Love & Abuse: My Journey with Access Consciousness

It took me five years to write this.

I didn’t actually plan to.  But then life sometimes has its own ways.

Many of you know that I was deeply involved in an organization called Access Consciousness for 12 years. Recently, an old colleague of mine left that group, and has been creating quite a stir.

A surprising number of people have contacted me in the last few weeks asking about my own departure.

Hmmmm…

I have spent years wrestling with the question of if I owe anyone any words.  I helped create and maintain the image of Access as a beautiful self-help modality about consciousness for over a decade.

Do I owe the people that I brought in… an apology? Or details about anything I witnessed happening behind the scenes?

I still don’t have an answer to that question.  Because we are all on such very different paths.

But recently, as I see and hear about my friend Lauren’s experience (hear recordings of her being publicly shamed, sworn at, and slammed for speaking up), I feel compelled to say a few words.

I’ll start with one truth perhaps most people who know this work can agree on:

One of the things Access is about is awareness.  There are absolutely beautiful possibilities brought about by some of those tools.

I can tell you hundreds of stories of generous, kind and caring moments I had with the founders, Gary and Dain.  They, and the Access staff, made up almost the entire guest list at my wedding.  They were my family for over a decade. I get it.  The love. When they are vulnerable and undefended, it is an exquisite and enrapturing space.

I can also tell you dozens of shocking and extremely damaging things I witnessed, experienced and participated in.

Because here’s the thing….

Love and abuse are not exclusive.  These stories neither excuse each other nor cancel each other out.  That is precisely what makes certain relationships so haunting, confusing and maddening to unpack.

Both/ and.

I have come to believe that Access is about many things.  Included in my list, especially when questioned, are: power, money, gaslighting, retribution and abuse.

By the time I left, I was convinced that I was a narcissistic sociopath who deserved to die for telling someone the truth about an investment project that I was concerned was not legal. I have sat quietly for the last five years unpacking that sentence.

No one gets the blame for my story. It is perfect, exactly as it is.  It has been the single most growing, healing, maddening, soul shattering, liberating thing that has happened in my life. I have mined great treasures in the bits of truth I found in their accusations of me.  I was blind to many of my shadows, and I acted out of integrity in a number of ways.

I have also been liberated by seeing and naming some of the many atrocities and lies.

What a holy healing journey that has been!

One of the hardest things in this life is to hold a paradox.  To hold two conflicting truths in your hand at the same time.  How do we make sense of our most disorienting experiences? And the fact that human beings are so disappointingly…. human?

I don’t think Access was ever meant to be a destination.  It was meant to bring tools to empower people to trust themselves, then go into the world to create a more beautiful life.  Somewhere, amidst all the money and power, it seems, to me, to have gotten desperately off its rails.

A few weeks ago I went on a retreat.  For the first few days, I couldn’t figure out what I was experiencing, and why it felt so foreign in my body.

It was integrity.

In this space, there were no unspoken rules cancelling out the spoken ones.  What the leader said we would be doing was exactly, and only, what was being done. Speaking honestly had no chance of getting anyone shamed, mocked or cast out.

And if it would, I knew with every fibre of my being, I would simply walk out the door.

I think I have finally made it to the place where I will not give my authority over to anything outside of myself ever again.  If that is true…. literally anything and everything that has brought me to this moment, is a precious and sacred gift.

I am not here to chime in on whether Access is, or is not, a cult.  Unpack that word any way you will.

What I know is that a group can stand for absolutely mesmerizing principles… and when there are charismatic leaders that are not to be questioned at the helm, it’s a rather squirrely game.

It does not mean you should not play it. Only you will know that.  

For years I was afraid to speak.  Afraid of retaliation, sure.  But also afraid of my own subjectivity.  Afraid I might write the narrative incorrectly inside myself.  

I thought my story was so complicated and unique that no one could ever fully understand it.

It’s not.

It’s actually kind of simple.

I am you… (to the millions of women who have loved and defended your abuser).

I am you…. (to the billions of humans who have ever given your authority away to a teacher, a guru, a god).

We are not broken.  We are human.

And part of how we heal, is by the simple, and powerful, speaking of truth.

I would like to share a piece I wrote about taking back your life. It doesn’t say what you think it will.

May you walk your path the only way you can.

Take Back Your Life!

“Take back your life!”

It’s easy to see a phrase like that and feel like you are meant to do something. That you must be gallant. That by someone else’s rallying cry (or program or bestselling how to) you should leave that marriage, set better boundaries, make that big leap.

But here’s the thing. You will or you wont. You will. When the time is right for you. Or you won’t. And that will be perfect.

Perhaps you don’t have to worry so much.

Life is happening. It is pushing us and showing us things. Life may bring you success in one chapter, only to knock you down and show you that was never what you thought it was in the next. Well, isn’t that wild?!

I worried for years about how to leave Access. But then life made it happen. I can look back and judge that I should have left sooner. But I couldn’t. I was not the person who could leave. Life had not given me the ingredients, in this case, the pain threshold, I needed to do that. I needed to watch myself being the person who did not speak her truth. I needed to feel how it felt in my body to be resentful and angry and frustrated and sneaky, even in the midst of a swirly, magical looking life. I needed to watch what occurs in this form when my thoughts veer towards money and attention and proving that I am of value in this world.

Why? There is no why. It is my life, that is why. My life. I am simply a creature, a unique combination of who I came into the world as, mixed with my very singular experience of being on the planet (my mentors, my trauma, my culture, the beliefs and values of the people around me in the place I was born), for whom that was the only possible path.

Where you are right now is the only possible place you can be. Because it is where you are.

For some people, part of that unfolding life story at some point includes awareness dawning; that who you are and how you are operating in the world does not feel good. You are frustrated. Or bitter. Or not at peace. Perhaps there comes a time where it is simply not satisfying to make choices from the beliefs of the people who raised you. Maybe you notice it makes you filled with rage to play by certain rules set out by others. Or you become aware of how a certain mindset is deeply destructive, and keeps you isolated or afraid.

Well, remarkable!

What if you don’t have to do anything about that either?

You don’t.

A different current is now flowing through you. As awareness dawns, you will be different. Not because you tried, but because it is now a seed planted. New branches of the river, new possible future choices are being created up ahead. This is not a new idea that simply watching your life unfold, objectively, without attachment, is so powerful. But it is.

Others may never have this awareness dawn. And that is not their fault. That is not what they or their lives have made available to them. Or at least not now. Let it be.

For a long time after I left Access I wanted others to leave as well. I felt angry, betrayed even, by anyone who stayed. I no longer feel that way.

“Let everything be exactly as it is.” This phrase returns, and saves me once again.

If I do not know where my own story is going, I most certainly do not know about yours! Something intense had to happen for me to leave. And you? Well, it may be exactly what you need. Now. For a little bit. Forever. Maybe you feel empowered by where you are? Maybe you need that social network? Maybe you too, need to give yourself away, before being smashed wide awake? I literally don’t know. Something quite grand is at play as all our lives swirl together. It’s beautiful!

I have finally realized that everyone else’s life is not my rodeo. This is your movie. You will watch this scene as long as life has you watching it. And then, something will come next.

No one wants to be patient. But as a brilliant friend of mine put it, “you can’t binge watch this movie”. So sit tight. Things are happening. You will find out your next move soon enough.

I have come to believe that our life experiences are truly treasures.

Treasure them. Or rage against them. Feel whatever you feel.

But life builds on itself.

If you surrender to whatever is present for you right now… You will get the astonishing gift of whatever comes next.

Two Swans and a Tambourine

Gosh, what a trip.  This life thing we are doing.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot over these last few years.  Even the years I didn’t write at all.  And wondering how your journey has been unfolding.

Mine has been bizarre and awe inspiring, humbling and infuriating.  It has been all of it.

Today I am enjoying dancing in that mystical state of wonder.  For how shimmery and beautiful and mesmerizing this whole process can occasionally be.

A few nights ago I was watching a drummer play a tambourine. Just a tambourine.  And yet… he was so alive, so sparkly and shiny as himself, it was as if he had broken through the veil between realities; as if I could see the star dust he is made from… the god particles that he is… the uniqueness that only he is here to shine as.

It was… transcendent? Is that too strong a word?  It didn’t feel like it.  He was simply being himself… and yet it felt like just watching him was changing the very structures of my cells.

I realized that these are really the moments I live for these days. The startling moments when I see that perfect uniqueness shining through someone, or even more mystifying, when someone provokes that uniqueness out of me.

I have two swans: Gwendolyn and Theodore.  They are funny and majestic, but they cannot fly (it’s a terrible story I will write about some day, but all “pet” swans have their wings clipped and are grounded. It is heartbreaking. Full stop.)  But when swans, even pet swans, have babies… after a few months of shuffling the cygnets around on their backs, and then the tiny fluff balls trailing mama in the water… the babies fly away.  They migrate.  Sometimes hundred or thousands of miles.  Without ever having seen their parents fly.

Something in them knows. It knows where they are going.  And what they are here to do.  Something deep within them knows exactly who and what they are.

Today I find the drummer and the swans merging within me.  They are swirling together, reminding me of two very mystical truths.

One: We are each divinely unique creatures.

Two: In spite of anything the world has tried to tell you that you are, or that you should be— there is something unbreakable inside each of us that simply knows.

Something within you knows what kind of creature you are.  How your awareness works.  What is most valuable to your system.

Something inside you knows how to migrate.  Something inside you knows how (and where and when) to fly.

You have a compass.  You have homing devices.

Five years ago I had a shattering that showed me how infinitely far I had gotten from myself.  How much I had given my authority away. It was deeply destabilizing   And humbling.  And if you have followed me or my journey for long, you will know, I chose to be silent for a very long time.

Should you be curious, you can read my story of that unraveling, and healing here.

But the short version is simply that life is remarkable.  And at the perfect moment I was gifted with a fascinating and deeply useful vehicle for beginning the journey of finding my way back home.

And man, I don’t claim that my journey is like anyone else’s. Or that my path is for you. Or that I am now anything other than deep within my own process.

But I am now someone who shouts madly from the rooftops “Keep digging! It’s worth it!  There is so much to be gained from becoming yourself!”

Whether life invites you to gently stumble upon yourself, dances you sweetly into your essence, (or drags you naked, moaning, with bloody knees, across large shards of shattered glass to get you to exactly where you need to be for your own awakening)… What an orchestration!  What life! I cheer you on.

You are a swan! (Or a purple ladybug, or a dragonfly who tap dances in her sleep).

The point is– you are unique.

And the most fascinating game on the block (to me) goes like this: Find out, somehow, what you are! And then surrender, whole heartedly, to watching your distinctive life unfurl.

I believe we each have the potential of waking up to our own frequency and uncovering what kind of creature we are. Should you choose to play, I suspect you will be tickled (mystified, satisfied, surprised) by the journey as well.

Much love to you on your journey, wherever it is taking you. I hope it includes moments of astonishment, as you wake up to the beauty of who and what you truly are.

In joy,

Blossom

Self Love… And The Science Of Differentiation

Ra suggested that the great disease of the world is self-hatred. Self-hatred is not always obvious to us but can be there at the root of all kinds of surface behaviors and attitudes. It is often engendered by the conditioning we encounter early in life that contradicts what is naturally felt and expressed in us.

When we are going about our lives, especially as children, and what is natural to us is contradicted by what we are told is right, good, allowable or acceptable, it informs how we make sense of our experience. If there is not a recognition that allows for difference and varied behavior, the natural conclusion is that there is something wrong with me or there is something wrong with them. And here begins our investment in the not-self and the use of the mind to attempt to control thought, feeling and behavior to match the conditioning forces around us.

Whether we adopt one or both sides of this belief, it often becomes a core motivation for our choices and behavior in life. One side is: I will work hard to act against my nature (what I love, like, naturally express, respond to) in order to become good or at least “not bad”. The other side is: I will oppose, resist, criticize, blame the other (family member, spouse, friend) or the world/society because clearly somebody or something else is messed up if it’s so wrong to be me.

This kind of polarity and motivation can be subtle or blatant. Either way, it becomes an underlying belief or attitude that does not allow for our presence and awareness to guide how we live our lives.

Following Strategy and Authority is a way to dismantle core conditioning beliefs like this, so that we can align with our natural, present, awake way of being, interacting with the world as we encounter it now through the intelligence of the body. The deconditioning process puts the mind in its proper place as a witness and eventually an outer authority for others.

There are many typing systems out there and some may say at the surface that Human Design is one of them. But where many others systems begin and end with describing types as a way of understanding who you are, Human Design offers its Types so that we understand the function of the body and the mind’s relationship to it. The aura functioning is limited to just a few variations.

It’s not uncommon to have a conversation begin and end with, “because I am a Manifestor, a Projector..” or whatever. Sometimes that may be all there is to say about it. But if we go deeper and see what happens when we experiment with what it means to function according to Type, it is actually the very beginning of discovering, uncovering and recovering what has always been there and can never be destroyed: this particular set of characteristics and expressions of what we are in a very unique synthesis. And even all of the details of those characteristics that go several levels beyond gates and channels, say nothing about who we really are.

Type is not the point. It is an essential practice and process through which we get to the experience of being and expressing who we are, which moves us closer to correct environment, role and life expressing itself through us as purpose.

Human Design has been called the Science of Differentiation, as an extremely detailed map of our uniqueness, where Type, Authority and the Bodygraph are at the very surface. And yet they are primary in that if we are behaving from the mind, as a contradiction to or imitation of the conditioning around us, we don’t even get to the starting line of perceiving how unique we actually are.

A seemingly simple but astonishing benefit of letting go of conditioned core beliefs and opening up to the exploration of our nature is that we begin to allow ourselves our own differentiation process, our own liberation from the pursuit of perfecting the not-self. If we begin to appreciate that, it can be quite a wonder and the birthplace of love of the self.

Relationships in this differentiated context can become quite impersonal in this way. The differences we experience in each other stop needing to be evaluated as right or wrong, as who’s behaving the right way or not. They stop being evidence of whether or not I’m worthy because this person pays attention to me or not, agrees with me or not, invests their energy in me or not. They can become an exploration of how each person behaves correctly as themselves. From that starting place, we can begin to see whether or not the relationship is correct for us or worth pursuing or continuing.

Many spiritual teachers involved in any kind of awakening process point to the letting go of morality. This has always seemed exceedingly optimistic to me and demonstrative of faith in the basic value of each person’s true nature. It assumes that in most cases, our natural presence will make far better choices for ourselves and others than an imposed morality.

The more I study the depth of differentiation in each person, the more love and respect I feel for humanity in general. I may still feel hurt when someone rejects or criticizes me, I may still get discouraged if I don’t keep up with what some others are able to do. But I can also remember that no one is correct for everyone. And we have all had those moments when the naturalness of what we are is perfect for the person we are with, whether that’s true for a moment or a lifetime.

If self-love is challenging for you right now and you are experimenting with design, I invite you to take a closer look at your own chart and recognize what part of your nature is expressing itself or seeking to. Look at your definition. Look at what you have going for you through your defined centers. We tend to take what is natural to us so much for granted that we can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for others not to have what we do (what is wrong with them?). Look at the openness and admire the flexibility of it, the spaciousness and beauty that’s possible when we stop trying to fix it and make it stable (What is wrong with me?).

Design is not to be used as evidence for why any person or relationship is right or wrong or good or bad; Strategy and Authority can be much more helpful in determining what is correct for us. Rather, being open to the study of nature in ourselves and others can be a way of simply seeing the difference. When we can manage to do that with curiosity, without agenda or judgment, the incredible uniqueness of each person becomes undeniable and ultimately lovable.

The whole challenge for you in your process, the only way in which you can leave or transcend the Bodygraph and approach your purpose correctly, is you have to deal with the characteristics. The whole theme of, and the teaching of, Human Design is that we teach strategy and authority in order for a being to come to grips with the power of the characteristics in their life, and to ultimately be able to transcend them by operating correctly as themselves.
-Ra Uru Hu

* Guest post by Amy Lee

My Journey With Human Design

Human Design has been a journey of personal healing for me. It was never something I set out to teach. I honestly didn’t know if I would ever have the stomach to teach anything ever again.

I came to find Human Design after what I can only describe as a shattering. I had been teaching in the personal development space for a decade, in a fairly public way, that made me feel relatively important, and like I mattered in the world. But I was teaching someone else’s work, and like most spaces revolving around power and money, there were all kinds of rules to stay in that game. Over time, I started compromising more, hiding more, telling people what they wanted to hear, lying to myself.

I was out of integrity with my body. I knew I couldn’t stay. But being good at pulling strings, I felt confident I could manage this exit with grace and flair. Leave but maintain my friendships and reputation. Realign me to my truth, but not have to sacrifice anything to do that. How wrong I was!

My attempt to extricate myself gracefully quickly turned into a bad tragi-horror-comedy. It was like I was in quicksand… surrounding a nuclear reactor. The more I struggled, the faster I sank.

Then, one day, in the middle of a situation I literally had no internal resources to navigate, my horse stepped on my head. And there… I finally did something I had never considered before. I stopped struggling. I surrendered. I let it all go.

I came up from my concussion months later feeling deeply broken. My mind was desperate to make sense of what had happened. Terrible things had been said to me, about me, that I had a real need to sort out. Was I wrong? Were they wrong? Who was I actually? What had I been hiding? What did I believe in or care about? And how in the world had I gotten so disconnected from myself?

My journey over the next four years was steeped in silence, reflection, studying (studying, studying), and nature. For all intents and purposes, I basically pulled myself out of the world. I left social media. Abandoned my email list. Instead, I went to the mystics. To the poets. I grew food on the earth. About a year into that process, I was tossed an incredible additional tool: Human Design.

Human Design didn’t so much give me answers to the questions I was asking… but it did give me maps. And I had all the time and energy in the world to experiment with and explore them.

I held so much secret shame about certain ways I had behaved. The first time I was told about certain gates in my chart, I just sobbed. I hated that someone could know that terrible thing about me, or that that terrible thing existed within me at all. But over time, as I reflected and went deeper, I found my shame and judgment of characteristics turning into deep self-compassion. I looked at my openness and felt really tender about the unknown aspects of the world I was navigating and attempting to learn about. I looked at my definition and saw how grateful I was for those internal resources when used at the right time. Even the controlling or intense ones. And that yes, while I loved perfection… my design was distinctly mortal. Sorry, Blossom. And welcome to the human race.

I held anger and resentment of certain people in my life. As I studied their charts, and how they connected to mine, I realized that they were just being themself (or being their not-self). There really was no one at fault. No blame. It just was.

I looked at the charts of major events in my life (where the planets were at those moments) and was deeply touched and mystified to see the story of what had happened, written out on each day. (You would not believe it if I showed you how the day of my concussion fits in with my Saturn return, and the chart of the person I was in conflict with, and my own life story. It is wild!) “That was always going to happen” something in me realized. It had to happen. It is just part of the story. My story. All is well.

And like that, piece by piece, I began making peace with the life I was in, the movie I was watching, the story as it was unfolding. Like that, the healing began.

When I realized it was time for me to start sharing (teaching) again, I honestly felt some terror. “My open throat!” “My open ego!” “Did my mind just want attention again?” “Ahhh!!” But then I looked back to my design and it was clear to me why my body wanted to teach. This joy I bring to all the things I am exploring. My deep sensitivity to the support of my tribe. This ability to see the patterns that are not right, and an insatiable desire to correct them. Deep dedication and determination to go all the way through an experience for whatever it has to offer. And a demand within myself for integrity and authenticity along the way. My vehicle is here to support and share. So while I really am quite a hermit right now, if you are desiring a greater understanding of or alignment with yourself, there is so much I suddenly have the energy to show you and share!

If my joy, sensitivity, or correction can support you in your experiment or journey through your own life story, it would be my honor. Cause this sure is one wild ride!

——-
Blossom is a 6/2 (Role Model/Hermit) Emotional Generator, IHDS Certified Analyst, and Living Your Design Guide with over 18 years experience in facilitating groups and holding space.

My Design

Would you like to see your own map? You can run your own Human Design chart for free here.

 

My Endless Winter

I still get these quarterly statements from my website. This many visits. This many bounces. This long they stayed.

I’ve started to wonder if they are mistakes. This strangely odd number of people I am told by google that still go to my website each month and stick around to read.

“Read what?” a part of me always asks.

It’s been over two and a half years since I had anything I really wanted to say. Two and a half years!

I keep expecting my audience to vanish. (I’ve made peace with that as well, if you do.)

And yet, here some of you still are. Years into my quietude. Which strangely made me want to say hello.

I was in New York a few weeks ago, dancing something called the Five Rhythms. (It’s good work. It gets me in my body and moving through my emotional landscape without attributing the sticky bits to anything in particular. Physical. Therapy.)

We got to the rhythm of “stillness” and I broke.  Down.  Open.  

(I say that as though it was a singular event. Like it was the first or final breaking of me. Let me be clear, it wasn’t. It was the seventh or seventieth or seven hundredth breaking. Another mysterious and beautiful process I’ve surrendered to.)

I lay on the floor and let my body sob. Celebrating. Watching.

What struck me, in that moment was actually something quite cliche. It was the simplicity of the seasons. The rhythms of life.

That spring is always exciting and bubbling with life, followed by summer that is generally hot and full of intensity.

That winter is always dark. Still. Renewing. Fallow.

In the past few years, I have felt a million times like the winter will quite literally, never end. That it is more like death than renewal. That the story is over when we get to this bit, rather than just a chapter or a page.

And yet… in all the discomfort, the one thing I have been almost mystically clear about, is that I will not force the timing. There is something happening inside me.  That I get to witness. This deep rewriting. This non-optional reboot.  

And so I wait.

But now … here I am dancing. And we get to stillness. To winter. I am laying on a cold wooden floor, in a strange kind of allowance for the bottomless nothing… and out of nowhere I can feel my cells start this buzzing… I can feel the next rhythm. A flowing. An excitement. Holy fucking shit! It is spring!

Not here. Not yet. But coming. “Ahhhhhhhhhhh”

An ocean of sorrow then passion then gratitude sweep through my body, erupting through all my face holes, into a snotty and uncontrollable celebration on the floor. 

That was the breaking. The breaking open.  The breaking through. 

I think that’s called grace.

It turns out that spring follows winter.

Every year.

Every year.

Every year.

It might feel holy to me today, but it is actually just what happens.

It happens whether you trust it will or fight it or dig in your heels. You not in charge of the timing. None of us are.

I have learned so much in this seemingly fallow season of “nothing.”

I have created order in the lifetimes of chaos in my closets and drawers. I have gotten very curious about my defenses and become diligent about observing my own wild moods. I have discovered that place inside me that knows how to make things beautiful. And that other place that gets off on making a mess. I have found I have the ability to sit very still, sometimes for days, if there is something I want to learn. (And man, is there much I have been learning!)

Mostly, I have been unbecoming. Unfashioning the tale that I have to be something to be something. Reclaiming the sovereignty I’ve so happily handed over to others throughout my life.

Being present with what is in front of me today.  

We each get to watch our own beautiful life unfolding. Our own evolution happening. You can throw popcorn at the screen or snuggle up. But the movie still plays.

It’s a messy process, this waking up to our own humanity. Let me rephrase that— mine most certainly is.  

And in truth, I have no idea where it is leading.  If winter is actually over at all, or I just got an early peek at spring.  But I get it now.  The surrender part.  And I am 100% in. 

Which brings me to you my beautiful friend. And to my own little blessing for you today:

That if you you are in spring, may you enjoy the wonder. Bask in the aliveness. Fall in love.

If you are in summer, may you soak up the heat. Play hard. Conquer the world.

But if you are in winter, may you surrender to the deep breathe in. Be still. Let it break you. And cover you up.

Winter resets us. Renews us. Demands that we nourish ourselves. It clears away the noise.

You will open again later. That’s not what I promise, it’s what the earth promises. What the mystery promises. It is what rhythms of forever show. It is what has been promised to me. 

Can you be present with the season pulsing through you? Not as a victim but as a participant?

Even if it’s cold?

I feel you. I love you.

You’ve got this.

I’ve got this.

I will write again in a decade, or a week. We will find out together.  (Of course I hope it’s soon.  I always do.) 

Let the mystery continue!

Greater Than Yesterday

My work has changed so many times over the years!

In one of the most unique and joyful chapters I worked with people primarily on the stage– finding their voices, unbinding themselves from their stories of the past.

This work was special.  People transformed in front of my eyes. I was shown how beautiful and shimmery we all are, before we learn what we are not supposed to be.

Sometimes I wish I could take people back to the stage, but from this awareness I have now. Knowing people’s Designs. Knowing how infinitely different we all are.

I still think this film has something to offer. I still desire for each of us to step into more of who it is we came here to be.  And to peel back layers of everything we are not.

 

The Books That Stole My Heart in 2017

Does anyone read anymore? Like actual books? 

I know over the years my own reading had fizzled to almost non-existent. 

In reflecting on my year, one of the things I am most grateful for has been my own rediscovery of those ancient page filled treasures known to some as BOOKS

In 2017, I really started to read.

With my reading this year has come the most incredible mentors, surprising friendships, new ideas, and amazing journeys through time. 

I wanted to give a shout out to the books and authors that have most shaped me this year. Many of them I consider to be dear friends, though most of them I have never met. 

I have divided these lists into categories. Much of my reading this year was dedicated to mystics and contemplative approaches to the universe and truth. There is also a list of authors I most admire as artists, books that have opened my eyes to important topics in the world and a little bit of random categorical gratitude.  

I can’t say these are the best books ever. Or of all time. They are just the particular titles that found me and whispered things I needed to hear at perfect moments. They held me.

See if any of these titles sparkle at you. See if opening any of them might add to your future and your life. 

Mystics & Guides – My greatest teachers of 2017
Rumi – I can meditate deeply… or read Rumi. Same/same. Weeping with beauty.  A Year With Rumi. Dude!
Richard Rohr – (Everything Belongs, Immortal Diamond, Falling Upward… I read like a library by him.) He caught me this year in free fall and said everything I needed to hear.
Paulo Coelho Manuscript in Accra was a wonderful quick surprise.  Beautiful insight about friendship.   
Vernon Howard – Always yells at me when I need it.  And knows stuff. Mystic Path to Cosmic Power = worst book cover and amazing insight!
Thomas Merton (New Seeds of Contemplation) – A new friend who has discovered many things I want to know.
Joel Goldsmith (The Contemplative Life) – also knows stuff
C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters are kinda genius! (Very different than reading them in high school.) 
Mother TeresaCome Be My Light shook me.
Pema ChodronThe Pocket Pema fits in my pocket. What’s not to love there? 

Authors That Inspire Me – My New Best Friends
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things) – I want to write with that much bravery
Bob Goeff (Love Does) – I want to carry his suitcase around the world. 
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic) – My best friend who has never met me.
Rob Bell (Love Wins) – Just love all the things in his brain.  And he has guts.
Shauna Neiquest (Present Over Perfect) – So inspired by how she creates. 
Maya Angelou (Letter to My Daughter) – How have I not read her books until this year?! What!? 
Stephen King (On Writing) – Thanks for writing this book! So good. 
Forest Benedict (Life After Lust) – Congrats bro on your first book! Way to go!
 
Books That Have Most Opened My Eyes About the World
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr – About how the Internet is changing our brain. This booked changed everything about my life. Literally. 
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevensen – Just system. Must read this!
Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – Every human should have to read this! 
Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman – If you have interest in (or repulsion to) the Bible, check out his books. There are many. Such important and fascinating history. 
The Last Rhinos by Lawrence Anthony – unimaginable connection to animals and a wild adventure!
The Myth of Equality by Ken Wytsma – embarrassed I didn’t know this! My own prejudices explored. Uncomfortably good!

My Personal Spiritual Text Books of 2017
A New New Testament – Such good context & amazing insight into a book I was pretty much over for decades (the Bible). Beautifully done! Many new (old) manuscripts added that didn’t make the original Bible. Super insightful!! 
Christ Returns, Reveals Startling Truth – Perhaps my very favorite book of the year! It’s scrubbed by this Catholic nun in her 80’s who starts channeling Jesus. I LOVE this book! Online for free here.
A Course in Miracles – an old friend I returned to after a decade. Nourishment. 
The Sophia Code – a new friend with beautiful insight from 7 female masters over time.  

Super Inspiring/ Categories of Their Own
Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s Hamilton the Revolution. Beautiful book of the making of Hamilton. Don’t have enough words for this book, these lyrics, this man or this show! If you are an artist, you will love this book!
Beth Moon’s Ancient Trees Portraits of Time – Stunning photography of stunning subjects. Thank you Beth!
Seth Pitt – I just keep gushing about this artist. His paintings brought so much sparkle to my year! 
Seth Godin – awesome daily email blurbs

Best Fiction (I clearly don’t read much fiction) 🙂
Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – My favorite heroine of all time!
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett— Just loved!

So many thank yous to all these beautiful, vulnerable, tenacious artists living bravely in the world. 

If reading has left your life, maybe 2018 is a year to wonder about it again? It has been super enriching to add back to mine.

An Uncanny Change

I used to think I had an anxious horse.

I’ve since realized I have a very psychic horse, and I was actually a bit anxious.

In my recent season of more quiet and space, my horse has completely transformed!

I made you a video!

(Remember this is the horse that stepped on my head and would get so freaked in the woods she would occasionally rear and race home.)

Here she is today calmly learning to bow and graciously hosting Charlotte’s first ride on her back.

It’s easy to get so busy that you don’t even realize the energies you are being.

But as you choose peace and joy and ease… those around you will feel it. And like my horse, they just might change as well.

What can you gift yourself this season to have more of those energies?

The space filled?

Light filled?

Angst-less ones?

Are you willing to do less this season? And have and be more?

Blessings and gratitude to my FB friends and family this year. Merry Christmas to all!

P.S. For those following my horse saga…

This sweet horse was named Tormenta, and since my accident she has really wanted a new name. After months of wondering and many lists, she is now officially Maia.

Happy happy girl!