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Enlisting The 3rd Side

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“If the imagination cannot or does not create a new direction, the will can only move in a circle.” – Michael Yapko, Ph.D.

How much fighting, yelling, postcard writing will it take to get the other side to agree? Is agreement even possible?

In my house, we have a new (somewhat torturous) pass time of flipping back and forth between CNN & Fox News to marvel at the diametrically opposed reporting of current events. Reconciliation looks near impossible.

Bill Ury, American author of Getting to Yes and conflict resolution expert says the secret to achieving peace is the 3rd side. The 3rd side are those committed to standing in community around the disagreement, willing to put their view point aside in order to understand the underlying concerns and despair behind the two positions. The role of the 3rd side is to continuously take the 2 sides to the balcony, focusing their attention on their common-good desires so they can meet at the table and attack the problems rather than each other.

While on the surface things are very troubling and tense, I dare say we are in the midst of updating our species credo. Yes, the optimist in me says if we can hang in there and learn peaceful conflict resolution, that this is the birth of a new cosmology for humanity. If you listen behind the positions to what we are debating, we are collectively dissecting our core beliefs around what is right, just, humane. It’s high time.

Playing fields are changing. In this world conversation, voices are weighing in from all corners of the globe. Through our actions and missteps, I am confident that the most coherent path will make itself obvious to us, hopefully without much further destruction and harm.

In times that call for our activism in the world, it is more vital than ever that we do our inner work by addressing our own fears that make us want to annhilate the opposing viewpoint.  We need to recognize that when this urge arises, that we are feeling deeply threatened. Our job is to attend to that first consciously and compassionately, reminding ourselves who is boss.  And, once we can reclaim our inherent power, it is much easier to have compassion for the other side, which is where Bill Ury says that peace begins….


Decide Who’s Boss

cxj7iaiqos4-stefan-raynerIts pretty simple. We must decide who’s boss. We will never have total control over outer circumstances and other people, but when it comes to our state of being, we are the ones ultimately in control. And, my friends, this is where it really matters, as our state of being is what truly determines our experience of reality.

If you find yourself fearful these days, or waking up in the middle of the night haunted by what you witnessed on the news…if  you drag yourself out of bed most mornings anything short of brimming with hope, then I challenge you to look at what part of you has given authority to a dissonant, vibrationally-foreign storyline.

I have found myself here more than once, recently. And then I remind myself, I hold the highest office in the land when it comes to how I feel, what I believe is possible. I determine the quality and conditions of my life. It is not some person in public office, unless I decide to let their story trump mine. We must not be too swept away by the tales of these times. We have to maintain our hold on the steering wheel.

Our dispirited cultural myths have conditioned us to do this. Generations of humans have believed an outer authority determines their fate. That was our collective child consciousness. We are growing up now. Yes, it is not all up to us. There is a force of mystery in the universe that we play with, that the rishis of India called ‘Leela’.  I call it life, which to me feels best in describing it’s ineffable quality. You can call it God, love, energy or whatever you are comfortable with. We are in partnership with this force. It’s a collaboration. But as a whole, I believe we totally underestimate our power in this partnership.

Try this: Change your attitude. Ingest a diet high in positive thoughts . Set aside time each day for intentional day dreaming about your life. Not the fantasies about what you fear, but the fantasies about what you would love to do, who you would love to be, if anything were possible, if it were up to you to write the script…because it is.



Calling On The Big Self


Ya know that part of you that tells you exactly what you need – that inner, often rogue voice that has no interest in pleasing, that will defy the voice of reason and resist demands for productivity if little you is out of integrity with who you are and why you are here?

Yeah, we’re talking Big You, whose sole purpose is to maintain your trajectory toward your soul purpose. Big You has its eye on your best life, optimal heath and wellbeing, and most importantly, you being able to successfully bring the full gift of you into this world.

What happens when you listen to Big You? What happens when you don’t?

Cultural myths train us to attach our sense of self-worth to how much we get done and how we measure up to outer standards. Each of us came here to do something specific, something unique. We are on a mission to give something and to grow something in ourselves. The answer for what to do and how to do it is not anywhere “out there”.

My 6th Tracking Wonder #Quest2017 prompt today comes from author JOCELYN K GLEIHow can you shift your focus from “keeping busy” to “leaving a legacy”?   

I have begun a practice of listening each morning. Before I get out of bed, I allow for 15-20 minutes of silently connecting with my inner being. I start by becoming aware of my inner body, especially the region of my heart. I recall my deepest desires, feel into what I want to do while I am on this earth, who I imagine myself being and how I want to love.
I place all my attention on this energy and as I do, it grows. I enjoy this 15-20 minutes of basking in who I truly am. I feel the power and intelligence of this greater self. Feelings of struggle, separation and aloneness diminish.
I rise, make my smoothie and tea, and begin sculpting my day. I run an integrity check once I am finished my to-do list, making sure that all tasks aligns with the vision of my Big Self.
With Big Self in the ultimate driver seat, my mind is able to release the the burden of having to figure out how to make it all happen. In fact, I have learned that the mind can slow our progress by getting over involved in the “how”.  It really is not the job of the mind, but of the Big Self.  More on that later!






Go With Oneself – Lead


I hear consensus among clients, colleagues and friends is that this is no time to hang back. The current state of affairs in our world is summoning our participation and leadership like never before. Something evolutionarily significant is happening here and there seems to be a great deal at stake.

Big Self – the one within us that is here on purpose – is watchful and ready to take it’s place among the architects of this new phase. We are called to live by our convictions and offer our input in new and profound ways…

When my kids were young, I was something of a superpower. They attributed far greater omniscience to me than was warranted – a normal and necessary phase in childhood and one of the delightful perks of early parenthood. As they each grow, the playing field begins to level and they of course eventually realize, I ain’t all that.  Surrendering one’s parental high hat is a rite of passage and necessary so they can lead.

This is the phase I see humanity in right now. As we emerge from our species childhood, we are naturally questioning authority, losing faith in our leaders and enduring the chaos that comes with breaking our dependence. We are becoming more aware of our individual creative and generative power  – the authority within us, questioning, exploring and struggling to define who we are in this world. Each of us is getting an auspicious chance to reflect personally on who we are, why we are here and how we will lead. It takes courage to follow through, to step up and bring ourselves into life.

“Where are you going to go deeper this year, where can you be brave enough to bring forth even more of yourself — to infuse your work, creativity and business with that which is uniquely YOU, thus inspiring others to do more of the same? What could that look like in 2017 for you? #BringYouForward”  (#Quest 2017 prompt by Kristen Noel)

This same self-reflection is occurring in the collective consciousness. Humanity is in the process of reassessing it’s identity and role in the universe.

Who are we? Why are we here? How and what will we create? 

The pronounced disagreement and conflict, particularly in the social-political sphere, is reflective of the many opinions. This is a time of gathering up ideas and each weighing in. But, beware, fear makes us believe we have to compete with our opinions, annihilate or dehumanize the opposing point of view.

Beneath fear is awareness of our unity. And, unity consciousness illuminates that, yes, we are accountable to bring ourselves forward, stay tuned and involved, but also trusting of this evolutionary process.

I have faith that our illusions about who we are will not sustain us. I trust humanity will arrive at a collective truth and a deep remembering that will inform us in recreating our world.

This post was inspired by my colleague, Brit Bravos post: How are you being called to be brave and lead in 2017? And, Tracking Wonder’s free online, annual event Quest 2017 and the above prompt by  Kristen Noel.






Well Within

so_grdf3sto-marco-de-waalI imagine a deep well within me – a rich, fertile, sanctified landscape at the center of my being that is untouched by the traumas and dramas of my surface existence, an inner stream of wellness, the source of my life force and vitality, a portal into my eternal nature…

…a locus of knowing that gets it already and understands full well I am on a wild joy ride… the place from which I have come, the place from which I emerge into the world and through which I make my returns momentarily, daily, and at the end of life.

I anchor myself here.  When my outer life is particularly stormy or disorienting, or I feel any disturbance whatsoever, I know to reestablish my connection to my well within.

It reassures me to make this contact.  I am reminded of the ultimate truth; that I am infinitely safe beyond any real need for safety, and that I am here for the full experience of life; the love, the joy, the sorrow…

I am well within when I am connected to this well within me.  My awareness of the full dimension of my nature moves to the forefront of my consciousness.  I am aware of my origins, aware of my ultimate nature, I am aware of what an amazing landscape this outer universe is, teeming with richness and variety.

I am aware that on this joy ride, I get to choose to place my focus anywhere I want, to choose what I will give my life force to and what I will let go to seed within me and what I want to flower.

I have learned that what I focus on is what grows around me, and that focus by focus, thought by thought, emotion by emotion, I create the characters, story lines and conditions of my life…

photo by Marco De Waal


Growing Up as a Species

We have colluded with a world that denies our true nature, making it an unsustainable world. In our growing up as a species, it is time to realize that we, as individuals, have an ability and an accountability to affect a new reality.


I grew up believing the world is a dangerous place. But, after a whole lot of suffering and some careful deliberation, I have changed my mind.

Reality is magical. I can observe my perception of it changing from one thought to the next.

When I notice the world around me looking ominous, I pause, reel in, examining my thoughts and what they reflect about my strongest beliefs.  Though contextual elements vary, I can always find one of these dispirited myths at the source:





1. Pause & Observe the Underlying Myth

The first thing I do is allow myself to feel compassion for my feelings. Yeah, these are powerful cultural myths being fed and reflected to us at every turn! They have been drilled into us for a long time through our creation stories, nursery rhymes, media, politics and personal relationships. We are well-practiced at them, like it or not.

Just as I would comfort one of my children suffering emotional pain, so I comfort the child in me. It’s tough being human. By doing diligence around this act of self-compassion, I not only make myself feel better, I also do not have to store the emotional pain to be dealt with at a later time.  Maybe you can also appreciate one less piece of emotional baggage. 😉

2. Update the Story

Next, I consciously change the thought. If “I am separate” is the myth currently getting the most airtime in my head, I identify the antidote – the medicinal thought to counteract this rather poisonous one. What thought do I prefer? What is more true?

My new thought could be simply, “I belong”.  I belong to this earth, this species. I am inextricably linked to everything everywhere when it comes right down to it. And I have a strong belief that I am needed to do my part, just like everyone else.

3. Look for Evidence

Next, I look for evidence to support my new thought. As I look for it, lo and behold, I begin to see it in my environment. I see how alike we are in so many ways. I see how we all want the same thing at our core. I see how we effect one another, how we effect our environment and how our environment effects us. The dispirited myth of separation begins to look comical.

Before I know it, my perception of my world has morphed. I see a world of compassion. I see a world I am undeniably a part of, a world to which I belong. I see our similarities as we are all trying to secure ourselves, to find our way, to do what we think we are supposed to be doing. I see myself in you, and you in everything.

Am I out of touch with reality? Or, am I choosing which to align with? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s talk. Comment in the box below.

What does it serves to focus on a negative reality? How can we address negative situations while maintaining our energetic allegiance to the reality we prefer?

Let’s discuss that next post.




Electing our own Leadership

14939951_1321107377922144_5588802022670295908_oIf we woke up this morning and Clinton had won by the razors edge, we would still have a very big problem – we are a species fiercely divided, both within and without. Fear, violence and hatred are par for the course in our societies and our inner lives.

As much as I am grieving this outcome, as much as I am struck and stymied that we could elect a leader whose campaign blatantly promoted ignorance, hatred, misogyny, bigotry and xenophobia… I know that the “winner” faces a daunting reality of trying to govern a nation fiercely divided and in chaos.

For non-Trump supporters this outcome forces greater awakening and does not allow us to fall back asleep. It has forced me to continuously contend with the part of me that wants to hate back. But I have watched carefully how that impulse only hurts me and gets me no closer to what I truly want. It moves me farther from who I really am.

This election has challenged my capacity to see the humanity in everyone, to see how at the heart of it, we all want the same thing – we want better lives. And we are each trying to define a structure for how that can happen.

We cannot look to our politicians to provide us with better lives, freedom to be who we are and happiness. This is an inner stance, make no mistake. Please take that inner stance. Support your reality from within. Hold that inner strength and command. Accept nothing less than your greatest vision for your life and your world. I believe humanity has the potential to wake up here. I believe that waking up can and, in this case, does look like this.

This outcome presents us with a golden opportunity to see who we really are. And this election has shown us also that we cannot sit back and assume someone else will speak on our behalf.

I elect my own leadership. I pledge to bring forth my voice fully. I claim my power over my life, my destiny. I implore you to accept nothing less and to do your best not to succumb to a bleak picture of our future.

Who’s Calling?

Screenshot 2016-08-25 19.18.36I was introduced us to the concept of a calling by the Catholic Sisters that taught me throughout grade school. They informed us small humans that God would be calling a certain percentage of us to the religious life, meaning the convent or the priesthood. They let us know that denial was futile. If we were being called, we would eventually have to answer. All of about 8 years old, I could think of nothing worse than a life in the convent. I feared the call and prayed God would take no notice of me.

I was lead to believe that my calling was an outer voice.

The greater part of my recovery from depression (which began for me at a very early age) included redefining defeating beliefs inherent within my religious and cultural myths. I believe my depression was a spiritual response to having to diminish the dreamer inside, the imaginal being that I was, the one to whom conforming to an outer authority literally meant death – the death of my unique purpose and my mission.

Our calling is the voice of authority within us, calling us to wake up to exactly who we are, to create the life that resonates with us at our core. I believe the majority of our problems stem from resistance to our own natural unfolding.

I healed by questioning the root principles of the myths that defined my cultural cosmology. I forged my own relationship to the spiritual. I felt into what was most true for me and began the process of realigning my nervous system to the beliefs that lifted rather than repressed me. My depression ceased over a dozen years ago and I have no expectation of it returning.

I have shared this with many of my young students and adult clients over the years, and in raising my own three children. At the same time, I encouraged them to seek out what is uniquely true for them. I imagine how our world would be different if we offered this guardianship to our young:

Follow your joy and excitement, child. It is your own vibrational guidance informing you that you are on your true path.

Never dismiss your wildest dreams, as they have efficacy and purpose in showing you who you came to be.

Do what you care about. It is your path of least resistance and will enable your native brilliance and enduring creativity.

Follow your wonder, child. It is designed to show you what you care about, but more importantly, what you have promised to caretake and serve.

Much Love,



Who’s Calling?

Screenshot 2016-08-25 19.18.36I was introduced us to the concept of a ‘calling’ by the Catholic Sisters that taught me throughout grade school. God, they informed us small humans, would be calling a certain percentage of us to the religious life, meaning the convent or the priesthood. They let us know that denial was futile. If we were being called, we would eventually have to answer. It was God after all. All of about 8 years old, I could think of nothing worse than a life in the convent. I feared the call and prayed he would not notice me.

I was lead to believe that my calling as an outer voice.

A large part of my recovery from depression, which began for me at a very early age, included redefining defeating beliefs inherent in the religious and cultural myths into which I was born. I believe my depression was a spiritual response to having to diminish the dreamer inside, the imaginal being that I was, the one to whom conforming to an outer authority literally meant death in the most profound sense – the death of my unique purpose and my mission.

Our calling is the voice of authority within us, calling us to wake up to exactly who we are, to create the life that resonates with our most genuine nature. Most of our problems stem from resisting this unfolding.

I reeducated myself and my depression has not returned in over a decade. I have taught my own children this. I have shared this with my young students and my adult clients…

Follow your joy, child, it will lead you to where you are wanting to go. Follow your excitement, child. It is the vibrational resonance telling you that you are on your way to who you came to be. Follow your wonder, child. It wants to show you what you care about and what you have come to caretake and serve. Never dismiss your wildest dreams, as they have efficacy and purpose in showing you who you came to be. Do only what you care about as it is your path of least resistance, activating your native intelligence and creativity. 





Leaving The Old Story

Photoxpress_9773760153a4-1What stops you from fully owning your Gift?  Why do you hesitate to craft your authentic life and assert your small but epic note into the collective chorus?

You might conjure reasons such as a scarcity of time and/or money.   You might question your authority and whether you truly have anything of value to offer.  You may feel powerless in your ability to change.  It may all seem very risky.

These limiting storylines are strongly rooted in our cosmology; our belief about who we are in relationship to the world.  We are growing up as a species and our collective self-image is in flux.   In many ways, we have viewed ourselves as children in a hostile universe.   As the picture evolves though, the human being is recognizing the potential for a dynamic and interdependent partnership with life.

Here are just three ‘old story’ tenets that could be keeping you from bringing your essential gift to life:

1) We live in a dangerous and punitive world.   When this is the story, we expend a great deal of energy to stay safe.  We do not trust our world will embrace our uniqueness because we believe, from our earliest conditioning, that standing outside the pack is potentially deadly.  Making our way in the world is a battle.  Smarter to run for cover and seek the security of the known path.

2) We do not have authority.  The concept of an outer authority, or God, is deeply lodged in the collective unconscious.  We struggle to own our power, our capacity to effect, our right to choose what we do with our lives.   The story of ‘original sin’ speaks to this sense of being innately flawed and unworthy, like bad kids.  When stepping out and speaking up, we harbor the collective fear and guilt, as if this is a form of disobedience.  We grapple with this question of who is really in charge of our lives.

3) We are not worthy of happiness.  By adulthood most people are more accustomed to, and therefore more at ease with, suffering than happiness.  A client of mine remembers her Aunt rebuking her as a child, “You did not really expect to be happy, did you?!”   Before conditioning, yes, happiness is home base.  The first time this doctrine is reflected, it comes as a shock.  In my late teens, I struggled with depression and my father said,  “Amy, all good McTears are depressed.”    He was hoping to make light of it, but the idea was devastating to me.  I had been expecting happiness.  (Luckily for me, he unknowingly triggered my inner rebel who had a really difficult time accepting this ‘Life sucks and then you die’ precept.  Henceforth, the life work.  Thanks, Dad;)  I love you.)

So how do you see yourself in relation to your world?  What has been your story?  And what story do you choose now?

Stay tuned, I’ll be back to offer you a New Story….


The Quest of Every Awakening Being

15027435_1328805540485661_3332381999672964717_nI believe each of us holds within something essential for the whole.  I have learned that personal happiness and well being are inextricably tied to this offering.  I have seen that it ultimately becomes the quest of every awakening being to discover their gift and bring it to life.

Notice I said ‘quest’ and not ‘walk in the park’.   Self discovery can be arduous. It requires ruthless determination, fierce dedication and resilience.  Inner work is notoriously messy and you will certainly find yourself going to the mat with the crew inside your head, those internalized voices of cultural and mental conditioning that imprison the heart, entice you to play it safe, go back to sleep or live someone else’ life kinda well.

But the payoff is big.  Nothing compares to this reunion with inner voice.  Nothing will help you navigate your life more clearly or sit more comfortably in yourself.  Nothing leads you to deeper satisfaction or greater fulfillment than reflecting brightly your truest self into the web…