what lies deep within…

The old stories are not old.
Today is not young.
You think you are yourself alone:
I look at you and see bears and giants
And strange birds of heaven;
One hundred thousand years
Is being lived in you, right now.

There, behind your left eye,
Is the cave where you dream, alone.
There, in that corner of your smile,
Is the mouth of all the worlds.

You are not old;
You are not young;
I’ll tell you this story now,
So that you can remember
All the Gods you are.                 ~ Tom Hirons

Thanks to Kiva Rose, from Anima Herbal School*, for sharing this wonderful guest post from Tom Hirons on the site for the Dark Mountain Festival (I’ve never heard of it either til now, but it sounds amazing). The article, which includes the above poem, is an intro to his tale-telling at this festival — but it is so damn lyrical and moving, read it just because you can. (Pretty please?)

I have always adored storytelling, which I experience as a healing tool unsurpassed in many ways. It transcends time, culture, color and creed. For as Hirons says,

“Who here has not been transported at least once or twice by the storyteller’s spell? Whether it was from a costumed bard in a forest glade or a 3am drunk when you were one toe’s-width from the gutter, stories have power. … A good story awakes sleeping senses, reminds us of what we forgot. Something changes in us, though we may barely be aware. A good story initiates us into the deeper mystery of Being, not through telling us, but by making some part of us sing.”

At the core of shamanic healing is this, right here: singing all your parts home, into wholeness. Celebrating Who You Are, singing out loud the stories of our lifetimes in some grand one-world garage band that keeps us up all night gazing at the stars and tending the fire for one another.

*(Do check Kiva Rose out and her fantastic tribe out, she’s an amazing herbalist and Wild Wise Woman. She is also in creative cahoots to bring you the Plant Healer Magazine)

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Paradise By The Dashboard Light: who’s riding shotgun in your car, why emotions aren’t your BFF + Meatloaf, oh my! (part two of the two-fer one)

[ Now, where were we? Oh, yeah…we were lost in Vegas, with Karla (our faithful heart) protesting in the backseat…if you haven’t read Part One yet, check it out here. ]

Karla DeVito still, as found on elsaelsa.com

Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further–

That’s right, Karla – sing it, sistah! Because when heart is involved, it harnesses our emotions and takes us deeper into what we truly need, what is best for our life’s purpose: qualities that help us enjoy and benefit from all that Good Stuff we just talked about. Qualities like clarity. Wisdom. Compassion. Integrity. Joy. And oh, yeah: Passion.

I’m thinking it’s the heart that is meant to be in the driver’s seat, because it’s the one with a built-in compass. Heart knows how to keep-on-keepin’-on toward your soul’s revolution, even while emotion is busy chasing after endless distractions in life’s peep shows.

“… the fourth chakra (heart) mediates between the body and the spirit…” ~ Caroline Myss says (in a cool interactive flash presentation of the chakras)

Heart is where your higher ideals and abilities of the 5th-12th chakras, combined with the grounding, juicy, creative qualities of 1st-3rd, all come together creating a life here on Earth that is divinely inspired.

Heart is your port.
Heart is your temple.
Heart is stable, certain – unwavering.
Heart is your anchor when emotions are the storm.
Heart = as above, so below.

And hey, we all know that it’s a very fine line, a razors edge (or just the backseat), between the heart compelling you towards understanding, meaning + growth, and out of control emotions looking for a quick fix. When our emotions rule us, we follow them wherever they take us, believing that it’s destiny! or personal truth!, the next Sure Thing!… and usually it isn’t until our ol’ Heart lies broken on the side of the road that we realize how blinded we were. Suddenly dazed and confused, we wake up next to Meatloaf only to look around and wonder: how did I get here?

I gotta know right now!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?

It’s the heart’s job to get you where your soul knows it needs to be – due to various karmic calculations, star-alignments + quantum-cosmic mapping that is manifesting as we speak – and it needs your emotions (along with ego, but that’s another post for another day) in that magical-fantastical corporeal form of yours to help it get there in time for Destiny to do Her thang, for Lady Luck to muster the mojo.

Don’t let yourself to run on (emotional) default. Let heart take the wheel, because it has the map of your soul.

That’s all well and good you say. So, how do I do that?

Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I’ll give you my answer in the morning

Actually, I can give a few answers right now.

But here’s the thing: any truly meaningful, life-changing answers will be different for each of you because it has to do with the specific lessons you came into this life with. Your soul knows exactly what the difference is, but it’s waiting for you to step up and explore, to ask the big questions necessary to lift the veil and start communicating with it. To move beyond what in Buddhism is called the emotional kleshas and dig deeper into your heart.

I couldn’t take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave…

So I can’t just give you a simple answer (the “quick fix,” which I’m staunchly against), because the difference is going to be distinct for everyone. Much like the work I do with clients, you are each unique and come into this life with your own set of lessons, your own bag of karma in the backseat.

But I can tell you what helps immensely to get things rolling: self-awareness. Which begins by diligently questioning your behavior, your motivation, and your actions. Which takes courage, kindness and discipline. It’s about establishing a higher bar for yourself, by requiring a level of integrity with your Self consistently. (And maybe telling Meatloaf to take a hike.)

Be willing to LISTEN to your heart over the din of your primal emotions that just want to feel good 24/7 with quick fixes. Be willing to FEEL and to hurt, to sit with your emotions as they arise. To not be carried away with them, but bear witness to them and watch where they’re headed (instead of following where they go – subtle, but big difference). Emotions are tricksters – by their very nature they aren’t looking to be understood. Which is why we find ourselves driving in circles to hide + numb them; and it’s when we are stuck in emotions that we take the keys from the real driver.

photo courtesy of US National Archives, flickr.com

Feeling your emotions by questioning them with honest reflection + clear observation – this is one Big Way to shift into heart and get you movin’ on down the highway of life in all your Cosmic Goodness Glory.

It never felt so good It never felt so right… I would love you till the end of time.

How do you take the keys from Heart in your life? Do you have tales to tell that speak of how emotions can take over and push Heart in the backseat? Tell us in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

And if you find yourself somewhere on the side of the road looking to figure out how to get going, fumbling with handing heart the keys, I can help with that. Let’s work together +  create your world.

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Paradise By the Dashboard Light: who’s riding shotgun in your car, why emotions aren’t your BFF + Meatloaf, oh my! (a two-fer one post)

[ Meatloaf’s classic tune depicts two lovers who regret letting their emotional urges get the best of them.  I’ve always loved this song and as I was rockin’ out to it the other day suddenly it hit me: Hey! This is the perfect metaphor for my next piece: emotions vs. heart! Most people seem to think that heart = emotions. But Heart and Emotions are actually star-crossed lovers, and for our purposes one is the driver and the other rides shotgun…]

video still from "Paradise By The Dashboard Light"

Baby doncha hear my heart
You got it drowning out the radio
I’ve been waiting so long
For you to come along and have some fun…

Doesn’t it seem like we use our emotions as if they’re the driver of our personal hot rod, serving to take us wherever we want to go in life? And that our heart automatically jumps in, along for the ride, when our emotions are at the wheel?

We also seem to think that our heart wants to go where emotions are headed, like when they lure us into the backseat for a quickie. (Huh. Kinda like Meatloaf, hot n’ heavy with Karla, who thought she was a Sure Thing…)

And I gotta let ya know
No you’re never gonna regret it
So open up your eyes I got a big surprise
It’ll feel all right
Well I wanna make your motor run…

We assume that heart is our trusty co-pilot, always waiting to ride shotgun. We not only assume that, more often than not we blindly rely on it. It’s not your fault (or mine – I’m so guilty here). We’re told all the time to just ‘trust your instincts,’ right? As if you simply have to chant these magic words and it all comes together in some magical-fantastical alignment that serves your highest good!, your heart’s desire! Unicorns + rainbows will be there when you arrive, fun + festivities for all!

We let our emotions say to heart, with the intense hyper-confidence of a Bad Boy in the back-seat on prom night: Don’t worry, baby, I got this.

And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we’re glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C’mon! Hold on tight!
C’mon! Hold on tight!

Big mistake, I’m thinkin’.


I don’t need to remind you that more than ever in popular culture, we are bombarded with images and urges to cultivate a subconscious belief that objects (“stuff”) somehow will emotionally provide for us. (Okay, but for just a sec I will – here’s a great article that you just have to read. G’head, I’ll wait.) By forces that do not have your best interest – your heart’s bottom-line, it’s overall well-being – in mind. We are convinced on a daily basis by a constant stream of input that emotions, and things that we bond with in an emotional way, will get us not only what we want, but what we need. The Guy. The Girl. The job. The car. The house. The perfect face, body or even personality. The power. The prestige. The status. Paradise.

It’s become an easy trap in this sound bite world: We confuse that adage “Trust your instincts” with just blindly following our emotion’s lead. And trampling right over heart in our rush. I see this all the time, and I have done it more than I’d like to admit.

Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
Paradise by the dashboard light…

These are all aspects that appeal to and reside in the 1st-3rd chakras (not bad in and of themselves, but there is a potential for being like a kid in a candy store when you are dealing with things like primal survival, sex and will). This is the realm of ego, where our emotions and base instincts are so readily churned out. And when we focus all our efforts on responding only through them, when we let emotions drive the car, we are not actually listening to our higher instincts. And more important: that means we are not listening to our heart’s true desire. Or it’s true needs, for that matter. (Did I just equate instincts not with emotions but with heart? Yes; yes I did.)

Your emotions are not Who You Are. Emotions are warnings, signposts + bumps in the road that we need to pay attention to and learn from. They are not why we travel our life’s road, just a means to an end. ‘Emotion’ is fleeting, never offering us stability or rest. Sure it can be the celebration, the dance – but without heart’s wisdom it can easily become the battle, the confusion and the storm.

So there’s a sacred marriage at risk of spiritual divorce when we invalidate heart. And the more we divorce ourselves from heart, the more we rely on unpredictable emotions as our default response in challenging situations. When we let emotions tell heart things like “I got this” we are essentially telling heart I don’t think you can handle this. I don’t think you’re capable. I don’t trust you. (Ruh-roh. Doesn’t that kinda go against everything that gives your heart meaning?)

courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt, flickr.com

This leaves us (er, our emotions) careening through Vegas with no map, too much tequila on hand + money to burn. Yup, hard to see where you’re goin’ when you’re too busy shoving heart onto the backseat with Meatloaf. We relegate heart as just not cool enough, not capable of the Big Stuff.

The Fun Stuff.

The Exciting, Fulfilling Stuff.

The Worthy Stuff.

And really, without heart it’s all just… stuff. Because emotions are meant to be in service to the heart, not kidnap it for endless nights in Vegas.

(Which is right about when Karla starts singing to Meat:)

Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further–!

And now we’ve reached the End of Part One, my friends.

[ Such a tease, I know. Part Two is comin’ at you first thing Monday morning. Pinky swear. My 4 year old says I’m good for it, so hang on tight…here’s the original video to get you through… ]

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Heads Up: on greatness, sound + fury (and the Stones)

[ Heads Up is a new series, that hit me smack between the eyes as I was musing over little things to share in between amazing, articulate posts that will change your world & make you want to get up and freakin’ LIVE.  These are mini-posts, riffing off sudden inspiration: from silly commentary on this crazy-pants world to sudden flashes of deep insight, meaningful awareness or profound stupidity (hey, stick around — I can spin anything into gold!). Let’s stumble along together….quotes will often be included because I’m a quote queen. ]

So what about those times when someone is driving you nuts, steppin’ on your cloud, blockin’ your sun? You know, those crappy moments when you’re suddenly so fed up you could just scream? When you’re over-the-top frustrated with someone who just doesn’t get it? Or rather — just doesn’t get YOU, and you’re fantastic awesome self (!). You wish they’d wake up and realize what you’ve got to offer — or just get out of the way, already. The moment when you find that little voice in your head screaming:

Damn it! Why won’t you just let me be great!

(Of course there are countless variations on this, be creative. But it usually involves thinking someone else is in your way. Maybe you don’t use damn, you can insert something more colorful here; I know I do.)

When I see this thought dancing across the movie in my mind, I know I need to pay attention. It’s a big ol’ red flag for me. It’s the neon sign of a fool’s sound + fury attempting to be significant. This is my ego’s way of trying to seduce me into mediocrity, to pass the blame onto somebody else for my inability to say what I want, mean what I want, write what I want, take a stand for what I want. To express myself fully and completely. It’s a reminder that I’m not owning Who I Am.

The truth is, being “great” — whatever that means to you — has nothing to do with anyone else.  So when that kind of banter shows up, take note: it’s a signal to get off your own cloud. It’s a heads up we’re blocking our own (inner) fire. It has everything to do with getting one’s own ass outta the way, not someone else’s.

It has everything to do with believing in yourself, and stepping up for your own needs, wants + desires.

So these times — this heads up, a wink from the Universe — can be a trap or a gift. The beauty is, we have a choice as soon as we pay attention and own it in the moment.

What’s that little voice say to you? What’s your ‘red flag’ that you are looking for someone else to validate your “greatness”? Do you find yourself wondering just how the heck to find that elusive ‘belief’ in yourself?

Would you like some help figuring it out? I can do that. Let’s work together.

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