Trauma Healing, Organic Intelligence HEART training, Upcoming Journey to Tucson, and a Request & Invitation for My Community!
I have come to the conclusion that human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening—a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation. I have little doubt that as individuals, families, communities, and even nations, we have the capacity to learn how to heal and prevent much of the damage done by trauma. In so doing, we will significantly increase our ability to achieve both our individual and collective dreams.
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. ~ Leonard Cohen
As I sit down to write, I notice: I am sitting in a cool, semi-lit room, cross-legged on a soft and sturdy red armchair, feeling the pleasant sensation of all of the parts of my body that are touching the chair. As I gaze around the room, I see a number of little green house plants scattered along the windowsills, and the two cats I’m care-taking, who are napping in distinct, endearing postures, one on the couch on her belly with her front paws stretched forward, the other just outside in a curl of white, black and orange (I can see her sweet face where the cat door is propped open), and the shiny green leaves of the trees beyond the window, gently dancing in occasional breezes. The sun is out. Beyond the leaves, I see blue sky.
Returning my awareness to my body, I feel relaxed, pleasantly satiated from a good lunch, with a slight taste of citrus still on my tongue and behind my teeth. As I gather myself to focus on what I am here to share, I feel an activation in my chest and throat, a something-ready-to-be-shared arising from my somatic awareness, the place where authentic expression can be accessed.
I have been practicing an essential component of Organic Intelligence: orienting to pleasure. In a culture heavily addicted to what O.I. calls the “what’s wrong attention,” the simple practice of orienting again and again to what feels good and well and pleasurable, eventually stabilizes a person in a way that allows the difficulties of life to be approached safely, with ease, grace and resilience. This is especially difficult for those with early developmental trauma, whose internal radar has developed to prioritize noticing danger in the most subtle and nuanced of ways.
Orienting to pleasure is quite different than habitual comfort. It is a resting into what is alive, what is constantly shifting but settled within that shifting. It is, in a word, grounded presence. And thus it is a truly important attunement for anyone seeking wholeness and confidence, trust and empowerment in a cultural heavy with toxic stress.
I place a hand on my heart and feel: tenderness and a kind of pride in myself for the deep, consistent rewiring I have been doing within my own system, for the way in which I have been learning to “be with” parts of me that lacked vital neurological input when I was a tiny human, and for the way I have been learning to place boundaries against the old habits of overriding, denying, shaming, criticizing, depriving, and numbing the subtle voice of my unintegrated parts, which, when listened to beneath a slew of other voices, turns out to be a simple, innocent, often young voice that has simply been waiting to be met with love.
Willingness to listen to myself in this way, along with guiding therapeutic human support (“No one can do it for us, but we can’t do it alone,” we humans are wired to depend on other humans to learn healthy regulation) has led me to a passionate study of nervous system regulation and somatic therapy that was the missing link for me in my healing journey.
Before I found somatic healing, I’d studied energy healing and shamanic soul retrieval and journeywork, I'd worked with some plant medicines, did a vision fast, and took pilgrimages based on dreams and visions, all of which were incredibly powerful but still left me stuck with the question: What do I do with this? This ability to manipulate energy, these visions, this multi-dimensional information: What is it for in the here and now? I longed for a simple, grounded, embodied life.
Somatic healing is building the bridge between where I’ve been and where I’m going, between what’s “out there” and what’s “in here,” between stories and concepts of the multi-dimensional nature and simple, primal, animal knowing. I can’t express how grateful I am to have found this work.
Not only is it amazing medicine for me, but I am discovering that this work is foundational, incredibly valuable, and very needed in the world. What do you know? It’s true what they say about our wounds becoming our medicine.
I love the image of the Japanese tea cups that when cracked, are repaired by being inlaid with gold. It’s a perfect metaphor for this transmutation and resiliency work. The places where there are gaps can be filled in, but not as if erased forever. Rather they are replaced with something unique, something beautiful, something strong. The gold is where we’ve had to stretch ourselves to learn something beyond what we were handed via conditioning. To fill the cracks with gold takes courage, curiosity, creativity, trust, diligence, profound compassion, and receptivity to support. As Leonard Cohen says, “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Trauma is like that. It can be the doorway to brilliance, if we embark on the journey to renegotiate its deep imprints in our being.
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So where is this leading in the development of my work in the world? I am proud to announce that I’ve been accepted to the Organic Intelligence H.E.A.R.T. training (Human Empowerment and Resiliency Training), a program that was born out of the Somatic Experiencing Institute (based on the work of Peter Levine), and which is a newer, more Systems-based approach to that same training, with more developed mapping systems and inclusive of some additional components. This is a leading-edge trauma-resiliency program that bridges mindfulness and neuroscience. O.I. can be applied in one-on-one therapy in tracking with advanced precision an individual’s system, and can also be used to understand and navigate social systems, cultural & environmental issues, and global issues.
This is an approach to healing trauma that is “beyond trauma,” in that it recognizes that a paradigm shift is needed in the way we do trauma work in general, a shift in orientation toward what naturally governs our lives that is beyond our traumatized conditioning, imprints, relational and cultural habits, & even the way we have been doing “trauma healing” up until this point, which has often been heavy, scary, intense, cathartic, or simply ineffective. O.I. is based on an important principle: that healthy agency and action towards improving our world does not come from survival urgency, but rather that when individuals are able to operate from their natural organic state (beyond trauma), we naturally behave in ways that are caring, kind compassionate, and abundant with creative energy to re-wire the larger systems in which we live. Heart-centered.
So….. I’m on the track to becoming a professional Organic Intelligence practitioner! I’m quite excited!
It’s a three year training, which includes two six-day residential retreats each year, online material and a mentorship program. The first module takes place this September in Tucson, Arizona.
Image from Kenyan Ranch, where the training will take place!
This is where YOU (my community) comes in.
First off, yay, we’re doing this healing the world thing together, one baby step at a time, each in our own unique ways. Even though the troubles on our planet are, at times, overwhelming, when I tune into my true nature I feel gratitude to be here in this work and world with all of you.
I’d like to share that I've been offering healing sessions for a little over a year now, and have had a few clients over the course of that year. I can say that it has been quite beautiful and incredible to witness the changes that are possible over a period of time of committing to this work. The ones that stuck around with me long enough allowed me to see not only emotional, relational and energetic changes that stuck (due to healthy regulation work) but also physical symptoms adjust, such as recovering from alcohol addiction, clearing migraines, easing chronic intestinal flare-ups and even clearing eczema (and, in my personal case, the re-balancing of skeletal and muscular structure put out of whack by a car accident that simply amplified imbalances I’d been walking around with for years). The big thing underlying all of this: More ease in the body allowing for the “voices” underlying these conditions to be heard in a safe and supported way, so that clients could inhabit their lives more fully, more authentically, more “themselves.”
I know that this is a direction I want to continue to grow, supporting people in this way. Hence the choice to make the decision to train in this program: I feel I am ready to take my work to the next level. This program will provide me a support network as well as the advanced tools and in-depth training I need to offer this work more regularly, with more capacity to take on more clients and make a bigger impact.
So, to get the ball rolling, I’m going to need some support in covering expenses for this next phase for me.
If you’d like to support me, please consider contributing to my GoFundMe, which will cover the lodging ($900) and travel ($500) expenses for this first upcoming training (I’m going to pay tuition with my own savings).
Every little bit helps!
Here is the link for the GOFUNDME:
Thank you for your support!
If you don't have the means to contribute monetarily, or if you do and want to support me further, you can also assist by spreading the word about my budding practice, by being in touch to schedule with me if you or someone you know may be interested in receiving a session, and/or if you have access to an inexpensive space that might be a good fit for me to use as I take on more clients. (At the moment I’m borrowing space from a couple of friends from time to time for the intermittent sessions that I give).
Here is the link to the web page for my healing practice, if you're curious: https://desertlotus12.weebly.com/somatic-healing-sessions.html
And here is a link to the Organic Intelligence website, for more of an overview of the program, if you're curious about that: https://organicintelligence.org/about-organic-intelligence/
Finally, I hope to set up a newsletter at some point in the next few months, so let me know if you’d like to be included in that mailing list, to receive updates on my journey and shared information about what I am learning in the realm of healing (might throw some poetry in there too! ;-))
Finally, the link for my GOFUNDME one more time!
~Blessings of love and gratitude ~
Hello beautiful community.
First of all, it feels so good to be sitting here writing this from a place that feels both vulnerable and strong, and to be deepening in a practice which has been hard for me for most of my life, as I reach out to ask for support.
As some of you know, I experienced a car accident near the beginning of April and have been recovering these last few weeks. It felt pretty terrible at first, totaling my new car (only half paid for, and with no collision insurance) and dealing with whiplash (for which I’m still currently being treated), but one month later I’m beginning to feel from a deep place within me the gift that this accident has been in my life.
Today I was supported through a deeply transformative session to renegotiate some of the trauma of the accident itself, with the help of my amazing somatic experiencing therapist, Janice. I told her that the accident, even though it came out of “left field” (literally and figuratively! (I had to swerve left around the car in front of me!)), felt, even while it was happening, like the final domino in a long series of dominoes that was waiting to topple, and I knew, somehow, even in that moment, that if I healed through this with creativity, trust, and the right kind of attention, I’d heal a whole lot more beneath the surface than the effects of those few seconds on the road.
Talk about a chance to practice what I preach! My newly budding intuitive somatic healing practice, Desert Lotus Healing, is all about accessing and bolstering deep, innate resilience in the whole being.
I recall a similar moment in the summer of 2013 when I was in the Peruvian jungle in the middle of a plant medicine ceremony, feeling the profound anxiety that was connected to the chronic illness I had then, contracted in Guatemala a couple of years before, and knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt: If I heal from this, if I uproot the fear of this particular thing, lifetimes (or at the very least this lifetime) of the same fear will be uprooted along with it (the domino effect of healing trauma). And it was true.
After the accident last month, I’ve had no choice but to tap even more deeply into my own inner resources, to slow down, to nourish, to ask for help and to say no to things where I was too stretched, all while not losing hope for the things in my life I have been slowly building toward. I went through a few bouts of depression that released with spontaneous tears in moments where I felt the loss of the carefully constructed pieces of life I had been building little by little and with much diligence, fall apart so quickly. After each release, I was left lucid, clear, fresh, and aware yet again that I have absolutely no control over what happens in my life, but that I do have choice about how I respond. And I was shown that even though the house fell down, the builder in me did not. One day crying, the next day laughing, I’m learning what it means to be even more open, even more receptive, even more trusting, even more brave, and even more alive. I feel like I have courage to take more risks, even as I accept the limitations of the conditions I am continually handed. I'm getting a chance to get creative about manifesting my dreams.
I am in the midst of applying for for a four-day intensive with Shakti Rising at the end of this month. I’m excited about it. It’s called Practical Alchemy: An Embodied Wisdom Teacher Training, “a feminine-centered training model of leadership, empowerment and facilitation,” which “weaves personal healing and social change, holding both as essential to true embodiment of any and all teaching material.” Totally up my alley, especially as I’ve already been dipping my toes in the waters of this teaching/facilitation thing. At first I thought, “There’s no way I can do this now. I’m broke!” But after speaking with the lovely Eden (who’s in charge of registration for the program) on the phone last week, and tuning in at soul level to whether this gathering is right for me, I got a strong “Yes” and a knowing that:
A. This training will provide the next level of support and resources that I need to take my work as a healer, leader, and embodied presence in service to the world to the next level, and
B. Taking the risk to apply even though I can’t pay for it on my own is a big part of the life lesson I am learning right now about trust and receptivity
To learn more about the training, check it out here:
And to contribute to my Plumfund campaign, click here:
I will also be attending a leading-edge trauma-resilience training called Organic Intelligence, the newest iteration of Somatic Experiencing, which begins in the Fall. More on that later!
I look forward to sharing more with you all about what I emerge with from these investments I am making that will deepen my knowledge and practice.
~With love, gratitude, and resilience~
RESPONS(E)-ABILITY. The Ability to Respond. Not the obligation nor the chore nor proof that I belong, nor the illusion that I need to do anything in particular to have the right to be alive, but the ABILITY, because I animate a physical body (which is an extension of "Me") which is WIRED to respond, to RESPOND. To be a part of a conversation, in every moment of every day. What am I saying by how I inhabit this incredible opportunity that seems to have a continuance to it within the lovely container of space and time? Knowing there is no right or wrong way to live my life, beyond judgement or shame or comparison, beyond what "everyone else is doing" or "nobody is doing," beyond "doing" in any particular way, HOW AM I RESPONDING to the WAVE of LIFE of which my separate self is a particle? One moment inspiring the wave with my unique voice, the next moment dissolving into the wave and losing that sound as it takes on the hue of the whole, crystallizing, dissolving, crystallizing, dissolving. I listen, I respond. I listen again, I respond again. Until the listening and the responding become almost simultaneous. The future emerges from the present. This is what's happening now, and now, and now. I surrender to the WAVE and yet my RESPONSE to each moment determines the way I surf, I swim, I dance, I glide, I fly, I slither, I sink, I swirl, I stay a moment, I slide, I skate, I figure-8. I bump up against him, then her, then them. I steer my ship toward that one, so we can glide along together for a while, learning tricks about how to ride the waves that only work with two, or three, or five, or twenty. I let go again, I lose myself in cascades that tumble over steep ravines, or in still pools where i stretch so wide i feel i could go on forever. I am powerless in the best of ways, and powerful beyond measure. RESPONSE-ABLE in the way I am made.
A metaphor I like to work with which helps me to be in right relationship with healing is of a Divine Being which divides itself in two different archetypes: the Buddha and the Shaman. The Buddha sits at the metaphorical "top of the mountain," already whole, home and free. The Shaman comes down the mountain like the Holy Shepherd seeking lost sheep, to guide them home with love. The Shaman is the story that is unfolding in space-time, working in partnership with the Buddha who is without story, existing as primordial being beyond space-time. The Shaman is the map, constantly in flux, but always ordered and always tied to its counterpart, the Buddha. So when I talk about healing at its most basic level, I simply mean deepening conscious recognition of the story of life as connected with wholeness, a marriage of the two aspects of existence and of our own being. I do not see one as "better than" the other, but both as integral to the functionality of the multi-verse we inhabit.
When taken together with the Buddha, the role of the Shaman (the part of us that is living a story here on Earth and that is constantly evolving and growing) can be approached without judgement or pressure. There is no "right" or "wrong" to being in a cycle of life that is more about BEING or in one that is more focused on BECOMING. When we talk about healing we tend to focus on BECOMING, that is, the part that is in story, moving, shifting, striving for balance and transmutation of suffering. Remembering that BEING is just as real, ever-present, and available as BECOMING helps take the stress and criticism out of the journey of BECOMING, and fuels it with life force that is constantly available and can be rested into. Knowing we are not actually truly lost despite how lost we might feel, and that our very lostness is itself part of the point, can help us to relax more fully into the challenge of the journey of healing, personally, collectively, planetarily, and cosmically.
Opening to embodied love is like allowing a warm smooth dagger to pierce us in our most hidden places, freeing what has been wedged in the deep recesses of the history of our bodies, emotions, and spirits...Loss of embodied love is like allowing the winds to blow into the raw and unfettered places newly carved by the Beloved's hand...To lean into Embodied Love is to lean into the cycle of death and life fully, to say YES fully to both, to call on the steadfast courage of being unmade and remade, and to offer oneself FULLY to the fire of the initiation that is DUALITY. This is the pain and the pleasure of laying our souls down upon the ground of the body. This is the arrival upon the shore, strong with the muscles of our long swim, and soft with the tenderness of being salted down to our pure core. The memory of Stillness holds us steadfast to the course. The desire to experience, taste, and touch unity in our cells drives us with intensity to break the ground and become a Force of Form. These two~ the Eternal Calm and the Lightning of Passion~ are not at war with one another. They are in DEEP, REVERENTIAL LOVE with each other. They are bowing back and forth to each other in each, and every moment. ~
Unity consciousness cannot occur in any attempt to escape Duality. It is only by surrendering fully to both the agony and the ecstasy of Duality that we can accomplish the initiation that is underway, leaving behind only the BIG FAT ILLUSION that there is anything that does not belong HERE. What fears it does not belong suffers and magnifies suffering in the whole system which rejects it. What knows it belongs does not escape pain or pleasure, but is *free from suffering*, free to exist and co-exist, to be impressed upon and to impress upon, to be created and to create, within this Dual Universe Structure we have committed to inhabiting for as long as it takes to emerge from the Initiation as One Rainbow Village of harmonic diversity, fully on board.
The Eternal Present is not a rejection of the past, nor a denial of the future, but rather a portal to all Time, one in which we can heal our relationship with Time, simply by resting in renewed wonder.
The Eternal Present gains its power from beyond Time, and its simplicity can be enjoyed through the senses, when they are unencumbered by outgrown stories.
The Eternal Present holds each moment in spacious curiosity, creating new pathways of meaning and experience through each fresh encounter with the sensory world.
The Eternal Present is aware that the entire Multi-verse is contained in each particular thing, and that each particular encounter is a unique expression of the Multi-verse conversing with Itself.
What a gift that we can touch, taste, smell, and play within this abundant Rainbow Garden!
Drinking in the world around us, we ask:
What part of God's body is this?
What part of God's body am I....now?
I am writing while parts of me still linger in the land of Bhutan.
I am writing while I still remember the part of me that transcends all temporal places, because it is Home, always, straightforwardly, purely, simply, rawly, Home.
There is a transparency that sees everything and that sees nothing. That is, an eye that does not define what it sees, but that simply sees.
There is a heart that loves everything and loves nothing. That is, a heart that does not define what it loves. Does not judge what it loves.
There is an openness which cannot be destroyed, not because it is shielded, but because it is utterly raw and utterly unshielded. It touches and is touched by all things and melts all things in the furnace of Compassion.
There is an innocence which cannot be shattered, not because it avoids experience, but because it embraces experience utterly, feeling the shock and the pain and the pleasure of it pass through like waves in an ocean of Pure Presence. What shatters are its shields.
There are wings in my heart, there are tears in my eyes, there is a song, a prayer for ALL OF YOU: May you know in your bones that every tiny, awkward, part of you, every fearful, hiding part of you, every jealous, confused, self-sabotaging part of you….is a JEWEL awaiting the eyes of Love to gaze upon it and see its true beauty, and YOU are the alchemist with the eyes to match. Because YOU are created in the image of the Whole, and every moment of Love that you have ever experienced from a mother, a father, a lover, a brother, a sister, an animal, a tree, an ocean, the sound of bells or drums or voices or breath, every moment that has cut through the walls in you so you forgot yourself enough to remember yourself, is simply a mirror, a messenger, telling you: Look, Look at who you truly are. Look, look…at what is possible in the embrace of emptiness:
May all beings be liberated from suffering and the causes of suffering.
Not by rejecting it but by looking through it to the other side of the veil, which, mirror-like, encases the Samsaric world like the tender hands of a prayer uttered beyond time, a prayer whose breath is re-arranging the temporal plane with fierce compassion and incredible patience, for freedom can never be forced, it can only be invited, and the invitation is descending from the high mountains and spreading across all valleys and pouring like sweet water into all crevasses, taking root in Earth’s deep core, and blossoming like a lotus across all space-time, to welcome us, gently, Home.
The spiritual perspective is meant to remind us that we are not victims of our circumstances. However, it is not meant to be an excuse to bypass or avoid our circumstances. Rather, it is meant to infuse us with the infinite power we need to meet our circumstances fully.
When in balance, it gives us the fuel (Yang) we need to metabolize, integrate, and transmute our experiences, combined with the deep patience, self-love and self-compassion which discerns appropriate pace, timing and dose of the transmutive processes for all aspects of our vessel--physical, emotional, mental--such that the healing fire absorbs not through force but through trust and relaxation (Yin). The Yang fire burns through old patterning, while the Yin grounds us in a true and thorough stabilization at a higher functioning level of authenticity, aliveness and well-being.
True Humility is not powerlessness.
True Humility is dissolving into the vast power of Source,
such that one becomes One with that Power.
To the warrior in you: May you know that you are infinite, eternal, powerful, a continuance without boundary, and may you know this especially when your body's suffering and confusion is screaming at you to pay it heed and forget your wholeness. May you feel beyond doubt the memory of that which drives becoming, your true North Star, and hear its voice amid all clamor, chaos and confusion.
To the need in you: May you know that you are safe, held, and loved. Be assured that your message is being listened to, that you will be met not with the reactive knife of resentment but with the clean blade of merciful release. You are afraid you will be neglected as us humans find our wings. Know that the pain you feel as this collective evolves is meant to stretch you and call you forth into the light as a more mature human, but human none-the-less, and may you know that you are needed to grow with us. Hold our hands as we step forth into a greater harmony. Know that we are not ashamed of you, and in that realizing, may you relax and be at ease within the human vessel.
May that within you that does not feel there is room for it in this world, slowly find its way up through the soil and into the light and breath of day.
And may that within you which knows itself whole, healed and free, be the compass that guides your healing.
May your Being guide your Becoming. May the shells of your past selves be shed with ease, smoothness and thoroughness as you swim through portals of evolution at the pace and in doses that best serve the integration of your celestial and terrestrial selves.
You are divine and human, a divine human, and the various bodies of you (physical, emotional, mental, energetic, spiritual...) are upgrading. These are very strong growing pains.
The way forward is through.
Hold the memory of Primordial Being within you as you step into the deepest and darkest of the veils. Willingly, with your rainbow blade of Love.
You have within you the tools for this journey.
You have within you all that you need.
You walk on your own feet but alongside the feet of billions, within and beyond time.
This is the Labyrinth that leads to the Garden.
The Garden is here at our feet.
The way Out is In.
The way Home is Here.
Open your eyes.
See the Rainbow.