Tuesday, March 23, 2021


I cannot separate success or accomplishment from the context in which they occur.

While it is always true, I am writing this piece solely for myself. Please feel free to scroll past, delete, or otherwise ignore.

For those of you remaining…

The past several years has in many ways been the most difficult of my life. Without outlining specifics there have been major personal, familial, professional, and health challenges. There have been losses sustained that are still in the process of being integrated. I share this not in service of complaining, eliciting pity, or in justifying some of the ways these challenges have affected me. Please remember I am writing these words primarily for myself.

With what have felt like epic challenges these past years they have occurred during a time when I have most needed my energy, clarity, stability, and steadfastness to do what I have been called to do. The pinnacle of my vocation has been occurring during the most trying times of my life. While I do not understand why these two things would coincide, I also embrace that in my Soul there are no accidents. My questions have not been about why problematic things are happening during a time when I most need to directly channel my energy into what I have been about professionally. My questions have been centered around what I need to become in the wake of these problems, and how I may use the dark times in service of shining more light.

I have listened intently and responded imperfectly.

Looking back over these years I cannot help but momentarily lament that I have not been able to accomplish more. If I allowed myself to self-evaluate based on the surface effects, I would say that I have not been successful in what I have been about. I could then justify that evaluation based on what has been happening behind the scenes.

I am choosing that it be only a momentary lament.

When I expand my heart to include the context in which I have been living and serving and responding, yet not using it as a tool of evaluation, a whole new lens becomes available. These trying external times have slowly and admittedly painfully strengthened my internal resolve and increased the fortitude necessary to do what I have felt led to do. My compassion has increased even as my boundaries have become clearer. My merciful responding has more often than not flowed forth from the tender places I would often prefer to defend. The harder things have gotten the stronger I have become. These years have served as a gym membership I would have preferred to cancel.

And yet I have more spiritual muscle to show for it.

I am clear today that I am at choice as to how I frame what has occurred for me during these profound and trying times. I am at choice as to what metrics I use to evaluate what I have or have not accomplished. I get to call it as to whether I have been successful or not, and what I deem to be accomplishment or failure. Others will weigh in. That is what we humans tend to do to each other. And ultimately it is all up to me.

That is the secret to my success.

Ultimately it is up to me.

So, back to context.

It is true for me that I cannot separate context from what I accomplish or deem to be a success. I could frame these past years in terms of “look what I was able to do even though all of things were happening.”

And that would be valid at a certain level.

I will not use the context, however, as a justification for what I feel I was not able to do. I will not use the context-success prescription to tell myself I did not do enough. Doing so would give authority to circumstances and will disempower me every time I am called to do things when circumstances in my life are rough. Without denying what has occurred or fact checking what I perceive I could have accomplished if my seas had been calm, I expand my view to bring the bigger picture into focus.

I do not deny that I wish I could have done more. Fact.

In the bigger picture I know I did my best, especially from the context from which I was doing.

That is not for me justification. It is realization. It is evidence of a lesson I have meant to learn. It, too, is a fact.

What I was experiencing is not separate from what I was accomplishing. How I chose to handle my personal challenges directly fueled the impact of my vocational choices. I demonstrated that no matter how many times life knocks me down I can always get back up and serve the something greater within me that is more powerful than the circumstances around me.

There is always something greater than me.

Knowing deeply and relying completely in and on this power is how I do what I am called to do. Knowing that everything that happens is somehow in service of my Soul softens my self-judgments and disengages me from metrics that dishearten and disempower.

I know that I have done the absolute best I could during these challenging and strengthening years. I have placed my personal problems behind the collective good. I have accomplished what I accomplished, and I really do not take personal credit for it. There have been supports around me, and a Great Power within me.

Do I wish I had done more?


Do I trust I did enough?

You bet.

And that is the secret to my success.

It is that I continue to show up to the best of my ability regardless of what is happening around me. And then I loosen the evaluations around what that looks like at the level of circumstance.

The secret to my success is that I get to choose what that is for me.

So, today I celebrate what a success I have been, and will continue to be. Wherever and however I am expressing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021





“I don’t get it.”

“None of your business.”



What a tremendous and hard-earned lesson.

This interaction happened in my late teens. I have always been an intensely curious person. I had asked this person a question that I now view as slightly intrusive I will admit. It did not seem that way at the time. This person was more than an acquaintance, if not yet a friend. Though “none-ya” landed with a thud at the time, I now see it as a gift. It has continued to unfold with greater application in the many years since it was introduced. While I adopted it verbally for a time, now I use it as a silent form of reminder within myself.

It continues to amaze me how often I can become disturbed when I insert myself into someone else’s business. This almost always happens on the internal plane. I watch the shenanigans people engage in, and I always have an opinion. I have come to know that having an opinion is not a problem. Believing the opinion is where the disturbance kicks in. From an over-identified opinion, I then decide how people should resolve their drama’s, fix their problems, and resolve their issues. Recognizing that I am caught in this dynamic, I can then step back and give myself some very freeing advice:


Works like a charm. When I choose to engage it. And I do so with ever-increasing frequency.

I have been in a helping-vocation for more than three decades now. It still humbles me that people frequently come to me for assistance with their patterns, issues, problems. It can be seductive to think that I somehow know something that can help. When I notice that seduction kicking in, I remind myself that I am gifted with a keen intuition, and I am particularly good at asking questions. When I counsel, I am drawing forth the wisdom in those I am blessed to work with. While I am being invited into someone’s business, it is still theirs. I may offer suggestions, yet I do so in the clear awareness that what they do with those suggestions is completely up to them.

Outside of my vocation I seek to be clear about what is my business and what is not.

My business is my business, and yours is not.

It is far easier to type those words than to apply them.

It is a lifelong pattern for me that other people feel free to verbally and emphatically define me. I guess it is what we humans do at some level. It has felt extreme to me, though, in terms of my personal experience of this. It used to trigger me, and to send me into extended periods of angry reaction. I not only wanted to say “none-ya,” I wanted to scream it. That has softened considerably, and in the softening, I have gleaned a great gift from it.

As a result of this pattern, I am far less likely to define others. It is far easier to detach when I find myself in someone else’s business. Knowing the pain of having others insert themselves into my business, I commit to not inflicting that pain onto others. I am fairly quick about saying to myself “none-ya,” and to tending to what is really my business:


It is beyond liberating, I promise you.

It is not your business to define me. I apply that by being sure I don’t try and to define you.

Now, do not hear that I am claiming to never get into anyone else’s business. That is an ongoing practice that I have far from perfected. I do, however, increasingly move in that direction. The payoff is that I have far fewer problems and disturbing issues. That is because I am not taking on the problems I perceive in others, and I am not engaged in seeking to resolve what are others disturbing issues. I now have abundant life-force to use for good because it is not misdirected into other people’s business.

So, I sum this up solely for my benefit.

What you think of me is none of my business.

What I think of you is none of my business.

Your attempts at defining me are none of my business.

My attempts at defining you are indeed my business in one way: I will not.

None-ya is a great boundary setter for sure. It keeps my focus where it needs to be: on what is in fact my business. When my focus is externally directed it is focused as blessing, not on getting into your business. When I allow none-ya to direct my attention to blessing there is no greater gift I can give.

You will likely never hear me say none-ya regardless of what you might ask. You may see a slight smile and a feel a spacious pause. You will know if you are paying attention that you have crossed uninvited into territory that is personal domain.

No harm. No foul.

I am clear about what is my business whether or not you are. In that clarity there is no anger necessary. Just a simple, peaceful inner knowing.


Thursday, March 11, 2021


Discernment is judgment with space around it.

I have judged judgment from my earliest recollections.

I think it is a church thing.

I remember being told in Sunday school “judge not.” Yet overriding that admonition the church was filled to capacity with blatant judgments. Perhaps the most obvious and insidious judgment was the judgment of judgment. It is inherent in the admonition. Which makes it a snare that is not easily escaped.

I also heard “judge by righteous judgment.”

Now, hold on just a minute.

Which is it?

Judge not, or judge by righteous judgment?

I have come to know that it is both.

However, or even if you pay attention to sacred writings from any tradition, they all contain relative leanings that point to an Absolute Reality. They point us in the direction of mystical perspectives that we are invited to embody and to then use to navigate this earthly realm. We do so imperfectly. And I for one have become quite friendly with that imperfection. Life in this sphere is an unfolding, a process. It is a relationship. We are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to be whole. Whole. That means our imperfections are meant to be accepted. Included. Embraced. And to whatever degree is possible, not judged.

And, human beings judge.

Beyond the perspective and the admonitions of scripture and sacred teachings the reality is that we judge. We all judge. We are wired to judge. The more we try not to judge the more locked into judgment we become. To “judge not” requires a level of judgment. It is just the way of it.

Which is where my potentially tricky little friend discernment comes in.

I recall in high school when I felt compelled to share with one of friends that what they were sharing with me was a judgment. Which of course meant that I was judging what they were sharing, and then mirroring it back as their shortcoming. My friend sharply retorted they it was not a judgment. It was discernment.

Truth be told I had to look up discernment later in a dictionary to be sure I knew what it really meant. Awe, the pre-Google days.

I do not recall exactly what Webster had to offer as a definition. I do remember the feeling. It occurred to me then what I share with you now: discernment is judgment with space around it.

While higher teaching informs me to judge not, I do. I simply do. I seem wired, programmed somehow to do so. While judgment does not seem to be optional in this human experience, believing my judgments is. Identifying with my judgements is indeed optional. Acting out on my judgments is a choice. To not do so is a choice that requires persistent practice and conviction. But it is a choice.

When I find myself judging something or someone, I step back from the mental screen on which my judgments occur. I take a pause, a conscious breath. I question as to whether or not I will choose to believe the judgment. I ponder whether or not I am identified with the judgment. I ask myself if I really want to act out from the judgment. These questions put some space around the judgment.

A name for that space is discernment.

In that space of discernment is the opportunity to “judge by righteous judgment.”

Completely friendly with the fact that all humans judge I give myself some space. Some breathing room. Some non-resistance. I judge, and I do not have to judge the fact that I find myself in judgment. It is for me a gamechanger.

In a world that looks like ours there are many things I find to judge on a daily basis. Injustice, corruption, bigotry, dishonesty, hypocrisy just to name a few. These things go against my value system and all that I hold sacred. I have been around long enough to know that if there is a deep charge around these things then they are a part of my own consciousness. In the broadest context of Oneness everything that is in the whole is in each part. So when I judge I am really always judging myself. That is the absolute Truth.

And then there is the relative.

When I work with the energetic charge of my judgments, I bring space to them. They soften, even if only slightly. In that softening space of relating, the judgment takes on a different quality. There is a bit of distance between me and that which I am judging. Adding into the experience the friendliness with the fact that I am judging brings even more interior space.

A name for that space is discernment.

This has brought increased peace to my days and expanded awareness to my moments. I know longer think I should not judge. As a result, I am not doing battle with my judgments. I bring some space to them, and that space is discernment. An added bonus to this is, is that I fear other people’s judgments far less. I know that I will be judged. I do not choose to judge you for judging me. I don’t need to go to war over the given that people are always at some level judging each other. If I do not make it a problem, it is not a problem.

It has become discernment at a practical impactful level.

And so, I complete this blog with the awareness that I always have around my writings, lectures, classes, public expressions: this will be judged.

If you take a risk to put it out there, then the out there will undoubtedly judge what you put out. It is just the way it is. It is inherent in the choose to express. Because I do not think that it should not be so the judgments do not have authority over me. I am free.

However you choose to judge my words consider putting some space around it. And know that discernment is judgment with space around it.

And in that space you will be judging righteously your judgment.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021


One of the greatest paradoxes of spiritual awakening is that we must develop the courage to lean into what we do not want to experience.


Well, who wants to do that?

If someone is timid and speaks very softly you do not move further away to hear them better. You move closer. You listen more intently. You lean in. You let them know you care enough to want to hear what they are seeking to communicate.

This is exactly the approach we must take in order to heal our woundedness. Our wounds begin by speaking softly. They are afraid to be speak, as part of our brokenness is rejection, aversion, and shaming. These emotional bruises need to be carefully and consistently attended to. They need to be listened to. Integration cannot happen when notions of positive thinking are slapped over them. What we deny or deaden cannot give way to new life. When we seek to rid ourselves of our wounds they cannot be healed. They must be listened to carefully, compassionately, patiently. Rather than pullback or push away we are in a very literal way called to lean into and to listen and to feel.

Scary stuff, eh?

Not nearly as scary as being bound for life by what we will not acknowledge or mindfully process.

When I came to what is termed New Thought spirituality more than thirty years ago, I had no idea what a tumultuous journey it would become. I initially thought that it was the perfect way to rid myself of all that I loathed about myself and also get what I wanted in the physical realm. I thought I had come across the perfect way to escape the pain I had lived in for almost all of my life. I was finally going to be able to control my life and the circumstances happening around me. A few magic affirmations, a vision board, and voila! I would be the Land of Oz.

Not how it turned out.

My journey has been about going to and dealing directly with that often-overwhelming self-loathing. Pulling back from it only made it grow louder. As much as I tried to self-medicate it the pain only grew. The louder I shouted my affirmations the more of a roar the pain became.

While I was able to manifest some of the external things I thought I wanted I quickly learned they did not compensate for the toxic atmosphere that was simmering inside of me. I was shown fairly quickly that I could not and was not meant to control the externals of my life experience. I could not and was not meant to control others or their behaviors toward me. It took longer but I finally got down deep inside that control is the greatest illusion of all. The distinction between control and cooperation began to create more and more internal freedom, and from that freedom, choice. That choice was once again dependent on my leaning into the feelings associated with not being in control.

When I really, truly listened I learned.

I wish I could report that these lessons were easily leaned and that I learned them once and for all.

Not so.

As a child I was not listened to. I was not allowed to have my own opinions or use my own voice. I was not heard. I did not feel seen. When I was seen it was largely through a lens of scrutiny and evaluation. Part of my adult excavation revealed that I adopted that same way of dealing with my own inner being. I did not really listen to myself. I did not allow myself to have my own ideas, opinions, perspectives. I tried to take on the perceptions of others so I would not be rejected. I lived in constant scrutiny, evaluation. It was and sometimes is tormenting. I tried to get rid of those imprints without ever really stopping and listening to them. I recoiled. I fought. I denied, I suppressed. I kept moving and doing. I pretended and I defended. I leaned as far away as I could.

And it did not assuage the pain.

That pain, those bruises, the imprinting needed to be heard. They needed to be accepted. Included. Embraced. I had to stop leaning away and lean into what needed to be heard and felt and loved.

Heard and felt and loved.

As a result of my own inner experience and ever-increasing freedom I share often with others that the only way to heal is to lean into what is arising.

And most of those with whom I share lean far away from me.

When they do, I softly smile within. I know that what is right for me is not right for everyone. Or at least it may well be that the time is not yet right for them. I note that almost universally the volume of their voices drop as they look incredulously at me and question “lean into?”

And then I get the chance to give back what life has so generously given to me.

I deliberately move toward them as I softly exclaim “lean into.”