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Solstice Tele-Meditation: Dawn of the Phoenix

December 5, 2014

PhoenixWinter Solstice is my favorite time of year, a special and powerful time, honored in most spiritual traditions as we welcome the return of the light. This particular Solstice is magnified by a new moon, which always carries the energy of a new cycle, and fresh start. To celebrate and link to this beautiful, transformative energy, I invite you to join me in a special Solstice tele-meditation, timed for the exact time of the Solstice, from 2:30 – 3:30 PST (to look up what time this is in your time zone, check here.)

This meditation will be offered on a donation basis, with a recommended donation of $10, but any amount is appreciated (and if you cannot give this year, simply vow to give back in another way at another time – not to me, but to the light.) I will donate 50% of the proceeds to The Breathe Network, which has done so much great work this year setting up their new teleseminar series. You can register here.

Last year, I used the metaphor of a caterpillar cocooning and emerging as a butterfly to connect with the transformative energy of this time. This year, the symbol of the Phoenix is calling to me – symbol of renewal, resurrection, the Sun, or enlightenment, depending on which spiritual tradition you consult. As I’m sure you know, the mythology of the Phoenix is of a great sacred bird that cyclically burns to ash and then is reborn. The Phoenix’s fire is one of purification and release, laying the foundation for new life.

To prepare to burn in your own fire, I recommend contemplating the following questions (and some of these will be used in the meditation, so if you are planning to do that, you may want to journal your answers and keep them handy.):

  • What experiences from the past year am I particularly thankful for? What energies and lessons did they bring into my life?
  • What challenged me the most this year? What parts of myself did this bring to the surface?
  • What am I ready to let go of? What situations, emotional patterns, or energies no longer serve me?
  • What gifts did I discover in myself? What strengths came to light?

When the Phoenix is reborn, it is immortal and invincible, until the time for the next phase of its burning arrives. On the ‘other side’ of a Solstice transit (and in this case the new moon), we reach our being forward to connect with the new vibration, the new self, we wish to embody. To begin connecting yourself to this new you, contemplate the following (and again, for those doing the tele-meditation, you may want to have this with you):

  • What gifts and strengths do I want to magnify in myself? What do I want to feel more?
  • What does abundance mean to me? What am I already overflowing with, and what do I want to attract?
  • What do I know to be true? What do I value? What is the foundation for my life and path?
  • Where would I like more ease in my life? What would I like to flow?

If you are doing this as part of preparation for energy work (including the Solstice telemeditation) the important thing is to feel your answers – feel the states you desire to release or cultivate. Feel them in your body, and as vibration.

I hope you will join me on the 21st. But in any case, I wish you a beautiful and light-filled December, and check back on the 22nd for my annual end of year ‘thank you’ book giveaway – I found some great books this year that I am excited to share with you. Namaste-

Register for December 21st Solstice Meditation

The Energetics of Midlife – Burning in the Fire

November 4, 2014


I have received many questions about mid-life kundalini transits recently, and so felt that was a sign I should reblog this post. Also please note that the final edition of Meditate Like a Girl published this week, and includes the last of my posts in the 12-chakra meditation series I had been doing there – ‘YOU as a Chakra’, with a free guided meditation. You can get to that by clicking on the link in the sidebar after reading this post. Namaste-

Originally posted on Mommy Mystic:

Alex Grey’s Holy Fire,

“In each moment the fire rages, it will burn away a hundred veils.

And carry you a thousand steps toward your goal.” -Rumi

There’s one word for summing up the energetics of midlife, at least within the spiritual traditions that discuss it – FIRE. As in holy fire, sacred fire, kundalini, transformative light, and the burning away of obstacles and any debris. Also hot flashes of course, which I have yet to experience, but are all part of the energetic fun.

From an energetic perspective, midlife shifts occur throughout our forties. Biologically, perimenopuase for women is the 8-10 years prior to menopause, and the current average age for menopause is 51. Throughout most of our 40s then, our body (and energy body!) are experiencing shifts in preparation for menopause, regardless of whether we experience any physical symptoms. Our hormones are shifting, and usually we experience…

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Planet Earth’s Chakras

October 15, 2014


I’ve decided to occasionally rerun some older posts, and this one has long been one of the most popular posts here. As I head out for some time in nature myself, it felt like a wonderful time to revisit this. I hope you agree, and feel free to share your own thoughts on the earth’s energy hotposts…

Originally posted on Mommy Mystic:

I wanted to connect with something fun this week, so decided to connect two of my favorite themes – chakras and nature – and do a post on the earth’s chakras, and specifically, potential locations.

For those that resist the idea of chakras, in the human body or the earth, think of it this way: Chakras are simply energy vortexes or intersection points, which we know exist in some form in virtually every structural and energetic system. Think joints in the skeletel system, or glands in the endocrine/hormonal system. Chakras are the energetic version of these intersections, and each one conducts a different type of energy. Electromagnetic research is starting to be able to detect these intersections – in both humans and the planet.

Another model I like for thinking about chakras is as a doorway for awareness. Whether you are meditating on your own chakras, or traveling…

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It’s About Freedom…

September 25, 2014

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead of two opposing sets of ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we just are, we can all be freer…It’s about freedom. – Emma Watson, speech at the U.N. introducing the HeForShe campaign

I loved Emma Watson’s speech to the U.N. on gender equality (you can watch the entire thing here or read the transcript here.) Of course she was mostly focused on gender equality within a social and cultural context, but I wanted to springboard off of what she said in relation to energetics and spirituality – because that’s what this blog is about!

Over the years I have sometimes received emails, or had comments posted here, from individuals disgruntled that I focus on women’s spirituality and women’s energetics. The general jist of these is that it’s divisive to discuss women’s spirituality or energy healing as separate from men’s. Healing, spirit, and awakening are about wholeness beyond gender, and by focusing on gender I am reinforcing energies that separate people from each other and enlightenment, rather than dissolving them.

I couldn’t agree more that healing, spirit, and awakening are about wholeness. And for me, healing the feminine within women is about enabling the healing of the feminine in everyone, and the planet itself. It’s also about healing the masculine within us too! It is ultimately about enabling each of us to tap into the full spectrum of energies available to us as human beings, regardless of whether these energies have come to be labelled ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’, ‘yang’ or ‘yin.’ Cultural conditioning – and the energetic structures that perpetuate it – have cut both men and women off from owning their whole selves. Dissolving that conditioning and those structures is liberating. As Emma put it, it’s about freedom.

The current energetic imbalance – as it comes through individuals, cultures, and the world – is at the heart of so much of the suffering we see around us. And I don’t believe this imbalance is hardwired into our bodies, or our energy bodies. Yes, men have more testosterone and women have more estrogen, and each of those hormones (and all the other related physical attributes) are linked to different emotional expressions, as well as many other qualities. But we are not simply our bodies, our bodies are our vehicle – our vehicle for human life. Who or what is driving the vehicle? Call it spirit, call it god or goddess, call it awareness, call it the universe – call it whatever you like, but it is all-encompassing. It is not limited by gender – we have done the limiting.

That may sound funny coming from someone who focuses on the energy body differences between men and women. But acknowledging difference doesn’t have to mean we are defined by that difference. ‘Equal’ does not have to mean ‘the same.’ We can say men and women have equal rights to feeling sensitive or strong, assertive or receptive, protective or nurturing without saying that they are exactly the same in the way they experience and manifest these. ‘Masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are just ways of talking about these energies – maybe some day they will have no ties to gender at all, and we will all be full expressions of whatever we want.

For me, studying the differences between women’s and men’s energy bodies is akin to studying gynecology vs. urology – it is just technical. There are different ways we need to care for ourselves, and different phases and patterns we should be aware of, and ideally, relish. It’s not about division, and it’s not about hierarchy. To the extent that we experience our spiritual journey through our bodies and energy bodies, we can talk in terms of women’s spirituality and men’s spirituality. But that has nothing to do with limiting potential.

And to the extent that we are all one continuous energy spectrum, sharing in one collective human awareness, every woman (or man) who pulls forth more ‘feminine’ energy within herself/himself is contributing to a rebalancing that is long overdue. We have all been channeling the imbalance between masculine/yang, feminine/yin energies for far too long. It isn’t simply about men being in power, and I’m not one that believes that if women were in power there would ‘be no war.’ Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much evidence that that is true. It’s not simply the gender of those in power that needs to change, it is the mindset, and the energetic structures fueling that mindset.

This is the work we are all engaged in together right now. Here I focus on women, but it’s as much about men as women. Most of all it’s about heart – about opening and expanding. And yes, it’s about freedom!

Namaste. I always love to hear your thoughts~

Working Through Anger as Self-Protection

August 26, 2014

Boxed InWhen we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.
– Madeleine L’Engle

We live in an angry world, and there’s plenty to be angry about. Anger is the ultimate pushing away – when we feel angry we have divided the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’ or ‘me’ and ‘you’. There’s no common ground when we’re acting from anger, no acknowledgement of interdependence, or of a shared world. Anger is the root of violence, towards ourselves and others. We can look around the world, and perhaps even in our own lives, and easily see the paths of destruction anger has wrought.

Of course, there’s a time and a place for setting boundaries, and for standing up for ourselves or others, and sometimes anger is a necessary part of that. But for many of us, anger is a habit, an emotional pattern, that creates isolating barriers in our lives. Anger is a way of not feeling vulnerable, or of avoiding some other feeling that we are uncomfortable with, often fear or hopelessness. It is easier to lash out than to sit with these feelings. But our anger creates walls, and we end up feeling alone and unsupported, even when we are surrounded by people.

I’ve had to work with anger a lot in my own path, and I work with a lot of women for whom anger – and its subtler expressions, defensiveness, judgment and self-judgment – are an issue. Many childhood abuse survivors develop patterns of anger as a form of self-protection, but find in adulthood that it’s so ingrained they can’t allow anyone in. They may have worked through a lot of the more overt wounds from their abuse in therapy or through healing modalities, but find they are still left with the habit of pushing people away, or of being easily triggered into anger (whether this anger is expressed outwardly or turned inward.)

On the upside, I’ve come to feel anger in abuse survivors is a good sign. Anger is at least a strong emotion, a strong energy, and it can be transmuted into great strength when it’s worked through. Patterns of passivity, depression, or addiction – all terribly over-represented among abuse survivors – are often much harder to come back from. Anger is at least based on a strong sense of self-protection, which predisposes there IS some sense of self to begin with.

In the two modalities I work with, it is very interesting to contemplate how anger is usually represented in each. From a chakra perspective, the third chakra (navel or solar plexus, depending on the tradition) – our center of personal power, will, and boundaries – is often very strong, but the energy is rigid, and forms a protective barrier around the sacral/second and/or heart/fourth chakras on either side of it. Instead of a natural flow between these chakras, energy is pooled in the third chakra, and forms a gate or wall around the sacral and heart. There is little sense of support from a strong root /first chakra, and so the wall is easily triggered – anything that is emotionally uncomfortable causes a clamping down, and a pushing outward. Sometimes this remains internal, and is expressed as judgmental or angry discursive thought, or sometimes it becomes aggressive speech or action.

The third chakra plays a central role in our ability to establish strong boundaries, but ideally our ability to do so is supported by our entire energy being. Boundaries are essential, but part of the irony of this kind of third chakra hyper-strength is that we put so much attention into building emotional walls that we have no energy or attention left for energetic boundaries, and we suck in everything around us – including other people’s anger and anxiety – which only compounds our edginess.

It’s also interesting to look at anger through the lens of the the other main modality I use (with myself and others), Feeding Your Demons. There is a moment in this process in which we become our ‘demon’ of anger, and look back at ourselves through the demon’s eyes. So often the anger demon sees us as naïve, weak, or gullible – as needing protection. That’s why we fear letting go of our anger, even when we know it is causing problems in our life – what will happen to us without our armor? But often what our anger demon really needs, when it’s allowed to express itself through this process, is to relax. Self-protection is exhausting.The part of us from which our anger springs just wants to feel safe enough to relax, without constantly being on guard.

Some inquiry work you can do if you are working with anger in yourself is to ask yourself the following questions whenever you are feeling angry, or afterwards, when contemplating the triggering situation:

  •  Am I/was I in pain? Just as a small child’s first instinct is often to hit back whenever he is hit by another child, so too we often lash out when in energetic or emotional pain. The key is recognizing when we are in pain, and becoming comfortable with the pain itself, instead of jumping to the ‘next step’ of an angry, defensive, or irritable response. Practice recognizing when your feelings are hurt, or when you are overwhelmed by abrasive energy. For example, being in a crowd is often a triggering situation for me, because of the overwhelming influx of energy , which my energy body experiences as painful.
  •  What am I/was I responding to as threatening or dangerous in the situation? Sometimes anger is an expression of the ‘fight’ response, in terms of the ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ survival instinct. See if you can identify what is making you feel unsafe. Is criticism at work triggering fear for your livelihood? Does the person you are angry with remind you of someone abusive from your past? Our feelings don’t need to make sense, so just inquire openly.
  •  What are/were the layers of emotions present? Try to drop down into the protected emotion. What emotion are you uncomfortable feeling, and using anger to cover up? Can you just sit in this emotion instead and let it be, without any need to move away from it through anger?
  •  Focus on reminding yourself that you are safe (assuming you objectively are.) Take some deep belly breaths, and focus on relaxing in your navel/solar plexus chakra. Focus on the ground beneath you, and visualize a column of vital red light flowing upward through your feet and into your whole body. This light is protecting and fueling you, so that you do not need to work so hard to do so yourself.

Longer term, the key to working with your anger is to focus on what you are protecting – that part of you that feels unsafe and vulnerable. Help this part of you gradually feel more comfortable with uncertainty and painful emotions. Send this part of you love and healing – visualize it as a vulnerable little girl or boy if you like, and send her or him heart energy. Don’t attack your anger through self-judgment (a common tendency in spiritual circles, where anger is often considered persona non grata.) Your anger is just a protective habit – it’s well-intentioned in its own way, and you don’t need to go to war with it. As you allow yourself to feel more supported in your life, and as you become more comfortable with feeling vulnerable (or anxious, or sad, or whatever emotion you have been uncomfortable facing), your need to jump to anger as a defense will gradually subside.

Of course none of this is a substitute for therapy or other healing work, and you need to gauge what you can work with on your own, and when you need help. Accepting help of any type is often another key component of starting to drop self-protective barriers. Often these barriers are also expressed in terms of hyper self-sufficiency, and we fear dependence on others so much that we will not allow ourselves to accept help. In many ways, recognizing our interdependence is the opposite of anger, and accepting help is a wonderful way to begin moving towards this insight.

Peace! As always, I welcome your own insights and sharings in the comments. Please also note that I am offering my Energy Work for Sexual Abuse and Trauma 4-week teleseminar again starting September 21. Prior participants may take the course again for half-price to reinforce the work (and it is always slightly different each time.) Please share with anyone who might be interested.

Solstice Contemplations – Maps for the Spiritual Journey

June 20, 2014

“Your spiritual path isn’t always just something you find, you started it the moment you took your first breath…” - Martin R. Lemieux

Solstices are powerful times for spiritual practice and reflection. Their energy peaks provide doorways, an opportunity to stop and shift into new levels of awareness. Their cyclical nature reminds us of the passage of time, offering us a chance to take stock, gain perspective, reset, and reprioritize. Often it’s best to just travel our path without analyzing it too much – we are on it all of the time anyway – but I think Solstices are a great time to contemplate where we are in our journey.

Mystics across the traditions have come up with many different ways of depicting the spiritual journey, and many different metaphors for representing its phases. For this Solstice, I offer up some of these symbols, in the hopes that it may help you pull back, take the ‘big view’, and think about where you are at, and where you are going.


Jacob’s Dream by William Blake – Jacob’s ladder is the staircase to heaven that Jacob sees in a dream, as described in Genesis.

Ascending is one of the most common representations of the spiritual path. Ascending from earth to heaven, matter to spirit, ego to soul, separation to unity. In the book of Genesis, Jacob has a dream of a staircase to heaven upon which angels travel up and down. This dream has been interpreted many different ways by different traditions, and is an important part of Kabbalah’s teachings on the Tree of Life. When you look back over the last year (or more), do you have a sense of both ascension and descension at points along your way?

On depiction of the kundalini rising through the nadis, opening the chakras.

One depiction of the kundalini rising through the nadis, opening the chakras.

Jacob’s ladder is often seen by Eastern mystics as a metaphor for the kundalini rising. Once we initiate our conscious spiritual journey, the kundalini rises through the nadis – or spiritual channels – into our chakras in cycles, releasing blocks and activating lessons at each level. Each chakra represents a different type of subtle body energy, a different part of our psyche, and a different aspect of the awakening process. Sometimes we can feel as if we are working on the same lesson or energy for months or even years at a time, stuck in one chakra, and yet concurrent to this, on another level, we are shifting energy through them all. What chakra(s) do you think you have been moving through this year? What shifts have you experienced?

Cover for indie release Interior Castle in C major by John Chaffee, an album inspired by Teresa of Avila's book of the same name (clickthrough to sample)

Cover for indie release Interior Castle in C major by John Chaffee, an album inspired by Teresa of Avila’s book of the same name (clickthrough to sample)

Teresa of Avila had her own dream about the spiritual process, envisioning the soul “like a castle made entirely out of a diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in heaven there are many dwelling places” (Interior Castle 1.1.1). She described the spiritual journey as the soul’s movement through a series of 7 rooms, beginning in the first room with prayer. Through gradually more esoteric practices and service, the soul moves through each of the other rooms, until full union with God is reached. A key part of Teresa’s model of ascension is that it is fueled by grace and thus not entirely within our control – although we can devote ourselves to practice, there is a mystery to the process and the call that can’t be fully understood. Perhaps you have felt yourself touched by this grace this year?

Ascension has the quality of being pulled to the light

Ascension has the quality of being pulled to the light

The spiritual journey as a process of ascending has bloomed fully into the modern New Age concept of Ascension – a mass movement of souls through the spiritual process at a fast pace. There are varying ideas on the number of people affected by this, and how it can be triggered and processed, but the main feeling is one of being pulled into the light, towards a new level of being, not entirely beyond one’s control, but also not entirely within it (and thus somewhat similar to Teresa’s feeling of grace.) Many believe this process is quickening at this time in history. Have you felt this quickening?

Titian's painting of Sisyphus pushing a boulder uphill

Titian’s painting of Sisyphus pushing his boulder uphill

Of course sometimes our journey feels less like ascension and more like Sisyphus’s efforts to push a boulder uphill – each time he neared the top, the boulder rolled back down again. We may feel like we have been trying so hard, and nothing has gone our way, or that one challenge after another has arisen in our life. Or perhaps we just feel stagnant or stuck. Have you felt this way this year? What is the key to moving through these dark nights?

Longmen grottos, also called Dragon's Gate grottos, in Henan province China. Photo by Robert Jacobson

Longmen grottos, also called Dragon’s Gate grottos – retreat caves in Henan province China. Photo by Robert Jacobson

Often retreat is key, in whatever way we can. In true retreat – whether for a day or years – we are liberated from the weight of our usual responsibilities and, more importantly, our self-perceptions, and thus are able to see in a new way. Sometimes we can only access the insight, and gather the personal power, needed to make a shift after a period of retreat. Is this what you are in need of now?


Doorway to Light – Breakthrough

Then we have those wonderful periods of breakthrough. After a period of struggle, after a bout of confusion or despair, something happens to part the clouds, and we see the light once again. Have you experienced breakthrough? Do you feel on the verge?



Or perhaps you feel you are at a crossroads. You can see clearly the paths before you, but are not yet sure which way to go. There’s no better expression of this than Robert Frost’s The Road Less Taken – here’s the final stanza:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Personally I think there has never been a better representation of a spiritual crossroads than the one portrayed in The Matrix, in the famous ‘Red Pill, Blue Pill’ scene. It’s definitely worth another watch if you haven’t seen it in awhile. Is there a part of you hankering to go back to a simpler, less aware state? Are you worn out from the suffering of the world that you see, or the complexity of your insights, and wish you could simply be blind once again? We all feel that way sometimes. Becoming aware of this wish is the first step to moving through it.

Emerging from Cocoon

Emerging from Cocoon

Another great metaphor for some phases of our path, and one I used at the last Winter Solstice, is that of a butterfly emerging from its chrysallis. Transformation is a struggle, it often takes time and patience. Are you preparing to cocoon? Ready to emerge? Somewhere in between?


Spiral Transit by Remedios Varos

In contrast to the linear representations of ascension, we also have the spiral model of spirituality. Sometimes this is considered the feminine path, although I don’t really think it has anything to do with gender. In truth, the ascending model is not so linear, as we move up and down all of the time. What the spiral metaphor captures so well though is the sense that we return over and over to the same place, but it is never exactly the same. We circle the same themes, the same experiences in our life, over and over, but each time is different, because we are different. Have you returned somewhere this year?



Related to the spiral is the labyrinth. With a labyrinth though, there is a definite center, and we move in and out of this center through the same physical path, though it can feel dramatically different each way. The challenge is taking each step knowing we are moving towards the center without being so fixated on that destination that we miss the step we are on. Are you enjoying the journey, are you present for it, or are you trapped in the future, anticipating the center yet to come?

Sunrise at Stone Henge

Sunrise at Stone Henge – Thousands gather to see the sun rise above the famous heel stone on this day each year

 Wherever you are this Solstice, I wish you much light and joy! Feel free to share where you are in your own journey, or any other metaphors or symbols of the spiritual journey that resonate for you.

P.S. Please note that I’m doing a free teleseminar through The Breathe Network on June 27th about Trauma-Sensitive Meditation, and that I’ve continued my 12 Chakra meditation series at Meditate Like a Girl with the Eighth Chakra. Namaste-



To All Mothers…And All Beings

May 8, 2014

I didn’t quite get to a new post this mother’s day, but did want to take a moment to wish you all a wonderful day of celebrating motherhood, your mother, or the beauty of nurturing in general (for we are all mothers to something.) Here also are some past posts – perhaps one will contain a nugget you could use right now:

The Spiritual Journey of Motherhood

The Spirituality of Motherhood: Lessons from the REAL Masters

Women’s Energetics Series: The Mother-Child Energy Line

All Beings Have Been Our Mother (at BellaOnline)

I also wanted to offer this poem excerpt from Mary Oliver, who understands loving and letting go (the core of motherhood) – so well:

“to live in this world

you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”

- Mary Oliver, from the poem “In Blackwater Woods”

In closing, a blessing for the 275+ kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls (and countless other children suffering from brutality less publicized on any given day):

May you be back in the arms of your mother soon.

Til then may you feel the strength and love of the eternal mother in your bones.

May it carry you through your travails, through your pain, to peace and love some day again.



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