Welcome to my blog, where you'll find substantive, well-researched articles that blend neuroscience, philosophy, poetry, personal reflection, and the latest life coaching tools in service of helping people engage their full potential.
To practice one’s pleasure (I do believe pleasure, like love, is a practice we can and must cultivate) in service of a life that’s all-in is above all an act of exquisite vulnerability, because at the heart of what’s pleasing about pleasure is honesty; pleasure is not something we can fake. It’s not a performance. When we inhabit our pleasure we exhale into our authentic selves. We are laying aside self-consciousness and worries about what others think, and we are, for however brief a moment, suspended in oneness with life itself. We are bared. We are open.
This is why nothing hurts quite like being rejected while inhabiting our pleasure—nothing, that is, except living in fear of such rejection and therefore deciding over time that our pleasure doesn’t matter, or worse, that it’s a contagion.
The experience of epiphany is, more than anything, an act of radical belonging: in its midst we learn that confusion is a symptom of over-steeping in the known, a failure of curiosity. We discover that true freedom—that sudden sensation of clear-seeing—is achieved not through isolation, not by stepping-away and seeing anew, but by climbing into the palm of what beckons from beyond and finding we've always lived there.
Nothing illuminates our inner life-source like love does, and nor is there a darker abyss than the one we're plunged into in the wake of love's loss. We are wounded in love, and we heal in love. We lose ourselves in love, and we reclaim--and name ourselves anew--in love.
Whether you are celebrating today, or grieving, or aching... Whether you have children, have lost children, chose not to have children, wanted children and could not birth or otherwise raise children of your own... Whether you are with your children, or estranged from them ... You are, yourself, born of a mother, and you are, yourself, called every day into the profound life's work of learning to parent yourself.
Like the mechanism of the beating heart, or the process of birth shared by all mammals, creativity is born not by way of unwavering action, but through the pulse of contraction: surges of energy born on the back of quiet periods that appear, to the observer, so still as to be lifeless: the winter tree shorn of leaves, the tangle of brittle stalks upon which last year’s peonies balanced and billowed, the birthing woman sunk in sudden sleep between the volcanic heaves of her womb’s sharp cinch and release.
I love that the path-of-deepest-darkness, which is also the path-of-longest-duration, is called the path of totality: as I write, people are hurrying towards this 73-mile-wide band that at once bisects and unifies the nation, not horizontally or vertically, but diagonally, from coast to coast, propelled and bound by that which makes us capable of evolving into our highest (total) potential as a species: curiosity and wonder. Wonder and curiosity are the seeds of innovation, awe, and reverence, which in turn spore connection, love, and redemption.
Could we, then, in the wake of the heinous hate crimes proliferating both at home and abroad, witness a timelier natural phenomenon?
Could we, while navigating our own messy lives—our griefs, longings, addictions, mourning, regrets, shames, and sorrows—pay homage to a more significant natural act?
Have you been feeling alternately anxious and elated? More swing-y than steady? Extra vulnerable? Fraught at times by uncertainty, by bouts of worry? I ask because, like me, many of my clients are also experiencing deep internal shifts right now, and what I know to be true is that without guidance, we can all too easily mistake these signs of what I call radical becoming—a deeply generative state of psychological/spiritual growth that is often, though not always, accompanied or catalyzed by an act of creation/change (making a piece of art, writing a book, having a baby, starting or ending a relationship, starting or ending a new job, launching a business, etc.)—for their opposite: symptoms of something gone wrong, of depression looming, of our own failure and ineptitude.
Over the years, I've come to recognize this state of being, in which we can feel both oddly at home and at sea, as the hot center of the creative process. Given the sometimes surreal and disorienting feeling of this state, a state that, in my experience, can last for weeks, even months at a time, it’s no wonder that many describe the creative process as otherworldly, a syncing-up of human and beyond-human forces (I think here immediately of Elizabeth Gilbert’s recent book, Big Magic, which I loved). It’s also no wonder, given the often-uncomfortable symptoms of creation-in-process, that we resist this state. If unrecognized, let alone unmanaged, our resistance can sabotage the journey altogether, and foreclose the rewards that make the discomfort along the way worth every sob and ounce of angst: Innovation. Service. Enlightenment. Love.
But when we’re in the throes of new growth, we often don’t know it. What we do know for sure is that we feel a little (or a lot) crazy, or overly anxious, or overly sensitive, and we’re not sure why. We make those feelings, as well as the thoughts that generate those feelings (“I’m not good enough,” “What’s wrong with me,” “There’s not enough opportunity,” “Life isn’t fair,” etc.) mean something, usually something about our own insufficiency. That is, we believe them.
I'm afraid. Actually, I'm terrified. When it comes right down to it, I'm scared to death of that TED talk. Of writing the book that's going to bare my story to the world. Of claiming once and for all my message, not only the message I now preach but the message that's calling to me, that's urging me into and through the maw of uncertainty to where I haven't yet been but want—need—to go. Of creating so much momentum and energy around what I'm doing that daydreaming for hours on end about what I'm not doing is no longer an option.
When we can pause, and recognize our annoyances and triggers for what they so often are—fear of rejection, wish for validation—we open up a two-fold opportunity for growing (through) love: we get to give ourselves the affirmation we’re seeking, which is an act of self-healing, and having done so, we free ourselves up to see the person before us without the smudge of expectation and entitlement mucking our view.