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The most beautiful way to honor our larger body is to immerse in wildness. To be with Earth in its subtle and dynamic beauty and, through this, to experience our own.

At first, the wild movements- the sensation of the wind cooling the fierce sun, red-winged blackbird chasing the vulture away from his tree, tri-colored heron hunting for fish...
The more we watch, the more we listen, the deeper the subtle rhythms begin to move within us.

We feel ourselves deepening, our breath deepening. We notice an undeniable connection where our internal world expands, our body becomes larger. Close your eyes and the sound and sensations are within you. And the idea of what is inside of us no longer feels like ours alone.

 

 

"Our choice is to be in love or to be in fear. But to choose to be in love means to have a mountain inside of you, means to have the heart of the world inside you, means you will feel another's suffering inside your own body and you will weep. You will have no protection from the world's pain, because it will be your own." - China Galland

There are many who will tell you that it is not a time for grief, but a time to be joyously empowered, because we are waking up.

While it is true that there is a wild and exciting opportunity in this moment for us to call forth our greatest wise warrior (and I pray we do), and it is also true that the circumstances of our moment are enabling a greater awakening about what is sacred and what truly matters, it is equally as important that we honor whatever grief or pain or fear or anger is arising within us right now.

That IS part of our awakening.

 

"What you resist, persists." -Carl Jung

What are you burying inside of you? What are you distracting yourself from? What is it that you do not want to turn toward, what emotion, what fear?

Until you allow yourself to be present with what is honestly alive inside of you, you will never truly know yourself.

And these suppressed emotions will continue to show up over and over again in your relationship with yourself, with others, with the world. They will manifest as addictions, radical behaviors that don't really feel like YOU.

 

Who are you, really?

We get so caught up in identifying ourselves with so many labels that we forget to connect with the essence of our magnificent Self and the Self of others. That being that exists beyond our skin, beyond the place we were born, the religion we were born into, the philosophy, society or culture that has shaped us.

We are a global community of human, non-human animals, and all the beautiful elements of Earth. We are unfolding in an evolutionary Universe Story, a cosmology that connects us and unifies us, and it is much larger than any label we could ever try to fit ourselves into.

 

Loves...Be gentle with yourself. Every experience is part of your journey, and it is perfect.

No need to be overwhelmed in feelings of guilt or shame, unworthiness or fear... you are an explorer, a scientist experimenting with life...so when these feelings arise, experience them with curiosity. Ask them what they want you to know. Embrace all of your experiences, all of your emotions. Each of them is an ally -- confusion, fear, joy, love -- befriend them, and allow them to become a doorway into your wholeness.

Remember that you are the dreamer, you are not the dream. You choose how the story unfolds. And every part of the unfolding has information to support you as you deepen into your understanding of life and Self.

 

Whenever ideas or limiting beliefs or stories that I tell myself get in the way of doing what I know I must do, I simply remember these three powerful words: Be Fucking Brave.

Sometimes life can feel intense, a little bit scary or overwhelming, sometimes we feel haunted by our past experiences and they make us feel paralyzed or send us into a downward spiral of self-destruction and pain, because we begin to identify with the role of a victim or get attached to a story about who we think we are rather than the actuality of who we are. These stories cloud us from seeing the brilliant person within, who is aching to emerge powerfully into this world.

 

 

As we gather together today to reflect on our lives and all that we have to feel thankful for, I invite us to explore the true power of gratitude and how it can transform our lives.

Gratitude brings with it a deep sense of peace and freedom.

It is liberating, AND It is subversive. It transforms our perception and is, ultimately, a revolutionary act.

How?

 

 

Taking time to slow down and savor every delicious moment of this life IS the MOST productive thing we can do for ourselves and our world.

Do you feel like you never have enough time in the day? Our world is over-stimulated. We are running so fast, battling time like an enemy, all of us too busy to really process our experiences, our passions, our pains, our joys. Sometimes, too busy to really be present with each other and the deeper essence of our selves...I mean deeply present. Being that busy is a form of escapism.

 

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Val, thank you for your unwavering compassion, infinite love, and timeless wisdom. You are such a great teacher. You have shown me, not only through example, but also through your workshops ...