The Art of Living Attuned

Open to Wonder

In a climate charged with the tension of opposing points of view, it’s easy to get triggered and act out of frustration, blame and fear.

Our stories drive us to name the enemy, and fire shots across the bow in a war that isn’t real.

How do we take responsibility for our fear?

How can I turn with love toward the one who feels threatened, and find the courage to meet life with a curious heart?


Good to ponder:

“My contemplation of life and human nature in that secluded place (prison) had taught me that he who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.” ~ Anwar Sadat



The ‘Yes’ of No Story

Ever found yourself repeating stories about how (badly) someone else is acting while mentally defending your position? It’s so fascinating how it feels better in your head, but actually does nothing to increase your sense of well being.

This post is the first in a series of insights from “The 100 Days of Yes” Project: a quest to explore what it means to meet every moment with the energy of ‘yes’.

No surprise that on this adventure I am seeing how often, when I think I’m “just responding to life unfolding”, I’m actually in a heels dug in ‘no’.

Making Up Stories

This story is about the ‘no’ we’re in when we are trying to control the “is-ness’ of others (think judgement, blame, criticism, self-righteousness) and how this particular ‘no’ gets in the way of ease and full permission to live in our ‘yes’.

Free Yourself Up and Take Your Power Back

So here’s the real place to get curious: Is someone else really doing anything that’s creating a problem for me, other than in my own head? Or am I the one creating the problem, with resistance and judgement, and blaming it on them…

Here are 7 tips to untangle yourself from the rigid, resistant energy of ‘no’ that blocks openness and possibility:

  1. Notice what you’re thinking
  2. Get curious about whether your thought is actually true
  3. Notice what opens up if you’re willing to be wrong about it
  4. Check for “the rules” – Am I making up how someone else or life should be – or not be? (this one is pure, undiluted ‘no’ energy)
  5. Am I influenced by something other than my own inner compass? Am I letting someone else’s behaviour dictate who and how I’m being?
  6. Check yourself for feelings of guilt, obligation, fear of someone not liking you or one of my personal fall backs, a ‘screw you’ energy. All of these things pull you off your true north.
  7. Get still for a few moments, check what feels most true for you right now – hint: kind, authentic, creative, expansive – and give yourself permission to act in alignment with that without needing to control what’s true for someone else.

No one wins when we make ourselves or them wrong. Or when we bend ourselves to fit the desires of others or our Ego’s agenda. If it doesn’t feel true for you, it’s not true. It’s ‘no’ energy, and if we keep feeding it, it will inevitably create tension and constriction for us and others, and disconnect us from the freedom to create what we truly want.


Good to ponder:

“I shall allow no man to belittle me by making me hate him.” ~ Booker T. Washington



The Real You is Wanted in 2018 – You Coming?



Who do you want to bring to 2018? The you you’ve been, or the you you choose to be?

This question is one we rarely stop to contemplate as we’re busy making New Year’s future broken promises to ourselves. The gym, the partner, the smoking, the drinking, the project we’ll definitely get started, or the one we’ll finally finish. We’re clear what we want to change or create in the world of form, but what about who we are being? What about the energy we’re fuelling our intentions with?

We often forge ahead into the new year dragging along our stories, our resentments, our blame. Our past hurts, struggles and conflicts, both inner and outer. We bring the constriction of limiting beliefs, rules and expectations that we have agreed to live by, wondering if we will ever get to have the life we really want.

Of course we’re welcome to lug all the crap we’ve been hauling around behind us for the last several chapters into next year, but speaking from experience – that shit weighs a ton.


Eliminate Drag and Let the Real You Radiate

On the other hand, we could choose to move through the space of our lives lighter. We could lean into whatever support we need to shed what’s not working, and start to show up like our presence is needed here. Like it’s a gift, like we’re meant to inhabit this body and personality that is us for a very specific purpose that only we can express.

What if you decide that every single thing that happens is an opportunity for you to become more of who you really are – and then meet it in that way?

What if you set an intention that will create a fascinating spin on every moment that comes after it:

“I came here for the adventure and the magic. I’m not doing this thing alone. I live in a friendly Universe that has my back – and I’m suiting up and diving in.”


Good to ponder:

“You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” ~ Shira Therani


Finding Home


Have you experienced something deeply painful, and then looked back on it a few years later and come to understand how much it had grown you into who you are now?

In a fabulous writing course called ‘Write Into Light’ that I took this year with Martha Beck and Liz Gilbert, we were asked to find one of those experiences. Our assignment was to write inward, to inhale deeply and find the learning and wisdom that the experience had given us, and then craft a piece of writing that could offer light to someone on their way in to that dark place, words that might help them find their way.

I went back to revisit a heartbreak from 15 years earlier in my life, a time where I found briefly – and then lost – someone I felt I had always known, before this lifetime, for many lifetimes. Someone I knew I was meant to find, and was devastated to realize I was not meant to keep. This is the piece that came through that exploration:


“Finding Home”

Brave girl, gather your courage, you will need it to find your way.

It’s going to be hell in there – a place that is darker than the blackest night. You are entering into the shadow to find your light.

Bring your goodness, your strength, and all the grace of who you are.

This adventure will ask more of you than any that have come before. It will ask you to free fall into pain, and trust Love to hold you.

There is only one way to proceed: throw your whole self in and follow where it leads.

There will be times you’ll believe, in your spiralling, chaotic and terrifying descent into the abyss, that you are utterly, absolutely alone. Instinct will tell you to run. Don’t.

This place does that. It’s okay.

What you don’t know, won’t know, can’t know – is that love has gone in ahead. To set the path, to unlock the mysteries that will appear to block your way, to create potions for the poisons that will seduce you in your pain. You will be held.

Stay alert, stay clear, stay fast on your feet and light in your spirit.
Don’t choose the surface, don’t kick for the top. Trust the darkness – or all will be lost.

You must open to the shifting, cracking, seismic undoing of all that you know yourself to be. Something deeper is wanting to emerge.

You WILL be held.

Scatter light around you. Gather the wisdom of sages in everyday clothes who have walked this path before you and have something to offer.

Post the gift of their light in places where you will stumble upon it daily. Use it to guide you as you would stars in the night sky – pin points of light in the darkness, sparks of truth sending messages from your soul.

Eventually, and this I promise you, you’ll begin to fall more slowly, more softly. With the lightness of the most exquisite feather, you will touch down solidly, surely and profoundly into a depth of a different kind.

You will pass through the bottom of the pain, and find what can only be found there. And finding it will change you. Your voice, your being, the energy you cast ahead of you as you move through life – will change.

Beneath the ravaging torment of the dragons you have slain, you will find in yourself a stillness, a wisdom, a fierceness and a truth that is more real than any you have known.

You are going into this hell to become who you came here to be. You are going into it to become me.


Good to ponder:

“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.” ~ Barbara Bloom


Are You Ready to Get Into the Magic of Flow?

You know flow when you’re in it. It has a sense of ease and grace, of effortlessness.

Flow is a state of openess, flexibility, creativity, and unlimited possiblilty.

And it is our natural state of being. 

What’s amazing about this is how often, and easily, we get derailed.

There are many things that shift us away from flow, and some powerful ways to get back into the magic of it. 


What Takes You Out

One of the big derailers is letting life circumstances dictate our feelings.

When we believe we’re at the mercy of how we feel in response to the events of life unfolding – we are pulled all over the map, and it can seem like a wild roller coaster ride. If we think we have no choice in how we feel, then we’re along for the ride whether we like it or not.

By allowing our emotions to be in charge, we move out of alignment with flow and into the energy of feeling limited, closed, rigid, blocked and stuck. Nothing feels easy or good, in these moments everything has the quality of struggle. Hard. Uphill. Overwhelm.


Getting Back In

A way to get reconnected when you’re caught up in this is to get clear about how you WANT to feel, and then make feeling that way a priority.

When we intentionally choose how we want to feel – and make that the most important thing, we naturally align ourselves with flow.

I’ve been test driving this approach to living for a while now, and it has been my experience that it absolutely works. Danielle La Porte has found a fantastic way to access this truth and created a great structure for applying it. If you want to really roll up your sleeves and get into it, I highly recommend the roadmap she lays out for you in The Desire Map.

I’ve come across this essential truth in other teachings as well, and the heart of it is this:


Get Clear How You Want to Feel

It starts with doing some homework to uncover how you want to feel in your life. There are some great places to look to gain some clarity about this.

One approach is to consider your goals. How do you imagine reaching them will make you feel? Keep looking around in here until you feel you’ve landed on the core feelings you believe achieving them will create in your life. This is actually how you want to feel now (not later when you achieve ticking the goal off your list).

I came up with my 5 “Core Desired Feelings” about a year ago, and they continue to evolve. In the first week of 2015, I decided to focus my attention on one in particular: Delighted.

Good thing, because I got to test drive it early on.


Notice When It’s Not Happening

One evening after a busy day of running errands with several jaunts in and out of the car, I had to make a phone call and realized that I didn’t have my ($100) bluetooth headset.

I remembered back to leaving the house that day. I had dog cookies in my right coat pocket and had put the headset in my left one to avoid getting crumbs in the port. And then all day long I used the same pocket for my car keys.

Keys in, keys out, keys in, keys out. Little ear hook on the headset primed for getting caught on the keys and going for a ride – out of my pocket into the big wide world. Landing in any one of a gazillion places. Pretty much needle in a haystack scenario.  

My first ‘feeling’ response when I connected these dots was a mix of aggravation, frustration, self flagellation, attachment to things being different, and a big dose of scarcity.

This of course led to the physical reponse of my blood pressure rising, a tightening in my stomach, and heat that started building as I began feeding the primary feelings with a story: “How could I have been so careless? It would’ve taken me one moment of mindfulness to realize what a dumb move that was and put my valuable headset in a better place. Can’t believe I lost a $100 headset, there’s a $100 I could’ve have spent on x, y, z…” – etc, etc, etc.

In the past I would’ve continued fuelling this story, and all the toxic feelings it generated, for several days.

But now I was armed with a new strategy, and it was time to implement.


Commit to Feeling It

Yes, you get to be in charge of this. Don’t let old stories or conditioning tell you otherwise. That’s garbage. Unless you have a real mental illness, you are always in charge of your emotional state. If you’re not feeling how you want to feel, you have a decision to make.

1) Awareness: I’m creating inner chaos and disconnecting from flow. I’m definitely not crazy about the feelings that are here now. 

2) Digging my heels in a bit: (never seem able to skip this stage…) What desired feeling was I working with this week? Oh yeah, Delighted. Hmmm…well, let’s see – nope, I am pretty much not delighted right now. In fact, I can confidently say undelighted is what’s here.

3) Choice: I can stay here, or I can shift. Since delighted is how I want to feel, it’s time to lean in.


Trust That it’s There – and  That You Have the Power to Access It

Once you’ve decided how you want to feel, know that it is available to you. We are never limited to a narrow range of feelings, it just seems like that when we are focused on that particular collection.

All feelings are available to us in every moment. More on that in another post, for now just play with it as a working theory. What you want to feel is there, and your job is to get creative about how you can connect with it.

In this case the way in was gratitude. I had just started a work out, and in looking for delighted, I realized how grateful I was to have two fully functioning arms and legs, and a healthy heart and lungs, so that I could engage in physical exercise that supported my health and well being.

That led to my next thought: it was -20 and dark outside and I was in my warm house with lamps glowing and nowhere else that I needed to be but tucked in here. It was really delightful to have this cozy sanctury to curl up in.

Finally, after finishing my workout, I went downstairs and kissed my sweet dog on the nose and thought, I am so delighted to have this little being in my life, and that she is healthy and happy. 

These things together were enough to get me there, I had walked myself into feeling very connected with delight, and could now clearly see that losing a $100 headset was not even remotely worth being undelighted. I was back in flow.



The next day, Sunday, I called everywhere I’d been. The vet was closed, but everyone else was open, and no one had seen a headset. I got in my car and drove back to all the places I had been to look in the parking lots and on store floors.

I wasn’t in a ‘need to find it’ state, but more of a due diligence place. And when it didn’t turn up anywhere, I easily let it go and moved on with my day.

On Monday afternoon, I remembered that I still hadn’t checked with the vet so I called them. “Yes,” the fabulous woman at the vet’s office said, “we do have a headset here.” “No way!” I said. “Way!” she said. “Yay!” I said. “Yay!” she replied, “We’ll hold it here for you.”

Might as well be delighted.


What About the Hard Stuff?

Of course this was a relatively easy experience to practice with. There are times in life when delighted is not what’s called for. This is when you want to have other desired feelings to create from, such as wise or courageous or connected…

It’s great to have 3-5 on your list, and to play with each of them in different situations so that you become intimate with the nuances of how each one serves you in working with your life – instead of against it.


The Art of Flow

If you want to dive into a deep exploration of what takes you out of flow – and create a powerful toolkit of skills you can use to create some wizardry and get yourself back into alignment with ease and joy – join us for our
“The Art of Flow” 6 week online course. We run the course a couple of times a year.

Good to ponder:

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” – Eckhart Tolle



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