In reality, my first ceremony began a month before arriving at the retreat center. I noticed that I was beginning to emotionally and mentally unravel. Granted, I was normal on the outside: I was working my full-time corporate job; opening The One Center; in a fully committed relationship; and a mom to my young son. In my interior world, everything felt unsteady as though I was being stirred deeply in my soul and psyche with a big, ol’ wooden spoon.
The journey to Peru was easy (and I have my former career at Schlumberger to thank for that as I had to travel a lot both domestically and internationally). Upon arriving and deplaning in Iquitos, I realized that I was now entering into a brand-new world, the world of jungle and the city of three rivers. The humidity and heat of Iquitos descended upon my body like a weighted blanket. The fecund smell of rot, gasoline, earth, jungle, laundry soap, and fried food filled my nostrils. Luckily, I was traveling with a friend and we made our way to the hotel where we would eat an ayahuasca friendly meal and spend our last night in...more
A question I get asked a lot: how did I get introduced to ayahuasca? In February 2012 while sitting at 24 Diner with my friends from the “Friday Night Book Club” a.k.a. “Mystical Light Teachings”, I was listening intently with the ear of my heart while my teacher described her most amazing journey into the Amazon and all about her experience with the plant medicine, ayahuasca. And while the story was compelling, it wasn’t what she said that captured my heart, it was the very light and God-like energy pouring out of her entire body and soul that made me say in my heart, “damn, I want to experienced all of that!!!” However, did I really want my first psychedelic experience to be with ayahuasca? Did I even want to ingest mind-altering substances? Truthfully? No. Absolutely. Not. Thank you, but no thanks.
So, I parked the idea of a life-changing experience on a shelf and went about my life. That is, until I had a powerful dream in November 2012. In my dream, the shamans, Maestro Don Alberto Torres Davila and his shaman, Maestro Don Julio Llerena Pinedo came to me and told me...more
On the ever evolving path of our spirituality, when we embark on our great heroic journey, it is commonly said that we must “slay our dragons”. It is as though you wake up one day and realize that you gotta do some stuff to live your best life. At first, the path is fun and adventurous. There is excitement of the unknown and anticipation of the journey…and then, (cue scary and foreboding music) you meet your dragon. How in the hell did this dragon get here, right all up in my business? And, as if on prompt, there is always one (or several) well-meaning folks who instruct you to wrestle, cajole, subdue, master, dominate, and/or kill your inner demons. You then conceive and draw up battle plans, game plans, and methods to destroy the very things within you. It is though you are a surgeon and you must excise with precision the alleged diseased tissue from your body. Uh, okay, scalpel in shaky hand, let’s kill this crazy mofo. However, truth be told, it takes a LOT of energy to kill something (dreams, addictions, behaviors, thoughts, houseplants, etc.). The idea of fighting...more
What is grit? Grit is typically defined as a positive trait based on an individual’s passion for a long-term goal, with focused, powerful intention to achieve the objective. It is having strength and perseverance in overcoming obstacles and challenges. Grit is knowing you got a few things perhaps stacked against you and still moving forward with a determination to succeed. Grit is mental toughness (disciplined thought) and emotional resiliency. Grit is not about being stubborn but rather it is about letting go of what is not working and having the ability to shift focus and master the moment of possibilities.
Athletes, entrepreneurs, and yes, even spiritual seekers have grit. Grit is a necessary ingredient for manifesting thoughts into things. It is not so much about doing as much as it is about being so laser-focused on feeling better that you will remain true to your soul and follow your bliss. Your bliss, dreams, desires, and feeling better is all that matters. Not allowing others to detour you from your passion takes iron determination.
If you want the suck the...more
Following your soul takes courage, cajones, and concentration with equal amounts of grit, gratitude, and grace. There is a lot of conversation about finding your passion and living your dream; however, what does that really mean in an age where everything is a side-hustle?
To begin with, let’s be honest: you do not have to quit your day job in order to follow your soul purpose. You can live from your soul purpose and work for the United States Post Office or your local coffee shop or within a Fortune 500 company. Truly, it does not really matter as your soul is eternal and your mind and your beliefs are transient. What you think you should do with your life and what life needs from you might actually be two different things…and this is okay. The longing and yearning to have purpose is inherent to our need to belong to our community, to be loved, and to feel contentment. Humans are wired for compassion and our nature is to do good in this ever-evolving and complex world.
So, if following your soul’s purpose does not necessarily involve changing career paths, how does...more
It was roughly five years ago that I followed my soul calling in a very big and bold way, without questions or hesitations. This particular day marked a turning point in my life and soon after, I had many more, with rapid succession, “soul direction” days. I named these special days “soul direction” because of the intensity, love, and grace in which my life changed in a matter of seconds (and these seconds have a tendency to stretch into eternity). Truth be told, I have had many “soul direction” days throughout my life and beginning in late 2007, the “soul direction” days began to happen with more frequency…but that is another story…
One Friday morning in early March 2012, I sent a text message to my then teacher, Halima, letting her know that I would like to make a donation for the build-out on a place she was hoping to rent for her future school/community center. The following day, we met briefly to discuss the details of this donation; however, the conversation didn’t go exactly as I had planned. And this is where an ordinary Saturday morning became an extraordinary...more
I have a confession to make: I have spent the majority of my life caring about what other people think (about me, about others, etc.). Like, I really cared all the way, so much. Granted, I really didn’t know what they always thought save for the occasional actual conversation; but, I MADE UP (read: illusions, make believe, false accounts) elaborate stories in my head based on limited words and actions (or in most cases, non-actions). I then took what others thought of me to some next level shit: If someone became angry or disappointed with me, I would lose my center, even when I had no real part in the anger or disappointment. I would apologize and make amends even when the situation did not warrant an apology. I spent a lot of energy telling myself “made up stories” and trying to please everyone. In the end, the make believe stories were self-defeating and I did not please anyone (especially myself).
And, I have another confession: I use to do anything for connection (read: love and friendship). I would wait for acknowledgement, praise, and/or...more
Have you noticed how 2016 has been another big year full of deep energetic shifts in ourselves, our relationships, our politics, and our environment? The planetary shifts that began in 2012 and reached full steam in late 2014 are still active right now but in a much more internal and private manner. These major shifts feel intense because we are moving in our collective journey through the Scorpio landscape of death and regeneration and we are being required to dive deep into our inner world. Scorpio asks that we actively heal with courage and self-truth the remaining hurts, regrets, and anger within our hearts. This diving into our inner fires is a must before we rise from our ashes and ascend in the Phoenix flight. These Scorpio intense tectonic changes do not immediately occur until we become accustom to our inner darkness. We are required to have patience and a willingness to lean into the uncomfortable underworld of our existence. Once we acclimate to our dark interior, we then must be brave and honest about our feelings and take 100% responsibility for these feelings...more
As you read these words, who and what is doing the reading, the understanding of these printed words? Now, think about this: our consciousness is embedded in our physical bodies and our bodies hold the key to understanding our unique spirituality. When we meditate, dream, or go on a medicine journey, we are not “out there” in the ether; instead, we are “inside” the deep space of our incredible brain. And, it is not just our brain holding our consciousness. Our brain is also connected to our heart and our gut via the vagus nerve. All of these actual physical parts serve a very universal and special role in our spiritual awakening. The point of calming the mind, lessening the intrusive thoughts is not to leave the body. Instead, we want to have “clear mind, strong heart”, remaining fully in the body, while exploring the vast richness of our existence. Our life stories (our careers, relationships, journeys) serve as a backdrop to our ever-changing, ever-evolving awakening.
So, here’s a simple life hack towards enlightenment: Feel your body and then feel your unique...more
Living out loud, with no filters and no apologies. Embracing all in this time/space reality. There comes a time, a crossroads if you will, where you must take a stand. Everyone has a “line in the sand”, a place where holding a particular boundary is a matter of self-respect and self-worthiness. You may not know it exists until you are confronted in subtle and not so subtle ways. It is a moment of truth, where dazzling clarity comes into sharp focus and personal integrity strengthens your energetic backbone. Once you encounter this deeply powerful truth within your heart, there is no turning back and you move without apologies, leaving behind people, places, and/or things that no longer serve your higher good. The walking away is done with the highest compassion, no shame or blame. It just is. And how do you know, really know, that it is the “right” thing to do? Because in the standing of your personal integrity, you feel “good” and whole. You are able to say an energetic “good-bye” and know within your soul that setting your heart free is the ultimate gift you can give yourself....more
The lunar influences of the past several days leading up to last night’s full moon have found me embodying my divine destiny in a more meaningful and direct way. What does that mean in real language? It means that the astrological-gravitational forces that have been influencing (and tongue in cheek)and harassing all of humanity have personally awaken my inner passion. I am standing in full intention, listening to the inner rhythms of my own heart-felt, soul desires. The time is NOW and the action is BE-ing.
I have been observing and witnessing many folks learning how to walk in their own personal truth, uplifting with purpose and destiny, leading the way that is best for their soul. The craving, (and yes, it is a craving) for more joy, more openness, more love while being more authentic, more real, more alive is part of the great awakening that started back in 2012. See, the world did not end per se as the Mayans predicted; instead, the old paradigms and stern rigidity of how things “should be” have now been replace by new and more flexible realities of how things just...more
The quantum physics of emotions…just for a second, ponder the state of your emotional being right now. How do you feel? What do you notice? Where do you feel your emotion? What does your brain/thoughts say about your feeling? How well do you notice your complex emotions? The fabric of a life well lived embraces and embodies the full range of emotional depth. Recent research has found that the more finely tuned you are with your emotional experiences, the better able you are to deal with life. This concept of having finely tuned emotions is known as emotional granularity, which is the ability to identify and articulate your diverse emotions (Lisa Feldman Barrett).
It use to drive me nuts when I would ask a friend (whom I knew was struggling with some life event) how they were doing only to be told “I am awesome.” Really? As if experiencing emotional authenticity is somehow dangerous? Sure, positive thinking and aligning your thought processes towards feeling good is important; however, not at the expense of being human and feeling the depth and complexity of your...more
During my morning meditation, the angel cards I received were Joy and Expectancy. I began thinking about the word expectancy, which Webster defines as “the state of thinking or hoping that something, especially something pleasant, will happen or be the case.” As I further meditated on the word, I noticed that expectancy and expectations have shared prefixes. Expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. Anytime I live in the future, especially in regards to expectations, I am robbed of real-time, right-now joy, which made the two angel cards of Joy and Expectancy very potent signs about a current situation.
I also noticed that expectations can be explicit and implicit. When I have implicit (or unconscious) expectations, my interior emotional landscape becomes vulnerable to the condition or fulfillment of those unstated expectations. I recently found myself in a very deep and intense state of disappointment, resentment, and anger when I realized I had unconscious expectations. When I sifted through my expectations, I noticed that I...more
Spring is a beautiful time for new beginnings as we have the opportunity to experience the exquisite complexity of natural life along with the resurrection of self. In modern culture, we celebrate a New Year in January (or February for the Chinese New Year); however, I find that spring is when my body, heart, mind, and soul fall into a natural rhythm of mirroring nature. There is something very sweet and delicate when the interior workings of our soul begin to bud, grow, and become visible like fruit trees flowering, withstanding the extremes of weather from unseasonable heat to severe storms followed by the late season cold fronts. The light from within is always present, even if at times, it appears hidden from sight. As we mature in our spiritual walking, we know that life provides many opportunities to prune away old patterns, similar to Texas storms creating debris. After the storms, we survey the damage, clean up, and move on with our lives with gratitude for the majesty of nature, for the miracle of life, and for our own strength to carry on and to shine on with the light...more
Madonna sings about it (Express yourself. Respect yourself.) and so does Aretha Franklin (R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.) What does it mean to respect yourself? As a parent, I recently explained the definition of respect to my 10 year old son. For me, respect is thinking and acting in an uplifting (or positive) manner with yourself and with others. It is about honoring your feelings while honoring the feelings of others. It is allowing yourself space to be and giving others the space to be as well. Respect is about being courteous to yourself and to others.
There is a lot of conversation about a lack of respect in society and how folks are not respectful with others (private property, ideas, religions, etc.). While this may (or may not) be an accurate observation on the state of our society, I have noticed that when some folks are not respectful with others, they are first and foremost not respectful with themselves. Being disrespectful with yourself can manifest in many different ways and in many different scenarios. For example, it is a definite...more
Living in this created world, we are constantly reminded of the duality of our existence while our guides, masters, and teachers illuminate us that all is one and there is no separation. When we shed our physical existence, whether by actual death, deep spiritual practices, a near death experience, or entering into the medicine space, we instantly know that there is no other existence but The One. And yet, I find when someone crosses back over to non-physical (God, Source, whatever you call the Divine) it takes me a while to re-orient from the apparent loss and focus on the fact that there is no death per se. However, it is little comfort in the moment. The sorrow and grief is sometimes so exquisitely overwhelming that there is little room for metaphysical musings. The teachings of Abraham Hicks mention that the contrast of loss we feel is not because we are missing the actual physical presence of that person. Instead, it is more about how we felt when we were with them; and, it is for this reason that we experience the contrast of their absence so deeply. For example, I...more
There comes a time in your life where there is nothing else to do: no more discussions; no more doing; no more crying about what should have been or could have been; or no more searching for the right answer. There comes a time for only one thing: accepting the truth. It is a time of surrendering to what is and accepting the reality of the situation. For me, I have found that acceptance typically occurs after a major transformation. Although I have heard amazing stories of people accepting changes before and/or during transformations; it has been in my experience that I typically accept things only after the transformation has passed.
The image that comes to mind is one of being on a river. The river is turbulent, with debris and boulders; swift currents and lots of rapids. I am “busy” trying to stay in my life raft, avoiding the obstacles. The next thing I know, I hear and then see the event horizon of a waterfall. And then…I am in a free fall, plummeting to the bottom. Maybe it is because I am so hard-headed and stubborn, but I don’t accept the reality of the situation...more