Our Fire Walk Experience
On December 1, 2000 my sixteen year old son and I traveled to Florida to experience one of the most incredible 4 days that has truly expanded our world. We attended the Anthony Robbins Unleash the Power Within seminar and never will I forget the power of Will and Belief that can change and improve any situation, and accomplish any far reaching goal! It was simply that amazing! If you ever want to break old belief patterns like “I can’t…”, then you must allow yourself to step outside of that box (of limiting beliefs) long enough to see what really is possible. It will change your life forever that’s a promise. I truly believe that life is just a continual journey of never ending growth and evolution. You and I are not who we once were ten years ago or last year , or even in this very moment now just as you read this newsletter. Each moment of your life offers an opportunity to grow, to change and to become something more than you could ever imagine possible. In each moment we have the option to put aside our core values and beliefs, to open our eyes and ears to what’s in front of us…the present moment and ask, “What new information seems important to me? What am I being asked to understand or perhaps even change in myself?” Our present moment offers the seed, the potential of becoming a new insight. And that new insight automatically alters our core beliefs, values, memories, attitudes, hopes and aspirations that set us on a totally new direction in life. We are always invited to grow…it is always our choice.
Just imagine what it was like preparing for the seminar and…. the fire walk. I have to admit, I had two very conflicting voices going on inside my head. One being “If Tony can do it than it must be possible. And if it’s possible for all those people who’ve attended previous seminars then it’s possible for me. The other not so positive voice was, “What if I can’t do it? Or worse yet what if this whole thing is a just a gimmick? What if I burn my feet??” And then I placed the stakes even higher by bringing my son along! “Was I nuts?”, maybe. Well, feeling the fear didn’t stop me from going, I guess my belief of “If anyone can do it, then I can too” won over the fear of the unknown, what if and the known, flesh does burn….. that is until the time got closer to the fire walk. My anxiety rose as I compared myself to the high energy of other participants as they were instructed to access their power move or trance state (which, by the way is an essential piece of a successful fire walk). I, on the other hand, did not feel like jumping up & down crazily, I just wanted to center myself peacefully and visualize the only person I could trust to go with me Jesus. And still yet I wondered if I was supposed to be like everybody else. So I brought my concerns to one assistant. He asked me to access my trance state while he observed (in NLP its called calibrating), so I did and with a big smile on his face he said “You’ll be just fine.” Whewwww…feeling much more calm, I proceeded to check on my sons’ power move, and worry encroached me. I was careful not to let on about my motherly concern and trusted that the adult men that had befriended Drew would watch over him. Their glances at me let me know he would be just fine. Of course my son was so fired up he went before me and, wouldn’t you know, they had just put on more hot coals, twelve feet of glowing hot embers of somewhere between fifteen hundred and two thousand degrees Fahrenheit. Drew did his move and stepped out like a ‘man on a mission’. Incredible, I was so proud and excited for him.
I was next, a few butterflies still swirling around in my stomach. Hearing the voices and sounds of exuberant support from all around me, I moved into position. And just before my first step, I could feel my body become still and peaceful as I slowly performed my power move, a deep meditative breath accessing my divine connection. I stepped out and looked up at the beautiful starlit sky ….and before I knew it, the fire walk was over. It felt like a dream. I wanted to remain in that state forever, it was like being immortal.
How can the physical body defy logic or what we think to be true? How is it humanly possible to walk on fire when science still scoffs at the notion, and yet there are many cultures still today that commonly practice these extraordinary feats. Something extraordinary happens to our body when we access different states of mind, trance states, where suddenly every cell obeys a higher command. Every cell, every particle responds and changes. I believe that higher command has everything to do with BELIEVING. The first step is being open and then accepting those possibilities as your own reality.
So what did the fire walk do for me? I’m still contemplating. I’m still integrating. Walking on fire certainly threw out some very old beliefs and created some very powerful new ones. I realize the limitations that I accepted at one time no longer serve my desire to experience life with newness and wonder. The more conscious I become the more changes I can make in my life. And I know that collective societies establish structures or boundaries in order to create some false sense of security or stability. Limitations which we all accept….that is until a few curious and perhaps brave souls step out side the circle and lead us to new insights. We call them inventors, explorers, philosophers, visionaries, teachers.
Love the Gift of You
( published in March 2012 issue of Alive & Well magazine )
Allow the meaning of this message to settle deeply within your soul. The gift of you is a priceless knowing that originates from your authentic self. Look beyond the limited ego mind, at the deepest center of your heart, there is a beautiful garden that emanates your limitless and eternal essence. It is your most true self, your divine perfection. There is nothing that you need to do to prove it, for this perfect self is your soul’s truth, no matter who you ‘think’ you are or what you’ve accomplished up to this point.
Do you know when you are living life through this truth? Do you recognize when you have stepped out of it? What does it really mean to see and know the gift of you? Do you measure this by your physical appearance, bank account, possessions, past achievements or even what you do for others? Do you use “better than or less than” language in order for you to believe you are a gift? If so you have not fully tapped into your authentic nature, or the real reason of why you are here at this time.
Allow me to help shift your focus, taking you on a journey from the outer world to connecting to the inner landscape of your mind, body and soul. This journey will help you face the in-authentic judging mind of limiting beliefs and perceptions to the beautiful garden of your true essence. Take a moment now… to close your eyes and begin to notice your breath in and breath out. Notice how your body responds to the shallowness or the fullness of each breath. As you follow with relaxed awareness give yourself permission to enjoy this present moment for as long as you like. Recognize that your thinking mind will want to take your focus elsewhere. So when you realize that you have stepped out of mind and body connection then, simply stop and redirect your attention back to your body and your breath again. When you are ready bring your awareness to your center again, deep within your heart. This is the part of you that knows the gift of you, and celebrates you! Visit here often, and develop a trusting relationship with this part of you. Know and trust that your most precious light is always here, no matter the past transgression. As you spend time here, you will understand what I mean. Here all self loathing subsides and only Love abides. This is the energy that we are all made of and are always connected to in one form or another. Now imagine, yourself experiencing your ideal life. What will your days be like when you choose to greet each morning embracing your essential wisdom? How will you see yourself and others when you look through the lens of your true nature? When we live life through this knowingness, we live with more joy, passion, peace and love, each moment becomes an eternal moment of bliss….and magic abounds. Let go of the lies of what and who your ego thinks you are, and touch the truth…..
Love the Gift of you.
The Connection between Health & Divine Influence
(This article was previously written and published in the 1999 August issue of
Twin Cities Wellness newspaper)
I guess I’ve always had an understanding that true healing and spirituality are deeply interlinked. Looking back I remember even as a child about age 4, my spirituality and desire to make things well, were so much a part of me that when I unintentionally injured a grasshopper, my first response was to connect to Divine power to heal it. So the question is, does this infer that humans have an inborn ability to align themselves with a superior power and make things whole? I believe it does. And I believe that all healing modalities need to acknowledge this interconnectedness in order to bring about the greatest outcome for their patients. This has nothing to do with religion. And I am not implying to anyone that it’s okay to impinge their traditions on another. I am simply honoring the part of healing that still remains a mystery to our intellectual minds.
The Whole Human Being
And why is it that some people, after many treatments, still only find temporary relief from their symptoms? In part this is because the treatment only addressed the physical signs. But we know that healing goes deeper than the physical. It also encompasses one’s emotional, mental and spiritual state of being, whether one is conscious or unconscious of it. And that there are many reasons for injury or illness, far too numerous to mention. But this stands to reason why some people don’t completely recover until all levels of being are addressed. This also explains why many are exploring medicines from indigenous cultural traditions, because they incorporate the whole human being.
Wisdom From The Sages
Of course I too am on a personal path to wholeness and because of this I became drawn to study and respect the art of Traditional Chinese Medicine, specifically through Shiatsu and other Oriental Bodywork therapies as well as Qigong (pronounced chee-kung) healing. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) acquired its wisdom from the sages, the philosophers and scholars, that experienced the universal interconnectedness of everything. They saw with their minds eye, the whole universe inside the smallest of all forms; that the human body resembled everything observed from the exterior world. And that every part of the body could tell the story of something deeper within it, right down to the soles of your feet, the palms of your hands, the ears and even by looking at the tongue! These parts are used often to access and treat internal and external disharmonies. In the east, each vital organ has an emotional and a spiritual aspect. And therefore by treating specific energetic pathways that are associated with these organs, one can receive benefits on all levels. But I hesitate to merely suggest that it is only the body’s intelligence and a practitioners skillful hands that attain true healing, this is not so. True healing can only happen through our sincere and pure intent and aligning this intention with the purest and strongest energy. The energy that comes from the universe, or God the one from which all things come. This is also the qigong way.
Our Own Responsibility
I also am aware that we as recipients of healing need to be active participants. I remind my clients that the ability to heal also depends on their mind/body awareness and their openness to receive it. Some are conscious of it, others are not. But the more conscious we are of our healing journey the more permanent the changes will be. Receiving bodywork and practicing meditation, through the observation of these practices, help us to realize how imbalanced our lives have become and remind us to make life style changes that will support a healthier state of being. The need for our western minds to slow down and become consciously aware of our body is essential for our growth and development on all levels. So begin your journey, return to Wholeness and Holiness. Acknowledge and Honor the Divine Mystery of healing. #spiritual#selfdevelopment
Men, Women and Our Spiritual Growth
So why have I decided to share my thoughts and inspirations on the topic of men, women, our spiritual growth and love relationships?
On a world scale the human race is in great need for unity, love and peace at this time. The need for coming together to support each other is more important than possibly at any other time in history. There is a new social – cultural paradigm that is changing how we choose relationships. And it requires conscious personal healing and what I like to call ‘soul growth’. Each individual man and woman a like, needs to find their own balance of the strength and gentleness of character that we all are capable of. Personal healing that takes us through forgiveness, self-love, empowerment, into self-discovery and expression of our own truth even higher into levels of the soul’s purpose for being here at this time. When we have done enough of our own self improvement we then can look at each other as our mirrors. And when we see love in someone else’s face we have done so because it was a reflection of the love that we offer to another. On the flip side if we have not done our own personal healing we may only see judgment and imperfection because that is all we see in ourselves. This path of transformation into wholeness is part of our soul’s personal journey and it is also our responsibility to the rest of the world.
I also chose to write about this topic because on the lighter side I am intrigued by the fact that millions of men are spending thousands of dollars yearly on dating services, personal ads and match.com internet services seeking to find that one and only special someone that they can share their life with and experience mutual love and companionship and yet have seemingly no or very little interest in pursuing personal growth and spiritual development. Most modern men have caught on that modern women are independent; financially, academically and professionally successful in their own right and have even in some cases chosen to adopt or raise children on their own instead of waiting for their mate. But while women pursued these endeavors they also discovered that the exterior world of materialism wasn’t enough and intuitively felt drawn back to the creative and more spiritual side of living. Very few men attend workshops or retreats healing, and spiritual change, nor do they gravitate toward self-help books. Even more interesting is that the majority of self-help books are written by and for women, because women are more likely to purchase them. In fact if you’re a male reading this article you’re roughly 90% ahead of your peers. This is not a bad wrap against you guys, its just how our ancestors set us up.
I do believe the scorecards need to be more even. Men and women need to evolve on more equal plains. Even though men exceed women when it comes to climbing the ladder of net income, women have led the way in the area of spiritual growth because on some perspective they were directly told the rules of the game while men have not even been handed a rule book and seemingly sent to left field trying to figure it out on their own. What I mean by this is, women were first taught their soft side. For the most part they were taught to express their emotions and it has always been socially acceptable for women to talk about deep personal concerns with other women friends. Having it ‘ok’ to talk girl talk allowed them more opportunity to resolve and heal their past hurts. While men on the other hand were socialized to be tough, forget about their pain and maybe it’ll all go away. It was certainly ok in some men circles to express anger but only through aggression. And that has only promoted improper use of power over another, instead of teaching them to validate their pain and work at resolving their past.
And because more women are pursuing self improvement that has moved beyond physical fitness, emotional healing and academic and professional intellect right into soul searching for the deeper meaning of fulfillment, in their own lives and in their relationships. That’s right the rules are changing in partnering again. Most women are not looking to stay home and be provided for. Most women are looking for equal partnerships, soul mates. I also found while researching that most men who are looking to find a loving mate are not necessarily looking for a spiritually evolved woman. But hold on! The opposite is true for women. So how on earth does one choose their soul mate? And what does the term soul mate actually mean?
I believe the term soul mate means; partnering with someone who is like you or compliments your life on many levels. And it is true too, that soul mates can be one who will challenge you to grow more spiritually. I also do believe that there is more than one soul mate and choosing to stay with one that you love deeply yet challenges you may sometimes be difficult but in the end your soul knows what it needs to experience in order to grow and understand itself.
Now I’d like to talk about how we relate to one another through our ‘energy centers’. A many years ago I attended a workshop that discussed this topic and also Carolyn Myss has touched on this topic as well, so I do believe there is validity to it and if it helps you to make healthier choices in deciding what aspects of relating are important to you, what you absolutely must have in choosing a mate then I will have accomplished my intentions. The following is my perspective on the topic of relating to one another through energy and the law of attraction.
In the holistic community most people have heard of the 7 main chakra’s or energy centers in the body. I like to refer to this system as it relates to levels of human development. The first chakra represents the most material of the 3 dimensional world we live in. It relates to our survival and primal needs. Our tribal customs or family rules are established here. If we’re choosing to grow then sorting through past beliefs and values to get rid of old outmoded ones and replacing them with higher evolved truths is a really good start. Our soul mate may come from a similar base of conformity or has done similar work on those tribal or family rules. The second chakra is the creativity and sexual center. This is where our expression of creativity, of creating something and our experience of pleasure resides. Finding compatible levels of physical intimacy is important and mutually creating something together or supporting each others personal needs to create our own interests. The third chakra is all about empowerment, personal will or strength, healthy boundaries, learning to love and trust in yourself. We develop our esteem and confidence as we discover our true Self and begin to move upwards to the fourth chakra. Finding a mate that has done enough work on the third center i.e. self-esteem is immeasurably valuable because equal partnerships come from two whole individual healthy egos. And enjoying each others personality adds laughter, And celebrating each others uniqueness brings freedom. The fourth chakra which is the home for unconditional love, for self and others. It is a continual process of discovering layers of the sacred god-self, the divine within all of us. We must truly allow ourselves to be open and flexible to the depth of compassion for the aspect of you that is perfect and whole longs to be fully realized and will always take you deeper into the experience of your true perfection. Partnership that connects at the same or similar depth will be the most peaceful but hopefully you will take turns inviting the other to go deeper and discover their true nature. The fifth chakra relates to the authentic self, speaking and communicating our divine truth, self-expression. Healing in this area calls for you to find your own voice, your own way of expressing yourself to others. In every relationship each should have the freedom to fully and safely express their truth. The sixth chakra is our intuitive / inner knowing and wisdom and also our intellectual reasoning self. As with all the chakra centers there are many layers of experience or abilities. And interestingly enough if one chooses a partner that is close to his or her higher level of intuitive skill the higher vibration of that partner will often boost the other to that level too. This area is also set aside for consciously making choices and labeling our perception of the world. This is where we add reasoning from our trial and errors or successes. So by being aware in the present moment will allow for the deepest learning and the most profound transformations to occur. This is a center where the uniqueness and the intellectual knowledge of your partner can truly be appreciated. As the cliché goes “Two heads are better then one”. The seventh chakra holds our highest and greatest potential that is meant for this lifetime. It holds the highest energy of truth, integrity and optimism that supports and gives meaning to our life purpose. When we truly listen to this inspiration we set our course and destiny falls into place easily and effortlessly.
Through the Law of Attraction if we sustain thoughts, feelings and actions that are truly aligned with our true Self then our chances of attracting the most compatible mate are highly likely. It is impossible to attract lower energies of someone when you are in a higher energy field. However, be aware ‘you… healers’, because your energy field is meant to attract ‘the bird with the broken wing’ (people who need healing) you must be very cautious on keeping your professional boundaries while doing healing work separate from your personal life. And you must be very clear when you are out and about during your personal time to consciously state that you only want to meet someone who is already as healthy as you are. This will align you with your truer self and with that intention you will only find ‘like attracts like’, someone who is looking for someone who is as healthy as they are. In consciously practicing your intentions, you will undoubtedly meet a partner who believes, values and supports your dreams, aspirations and destiny. And to have someone like this is your own personal earth angel. Love them for you have found a real treasure.
Deepening Our Experience of Life through Retreat
(published in Twin Cities Wellness magazine October issue 2000)
Who would’ve known that by attending a fund raiser on a cold evening in March ten years ago, was about to be the catalyst for spiritual growth and self discovery. That evening as I casually walked passed several tables with items to bid on, something caught my eye as I looked down directly in front of me. It read, ‘A weekend stay at Clare’s Well Retreat Center’. . I actually had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I could think about was having the break I so desperately needed. And it was so much more than that. I arrived at the center and met the women who lived there, three nuns who just seemed very friendly, kind and casual. They went by their first names and they dressed in normal everyday clothes, normal that is for cooking, gardening and tending to the farm animals. As I entered the hermitage cabin, I noticed the rustic, simplicity yet it was warm and welcoming. The walls adorned with articles from several diverse faiths, upholding the message that “All are welcome here”. I felt only acceptance, there was no judgment here. A desk with papers and colored pencils laid out, were offering permission to play. In a quiet corner, a pillow, candle and incense were an invitation to pray and meditate. A book left behind by the last wayfarer, spoke to my curiosities was soon to be understood as the next lesson plan. That entire weekend seemed surreal, so synchronistic. I would hold a question in my mind and open a book at random and there would be the answer or someone would share something during mealtime that would be exactly what I needed to hear. Everywhere I turned felt like something bigger than I was reaching deep down inside of me as if it wanted to show me something, a part of me that I had not known before. I later realized it was my own soul that was leading me back home! For the first time in my life I felt like I was truly home! What an incredible experience to discover that there, deep inside of me was the most sacred place ever imagined.
The poetic words from Thicht Naht Hanh best describe those feelings, “I have arrived, I am home, In the here, In the now, I am solid, I am free, In the ultimate I dwell.” I was truly becoming conscious of living, of who I really was and my soul’s purpose. I was slowly discovering that up until then I had been unconsciously living as in a very deep sleep.
How often do people take time to be in the magic like this? To allow for the present moment to speak so personally, so intimately and to be touched so deeply that our perception of who we are and what we are all about is completely transformed forever. Retreat has been defined as “The act of withdrawing, seclusion, a safe place; a refuge, abode, a period of time set aside for spiritual practices i.e. meditation.” So simply stated it is an action, a location and an experiential state. It has been and still is very evident to me that through the experience of retreat one can evolve to be more profoundly conscious than through any other state or experience. Waking up becoming more conscious is an integral component of our journey.
Is it possible to evolve while being less conscious? Well yes, however that experience is much likened to driving around in bumper cars blindfolded. Living with out awareness feels more like randomly bumping into life experiences, one after the other. The laws of attraction are always at play whether we are totally conscious of our intentions or completely unconscious of our hidden agendas. So think about it which would you prefer? Take all the time you need… Good, I thought so. Becoming conscious is a big step in mans evolution and the exploration of discovering self will keep you busy indefinitely. That’s right there is no limit. You will never get bored. There is always more. Just when you think you know who you are, life will nudge you out of the nest and force you to take flight.
“The deeper I go inside, the higher my spirit soars. Life is the infinite journey, the endless path. Love, joy, laughter, release, truth, wisdom and peace are my companions for the journey.” So move deep into the valleys and climb the heights of every mountain top. Look and see how far you’ve come. What events have led you to this present moment in time? Gather all that wisdom that you’ve attained. Celebrate your wisdom and share it with others before you move on. Then turn to look into your future. What have you yet to accomplish, to encounter? There are still endless lessons yet to be explored. Remember the deeper you go inside the higher your spirit soars. And the best thing of all is that when you’re more conscious you have more power to direct your own course. Where will you go next? What are your intentions? Remember there are no set rules, just that you continue your infinite journey, grow and understand who you really are, set your own pace and enjoy the ride!
Let’s go on a retreat! Where you ask? Well let’s talk about the many ways one can go on retreat and how to make it the most enjoyable experience.
First of all I think it’s important to address that not everyone is ready to have their first retreat be self-directed. However there are ways that will help you begin that process where eventually self-direction is all you’ll ever need. Imagine the process much like a pendulum that first begins its movements as large sweeping motions till it gradually creates smaller movements and finally becomes still. So too is the process of stilling your body and your mind. And sometimes we need helpers along the way.
Facilitated Retreats are retreats where a guide is there to assist people by providing personal or spiritual growth and development courses in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Familiar topics commonly include; Journaling, Dream Interpretation, Self exploration of values, beliefs and unconscious intentions, Meditation, Movement, Art therapy and Creative expression of our inner wisdom, etc.. The topics are always interesting and the interaction with facilitator and other participants are often welcoming to a novice. There is also enough quiet introspective time to begin the process of slowing down. And the new skills one learns will be useful for the rest of one’s life. Meeting other like-minded individuals with the possibilities of forming new friendships are always a plus too.
Spa Retreats are places to retreat to that start with a total immersion of proper care for the body and the mind. The main focus here is r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g. Classes like yoga, polates, tai chi, qigong and transcendental meditation are offered to help you get on the right foot by practicing good healthy habits to bring home. Of course what would your stay be like there if you didn’t have a rejuvenating massage or Asian bodywork treatment or aromatherapy wraps. Simple organic cuisine and fresh fruit and vegetable juicing are usually available, a vegetarian’s dream.
How about the Monastic Retreat? This is where religious cloistered communities open up their home to the layperson, offering a temporary experience of the monastic life. Silent retreats, fasting, prayer and meditation are common spiritual practices there. Intentional prayer centered living may be just what is needed to regain a new perspective on life and discover the sacred in the simplest of practices.
Healing Retreats offer a tranquil healing environment that supports the whole person who is experiencing health challenges. This kind of retreat applies many of the other practices earlier mentioned ie. organic meals, juicing, meditation, movement, guidance in self-discovery etc. however the key focus here is deep healing. This innovative mind/body/soul approach has been gaining popularity all over the world in recent years. And its presence will very likely change the way medicine is practiced here in this country within the next decade. The concept of addressing illness through changing lifestyle habits and immersing oneself in new healthy practices, added with the support of receiving constant daily holistic care is only new to this country. Eastern countries have long relied on traditional folk medicine to heal their sick and have a proven success record through out their history. Healing retreats truly support balance and well-being.
Lastly there are retreat centers that have no set programs or schedules, except for meals. One can certainly create retreat for them selves any where however, attending a special place that is intended for retreat offers the security of shelter, healthy nourishment and a tranquil environment that is not always easy to find in the outside world. One has the freedom and space to allow for the magic to happen, for spirit to lead you back home. Where deep intimate communication is resurrected, self-discovery is limitless and is the sanctuary for each and every one of us. Wherever you choose to go to find refuge give yourself time to attend to the needs of the body first. Spend an entire day or even longer just doing self-care, sleep in, choose only healthy food, receive massage or energy work, practice tai chi or yoga. Listen to and honor your body’s intelligence. Then when the body’s needs have been satisfied turn your awareness to nature, to sounds, to encounters with all of creation and be the observer of life. Recognize the uniqueness in how spirit is communicating with you. Soon you will discover your own brilliant light. When it happens dare to accept it as who you really are and then celebrate it. Life is the infinite journey the endless path! Enjoy the ride!