Space is where the magic happens; coming home to ourselves

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

{ Chinese Proverb }

Inner space is probably the most coveted state in Western society – we’re either running around like headless chickens, barely stopping to eat, or we’re worrying ourselves into premature grayness because we feel like we’re not doing enough. In both states we’re completely in our minds, out of our bodies, and have close to zero awareness of the present moment.

But we remember.

We remember, viscerally, in our bodies, what it feels like to start a fresh day and have it spread expansively before us, an ocean of possibility. As adults we’re so rarely present that on the occasions where we do check in we feel shocked at how fast time is passing.

But time is a relative phenomenon.

In those moments of presence, it feels like time stops. We can feel our heart beating. The air as it caresses our skin. We notice sounds, the shades of light around us. There’s a depth to the moment, a density in the space around us – a slowing down, as though moving through water.

And we sense that THIS is true. That this is real. This is life.

This exquisite beingness, alive with sensation and humming with a current of vibrant energy like a radio station we haven’t tuned into for a long time.

It’s here, now. Can you feel it?

Let your shoulders drop, breathe slow, close your eyes and listen inside – inside this amazing body that’s walking you through life; cells working like bees in a hive, each one doing its part; heart beating like a faithful drummer keeping time to your unfolding story; organs processing, cleaning; systems communicating with each other; neural pathways firing, alert, recording, planning, always ready to be of service…

Your home.

Your refuge. Your inner sanctuary.
And this presence, your natural state. Peaceful. Calm. Knowing.

We are wired for innate wellbeing – our whole system is programmed for homeostasis, and will adjust and mend in order to maintain that state of balance. Likewise, our minds are also wired for stillness – unless a bear is chasing us. Unfortunately, in contemporary Western culture (and increasingly all over the world) we’re living as though we were constantly being chased by a bear.

The bear of money, success, time, achievement, meaning, purpose, God – anything can become a bear to us if we decide to embrace the story that that thing has power over our happiness.

But when we drop into presence, all of that falls away and we see it for the illusion it is.

In that space, we’re connected to our truth and connected to the bigger truth – life, nature, Spirit, God (insert whatever word makes sense to you here) – and from this place we do, act, create, relate in alignment with who we really are.

And bonus: it feels absolutely amazing.

Easeful. Effortless. Flowing. And inversely, feeling good is a shortcut to being present. And presence creates space.

And space is where the magic happens.

How much of the time do you feel connected with this well of stillness within you?

What gets in the way of you spending more time connected to it?

How can you create more connection to stillness in your everyday life?

The first step in creating a purposeful life is becoming aware of the deepest part of ourselves, and connecting to the creative impulses that arise from that state of being.

And more importantly, living from that space brings with it an abundance of joy that will bring you to your knees with gratitude every day.

//

{ Third in a series of 4 excerpts from the upcoming Wild&Free Workbook }

Why pure anger is an evolutionary tool & how to work with it

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”

{ Maya Angelou}

How much permission do you give yourself to feel your anger? To be with the hot, surging fire in your belly that wants to rise up into your throat and explode out of you like a volcanic eruption?

Ok granted, acting on this urge isn’t always the most constructive way of expressing that anger – but to be able to express it in any way at all, we first have to feel it and be willing to stay with it.

What is your relationship with your anger? How does it show up in your body?

Often when we repress a strong emotion it comes up as something else (a more ‘acceptable’ emotional state). The alternative is that the unexpressed anger is turned inward, in which case it can end up being expressed as self-destructive behaviour. Are there any patterns in any self-destructive / unconstructive behaviour you have that might be related to unexpressed anger?

Anger invites us to welcome intensity, another reason we often shy away from it. There is nothing about anger that is tame, quiet, controlled. Allowing ourselves to connect with this raw, raging emotion brings us closer than we usually are to our primal core, which can feel shocking to our ‘civilized’ conditioning (that revolves around controlling and neutralizing (neutering) emotion).

Two types of anger

There are two main forms of anger;

1. Ego anger (arises when something interferes with our ego wants/needs)

2. Pure anger (shows up when something crosses our core boundaries/values)

Ego anger comes from not having our needs or desires met, which are often subconscious and triggered by patterns of behaviour that originate in lessons learned at a young age. This anger can usually be traced back to thoughts (framed as beliefs) about our own worthiness (it can show up in an immature form as demandingness), is based in fear and feels contracted and ungrounded.

Pure anger (something I also like to refer to as “righteous rage” because it has that sense of Truth to it), is sacred – it lets us know that an important boundary has been crossed. In contract to ego anger, this state originates in thoughts (“beliefs”) about justice, either on the scale of us as individuals, or as it relates to others (people, animals, nature). This anger comes with a gut-based conviction – this is the Mama bear anger that will fight to the death to protect what is most important to her; it feels powerful and expansive.

Ego anger is human and we all get triggered sometimes – they key is to take a breath and watch it rather then simply reacting. Pure anger is an evolutionary tool, and we need it now more than ever. It is crucial that we allow ourselves to feel it, that we dare (because it can feel pretty powerful when we let it flood through us) to create a container for it because we have got some serious clearing and space- holding to do in order to shift things in the world.

And the role of the feminine has never been more needed.

Our awareness of what is unjust, of how things could be done with more grace, compassion and integrity, of the wellbeing of the whole community rather than the individual, is the key to creating the necessary changes in the global cultural ecosystem.

Mature feminine anger

One of the main reasons many women fear anger is because of the examples we have of it being expressed as modeled by the immature masculine (an adolescent level of consciousness, as opposed to the mature masculine, which represents an adult masculine awareness).

The mature feminine way of expressing anger (in contrast to the immature feminine reaction, which often looks like a toddlers’ temper tantrum) is to honour ourselves and honour others at the same time, seeking to be in compassionate awareness with the relational context in which the anger is arising.

Our hearts are alchemists of pain.

Feed the heart pain and, if you breathe with it long enough whilst holding it there compassionately, it will offer you the wisdom behind the pain, a compassionate response that serves all, and peace. Bringing our anger up through our hearts before expressing it effectively ensures that we will respond in a way that honors our values and integrity, meaning that no matter how it is received, we will be at peace with ourselves.

Anger, pure anger, needs to come back into the world through us in a new form, channeled through our hearts and brought with a loving intention into the world.

Righteous rage

The things that bring up pure anger are the things we feel most strongly about; there is often a hint of purpose and direction for our lives embedded within this passionate response.

What brings up your pure anger? How does it affect you?

How does this get expressed n your life? If it is not currently expressed, would you like it to be, and if so, what are some ways you could imagine integrating it?

Many of us carry around old anger that was never expressed – this often shows up as resentful or cynical thoughts and impacts the way we relate in the present – it’s important to bring this into awareness, express it (through journalling for example, or perhaps some good old fashioned pillow bashing ;)), release it (a ritual burning of the journalling is a powerful way to release), and forgive yourself for having held onto it (internalized anger harms us; when we feel the weight release it is often accompanied by grief around the impact it has had on us).

Is there any old anger it’s time to let go of? How do you want to release it? What would you like to shift in your connection to anger?

7 steps to work with anger constructively

  1. Notice what is happening in your body and stay with the sensation
  2. Name the emotion as anger
  3. Ask why it’s there
  4. Explore what the cause of it brings up in you (emotions beneath the anger)
  5. Notice what thoughts are linked to those emotions (what are you making it mean?)
  6. Connect to your heart
  7. Feel the anger at the same time and, bringing it up through the heart, express what needs to be said for you to have peace

Anger has huge power in it; when we harness it, we can move mountains with its force.

Treasure your anger, hold it’s flames with love, and it will transmute into strength.

//

{ Third in a series of 4 excerpts from the upcoming Wild&Free Workbook }

Four steps for processing emotion / kicking emotional overwhelm in the butt

“What you resist, persists”

{ Carl Gustav Jung}

As we go through life we pick up pain – ours, our families’ and friends’, as well as collective pain and trauma. It’s important to regularly “detox” from these emotions as what is not released will remain stuck in our systems.

When we hold onto old emotion, we’re effectively renting out internal space to something that’s creating blockages, taking our energy, and holding us back from fully experiencing life.

How often do you hear the word ‘overwhelm’? People are constantly feeling overwhelmed (and this is important – overwhelm is a feeling, not an objective thing); by work, by other people’s demands on them, by emotions. Emotional overwhelm is the sense that there is too much emotion inside; emotion that we don’t know what to do with. The feeling of tension, of suffocation even, from not being able to or not knowing how to let the emotion out.

In a culture that values a “game face”, “keeping up appearances” and putting a smile on no matter what, most people experience this occasionally. Often it leads to suppression, which then becomes trapped energy in the system (this becomes what we typically refer to as “emotional baggage”). Sometimes it reaches a level where we are unable to maintain “business as usual” and it erupts out in a (usually not very graceful) explosion of unshed tears, unshared words and unexpressed emotion.

You’ve got to feel it to heal it.

Being human isn’t pretty. It’s not clean and neat and tidy. As much as we’d like to believe that fairy tale, part of becoming an emotionally resilient adult is accepting the reality that life is messy.

And nothing is more messy than emotions.

Our exquisite sensitivity and the complexity of our emotional landscapes are a very recent addition in evolutionary terms, and we’re still grappling with how they work and how they screw us up. And wherever they come from, whatever form they take, emotions must be acknowledged and felt fully in order for them to be alchemised and released.

There are two main ways that people tend to react to strong emotions; one is to shut down, and the other is to drown.

Neither facilitates a healthy processing of life. We can think of processing emotions like emotional detox; not much fun per se, but necessary on a regular basis. Below are four steps to help you work with emotions in an empowered and responsible way (that can also be magic-filled and sacred!); Ground, Release, Self-care, Integration.

Four steps for processing emotion

1. Ground

Create the space (time, environment, commitments) and the container to process. If you have an alter or sacred space you might want to be near that; otherwise you can gather some objects you hold dear to you to keep with you – gemstones, jewelry, photos – anything that helps you feel safe, loved and connected to something bigger.

An important component to feeling safe to release emotion is creating a container; that might mean creating a time-bound space; you can set an alarm for say, an hour, and have that be the limit of how much time you’re choosing to spend processing. If you’re scared you might get stuck or not be able to ‘close’ the processing by yourself, call a friend and ask them to be on standby at the time when you foresee ending the process, so that you can call them for support or to talk things over with.

Get comfortable, breathe deep. Feel your connection with the floor through your feet/seat and release any tension into the ground. You might want to place a hand on your heart and on your belly if it feels good.

Check in with your with body, energy, emotions, thoughts – notice if there is there any contraction, heaviness, or stuckness present. Open yourself to being fully present with whatever is arising in you in this moment, and trust that it’s here to serve you. You can ask for support and guidance if you feel called to.

2. Release

Now we’re ready to move into the release phase. It’s totally normal to feel nervous and possibly have a knot in your tummy as you move into this phase, at least when you first begin practicing consciously working with emotion – we fear release because we’re so used to repressing emotion that we’re scared that when we actually let it out a volcanic eruption might occur. But the wonderful thing about emotion is that, intense as it might sometimes be, it is by it’s very nature transient. Emotion moves through us and leaves (if we let it).

The word for this phase is surrender.

Now surrender is not something that we Westerners are particularly fond of. We’ve spent several hundred years insisting (quite righteously) that we can control and manipulate everything in nature (including our own nature).

Surrender is scary. Surrender is sacred. Surrender is a deep and unequivocal YES to life (and thereby, to ourselves).

Note that we’re talking about surrendering to BEING WITH what is present within us; not acting on it. This is of course particularly important if what is present is anger, or even rage. These are viable emotions and need to be allowed, felt, processed and let go of. From the place of clarity post emotional processing you can then decide if and how you want to respond.

Remember that even while you have intense emotion running through you, you do not need to be consumed by it. The witness part of you, the essential self, is always present. Watching benevolently, even as you are flooded, tumbled around, smashed on the rocks by the giant waves of your emotion, patiently waiting for you to listen to the wisdom and guidance available.

This is the part that knows what you need, that knows when it’s done, that will pick you up off the floor and soothe you at the deepest level of your being. This is the part that won’t let you give up on yourself, even in the darkest moments.

Listen to your body as you allow the emotion to release – does it want to be in a certain position? Does it want to make sound? Trust it, let it guide you. Surrender. Open and let it flow until it’s done, washed out, gone from your system. And know that if it’s linked to something big, yes it’ll be back – but each time it’s a deeper layer that’s being let go of, that much more space we’ve created within, and eventually, it will be done; alchemized.

3. Self-care

Working with emotion is like dealing with chronic (physical) pain; it’s tiring work. If you’ve ever grieved for someone you’ve loved you’ll know what I’m talking about; mourning is exhausting! You get to a point where you feel like a dishcloth that someone has wrung out so vigorously that it’s completely shriveled and limp.

We want to make sure to cleanse the whole system now so drinking water (lots of it) is a wonderful start. You can add some drops of Rescue Remedy (the Bach Flower trauma mixture) to support the subtle energy field in processing the energetic impact. Smudging with sage is also great for this.

Now it’s time to listen to your body and your inner wisdom. Become still and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” What environment, what activities do you need; music or silence or nature; company or solitude; journaling or creative expression; movement or stillness. Shaking is also a fantastic way to release any residual tensioning the body, especially with sound – stand with feet hip-width apart and begin to shake your hands, arms, legs, shoulders, head, allowing your whole body to be limp and shaking (start slow, let it become as vigorous as feels good, then let it slow and stop when it feels done).

You might want to snuggle on your sofa with a blanket and a cup of tea and some coloring books (link), or you might want to go outside and amble around in the fresh air for while. You might want to dance in your living room, or get out some paints and play with color, or perhaps go to bed and sleep. There is no ‘right’ way of taking care of yourself, and sometimes what we want might surprise us!

Giving ourselves what we need and desire is the most nourishing, loving thing we can do for ourselves (and I hope this is a practice that’s woven into your life), but especially after we’ve been working with emotion it’s so important to be that loving presence and follow the intuitive impulse of what feels good. If you have trouble staying in this awareness, imagine yourself as a small child. A small child who’s just been through a confronting experience and is now feeling very tired and small and in need of endless cuddles and love. Treat yourself the way this child needs to be treated.

You might need to create more space for this self-nurturing; are there appointments that conflict with what you need right now? Cancel them. People asking things of you that feel heavy? Say No. This is radical self-care; you are your most valuable resource and you need to be your biggest priority right now.

4. Integration

As with every experience in life, if we don’t consciously process it we often don’t extract all the juice from it. Particularly with strong emotions it’s very helpful to integrate the wisdom that emerges when we allow ourselves to fully feel.

How does what came up connect with the bigger picture of your life? What does it tell you about where you’re at right now on your path? Invite insight, be open to being surprised. Journalling is a great way to open to insight and let the rational mind take a break – this isn’t about doing a critical analysis of your experience but allowing the subconscious space to connect the dots and find meaning to close the circle of the theme you’ve been working with.

If you’re too tired right after releasing, come back to this when you feel more rested (whether that’s a few hours or a few days), but don’t leave it out; integration is where the real growth happens, where energetic shifts are made conscious and the deeper wisdom of our experience is harvested.

Using sentence stems and then allowing free flowing writing is also great (you can try using your non- dominant hand to write if your mind is reluctant to relinquish control). Some examples might be:

“The wisdom of this emotion/event/theme is…”

“The next step for me in working with this is…”

“The core thing I need to know now is…”

“I can have peace with this because…”

What are some events, issues or themes that you have stored emotion around?

Are any of them particularly alive for you right now (is there a resonance in your body when you connect with them)?

Do you feel comfortable working with them by yourself (and if not, will you commit to finding external support in some form)?

Emotions are an intrinsic aspect of being human – when we embrace them fully, exactly as they are, life opens up, resistance releases, and we expand into a whole new level of internal freedom.

//

{ Second in a series of 4 excerpts from the upcoming Wild&Free Workbook }

Four archetypes of the feminine; Mother, Lover, Wise Woman, Queen

“I am the sovereign queen, the treasury of all treasures, whose breathing forth gives birth to all the worlds, and yet extends beyond them – so vast am I in greatness.”

{ Devi Sukta, Rg Veda }

You too, have the power to create and destroy worlds. Can you feel it? That silent power that lies at the bottom of your belly, waiting? It’s the outrage at injustice, the fiery passion of love, the darkness of destruction, the mysterious power that all women naturally inhabit – the intuitive knowing, the fierce protectiveness, the delicious seduction of inhabiting a female body.

We live in a culture where only a very narrow definition of the feminine is accepted and honoured. Through conditioning (we all grew up in the Princess Paradigm), and a lack of ‘whole’ feminine role models, many of us are not even aware of the range of qualities that are available to us as women.

But we sense that there is more.

That we are more, much more than we are currently expressing. Often these subconscious aspects will emerge under circumstances that force us to reach for resources we weren’t aware we had – but what if we had conscious access to them all the time?

The mature feminine is a fully integrated woman.

She owns her power and her vulnerability, her wildness and her wisdom, her sensuality and her sexuality, her darkness and her mystery, her intuition and her vision, her love and her rage.

She is the one who lives turned on, fierce, unashamed. Who has set herself on fire and burns in her truth, awakening in every moment to who she is and in turn, awakening the world.

She is a gift to herself, and to the men and women who encounter her – because by being all that she is, she gives permission for them to embrace themselves in their wholeness as well.

A useful way of exploring feminine qualities is to look at archetypes. Archetypes are ideals that are found across cultures and epochs that have shortcut access to our subconscious minds; they are collectively inherited memes that we resonate with at a pre-verbal and pre-logical level, meaning that we can easily tap into the qualities and energy associated with them without rational analysis.

When we distill the cross-cultural archetypes of the feminine, we come to four core expressions: the Mother, the Lover, the Wise Woman and the Queen.

As you read the descriptions below and go through the questions, notice how your body reacts – if there are any twinges, contractions, excitement, goosebumps, or other sensations. Notice any emotions that come up, and listen for any underlying thoughts and judgments that might be present.

The Mother

Theme: Creation

Being the most acknowledged archetype in Patriarchal society (which, despite the giant advances in women’s liberation, we are still living in and even tacitly enforcing ourselves) the Mother archetype is often the one we have the most and the strongest associations with. She is the nurturer, the care-giver, the protectress, inviting and expansive; she creates a womb of safety around herself and those she loves.

The Mother embodies immense creative energy and can nurture the world through her selfless love.

The two shadow sides of the Mother are the careless and the devouring mother; both exhibiting an imbalance in the strength of the connection to her children. In the former there is too little energy given, in the latter too much given and taken.

She is the female counterpart to the masculine warrior archetype, and has access to fierce Mama Bear energy. In the Hindu tradition the Goddess Kali is one of the dark sides of the Mother archetype, a symbol of destruction in the service of creation; the destructive aspect of this archetype will wreak havoc on anything that threatens the wellbeing of those she cares for – and a well-rooted woman will experience her field of caring as encompassing the whole world.

Positive Aspects: Creativity, fertility, nurture, life, self-sacrifice, beauty, soft, gentle, fierce, protective, warm, supportive, selfless love, encouraging, guiding, giving

Shadow Aspects: Cold, withholding affection, sadist, masochist, careless, abandoning, aloof, controlling, narcissistic. Smothering, overly controlling, hysterical fear, over-attachment, devouring, demanding, manipulative, guilt- inducing

The Lover

Theme: Eros

Western women are in the process of reclaiming the Lover archetype, and are largely being held back by the burden of residual shame and fear. Sensuality and sexuality have long been used interchangeably, and yet they are not the same; the Lover delights in being in a body, and though that connection to herself is also able to delight in the connection with other bodies.

The Lover manifests the energy and fertility of nature.

Lovers are at ease with our own deepest and most central values and visions; they are romantics, idealists who dislike rigid order and sterile knowledge. This archetype is intrinsically bound with the ‘other’, and can manifest shadow sides with obsessiveness, manipulation and revenge. On the other end of the spectrum the Lover can disconnect and be cold and calculating.

Positive Aspects: Love, passion, compassion, seductress, hedonism, sensuality, sexuality, generosity, surrender, fertility, values, longing for unity, playful, uninhibited, embodied, inquisitive, emotional, devotion

Shadow Aspects: Poor boundaries, obsessive, disembodied, body shame, disconnection from own needs, frigid, aloof, emotionally disconnected

The Wise Woman

Theme: Wisdom

The most repressed of them all, the Wise Woman or Witch archetype is strongly connected in the feminine unconscious to severe punishment (the witch burnings of the 17th century left their mark). It is the wild, unpredictable force of the feminine – extrasensory perception, the deep connection to natural (and supernatural) forces, the earth-bound connection to the mysteries of life and death.

The Wise Woman inhabits the shadows and sees the unseen.

She is the prophetess, mediator and communicator of secret knowledge, the healer, the teacher, the shaman, the guide. She is concerned with the mysteries of life and death, fertility and procreation, healing and seeing, and is subsequently feared. The shadow side of this archetype has a tendency to abuse her power, using her skills to achieve her own ends, or, on the other end of the spectrum, to be drowned by her own perceptions and attempt to shut them down, becoming hardened and numb.

Positive Aspects: Spirituality, magic, death, feminine mystery, intuition, vision, prophetess, mediator, healer, counselor, elder, shaman, receptive

Shadow Aspects: Hypersensitivity, hyper vigilance, lack of trust in world, overvaluing the rational, fear of psycho-spiritual energy, self-serving, manipulating, controlling, egoic use of abilities

The Queen

Theme: Power

The Queen is special because in her mature form, she transcends and includes all of the other archetypes of the feminine and combines them with leadership qualities. 

She brings responsible warrior energy together with feminine awareness of the collective, as a leader responsible for the safety and wellbeing of all – as such her potential to shift cultural paradigms is immense.

The shadow sides of the Queen are the tyrant and the weakling, on the one hand abusing her power overtly (tyrant/bully), on the other abusing it covertly (weakling/manipulator). In a patriarchal society, the Queen is rejected and suppressed – as a result women who inhabit their inner Queen often feel lonely, may adopt a cold or defensive attitude, and are often haunted by the fear that others (especially other women) are traitors, rivals, and back-stabbers.

Positive Aspects: Power, leadership, wisdom, dignity, justice, grace, grounded, balanced, protector, semi-divine, responsibility, benevolence

Shadow Aspects: Tyrant, arrogant, controlling, aggressive, destructive, authoritarian, demanding, power-crazed, self-serving

  • Which of the qualities do you identify with most, or feel most comfortable with?
  • Which of the qualities do you identify with least, or feel least comfortable with? How have these been present in your life? What examples of them have you had?
  • What stories do you have around these qualities?
  • Which qualities would you like to integrate more into your way of being and expressing yourself in the world? What would change?
  • Think of one or several ways you can integrate those qualities in a practical way this week
  • Create a mantra or intention to use as an anchor for this practice

We are empowered when we are truly honoring everything that we are.

Empowering ourselves to be fully self-expressed and to bring our biggest dreams into reality requires us to tap into our Queen qualities.

How would your life be different if you showed up as your inner Queen?

Knowing that you are a queen, and that you have the power to rise up and live this role…

What is the BIGGEST VISION you have for your life?

//

{ First in a series of 4 excerpts from the upcoming Wild&Free Workbook }

Hell Yes Or No: The radical practice of only saying yes to what you want (what you really, really want)

“Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re NOT going to do.”

Gary Keller, “The One thing”

There is deep and powerful reason that we are drawn to the things we’re drawn to. It is often something we can’t logically explain, something we can’t justify intellectually. The things that whisper to us hold wisdom for us that will only make sense when we look back, long after we said Yes and followed the call.

Listening to the deepest desires within us is a giant YES to life, a surrendering to ourselves, to life. It opens the doorway to the mystery in a way nothing else does – because our inspired action is the creative intelligence of the universe pulsing through us, living us.

And we live in times of abundant (sometimes overwhelming) choice. What this means is that we must become specific – we have to practice listening to the loudest desires and following those (to the exclusion of others). A helpful way of doing this is to filter your Hell Yes’s through your priorities.

This is especially important for life enthusiasts such as myself, who can get (very) excited about a great many things. If we don’t choose some over others….we end up either not doing much, or trying to do too many things at the same time (and overcommitting is damaging both for ourselves and for others involved).

Practicing HYON

“You can get your time and your life under control only to the degree to which you discontinue lower-value activities.” 

Brian Tracy, “Eat That Frog”

Hell yes or no means saying yes ONLY to those things that light us on fire so that we’re consumed by the thought of them.

It means being radical about saying No to things that might sound good but don’t feel clean or don’t turn us on – this requires listening to the gut/heart and not the head. It means saying no to people who aren’t right and letting those who aren’t (or are no longer) a Hell Yes go. It means saying No to some projects in order to dedicate ourselves to others.

In every moment we’re creating our lives through the choices we make. HYON can be applied to all aspects of life;

  • Activities (What do you most want to do with the time you have left? Make it count)
  • Work (An opportunity that sounds great but feels meh will not lead to joy. Dare to say No)
  • People (You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with – are the main people in your life helping or hindering your being the person you want to be? Do you have a Hell Yes for them?)
  • Speaking (Are you really fucking interested in what you’re saying? Does it feel alive, energized?)

Saying No, especially to things that look good in theory, can be daunting at first. We worry that another opportunity/person won’t come along, that we’ll regret not doing it, that people will think badly of us. Now I’m not going to lie – people get triggered by radical choices. It brings up their own mediocre decisions, and that’s uncomfortable.

But ultimately your opinion of you is more important than anyone else’s, and in being uncompromising with your integrity you set the bar higher for everyone in your environment. 

It’s become my favourite thing. Saying No (consciously, from love rather than fear) is self-affirming, self-loving, empowering clarity.

There might be a gap between saying no (and getting specific about what you want) and the next opportunity (more closely tailored to your desires) coming into your life. Don’t panic; nature abhors a vacuum – create space and it will be filled. The more clarity you have around what you want it to be filled with the better.

How do you want to feel?

All of us want to feel happy, right? We’re all chasing a feeling but often not paying that much attention to what produces it within us, and instead falling back onto the perceived wisdom of what works (hint: we’re individuals for a reason. What turns you on is going to be different to what turns some else on).

Joseph Campbell said, “We’re looking for an experience of being alive.”

When we say yes only to things that turn us on and light us up, we feel fucking amazing. HYON is a visceral inner response; it’s a high-value state in which we feel present, alive, energized, connected to awe, wonder, and the beauty of life. Spending time in this state is the most powerful way to uplevel your experience of life.

And a wonderful side-effect of spending time there is that we raise our standards.

So many people spend a lot of time in a mediocre state. This (quite logically) leads to mediocre decisions, actions, and a “meh” experience of life. As we begin to spend more time feeling juiced and energized and on fire, it starts to become our new normal.

Clarity

Another awesome side-effect is increased clarity. When we consistently choose only things that feel completely aligned with our deepest core, those core values and passions become more and more embodied.

This effectively means that we begin to represent on the outside what we feel to be true on the inside – we become more dense.

Our true self becomes stronger and stronger, more and more tangible. And in a wonderful positive spiral, this leads to even greater clarity.

It also means that, because we’re saying No to more things, we have more space to focus on the things we really want to do. And focus is gold. Focus is a gateway to transcendent states of awareness, which not only feel amazing and fulfilling, but invite in wisdom from a different level of consciousness.

Now we are giving all our energy to creating, manifesting the life that we truly desire.

Commitment

Commitment comes from a place of Hell Yes. If it’s not a Hell Yes you’re going to need a ton of discipline to make it happen – and discipline uses a whole lot of fuel. Commitment (as I wrote about here) means doing something with dedication, with devotion, with your whole heart – it’s an energy that comes from desire, and as such you are pulled towards the thing.

And committing to something that’s a Hell Yes feels juicy as hell.

So all in all, saying Hell Yes brings about massive shifts in the way you approach your entire life – you raise your standards, you create a transformative shift in your quality of life.

And it’s all just about choices.

MAke them consciously and your life will take a dramatic turn towards the extraordinary.

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ACTION STEPS

Action 1: Start practicing HYON; what areas in your life are you good at it, where less good? Are there projects/goals/relationships you want to let go of? (don’t be afraid to be radical – you’re building clarity)

Action 2: Get clear on top 3 priorities (what % of time are you according to each/week), the why, commit – what does that look like (vision, ideas)?

Action 3: Examine your systems and habits; are they in line with your priorities and commitments (implementing the vision/ideas)?

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Why treating your taxes like your lover has the power to change everything

Everything is sacred.

The entire universe is made of the same creative intelligence that animates and inhabits all of existence. You are made of it, plants and animals are made of it, even cars and corporations are made of it. Everything is created of and with this energy, that some of us call divine.

It is in everything, dancing through all there is, the tangible and the intangible, weaving together the world.

Recently I spoke with a friend who is in the process of setting up a business. She was saying that one of the main aspects that had been holding her back was the thought of having to deal with the administration aspect – taxes and accounting – of running a business.

When I asked her why, she said “Because it feels so serious”.

Heavy, dense, somehow almost threatening, like if we get it wrong we’ll get into trouble.

Then I asked “What if it was sacred?”.

There was a silence whilst I watched a bubbly lightness tinged with incredulity spread over her face.

“That’s possible?!”

Not only possible, but fact. If everything is made of God energy, then everything is sacred – including bills and taxes. Hell yeah!

For my friend, this reframe created much needed internal space – suddenly her relationship with what had previously felt heavy and remote shifted to something warm and beautiful; it opened the possibility for more conscious devotion in the everyday.

Making the serious sacred is a powerful shift.

We all know that reality is exactly as we create it in our minds – so the bottom line is that absolutely nothing needs to be painted as “serious”; everything can be beautiful, sacred.

When we approach something with devotion we come with humility, openness, a willingness to relate and engage with love. What becomes possible if we bring that energy to everything we do?

T. Harv Eker says “How you do anything is how you do everything”.

How do you want to show up in life? What quality of presence do you want to move through the world with?

Looking at it that way, why would you want the way you show up with taxes to be any different from the way you show up with your lover?

Because make no mistake – life is your lover. You are making love to life in every second, co-creating the emerging moment. What do you want it to look like, to feel like?

Try thinking of something that scares you or feels heavy, noticing how your system reacts to it (what happens in your body, to your energy, your posture, your emotions?). Then imagine it as sacred – what shifts?

What if everything becomes a sacred, devotional practice? What would your life look like?

Bringing reverence to all we do is possibly the most transformational practice we can have – this is spiritual intention in action. Gratitude infused into our manner of relating with the world, with life, with even the most (formerly ;)) dreary, mundane tasks.

Life can be as peaceful, as easeful, as beautiful as we let it be.

Why choose anything less than that which brings profound joy, wonder and grace?

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Commitment and devotion

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

William Hutchison Murray

This has been my favourite quote since 2011.

That’s 5 years of devotion, which, for a quote addict such as myself, is something of a marvel. The funny thing about it that I didn’t even really understand why it held me in thrall every time I read it – I only knew that the underlying message of the mystery behind intention gave me goosebumps.

And then, over the course of the last year, I became increasingly obsessed with commitment. What is it, what quality does it have, what are the implications of it, how does it work?

And the quote began to reveal the core of its message, the foundation upon which the rest is based; the internal shift that makes the magic happen.

Commitment, it turns out, is a mystical force.

Commitment vs. decision

A decision is defined as “a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration.” Commitment is defined as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.”

In other words, a decision is merely a thought, the conclusion of a cognitive process. A commitment is a state of being – a state, no less, of dedication (which, to continue our exploration of the English language, is defined as being “devoted to a task or purpose; having single-minded loyalty or integrity”).

Dedication, devotion, loyalty, integrity.

Pretty powerful concepts. Concepts that connect us to the root of who we are, what we believe in, what we stand for. Commitment therefore, is an intoxicating shortcut to some of the most profound states we can experience.

Commitment vs. discipline

Discipline, “a way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders,” has long been touted as a desirable and commendable quality; something to be rigorously pursued in the name of self-betterment. The things about discipline is that unless the thing we’re using it for brings us consistent joy, we will at some point tire of the battle to engage our will on a consistent basis.

Willpower is an outward moving force (3rd chakra based, for those of you who are curious), a pushing force. It’s great for short periods of action but using it every day without rest is eventually going to become draining. Commitment on the other hand, is a pulling force.

Commitment draws us forward through our love of that which we have chosen to devote ourselves to – it is love that beckons us to take one step, another step.

Commitment and discipline may sometimes achieve the same results but the quality of each is intrinsically different, and in my experience, being pulled forwards is infinitely more pleasant than pushing.

Commitment and devotion

Here’s where it gets really interesting. Devotion (“love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause”) is an incredibly potent state.

It is to give oneself entirely, with every fiber of one’s being, to the object of our focus.

It is a humbling sensation, to act from devotion; it opens us even more fully to love, to life – to the beauty in our endeavors, to the honour and worthiness of that which we attempt to create.

That kind of attention is powerful. Like, really powerful. It’s the kind of attention, which, when harnessed and skillfully directed, can be used to complete seemingly impossible tasks; the kind of attention that finds solutions where there are none, that invites game-changing insights, that creates miracles.

It is uncompromising dedication.

And with uncompromising dedication comes something else – unwavering trust.

Because when we give ourselves up completely to devotion, there is no space for fear. There is only the clear path of what must be done.

Clarity, simplicity, focus.

These are some of the inevitable side-effects of commitment. And devotion itself is what brings us the feeling of fulfillment that we are all searching for – it is not what you do, but how you do it.

Living in this quality of devoted surrender, whether or not it is a cause of our choosing, is the most transformational practice there is.

Priorities and focus

And because commitment is so full on, we cannot commit ourselves to very many things at the same time. We have to choose. Knowing what our priorities are is always a good thing (at this point in time; clearly this is something which is constantly evolving),  but in order to commit, it is crucial.

What are you willing to devote yourself to?

What one thing would make all others obsolete?

Who do you want to become and what activity/cause will mould you into that person?

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