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I had my first ever reiki session yesterday afternoon and finally began to peel off some of the tension I’ve been wearing for the past year and a half. I felt a sense of peace I haven’t in years, despite the amount of praying, meditating and chataranga-ing I try to do.

If you are going through a period of darkness, of fear, of anxiety, of loss, know that you are not alone. Life is full of experiences that break our hearts open. Damn, it can be painful. Sometimes I want to lock away these big, scary feelings and throw away the key. Sometimes I do. But I know this: it’s part of the deal of being human. And keeping a broken heart open is how we stay in relationship with life. Impermanence colors everything a more vibrant hue.

I’m trying to reminding myself of this every two minutes and maybe you are too. Sending big love and deep ocean breaths.

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My teacher asked me a big question a few days ago, when I was experiencing the deep grip of fear and panic. She said, “How much of your peace is reliant on external circumstances? And how is that working out for you?“.

I am here this week to listen, I’m here to receive the sacred in every deep belly breath of ocean air. I’m ready to carry spaces like this one within me and to cultivate soft places for my heart to land, day in and day out. I’m calling on spaciousness and peace and ease, please. I’ll do the work, I promise, so I’m available to be guided.

This retreat. Right on time, as always.

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You woke up at 5:30 this morning. I brought you upstairs with me. Laid your sweaty little head on my chest and slept for another hour. I didn’t sleep a wink. I laid there and just listened to you breathe.

Last year was a swirl of court dates and grasping and letting go and learning the in between. I tried on saying goodbye to you so many times and I never got any better at it. But you’re still here, thank God, and you taught me to pay attention. Not just to you but to it all. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with living like you might not get a chance to say goodbye. Because then you show up.

Our story is still unfolding, little one. Almost fifteen months since I first saw your big brown eyes. I thank God on every 11:11 and all the moments in between.

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For years, I’ve battled against a lot of my shadow side. Being defensive, judgmental, self righteous. Things that felt ugly would seem to bubble up out of nowhere. Mostly, I’d keep them inside but every once in awhile there’d be some lucky recipient of my wrath and it was usually someone I love dearly. Ugh.

It’s taken a lot of time and work and life humbling the shit out of me to realize that under that defense was just a scared little girl. That all my unloving thoughts, words and actions came from one place. Fear. “I’ll hurt you before you hurt me.” “I’ll leave before you do.” “I’ll judge you to mask my own fear that I’m inferior.”

But now that I’ve recognized this for what it is, I feel so much more compassionate when it comes up. I coax it out of myself, “Okay you’re scared. Why?” .

And now I see it everywhere. Where there isn’t love it’s just fear. And, for some people, so much of it.

These words by Eckart Tolle keep my heart wide open. (Try reading this again and again, especially when you’ve got that person who really challenges you or is coming for your jugular.)

“If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion and peace.

The ego does not like to hear this, because if it cannot be reactive and righteous anymore, it will lose strength.

Whenever you receive whoever comes into the space of Now as a noble guest, when you allow each person to be as they are, they begin to change.”

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Yesterday we began the final day of our Rock Your Bliss retreat with designing our ideal “regular” day. Mine included enough sleep, a deep meditation and some coffee shop time amongst a bunch of other good stuff. I landed at home at midnight last night, got about four or five hours of sleep and basically kissed and high fived my husband as he left for a week away for work. I quickly discovered Baby A wouldn’t be heading to daycare because of a diaper rash situation and started to scramble to figure out my work day. I left my best friend a voicemail laughing “Today is a lot of things but not my ideal day.”

I’m tired and look like I’ve aged a couple of years but I was so lucky to share my morning latte next to Baby A as he ran around the coffee shop and I showed him that the sidewalk cigarette butts are not something we want to pick up. I made it to Venice for my private because my friend of almost a decade(!) Rachelle saved the day and took Baby A on an adventure. We have listened to music, watched Farmees and may even curl up together for a nap. (Please God. Slightly pleading.)

Every once in awhile that ideal day happens and then so does a seriously shitshow of a day and it’s perfect. A big, messy, covered in graham crackers and milk, need-a-nap kinda day. Perfect.

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The most important thing I can do, with all of life’s ebbing and flowing, is stay open. My teacher often asks “What would love do?” Love would make eye contact and messy cry and show up no matter what. Because if we are really in this world and paying any attention our hearts break a hundred times a day. I’m working to stay in this space. The broken open space, the not always pretty space, because it seems to me that’s where the living is happening. Not in comparison, anger or judgement but in love. Use up my heart, Life. Every last inch. That’s what I’m here for.

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This man supports my heart, my breath and my work. He is my mirror and sometimes I don’t like what is reflected back. This is where I get to lean in and work harder. Thank you for walking side by side me and navigating an often rougher terrain in exchange for a wholehearted, “all in” kinda life and a larger than life purpose. Damn, I love this life of ours. It’s so different than I pictured it. And I wouldn’t trade it for one minute.