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Wake Up Festival 2014!

Friends we are so happy to announce and invite you to the 2014 Wake Up Festival!

The Wake Up Festival is a five-day immersion experience in personal and collective transformation. It’s the largest and only festival of its kind, uniting renowned spiritual teachers, bestselling authors, healers, scientists, poets, yogis, and lovers of life within the context of an open-hearted, uplifting community.

The Wake Up Festival is not your usual “festival.” It’s not about outer activities; it’s about inner exploration and discovery. We think of it as a feast of life-changing insights with just the right amount of practice to enable us to truly embody what we learn. You’ll be invited to approach awakening through meditation, personal writing, qigong, yoga, dance, shadow work, and more. And we will do it as individuals each supported by our Wake Up community.

We hope to see you all in August!

Walking a Path of Power

Recently, I had the pleasure of recording The Power Path Training: Living the Secrets of the Inner Shaman with husband-and-wife teachers and shamanic practitioners José and Lena Stevens. In the course of our days together in the studio, I encountered a number of concepts that I found I could immediately put into practice in my own life with powerful results.

At the core of their teaching is the idea that we are part of a vast web of relationship, and that the universe is brimming with beings and powers who can serve as allies in our own unfolding. In fact, in their view, everything in our environment—not only the spirits or totems we might normally think of as power animals, but natural forces like wind and water, heavenly bodies like the sun and stars, as well as other humans past and present—can offer us support and serve as medicine to help bring us into balance. All these sources of power are available to us at every step of the journey.

But the Stevens teach that the key to accessing that power and using it wisely lies in mastering our relationship to ourselves—as bodies, as emotional and mental beings, and as pure spirit. To act from our essence—our true nature as spirit—we must identify the fears and desires of the false personality, learning to navigate the world from a place of neutrality instead of reactivity. Shifting from the reactivity of the personality to the neutrality of spirit is not a one-time choice, but rather the result of thousands of small choices.

Since the recording, I’ve tried to remember in moments of reactivity (with varying degrees of success) that my reactions have an impact in ways I can’t possibly fathom. I’ve tried to see those situations that throw me out of neutrality not as problems, but as gifts that show me where I have work to do, where my fears and desires get in the way of clear seeing.

Perhaps the most powerful practice I’ve worked to do as I move through my day is simply to pause and recognize all the allies working on my behalf all the time. It’s easy to forget the miraculous blessing of just being here—of being on this planet in the whole vast galaxy, just far enough from the nurturing sun that we can survive; of living in a place where there is food and water and a culture which allows some degree of ease; of being among other humans who love us and whom we love; of breathing this air that sustains us. I’ve found that cultivating this underlying sense of gratitude helps me maintain equilibrium when things go “wrong” and equanimity when “problems” arise.

What habitual reactions prevent you from living from your essence? And what allies are available, right now in this moment, to support you in acting in love, from your deepest nature?


There is a light alive within the darkness

Will you hold another who has been touched by the darkness within? Will you love them enough to allow them to fall apart in your arms? To unravel, to become unglued, and to feel unbearably lost as the wisdom of their process unfolds? Will you be the space in which they can finally meet the feelings and emotions that have been kept at bay for a lifetime?

To love another in this way you must touch everything that is unresolved within you – all of your own unmet sadness, abandoned shame, discarded grief, and deserted aloneness. You are willing to no longer stay safe on the sidelines. You are willing to get messy. Even gooey and drippy.

Will you set aside your need for the other to change, to be different, to be “cured,” to be transformed, and to be healed? Will you resist the temptation to talk them out of their embodied experience, to tell them everything will be okay, and to dishonor the creativity hidden inside the unwanted? Will you allow your heart to break with them, and endure the urge inside you to put it all back together again? Will you fall into the unknown with them, holding them close, and provide a home for their brokenness?

To care about others, yourself, and the world in this way you must stay radically embodied. You are no longer interested in transcending suffering, confusion, and neurosis, for you see these as thundering expressions of the path itself. Please don’t turn away. As your attention moves out into the conceptual world, return to the wild intelligence of your body, for it is there that love is working behind the scenes, giving birth to its sweet activity in this dimension.

It is in this factory of love, which is operating as the temple of your own body, where the sacred world is revealing its essential secrets of healing: there is no “other,” there has never been an “other,” and there could never be an “other.” There is only the reflection of your own being.

Love is taking the pieces of your heart and is using them to re-assemble the world in front of you, each as an invitation sent to reveal to you the preciousness of what is really happening here.


Preparing you for what is next

Look close and see what it is that you do not want to feel, that you will do anything to avoid, that no matter what you… will… not… go… there. Your dependency. Your aloneness. Your hatred. Your utter despair. Your conviction that you are not actually lovable as you are.

Take pause. Things are not what they seem. For love is alive, and is all. Touch the earth. Look up into the sky. Call out for help. Crumble to the ground. Fall apart and give up the fantasy that you will ever, ever, ever be put back together again. Breathe this abandoned feeling into your heart. Hold it. Touch it. Let it unravel its secrets. Let it dance within you. Let it unlock each and every strategy, defense, and piece of armor protecting you. It will not destroy you. It has come as fierce grace to reveal how infinite you really are.

What you are is pristine, luminous consciousness itself. Even the greatest despair, the most terrifying fear, the most profound grief – these rise and fall in you, liberating in your awareness, in your care, and in your kindness. Your body and your heart are a sanctuary for love’s movement. Your body is a factory of grace.

See that there is nothing here working against you. Everything in this world is comprised of the same particles of love, which take shape as the galaxies, the oceans, and as the cells of your heart. They illuminate the strands of your DNA and the synapses in your brain. Love is everywhere.

Watch carefully how love appears as light and appears as dark, as wisdom and confusion, as joy and as sadness, and as human and divine, come only to prepare you for what is next. And what is next after that.


Love would never ask you to hold it all together

There is a movement within you to hold it all together
To know how the journey will unfold
To know what the unknown will bring
But love was never designed to provide these things
Love is out of control and wants to show you everything
It wants your ordinariness, your humility, your broken-openness, so that it may finally reach you
Love would never ask you to hold it all together, for it wants only to take you apart, to show you what is waiting to be born within you


The light within the darkness

In speaking with a friend this morning, I was reminded of the great bias in our culture toward the light and away from the darkness. When we meet with a friend who is depressed, introverted, shut down, or otherwise not beaming and joyful, we become quite convinced, quite quickly, that something is wrong. We scramble to put them back together, to remind them of all the gifts in their life, to let them know everything will be better soon. Of course this is natural. But much of this also arises out of our own discomfort and anxiety around the darkness, and all that is unresolved within us. Perhaps as little ones it was not safe to feel these feelings, not to mention express them.

It is possible the kindest thing we can offer to our precious friend is to sit in the darkness with them, so that they know that we are fully here with them; we do not need to remove them from the darkness, we do not need them to “heal,” “transform,” be happy or awaken – we will love them as they are. We resist the temptation to project our unlived life upon them.

Love is the totality, it is whole, it is raging and alive in the darkness, shining brightly in its own way. Within this darkness, this sadness, this grief, this existential aloneness is something very real, breaking through the dream of partiality. There is a richness here, something is happening, but what that is does not support conventional egoic process; nor does it support our cultural fantasy of a life of invulnerability. Here, everything is alive, everything is path, everything is God. God is not only the joy and sweetness, but comes at times as Kali to reorder your world. We can hold hands with our friend and look at Kali together and finally see what she has to say.



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