May 172014

This being human is tough stuff and one of the acute losses we all feel is that of meaningful friendship and community. That which our great, great ancestors took for certain: when a wounding befalls one of us, we are all implicated. And so we lean in to support those in pain with our humble gifts of empathy and presence. We shoulder our unbearable questions together and we honour with ritual the devastating requirements and [read more…]

May 122014

There’s a famous story that Robert Bly tells about Carl Jung who, whenever a friend reported enthusiastically, ‘I have just been promoted!’ Jung would say, ‘I’m very sorry to hear that; but if we all stick together, I think we will get through it.’ On the other hand, if a friend arrived depressed and ashamed, saying, ‘I’ve just been fired,’ Jung would say, ‘Let’s open a bottle of wine; this is wonderful news; something good [read more…]

Mar 142014

Our cultural emphasis on the triumphant part of the story, where one powers through adversity to rise heroically in short course does us all a great disservice. It misses the long and painful part of the story where we’re being cooked by the flames – and while the things we love are being burned down to ashes, we are all the way left behind by the world. In the old way, you’d be expected to [read more…]

Jan 262014

Anger is one of those emotions that’s been long-stricken from the social palette of acceptability. Especially for women, who are taught that being angry makes you unlikeable, and being unlikeable is a kind of rejection from Femininity itself. So many set about a lifetime of unspoken penance to becoming ‘a nice person.’ You turn down your volume, soften your step, retract your talons and acquiesce. But a terrible thing is lost in the suppression of [read more…]

Dec 282013

It may seem counter-intuitive when you’re feeling stuck to go further down into your stuckness, but there is a huge difference between letting your darkness suck you under, and willingly making the sacred descent. Going within is the only way out. There in the underworld of grief, loss and suffering, down in the muck of the very stuff our culture teaches us to reject, lives our redemption. Sometimes all it takes to get life moving [read more…]

Dec 152013

“Pain is the doorway to the here and now. Physical or emotional pain is the ultimate form of ground, saying, to each of us, in effect, there is no other place than this place, no other body than this body, no other limb or joint or pang or sharpness but this searing presence. Pain asks us to heal by focusing on the very center of the actual torment and the very way the pain is [read more…]

Nov 082013

“Each life is formed by its unique image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny. As the force of fate, this image acts as a personal daimon, an accompanying guide who remembers your calling. The daimon motivates. It protects. It invents and persists with stubborn fidelity. It resists compromising reasonableness and often forces deviance and oddity upon its keeper, especially when neglected or opposed. It offers comfort [read more…]

Oct 032013

We must give the story of our misfortunes a home. This always seeking to start anew, to cover our eyes and elude some pain, eventually only makes refugees of our wounds. They follow at our heels and seep into the background life of every Love. They become the distant, tenacious ache which howls with a silent mantra of unBelonging. We must remember and be willing to say their name. We must house our displacements, gather [read more…]

Jul 132013

Developing your feeling takes time, especially if it has been systematically discouraged in you. There may be an initial layer of numbness or anger you have to move through and, beyond that, a backlog of grief. But as you make the seemingly bottomless descent, it helps to remember that grief is the downpour your soul has been thirsting for. Like rain, the more excellently and prodigiously you grieve, the more growth and fertility you can [read more…]

May 282013

One of the most powerful dreams I was ever given was a visitation from my maternal Grandfather who came to me as an adult, twenty years after he died. Like many ancestral dreams, it was singularly vivid and more lucid than everyday dreams. I looked into the bright clarity of his eyes, felt the warmth and weight of his hand on my shoulder, and recognized the melody of his thick accent even though I was [read more…]