Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Every talk I have ever given and every word I have ever written is ultimately for me. I simply invite others to eavesdrop and pray it is somehow of service.

This is certainly no exception.

I recognize that even as I share the framing by way of introduction that this particular reflection may well have an extremely limited audience. It may well only benefit one reader if even that. It has, however, been a profoundly impactful realization for me. I have never heard anyone else share of a similar perspective. I do not need any comradery to validate its transformative effects for me. And I do not need or expect agreement or affirmation to make it worth writing about. It continues to gain importance for me, and so I write of it in appreciation of what it has revealed to me about me and about the power of choice.

And so, this one’s for me.

For decades now I have had the experience of meeting someone new and instantly having a sense of a Soul appointment being kept. In some cases, there has been a strong sense that we had done an incarnational dance before. In every case I knew that there were lessons to be learned beyond just the physical realities of our joining. This has been a gift even when it seemed to feel like a curse. Some of the unions were of a very pleasurable nature. Some of these appointments carried with them an extreme level of torment. No matter how they unfolded or the duration of the proximity they came with a deep and unwavering sense that there was something far greater going on. I knew the meeting carried with it a huge possibility for my growth.

There have been rarer cases in more recent decades when I met someone and knew specifically that there was a very real potential of hurt and betrayal inherent in the joining. The meeting and the hearing of the name was impregnated with a strong sense of “uh-oh.” I met these few individuals and immediately had an urge to run. Equal to that flee-impulse was a sense I was meant to stay. I was certain of it.

The karmic implications of this are beyond obvious to me and most likely to you. They are also beyond the scope of this writing. The point that I am attempting to make is that impending doom is not always a signpost to disconnect. In these rare yet important appointments I somehow knew that there was a strong possibility that at some point I would be thrown under a bus. That I would end up as collateral damage to someone else’s ego agenda. I knew that if and when push came to shove that I would be the one to bear the brunt of the force. I knew not when. Yet I knew it was likely to happen.

And yet I felt compelled to stay.

I learned fairly early on in these relationships that what was said to me was not what was said about me. The dissonance between the words and the energy was unmistakable. Yet equally unmistakable was, whether or not my suspicions were actually born out, I was the one to learn from the incongruities in the relating. I knew that there were patterns to be resolved in my ability to remain and to choose to remain open. I knew that I was in the particular unions to support and to uplift, whether or not that was ever reciprocal. I was the one being called to develop increased stability and self-referral. I was the one being called to be what I was being called to be, whatever the choices of the other turned out to be. The coming together formed a chrysalis from which I was meant to soar.

Let me be very clear at this point, about this point: I have developed a clear and strong sense of boundaries over the years. I do not allow myself to be victimized, abused, or bullied. That is not what I am talking about. Anyone that knows me at all knows I am no pushover. I would not remain in an abusive or disrespecting relationship just to learn a lesson.

What I am seeking to share with you is that I now have direct evidence that leaving, disconnecting, or distancing is not the only option, even when you realize that others have ulterior motives. These are mostly relationships when I was in a position to actively support, uplift, and in some cases mentor others. I did so even while suspecting that regardless of how sincere my efforts were that there was a strong potential that it would somehow be turned against me. And yet I knew it was the right thing to do. I knew that I would become more even if the other person somehow treated me as less. I knew that if I let myself be drawn into condemnation and retaliation that I would be the one to drown in them. I knew from the get-go the potential for pain. And I did not let it impact how I showed up in my relating.

This perspective is characterized and crystalized by the fact that I am in no way sorry for continuing to take what I saw as the high road in my relating. I am not sorry I did what I did. I am not sorry I gave what I gave. I am not sorry for the pain and betrayal. I was not sorry even while looking out from under the wheels of the bus. This is not masochism. It is not glorified victimhood. It is a deep appreciation that I recognized the bigger picture, the larger enrollment. I was clear about what my part was. I recognized the risks, and I took it. I need nor do I expect any apology. I am not sorry, nor do I demand that the other be. This was a rare and radical appointment. These appointments were to resolve aspects of my own energy patterns, and to propel me into greater and less attached forms of service. I could never capture in words the depth of my gratitude in realizing what these lessons were really about.

If I could sum this up in one statement it would sound something like “I know you speak ill of me behind my back, yet I am not turning it on you.”

Suspicions. Suspicions recognized. Suspicions realized. Suspicions transformed. You showed up as less than you are. Yet I did not become less as a result.

I am thankful to know experientially that other’s agendas truly have nothing to do with me. They have nothing to do with me unless I choose to react to them in ways that make me less of who I am.

I am responsible only for how I show up and relate. I have really only learned this lesson via my critics and detractors. I learned from those who met me with pretense and offered me the underappreciated gift of offence. Those who said one thing to me, and something very different about me. Denial and betrayal are essential elements in my journey of transcendence. In MY journey. They form the container in which I am to choose forgiveness and freedom. I am who I am not only because of those who and have loved and affirmed me. I am who I am more because of those who gave me the chance to love and affirm them regardless of how they treated me.

Part of why I write is to clarify my perspectives by putting them on a screen where I may view, edit, explore, and see them in front of me. By seeing it in front of me I know it is not me. In that knowing I am the one who becomes free.

Another part of why I write is the hope that my often cumbersome, messy, and frequently painful lessons learned will benefit another Soul along the way. That perhaps my floundering meanderings will strike a chord for someone else desiring the freedom I am so drawn to. Freedom is always about the ability to choose how I relate. Not how others relate to me. How I choose to relate. And that is what this piece is all about.

So, while I repeat that I do not perceive this to be a common perspective I do relish my persistence in choosing to write and share it. And it just might touch someone else who has yet to clearly identify this dynamic in action. I do hope so.

And with that being said…this one’s for me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


A subtle, somehow surprising, yet very distinct voice rose up within me.

“What do you need?”

I was stunned.

I was engaged in completing a mundane task, not feeling anything in particular.

“What do you need?”

I stopped what I was doing. I listened with fascination as the question repeated in my inner-being. Right behind the words came a deep sense that what I really needed in that moment was to weep.

I did not need to weep about anything specific. As I said, I had been completing a mundane task and was not aware of feeling anything in particular. There was no glaring problem. No emotional constriction. Upon closer inquiry the impulse to weep was in response to how infrequently I stop to ask myself that question.

“What do you need?”

It is commonplace in our culture to ask about wants. It is not only commonplace, but also encouraged. It is applauded. While there is nothing at all wrong with the human tendency to want, I also find that wants can act as comfort blankets to the less explored deeper needs. If I do not address my needs, I can distract myself with a list of wants. Wants tend to be more about surface experience. Needs go to more of an inner- depth dimension. If I do not get my needs met, I can assuage the aching feeling in my heart by filling the hole with wants. I know from personal experience that attempting to fill the emptiness of unfulfilled needs with surface and often material wants is short-lived at best. The emptiness is still there. The want is a temporary distraction that fades quickly, only to be followed by yet another want. The less my needs are attended to the more wants I have.

In some ways I have waited a lifetime for someone to ask me what I need. I did not fully realize, I guess, that the someone I needed to ask was me.

And so now I am asking.

What do I need?

I ask. I wait. I listen. I respond. I ask again. I question the question. I do so patiently, compassionately, spaciously. It is awkward. It is pitchy. It is unfamiliar. I realize how that level of inquiry was never modeled. I equally realize how often I have sincerely asked the question of others. I am vitally interested in what others may need. I see more often than not that most people never ask themselves that simple yet quantum question.

What do I need?

It is a question that is only born of a deep and unflinching caring. It is a question that is born from a place that is not afraid of hearing the answer. It is a question that will frequently invoke an impulse to weep. The weeping is not directly related to a specific sadness. It is related to the fact that it took so long to finally ask. Tears of relief come spilling forth. There is a mirroring of disbelief that so much subtle pain has been endured without a deep dive into what was causing it. Such a lack of deep, sustained caring and attention.

How often I have listened to people lament that their needs were going unmet. Yet I rarely hear or sense a deep knowing of exactly what those needs are. I rarely hear that those same people have asked themselves for what they need. There is an expectation that those close to us should somehow know what we need and then fulfill them. Yet we ourselves infrequently even know what our needs are. So how could anyone else know? And if we are not clear about what our needs are, and cannot ask for them to be met, how can we expect that there will ever be a chance for fulfillment?

And that perspective points to the core of the challenge.

We do not ask ourselves what we need. We do not ask others for what we need. We disguise our deeper needs with a never-ending parade of illusory wants.


Because we are so afraid that we will expose our needs and that they still will not be met. And then the exposure and denial can feel crushing.


I risked asking for what I need, and you in some way said no. As I feared would happen. As I somehow suspected would happen. You said no to the deepest part of me. And now I am left with disappointment. And the disappointment feels unbearable.

I had a long history of never asking for what I need, even from those closest to me. This was a direct result of my equally long history of suppressing my needs. When I did uncover them, I would ask for fulfillment from people who had not yet earned the right into my deeper recesses. I asked people to fulfill needs that they simply were not interested in. These were people who had no clue what their own needs were, and so were not versed in the intimate language or the openness that is necessary. I am now clear that it was my own disconnection from my needs that drew me to people who had no ability to connect to me and to what was seeking a deeper level of attention. I was unconsciously longing for someone to ask me what I needed when I myself never made that inquiry. And avoiding disappointment led me to exactly that: disappointment.

I now see and feel the vital importance of frequently asking myself what it is that I need. I relinquish the expectation that it is the function of others to meet my needs, even as I open more fully to that possibility. Connection is a hardwired human need. As someone that is fiercely independent, I dance with varying levels of connection, and the challenges and hurts that can come with it. I watch and feel my relationship to the inevitable experience of disappointment. I am better at not letting the fear of disappointment keep me closed and unable to speak and let my needs be known. I am far more skillful at recognizing who is and who is not capable of the intimacy that needs sharing requires. And this is all made easier by the courageous and primary question I have learned to ask myself.

What do I need?

I have developed a greater capacity to risk speaking needs based on the fact that I have increased the certainty that I will meet my own. I ask what I need, and then I go about meeting those needs. The process has taught me that in actuality the more I meet my needs the less I expect fulfillment from others. And the more needs I meet the less wants I seem to have.

And so, dear reader: What do you need?

Will you dare to ask?

I pray that you will. It is a question so worth the daring it requires.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021



I am indeed finding out what it means to me.

I was taught as a child to respect my elders.

I was taught as a child to honor my mother and father.

I was taught as a child to honor and to respect all authority figures.

I am finding out as a late-season adult how little I was taught about what that really meant.

Respect as a concept has very little power. Being told to respect my elders, my mother and my father, and all authority figures does not take into consideration the factor that often times those very same people behave in ways that are not respectable.

I was not taught as a child that respect has to be earned.

As much as I sometimes resist the notion, I am now an elder. I am in a vocation that places me in a position of some authority. I will never be a parent, yet vocationally there are people who think of me as “father.” None of those factors in any way entitles me to respect. The only way for me to be respected is for me to live respectably. To engage in respectful activities and to treat others in respectable ways.

And I most certainly need to develop beyond concept a sense of respect for myself.

I was not taught that as a child either.

In an age of social media, it is easy to see a multitude of examples of disrespect every single day. People post disrespectfully and other people react disrespectfully. It goes far beyond elders, parents, or authority figures. We seem to have lost a sense of what it means to treat others with respect and dignity simply because they are fellow human beings. Now let me be clear; I see and hear things everyday that I do not respect. I am increasingly mindful of this, especially via choices that are being made during a time of global pandemic. I am learning that even having been reared with a sense that I should respect I have never given respect a great deal of consideration. I have not really seen through that lens. I have not stopped to ask myself who and what I respect, or even if I am concerned whether or not people respect me.

And now I do.


I am finding out what it means to me.

This deeper discovery is mostly happening via the direct experience of what I do not respect.

There are people that I deeply care about that have and are engaging in behaviors and choices that I simply do not respect. You can, of course, perceive that as you will. I am deeply grateful for the awareness as it is showing me that respect is a personal value that I was not really in touch with. In a number of cases there have been previously indiscernible dissonances about people that I could not clearly identify. Something was somehow off. I knew I guess that there was a backstory behind the words and the professed veneer. I just could not quite bring it into focus. In many cases I did not want to.

And now in an age of social media happening during a context of Covid I am gaining clarity about what the backstories have been.

Now I am left to dance between attitudes and behaviors that I do not respect, and how I can develop a caring and compassionate relationship that allows me to meet what I do not respect in respectable ways. How I can continue to care about people that in some ways I have lost respect for.

I am finding out that it ain’t easy, kids.

Much of this for me is directly related to what I view as a common responsibility to our shared humanity. I am observing choices that seem to me to be selfish and self-serving. I am finding that I have enormous respect for people who make choices based not only on personal preference, gain, and interest. Choices that are made for the greater good inspire and move me. It reaffirms how much I want to make those kinds of choices. I want to live and to contribute to a world that is not only about me. I have learned how gratifying it is to live and to serve beyond what I think I want to do. Those choices are what form a foundation from which I can live in self-respect, whether or not anyone else acknowledges or respects me for them.

When the Covid lockdown began I sat, and I had a real and deep conversation with myself. It was prayerful. It was determined. It was honest and yet it was accepting. I did not want to go through this experience without becoming more. I did not want to waste time or to deaden or distract myself. I wanted to use the time of distancing to deepen. To become clearer about what I truly am and why I am on this planet at this time. I wanted to contribute to the greater good of life. I devoted myself to challenging every personal preference, asking whether or not it was self-serving or Source amplifying.

I have not shown up perfectly during this time. Far from it. And having said that I am growing clearer about one thing that truly means the world to me.

I respect how I have spent this time.

I continue to dance with the awareness I have gleaned regarding people I thought I knew and clearly did not. Or maybe it is just that that I have now seen aspects of people that I did not know were there. I rumble with other choices that I simply do not respect. I grapple with the distinctions between attitudes, behaviors, choices, and the depth of who people really are. Most of you know me well enough to know that I will not pink paint over what I have learned. I will personally acknowledge that I have and am watching choices that I simply do not respect. I have learned things that I frankly wish I did not know. And I am determined to honor and to respect and to dignify people beyond what I may view as unconscious choices. If I do not, I will not be able to maintain respect for how I choose to relate. I have learned that respect is in fact an important value for me. And I have also learned that dehumanizing others is not.

I am learning how much I want to live a respectable life. I am leaning that self-respect and respect for others is inextricably connected. I am even learning that I cannot ultimately be disrespected when I am maintaining a sense of self-respect. That is gold, my friends. Pure gold.


A great song. A soon to be released movie about a woman I still have enormous respect for. And beyond those things there is an invaluable lesson I am so grateful to learn.


I am finally finding out what it means to me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021


We are definitely on each other’s nerves.

Have you noticed?

I am in what I consider to be a unique and very blessed position in life. Being in a serving vocation is an honor and a privilege that humbles me daily. While most think of me primarily as a platform speaker that is for me the least important function of what I am grateful to do. Many if not most people keep me somewhat at bay in terms of their deeper experiences. That is one of the drawbacks that comes from platform work. It is exacerbated in these times by the fact that I am speaking to far more people virtually than I am in person. There is also the human tendency to want to appear that everything is good, and if not, that we can at least deal with it all with composure and unflappability. I find this especially prevalent in New Thought spiritual circles. I think of this as maintaining the “church face.” While I am not here to judge this dynamic, I also know it does not lead to integration and healing. Pretense is, well, pretense.

There are also courageous souls who, when asked, will share with me what is really going on for them. And in these turbulent times that is, generally speaking, quite a lot.

What is happening in our world and between each other is getting on our nerves. And some of us are really taking notice.

While I do not consume large quantities of media, I have seen several reports of public eruptions in restaurants, on airplanes, and in numerous public settings. These are being called unprecedented incidents. Many are rude at best and violent at worst. Seeing the footage is for me shocking for sure. And yet is also understandable.

We are on each other’s nerves because we have not attended to our own.

The collective shadow is presenting itself in record ways. We are seeing the result of decades if not centuries of suppression and denial. We have not to any large degree committed to doing our individual grief and trauma work. It has festered and augmented, and the lid is blowing off. Our deep grief has become a volcanic rage. What might have been attended to while it was manageable is now explosive and disproportionate to the inciting incidents. It will only be denied for so long, and the gig is up.

Pass the salt can get you killed.

Projection and blame seem to place the internal pain out and away from where it really lives- inside our own hurting hearts. Displacing it is a momentary and ineffective fix. Screaming at a slow waiter or verbally pummeling a flight attendant does nothing to address the pain and emotional anguish that is the effect of years of internal neglect. While others may trigger us there must be a button within us to push. The less inner work we have done the more velocity there will be when the wall breaks and the dam bursts. Some of the scariest people I know have pasted smiles and affirmative slogans. The smiles are waning, and the affirmations are shrieking. If we all do not get real soon this current crisis can only get worse. More erratic and more explosive. More virulent and more violent. Service workers may soon be wearing bullet proof vests.

Oh, we are definitely on each other’s nerves.

So, friends, there is still a pandemic.

There is ideology identification and extreme political division.

There is racial inequality and dehumanizing legislations.

There is extreme poverty and inequality.

These are just some of the things we are facing in our world. There is collective disturbance and division at perhaps record levels. We are disconnected from our selves and from each other.

Then layer on top of that collective trauma the personal losses, hurts, disappointments. Is it any wonder that levels of depression are at an all-time high? We need to be connected to our own pain, and then have a place to share it directly and honestly. To come out of hiding, at least to someone who will listen, see, hear, hold, empathize and embrace us with our struggle. Someone who will not try and fix or correct us. Someone who has earned the right to our more intimate inner spaces. These people are rare. Rare and precious. When we have no place to express what is happening for us the alternatives are to become depressed, or to express in rageful and inappropriate ways.

The alternative is to blame who and what seems to be triggering our last nerve. And this is what we are seeing. And what definitely is not working.

I am writing this missive for those who are struggling and know they are struggling.

I write this for those who may be disturbed, depressed, and even despairing.

I write this as my perhaps feeble way to tell you it is okay to feel those things. It’s a chaotic, disturbed, and aching world. There is a lot of pain, tragedy, inequality. The fact that you are hurting is proof perfect of your humanity. Of your sensitivity to our shared experience. When you are living in a container such as ours, and then personal challenges are added to the mix it is hard. It is damn hard. And it is not insurmountable.

Our collective mental health is at stake. And there is a direct and inseparable connection between our mental health and our spiritual resources and resilience.

These times are undeniably taxing. Pushing away the pain only leads to more projection. More projections ultimately lead to more eruptions. Leaning into the pain will lead to integration and transformation. And this deep level individual healing will slowly and surely alchemize the collective pain and generational trauma.

It is possible to feel the pain while you pray. In fact, this is deep, intimate, transformative prayer.

It is possible to lean into the pain and not get lost. Leaning into the experience lets you know that you are the one that is leaning in. You are not the pain.

It is possible to navigate a mine-filled world and maintain your own sense of autonomy. Watch where you step. Sense the energy around you. Pause before reacting. And proceed with caution.
,br> We are on each other’s nerves.

Notice. And proceed with caution.

And ask for help. For the sake of all of us ask for help. Stoicism is highly over-rated.

And know that I am here. I spend an hour a week on that platform. It leaves me plenty of time and lots of space to join you in your heart.