What do you REALLY believe?

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I consistently hear four main things that members of my soul family consciously crave and deeply desire. They are:

  1. Courage
  2. Clarity
  3. Congruency
  4. Community

We know we want these “things” – because they make us feel a certain way. We want to feel courageous, clear, congruent (feeling good being you), and in communion with a greater tribe and cause.
 
If we want them so bad, how come we can’t just snap our fingers and get em’?
 
What if you could?
 
Hey, I am not suggesting we can squeeze our eyes shut really hard and presto! There it all is. And yet, we really do have everything we need already in order to claim this as our own.
 
You just need to start at the beginning. With yourself…and what you believe.
 
Not only your beliefs about yourself. But your beliefs about the world.
 
It can be easy to adopt and regurgitate other people’s beliefs about why things are the way they are, how things operate, and what is really important in life. Which there is nothing really wrong with…as long as YOU actually, viscerally believe it.
 
Beliefs are kind of like food – they need to be chosen, chewed, digested, transformed, and come out the other end…
 
Well, OK maybe I took that metaphor a little too far. (But really, think about it, when you really truly believe something, isn’t that “the shit”?!)
 
If you had to choose just a few core “that’s my SHIT!” beliefs, what would they be?

Mine have gotten more refined over time. The more I connect, hold onto, and live by them, the better I am at my work, and the more courageous, clear, congruent, and in communion I feel. Of course, I believe many things, so I’ll just share what creates the foundation for my work.
 
My first core belief is: You Are Your Own Healer
 
This means that sickness, dis-ease, or feeling misaligned comes from not being who you are. We are “sick” because we are denying the actualization of our purpose. Only you can heal yourself and it starts by rewriting the core stories about who you believe you are.
 
My second core belief is: The World Needs the Real You
 
Healing isn’t just about you, because when we heal ourselves, we heal the world. We need less of trying to fit in and “doing it right,” and more of us being in alignment with our own choices, gifts, and who we are. You are the difference that makes the difference. We can do more good in the world by working together as our Real Selves.
 
My third core belief is: Accepting Your Calling Heals You Fully
 
In order to heal, we must accept our calling – because our calling is asking us to be who we really are. Healing and what you were brought to this earth to do are inextricably linked. Only when you choose to answer your healing calling and align with your Real Self will you heal inside and out.
 
When I really stand in these beliefs, I feel pretty gosh darn powerful.
 
Courageous…because I am willing to stand behind something that is bigger than me, even though I don’t always know “the answer,” but I’m willing to face my fear and bring it along for the ride instead of letting it hold me down.
 
Clear…because I’m dialed in to some sort of inner compass that these beliefs lead me to.
 
Congruent…because these beliefs are an extension of who I am, my own experience, and ask me to be the Real Me.
 
And certainly, in Communion…because your beliefs don’t just come outta your head, they come through your heart and soul, from God/Source/The Great Whatever. You are plugged in to the Real Deal. Plus, I get to share them with y'all and build a community around them.
 
I invite you to explore what you really believe, dig around, wrangle with paradoxes, make up new labels, and craft in your external world what really makes you tick.
 
You are up for it.
 
Believe me.
 

Love Always,

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Why you need to Be Your Own Healer

What does healing really mean?
 
For some, the word “healing” or “healer” conjures up some mystical, esoteric, ephemeral image - one that is not only hard to hold but may also feel like it’s beyond our reach.
 
Even as much as I use the word “healing” or “healer,” I too struggle with conveying what it truly means to me.
 
Words are just labels for our internal reality. So just like learning a new language, sometimes we need to use other words to describe the ones that feel very important to us.
 
To me, a healer is someone who brings the world into greater wholeness and harmony.
 
It’s not a term that’s only reserved for people who have gone through extensive training, rituals, or have been initiated into a secret order.
 
Similarly, my definition of healing is the realization that we are already whole.
 
What these meanings mean is that healing - yourself, others, and the world - is for EVERYONE.
 
It’s accessible to you, me, and your grandmama.
 
There are a lot of people out there who would lead you to believe that if you follow every step of their pre-programmed plan, that you will heal. Whether that’s from an ongoing disease, emotional turmoil, wanting to experience more wealth and abundance, or all of the above. People say “Do THIS, and you’ll be good as gold!”
 
But you don't need a diet, a technique, or a program to heal. You need to BE YOU to heal.
 
This is what I have found on my own journey. The more I listen to myself, the better I feel, and the better outer results I get as well.
 
But when I fall into the trap of thinking someone else knows the way for me, I get lost.
 
We are spending too much time on what other people think we should do, rather than trusting our gut and being congruent with what feels right to us.
 
When I was really sick, I was spending too much energy trying to follow someone else's rules, instead of making my own rules. This is what happens to all of us. We experience long-term misalignment - “stuckness” if you will - because we are not choosing our own way of life.

When we experience this long-term misalignment, we can also can fall into the trap of thinking we are not good enough or helpless. This continues to perpetuate the cycle of feeling “off” somehow. It intensifies feeling like we either don’t know our purpose or don’t know how to live it.
 
But there is a way to get out of this soul-sucking spiral.
 
Be your OWN healer.
 
Do your research. Ask questions. Receive help from others. AND know that the buck stops with you. YOU are the one who calls the shots. You get to decide how to proceed.
 
Trust your intuition on what kind of diet to eat, which direction to go, how to relate to someone in your life, or how to uplevel your career. Believe in yourself enough to take steps towards creating what you truly desire - even if that’s starting with figuring out what the hell you truly desire.
 
Because only when you stand in your own power - when you stand in who you are - will you truly heal.

Love Always,

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Instead of Goal-Setting, Practice THIS

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It’s the time of year when many of us feel called to set goals. It’s kind of a tradition thing. There’s a lot to be said about setting intention, dreaming up the dream, and really deciding to go for it.
 
The trouble with goal-setting is for many of us, we use it as another club to beat ourselves with.
 
Either it sounds something like, "I’ve got to push myself to accomplish this outer feat (or inner one) .. by this date… or else…"
 
Or when we “fall off” the metaphorical wagon or don’t attain that goal, it’s easy to also fall into the trap of thinking something is fundamentally fucked up about us for not getting that goal.
 
Here’s the thing – it was never about the goal.
 
Yes, I know that the money, the health, the relationship, the business or work project all are noble things to reach for them.
 
But we aren’t really reaching for the goal. We are reaching for our Soul.
 
What we want from the process of going for what we desire is actually to BE the person who can do that or have that.
 
For example, you may want to lose ten pounds because you truly know you will feel better in your body. It’s not the ten pounds you care about – it’s how you FEEL.
 
Similarly, you may want to increase your income, because you have big aspirations for your life and helping those around you. It’s not about the money – it’s about freedom and impact.
 
Instead of goal-setting this year, here is another practice that can fulfill this purpose.
 

The New Practice

 
Get a sheet of paper. Make three columns. Label them like this:
 

Be | Do | Have

 
Step 1: In the “Have” column, write down all the things you want to have. Examples might be money, wealth, health, a romantic relationship, more clients, a new job, etc. Be as specific as you’d like.
 
Step 2: Then in the “Do” column, write down all the things you want to do. Examples might be write a book, go dancing, practice yoga more often, work in the line of work you love etc.
 
You’re “Do” and “Have” columns are more your standard “goals.”
 
Step 3: Now in the “Be” column – write down the qualities you would need to embody to reach those goals. Examples could be determination, consistency, compassion, dedication, etc.
 
Try those qualities on. How do you feel when you embody them?
 
Now get another sheet of paper and or flip this one over. Create the same columns.
 
But this time, start with “Be.”
 
Who do you want to Be?
 
When I think of the qualities I am practicing in my life now, they include: Present, Congruent, Conviction, Open and Vulnerable, Trusting, and Grounded.
 
Try those qualities on. Did different qualities come up or do they feel different to you this time? (Note: there is no right or wrong way to feel in this exercise)
 
Now, continuing to embody those qualities, write down what you want to do. Then write down what you want to have.
 
Are the two papers different?
 
Why do you think this is so?
 
What were your aha’s from this exercise? (Feel free to share yours with me)
 
You can continue to practice this exercise even without paper and pen as you go through your daily life. Each day, you have a choice of who you want to be. When you start with Be, what you Do feels more joyful and effortless, and the Have comes naturally.
 
Be You.

 

Love Always,

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Why People-Pleasing Makes Us Sick

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(*This article originally written for and published with Simply Woman Magazine.)

 

Hey, my name is Danielle. And I’m a recovering “Pleaseaholic.”
 
People-pleasing is a term that gets thrown around prolifically in personal growth and transformation work. But what does it really mean? How does it really affect us?
 
A general definition of people-pleasing is this: sacrificing yourself to accommodate others or a societal belief.
 
Sacrifice can sound a bit strong, but it’s accurate. Because over time, people-pleasing can make us very, very sick.
 
For most of my life, I didn’t even know I was exhibiting behaviors of a classic people-pleaser. Things such as:
 

  • Saying “Yes” when I really meant “No” or wasn’t really interested
  • Guilt-tripping myself when I invested in myself, gave myself space, increased my self-care, or just did what I wanted to do
  • Taking jobs for less money or later on discounting my services because I thought that’s all I could get
  • Staying in relationships or friendships that felt disempowering because I was afraid to be alone
  • Worrying about what other people thought
  • Wanting to “save” everyone and fix their problems
  • Overcommitting to too many projects, activities, events, and other people
  • Doing things purely because they “made sense,” “made money,” or “made people think I was cool.” (P.S. That has always backfired on me and done the opposite of what I thought it would)

 
The idea of the illness I was experiencing being connected to this behavior was even further from my concept of the world.
 
But as I grew, learned, experimented, and evolved, I found more and more that sacrificing myself was at the crux of my autoimmune symptoms. When I started working with others around this, they admitted that people-pleasing – or their term for it - tied in directly to their deeper root story of the disease.
 
It seems so innocuous… being “nice” is killing you? But I can guarantee if you are reading this, that when you think of a time when you did something you didn’t want to do, just to please other people or follow someone else’s construct of what was right, didn’t you just want to… punch something? Scream? Bite something with the fake smile you plastered on your face?
 
That’s how I feel when I people-please anyway. Self-sacrifice and people-pleasing make me feel constricted in my body, warped in a way that feels trapped and squished. The longer and more often we put ourselves in this situation, the more our body stays that way.
 
So how do you get out of people-pleasing mode and into full-on healing mode?
 
The first step in any change is always awareness.
 
If you don’t even know that you are running the pattern, you can’t change it. Similarly, if you know you have the pattern but don’t realize when you run it, you can’t change it. Awareness of this behavior is a practice, but one that pays dividends immediately and indefinitely.
 
The second step is to understand what you get by people-pleasing.
 
What do you get when you tell your boss you’ll do that weekend event for no pay, even though it makes you cringe with dread? How do you benefit when you tell your spouse, “It’s OK, you choose the movie,” when you are tired of watching kung-fo joe? What do you get to avoid by not telling your friend that you just can’t listen to her talk about her dead-beat boyfriend anymore?
 
It’s not easy to face how we benefit from our problems, because we realize that we are contributing to creating them. But it’s also the primary way to take ownership of the pattern and reprogram it.
 
The third step is simple: do what you want to do.
 
I said simple, not easy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients, friends, hell even myself, knowingly work themselves up into a tizzy trying to decide what to do, when all we need to do is this: just do what you want to do! What feels freer? What feels juicier? What feels more relaxing or exciting? What brings you more joy? Do THAT. And when you question yourself (because that’s another people-pleaser tendency) just repeat the mantra: “It’s OK for me to do what makes me feel ALIVE.”
 
As long as you are living within your own values, and doing what feels true and good for you, it will also benefit the highest good.
 
The fourth step, if you choose to embark on it, is to pull other pleasers out of the goddamn pleasing-matrix.
 
Hold your friends accountable. If you smell self-sacrifice, obligating, and guilt-tripping – call it out! It can be as simple as, “I could be wrong, but I get the feeling you may not want to do this/listen to this/help with this/hang out with that person, etc.”
 
Practice all this and see how it changes not only how you feel mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. Now your body has so much more energy to do what it needs to do to help you heal. Now you have so much more time for self-exploration so you can find the deeper story of your life. Now you have so much more space for self-care.
 
Sounds selfish? It is.
 
But this kind of self-ish is the most selfless thing you can do.
 
You can’t heal the world if you are falling apart. Healing yourself allows you to show up more authentically, more clear-headedly, and more whole-heartedly. Then, we get all of you, not just the half, or the third, or the tenth of you that isn’t pushed down into the black bag.
 
We are in an age, where now, more than ever, we need more whole-hearted, brave, authentic leaders in our workplaces, schools, homes, and communities. We need more of the kind-hearted, love-to-give folk leading the way, not getting mired in self-sacrifice. We need you to be completely true to you, be unapologetic about what you stand for, and teach us by example. Give up the pleasing. Get well. Heal deeply.
 
Please.

 

Love Always,

Why There's No Such Thing as a Lost Cause

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I’ve always been idealistic, maybe even quite naïve. Sometimes it does cause me pain and suffering. But more often than not, believing that good exists and that more of it is coming has served me in huge ways.
 
There’s a concept called “The Great Eastern Sun.” The essential meaning of it is that there is always opportunity, or goodness.
 
Great = the discovery of our basic goodness
Eastern = realizing our goodness is always there
Sun = the illumination once that discovery has been made
 
What this translates to is that no person or thing is a lost cause.
 
I believe this is vital to remember as we engage with life. Even in seemingly everyday experiences, living by this teaching is powerful. Imagine if we treated each other as that basic goodness. Imagine if you treated yourself like this.
 
If you are going through an illness, making a major life transition, grieving from a loss, or even asking yourself which direction you want to go next, living by the Great Eastern Sun philosophy can help.
 
That’s because the Great Eastern Sun also means a mental conviction and whole-hearted prowess to engage with life with purpose. It’s not just lukewarm inspiration. It’s living your vision.

Your vision is what you believe in so deeply, it is inextricable with who you are. It's what you grab hold of, even when it may feel like your drowning and can't even see the sky.

To live life with this level of bravery, you need to not only know you vision in the intellectual sense, but also feel it in your very being. That vision is what stems from deep inside of you and radiates forth.
 
This is what heals you. The beams of your vision traveling through you to get out to the world heals you in the process.
 
The only time we feel like we are a lost cause is when we’ve lost sight of this vision.
 
I love this excerpt from Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul:
 
Your relationship with God is the same as your relationship with the sun. If you hid from the sun for years and then chose to come out of your darkness, the sun would still be shining as if you had never left. You don’t need to apologize. You just pick you head up and look at the sun. It’s the same way when you decide to turn toward God – you just do it. If, instead, you allow guilt and shame to interfere, that’s just your ego blocking the Divine Force. You can’t offend the Divine One; its very nature is light, love, compassion, protection, and giving. You can’t make it stop loving you. It’s just like the sun. You can’t make the sun stop shining on you; you can only choose not to look at it. The moment you look, you’ll see it’s there.
 
Now go back and read it again, only this time, use the word “vision” in the place of “God.”
 
Your relationship with your Vision is the same as your relationship with the sun. If you hid from the sun for years and then chose to come out of your darkness, the sun would still be shining as if you had never left. You don’t need to apologize. You just pick you head up and look at the sun. It’s the same way when you decide to turn toward your Vision – you just do it. If, instead, you allow guilt and shame to interfere, that’s just your ego blocking the Divine Force. You can’t offend the Divine One (or Your Vision); its very nature is light, love, compassion, protection, and giving. You can’t make it (your Vision) stop loving you. It’s just like the sun. You can’t make the sun stop shining on you; you can only choose not to look at it. The moment you look, you’ll see it’s there.
 
You can also use the words “purpose,” “Calling,” “True Self,” “Source” – really whatever word reverberates with you and feels like Truth.
 
Because when you are living in your Truth, you are standing in the sun. Trust in your basic goodness, and you will always find your way.
 

Love Always,

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Reconnecting with Who You Are

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I was sitting in my favorite local café, Mellow Moods, the other day, just people watching. It just recently changed ownership and there have been quite a few learning curves for everyone involved, as there is with any transition. I was thinking to myself how when we go for what we want in life, it never turns out exactly the way we think it will.
 
I have caught myself in this many times. Just the other night my boyfriend asked me what I was thinking about and I realized I was trying to planning out 2019…
 
There is nothing at all wrong with planning. I love the phrase “Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance”  ;) Yet, I also find myself getting everything laid out so beautifully on paper, only to start engaging with that idea in real life and running into obstacles.
 
It’s important to remind ourselves that there is nothing wrong with us or our idea if it looks or feels a bit (or a lot) messy in the making of it.It’s totally natural. It’s the creative process.
 
My dad was an architect, and funny enough, I learned a lot about architecture when it comes to the human body and our souls. In architecture, there is a concept call “tensegrity.” It means:
 
Tensegrity (n): the characteristic property of a stable three-dimensional structure consisting of members under tension that are contiguous and members under compression that are not.
 
In layman’s terms, that means… everything is connected. When you affect one aspect of something, it also affects everything else.
 
This happens in the human body. If your foot is out of alignment, it affects the rotation of your knee, the alignment of your hip, and has effects all the way up to the top of your head.
 
The same goes for our ideas and dreams. Once you start to engage with them, take action towards them, you are literally creating change, not only in your life, but in the entire system.

Aka, when you create something, it affects the whole world.
 
It’s easy to get discouraged and think, “I’m not doing enough. This isn’t making a difference.” But whenever you put positive energy out into the Universe, it HAS to change something. It can’t not. It’s just the law of physics.
 
So I get it. Sometimes we want to take a lot of time to get that idea perfect, to plan it out to perfection, to make all the lists we need to tic off in order to accomplish it. Taking time for thoughtful and heartfelt preparation is amazing and necessary.
 
Trust yourself. There just comes a point where it is time to go, to lean into the action, to try something new, even something incredibly simple, and see how it reverberates. Not only in the outer world, but also inside of you. It connects you with who you are.
 

Dream with your head in the clouds. Walk with your feet on the earth. And live with your heart in the world.

 
Because you know it in your bones when you’re creating a ripple effect in the way only you can.
 

Love Always,

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Wander into Your Heart

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In April 2017, I got a wild hair up my ass and felt called to hike the Appalachian Trail. In regular Danielle spirit, I decided I wanted to do the whole entire thing in one fell swoop.
 
The entire goddamn 2,000 + miles of it.
 
I had never done such a thing before. But this is how my crazy ideas start sometimes. I remember reading Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wildand thinking to myself, “I’d like to go on an adventure like that someday…”
 
I also blame my boyfriend, Jonathan. It’s been his dream to hike the AT, too. One day, I asked a question of my community:
 
If you could go on any adventure, what would it be?
 
Jonathan told me he’d hike the AT. Although I had heard something like this from him before, for some reason it struck a different cord this time. It felt like it was the time for me to embark on this. So I bought my first backpacking backpack, a tent, and a shit ton of dried food and set my sights on a six-month journey.
 
Jonathan dropped me off at the southern terminus of the trail: Amicoloa Falls State Park on Springer Mountain, GA. It was raining. Profusely.
 
We went inside to register. I wasn’t sure what my trail name would be, so I put a placeholder in it’s stead – Weasel, a nickname my family calls me. Before stepping outside to say our goodbye, the bumper stickers in the gift shop caught my attention.
 
I laughed out loud at one.
 
“Don’t follow me. You won’t make it.”
 
I am not even sure why I found it so funny, but the laugh was real.
 
A few minutes later, I was wiggling my way in to my rain gear – a pair of black “waterproof” pants and a $200 Gortex rain jacket. We kissed goodbye and I felt that familiar stab when you part from the physical presence of someone you deeply love. But I knew it would be OK. We’ve made it through even tougher circumstances.
 
With a big inhale, I started to walk. I did turn once or twice to see Jonathan taking a ton of photos of me. Eventually though, the trail turned and I could no longer see him.
 
The light rain made the woods seem even more enchanted.
 
I’m not exactly certain when that enchantment wore off for me. I knew it would. I knew from reading other’s stories about similar journeys, as well as my own past, that when it’s new, the adventure can feel super exciting.
 
Then the reality of it all hits.
 
I am alone. In the woods. Just walking.
 
Well, not completely alone, because I do have this 40-lb pack on my back. I named her Maven.
 
I soon discovered that although I had done my very best to limit the weight I was carrying, Maven was heavy as hell. I also discovered a slew of other things, such as…

  • You can get blisters in the oddest places
  • When it rains in the forest, it stays wet for a good long while thereafter
  • Chipmunks moving around at night sound a whole lot like bears
  • Mice enjoy climbing over the top of your tent when it’s cold out
  • Rain gear is NOT waterproof
  • One can get tired of tuna fish very quickly 

I found myself cursing the trail – sometimes even yelling at it. Why was this so hard?!
 
It just stared back at me.
 
The trail taught me a lot. It was tough love. But I realized ultimately that the trail was just a reflection of myself. The harder I was on myself, the harder the trail was on me.
 
I needed to stop trying so damn hard.
 
So I cut down my mileage. I made friends. I lightened my load. I stopped in little mountain towns every three days to restock.
 
I learned to ask for help… and then actually let others help me.
 
I turned the tunes on (Florida Georgia Line for all my country music fans out there!) I was still huffing and puffing – these were mountainsafter all. I still vented, cried, screamed, got mad, stomped, and contemplated in my head and aloud with companions why the hell I was doing this.
 
I don’t think I ever knew fully why I was doing it, and maybe I still don’t. But that adventure called to me strongly, so I had to give it a shot.
 
I had to combat thoughts that I was a failure for not hiking as fast as others. For eventually deciding that I would get off the trail in Damascus, VA after 525 miles, instead of reaching Mt. Katadhin. I had to love myself enough to realize that the goal and destination don’t make me any more worthy than I already am.
 
My hiking buddy I met on the trail had a favorite phrase she always said.
 
“Get it together.”
 
That’s what answering our callings does to us. It pulls us into the middle of the woods, blows us apart, and then… with some grace and some grit… it gets us back together again.
 
I lost some stuff along the way – articles of clothing, sanity, ear buds... but I also found another piece of myself. One that realized she was strong enough to go for it...and strong enough to let go of it.
 
Because we never can really “quit.” As long as we are alive, we are always engaged in this adventure.
 
I think about that bumper sticker, “Don’t follow me you won’t make it”that’s plastered to my car among a dozen others. It’s true. We cannot follow one another. We can’t expect to walk down someone else’s path and it feel “right” and “true.” We can only walk our own. We can learn from others, but the last say is always our own – from our True Nature.
 
“True Nature” became my trail name. Because that’s what I was seeking and am still seeking, in my heart and soul.
 
I left the AT on June 25, 2017. But I’m always on my path.

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Freedom To Live

Your Hero’s Journey: Freedom to Live

 

You wake up to a bright, fluorescent light bulb blaring above your head. It’s one you’ve seen, day after day, for years. But today, it’s different.

 

The cheap fan is blowing steadily, rotating slowly from side to side. The slight draft is a respite from the heat. Even the breeze feels different.

 

You throw the sheet off of you, and climb down off the top bunk of the metal bed. The body in the bed below you snores softly, still sleeping.

 

Making yourself a cup of instant coffee, you sit in the hard plastic chair and lean your back against the bars of your cell. Sipping your drink, you contemplate how this is the last day you will be in this cage.

 

Today is the day you leave prison.

 

Oddly enough, you notice a slew of different emotions. Anger at yourself for putting yourself in this position. Fear of the unknown and uncertain future. A bittersweet sadness, because there are those you have met who still be here after you depart. Hurt over what others have done to you. Shame over who you believe you are, and feeling like your life has not yet amounted to what you want it to be.

 

Yet, even as you feel these emotions, you’re aware of them. You are aware that they are stemming from thoughts that are not empowering you. Thoughts that are not true.

 

Closing your eyes, you take a few deep breaths, and bring your attention inside, to what feels really true. The thoughts dissolve.

 

You feel a huge wave of peace wash over you. You see all these emotions, all these stories, and you realize that they are not who you are. That you can indeed let them go, and decide to embark on a new adventure.

 

The anger turns to passion – passion for this gift of your life and for starting anew. The fear turns to excitement – excitement for all the possibility that lies ahead. The sadness turns to compassion – compassion for all those suffering, here and elsewhere. The hurt turns to forgiveness – forgiveness of yourself, others, and the past, and clarity around a new future. Shame turns to strength – the inner strength to realize who you really and truly are.

 

You are powerful.

 

In that moment, you hear your name over the loud-speaker. Setting your cup down, you stand.

 

You walk out of your prison, into the big wide-world of your Destiny.

 

***

 

The Hero’s Mastery of the Two Worlds is True Mastery of the Self. This mastery leads to freedom from the dear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is the final stage of the Hero’s Journey.

 

Freedom to Live is what it means to live in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past. You just ARE. You’re body may still do things, but you do them with not-doing, with an energy that emanates from the core of your being.

 

You are motivated by love, connection, oneness, and joy. Indeed, you recognize this is all there is. Any time a lie comes up, you are able to see it as such and gently release it with love, returning to this freedom that is you.

 

A Hero’s Journey is truly never over, because death is a construct of the mind. It’s a journey of ongoing evolution, where you are always evolving into more of who you are. As one saga of the journey completes, another begins, because there is always more to learn, always more to grow, always more to love.

 

We are always arriving.

 

Love Always,

 

Mastering Two Worlds

Your Hero’s Journey: Master of Two Worlds

 

“Part of me wants to do this, and part of me doesn’t,” she said.

 

“Well, what’s the part of you that does?” I asked.

 

I was working with a client facing an inner conundrum. It’s one we’ve all faced at some point or another in some similar fashion.

 

A part of her wanted to go all out, dedicate herself to the vision she had of helping others heal, and just enjoy the whole process. The other part of her, however, felt this was insensible, irrational, and believed she needed to buckle down and make sure the bills got paid.

 

“The part of me that does, well, she’s free-spirited. She trusts that everything is working out. She just feels loved and gives love.”

 

“And the other part, what about her?”

 

“She wants to make sure shit gets done. Like she doesn’t want to leave people hanging and she wants to make sure I’m taken care of.”

 

Through my own experience and working with others, I’ve come to believe that we have two worlds we live in. One is our Outer World and one is our Inner World.

 

Our ego, our conscious mind, our personality – this is the aspect of us that engages with the Outer World, or the Material World. There is nothing wrong with the material world – it is the very Earth we live in. The mind, by itself, wants to ensure our safety, our survival, and our needs being met.

 

Our soul, our unconscious mind, our higher self – this is the aspect of us that engages with our Inner World, the Spirit World. This world is no less real than our Outer World – it is the very vehicle by which we perceive our life. The soul wants to ensure our growth, our destiny, and our gifts being shared.

 

“What is the conflict between these two aspects of yourself? How is that a problem?”

 

She pauses, but only for a moment. The answer comes to her clearly.

 

“It’s a problem because part of me believes in myself… and another part does not.”

 

“What is her purpose – this part doesn’t believe in you?” I ask.

 

“To make sure I stay safe,” she answers.

 

“For what purpose?” I ask.

 

“So I can survive longer.”

 

“For what purpose?” I ask, not intending to be a parrot, but truly, the parrot’s got the right idea.

 

On we went, and I asked this same question, over and over again, of both parts.

 

I could start to hear the shift in her voice, the change in her energy, and even her physical body relaxing as she connected more deeply with these two seemingly opposing forces inside herself… that were really one and the same.

 

Turns out that both of these parts really wanted the same thing – to Be Love, Source, and to Enjoy the whole process of Life. At the surface, they were going about it in different ways. But just like two people reaching a heartfelt consensus, these two parts realized they were part of the same whole – who she was.

 

Integration really is a simple process, but it’s often the road less traveled. It can feel “easier” to engage with our problems on the surface level, never really digging down to uncover what the deeper issue really is.

 

In the Hero’s Journey, as the Hero Returns Home and achieves full integration, she reckons a balance between the material and spiritual world. Another way of saying this she creates an mending of her Inner and Outer world.

 

When we feel whole, our whole life feels whole. The next step becomes clear. Fear falls away because we are fully present with who we are.

 

We know exactly what to do.

 

At the end of our session, she thanks me profusely. I smile and say, “You were the one who did the work. I just sat here and watched.” Because, really, all I did was ask the question…

 

“For What Purpose?”

 

Love Always,

 

Homeward Bound

Your Hero’s Journey: Crossing the Return Threshold

 

It was a 90 degree day in New Orleans, Louisiana. Which meant it felt like 110 with the humidity. Humidity so thick, you could chew it.

 

We were finishing the last coat of paint on the last room of the three-bedroom shotgun house in the neighborhood of Lakeview. During Hurricane Katrina, flooding from the 17th Street canal floodwall breach inundated the neighborhood, as well as most of the Crescent City. This house, like many others, was a complete rebuild.

 

Just months ago when I visited, the original house was several blocks down the street, up against a bent telephone pole.

 

Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by the storm, and so many lost their homes. In the months and years after Katrina, the community – from all over the country – has come together in rebuilding efforts.

 

I was working with a newly fledged volunteer organization rebuilding houses. I had learned a lot that summer – from hanging drywall, to how to breath through the unbearably hot masks to protect you from mold, to how to make your paint job look even.

 

Of course, I was having lots of fun. I loved the people I worked with. I loved that I could see the progress of my work. I loved working with my hands.

 

But nothing compared to the look on the woman’s face.

 

***

 

Have you ever felt homesick, dear one?

 

I believe we all have.

 

Maybe even for most of our life.

 

Home is much more than an abode to live in. A town to identify with. Even a community you feel an integral part of.

 

We all crave to return to the home that is inside of ourselves.

 

I’ve found for many of us, in order to find that home, to really discover it, it requires getting lost.

 

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy couldn’t wait to skedaddle from her small Kansas town. But even though she yearns to go back as soon as she arrives at Oz, she must go through the Hero’s Journey to discover that the home she seeks has been inside of her all along.

 

This stage of the Hero’s Journey is where the Hero crosses the threshold to return “home” – or to the old world she originally departed from. Her purpose is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, integrate that wisdom into a human life, and share that wisdom with the rest of the world.

 

We are not meant to live in a vacuum or in isolation. We are meant to connect with our gift, to engage with our power, and a natural unfolding will occur so that we can share this with those around us.

 

So that we can bring the healing fully home.

 

***

 

It was a cooler morning a few weeks later. We were just stopping by to grab the last of our supplies – some old paint rollers and paint buckets we had left.

 

As we pulled up, we saw another car in the driveway. An older woman was working her way up the steps. She turned and looked at us, and then beckoned us to come to her. We got out of the car and walked up to greet her.

 

“Have you been inside yet?” my friend and the director of the organization asked.

 

“No I was just about to walk in,” she answered. “I can’t thank you enough for all the work you have done! We are so happy!”

 

But she did thank us. At least me anyways. The look on her face was more than enough.

 

The woman had tears of joy in her eyes as she walked over the threshold of this newly painted house.

 

Finally, she got to go inside. Finally, she got to come home.

 

Love Always,