What Happens in a Men’s Retreat?

Last week, I was the lead assistant at a Men’s Retreat called Ascending the Sacred Mountain, led by Christopher Sunyata. It was an honor and a gift to assist this workshop after years of preparation by participating in and leading many men’s and couples’ workshops.

Throughout the week, staff at the event center where our retreat was hosted mentioned that they had no idea what we were doing together, in contrast to the usual women’s yoga groups that pass through the same venue. I also receive similar questions from people in my life. One friend even wondered what the benefit of a retreat with the same gender was. Why wouldn’t teachings on meditation, purpose, sex, and death be of benefit to all people regardless of their gender?

Why are men spending time with men seen as confusing or threatening?

It’s my strong opinion that everyone benefits when men spend time with men in a container of growth, introspection, and reflection. Every retreat I have been part of has been unique. Some focus on giving men space to learn to speak their emotions and feelings safely. Others focus on spiritual development through meditation and enlightenment practices. Finally, there can be a focus on relating to women,  finding one’s purpose, and many other permutations.

One of Christopher’s gifts is that he is very attuned to the needs of the men in the current group, and there is no prescripted curriculum. Instead, each evening our staff would meet and brainstorm and plan the following day based on the current state of the men in the retreat. I won’t speak to the specifics of any exercises because the element of surprise and novelty for the men participating is essential. However, there are several key areas that we work with:

Posture, Breath, and Presence:

Most men are unaware that their trustability in the world, whether with a potential intimate partner or business partner- is rooted in their posture, breath, and presence. What happens when they are unaware of their body, breathing shallowly, and their head is pushed forward such that their ears are no longer over their shoulders? I’ve witnessed men being ‘tuned up’ by teachers and the other students โ€“ simple things like rolling shoulders back, bringing their ears over their shoulds, and having their weight balanced over their feet suddenly appear to be a completely new man, and rated as much more trustable.

Relaxation:

Many men hold an incredible amount of tension in their bodies. This can create health and sexual performance problems, which is not a comfortable way to be in the world. Working with men to open their hips, relax their breath, release body tension, and move and live more freely. This is often achieved through slow, relaxing yoga sequences.

Death and Purpose:

Being present with our mortality and impending death is a way to become immediately present, whether with a lover, our families, or alone. A relationship to death can bring our true purpose into the light and prevent continued procrastination and distraction.

Sex and Relationships:

Sexuality and relating to partners and families are big themes for men. Therefore, understanding the basics of masculine and feminine polarity and how to communicate through their bodies and words maintains this polarity for attracting the partner a man seeks or enriching sexual experiences and intimacy in a current relationship.

Meditation and Enlightenment Practices:

The capacity to sit comfortably and deeply inquire into who we are and why we are here is deeply connected to masculine presence and growth. Therefore, offering men meditation techniques, helping them find a comfortable physical posture, and exploring silence together is a critical part of any men’s retreat I’m participating in.

 Brotherhood:

I recently heard that in our 20s, men tend to have a similar size or even more extensive friend networks than women. By our 40s, this plummets, and men often find themselves with very few male friends outside of those they work with. Discovering that other men are seeking to live a more fulfilling life, men that have similar struggles and pains is deeply healing.

 Wholeness:

The above sections are a very rough outline of what happens โ€“ there is so much more. So many men are broken today โ€“ for a variety of reasons. The sheer act of taking a week of their lives and investing in themselves in the company of other men is a process towards becoming more whole, embracing all parts of themselves, and becoming better human beings that can serve their partners, their families, and their companies and their societies.

To conclude, I want to share one of the more touching moments of this past retreat. On the fourth day, I led the men on a walk through the woods to the neighboring retreat center, the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram. This day auspiciously fell on the new moon, the most masculine day of the lunar cycle. At the ashram, the men participated in a fire ceremony, paying homage to the Mother and offering a part of ourselves to be relinquished at her feet. After the formal ceremony, as we were offered delicious chai dahl, a woman who also attended the ceremony approached our group. Visibly shaking, she bowed and expressed deep gratitude towards our group of men. Then, in a very devotional tone, she shared how much it impacted her to see a group of men transforming themselves, and she saw our work as a beautiful gift to the world. Many of us felt very validated and honored at that moment.

Thank you, Christopher

Thank you, all the men who participated

Thank you, all of the men who pioneered this work

Thank you, all of the men doing this work

Thank you, to everyone supporting this work.

Already Dead

Two weeks ago, I developed a persistent dry cough. It feels all too familiar to the one that began three years ago that led me down a path to Stage III Lymphoma with a 10cm tumor in my chest.

My procrastination around getting a two-year post-chemo scan now seems like a bad idea. So I scheduled it for next week. Although blood work yesterday showed no anomalies, the most apparent cause is a form of heartburn from drinking too much coffee and having an acidic diet the past month.

I am not worried and wish you not to be either. I will update you all after the scan.

Last week, during a men’s retreat, as my cough progressed and exacerbated, the mantra, already dead, began appearing in my awareness. It has remained a close companion ever since. The cough would appear simultaneously with already dead, which I began perceiving as a gift and reminder of my mortality as we explored the interrelated topics of sex, purpose, love, and death.

The contemplation it offered was this: Would I be living my life any differently if I knew I had a tumor in my chest or not? Should I be? I realize there is always a tension between living fully in the moment and living with the belief that we may live X number of years and preparing for them. Focusing on the former, you become a hedonist, potentially becoming broke and unhealthy while having a hell of a time. In the latter, you are constantly preparing for a future that may or may not come, not fully living. We must navigate a middle path for ourselves.

I’m alive now, as I assume you are if you’re reading this. I can feel my breath and my heart beating. At some ‘now’ in the future, tumor or not, you and I will experience a final moment, our heart will stop, and we’ll take our last breath. As I contemplate nonexistence, my body cold and still, I no longer think about the money I have or don’t have, the accumulation of experiences, or the excitement of those not had yet. Instead, I ponder, who did I love, and did I love them enough? Did I give my deepest gifts? Did I offer myself fully?

David Deida says in Blue Truth:

A life lived well embraces death by feeling open, from heart to all, in every moment. Wide open, you can offer without holding back, you can receive without pushing away. Wide open, heart to all, you are openness, unseparate from this entire open moment. Every part of the moment comes and goes as openness.

Your lover’s embrace: sweet, full, already loosening. Every moment is miraculous and disappearing. Every experience, profound and empty, both.

Life lived for the sake of experience is a half-life, tense, insecure, lonely, and unfulfilled. Your experience cannot fulfill you because as soon as it comes it is already gone, a thin wisp, the tail end of hope, receding out of reach.

Ungrasped, this moment of life burgeons free and bright. Surrendering wide, breathing deeply, offering your heart, you are birthed open as this moment. Death is permission to open freely as love.

What am I, what are you doing with this very moment of life? Does the contemplation that death is near permit you to open freely as love? What would change for you if you knew you would cease to exist in one year, two years, or five years?

Our Politics Donโ€™t Have to Be This Toxic

If you really knew me, you would know that I enjoy following politics, although I rarely speak about my views in public. Recently I shared a past voting choice as part of a vulnerability exercise and was actually laughed at and ridiculed by the ‘conscious’ group that I was in. Ouch.

The following is a great essay on the stranglehold that the two-party system has on our politics. My favorite line in the essay is:

๐—œ๐˜โ€™๐˜€ ๐—”๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜‡๐—ฒ๐—ฑ, ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—”๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฒ.

Studies show that the silent majority (sometimes called the exhausted majority) of which you are likely a part, represents up to 80% of our population. This silent majority does not resonate with the Progressive Activists or the Devoted Conservatives that dominate our media. (See the Hidden Tribes Report)

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt said,” the worst number of political parties to have in a country is one, but the second-worst number is two.โ€ The two-party system is inherently social destabilizing.

We desperately need election reform and many (myself included) agree that ranked-choice-voting would be the first step. I’m highly pessimistic that anything will change soon as the elites that control both parties will continue to do everything in their power, to stay in power.

Read the article here:
https://quillette.com/2022/07/06/dear-americans-your-politics-dont-have-to-be-this-insane/

How Wealthy Are You?

Recently a tweet from entrepreneur Sahil Bloom caught my attention. He examines overall wealth and explains how the sole pursuit of financial wealth can rob you of the others. I agree with him and have been living my life in a way that emphasizes non-financial wealth. If you really knew me, you would know I have not received a W-2 or 1099 since 2009 and have supported myself by teaching yoga, facilitating workshops, managing investments, and living humbly.

Financial wealth is an alluring benchmark for success. Net Worth = Assets โ€“ Liabilities and offers a simple scoreboard for success. People assume financial wealth creates happiness โ€“ but a critical point known for decades is that while net worth and income are scientifically correlated with happinessโ€”it is only up to a baseline level that’s most likely lower than you think. In the US, that number is approximately $75,000 per year, with many variables based on geography and other factors. Read more about the famous 2010 Princeton Study here. Once you are above this baseline, you get no more incremental happiness. Sahil posits:  If your goal is happiness or a good life:

(1) Focus on getting above this baseline

(2) Focus on other drivers of happiness

To summarize, there are five types of wealth:

โ€ข Financial (money)

โ€ข Social (relationships)

โ€ข Physical (health)

โ€ข Mental (health, spirituality)

โ€ข Time (freedom)

Social Wealth consists of meaningful relationships. Sahil’s advice, which I like, is to build a T-shaped web of connectivity, which is both broad and deep. This means cultivating deep relationships but also embracing weaker and more broad ties. This has been my primary focus over the past few years โ€“ and I feel incredibly wealthy. I’ve tied this wealth to my career passions (facilitating groups), so it is constantly growing.

Physical Wealth is possibly the most critical but under-appreciated type of wealth as it’s essential to enjoy the other forms of wealth fully. Exercise, sleep, and nutrition are key. I feel this is an area I neglected the past couple of years since my cancer diagnosis. This month I signed up for Orangetheory Fitness, which offers one-hour high-intensity training classes, and it feels delicious to feel strong and fit again. When asked what my fitness goal was, I said, To feel and look good naked, a line borrowed from the classic movie American Beauty.

Mental Wealth includes mental health, wisdom, mindfulness, spirituality, and faith. This is a vast category, one I may have personally separated mental and spiritual into separate wealth categories, but let’s roll with it. Mental fitness is treating your brain like a muscle, flexing it through learning, reading, writing, conversing, etc. Best to do this daily! And the spiritual component can be met in several ways โ€“ through the formal or informal practice of deepening one’s relationship to ones one spirit and the world that lies beyond the physical. This, for me, was my primary pursuit for much of the past decade, and its pursuit and accumulation of wealth is one of the main reasons I was able to get through my cancer diagnosis so quickly and psychologically unscathed.

Time Wealth is interesting โ€“ when you’re young, you’re a time billionaire, and many of us forget to realize this precious asset until it’s too late. Sahil says to Treat time as your ultimate currencyโ€”it’s all you have, and you can never get it back. So NEVER let the pursuit of financial wealth rob you of your time wealth.

I’m curious what you, dear reader, make of these distinctions. I notice Sahil does not discuss sexuality, as is the usual mainstream trend. I’ve been pondering if I would make a separate category or acknowledge it as part of mental, physical, and social wealth. Thanks for reading!

๐—œ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜†

I am pondering the word independence today, on a personal level. What exactly does it mean to be independent, and is it something to strive toward?

Last night I participated in a relational practice called T-Group: where the focus is on noticing present-moment experience, owning that experience, and then expressing it in a small group container. It’s a rich, illuminating, often uncomfortable, but frequently nourishing practice. When done well, it celebrates and acknowledges our impact on each other and gives one permission to make explicit the more hidden and unrevealed aspects of our relational field (attraction/frustration/judgment/care/appreciation/etc/etc.)

In both groups I participated in last night, the group’s attention fell on me at different moments โ€“ and a collective noticing that ๐พ๐‘’๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘–๐‘  โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘˜ was expressed. In one group, a friend described how she notices wearing a shell when interacting with me, that in her experience, is her meeting my protectors and walls. Another person expressed ๐‘Ž ๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘’ ๐พ๐‘’๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘œ๐‘๐‘’๐‘›.

After reflecting on these moments and ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ฆ like them in the past, what arises in me is the reminder of the importance of the subtle, nuanced calibration of dependence/independence in relationship. And the necessity of fine-tuning the needle between being impactable and sovereign. When questioned and prodded last night, I felt several contradictory feelings. First, some shame around a story I have that I overprotect myself, keep my cards close, and don’t reveal for fear of being vulnerable and powerless. Then there is the other side of me that experiences those interactions with anger and frustration, coming from the part that feels annoyed that someone cannot accept that I’m sovereign and independent and doesn’t react to everything said or done in my vicinity.

AND I know the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

It feels really f’ing good when someone deeply sees and notices me and our relational space attunes me to more fundamental aspects of my being. It also feels good not to be expected to be anything other than what I am at any given moment.

Time to get outside and into the creek (with a friend ๐Ÿคฃ ).

What is your relationship to the polarity of dependence & independence?

Incubating and Creating

** Overdue update! In late April, I left Mazunte, Mexico, and spent a beautiful month in Portugal visiting a lover in Lisbon and exploring the country’s northern half on a solo backpack. While there is a lot to say about my time in Portugal, what is most alive is what is happening now in Boulder. In early June, I returned to the US and rented a room in a beautiful home with a close friend, my first permanent-ish home since spending the last two years at my Zen Monastery and then abroad.

I have been thrust back into community and activity in a way that has validated my decision to relocate and live here again, a place I have not entirely resided in since 2009 when I packed up after 8-years of corporate ‘do as you are supposed to do life,’ sold all of my possessions and traveled to Asia.

Last week, I co-led two workshops called | OPEN | โ€“ Authentic Relating Meets Sexuality that were so popular that we will offer a third one next Saturday that is also nearly sold out two days after announcing it. This is the fruit of a long-developing bond with the incredible human, Michaela Smail.

THIS beautiful, fierce, devotional, and focused woman has evoked a creative spark in me as I have never experienced before! I feel confident to explore, offer and create in the rich, edgy, controversial space my life has followed: ย intimacy, sexuality, consciousness, and communication. Our recent collaboration convinced me that my path is collaborative, and planning a company, a movement, or a dynasty together is so enlivening! She inspires me personally and professionally to realize and actualize creating and birthing something in the world: a task that I have been hiding from and fearful of until now, preferring to play it safe and avoid potential humiliation or failure. It’s been an honor and privilege to facilitate and create alongside this legendary human.

This is just the beginning. I hope to see you at the next one! Are you in? It’s time to | OPEN |

Freedom and Love

Thank you all for your continued feedback and thoughts on my writing โ€“ For the last two days, I have been sitting patiently in front of my laptop, noticing the urge to write and connect but not feeling a specific impulse or topics. So what is most alive for me recently? Possibly, the pendulum swinging from the angst of not doing or giving enough(in my recent posts) towards more self-acceptance? 

The Hologram is a beautiful concept from the Authentic Relating corpus that I teach regularly. My friend and mentor Jason Digges has a wonderful definition in his book, Conflict = Energy: The Transformative Practice of Authentic Relating (IMHO the best book available on Authentic Relating!):

Our “hologram” is the lens through which we experience and make meaning of the world. It is unique to every one of us, yet ubiquitous across our lives. As the old adage goes, The way we do one thing is the way we do everything. Thus, when we begin to perceive our hologram and to work directly with it, powerful change can happen remarkably quickly.

Another way to look at the hologram is as a fully three-dimensional picture, giving us a full view of something in its entirety from any angle. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a hologram is worth a million. Yet in Authentic Relating terms, “seeing our hologram” means much more than simply seeing the details of ourselves. It means welcoming each detail as both valid in its own right, revealing and ultimately transforming the parts that aren’t serving us. Through this process, we become more aware, awake, and wholeโ€ฆEach of us is limited in what we can perceive, and we need each other to be able to clearly see ourselves. Community is the primary resource we have for waking up to, integrating, and beginning to free ourselves from the past relational limitations we were not consciously aware of.

These epiphanies can show us the internal patterns that have been shaping our entire lives. Often, we discover patterns that have been directing the course of our relationships for years and even decadesโ€”hidden in plain sight. These realizations, however humbling they may be, are in fact an opportunity to radically change our relational habits for the better.

As I have reviewed your comments and received feedback from close friends in conversation, it is clear that I have a personal hologram around not doing enough or giving enough, being enough, showing up enough, or accepting myself. In addition, my online audience and friends often reflect that I am doing a lot – constantly leading courses in-person and online, studying and participating in new training, and still in the aftermath of an intense healing process from a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

With this feedback and a slow, dawning realization that I seek validation and worth through external sources and success, I decided to start examining if I could source what I needed internally. Easier said than done, I began exploring this topic again through the concepts and language of polarity and the masculine and feminine aspects of my being.

What does my inner feminine seek? To be seen as light and felt as Love.

This subtly connects to my relational realm (my unconscious definition of being a man requires being in a relationship, needed by, loved, attached to a woman). First, I see that this continued efforting to seek external validation from a partner/lover/friendship originates in the part of my shadow that rejected, did not trust, or acknowledge my inner feminine. And if I cannot see myself as Light and Love, what business do I have seeking to be seen and known in this way by another human being? This is one of the reasons I took a long break from romantic/sexual relationships and recommitted myself to more flow, more invitation and surrender, and more self-nurture. I splurged on a beautiful home in Mexico that I would not have ‘allowed’ myself to in the past. I enjoy more time in self-pleasure and indulgence (in all the ways)! I am allowing my body to rest and sleep and go slow. I’m growing my hair longer than usual. I am committed to saying yes to opportunities and invitations regardless of cost or sometimes practical considerations. So far, this has been a delightful dance. Highly uncomfortable at times as this territory of flowing and lack of control is when my masculine would typically come in and dominate โ€“ make a plan, a budget, manage, control, and direct my life! I’m committed to this experiment for a while โ€“ at least through the summer.

What does my inner masculine seek? Direction, purpose, and seeking freedom amidst challenges.

This is where I operate most of the time โ€“ and what I have been writing about recently. The masculine heart responds most fully when aligned with a mission to advance freedom: financial, artistic, or spiritual liberation. The masculine heart often opens deepest when facing death, immense challenge, or going beyond all forms in a spiritual discipline. Rather than write more here โ€“ I’ll say for now that I am softening and widening my approach. After noticing how this advancement of freedom, immense challenge, and spiritual liberation is where I direct most of my attention, I’m allowing myself to accept that the outcome of such masculine endeavors may look very different than anything I can imagine at this moment. This freedom is likely utterly personal and may have very little connection to my place or position in society.

I’ll share a few words from David Deida on this dance of the masculine and feminine ( from chapter 31 of Blue Truth:

Feminine spiritual growth is about opening to receive allโ€”all people, all situations, the massive presence of the entire momentโ€”deep into your heart, surrendering open to breathe and move as the full force of Love, aboundingly alive, appearing as all. Whereas the masculine grows by realizing identity with emptiness, boundless consciousness, the unchanging ever-present witness of life, the feminine grows by realizing identity with ever-changing light, radiant Love, or the very love-fullness of all life and every moment.

The masculine craves unchanging nothingnessโ€”if not as eternal consciousness, then at least in post-ejaculative peace or zoned out in front of the computer. The feminine is drama, volatile passion, an ocean of tumultuous and ever-fluid light, changing shades, dark and dazzling, concealed and exposed, longing to be seen, felt, entered so deeply as to be overflowed beyond fullness.

Emptiness and quietude are masculine obsessions. The masculine often wants to resolve feminine turmoil and conclude in unadorned openness, the one taste that feels like home to the masculine. But the feminine opens as cinnamon and garlic, as salty, sweet, and bitter, as every possible flavor.

 Since we embody both masculine and feminine energies, we all can benefit from opening as BOTH unbounded emptiness and love’s fullness. Sitting in the open silence of meditation and surrendering open as love’s dance is helpful for each of us. At different moments in our lives and journeys, we may be required to emphasize one over the other. An important point I want to make in my inquiry into these topics is that it can be easy to assume or oversimplify this journey and think that if you increase your masculinity, you will decrease your femininity and vice-versa. Nothing is farther from the truth! Both can be expanded to unimaginable capacity โ€“ and even though we will very likely have a preferred way to enter and meet the world, we may be asked or demanded to call upon the other polarity to meet life’s uniqueness and dynamism.

This is enough for today โ€“ next time I want to inquire with all of you what happens when we can develop and satisfy our inner masculine and feminine ourselves โ€“ and then walk forward in the world from this place of wholeness? Love and Freedom, expressed in their uninhibited fullness.


Your thoughts and feedback are welcome and always greatly appreciated.

Be Alive as Gifting

I am sitting in my home this weekend, facing myself. Iโ€™m uncomfortable, Iโ€™m tired, and Iโ€™m in pain. I wanted to say that I am hiding from the world โ€“ but the more accurate statement is that I am hiding from myself.  

David Deida summarizes this well in the final chapter of his book Blue Truth, Be Alive as Gifting:

If your true gifts have become lost in the struggle with lifeโ€™s demands, then you are in pain. Ungiven gifts hurt. Unoffered love sears the heart. Unexpressed insight sucks the strength from your bones.

I know I write this not just for myself but also for many of us. I have been sharing my personal journey with many of you, and I keep hearing –  yes, me too. The world has shifted โ€“ more so in the last two years than in any two years of my life. Politically โ€“ call it what you will: the great reset, wealth transfer, rise of authoritarianism โ€“ yet I view these changes as a painful gift at a personal level. We are being prompted even more strongly โ€“ WHAT ARE MY VALUES? WHAT DO I STAND FOR IN THIS WORLD? WHAT ARE PURPOSEFUL AND MEANINGFUL WAYS TO LIVE?

These past two years have coincided with me entering my forties and surviving a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Life is finite. We all know this from an early age, but I didnโ€™t live as though it was finite in my twenties and thirties. Thereโ€™s always more time, another opportunity. Now I have a different perspective โ€“ this may be the only opportunity, and there may not be much time. The world may be getting better or worse, but that is no excuse not to work on my relationship with it and with myself, right now.

Two timely books have crossed my path recently that I have recently finished:

Letting Go by David Hawkins and the Untethered Soul by Jefferson Singer

The pathway of surrender was something I learned about and slowly began understanding a decade ago through my teachers of yoga and specifically Sahajananda at Hridaya Yoga. However, I realize now that I have not fully grasped its potential or true meaning. There are layers upon layers of letting go and surrender. From letting go of being overcharged a few dollars at the store, letting go of the frustration at oneself for missing a flight. To forgive others who may have harmed us significantly. To forgive ourselves for our misdeeds. And the most significant surrender may be letting go of oneโ€™s life, accepting that we have very little control and choice in the grand scheme of things. The only legitimate choice may be to resist or not to resist the constant change of life.

โ€œWhen you meet a person of greater openness, your closure stands in stark relief.โ€

Deida writes about this specifically in terms of how when we are in the company of someone more open than us, we naturally receive an invitation to open ourselves โ€“ masculine openness being clear, intentional, and integral action, feminine openness being radiance, and flow. In this sentence, what comes up for me is the importance of community, specifically sangha, where people are committed to understanding and living these questions. And the remembrance that while I am constantly being inspired by my teachers and guides, I’m simultaneously inspiring those that I have walked the path ahead of. I notice the tendency of myself and others to surround ourselves with those at a similar level of openness – as the presence of those with much more openness can feel confronting and dangerous to our egos.

And again, this theme of not being alone in this. Knowing that as I write this, my habit energy is the deeply stoic approach of figuring this all out on my own, solving the problem, and finding the solution. Yet, I am trying to soften into the actualization of the interdependent life that we exist in. I have written before about the crux of finding purpose before or after a partnership, seeing that these may not be linear, they may be complementary โ€“ as well as trusting the shared experiences of close friends, strangers, or guides that may appear in my life, ever so briefly.

โ€œFeeling the choices you have made of security and self-guardedness, acutely aware of your yearning heart, lost time, and ungiven gifts, you can either surrender open and embrace the force of superior openness or fortify your closure. Suffering is only your refusal to open. You are alive as gifting

This feeling of those choices made for self-preservation and safety are the source of the pain. I see the tendency and energy while in this painful place, wanting to leap forward with: ย Here are my gifts, world. Receive them and me! I also see the necessity of the slow reckoning with myself, the painful process of building up the pressure of this yearning heart, lost time, and ungiven gifts such that the actual gifting comes from a place that includes and acknowledges the pain rather than as a means of avoiding it.

Thank you all for being with me this morning.