Category Archives: Heal

A Heart Without Words

There are times in my life where I feel like I’m the main character in the song, “Once in a Lifetime,” by the Talking Heads.  You never know when something is suddenly going to happen and you find yourself asking a simple, but profound statement, “Well, how did I get here?”  That song is like a dose of therapy for me and I just want to rock out whenever it plays on my MP3 player like Mark Ruffalo’s teenage character in “13 Going on 30” when he starts “Burning Down the House” during the birthday party.  Am I “dating” myself here?

But honestly- life is a balancing act and it is so easy to suddenly feel like you’re a waning silver ball in a pinball machine getting knocked around by some fired up kid, only to realize that you’re the one operating the device that is bashing yourself over and over again.  It makes me laugh, and it also makes me want to cry.  Both are good, because both are associated with a healthy release if you can simply adjust your mind’s lens to come face to face with that frame in your own movie.

I have the opportunity to ask myself, “How do I want to experience my day?”

Every morning, I have the choice to look myself in the mirror and remind myself that the film is rolling.  I am the only one calling the shots, the director in the chair and the person holding the clapperboard shouting, “Take 1.”  I have the opportunity to ask myself, “How do I want to experience my day?”  Navigating each experience is like an exercise in focusing the camera and getting the magical shot that is going to win you the Oscar.

flowers_snowPerhaps.  Life can prove to be difficult, it really can.  In the state where I have lived the past 8 years, New Mexico, the annual legislative session is in full swing and I have had the pleasure (can you feel my sarcasm here?) of listening to a lot of it this year.  In doing so, I find my mind blurring with the politics that exist in our society and how they create a barrier to what truly matters- providing the help where it is needed.  But surprisingly, I experienced one of those moments when, buried beneath the snow at my feet, I witnessed the beginning of spring in a bright colorful flower straining to break through.   As I was struggling to find anything positive regarding my listening commitment and the voices droning on in “debate”, SURPRISE!

A state representative was delivering the opening prayer to a floor session, when he gave a quote by Gandhi that I had never heard before,

Gandhi w child smiling“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

With that, the only words I can offer here, are- don’t give up.  Or better yet- do.  Because, it is usually in that moment of surrender that we are given a great gift.  It may be the solution to your problem, or it just may be a moment of joy in your heart that will help you remember your truth while you process your life.  And that my friends, “is the rest of the story.”

Monthly Peace Challenge- A Vision of Peace to Behold

How can a photograph inspire a purposeful perception?  How can a photograph inspire a new vision of peace for our world?

In September of 2004 I had the privilege of experiencing an amazing day in our Nation’s Capital- Washington DC.  I grew up in northern Virginia, and at the time was working downtown at a higher education non-profit.  I was a year out from a divorce and my life was finally settling while living in the District.  This one particular morning DC was abuzz with a slowly unfolding plot.  The opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian was about to take place and the “Gathering of the Nations” was about to open up a door to peace and beauty on the post-summer Mall rarely experienced there amidst its normal chaos of traffic and partisan politics.

A magical day of festivities was planned.  As I walked down the street to my office that morning, you could feel it coursing through your body like adrenaline only it was pure joy.  My heart felt like it could leap from my body.  Like a window was about to open to a new manifest destiny as the Nations took DC by storm.  Representatives, families from the entire Nations’ tribes were gathering in their ceremonial dress on 14th street, passing me by with a pride they have always deserved.  The Washington Post had posted a picture of a sunrise ceremony and blessing that took place next to the museum and you could already see the sunlight rehearsing for a show that would move my soul later that evening.

The beginning of the magnificent sunset on the Mall the day the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
The beginning of the magnificent sunset on the Mall the day the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

An eclectic, free concert in the evening was planned featuring Lila Downs whose earthiness just exudes in the movement of her body and the sound of her voice.  As I walked down the Mall on the sunset’s cusp, I felt so grateful to be a part of this historic event.  As me and my friend waited for Lila Downs’ performance, the sky began to dance.  Soon it was like an explosion of light amplifying the energy of the day and illuminating life.  Every part of my being knew it was a result of this sacred energy that was brought to DC for this unique and uplifting occasion.

The 2nd stage of this magnificent sunset.
The 2nd stage of this magnificent sunset.

It was a peace that our own Nation’s Capital should strive for every moment- if not for themselves, but for the people of our country that have to endure the reality of our current economic plight every day.  In the Bloggers for Peace writing challenge this month we were supposed to write a letter, but really this is a short prayer and meditation on peace for not only the US and its government, but for all governments in our world.  I can only hope that the memory of this landmark event and the picture of its beauty prays in the earth of the DC Mall and emanates itself into the hearts of those visiting and those that live there.  A garden of tolerance and compassion is readying itself with a purpose.  In my heart I will continue to strive to project a vision of this peace to our world, slowly giving rise to perceptions that are rooted in awareness rather than ignorance.

What has this post inspired for you?  What new, purposeful perceptions about your present moment can you now use to create awareness in your life?  Please let me know!  I truly value your inspiration as we journey together.


Does your mind ever feel like this? Picture by Katie Lee found on VisualizeUS at
Does your mind ever feel like this? Picture by Katie Lee found on VisualizeUS

A long time ago during my partying days, a group of my friends and I loved to rock out to the electronica song “Where’s you’re head at?” by Basement Jaxx.  I remember dancing on the rooftop of my friends’ enormous shared house on California Street in Washington DC during the summer when the low air quality fog hung over the city as the sun would try to peak through making it more amplified-  and soon, you could always count on that song.  Why am I rambling about this song?  Because I realize how this song has revisited me in a new era of my life, where I am always reflecting on just that- where is my head at?

It is a perfect question at a perfect time where half of what I am reflecting on is perception and mind.  In breaking down perception, the basis for my upcoming book, reflecting on your state of mind and how you are about to react to something is a valuable tool for living a life that is authentic and uncompromising.  What I do realize is that most of the time we are completely unaware of where our head is at- tethered like a balloon full of helium just bobbing along and carried off by any slight wind.

Just recently I orchestrated a large event and made a mistake that really upset someone.  When the victim of my own confused and overwhelmed mind confronted me about it, she expressed with great emotion her unhappiness.  I felt terrible and could not get the moment out of my mind.  I had a running tape of it secured tightly, rolling over and over again.  I relived my own feelings of shame and guilt without end.

When I went to bed that night, I had to acknowledge a few things in order to let it go.

1- Forgiveness of Self- I made a mistake, but running a tape of the incident over and over again in my head was completely unproductive and would give me nothing but more negative “feelings.”

2- Acceptance & Boundaries- I said I was sorry, over and over again, but she chose to still be extremely upset.  It is her choice alone.  There is nothing I could do to change how she felt.  This is a good boundary- that everyone is responsible for their own choices, and that includes in how they react.  My only role would be acceptance, and staying in my integrity.

3- Release & Heal- In accepting and creating a good boundary, the one thing I did have the power to do was envision this other person engaged in feelings of love and happiness.  I bathed the situation in love, and let it go.  Even in our boundary setting, which is primarily a function of the ego-driven mind, I can also recognize that we are inherently connected in spirit, and sending love and envisioning the situation transformed, it will help heal no matter what my mind tells me.

I acknowledge I still feel a little shame.  And I shall need to work on that, continuing with the above process.  But most importantly, I also have the opportunity to practice the new perception in my life that is at the core of my past experiences with situations like this one-


Even though I made a mistake as we all do, or else what is the purpose of this life, I am not unlovable, as I might have acted out in the past.  But due to awareness, and processing my old perception of self, I can now come out of situations like that empowered with the knowledge of exactly where my head is at.  Time to groove on!

Attaching to Self Sabotage

Attaching to Self Sabotage
By: Jessica Ahlers
Have you ever had someone ask you the question- “Are you a self saboteur?” If someone did ask you that question, how would you answer it? I feel asking ourselves this type of powerful question strengthens our ability to truly be honest with ourselves. After all, if we can’t be honest with ourselves, then we’re definitely not being honest with others about who we are underneath our many worn masks, nor are we kidding anyone. Most of our relationship view points are truly our own, and if you ask someone else what they think about their relationship with you- you will most likely get a response that differs greatly from what you think you will hear. I have found in my own life that no matter how much I might try to lie to myself about how others like to play the truth is always there for me to see in my reactions to others around me.

It takes the deeply hidden intricacies of the mind to develop the many unsuspecting pathways to self sabotage. In the end, we usually are not aware that we are trying to sabotage ourselves because it is a difficult subject to approach and be honest about with ourselves. Have you ever experienced a breakup, where the conditions yielded a person you never even thought existed due to the self developed perception you already maintained about them? This is a very common feeling after the ending of a relationship. Most of the time there are plenty of circumstances that yield this situation. I feel all of them are rooted in the understanding of what it means to be honest and open to the possibilities of the world around us. When we can remember that we are one with all, and whole beings, then our awareness that all traits exist in every one of us- no one excluded- is heightened.

Buddhists believe that if we can look at every person in the world with the understanding that everyone is suffering, just like us, then we will cultivate more feelings of compassion and understanding, rather than seeds of anger or frustration which typically lead to a dead end and more suffering for ourselves. In trying to practice this challenging way of viewing the world, I have found it opens many doors to self reflection and kindness. When we can be honest about our own suffering, as well as the suffering of everyone around us, a major part of the human condition, we can live a life that shines authenticity. With authenticity, our abilities to sabotage ourselves become weakened. Transparency within our own world leaves more room for opportunities on all counts- especially when it comes to happiness.

Recently I lost a friend that I had known for years. I have gone through many stages of mourning this relationship. I have felt anger, sadness, and helplessness. But in the end, I can see how both of our commitments to self sabotage caused our relationship to end. It was very difficult for me to accept this person’s behavior, and couldn’t believe how I was being treated. Basically, I was in disbelief of my own self generated view point that I had for years, and had to come to terms with the fact that not only do the qualities I witnessed exist in this other person, but they also exist within myself- I just have not accepted them fully, which is why I felt so angry and plugged in.

Our issues got in the way of enjoying one another without the limitations we placed on our relationship through our view points. We both judged one another in some form, and the judgments got in our way of simply having a good time and being grateful for the manifestation of awareness we both represented. Our quest to reject an opportunity for happiness in our relationship with one another was our own self sabotage. The most any of us can do is walk away from these experiences wiser, so we can continue to be open to the joy of being that we all deserve rather than repeatedly living out life times of suffering.

My Emotional Insurance Policy

My Emotional Insurance Policy
By: Jessica Ahlers

People purchase insurance as a form of protection that may be enacted when a crisis persists in a certain area of your life. Today, we have car, life, travel, health, and even legal insurance. I’m sure there are plenty more types of insurance plans out there that I’m not even aware of. We live in a world that teaches us that we need a backup plan- something that will be there for us when we are in a bind. How does this perception bleed into our personal life and relationships with others? How do we use the concept of emotional protection to put up blocks between us and people we care about as a form of insurance?

Another good question to ponder- what types of emotional blocks do we put up as a type of protection for ourselves, and a way to punish someone else for hurting us? The mind loves to fool us with its ideas of ‘what if”. When we engage with others in relationship and something happens that puts our emotional well being at risk, we have a choice of opening even further or putting up the barricade even higher. It is our choice. Do we want to shut out our light by putting our fear over it, or do we want to temporarily experience discomfort and then fully experience the light of our connections to others around us?

We have a rare opportunity in this life to blend our consciousness with those that appear to be separate. In this blending, we have a chance to really experience God in a more visceral way. But- how many of us see God only as joy, happiness, and rainbows? Is God absent in the friend that is suffering before us, or is this spiritual way of being ever more present? An even larger question to ponder- when we experience suffering due to another’s actions, how often do we think we’re rejecting that other person by closing off- instead of seeing that the only person we’re really depriving of love is ourselves.

Our world of emotional protection and guardedness has manifested into a suburbia that lacks community and connection. We have created a world of isolation. Here lies a world where very often, those that actually open up and try to reach a hand out to someone in a friendly conversation is deemed weird and someone to stay away from. They are labeled ‘needy’ because they need to open up, desire human contact.

The New York Times once reported that there was a group in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called “Resonance,” which promoted hugging as a force for healing. They chose to use this technique in their counseling because of studies that showed how being touched raised levels of hemoglobin in blood significantly. This in turn allowed for speedier recovery from illness. Amma, the ‘hugging’ saint from India, noted as an incarnation of the divine mother, gives hugs to show her deepest gratitude and love for the divinity within the human. This hug, this love, causes people to break down in tears because they are being held with such deep commitment by someone that in the outer world appears to be almost a stranger. What a gift?

Debbie Ford always stresses that our inner world is a microcosm of the outer world, or the macrocosm. The mind has succeeded genuinely in creating a world of separation and loneliness through its foolhardy teaching of not opening ourselves up as a way of protecting us from emotional suffering. Suffering is a way of life and will always be here. The more love we marinate in from ourselves, as well as others, the more our world will reflect this opening back to us. The Earth’s chaos inside and out- it is a mirror for us to see. It is a gift.

Let’s take back this ironic principle that the more guarded we are, the more we withhold, the better off we’ll be. Because it’s not true. Even science shows us that we live longer and are healthier in many ways by being open and engaging in relationship. When we close off, we are closing ourselves off to the essence of our being, the nature of our soul- divinity. We are making ourselves smaller and punishing ourselves for being human.