Where is my vital edge?

Where is my vital edge?

As human beings, I think we are always walking a line between the creative and destructive. We are both compelled by our wild nature into new forms of living, while also aching for the stability and constancy of belonging. You may have known times when you were just one or the other. Maybe you came all the way untethered and saw what dangers and addictions, what loneliness comes with being rogue. Or somewhere, along the way, perhaps you made an internal vow to be ‘the responsible one’. But responsibility can be just as dangerous as rebellion. It can come on like quicksand, burying you in its requirements, turning your life a platonic hue. What may have started with an edge of penance, now crowds out the very rebellion which kept you feeling alive. Like the wise words of a young man who climbed the ladder only to discover more ladders, “I wish I’d made more mistakes.” And so we must find a way to walk between these things; alternately separating or uniting. Sometimes singing into the great choir of belonging means having a dissenting voice. At other times, the shelter we’ve built must be maintained as a refuge for others, and our creativity. At any given time we...
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Doubt and Deepening your Vow

Doubt and Deepening your Vow

In fairy tales, there is often a character whose sole purpose is to introduce doubt into your mission. Like a strong tide their influence can pull you away from the shores of your truth,  tempting you to renounce your secret vow altogether. These characters are not always unsympathetic – they may even be folks you admire – but when you are subtly attuned to your nature, you’ll notice yourself wilting in their presence, taking on their diminishing view of your abilities. Like eating something that doesn’t agree with you, this will give you a sour feeling in your belly, which sometimes grows into a rejection of life itself. In the worst of times, it may seem to stretch into an ocean of lostness in every direction. When you find yourself in such an untethered place, there is a secret  which can anchor you back into intimacy with your vow: The recognition that you are only susceptible to the invalidation which matches a companion vulnerability in your own standpoint. Now, this isn’t to say that the other is not being an empirical jerk, but that in their jerkness, they’ve brought to light a place within that requires fortification. It is the thing...
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Strike a Holy Grove

Strike a Holy Grove

So many of us feel an agonizing longing to contribute something meaningful to the deficits of our time. But years can disappear in the doing of duties, in the never-reaching of rising expectations, in the always-falling-short of proving of one’s enoughness. The truth is that if we really want to make an eloquent offering of our lives, we have to step out of that ‘call and response’ relationship with the external world and locate our source of guidance within. To hear the rhythm of your indigenous song, to fall in step with the poetry of your unfolding, first there must be a clearing away: a ‘temenos’ of simplicity in which to dwell. Strike a holy grove of silence where you can listen as you long to be heard, see as you long to be seen, recognize where you long to be relevant, needed and necessary in the Family of Things. Sink down into that fissure – not into the nostalgia of Before your Trust was Broken – but right down into the estrangement, and let the grief of your disappointment soften the soil of you so you can be the seed come finally broken...
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Sacrifice: To Make Sacred

Sacrifice: To Make Sacred

Sometimes we must surrender our own will for the greater good to come through. We are called to make ourselves vulnerable for a time, without answers or goals, sacrificing our plans to perceive a more mythic & wholistic calling. The word sacrifice is not, as we’ve been taught, synonymous with suffering, but comes from the root ‘to make sacred.’ If we can take a step outside of time, renouncing our ego’s urgency for progress, we have a chance at being danced, being sung into the greater song of things, being told like a story in its most pivotal pause of the arc.      
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California Dreaming: Synchronicity Symposium

California Dreaming: Synchronicity Symposium

SYNCHRONICITY: Matter & Psyche Symposium Sept. 12-14, 2014 • JOSHUA TREE, CA I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been invited to Joshua Tree as a presenter for the first annual Synchronicity Symposium – an “Embodied Ideas Festival” which, alongside visionary leaders in their field including biologist and author, Rupert Sheldrake, writer on ancient civilisations, Graham Hancock, sound healer and Family Constellation therapist, Jill Purce and many more, we will be exploring the elegant symmetry between Psyche and Matter;  between our inner and outer lives. At this time in history, we seem to be undergoing a collective passage into an era of conscious realization that psyche and matter are inseparable and that, far from being passive observers, we have a participatory relationship with the unfoldment of the world around us.  Now the work ahead is in learning how to move in concert with these rhythms, developing a mastery in weaving between the worlds to come into a greater personal and collective harmony. It’s an honour to be included in this roster of brilliant outcasts who have made a life out of studying consciousness, sound, somatic and Jungian psychology, quantum...
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Loss of Identity: A summoning of the Numinous

Loss of Identity: A summoning of the Numinous

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 will happen now.’ Now this may seem like backwards thinking to the rational mind, but to the soul it makes wonderful sense. These kinds of promotions in social stature set the ego into inflation, believing itself to have finally been recognized as the supreme ruler it was meant to be (!)  The ego’s survival depends upon the belief that it is in control and it doesn’t like to think that it might lose its ascendancy. But in those moments of trembling loss, it is forced to face its smallness. Jung wrote, “… the experience of the Self is always a defeat for the ego.” Indeed, in those initiations by illness, loss or depression, when we are dragged into the underworld to pass through...
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Sacred Restlessness

Sacred Restlessness

It starts as a hairline crack, a seemingly harmless dissonance in the surface of our well-being, but over time the crack gains momentum into a sudden network of irritation and restlessness. Restlessness has a mission and it must run its course. It is the expression of our discomfort with the ways in which we’ve become habituated. It seeks to undermine those places where we might be striving, mimicking, or falling into obligation. At its deepest core, restlessness is a sacred question which asks, ‘Whom does the grail serve?’ Like the mythical grail, we all want to open ourselves to purpose, to create a capacity through which the mystery may gladly express itself. Yet, for even those of us who may follow the call of vocation, the perpetual allure of the external world is powerful and, if left unchecked, can cause a gradual but critical shift in the emphasis of our service – away from the holy, towards growth for growth’s sake. For a long time, I thought the practice of ’emptiness’ went against my philosophy of yesness for life. I believed it was something detached and even cold – which pushed life away instead of embracing it. It...
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Disappointment: An invitation to create

Disappointment: An invitation to create

It’s marvelous to grow bored of a pattern, because it means you’re ready to let go of an old scenario and envision something that’s more in alignment with who you are in present time. Likewise, when you’re feeling disappointed and let down by life – I believe what you’re really being given is an invitation to Create. A good friend once told me that we should never make decisions based on fear of the alternative. That is to say, instead of weighing your future on the scale of security alone, why not choose a future which frightens you a little. Like swinging on a trapeze, there is a terrible-wonderful moment when you have to let go and freefall your way to the next grab. But the more times you find the new bar there to meet you, the stronger your trust in the unknown grows. One of the reality selection practices I love most is writing about a thing as if it’s already happening: describing in great detail the feeling I have being inside my new creation, looking around and saying what I see and why it’s splendid. I may sketch out some drawings too, however best I can focus on the refinement of my feeling of well-being. Depending on how...
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The Secret Heart

The Secret Heart

There is nothing more beautiful than the numinous dream that is given to someone who has wrestled triumphantly with their shadows. These dreams sparkle with tenderness, speaking in a new and unusual tongue, which is also heavy with ancient wisdom. More like encounters with the soul itself these dreams say, Here, I finally belong. And we know instantly that the secret heart only ever wanted to be seen. For all the energy we spend hiding that which we consider unbearable, the moment one lets one’s grief and shame be exposed to the kindness of a good listener, the dreaming changes its course. Only by following these faint flickers of light in the blackness of night, can the inner narrative find its way out of a recurring loop. Astoundingly, the architecture of Belonging spins itself out from the center of the Self in our dreams. How it then calls us forward, step by tentative step, along these gossamer threads, into an increasingly intimate conversation. How we then, one day, suddenly find ourselves anchored in a meaningful life.
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Making Anger your Ally

Making Anger your Ally

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 anger – your relationship with one of your greatest allies: Instinct. Anger arises when your heart has been offended, your values have been wronged, your beloveds are threatened, or somewhere, justice has been denied. Anger is the catalyst to the impotence you may feel in these situations. It sets your heart racing, elevates your blood pressure and quickens your breath. Adrenaline surges through your veins and poises you for action. This profound physical transformation can make you feel out of control, but that may mostly be because the incisiveness of power has become a stranger to us. When we suppress our anger, it often results in one of two ways: It turns inward and takes the form of Depression and/or...
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A Prayer by Nina Simons

A Prayer by Nina Simons

May we rediscover the power of circles, of sitting in council to listen and learn; the power of trusting the wisdom that emerges from the voices that are quietest, least valued or that we least expect to learn from. May we recall the power of listening patiently for the intelligence of the whole to emerge, without rushing toward conclusions. May we risk that first step of standing on behalf of what we most love and value— knowing that the first step is the hardest, and trusting that once we take it we will be met tenfold. May we practice growing ourselves, cultivating our capacities to connect and curbing our habituated tendencies toward comparison, hierarchy and isolation. May we be willing to feel the depths of our despair so that we may dream ourselves into the possibility of soaring together. May we be informed by our wounds but not defined by them. May we remember the power of empathy and practice seeing the world through others’ eyes. In this great interdependent web may we remind ourselves that whatever befalls others happens to us. May art remind us that it can reveal and awaken new possibilities as we look to our artists to reveal pathways forward. May we recall,...
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The Sacred Descent

The Sacred Descent

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 again, is giving those forgotten things a Hello. To acknowledge and honour their existence. To meet them with the tenderness which they have for so long been deprived. 2013 © Toko-pa Turner      
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Leaving Your Shoes Behind

Leaving Your Shoes Behind

In preparation for his most recent (7th) book of poetry ‘Pilgrim,’ David Whyte collected stories from everyone he knew who had walked the great Camino de Santiago, a 791 km pilgrimage from the foothills of the Pyrenees in France to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. He writes about life through the eyes of a pilgrim – a person who has, intentionally or not, found themselves in a place of meaningful transition. This being on the road between things may take many forms – illness, heartbreak, loss, depression – but what they all have in common is that you are no longer who you used to be, but not yet still who you will become. Whyte maps the subtleties of this landscape, which you may pass through quickly or ache to turn back from. Sometimes the nature of your destination changes, sometimes the weather keeps you staying put. You live by the hospitality of strangers, and sometimes you go without. But throughout the journey, you are accorded a special freedom from your identity: the freedom that only comes with having a temporary name – pilgrim. At the very end of the Camino is a dramatic peninsula overlooking the vast Atlantic, called...
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Shouldering Together

Shouldering Together

By coming together in sacred ritual with our community, we are restoring our relationship to the Earth, our Mother. As we re-establish our Belonging in one another’s hearts, we are quelling the “never-enoughness” that drives so many of us to accumulate, achieve and produce beyond our (and Her) means. When we share our stories and dreams, we are accepting help in the shouldering of responsibility and despair. By extension, our windfalls and triumphs belong to us all. In witnessing each other, we are cross-pollinating our wisdoms and broadening our storylines, moving the locus of our attention from competition to collaboration. No longer governed by personal lack, we begin to make decisions as an ecosystem would, from the appreciation of our indivisibility.
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Soul Retrieval: A Service to the Whole

Soul Retrieval: A Service to the Whole

The unconscious is not some repository for psychic junk, but has an unfathomable intelligence which inclines it to growth, not for growth’s sake, but for the long view of harmony and wholeness. The parts of us that are lost, ignored or rejected are felt as missing to the unconscious, so it works urgently to retrieve them by producing dreams. Remembering our dreams, and responding to them accordingly with our life choices, is a process Carl Jung called Individuation – or what the shamans before him saw as ‘soul retrieval.’ In many shamanic traditions when a person undergoes initiation, they are struck with a life-threatening illness or violently dismembered in a vision state – but the Call of the Journey is the same. One must set about re-membering what has been lost and, making radical changes to the way one lives, then come back together in a new way. This takes enormous bravery because you are up against not only your own fears and limitations, but our cultural ‘groupmind’ as well. But as you undertake this slow and often treacherous work, that same awareness can fuel you forward. Like trees who share the same root system, we are but individual...
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Learning the Dreaming

Learning the Dreaming

“I do not teach the dreaming. The mountain teaches the dreaming. Uluru. … One thing you must know. You come as a child and learn how to crawl before you walk. I know today you have your education but I don’t want you like that. I want you to come the way I want you to come. As a little child. So, if you’ve got an education, you’ve missed two or three steps. Listen what I say. How do you touch a tree and feel the love of that tree ? Sometimes, you have to blindfold people and let them find their way around the rocks to learn. The rocks there are like natural churches, altars, so we don’t need no artificial churches, you see. Just stand by the rock circles on the mountain and speak to the Great Spirit. You will feel a vibration; you will hear Darama, the Creator. Your words must come from the heart or it’s just blah blah blah. This you must learn before Dreaming.” – Aboriginal elder, Guboo Ted Thomas via Antero Alli (Read the rest of this wonderful interview...
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James Hillman on the Daimon

James Hillman on the Daimon

“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 and can pull you into its shell, but it cannot abide innocence. It can make the body ill. It is out of step with time, finding all sorts of faults, gaps, and knots in the flow of life – and it prefers them. It has affinities with myth, since it is itself a mythical being and thinks in mythical patterns. It has much to do with feelings of uniqueness, of grandeur and with the restlessness of the heart, its impatience, its dissatisfaction, its yearning. It needs its share of beauty. It wants to be seen, witnessed, accorded recognition, particularly by the person who is its caretaker. Metaphoric images are its first unlearned language, which provides the poetic basis of mind, making possible communication between all people and all...
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Under our Surface

Under our Surface

Oh to meet, however briefly, the greatness that lives under our surface. To summon enough bravery to be without armour and strategy, for the chance at meeting that irreducible power. Oh to make of our terrified hearts a prayer of surrender to the God of Love; that we remain safe in our quivering ache to be near that Otherness, even for a moment. To touch that ancient life who will never relinquish its wilderness, who lets instinct make its choices, whose knowing lives in bones and whose song is a wayfinder.  ...
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