice that your head isn’t racing in circles as much when you slowly breathe. Have you ever noticed that when your mind is racing you hold your breath? Noticing this is recognizing a pattern in you. You now understand what it is like to recognize a pattern in yourself that doesn’t serve you without judging it as good or bad, or right or wrong; just seeing it for what it is. This is how to begin the process of healing. Your willingness to see your patterns with compassion and non judgment is the beginning of healing.

It took me a solid year of feeling all feelings no matter how ugly they got, and they were horrible at times (wailing on the floor for hours until my bronchial tubes ached), for me to get through to a deep knowing contentment and peace. I no longer get tossed by life’s waves but instead have learned to accept them for what they are and learn to surf more and more. You don’t learn to surf if you are not willing to fall down and get up and choke on water along the way. I would not change any part of my experiences as I have gratefully come to know and like myself as I have not ever in my decades of existing. I promise you that I did not like all the experiences and I can see how stuck I was and I am thankful. When I look back I see that one year of investment in my heart and spirit healing and all the pain it brought up and finally released was less painful than a lifetime of carrying it around and creating more pains from it. When we try to run from our sadness we create more sadness but from heartbreak you will find hearbreakthrough. One last perspective for you to consider; you don’t get physically out of or into shape overnight and the same goes for your emotional/spiritual shape as well. Wishing you peace, love, friendship, and joy. namaste


Some thoughts came through after reading a quote by Victor E. Frankl; “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  Yes! The difference between a reaction and a response is breathing. Reaction is ingrained emotional, mental, patterned, and triggered. Response is heart centered and calm and has an intuitive awareness.

When you see the hook dangling in front of you wanting to push your buttons or triggers it’s the ability to recognize and taking three slow breaths that enables you to heart-center and process. If you react then you’re already hooked and willingly participating in a pattern that doesn’t serve you. When you re-act then you are acting again (behaving from ingrained pattern usually since childhood) in the same way to the same thing of a different color. With practice, recognition, and awakening awareness you can then decide if it warrants a response or maybe it’s just their own stuff being thrown at you. It takes constant practice and doesn’t always pull through. It’s recognizing the intuitive flags that come up from your heart space in lieu of the fear worries that distort the truth of the present moment.

When I get hooked, which I still do but much less, I’m able to recognize and release quicker but not always before taking a bite. Life is so interesting and it’s good to remember that our emotional adult selves are reacting from our unresolved or unacknowledged childhood fears, pain, sadness, and traumas and no one is exempt. Suffering is a part of being human but it does not mean we have to always suffer. We can shift it. It takes dedication and willingness to look directly at your shadows.

The interesting thing for me is that my fear of my pains and fear of them never ending once I open to them is much worse than the never ending pain sadness and suffering I had endured for decades. I was so emotionally broken a couple of years ago that I decided that one or two years of dedication towards healing and changing that which does not serve would much better than continuing to survive life with all my bags. I can assure you that you will come out of the darkness and your world will feel lighter and worryless.

And finally; it’s good to consider the source; if a schmuck calls you an idiot, how much weight does it have? Your mind was not created to eclipse your heart’s wisdom. Start where you are by tuning in and watching your windy mind. “You are the sky and everything else is just the weather.” As my friend Charlie once told me “no feeling is good or bad or right or wrong and if you find that it doesn’t serve you anymore then maybe you will make a shift, or maybe you won’t.” What I share is my experience and learning and perhaps it will resonate with you, or not. Enjoy now because it’s already gone, this is always a choice.

~namaste and may all beings have a balanced day heart on a hook

Life’s Yoga, A Practice Of Being

I’ve been feeling my way through lots of deeply ingrained layers of pain and sadness for the last two years and it has been an active and many times terrifying process. I have intentionally gone towards my pain, sadness, fear, and worry to allow them full expression so I can truly unburden my spirit and shift my patterns that were learned as a child. There is no other way to really know peace and equanimity (staying in middle ground). I do not say this lightly and understand that many believe that affirmations, meditation, yoga, optimism, self help books, life coaches, good deeds, and altruism can do this unburdening but I tell you no. Just because you read a manual on how to fly a plane doesn’t mean that you can fly a plane and just because someone is telling you all the right phrases and coaching tools does not mean they have done the work themselves. It’s a lot easier to tell someone else to do something difficult than actually do it themselves. Too many talk the talk but don’t actually walk it. I do think that these are wonderful tools that help and I completely support them and also know that they can not remove or undo our samsaras (deeply ingrained pain bodies), only we can by healing the roots of the pain. I learned that walking through the darkness is the only way to get to the light and it requires breathing, awareness, daily practice, and trust.

I had spent my entire life running from my sadness and fear and pain and did everything I could to avoid feeling it until my wife Jill died in April 2011. If I thought I knew what sadness and fear and pain was before that I was truly mistaken as the heartbreak that occurred was intolerable and constant. I was dragged down into a darkness of being that can not be described with words. Guttural wailing that left me prostrate on the kitchen floor, emotional pain surges that had me standing butcher knife to chest wondering if I should hit the floor or not, and a deep abandonment that left me drained of all life force. A continual state of deep, profound perturbation. This pattern of horror ensued for months until I began to stop trying to fight the waves and instead allow them their full expression. Fight or flight slowwwwwly became let go or be dragged. I knew that breathing was a key to getting through the rogue waves that battered my spirit’s shores and also knew that somewhere out there is a light(ness) and that I wanted to know it. After spending my life avoiding pain I decided it was time to try it differently as my old ways did not serve me and I had nothing left to lose. I began to read spiritual guidance books that provided different perspectives and tools for me to work with my emotions rather than try to stop them and intentionally did what I could to trigger my pain bodies so I could allow them full expression for the first time and also look at them and see what the roots were. Stopping feelings is like trying to stop the wind or yelling at the rain; not gonna happen. It just keeps coming and no matter what I do to elude them, I can never escape them. The book that resonated with me is ‘The Places That Scare You, A Guide To Fearlessness In Difficult Times’ by Pema Chodron. I also began to write which was another important and effective tool. I learned to stay with the feelings that came in without judging them or trying to push them out with happy thoughts. Nothing in my mind could fix my heart because it my mind was a noisy place that caused my suffering and wanted nothing more than my heart and spirit to continue suffering so it could stay in charge of my being.

My friend Charlie (www.MeetingWithCharlie.com) once said “no feeling is good or bad or right or wrong, it just is what it is and if you find it doesn’t serve you anymore perhaps you will make a shift, or not.” Learning to trust that these feelings were waves that come in and go out took practice and trust. Understanding somewhere in my core self that I am part of nature and that nature has a rhythm to it and even if I don’t like or understand it or what’s happening, I still trust it. Why not? Nothing else up that point in my life was working for me, other than my amazing love with Jill which still had childhood patterns tightly intertwined into my adult relationship. Another tool I added to my spiritual belt is yoga. The connection of mind, body, and spirit through physical movement. It requires breathing, and presence, and willingness to stay with discomfort, and allowing the thoughts and feelings that arise during practice to come in and go out without latching onto them. All verbalized each time by the yogi leading the practice. Yoga edified the lessons I had learned through introspection, writing, and staying in it. I have taken what I learn in the yoga studio and combined it with my own inner work to use out of the studio in what I call “life’s yoga, the daily practice of being”. Lessons such as the pose begins when you want to get out of it, which translates to, when emotions bubble up that I do not want to feel I have to be willing to stay with them.

Recently there is a theme that has been a topic of conversation with most people with whom I come in contact with who want to talk. It’s about worry, which is fear, which stems from not wanting to feel something “bad” because it makes us feel hurt or sad or alone. We talk about all the noise and wind that comes into our minds as a way to avoid feeling whatever comes into our hearts and spirits. We talk about patterns that are created in us from the time we are born screaming into this world. Patterns that are ingrained in us by parents who, with their own emotionally unresolved patterns, ingrain them into our emotional wiring and we then grow into adults who react to the same emotional triggers as when we were children. Our fears of not being loved, abandonment, being liked, having value, and whatever else you can think of are still there until we go towards these triggers and look at them, from where they come, and do they still serve us now. Having mind body awareness is a key to recognizing these patterns and that comes with breath. Having awareness to recognize that “uh oh here is something that is making me feel a certain way” gives the opportunity to take a breath which helps to see the pattern of trigger and reaction. Having awareness to take three slow inhale, pause, exhales to provide the space for heart and spirit to become the influence over our being in lieu of our windy minds. Having willingness to stay with uneasiness or discomfort or pain or fear or sadness in order to release it/them. As we discuss these things there is sometimes defensiveness that arise like “I’ve already looked at it and I don’t want to deal with it anymore” or “ I just want to be happy and not think about the bad stuff” or “What good will it do to rehash the past” or “ I just try to live in the present moment”. All this is noise, wind that our minds create so we don’t have to go into our heart space because it is a part of us that we are not comfortable residing in. I look at it like this. When I first began yoga I couldn’t even come close to touching the floor in forward fold and certainly did not want to stay in half pigeon or frog as it was so uncomfortable that I would fidget and forget to breathe and think, think, think which made the poses more uncomfortable and more painful and more difficult. The yoga teacher leading the practice would tell us to breathe, allow the thoughts to come in and out like clouds passing without grabbing onto them or judging them, and the more we relax into the pose the easier it gets, just stay with it. All of this the antithesis of what my mind and body was telling me to do. So I offer this thought to you. If you find that you are tired of being ruled by negative thoughts and emotions, are at a spiritual crossroad, or emotionally broken and scared then please practice some of life’s yoga that I have presented today. See your heart and spirit as a newbie to life’s yoga and understand that it can’t do a forward fold right off the bat. But with awareness, breath, writing, and daily practice your heart/spiritual muscle will become more willing to stay with discomfort as it strengthens through the willingness to be vulnerable. Understanding that our heart/spiritual muscle has not ever really been exercised in a healthy way and it did not become cumbered in cloaks of pain overnight. With practice your heart will be palming the ground in a forward fold that will create a space and lightness of being that you have never known. You will be free of fear and worry and sadness and open to an aliveness and joie de vive that we thought impossible. Wishing you peace, love, friendship, and joy. Slow inhale, pause, slow exhale. namasteIan summer log three legged dog

Injury Wakening

I’ve been mending for three plus weeks from a severe lower spine/sciatic nerve injury and it has been a painful gift, yes a gift.

I have had a tenuous back for a long time now due to years of heavy landscape construction and have suffered many times from outages that had me howling and afraid to move. All of that was nothing compared to this. The crippling pain I’ve recently experienced reduced me to barely crawling at home and my incredible mom doing everything for me. I do like being nurtured and I’m not used to being taken care of. I was always the hunter gatherer taking care of everyone else, especially Jill and especially in the last seven months from medical dumbassness to her death two years ago.

I had grown up going to the hospital many, many times with my orthopedic emergency surgeon dad and was conditioned to detach from people’s pains so the work that needed to be done could get done. I have realized that I did this in some part with Jill when she was ill. I was loving and protective but not connected to her pain, which is something I now would welcome.

I knew that she was suffering as she “healed” and yet I still continued to do what “had/needed” to be done to take care of us and her and our home and business and clients and employees and life and yada yada yada. I can see now that I was avoiding connecting to her pain because I had spent my entire life not wanting to feel mine. I did not want to remember my childhood, my abuse, my betrayal. I did not want to own that I was scared of everything and terrified of not being liked or accepted or being good enough.

All this would’ve had to surface if I tapped into her pain, so I didn’t.

I cry as I write this last line because it could have been beautiful to be present in all moments of her pain and her fear and her not knowing. I took great care of her and supported her in every way I knew. I do not regret who or how I was and understand that it what supposed to be like that or it would not have been like that. To be angry at what was supposed to happen or wishing it was different is like yelling at the rain. For what? If it wasn’t supposed to happen, it would not have, period.

I was not given the gift of connecting with my deeply ingrained pain and patterns until Jillie left. Her leaving her body was my gift. This is now obvious to me and took a lot of looking inward and getting to understand the roots of my own pain to get from there to here and… I would do it again. I love Jill with all my heart and spirit and would not want her and our life back (if that was even possible) if it meant me being the same person that I was because that person was not really alive to life and I’d likely stroke out from all the doing and running from myself. I’d venture to guess that her parents and brother and friends would not like to hear this from me. Perhaps this is selfish but considering that I spent my life in fearful “selfless” service of others I am glad to have this healthy, balanced heart centered thought. This is the first time in my life that I like all of who I am and am not fearful of what life may or may not be. “No feeling is good or bad or right or wrong, it just is what it is and if it doesn’t serve you anymore then maybe you’ll make a shift, or not.” My friend Charlie said this to me right after I stopped them from trying to revive Jill for the last time. I somehow already knew this but was not ready to make any shift yet. I stayed in take care of business mode (cremation, services), took pills, and avoided everything except the constant and sometimes rogue waves of horror that crashed my spirit’s shores without invitation.

After some months of checking way out by any means possible I began to slowly, breath by breath, learn to stay with the waves until they were done, allowing whatever feelings their fullest expression. Along with journaling (which I was always terrified to do as somebody else might find it!) and introspection I began to feel small shifts. Some subtle self awareness was beginning to kick in. I always knew that we only need a body to be here and realized that my karma this time around included an agreement with Jillie (pre-corpus) that we would come together this lifetime, know unconditional love, and then she would leave so I could unburden my spirit’s heavy cloak of pain and shame and know peace and joy instead of bouts of harmony and temporary states of pleasure. What a trade off, to lose the woman I love to finally love the person that I am. Thank you to Jill and Ian for agreeing to this. To be able to spend the rest of my physical days (which can end at any moment) with awareness and peace and joy is worth the pain I had to look at and the sorrow I had to fully embrace.

I learned that I cannot stop feeling the “bad/sad/painful” feelings without also preventing feeling the “good/happy/peaceful” feelings. Shut down one part means shut down all parts and anything else is kidding myself. This does not mean that I do not get thrown off or that patterns don’t still arise, but when they do I am not attached to them or judging them and can allow them to have their noisy gusts and then move on. So now when the wind in my mind blows it doesn’t make my emotional/spiritual hairs stay in full tilt for the rest of my day or week or life. I learned that the key to staying with uneasiness is breathing and letting go. Slow inhales and slow exhales, allowing the opportunity for space for my body and soul to process what it needs to so I don’t have to keep repeating the same thing over and over. A Buddhist monk was once asked what he had learned in his decades of practice to which he responded “to be okay with impermanence and uncertainty is to know peace.” I know that what isn’t and what was and what may or may not be keeps me from being present so to stay mindful without a full mind is a great thing to practice. It is practice, a lifelong yoga of being practice.

Another lesson from my injury is ego which loves a windy mind. A painful lesson in knowing better yet not listening to my inner heart centered guidance. My back was already aching from three weeks before this injury when I “went for it” in yoga class, I call it class this time because if I had really been practicing then I would not have gotten hurt the first time. I “went for it” because I was thinking (not actually tuning in feeling) “strong” that day. I wasn’t present with my body and breath and wanted to max out my moves and be the “man” in a class of women. I wanted to show that whatever they could do, I could do as well or better and I know they don’t care anyway. I did the contrary of what yoga is about. Yoga is really about about proving or judging but being and acknowledging where I am at the present moment. Mind/body/heart connectivity. A private practice within a group setting.

Had I not taken my own bait again this time it’s likely I wouldn’t have learned this once and for all and continue in the pattern. And I didn’t learn it from that day in class or a few weeks later when I dragged a small shrub a few feet to a co-worker because I didn’t want to be perceived as weak or superior. I only learned/saw it this week when I started to amble, not yet walk, with less pain and no drugs. I learned it only when I decided to look at why I got hurt. Were there lessons in it? Of course, everything is a lesson and everyone is my teacher.

The lessons are the same ones I have been practicing since Jillie left. Breathe, slow down and be present with whatever I am doing, there is nothing to prove, I am a good person, and true strength is in knowing and liking myself. A true spiritual warrior has a vulnerable heart and humble spirit. I’m glad for all that life offers and thankful that I am able to, after decades of sleeping my way against life, participate in it consciously, gratefully, peacefully, and with equanimity. namaste