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Mending in the Mountains

I just returned from Montana where I was invited to be the guest speaker at Mending in the Mountains, an annual retreat in Big Sky for women who have experienced cancer. The retreat is the brainchild of the Cancer Support Community of Montana and featured a compassionately designed agenda of talks, workshops, support groups, recreation, and self care. It takes place at the relaxing 320 Guest Ranch surrounded by...

What’s Workin’ Ya?

Angeles Arrien often opened a reflective exercise with these questions: “What’s workin’ ya? What’s learnin’ ya?” From her life-long study of cross cultural wisdom practices, Angeles possessed a wealth of tools and resources to draw on, and a story to go with each. This one came from Appalachia. It is the greeting when you would meet someone on the trail: “What’s workin’ ya? What’s learnin’ ya?” I was asked the...

The Neighborhood

I am unusual among my friends in that I live close to the place I call home and enjoy spending time with my biological family. My parents still live in the house I grew up in on a block where we knew everyone and the kids streamed in and out of each others homes. We don’t see a lot of that in our neighborhoods these days. In many places it’s rare to know our neighbors. On a block of six houses, I’m only on friendly...

Tune Out the Barking Dog

I’m currently in uncomfortable territory in a couple areas of my life. Experimenting with a new medium in my artwork and developing two public talks have me feeling anxious and out of my comfort zone. (That commotion you hear is my mentors cheering in the background.) Learning doesn’t happen in the comfort zone. Our words and what we give voice to have power. I have to be mindful not to get sloppy with my...

Journey into Nature

It’s summertime here in California. Traditionally this is the season to take a break, slow down from the intensity of everyday life, relax and renew. A time when some of us take vacations, travel to new places, and explore new lands. Or we may travel back to places that feed us, that we love and feel a symbiotic connection to. The land may be across the globe, the country, in the city you live in, or your own back...

The Spiritual Side of Entrepreneurship

When I started my business almost twenty years ago self-employed was a term considered a tad more professional than freelancer. Entrepreneur was barely in the lexicon. It wasn’t even that I intentionally set out to start a business per se. It was more like fleeing for my life – jumping ship from the corporate freighter into my own dinghy named freedom. These days I’m called a solopreneur, which Urban...

In Praise of Integration

In my last post, Release, Receive, Return, I wrote about the experience of initiation. A pivotal stage of initiation is the process of integration that comes when we have moved through the experience but haven’t yet made sense of it for ourselves. Integration is the ability to incorporate the learning from an experience and demonstrate it through a new way of being for the benefit of ourselves and our...

Release, Receive, Return

Initiation is the ancient term for what today we call transitions. In ancient times initiations were ritualized and we would be mentored through them by elders and wisdom keepers. Today, unfortunately, we are mostly on our own. Initiations often come on suddenly – through an accident, diagnosis, outside circumstance, death, or as the result of the initiation of a loved one that has a direct impact on us. Other...

Back to the Future

In her 20’s all one of my dearest friends wanted in life was to drink beer and work in a record store. Forty years later, she’s a serious coffee aficionado who produces high-end sound equipment for the music industry. Her path was circuitous. It may have felt random and aimless at times from outside observers and even to her. Yet swap out beer for coffee and records for mixing boards and her vision has been...

Who Am I, Really?

  As we hit adolescence it’s critical to our development to individuate from our parents and find our own identity. This can be a painful process if what we want doesn’t mesh with what’s expected of us. We can take on hurts we’ve suffered or inflicted on others and traumas we’ve endured as parts of our identity. It’s also a rich and exciting time to experiment and develop our own identity. We use identity to...

When Transitions Intersect

Back around 2012 I had been asking the universe for a big change in my life. My sense was it would be in the area of work and creativity where I was feeling stagnant and had become restless. I even went so far as to say: “Surprise me!” No one was more surprised than me when I was diagnosed a year later with Stage 4 throat cancer. Lesson #1 – be specific about what you ask for. Little did I know then that this very...

Transitions – the discomfort zone

 Transition times are paradoxical. At a time when we feel unsettled and in a hurry to return to equilibrium, we are best served by slowing down. Transition takes time and doesn’t happen in the fast lane. Transformation – which every transition invites – cannot happen in our comfort zone.   Transition can be scary and paralyzing if we don’t have the tools to consciously engage uncertainty. The real work in times of...

Self-fullness

One of the barriers we can bump up against in committing ourselves to inner work is the feeling that time to focus on ourselves is selfish. “Who do you think you are,” “why can’t you just be grateful for what you have,” and other familiar refrains are echoes from our past that keep us locked into old patterns that do not serve who we are becoming. It seems we often have to come to a crisis point before we...

Helping Allies

  The important strangers who gathered this past weekend at the Women at the Well retreat were blessed with many helping allies from the natural world to assist us going deep in our work. Helping allies are the animals, natural elements, and nature spirits that  show up at a particular time in life to guide and teach us. Whether we like them or not, are afraid of them or not, are comfortable with the message...

Freshen Up

  Spring. The eternally hopeful season where the landscape that a few short weeks ago was bare and grey is now flush with growth and color. Green is the color of the day. The air is fresh, color is exploding everywhere, and the birds are busy. In many traditions this is the time for cleaning up and clearing out. Pruning the old and dead to make way for the new. This is also true of daily practice. In my...
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The Mystical Wells of Ireland 2017 COME TO THE WELL