Stop Seeking, Start Being!

Stop Seeking, Start Being!

Table of Contents
Introduction........................................................................1 Chapter One Walking the Path of Spirit..................................................13 Chapter Two Mental Integrity.................................................................42 Chapter Three Emotional Integrity............................................................72 Chapter Four Physical Integrity.............................................................102 Chapter Five...................................................................144 Spiritual Integrity.............................................................144 Chapter 6........................................................................166 Creatively Intending Your Life........................................166 Chapter 7 Mastery............................................................................190

Stop Seeking, Start Being!

Integrity: 1. An unimpaired condition: soundness 2. Adherence to a code of moral, ethical, artistic, or other values 3. The quality or state of being complete or undivided: completeness

throwing our energy in the opposite direction without really knowing what is true for us. We take on rules and beliefs that are handed down from our parents and grandparents. We are clear about who we are and where we are going.Stop Seeking. and communities. confusion. Often these rules are not in alignment with who we are. schools. or how to manifest it? Are you ready to step into your innate fullness and integrity? Spiritual Integrity is a path to wholeness. Life is good! Many of us learn what integrity is from the outside in. Each day is a playful co-creation with the Divine. or fear. Our actions are in alignment with our heart. Spiritual Integrity teaches us how to reclaim our truth 1 . When we live from our own Spiritual Integrity we follow through on our commitments without stress. or are completely contradictory. church. We are constantly inspired and energized to respond to change with eyes wide open. Or we rebel. And yet we still try and "be good" and follow what the outside world tells us we should be. Start Being! Introduction What Is Spiritual Integrity and How Do I Get Some? Have you ever made a commitment to yourself and not followed through? Do you wish you had more energy and space to create change in your life? Are you often confused about what your purpose really is.

a weaving of our scattered parts into a solid whole. Rediscovering your own Spiritual Integrity is a journey inward to align your mental. Start Being! from the inside out. whether you pray to God. or the wind. and desires. There is no handy list of rules in the appendix that we believe you should live your life by. We are not concerned with what your concept of Spirit is. As you recover your mental. Allah.Stop Seeking. And it is in these moments of aligned grace that the pure potential of humans is revealed. thoughts. emotional. and emotions stem from our essence. These times are the ones we 2 ." Or we spend all of our precious energy fighting other people's opinions. beyond the walls of the known. those moments when we feel open and aligned with our highest selves. but who we believe others want us to be. This book will not tell you what your integrity is. Spiritual Integrity is about the willingness to go deeper into yourself to find out who you are. your individual spirit will spontaneously align with its Creator. actions. At our core. We live not who we are. We ignore our own truth with the hopes that we will be accepted and loved if we are "nice. We step back into our Spiritual Integrity when our thoughts. Each of us has tasted integrity. emotional. But we cover this shining light of clarity and inspiration with layers and layers of other people's opinions. rather than our strategies and old patterns. we each have a beautiful and unique essence and purpose. and physical being with your own spirit. Spiritual Integrity is a re-membering. and physical integrity.

You learn from your mistakes gracefully. That was my essence shining brightly in the world. but use your tools to clear and open back to emotional fluidity. and energy. body. Choice is the foundation of physical integrity. 3 . We want to support you in not just seeking those fleeting moments of ecstasy. and can quiet your mind’s chatter so you consistently hear your own true voice. Physical integrity arises when your actions align with your heart. That was wholeness." Our desire is to share experiences and practices to help you completely rewire your system so you are aligned and whole in all areas of your life. but to find your willingness and faith to reclaim your full Divine self. mind. opening or security. emotions. Anytime you are triggered by outside events and feel emotional pain you do not blame others. Each of us takes on a strategy to help us understand the world around us and make us feels safe. You view yourself with compassion instead of criticism. "Yes. When you understand what your primary strategy is and how you physically act it out in the world you come to a place of choice rather than habit. Mental integrity comes when you release your judge and stop punishing yourself.Stop Seeking. that was my integrity. Emotional integrity allows you to release old hurts and find forgiveness for yourself and others. not your strategies. Start Being! look back on and say. You are no longer trapped by the past.

It is simple. emotions. My dreams were to become a large animal veterinarian (that lasted until I realized the pre-requisites I would have to take). and that you can actually enjoy the process! We know because we have walked this path for many years. There are many obstacles and fears between where you are now and who you truly are. or body. Our intent is to break down the process in such a way that you know without a doubt. When you shift from wanting things to be different to doing the actual work to transform yourself. “I can do this!” We know without a doubt that you can be free from false integrity. to step back into your Spiritual Integrity. but the light that illuminates from within. As you move more and more into Spiritual Integrity your mind. but not easy. Reading this book will give you a clear. to go to the Olympics (I 4 . so the luminous light of your spirit radiates out.Stop Seeking. emotions. Start Being! Spiritual Integrity is a cellular recognition that you are not your mind. and form become sweetly transparent. determined person. each day will be inspired. simple pathway to own your Spiritual Integrity. both together and separately. Heather Ash’s Journey to Integrity When I moved to the United States in 1984 to go to college I was a shy. We have coached many students to not just think about but actually do the work necessary to reclaim their fullest expression. It will not be easy.

Though I had strong beliefs I was easily swayed by other people’s opinions of me. to be a writer (though I didn’t know what I wanted to write. I was just beginning to understand the idea of awareness and reclaiming energy. and (after my hair grew back!) dying my hair blonde and wearing sassy clothes for a year. going into silence for 40 days. a non-profit religious organization which I help start in 2001. went through many growth-filled but difficult relationships.Stop Seeking. and part of an amazing spiritual community. studying with don Miguel Ruiz.) What I really craved was for people to like me and for there to be no conflict in my world. During this time I worked as an office manager for several different companies. including cutting off all my hair. Life was good and I knew what I wanted. and I was the Executive Director of The Toltec Center of Creative Intent. and moved every year or so. I had trained ten teachers who were 5 . Life was hard and filled with struggle. Ten years later I supported myself by teaching Toltec Shamanism. Most of my actions came from unconscious beliefs and habits. moving to Hong Kong with my parents for a summer. and was dedicated to running experiments to break any limitations I had. Start Being! was an avid horse-back rider in Dressage and Jumping). even if I did not have it yet. I went on every journey and workshop with don Miguel that I could. and clutched on to my romantic relationships as a way to give my life meaning. Ten years later I was teaching European shamanism and fire walking at UC Davis. often confused about what I wanted. and working at a financial investment firm.

Raven and my relationship had evolved over the years from student teacher to teaching peers.Stop Seeking. and both of us where in other primary intimate relationships. and sexually fulfilling relationship ever. we had the same dreams and visions. throughout the United States. I was living with my partner in a beautiful apartment ten blocks from the Toltec Center. Life was great. The result of my getting into integrity in my relationship world. Our paths and outlook on life were so compatible. One day I realized that I really wanted to be in relationship with Raven. and co-teaching journeys to Teotihuacan. to business partners (Raven helped me publish my book and we created Teo Publishing together). Start Being! sharing my 6-month intensive program. We were great friends and support for each other. to roommates. and then some. and I had manifested most of my dreams. This gave me the space to write my first book. but I finally followed my heart and jumped in feet first. SpiritWeavers. and our feelings for each had kept deepening. We did a hand fasting (commitment for a year and a day) ceremony in Peru soon after we got together. Mexico and Peru with my friend and mentor Gini Gentry. The Four Elements of Change. Right around this time came a huge pivot point in my life around my own integrity. I was in my first solid. loving. I was scared to be in relationship with Raven because of what our community would think. and being with Raven who is an incredible being of intent 6 . Yet we were both in other relationships. My getting clear about my integrity started an amazing spiral of events that completely changed my life.

The dissolution of the Toltec Center of Creative Intent in Berkeley was a hard blow for me. so it created a very messy organization! By the time one of Raven’s first teachers came to try and help us sort out the tangles. This was my baby. Start Being! and power. lots of tears. I wanted to control what the outcome would be. and no one was really ready to step up. Lots of meetings. And it gave me the freedom to 7 . but I could see that my relationship with the Toltec Center was out of whack. One day I had enough distance to look at the Toltec Center and see that this incarnation of it did need to die. I learned that I had a hard time being confronted or challenged. I resisted what she saw and struggled to make things work. I met with the Board of Directors and we realized that we would be bankrupt in two months if we didn’t shut down the office and release all of our staff. I could not just walk away! I couldn’t let the teachers and community down! I had to make it work! And I tried. we were one big dysfunctional family.Stop Seeking. Her recommendation to me was that I should shut the Toltec Center down and start over. that somehow we would pull out of this and all become a big happy family again. was that I started to clearly see where else I was out of integrity. Several people in the community were upset that Raven and I got together. lots of emotional processing. and share it with others in the community. I couldn’t quite let go. I could hardly look at it. and began to see that my stress level around wanting things to be perfect had hugely affected the organization. and I started feeling that I was bad and should give the leadership role away.

Spiritual Integrity is about both knowing what your best is and doing it. and came out the other side much wiser and more centered. while understanding that in a world of change and impermanence your best will not always resolve the issue at 8 . I learned to surrender. My life looked great from the outside. I learned to simply be. As messy and difficult as it was at times. Start Being! re-invent myself from the inside out. not based on a role I was playing in community. teaching across the United States. Raven and I lived in New Mexico for a year. For me. and kept allowing the old Heather Ash to die.Stop Seeking. At times it was really challenging to not try and control how others perceived me or know what was next. During this time anything that was not completely in alignment with my integrity fell away. the result of letting go of control allowed me to drop beneath my fears to recapture my own integrity. and to not need to be known or important or special. and then we went on the road in our RV for a year. Life is amazing! Understanding and validating the truth of your own spiritual connection is what walking a path of integrity is about. I lost some dear friends. hurt some people. During this time I hardly wrote. and in anxiety and fear around making the Toltec Center survive financially. I learned to trust. I am so grateful to this time of my life when everything broke open and I took the space to get to know Heather Ash. but on the inside I was driven by a need to be perceived as a good girl. or to expect people to like me.

Stop Seeking, Start Being!
hand or count for much at all. But you do it anyway, because it is your joy to do your best. Spiritual Integrity is being present for life in all its manifestations, fully engaged, yet totally un-attached to the outcome of what you are doing. Spiritual Integrity invites you to quit trying to understand what is happening to you and start living what is happening to you. Spiritual Integrity is about fully living life with delight, paying attention to your experiences with curiosity, and engaging with your being from compassion and detachment. When you are in your Spiritual Integrity you move beyond worrying about what others are thinking or if you are good enough into being in connection with the divine at all times. There is no compromise when you are in your integrity. Why would you compromise your connection to Spirit? What would be more important than your connection to God/dess? When you are in Spiritual Integrity the answer is NOTHING! Nothing is more important than maintaining your sacred connection to Spirit. Anytime you put something between your own spirit and the Divine, it is a sin against God/dess. When your connection to the Divine is more important to you than anything else, you are free. Life is simple. Decisions all revolve around whether this thing or that thing will serve you closer to God/dess or will pull your attention away from her. Evaluating everything from this standpoint it is easy to make decisions. It only gets complicated when we start doing

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Stop Seeking, Start Being!
things for others when we know that is not what we need or want to be doing. So, if everyone started living from their integrity and not from outside rules, would society break down and there be chaos? The answer is an emphatic “No!” A spiritual being in integrity’s openness and compassion knows no bounds, because true integrity stems from the essence of who you are. Spiritual Integrity is the art of letting go of reward and punishment and experiencing the Divine by BEING the Divine as fully as possible in each moment. When you stop worrying about the past or future and bring all of your energy present now, you can ecstatically walk the path you have chosen to embody God/dess. Yes! When you begin the divine dance towards your own Spiritual Integrity you will find your self-respect and self-love, and it will bubble over towards others. Life will keep getting yummier and yummier! Spiritual Integrity is a path to wholeness. To move into integrity you must first honor where you have created separation internally, and find your willingness to do something different. Then you can discover and reclaim all aspects of your integrity: mental, emotional, physical, energetic, and spiritual. Spiritual Integrity doesn’t come from dogma, or rationalization. It comes from practice, from actually walking the path you talk about when you get together with other spiritual folk. The concept of walking the path is not the walking of the path. They are different things. One of them leads to a life of

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Stop Seeking, Start Being!
purpose and inspiration, and the other is just another clever way to suffer. To walk any path certain things are necessary. Primarily, you have to be aware of your circumstance and willing to tell yourself the truth about them. Living out a fantasy life will not set you free no matter what path you walk. Once you understand your circumstance you have to be willing to put as much energy into changing it as you put into creating it in the first place. This means you have to be willing to take action. Finally, you have to have faith. You have to have trust and be willing to surrender your will up to something greater than your small self. Otherwise you will always make decisions based on your ego-personality, whose view is so filled with limitation it will always lead you into suffering. You would think we would figure that out fairly quickly, but amazingly most people live out their whole lives listening to the chaotic voices in their head and making decisions from there even though it causes them pain and separation from life over and over again! Let’s look at the obstacles along your path, and how to cultivate the awareness and willingness to gracefully and lovingly discover your truth. This will form the foundation for reclaiming your mental, emotional, physical, emotional, and spiritual integrity. You can do it!

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Stop Seeking, Start Being!

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When we realize that the drudgery of living the way we have been taught to live causes us incredible suffering. The truth is. Strategies. To really change. When you are fast asleep in the dream your socialization has created for you. It is important to recognize the impetus driving you to look for something different in your life. you must be clear that it is more important for you to find out the “meaning of life” than it is to live in your safe and comfortable world. we begin to listen to our deep sense that there must be something more. The second reason someone steps on to a spiritual path is when an event (usually something pretty dramatic) occurs that shows us something that is so far out of our “normal” reality that it forces us to question our assumptions about what life is all about. and Willingness There are usually only two reasons someone steps onto a spiritual path. a quest for something more to life than the day-to-day grind our lives put us through. The reason for this is awareness. even though things are not great you are 13 . The first is a search for meaning.Stop Seeking. When nothing we have been taught can account for what we have experienced. This drive must be very strong. Start Being! Chapter One Walking the Path of Spirit Obstacles. we seek answers beyond our knowing. your life may take a strong turn for the worse if you step on the path to awakening and do not follow through with it to the end. or the obstacles you face ahead will inevitably overwhelm you.

mapping it very carefully. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Then you must create a new intent. 14 . you have to REALLY want it. and the avoidance of it is how we got ourselves into this predicament to begin with. To arrive at your own inner integrity. victimization. The “wool that has been pulled over your eyes” by the agreement of everyone around you as to what life is about is a powerful sedative that keeps you from realizing you are suffering. Start Being! only dimly aware of your discomfort. You created this reality you find yourself in and you have the power to change it into something beautiful and fulfilling. you must be willing to see the depth of the pain you are creating for yourself before you have any chance of changing it. and it will take a lot of energy to change it. Your old structure has a lot of energy in it.Stop Seeking. boredom. You have spent years creating this lie of your limitations. You will see all the ways you are torturing yourself into believing you are a limited being in a limited world just slogging one step at a time through an endless morass of judgment. drama. and then rounding up your energy to undo the limitations you have created. When you step onto a spiritual path the first thing that will happen is you will become aware of all the ways things are not so great. This is a fact that we would all like to avoid. First you need to become aware of the predicament you are in. a new dream of how you want to be in relationship to yourself and the world around you. and pain. but you have to want it.

interpreting. and yippee! necessary to break out of your structure. You are forced into this pattern of assigning meaning by the nature of your socialization into a society/family/peer group. So here we go… Reality as you experience it is controlled by your perception.Stop Seeking. and keeps your energy locked up in structures it has created to define and limit your view of reality to what is known and safe. and limiting your perception to what is previously known about the world. narrowing your window of perception by discarding the unknown or distorting it to fit into your comfort zone of the familiar world. This belief system filters almost all of your experiences by filing. It holds your perception hostage. How we Create Beliefs Beliefs are created by assigning meaning to events of the past and projecting them onto the present. What you learned to believe in the past becomes the filter of the present. Your perception is controlled by your belief system — how you were taught the world is supposed to be. Your belief system is based on your personal history. For a myriad of reasons you assign meaning to events to help you understand the world around you rather that just allowing an event to happen without judging or trying to explain it. Start Being! Understanding the ways you constricted your reality will help you to cultivate the awareness. willingness. These different types of socialization groups generally operate on a system of 15 .

One of my first memories of being punished (Heather Ash) was when I little girl in school. You also interpret information that caused you to be rewarded and create strategies to get those “cookies” again. I was devastated. and the crayons I was using had become blunt. But obviously that did not matter! All that mattered was what other’s perceived as wrong. Start Being! punishment and reward (in one form or another) that makes you feel unsafe in your environment. and felt like my world had just been shattered. and mesmerized by the different colors of crayons. I stopped what I was doing. A child could also take the idea that “all that matters is what other’s people’s perceptions are” and take on a controller strategy by holding the belief “I always have to be right in everyone’s eyes. I knew that tearing the paper on the crayons was not wrong. unsafe. I started to tear the paper so more crayon would be exposed. We were coloring. So I began to watch very closely to see if I could figure out what other people were thinking of what I was doing. What came out of this experience was a feeling that if I did something others perceived as wrong. and pretended to draw. Suddenly someone came up (a teacher or assistant).” This would snowball into making everyone 16 . slapped my hand. and come up with strategies to keep from being punished again.Stop Seeking. This was one of the early seeds of my pleaser strategy. found a crayon that was sharp.e. I would get punished. and yelled at me for ruining the crayons. I remember feeling happy and eager to do my drawing. You interpret the information that caused the punishment to occur as “bad” i.

I did not like crayons anyway and go take someone else’s markers as a way to stay away from the feelings of fear that arose. In other words. Soon they take on a life of their own.” From this seed thought a whole strategy of isolating would grow. and I do not want to be feeling this fear and confusion” and start to daydream of a better place. Or a child could take this same experience and decide. 17 . Start Being! else wrong.Stop Seeking. well. We all have a different set of life experiences that influences our belief structure. These strategies become your perception’s framework. Each person is socialized slightly differently. “I really do not want to be here. making our "reality" a selffulfilling pattern that repeats itself regardless of the differences in external stimuli. jealously guarding their narrow window of perception and striving to keep you from looking beyond it for fear of being punished or made wrong again. When they came back into the room. they might feel.” They would become quiet and invisible so they would not get in trouble in the future.” Another child may have taken this incident and decided “adults are unpredictable and cannot be trusted. We filter out anything that does not fit our belief structure. what we consciously and unconsciously believe about the world is what we experience. or an elaborate system of internal control in order to be “right. Let us look at the following example of four friends to explain this further. and that structure is what controls our perception. and you empower them with the ability to keep you safe. “I am only okay when no one notices me.

and anyone in the family who does is shamed and told they are being immature and inconsiderate of others. All four have a totally different experience of the event. Anytime anyone in her world became angry she would think.Stop Seeking. Cindy eventually responds by standing up to her father and as a result gets thrown out of the house. Joan grows up in a family environment where it is never ok to express any anger. was brought up in a family that supported healthy expressions of anger. Max. She spends most of her time reading books or going for long walks with her dog. Anytime she senses someone being emotional she is highly critical. Sherry feels okay when her parents are upset with each other. Start Being! Suppose Cindy grows up in an environment where her father expresses a lot of anger at the family. yells at them and beats them all regularly. Cindy gets very angry and tries to jump into the couple’s argument. but when they are upset with her she gets scared. She spent much of her days fantasizing about finding her real parents. vehemently defending the 18 .” These four women are walking down the street together one night and the couple walking in front of them suddenly starts arguing and yelling at one another. and her mother and father modeled this by expressing their irritation without blaming others. Sherry. She was taught that it was okay to express her feelings. Vanessa lived with four different foster families by the time she was fifteen. “My real parents would never be angry at me. on the other hand.

Sherry. Sherry doesn't understand what the big deal is. to the point that if you listened to their descriptions of the event you wouldn't have any idea they saw the same thing.Stop Seeking. and they visually and auditorally filter the information presented to them in the form of this couple. Making Sense of Strategies These women are not just reacting to their experience around anger. This forms a personal filter through which they witness any event whose stimulus is a display of anger in any form. Joan. she feels guilty and tries to make everyone feel better. and Vanessa each take their past experiences and project them onto present situations. but then she immediately starts wondering where the woman of the couple got her dress. 19 . what is everyone else getting so upset about? But when Cindy starts yelling at her. but from strategies that we took on as young children to make sense of the world and know how to react to it. feels embarrassed and tries to sneak away from the scene. Vanessa doesn’t even notice the chaos. because she is dreaming about her parents and thinking about getting her haircut. Each woman has a completely different experience of the same event. Start Being! woman. We react to situations not from our integrity. When she does realize what is going on it startles her. Cindy. Joan turns her head away. This story is a snap shot of how we each filter information through our beliefs. they are just arguing. Different emotions move through them.

Start Being! When you are in Spiritual Integrity you align with your truth and act with love from your own moral code. nuggets of wisdom. Often our strategies become the basis for our sense of security. They sap our inspiration and lock us in a shell of behaviors that are comfortable and predictable. pleasers. and because it worked! As you matured. in fact. and no longer in your integrity (if it ever was!) Returning to your integrity is a process of clearing out your old agreements of who or how you should be and learning who you want to be. Strategies are fixed patterns of energy that we adopt at an early age. But this is a false foundation. And they are not much fun either! From studying our students and our own lives we have found four main categories of strategies: controllers.Stop Seeking. and religious community is often contradictory. friends. outdated. these strategies become more and more habitual. To be truly free you must deconstruct all the false beliefs you are holding and rediscover your truth at this time of your life. The moral code you soaked up (actively or passively) from your parents. As a child. but are between us and our authenticity. society. you took on a core strategy because it helped you make sense of the world. a place where integrity is confused with feeling safe. however. There are gifts in every strategy. Many of us believe that we are in our integrity when. but with a strategy. strategies limit our energetic capacity and keep us from growing and maturing into our Spiritual Integrity. we are not in alignment with our essence. 20 .

Controllers manage their own and others' emotions through subtle or blatant domination or manipulation. Controllers can be great leaders and visionaries. anything that can be a distraction! Distracters have a great gift at multi-tasking and are often mentally nimble. to force people to do what they want them to do. CONTROLLERS feel safe when they are in control of the world around them or their own internal world. Start Being! isolators. doing projects/hobbies. but their energy is easily scattered. and to limit expression. When triggered (or before there can be any trigger). distracters spend hours at video games. and they have a very difficult time focusing and creating what they want in the world. This hiding may be a physical or emotional retreat. The purpose of our core strategy is to keep the world manageable and to create a sense of safety and stability. Instead of feeling their feelings or facing discomfort. and distracters. ISOLATORS habitually hide when they are scared or near an uncomfortable situation. Isolators often have a very strong connection to spirit and an excellent sense of 21 . but often their gift is used to squash uncomfortable situations. and has one which we use as our core strategy that is activated when we are uncomfortable or insecure. talking to friends. Each of us uses all of them sometimes. DISTRACTORS keep themselves safe by staying busy and checked out.Stop Seeking. isolators head for the safety of the hills.

She creates a sense of safety by squashing her own emotions and being highly critical of herself and others. PLEASERS believe they will only be accepted and safe if they are helping others. Their gifts are sensitivity and an aptitude for sacred service. Start Being! self. Her father was a controller. They habitually constrict their energy and their life force. Pleasers constantly scan other people's reactions. wanting to make sure that everyone is happy. and so in order to feel empowered in her difficult situation she became a controller as well. She jumped in. defending the woman.Stop Seeking. She tried to control her father’s mood and defend her family from him. Joan learned that any expression of emotion is not okay. Pleasers feel lost when they are not caretaking or acting to satisfy the perceived needs of others. The result is they often feel victimized and resentful. but they are split between a yearning to be deeply seen and understood and a desire to be invisible. Can you tell which strategy the women used in response to the couple arguing? Cindy wanted to control the situation. but when they are in their strategy they become hyper-vigilant and outerfocused. and she interpreted this to mean that expressing yourself in any 22 . When there is any hint of emotional tension or confusion in her world. Cindy feels unsafe. and went on to try and control everyone else’s emotions. This made her feel safe by giving her the illusion that she could resolve the situation.

but 23 . or isolate yourself? Look for your core strategy. She sometimes would like to connect with other people. When anyone close to her is upset she feels personally responsible for his or her well-being. but obvious to the people around us. but to constantly be jumping from task to task or thought to thought.Stop Seeking. These strategies are often blind spots to us. Her structure causes her to rarely be in the present moment. care take and please others. Her pleaser strategy actually underlies all of her actions. Again. When things get difficult in her world she retreats either physically or emotionally. Often the main people we interact with can easily name our core strategy. Sherry is a pleaser. Her chosen strategy is isolating. because she is constantly scanning those around her to make sure they are happy. If you are not sure which is your core strategy. How do you react to stressful situations? Do you take control. try asking your friends or partner. Start Being! way in the world was dangerous. Vanessa’s constantly shifting childhood caused her to become a distracter in order to avoid feeling her own helplessness. the one you default to when you are surprised or overwhelmed. Anytime she feels uncomfortable she avoids her own feelings by looking outside for stimulation. She feels safest when she is alone. suddenly find something else is more important. but she feels awkward and insecure without really knowing why. She would rather change who she is than upset the ones she loves. we each use all of these strategies at different times in our life.

pretend that the person you are responding about is a good friend of yours. Place a 0 next to the ones that the person never does and a 5 next to the ones they always do.Stop Seeking. _____ They get resentful when other people do not appreciate what they have done for them. and a number between 1 and 4 for actions they take varying amounts of the time. The more honest you can be with this exercise the easier it will be for you to start undoing the unconscious actions you take from your strategies. You will be taking this quiz for yourself. ___ They talk about other people’s process and lives all the time. Section 1: They do things for other people even when their schedule is full and they don’t have any time for themselves. Find your witness/objectivity and review your life through your best friend’s eyes. _____ 24 . Strategy Quiz-o-Rama Now is the time for real honesty. but to get the most out of it. Get as quiet and neutral as you can and then put a number next to the statements. Start Being! there will be one main strategy that maintains a false sense of integrity/self-identification.

Stop Seeking. _____ People often get irritated with their bossiness. and always have a lot of things going on. Start Being! They get upset with people being selfish. meetings. ______ They are always organizing groups. ______ 25 . movies. _____ They get upset when their preferences are not met. ____ Section 2: Their work and/or home environment is very neat and organized. ______ They always have an opinion about almost any topic. ____ The significant people in their lives are very controlling and/or demanding. or other social activities. ___ They at least say a partial “yes” to even the most outrageous requests of other people make of them. ____ They appear to be very disciplined. ____ They always ask what everyone else wants to do when you go out to dinner. and other events.

_____ Section 3: Their work and/or home environment is messy and disorganized. watching TV or going shopping. _____ Section 4: They are often shy around meeting new people. ____ They are always reading books. ____ Their thoughts jump from topic to topic. ____ 26 . ____ They are constantly multi-tasking. and they have a hard time staying focused on anything for long. ____ They start many projects. going to movies. but finish very few of them. _____ They are usually living beyond their means.Stop Seeking. ______ They are very funny and relieve tense situations with humor. Start Being! They spend a lot of time convincing people to do things their way.

you will have elements of each in your makeup. _______ Add up your scores in each section. Start Being! In social situations they often pull books off of shelves and read them. but the 27 . ______ They usually take off or disappear if other people are displaying a lot of emotion. Most of the things they would consider relaxing involve getting away from people. plants.Stop Seeking. _____ They love animals. play with dogs or children. and they walk around with a frown on their face even when they are not grumpy. Of course. Work with this strategy in all the coming sections. and nature. ______ They love doing things by themselves. and often feel misunderstood. look out the window. often more than they like other people. The one with the highest amount is your core strategy. Section one is pleaser. section two is controller. ______ They are often grumpy. section three is a distracter and section four is an isolator. or drink a lot and leave early. ____ They feel superior to others.

The shirt binds us under our armpits. taking those old clothes off can feel frightening after years of adaptation! You have learned how to make the best of them. damnit! Yes. It is like wearing clothes and shoes that we outgrew long ago. since he was breaking his structure by being intimate with others. shy. We are determined to make this outfit work. Since he did not see the pattern that having an opening experience was 28 .) Or just pick one and work with it! Getting Bigger Our unconscious strategies crimp us into a role. He lived by himself and rarely interacted with the outside world.Stop Seeking. But they are crippling you! Hello! Gary was a classic isolator. and timid in social situations. He was quiet. the tight pants make it hard to move. When he did stretch himself and try new adventurous things he opened up beautifully. most of the time we can easily identify which strategy someone we are close to is. but would often then feel scared and vulnerable afterwards. (Much to our chagrin its pretty transparent to everyone around us what motivates us in the world <grin> It is only our fear that makes us believe we are actually succeeding in hiding it from everyone. But we pretend we are not suffering. Start Being! core strategy is the first and most important to unravel! If you have any doubt ask a good friend or family member which one you are. and the shoes are killing our feet and making us unsteady.

When he came out of the binge. and while he was terrified. 29 . he would get overwhelmed and shut himself down again by drinking heavily. he trusted our guidance and went where it was uncomfortable over and over again. Through our advanced apprenticeship program. A new idea started percolating: what if he took the studio he had built as his private place to shoot photographs and created a public salon for artwork? And he could then have the first public showing! Over three months he probably tried to pull out of his show three times. All his time being alone had actually created a strong connection to his own source and a big vision. he agreed. We invited him to assist us at a class series. it would be a huge success. While he was a wonderful artist he kept his work to himself. secretly dreaming of bringing his work to the public but not taking any action. Over two years we kept encouraging him to get in front of people and teach as a way to break his fears and smallness. he had just been afraid to access the power to make himself known in the world. He saw that while isolating was familiar. While he still wanted to stay hidden. it was about getting out into the world. he was cutting off his passion and hiding his true self. and even if he only had four pieces and only a handful of people showed up. Start Being! followed by vulnerability. And he started getting inspired about his own artwork. Gary began to understand the underlying causes of his isolating. he would feel guilty and so isolate even more. and each time we reminded him it did not have to be perfect.Stop Seeking.

Stop Seeking. He also continued teaching and is now one of our top teachers and coaches. faith. 30 . but how else could I act? What should I do? Instead of living unconsciously from strategies masking as our integrity you can consciously align to a key factor of integrity: A clearly defined purpose. Start Being! And it was! Gary’s first show in ten years opened with eighteen brilliant photographs printed on canvas.. You can do the same! Beyond Strategies: Discovering Your Purpose In order to return to your Spiritual Integrity. and willingness over and over again to be in uncomfortable situations. about fifty people. He now plans to expand his work in the United States and internationally over the next four years. and four pieces sold in two hours! He went on to sell several more pieces and bring his photographs to a larger studio. He remarked to me recently. Yet your core strategy is so woven into the fabric of your being that it will take focused action to untangle what is your true integrity and what is a strategy.. you must move beyond your core strategy. “I used to say I hated community. I am definitely not an isolator anymore!” His movement from unconscious strategy to conscious purpose came from dedication. and now I am so thrilled to have people around my house and be part of so many people’s lives. Often when you begin to unravel your strategy the response is.

we are living out some story based drama that doesn’t serve us. in alignment with your deepest integrity does not. We would often rather stay with the discomfort of being afraid. our highest purpose or anything else except the maintaining of the drama. Purpose inspires us to be more than our story. We are always at choice you see. Your purpose is not a trap. but the feeling of living your life as fully as you can. no one will force you to live out your Purpose. to make every action a sacred one that brings us more in touch with our divinity. but away from it or distractions from it. apathetic. and blaming than take responsibility for the discomfort of knowing we are not living our highest path. There is no more important task than finding your purpose.Stop Seeking. but the feeling of being in alignment has a surety of 31 . and the second is that we do not want to know because then we would be responsible for it. Start Being! Usually there are only two reasons we do not already know our purpose. The description of that feeling might be different every five minutes. you have to actively choose it before it will be your experience of life. The first thing we find (of course) is that for the most part we are not living our purpose. The first is we have never looked. Purpose gives your life context. We have to be able to face the truth to live our purpose. It allows you to see your unconscious beliefs reflected in actions that are clearly not toward your purpose. The words you use to describe it might change over time. to strive toward giving it all up to God/dess.

It 32 . After all. and joy. That agony is the suffering all traditions talk about. it gives you inspiration. peace. and allows your creations to move you more toward who you want to be in each moment. and it pulls you forward when things get difficult.Stop Seeking. You yearn to give all of yourself to your purpose. from despair to Joy. Purpose gives your energy a focus. You are the gift being given as fully as possible. it is agony when you cannot. That there must be something more to this than the meaningless high drama you find yourself wrapped up in. By bringing your purpose to bear on all the decisions you make in your life things become uncomplicated. It is the uncomfortable knowing that you are out of alignment with your essence. Start Being! knowing that does not waver. There is! Deep down you know this. A great step in moving toward that is to find your purpose and devote your life to living it. from senseless activity to Sacred Action. rather that creating things that move you deeper and deeper into the suffering of believing in your limitations. The art of believing in something without attachment gives form to energy. you know you were meant to live a Divine life full of meaning. Purpose helps you move from unwillingness to Willingness. what else is there to do? Are all the ways you are wasting your time right now really that important? Important enough that when you die you will be happy with how you spent your time? Knowing your purpose is the anchor that keeps you on the path of living the divine more fully in each moment.

as the One. whole and complete in each moment. It is having faith that indeed this life does have meaning. It is being conscious and aware of the god force flowing through and around you in every moment. Why not? Purpose is giving your gift as fully as you can in each moment. Knowing thyself. knowing yourself as Spirit incarnate.Stop Seeking. beneath the personality and mind play of the illusion we have created. Come out and play! We want to see more of your true self. Living your purpose is being your purpose in each moment. Purpose is another way of saying faith. It is giving your presence in service to the Divine. more of your incredible gift. Purpose is the understanding that while we will never intellectually grasp the fullness of this life we can be it by living our highest ideal in each moment. Purpose is not a detailed plan taking you from point A to B. You just focus on your Purpose and let the next action arise from that. Start Being! either serves your purpose or it does not. it will always be what you feel it is. The goal is the continual manifestation of more of you in each moment. 33 . It is a feeling state that brings you fulfillment and directs your actions toward your highest expression in each moment. Your purpose will never be what you think it is. When you believe in your purpose there is no confusion about what to do next. Giving our fullest gifts is the outward reflection of that inner essence we find at the core of our being. Purpose is the deep knowing that life is a mysterious and magical pathway back to our essence.

Cultivating Your Willingness With purpose comes willingness. and that somewhere is the truth. as you live your purpose. By cultivating conscious willingness. Start Being! Dedication to purpose is the warrior’s pledge to themselves that they will strive to honor their own integrity by being impeccable with their words. we feel insecure and out of control. but the truth of where you are really at in this 34 . you will stay steady through the uncomfortable places as you unravel your authentic integrity from your strategies. Willingness is a state of opening to anything that arises and staying present with whatever your mind. Willingness has to begin somewhere. and body is doing. Willingness to deal with the discomfort of life. and actions. Your willingness will be the fuel as you untangle your strategies and learn new channels of behavior. thoughts. understanding that discomfort is just that. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and confused. it is simply what is happening now (or not). This is where willingness comes in. Not where you wish you were or think you should be. beyond strategies. Willingness does not mean you have it all figured out or you know what comes next.Stop Seeking. it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. you can learn to consciously cultivate your desire to live your Spiritual Integrity. We are so narrowed by our core strategy that we often see no other options. emotions. And as we start to challenge the strategy.

to step out into unknown territory. and that believes fully that your strategy will keep you “safe. If you are like most people. there is a part of you that doesn’t want to change. Start Being! moment. The discomfort we feel in breaking our unconscious patterns is no greater in any way than the discomfort we experience from playing them our in the world.” To return to your Spiritual Integrity means you must be willing to be uncomfortable. You need to know to the depths of your being that it does not serve you to hold to these limitations. The desire to do this cannot be faked. We tell ourselves that we feel more comfortable when we act from one of our strategies. You need to be truly willing to tell yourself the truth about what you want to transform in your life. even though you do not yet know how to live without them.Stop Seeking. Our search for comfort is often completely a lie. The strategies are usually just a deflection into a type of discomfort that we are familiar with. that is invested in the strategy you have created. Our willingness to change is in direct proportion to our willingness to experience discomfort. we have just gotten familiar with the former and placed a matrix of fear around 35 . but the truth is we are causing ourselves incredible discomfort by being out of integrity from acting from the strategy. rather than a type of discomfort that is unknown. It is the search for the illusory state of being comfortable all the time in life that keeps us from truly exposing our unconscious limitations and changing them.

causing me incredible discomfort all the time. This low state of anxiety ran inside of me most of my life. Start Being! the latter. loved.Stop Seeking. I had to figure out what other people needed and if at all possible provide it for them before they even asked for it. 36 . how I needed other people to validate me or I was nothing. Much of my internal dialogue revolved around what other people might need of me and how in the world was I going to provide it for them. love me. With this internal dialogue came a constant stream of ideas around not having value. Raven’s journey of moving through his pleaser strategy exemplifies working with discomfort. What this was like internally was a constant state of low anxiety. give me affection and approval. This creates the space for you to get into your own integrity and not suffer from the actions you are taking. I always felt a sense of low self worth unless someone was acknowledging me for something I had done for them. how was I going to do all of these things that everyone wanted me to do so that I could feel safe. Not only that. In the beginning when I was enmeshed in the strategy I felt like I had to say “yes” to anyone who asked me to do something for them. and so people respected and valued me. My internal dialogue was always talking to me about what I needed to do for other people so they would accept me. The real difference is that one type of discomfort keeps cycling an endless wheel of suffering and the other type of discomfort breaks the pattern of suffering and opens you up to new possibilities.

or hadn’t given them what they needed to a full enough extent. When I stayed with the discomfort and held myself through it. So I would try harder and create more anxiety and worry about what I could do to please people rather than noticing some people validated me whether I pleased them or not. And many times I did get validation. The discomfort I felt during those times was really high. But if I didn’t get the validation I would tell myself that I just hadn’t done a good enough job. you are being mean. many times I would do something for someone and they wouldn’t acknowledge it (or it just was not important to them) and I wouldn’t get any validation for doing it. you aren’t taking responsibility for things…” There was a big internal discomfort around breaking the pattern. selfish. that I hadn’t answered their problem.” Sometimes I went for weeks at a time without doing anything for anyone else. Start Being! Of course. My judge was constantly telling me “you are being self-absorbed. but looking back I can see that this discomfort was really minor in comparison to the constant state of anxiety I had around pleasing people. many. and came back to a place of being able to say “yes” and mean it. which is why I didn’t get the validation. When I began to understand this and began working to break my pattern of saying “yes” to everyone I took on certain commitments at different times around telling people “no. and other people didn’t validate me no matter what I did for them.Stop Seeking. I finally broke the habitual pattern inside myself of saying “yes” no matter what. I shifted into being able to do 37 .

When I say “yes” to something I put all of myself behind it. Because of this when I go into service I can bring all of myself. So my “yes” is an incredible yes that serves me and the other person into God/dess the most that I possibly can in each moment. presence. and that is a place of incredible freedom and lightness. because I am not concerned with what their response is going to be. It is a place of opening into each action that I do for another person as a service to God/dess. and power into what I am doing.Stop Seeking. When I do have the spaciousness to say yes to people now I’m saying that yes from a place of knowing it serves my purpose and my connection to Spirit. regardless of the outcome. Today I make my decisions from a place of my own integrity. Start Being! things for people because I truly felt like doing it for. I no longer had any regard for the outcome or a need for them to tell me I had done a good job. The unconsciousness pattern of saying “yes” to everything anyone wanted had to be consciously broken. all my awareness. The pattern created anxiety and limitation in my ability to respond to other people. I am not constantly watching the people around me to see if they approve of what I am doing or not. 38 . This is liberation! What it took to get there was my willingness to go into a lot of discomfort in the form of my internal judgment and holding myself through the disappointment of anyone I had unconsciously set up this care-taker dynamic with. What opened up for me was a place of incredible Divine service. and I feel totally fulfilled by taking the action.

to everyone else in my life. The pain I felt for a year of two in completely breaking this pattern was nothing compared to the pain I felt from playing it over and over.Stop Seeking. to take new actions that we haven’t taken before often comes from the acknowledgment of the amount of suffering we are causing ourselves by playing these strategies out over and over. This book will inspire you to become bigger than your strategies. It is the coming into awareness of the anxiety that was created inside of me by worrying about whether I was doing enough for others for them to like me that became the stimulus for me to change. emotional. year after year. From a place of purpose you will learn to explore your inner structure. Bringing awareness to the places that you feel out of integrity is the greatest motivator for having the willingness to change them. in a spiral of despair and lack of fulfillment from life. We call these “explorations” to support you in entering this work with a light heart and a big does of curiosity. Start Being! caused me incredible suffering. and physical integrity. understand where you are in your own journey of mental. and made me in-effective in the world because my energy was scattered everywhere. and become fluid in untangling any limitations to letting your Spiritual Integrity shine through. So our willingness to step out of the known and into the unknown. At the end of each chapter we share specific tools and practices. You are welcome to read through the entire book first and then look at 39 .

cross off everything that 40 . Start Being! the explorations. Make them work for you! INITIAL EXPLORATION Strategies and Willingness Spend the next few days witnessing your strategy. not overwhelmed by its strength. you are gaining power over it. Notice how it served you in the past. knowing as you gain awareness of the ins and outs of your strategy. Do a writing exercise. Ask yourself: Are you willing to learn to live beyond your strategy? Are you willing to break a long chain of ancestral patterning? Are you willing to take the risk to do what needs to be done so you can live from your integrity in every aspect of your life? What do you need to do to cultivate more willingness? Finding Your Purpose Two ways to find your Purpose: 1.Stop Seeking. asking the question “What drives me. or read the explorations and do them one at a time. How does it play out in your life? How does it affect you? Play with being inspired by the brilliance of your strategy. what is my passion? What am I passionate about?” After doing the exercise.

alone (or in an empty room with no distractions if you can’t arrange wilderness). 2. out in the wilderness. This is the old-school way. Pretty much guaranteed you will know what is important to you and what is garbage by the time you come out.Stop Seeking. This might be a word. David Deida’s Way of the Superior Man. Resources for Finding Your Purpose If you need more resources try the methods in Tom Brown’s Vision Quest. 41 . If nothing is left then go back and look at what feeling state inside yourself that you are trying to create with your actions toward others. Do a 3-5 day Vision Quest. or a paragraph that embodies your passion. James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecy or Lance Secretan’s Inspire. That will be the lead in to your purpose. What is left will be your purpose. a sentence. See Tom Browns book below for more information on how to set it up. Next cross off anything that is a reflection of what others think about you. No food. Start Being! involves getting something from another person.

For most of us. crazily trying to keep you safe by pointing out all the bad things that have happened. Or you spend your time fantasizing about how it was or how it might be. and can quiet your mind’s chatter so you consistently hear your own true voice. but more like an obnoxious tyrant that taunts us and constantly tells us where we are falling short. and disaster thinking. judgment. Start Being! Chapter Two Mental Integrity Making Your Mind Your Ally Mental integrity comes when you release your judge and stop punishing yourself. the mind is not a helpful ally on our journey. to figure out how to do things. without opening your eyes to what is in the now! 42 . You learn from your mistakes gracefully. projection. You view yourself with compassion instead of criticism. If you watch your mind for a few hours you will see that your thoughts jump from past to future. While our minds are designed to help us move through the material world. fear. and to look after the survival of our physical bodies. victimization. A mind left to its own rule is rarely in the present moment. most of us struggle with various types of mind torture: comparison.Stop Seeking. or telling you all the bad things that could happen in the future.

Start Being! Your mind has taken center stage. where you are going. To access your Mental Integrity. rather with our boundless essence. but with all aspects of yourself. it helps to have a model to map where you have been. The mind out of integrity runs you. Creating space between your little mind and your spiritual essence is the first step towards reclaiming your integrity. and that what it perceives day to day is the whole truth. and buries the light of our essential nature. and how to get there. or detachment.Stop Seeking. This limits our existence to a narrow band of vision. We have given over the control of our perception of reality to a tool that is only one tool in a vast toolbox of consciousness. To systematically rewire your mind to support you on your journey to Mental Integrity. telling you that your strategy is your integrity. In many traditions this is called cultivating your Witness. We then called this tool “me” and left behind our vastness. you must completely rewire they way you relate to your mind. The mind in integrity is a tool cradled by the warm hands of your awareness. that you are not what you think you are! Your vastness cannot be contained by thinking. Not so! Our fundamental mistake is that we identify ourselves with the mind. not just with your mind. 43 . finding the still small voice. Mental Integrity means knowing to your core.

not truth itself. our path toward integrity and awakening to our true potential and essence. learning to speak our truth. including our path to mental integrity. whether it is our coming into integrity with our mind or emotions. By taking this to heart we can build a roadmap to achieving full inner and outer integrity. or how we work through our issues around power. and control. money. and that process has stages (designated by the loops of the spiral) that are both independent and at the same time connected to the overall path. As with all models it is a picture of the truth. The Spiral gives us a beginning point and an endpoint. Start Being! The Spiral Path Toltec teacher Gini Gentry first introduced us to the concept of the spiral. For us it became a model for describing all the different aspects of our path toward personal awakening. She was using the idea of a spiral to talk about how when we are learning to speak our truth we go through different periods where different things are true. As such it has limitations. dealing with past trauma. The loops of the spiral help us see that we are involved in a process.Stop Seeking. The Spiral is the best visual form and concept we have run across as a model for incorporating this idea of constant change into how we conceptualize our spiritual path. A model cannot describe every 44 . This spiral path can also be mapped onto any individual process we are moving through.

this world of form and spirit. Everything is in flux and change all the time throughout our lives. or take into account crossovers between different issues. making things true that before were false and vice versus. and wonderful place. and it is ALWAYS changing. Let’s look at perception in terms of color for a moment. mysterious. Much of the fearful illusion we lead our lives in is based on the unfortunate idea that we can somehow find a place of stasis in our lives where nothing is changing. Change is the one constant we can point to. Such a place does not exist! The function of this reality is change. 45 . Walking the Spiral The fundamental nature of this place we find ourselves in. It is a dynamic. thus our whole frame of reference changes as well. everything is stable and secure and safe. Once we grasp the nature of change the next thing we need to understand about the spiral is that different things are true at different points along it. it is simply not part of its design to stay motionless and static. is one of change.Stop Seeking. Our point of perception changes as we move along the spiral. Start Being! individual situation. and a way to place what others have learned into an easy to understand format to use as a guide for our own development. It can give us a powerful place to start. If each loop is a different color then the world is totally flavored by that color while you are in that part of the loop. Truth is a verb! It is completely based on your frame of reference as to whether things are true or not true.

before we wake up as pure presence. When we show up with ourselves where we are at in our process. but honoring where we are in the spiral and doing our work to continue to move more and more towards pure presence. because the framework of “green” is not available yet. Start Being! So when you are in “red” the whole world is red.Stop Seeking. acceptance. so you can’t take it into account in your perceptions. Mental integrity is not about being at the end the spiral. are on the spiral. The spiral of the mind starts with complete unconscious identification with the mind and our strategies. The tools you will use and the actual things you will need to do to continue your growth will change over time. Thus the actions to move through the “red” part of the spiral are different actions than you will need to move through the “green “ part of the spiral. and moves through three loops: honesty. where our mind dissolves into the ocean of pure awareness. a state of no-mind. No one is better or worse. The world is not green or blue. and clarity. Working within this spiral model fosters internal flexibility and compassion towards others and self. we are all simply at different parts of the spiral of change and transformation. You must have the fluidity to change with the situation or you will inevitably get stuck in dogma and tradition for the sake of tradition instead of as an honoring of what was done in the past. based on where you 46 . and Another gift of the spiral is increased knowing about where to apply your energy.

Stop Seeking. anyway? A part of your mind is memory. we are in our integrity. it is a non-stop. Just kidding! Let’s settle on internal dialogue. mostly cyclic loop of thoughts that you decided you 47 . Psychology calls it your ego. yogis call it your little self. and the other half catalogues things… There is all this stuff going on. telling yourself who you are (stupid.” That part of your mind is what the Toltec call the internal dialogue. too much…that’s just brilliant isn’t it?). and what might happen (most of which it is wrong about). We absolutely believe we are our mind. not enough. and do not realize that we are filtering everything we perceive. This internal dialogue maintains your sense of “I” or self. fat. Start Being! can witness with love the various stages of our own evolution. a part is awareness of your body. yet there is something we identify with as “me. what is happening (as if you didn’t already know!).” as “this is who I am. We unconsciously live out our strategies and beliefs. one half creates things. It is you constantly talking to yourself. we call it your Center of Rational Attachment Problem (CRAP for short). a part runs the body. In short. The Spiral of the Mind At the beginning point of the spiral of the mind we believe everything our mind tells us. as this describes in a real sense what exactly is going on. So how exactly does the mind run this show.

“I need to be perfect. Because of this. being in the now. enjoying this moment. it is not only several steps behind what is happening in this moment. We became attached to what it is saying. rewritten to be something 48 . The problem is our mind cleverly starts repeating all the things we need to remember to do in order to be okay. because that is not part of its function! The mind’s function is to interpret data that has come in from your senses and present it to you in packets of information. That’s right. Start Being! needed to do at some point to fit in with all of these lunatics you were surrounded by. We create our strategies early on by watching and responding to the people around us. it is seldom accurate! Most people do not realize that when spiritual teachers talk about staying present. they are not talking about your mind doing that. By the time the data has come in it has been sorted. most people have deluded themselves into thinking they are actually a bunch of post-it notes! What we miss is that our internal dialogue is always filtering everything through our strategies.” Over time we start thinking that the repetitive thoughts are who we really are. packets that it has deemed worthy of your attention.Stop Seeking.” “I should be quiet.” “I must stay busy. not something that could actually perceive the world directly. packets that have been separated out from the whole. not just a momentary strategy.” “I have to fight to be safe. forgetting that the mind is just a memory device. Your mind can’t be in this moment completely.

49 . Start Being! presentable as language. because your mind only has a concept of the endpoint of the spiral. then spoken back to you as what is happening. You will feel your body. This dawning of awareness is the key to mental integrity.Stop Seeking. This questioning allows us to begin telling ourselves the truth. With awareness you will learn to become conscious of what is happening within and around you. In this part of the process we begin to realize that we are not in control of our thoughts. Since the mind works to create separation. it cannot grasp the wholeness of your being. and be paying close attention to what your mind is trying to get you to do. This is a very important thing to understand. we begin to question them. not what is happening in this new moment! The best the mind can hope to do is to record something where you were actually present to play back to you later. It is now a memory. the event your mind is yakking to you about has long since passed. Instead of believing our thoughts and strategies. it cannot directly experience Spirit. Mental Awareness The first loop of the spiral of the mind moves us into the realm of awareness. be aware of your environment and what is happening in it. it has no direct experience of it.

The process we are involved in is the removal of the identification with those beliefs. From a very young age we are taught the first lie on which all other lies are based: that there is something fundamentally wrong with us that keeps people from accepting 50 . We artificially try and keep the mind in existence at all times and mistakenly tie our survival to the wave. We need to understand that even though it is a complete illusion.” it is not your mind. We feel our existence is threatened any time that identification is challenged. Our beliefs form the foundation for the mind’s artificial existence. Start Being! The part of you capable of doing all of that simultaneously is what “comes present. But before we can get there we need to know more about this internal dialogue we have placed between us and the direct experience of reality. (AE for short) Beliefs are the identification and attachment we have linked to the concept of “I” as something distinct and separate from the One.Stop Seeking. Our identification with the mind distorts this function. it is the seed of your consciousness. pure awareness. When it is needed it arises from the ocean. exists for a while as it performs its function. or any time there are gaps in the constant flow of thoughts and identifications we create by associating who we are with the mind. for we have given it the power to filter and distort everything we perceive about the nature of our existence. then subsides back into the ocean. bringing us to a place of simple choice in the moment. In its natural state the mind really does function like a wave. it is also a powerful force in our lives.

There is no way to change the stories you are telling yourself without first really listening to the stories. This lie in whatever form it takes for you is the basis for all the subsequent stories we tell ourselves about how we have to be in the world. It is the foundation of all the strategies we come up with to limit ourselves. We are taught that we must DO something in order to get affection. We are taught that we are not whole inside of ourselves. to conform to what other people think and feel about us.Stop Seeking. and to modify our behavior to be more acceptable to others. The only way to change these behaviors and stop punishing ourselves is to become aware of what we are actually saying to ourselves internally. love. then you look back and think “what the hell was I thinking? Why did I do that to myself when I could have been living in Joy and Presence with all the incredible gifts this life had to offer?” The blessing is that we all have the opportunity to wake up before our death. and acceptance from those around us. It is never too late. You can’t get out of hell unless you realize that you are burning and it is painful. Otherwise you don’t have any motivation to get out. You stay unconscious of the pain and suffering and just plod along until everything suddenly ends with your death. There is no way you can change a limiting behavior if you can’t see that you are doing it. and that we need to get approval from others to be a complete and whole being. all we need is the desire 51 . Start Being! us fully or loving us completely.

and we are on our way to creating change and transformation. and depressed on the inside. We often spend our lives pretending that we are loving. Raven and the Experience Unconditional Love When I (Raven) met my first teacher I was incredibly aloof and cynical about life. I was cheerful and easy going unless challenged by something. It takes great strength and determination to admit to what we have created. but the peek beneath our mental chaos becomes our inspiration. bored and disillusioned with life. Sometimes it takes glimpsing ourselves through the eyes of another to be willing to be honest with ourselves. We must be willing to really listen and observe what we have created in our internal world. In the world I would never admit any of this.Stop Seeking. Start Being! to really see the truth. We may return from this glimpse unsure about what to do next. because it asks us to face the suffering our mind is causing us with its judgments and fear. everything seemed empty to me and I equated that feeling with my self worth. kind. mean. I had sunk to the depths of hell internally. Without this first step. yet when they did in the next breath I would negate that it 52 . This loop of the spiral is challenging. while we are hateful. and happy to the outside world. Then I worked to force people to acknowledge what I had done for them. nothing else is really possible. I had none as far as I was concerned and I hated the feeling of that.

It was eternally. love not as 53 . After walking me through what I described above he said. The experience was both incredibly humbling and loving at the same time. For a moment I experienced myself as he was experiencing me in that moment. I want you to know that I do. and I want you to trust in my belief when those voices in your head are telling you that you are worthless.” He said it all with such tenderness. And that consciousness had infinite value and that value had nothing to do with anything I had ever done or thought or would ever do or think. with so much openness and at the same time such a fierceness of energy and intent… it truly blew me away. yet I unconsciously chose to hang out with people who almost never approved of me. I was the pure consciousness he talked about as the endpoint. I know you think you don’t have any self worth. infinitely whole and would never be affected by what I thought of myself.Stop Seeking. “Raven. I was not the limitation of the form I had created. This was my first glimpse at what unconditional love might be like. Love not as an attachment of the mind. Start Being! was any big deal or that what I had done had any value. I hunted for approval from others so I could feel some sense of worth. and I saw the illusion of who I thought I was so clearly. in who you really are. I knew I mattered to my teacher and to consciousness in an indescribable and paradoxical way that my mind would never understand. After a very few encounters my teacher had a conversation with me that changed my life forever. that I believe 100% in your intrinsic value.

I was inspired and supported to continue to be honest with my teacher about what my mind was actually saying. From this opening.Stop Seeking. The truth is that we had little or no chance of 54 . We have to approach telling ourselves the truth from a place of accepting what is without judgment. but to accept the ebb and flow of thinking. but love as pure being. We have to re-train ourselves to stop judging our mind. this is so disgusting. Acceptance allows us to find the place inside of ourselves that can forgive what we have done and what has been done to us. Acceptance of Mind The second loop on the spiral of the mind revolves around acceptance. Start Being! an attachment to an emotion. with no distinction between the lover and the beloved. and into witnessing what arises without attachment. acceptance and clarity. We begin to shift our attention away from the thoughts themselves. This cleared the way for the next two loops in the spiral. instead of pretending everything was okay. This takes practice! The initial tendency is always to start seeing what we have done and go “Yuck. there are so many places I’m out of integrity. how will I ever clean this up?” or “I can’t believe how screwed up this society is/my parents are/ my teachers were. as divinity. how could I have done this” or “Oh my god.” Reigning in this kind of judgment is fundamental to being able to continue with the process.

A great experience about acceptance happened to me (Raven) at a circle of Fire celebration in 2001. It is also not some la-de-da state of “everything is light and love and great just the way it is. There is often a lot of confusion around the concept of acceptance. Start Being! not creating these limiting structures.” Acceptance is an active state of honestly looking at what is going on. Toward the end of this weeklong event with Don Miguel Ruiz we did a beautiful ceremony. since they are part of our earliest socialization.Stop Seeking. We didn’t have the strength as children to resist them. taking responsibility for it without judgment. Acceptance is not a passive state of hopelessness about your situation. and working to find a place of openness and inspiration to explore something different than what you have created in the past. This will move you into the second loop of the spiral of the mind. and it is the first thing that will arise when you start telling yourself the truth. It is not a place of “giving up” on yourself. The judgment/punishment is built in to the structure of those lies-. If we start down the road of using our truth telling to punish ourselves we immediately fall back into the trap of the limiting beliefs again. During this ceremony I came face to face with everyone there (some 55 . and before now we never had the awareness to even notice they had been created. accepting where you are with no blame or need to punish. Start by being kind to yourself.it is designed to keep you from challenging them. a spiral dance orchestrated by Heather Ash.

feeling uncomfortable without knowing why. Perhaps they would have begun to build on this small voice and go into fear 56 . joyous state. come back present with the ceremony. but in the background where it didn’t register consciously. It was so loud it actually startled me.Stop Seeking. “RELIGIOUS FANATIC!” my mind blurted into the silence and beauty of the moment. It was a moment of great freedom. and following it I hunted down the woman with crystals and gave her a big. had crystal jewelry. She was dressed in white. and a starry-eyed blissed out expression on her face. My mind was very quiet and my heart was wide open. Someone who was at the beginning point of the spiral of mind would have completely believed the thought “religious fanatic” and probably lost all sense of happiness. right out in the open. Start Being! 200 people) after having just had an incredible heart opening experience during the earlier part of the ceremony. I realized that normally it talked like that all the time. unexplained hug. as if someone else had said it! Once I realized it was my judge saying its piece. and because of that I had choice in how to respond to it! I chose to laugh at it. I would have unconsciously steered clear of the woman. yet totally nonattached to what it was saying. Usually I would have unconsciously listened to it and it would have controlled the actions I took next. to witness the mind so clearly. I was so present that I very clearly heard the words my mind said to itself as I passed a woman in the dance. But here it was. For the first ten minutes of the dance I was in a wonderful. I laughed out loud.

feeling frustrated. And just as Raven did. when inside they felt terror or revulsion. we create space. Start Being! about being part of a cult or being viewed negatively by others. 57 .Stop Seeking. clarity is the natural progression of the mind. As we continue to move on the spiral. or try to please and pretend like everything was okay. “why won’t my mind just shut up. As awareness and acceptance build. control. can’t it see that we are in the middle of a beautiful ceremony?” or guilty “I can’t believe I was thinking that! Everyone else is having a great time and I am thinking!” And so we invalidate the beauty of our experience because we give the judging thoughts so much attention. distract. In the early stages of awareness we see the thought “religious fanatic” and often we have an emotional response to it. A sweet connecting experience would become a blur of judgment and need to escape! There core strategy would then dictate what they did next: isolate. we are aware of what the mind is saying and we are able to witness it from a curious or neutral space. Mental Clarity In the third loop we build on our newfound acceptance and begin touching our own clarity. As we move through the second loop toward acceptance. we then can begin to choose how we want to act in the next moment of our awareness. we learn to become aware of what the mind is telling us. When we accept the busyness and chatter of the mind with love.

Start Being! From this spaciousness naturally arises a greater vision of our selves and our world. Many people fear clarity because they believe that if they were to detach completely from their life it would be boring and without meaning. It is sometimes called detachment or being the Witness. It is seeing clearly the thoughts and emotions that arise within you and realizing that they are not who you really are. but you do not attend to them. Clarity is the ability to watch what is going through your mind without attaching any meaning to it. these thoughts are up in the foreground where you can look at them and make a conscious decision about whether or 58 . By acknowledging their existence with acceptance you keep them from running off in the background and subsequently controlling your behaviors. When you are clear. On the other side of telling the truth and total acceptance is clarity. and you acknowledge them fully.Stop Seeking. Who you really are is the one watching the thoughts and emotions arise. The thoughts still arise. enjoying life in all its richness to fullest extent a human can realize! Clarity is not necessarily a state of having no thoughts. You are not attached to anything and this frees you to be completely in the NOW. Clarity is not some flat disassociated state. This place of impartially observing or witnessing what is happening internally and externally is the goal of many spiritual traditions. it is a state of completely engaging in the world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What is important to understand is that once again this is not a passive state.

light and beauty that is YOU! And you can laugh at your mind. so you can create an action plan that will support you in being able to make a conscious choice about how to live your life (More on that in the next section on physical integrity) When you live from clarity you always have choice. This attitude will allow you to continue to gather important data about what your mind is saying. or simply stop attending to it. As a result you energize it and start living unconsciously from what it is saying. Imagine that you have an old friend that you have quit associating with because they are constantly negative about life and it drains your energy to associate with them. You need that data so you can develop a strategy to counter what your mind is saying. Start Being! not to believe them/act on them. When you attend to a thought you are investing energy in it and allowing it to hook your attention. This is how you can treat the old patterns of thought that are limiting you. whether it is true or not. The feeling of clarity is like seeing that old friend passing by you on the street. but you don’t invite them over for tea! You acknowledge their existence in a friendly sort of way.Stop Seeking. but you don’t engage them in long conversations about how they are doing because you know that it will drain you and leave you feeling negative about life in general. From 59 . or pet it like a small dog and comfort it. You are free to respond to every situation from your center and integrity. What you are learning to control is your unconscious attendance to your thoughts. You are no longer obligated to play out some rote behavior that limits the full expression of the brilliance. you wave and say “hello” to them.

As a result of her telling herself the truth: “My mind wants me to please everyone else right now. she decided to pull her attention away from her logical thinking (all the reasons why she should settle and take the job and how dumb she was being for not) and follow her intuition. “I feel like a wise part of myself has come forward. much better suited to her needs. a part of me that sees everything so clearly. By bringing her attention to presence and breathing through her mind’s chatter. Instead taking the job that made “rational” sense.” and accepting the fear and doubt of her mind. This shift happened as a result of Linda listening to a new part of her being. And for the first time a deeper voice of her soul started to speak to her early in the mornings. Linda followed through on a big commitment to herself. but I need to take care of myself. One of our apprentices. her being started to trust her in a new way. There is no background noise or 60 . instead of listening to her pleaser voice tell her she should be taking care of other people and not do anything for her. who was trained by her family and in her profession to highly value her intellect. not my integrity. she started to drop to a new level of mental integrity. Start Being! choice we are able to step into the present moment fully.Stop Seeking. is recently learning the incredible power of moving beyond thinking to clarity. She waited. and a month later found the perfect job. That is the voice of my strategy. despite a lot of chaos happening in her life. beyond thoughts. Then.

Over time we practice witnessing our minds without attachment or need for it to be any different.” Through her practice of telling herself the truth and accepting herself completely. And we pave the way for tapping into our God/dess-mind. Start Being! doubt. simply a quiet voice that calmly shares insights and actions to take. the clarity will continue to visit. or experiencing everything exactly as it is with all of your being. clarity will stabilize in our beings for longer and longer periods. if Linda tries to clench around this clarity. and then arises when it is needed for a specific task. as we stop feeding it with our impatience or comparison or judgment or victimization.Stop Seeking. The mind is absorbed in pure presence. before dissolving once again into presence. Here the mind dissolves to experience (not think about!) the Now. it is likely she will end up back at the first loop of the spiral of the mind. Pure Experience The endpoint of the spiral of the mind is a place of pure experience. 61 . Now. If she stays open to the ebb and flow of her thoughts and fears. unfiltered and connected to all life. We will become more and more present with What Is. Linda is now tapping into her own clarity. needing to tell herself the truth that she is attached to a particular state and needs to move towards acceptance.

all of our senses and aspects align. Yet this joy is also awesome as we stand fully present in the magnificence of the infinite. Without presence the experience is lost. and concepts used to describe what is happening. and stay present with the flow of energy moving through and around us at all times. Presence has nothing to do with the words. did you feel it? That is presence. thoughts. of the connection between you and the air entering your body… there. Every thought you have ever had. peace and fulfillment. of your ribs expanding with the breath. without attaching meaning assignments to the movement. When we regain our choice. It is the birthright of who we are in our natural state. a real breath. We stop taking anything personally. Start Being! When we drop our mind and open to being present. It IS what is happening. as opposed to the distortion we live from our programming. This is the state of true joy. one where you let everything go and just sink all of your awareness into the feeling of the air entering your body. If you stop for a moment and take a breath. every word you have ever spoken to yourself or another is a description of something.Stop Seeking. we have the fluidity to respond to the life force moving around us. without filters or interpretations. Being present is the single most important factor in leading a life of joy. 62 . It is neutral in the sense that there is no investment in anything. and only the recording of the experience remains. not the thing itself.

pure being. This is true whether the emotion is a state you really don’t want to be in. no separation. When you sink all of your sense of self into that awareness instead of investing it in the thoughts. infinite. no story about it. and the part of you that is aware of that feeling happening is God. you become God. 63 . you become One with the moment. just IT. no dualism.Stop Seeking. undivided. Only the feeling is happening. Always there. Start Being! Presence is not the words you see on the page. happening now. the interpretation and labeling of the feelings. never changing. existing. or a state you really want to be in. and falling away. the judgments and cyclic thought patterns you have about the feelings… None of that is happening in the moment the feeling is happening. You become Goddess. It is important to be able to let go and come fully present no matter what emotion or state is arising. the recognition that you are that awareness of what is happening in this moment. in this moment. The interpretation of the words. Your divinity is only a step away. And not even just the feelings. keeps you out of a full connection to the Divine. unchanging. the awareness of the feelings arising. Positive or negative the attachment or aversion to ANY state keeps you out of the present. but the feelings those words create inside of you. That is presence.

just an endless and timeless moment of perfection in which everything just WAS. What was amazing was while if pushed they all remembered that moment of complete dissolution into everything. Feelings of incredible emotion. For me everything expanded outward becoming completely one. He then began talking her through opening up to the divine. we all went deeper and deeper with her. Start Being! Easter and the Bliss Bunny At an Easter Celebration with don Miguel Ruiz I (Raven) had a big experience with this. just lovely. As he did this I knew we were all connected to what was happening to her awareness. I started walking around asking people about their experiences afterward. At one point she started talking about the space between the stars. there was Spirit without distinction or descriptions. lots of intensity. and an amazing event occurred. lots of energy. As don Miguel continued to coax this woman into deeper and deeper states of consciousness and opening. On the other side of this event the woman and everyone in the room went into a state of emotional bliss.Stop Seeking. completely nothing. Normally that would have been that. joy. It was really wonderful. very heart warming. all they talked about or thought worth anything was 64 . but for whatever reason I had really noticed the distinction between that state of Oneness and the emotional state of bliss. Miguel brought someone up to the front of the room and gave her a microphone. love. opening up to the divine within her.

Our desire to be the one experiencing something instead of just being what is happening keeps our attention fixated and limits our ability to perceive ourselves as the divine. All emotions arise. How can THAT be happening in each moment? When all we see is change. or any other state! It is everything and nothing. but your mind will never experience it. the ultimate mystery. All that IS exists in this moment and you can be it at any time. The divine is not a limited emotional state of bliss. how can it also be completely still. preferences for one state over another.Stop Seeking. It can only limit and filter your perception of what is. and fall away. that emotional state is not there all the time. and if you identify it as yourself then you identify as limitation and separation and that is what you experience as reality. It also clouds our thinking about what is the divine. in short their desire and attachment to that emotional state filtered their experience of BEING down into an emotional high they could understand and pine after. Start Being! the emotional bliss that followed! Everyone’s attention was hooked by the experience of the emotion. and none of them touch THAT thing which had happened to everyone in the room. exist. infinitely changeless in its perfection? 65 . of course. when everything about our experience of reality screams CHANGE in each moment. We wind up seeking after mental and emotional states. Sound paradoxical? Sound impossible? That’s because it is! It’s a mystery. instead of just experiencing it all as divine. Because.

everything is happening now. They spend all of their time judging and reliving things that have happened to them in the past. instead of being present with the wonder that is happening RIGHT NOW. Feel its mysterious texture and currents. working itself into a sweat about something. enjoy it! When your attention gets hooked from everything to something. Most people you see are missing their lives. Poor thing. Just give it a cookie and send it off to play in the corner. When you are able to step into presence and experience the oneness of totality. it’s trying so hard! Look at it. its pleasures and pains. being infinitely changeless. not the experience of BEING. give it a pat on the head. Start Being! Stop Trying to Understand! The only problem is what is trying to understand it. Ah. its joys and sorrows. Be present for it. Your rational thinking mind cannot directly experience reality. yet changing in each moment. being the divine right now. simply open to witness what is arising. remember? So here it is trying to make rational sense of something that is not within its ability to comprehend.Stop Seeking. don’t grasp onto the old state. and now my mind is 66 . and let’s get back to breathing and experiencing God in this moment! Life is happening all around and through you in each moment. If you are waiting for something then your life will be the experience of waiting. The party is here folks.

Tell yourself the truth of what your mind is doing. but you can choose to accept what is happening in your mind. Start Being! saying that if I continue to be present I will no longer be responsible. can you tell yourself the truth? The moment you honor where you are on the spiral. Do not become fixated on where you should be on the spiral of the mind. be curious about what it is saying. open to frustration and notice how it feels. what it is saying. If you feel frustrated with it. You can choose to practice opening back up to presence. Can you simply witness your mind’s fears and struggle to get your attention? If your mind hooks your attention. Be open to your little mind getting hooked by all sorts of little things! And keep investigating: where are you on the spiral now? What is the next loop to work towards? 67 . If you cannot. If you lose your clarity. even if it is a struggle. consciously move further along the spiral: If you find yourself unable to witness your mind. you get back into integrity and can begin to reclaim choice. Choice may not mean you can get back to pure presence.Stop Seeking. This fluidity will bring freedom and movement where there was rebellion or stagnation. you cannot. You can choose to witness rather than judge. can you accept? If you lose your acceptance. what it hopes you will do. Or now my mind is telling me if I hold this spaciousness no one will love me. Don’t struggle to accept it or wish you could witness it.

or to pick the one that calls to you the most now. Feel free to do them systematically. Write continuously for the whole five minutes. Now start writing down the MOST negative thoughts you can ever remember having. 5. MENTAL EXPLORATION Mind Dump 1. Stop when the alarm goes off. These obstacles are why moving beyond our old limiting structure is such hard work. the things you wouldn’t want anyone to ever know that you were thinking.Stop Seeking. Set an alarm to go off in 5 minutes 4. Take a minute to get grounded and centered in your body 3. and also why its so worth doing: these same obstacles keep you from living in your truth and integrity and feeling good about your life every day. Start Being! Below are some practices to support you in moving along the spiral of the mind. What did you notice? A little resistance perhaps? Did your mind try and sweeten things as you wrote? Did it sensor or edit what you were really thinking? Did you go blank? Did you go into judgment? These are all the obstacles we face when we start the process. 68 . Get a pad of paper and a pen and sit somewhere comfortable 2. even if you have to just write the last word you wrote over and over. never stop.

Do it for a half an hour or so and then pack up and go home.Stop Seeking. Speak any thoughts that arise into the recorder. just speak them exactly as you here them in your head. all work well. without judgment or feeling victimized by it. etc. but this time just witness it with that same attitude of being attentive to what it is 69 . Downtown areas. malls. Once you can do this go back to the public place and again let the judge out around the people that pass by. Airports. This exercise requires either a hand-held voice recorder (ideal because you can capture the inflections and nuances of your judging voices) or a notebook and pen (less ideal. work to not censor. Start Being! Revealing the Voice of your Judge Go experience your judge. Now turn your tape recorder on and start looking at the people passing by. busy coffee shops. Listen to it until you can listen to it compassionately. but if you pay close attention to not editing it will work) Go to a big public space where you can sit to the side. Get comfortable. more or less unnoticed and watch people pass by. take some deep full breaths and spend 5-10 minutes getting your mind as quiet as you can. Cultivate an attitude as if it was a good friend having a very hard time and you wanted to be present with them without getting hooked into their story of blame and victimization. At home get somewhere quiet and undisturbed and listen to the tape. Listen to it over and over until you feel no reaction to the voice on the tape.

I forgive all those who taught me I was not enough. it is very useful to include a daily prayer/meditation around forgiveness to keep you focused on what you are trying to accomplish. Start Being! saying. Below is a suggestion. that I was not acceptable as I am.Stop Seeking. We encourage you to put it in your own words and spend some time each day repeating it to yourself and setting your intent to let all your work around creating more awareness stem from this place: Great Mystery of Creation help me find the strength to live from my integrity I forgive myself for all the pain I have caused myself from living from my unconscious beliefs. I accept myself completely exactly as I am in this moment. 70 . When you can do this and talk to someone at the same time you will be begin to have more choice around your actions and reactions to people’s stories and your own judgment. but not buying into any of it. I love myself completely. Acceptance Practice As you move from the first loop of truth telling to the second loop of acceptance.

I have the deepest gratitude for this life and this opportunity to live it fully.Stop Seeking. I recognize that each moment is a chance to change everything and live in the wholeness and beauty that is my birthright With all my heart I pray. I know that I am suffering and I take responsibility for transforming my life into a place of joy and fulfillment in each moment As I grow I understand that the obstacles to my growth will show up as part of the process. Start Being! I honor my process. I know I will make mistakes and that is ok. I accept that and will stay present with myself and comfort myself through every challenge that arises. so may it be! 71 .

Stop Seeking. Emotions are pure energy in motion moving through our bodies. The Spiral of Emotional Process While your emotional state is always changing. The average length of a child’s emotional response is seven seconds. and sometimes even our spiritual tradition train us that emotions are mostly bad. Start Being! Chapter Three Emotional Integrity Finding Flow and Holding Yourself Steady Bringing our emotions into alignment with our spiritual path is an incredibly important endeavor. our parents. Yet our society. They bang 72 . Without emotion our experience of our spiritual path (and our life in general) is flat and devoid of life and passion. Seven seconds! Think about that. we tend to operate under a belief system that says once an emotion has arisen it will never go away. To sort through our confusion around emotions it is useful to have a model of the process. We offer two models that work beautifully together: the Emotional Spiral and building a strong container to hold yourself through your emotions. Before children have been socialized their emotions flow freely through them without interruption. As a result we learn to either repress our emotional responses or distort them into a response that gets approval from the world around us.

Their toy gets taken away and they cry with loss. Since our mental. To make it simple. visualize that all of your unexpressed emotion piles on top of each other in a big vat that you each carry with you. emotional and physical bodies are very tied together. not clear out anything from the past! The Spiral allows us to see where we are in our work around coming into emotional integrity. Emotions are just energy for children. so you have a blow up to release the tension. existing for a moment. this energy then gets trapped as a mental agreement and/or locked someplace in the physical form. Start Being! their knee and cry and then its over. You may justify the intensity of your emotion or be horrified by it. and it is over. Anytime you do not feel something fully by stopping the emotion. so that our emotions flow from the present. but all the expression of the emotion did was give you some breathing space. As we get older. and then it is over. It is as if we each have a big storage tank into which we stuff all the things we do not want to feel or are overwhelming to us. As we get cleaner emotionally our emotional body begins to heal from the heaviness of old 73 . and gives us the framework to clean out the vat from the past. the energy gets stuck in your being. or leaving your body. diverting the emotion. Eventually the vat gets full and you have to relieve the pressure. we begin to stuff our emotions. we begin to store them. They do not get what they want. they yell in anger. Instead of being fluid with our emotions and expressing them as they arise. and then falling away.Stop Seeking. arising.

Here are two examples: Some people in this culture are trained to not express sadness or pain through crying. and rules about how we express our emotions control how we deal with stimulus out in the world. and blaming the world angrily for our distress. We 74 . judgments. We train the body to contract. our diaphragm. Others are taught not to express anger. We train the mind to distract us from our pain through fantasy. As a result some of us unconsciously learn to channel any emotional response we have of anger into grief. controlling other people. so we do not let it be expressed. We hold constant tension in our back. From Repression and Rules… The beginning of the spiral of emotions reflect how our unconscious beliefs. but in many cases it is okay to express grief (at least to some extent). and our throat to keep the energy from expressing. So we learn and we train our body and mind. This feedback teaches us that sadness is weakness and it is dangerous to express that weakness in any form. clamp down on the energy.Stop Seeking.” and “big kids don’t cry”. Start Being! stagnant emotions and become as fluid as when we were children. We are taught to “suck it up.

There is nothing to do but try and hide them. We attempt to control. because the underlying feeling is never getting addressed. so even though the energy gets to move. In this phase of the spiral our core strategy is fully at play. and we fear the rejection we project that others will treat us with if we show them what we are feeling. We believe we are these emotions. distract. This usually causes us to cycle the grief over and over. This leads to almost constant miscommunication around what we want from other people and why we want it. We hide what we truly feel because we are afraid of our own judgment around our feelings. or direct our own or other people’s emotional reactions. and unclear about which emotions belong to us and which belong to others. Our emotional body is either 75 . avoid. taking other people’s actions personally. so the energy is never fully released.Stop Seeking. judge others and ourselves for having them. the movement creates all kinds of confusion about what we are actually feeling. We want others to either make it all better of leave us alone. What is true at this point in the spiral is that we have no awareness of what our emotions are really about because the whole world of interaction is filtered through old emotions and beliefs that have nothing to do with the present. or isolate so we can repress. Start Being! distort our anger into grief. We are in constant reaction. and try to live with the discomfort that is constantly arising from having to deal with them. and as a result we are bad for having them. please.

Stop Seeking. Any little thought our mind has is immediately translated into a palpable fear that we either believe or expend energy to ignore. believing we are in the present when we are often dealing not with current emotion. When her partner of five years ended their relationship suddenly. She had spent most of her life controlling her emotions and being a “good girl. Samantha found herself sinking into a deep depression. unable to console herself. efficient. 76 . She rarely got angry or upset. She worked hard to maintain her cheerful face at work. Start Being! completely repressed and we are stagnant. It is messy and chaotic! When Samantha first started working with us she was in huge emotional trauma. or we live in a cycle of drama and fear that keeps our emotional body out of balance. As the weeks became months and her partner continued to not speak to her. In the first loop we spend our energy bouncing from emotion to emotion. The ending of her relationship was traumatic for Samantha. and spent a lot of time fantasizing about how to get her partner to come back. and dependable. At home she would spend hours crying. Her need to control her grief and anguish over the breakup and maintain a good face at work started to crack. but a backlog of unexpressed energies. but the real cause of her emotional pain was much deeper.” She was productive. Samantha began to get upset at her co-workers over little issues.

While her pain around the breakup was very real. sad. We realize they are making us suffer. Since she was never allowed to show the full 77 . Start Being! Emotional Awareness The first loop of the spiral is the first glimpse of light. or where we had no models for how to deal with the intensity of our experience of the world. she saw how her despair at the ending of her relationship was a much needed catalyst for her to shift her attention to her own inner healing. these responses are still coming out of us sideways and affecting our experiencing of reality. We need to take a hard look at our past and where we started lying to ourselves about our feelings so that we could satisfy other people’s needs for feeling safe or in control. As Samantha began to seek her own emotional integrity. We need to look at where we had emotional responses that were shut down. To move through this stage we have to absolutely tell ourselves the truth about what we are feeling. it was the death of her mother at an early age that she was actually mourning. In this part of the process we begin to realize that we are not in control of our emotional responses. It revolves around awareness. but we do not yet see a way to deal with them that will bring us more clarity and acceptance or our life. Most importantly we need to validate for ourselves that repressing or distorting our emotional responses is adding to our suffering and round up the willingness and courage to change the situation. We begin to see that as good as our intentions are around not getting angry. feeling hopeless or resentful.Stop Seeking.

Emotional Expression The second loop is for many people the hardest. What is true in this part of the process is it is more important than anything else to allow the emotion expression. since her control of them had worked fairly well. but also physical and mental pain. This gave her the willingness to move forward on the spiral. she had held it in. and it had never been cleared. Start Being! extent of her grief. she discovered how these old repressed emotions had caused her not only emotional. 78 . to find some way of letting the energy of the emotions move through our body. We have to re-train ourselves to express our emotions. It revolves around expression. and we have to commit to expressing the emotions in some form when they arise. up to now. We have to let go of control and worrying about how it is going to look. But as she explored her emotional landscape. This stage requires consistent and dedicated action that directly contradicts our past judgments of emotions being bad or wrong.Stop Seeking. We have to find acceptance for our emotional state even though our training tells us we are being bad for expressing. She would not have been willing to go into the old emotions previously. We might even need to artificially stimulate the emotions we know we have repressed to get the energy moving so that we can come back to a place of choice around our state of being rather than reacting unconsciously to the stimulus of the world around us.

Start Being! This also applies to emotions like unrestrained joy. as well as the heavier emotions of anger. * For actions to release emotions see the emotional expression exercises in the Emotional Exploration section Emotional Responsibility In the third loop we begin to come into true integrity by owning our emotional content. but the response to that stimulus revolves solely around our own internal dialogue and experiences of the past. The key understanding of this stage is validating for ourselves that we are responsible for our emotions. Yes. true ecstasy of spiritual connection. existing and falling away and that process all happens within us. Samantha was willing to feel the emotion fully as it moved through her. She learned to not think about the emotion or judge it. With strong coaching and support. They are arising. As she opened the door to her emotional body she discovered layers of feelings. jealousy and hopelessness. ranging from anger at her mother for abandoning her to hopelessness that no one would ever love her. it is not happening outside of us. Notice how one day the kid’s screaming or dog barking annoys you and on another 79 . passion. As each emotion arose.Stop Seeking. but simply express it in a safe environment. sadness. there is external stimulus from other people and situations. Samantha began to release the pent up energy from her past experiences. Take a moment to contemplate that.

not the people and situations in our lives. and another day you shrug it off and go back to work. our stories. and security are what is actually stimulating these heavy. This does not mean we go back to repressing them when they arise. How one day your boss’s crankiness makes you feel awful.” Our internal and external dialogue begins to reflect our deep knowing that we are causing our responses. like you are doing a poor job. We say things like “I’m really angry right now because when you ignored my input it reminded me of the way my dad always ignored me” instead of saying things like “I cannot believe what a jerk you are for not listening to me.Stop Seeking. We still let the energy of the 80 . it means we act from a place of ownership when they do. suffer laden emotions. The only variable is YOU. our past. what your internal state is like at the time the stimulus happens and what kind of story you have about that stimulus. but the response is different inside of you. acceptance. We stop taking the world personally and start tracking what is triggering us and why. What is true at this part of the process is that we begin acting from a place of truly owning and being responsible for our emotions. another day it makes you angry at the injustice of it. our need for appreciation. What is changing? The stimulus is the same. Start Being! day you feel spacious and just grin about it. Knowing this we let go of blame and free our attention up to deal with shifting our internal state rather than trying to change the external stimulus. We stop blaming people for our emotions.

But as she began to empty her emotional vat. and for staying present with herself. We must be willing to tell ourselves the truth about what is happening before we actually trigger a heavy emotional response within ourselves. Start Being! emotion move through us. which then needed to be cleaned up. 81 . When an emotion was triggered inside of her she was able to stay steady and feel the intensity. Sometimes she blamed others or projected her own stuff onto someone else. she had varying degrees of resistance and trepidation about emotional expression. but we get very curious as to what we are telling ourselves that is triggering it. and went back to make amends. As Samantha moved through the second loop in the spiral and towards the third. * One of the best tools for learning to let go of blame and take responsibility for your emotions in backtracking. and then share honestly what she was experiencing. We commit to going back to people and telling them what we discovered about ourselves when we have emotionally dumped on them. She took full responsibility for her own inner emotional healing. We commit to telling them what was really go on for us and own the way we blamed them for our response. She noticed when she was blaming. and we begin to watch our internal dialogue closely for signs that we are beginning to go into an old story.Stop Seeking. she started to feel the rewards of more spaciousness and clarity.

We see the heavy energies as obstructions and blocks inside us. Start Being! Pure Fluid Presence The endpoint of the spiral of emotions is about staying present with the flow of emotional energy through us. We connect with higher and higher vibrations of light. not as external conditions that need to be changed. willing to let go of the peaks and the valleys as the energy moves fluidly through us at all times. and in the brilliance of this true connection to Source all judgments and distinctions between the different energies fall away into the One field of the Infinite. acceptance and compassion. Joyful detachment and sacred union with everything becomes our way of being and the 82 . We stop attaching meaning to any particular state of energy as being good or bad. Pure Awareness and Choice As we reach the endpoint of the spiral of emotions the distinctions between the emotions begin to slip away.Stop Seeking. without suffering. without separation. We ride the waves. love. We are aware of the constant wave-like flow of energy through and around us. We intimately feel how our emotions connect us to the Divine mystery moving through us in all its infinite variety and intensity. As we continue cleaning out the structures of our past we begin to get in touch with the fact that the flow of our emotions is the flow of our own energy.

She no longer expected others to “fix her” or that to be a “good girl” she had to repress her emotions and stay in control. After a period of numbness and shock. As Samantha moved through the third loop in the spiral she found that her relationship with her emotions had completely shifted. without attaching any mental chatter to it. modeling and lighting the path for everyone around us to come into integrity with their emotional being. We may be in the second loop around our relationship with our mother’s death and need to consciously express our grief and loss. just beginning to recognize that it is not about our partner’s behavior. Through expressing her old emotions and getting into present time. the grief started to surface in 83 . Fernando was catapulted into a huge emotional process when his only brother was murdered. but on the first loop around jealousy issues in relationship. From this place our light radiates into the world. she found herself no longer in internal drama. but about our own internal agreements and childhood fears.Stop Seeking. and that she felt little desire to control situations or people around her. Spiral Hopping We each are in different areas of the emotional spiral with different issues in our life. When an emotion came up she opened her being to it and let it move. And sometimes we shift between loops with the same emotion or experience. Start Being! suffering of dividing the world between good and bad feelings becomes a distant dream.

I felt victimized by his death. Since the emotion was not moving through cleanly. “to be a witness to the intensity of the emotion running through me. And other times his grief was tied to an old story where he did not have acceptance and felt huge blame. When we stay flexible with our awareness.Stop Seeking. we feel the subtleties of our emotional flow and can parse through to know what is what. since I was cycling a story. but past events in his life where he felt abandoned. By bringing this into acceptance he was able to use his brother’s death to express and release emotions from past events. I need to take 84 . Start Being! huge waves.” Fernando learned that when he was feeling the grief and there was blame or non-acceptance. or “I have a story woven in with this emotion and I am blaming others. raw emotion moving through his body. “There were times when my grief was wrapped up in a story that it was not fair. and I simply need to get out of the way and release it”. he would look for where he had felt this same feeling in the past. but I realized it could go on forever. When we understand where we are on the spiral we then know: “Here is an old emotion. and not purely expressing the emotion. “It was amazing.” Here was pure presence with emotion moving through. and that it was my fault my brother was dead. It was important for me to move through this part of the emotion as well.” he said later. he accepted that it was not actually about his brother’s death.” What Fernando was able to witness was that at times his grief was pure. “This grief was cleansing and I felt open after it moved through my body.

Start Being! responsibility that this is mine. It was strange at first to let emotion flow through me without a “reason” for it.Stop Seeking. how can I bring more acceptance into my emotional body right now?” I (Heather Ash) remember clearly the day I first saw the dynamic between my mind wanting a story for everything and my emotional body simply wanting to express old emotions.” or “I am resisting feeling anything. I still sometimes resist it. and then five minutes later I am laughing and joking with him. I was feeling a lot of sadness. Sometimes the grief is around my father’s illness or the beauty of life or for no reason at all. “come here. and that I have old stored grief in my body that needs to be expressed every once in a while. I didn’t even know I was upset! I’ll feel immense grief and sob into his shoulder. don’t question it. I’ve learned that one of the ways I move energy is to cry. I was surprised to feel that there was no story. where the sadness was located. But when I felt into my belly. but Raven is great at supporting me in simply emoting! He can look at me across the room and say. I trust. Keep it Moving! How do we move beyond blame to see the beauty of our emotions? How can we safely express old emotions? How do we 85 .” and hold me and the tears will start to flow. and let it move on through. and is not anyone else’s fault. I simply had sadness stuck in my belly and it wanted to be released. and I noticed my mind searching for the reason.

A pleaser’s work to come into emotional integrity is to realize that they are not responsible for any one else’s emotional state. A controller’s work to come into emotional integrity is to realize that they feel exhausted and often hopeless from trying to repress themselves and others. rather than everyone else’s. can you witness where you are on the spiral and find your willingness to move forward? Pleasers go out of their emotional integrity by being focused on what every one else is feeling. and fitting their emotional state to what they perceive is expected of them. and sweetness skillfully to avoid conflict. Start Being! move through numbness or paralyzing terror? How do we not cycle our emotional content. How have you chosen in the past to keep yourself emotionally “safe” rather than in integrity? Without blame. Controllers use silence. Distracters will use humor. anger.Stop Seeking. disapproval. Controllers go out of emotional integrity by either fiercely controlling their own emotions. story telling. Pleasers can move into alignment by re-training themselves to feel their own emotions. but keep moving fluidly on the spiral? It is helpful to look at how your strategies play a role in your relationship to your emotional integrity. or manipulating situations so they can control other’s emotional reactions. Distracters go out of emotional integrity by not allowing themselves or others to feel “unwanted” emotions. Controllers can move into alignment by re-training themselves to surrender to the messiness of life and learning that they will not perish if things get out of control. or activity to divert attention away 86 .

you are out of integrity. Whatever strategy we have used to stay safe. 87 . but from our hearts. or mentally thinking about them instead of feeling them.Stop Seeking. An isolator’s work to come into emotional integrity is to realize they are missing out on true heart connection with themselves and others. When you believe you should be someplace else on the spiral or are trying to avoid going through the next loop. surface life that will not allow any emotional depth or healing. Distracters can move into alignment by re-training themselves to sit still and stay present with different states as they arise. But when you accept all aspects of your emotional body. Isolators can move into alignment by re-training themselves to be willing to be seen and be emotionally vulnerable with others. being out of emotional integrity causes a great deal of drama and disconnection in our lives. Isolators go out of emotional integrity by withdrawing energetically or physically into a fantasy world. Emotional integrity is not about where you are on the spiral. Isolators avoid any uncomfortable emotions by shutting them off in silence. you begin to create a container for healing. A distracter’s work to come into emotional integrity is to realize they are living a shallow. but how you are holding yourself. Emotional integrity invites us to begin to contain our emotions not from an old structure. When we learn to contain our emotions through our strategies we become rigid and fearful. Start Being! from what they do not want to experience.

With practice. Drama is often perpetuated by gossip and unspoken expectations and attachments. Sometimes it is fun. Most of the time it drains your energy and reinforces immature patterns of behavior. How can you avoid drama? If you live in the world and not on a mountaintop. Drama is a messy tangle of emotions and fear. you can learn to pierce through your own drama to heal the core of our suffering. 88 . you can stop taking on others drama as if it was your own.Stop Seeking. woven from disaster thinking and unconscious reactions. or create loops of drama and reaction that shatter your ability to stay conscious. Things to ponder: How you talk about yourself and about others can bring you more into integrity and strengthen your container. exhilarating. you cannot entirely avoid the dance of emotions and reactions. Start Being! Beyond Drama Drama is one of the places where we can get stuck in a loop without coming out the other side. But you can move beyond constantly tangling up in your own or others drama. and creates a (short lived) sense of aliveness. With patience.

Stop Seeking. Get out some paper. When we believe that what other people feeling or doing is your fault. When you do not take responsibility for your own life. And in perpetuating drama. you also drop your container. You drop yourself anytime you abandon yourself emotionally. you create drama. energetically. When you feed high emotions and hurt feelings with thoughts of worst-case scenarios. Start Being! Who you choose to call when you are upset and need support can help you strengthen your container. whether by feeding your own or other’s drama. contemplate and write down your answers to the following questions: Where are you reacting rather than choosing? Where are you gossiping about yourself or someone else? 89 . or create more disharmony internally. and your highest focus. or physically. you are creating drama. Some examples of how you might drop yourself emotionally: Judge yourself Compare yourself to others Cycle your emotions Do not feel your emotions Continue to increase your awareness of where you weaken your own emotional container through your word. you are creating drama.

But your judge is a unique creation. Start Being! How does repressing your truth or emotions cause more drama in your life? Also note any places you drop yourself. When you use your judge to tell you how you are doing. and needing to do things right. and strong characters in your emotional world is your own internal judge. With the judge in charge. but fluid response to all situations.Stop Seeking. you live in a world of impatience. inflexible. How are drama and dropping related? How can I reduce the drama in my life? How can I hold myself through this situation? What is the difference between drama and taking responsibility for my life? Is it really my drama if someone does not like my choices? Why would I drop myself to allow someone else to feel more comfortable? Transform Your Judge One of the most rigid. far more harsh than anyone outside of you would be! And your judge wreaks havoc on your emotional being! True strength is not about inflexible rigidity. fear of punishment. You spend energy 90 . The judge is often loosely modeled after someone past or present in your life. your emotional container becomes fragile and brittle behind a veneer of justifications and excuses.

be dishonest. or do better. And that is a very sad state of affairs. relationship. or relationship. We hand the curious. It becomes our conscience. or that you really do not deserve it. It gains momentum when we compare ourselves to others.Stop Seeking. or a real spiritual path. or that it is not really the right job.) That may have been true. The judge sneaks into our lives early with the pretense of helping us to fit in. The judge punishes in subtle ways. or an ideal standard. Start Being! not on aligning to your own emotional healing. One moment it is yelling at you that if only you had a real job. But now the truly mean person is living inside of you and ruling your emotional body. excited. but on avoiding discomfort and punishment. What are you going to do about that? Are you willing to take away its keys to your house and send it home? 91 . but I had a mean sadistic frustrated uncle who raised me” (or angry mother or perfectionist father. it whispers that you are not doing enough. and drop yourself again and again. And to avoid discomfort you will go against your true desires. you would be okay. Soon it asserts the right to hold our container for our own good. open child part of ourselves over into the keeping of a sadistic. or spiritual path. indeed. All of this noise covers up the deeper emotional wounds and fears. or a real relationship. “yeah. And it changes the rules constantly. and say will you help her to grow up and honor her emotions? Now you might think. frustrated uncle. Then when you get a real job. or spiritual path.

i. first things first. It is a poor way to hold a container for yourself. Start Being! Your judge is not helping you grow. but it is a short-term solution. It is not protecting you from pain. get yourself together fer pete's sake”. or weaken it. “When will you learn? you are hopeless”. “What you just said was ridiculous”. “You suck”. So. Stop for a moment and make a list of all the ways your judge punishes you when you stray outside the rules. “Geez. Empowering Your Victim 92 . and one that creates fear rather than conscious choice. Punishment is not a great method of motivation.e. It may work for a while. “Why can’t you just relax. Look at your list and give yourself the task of acknowledging that every time you hear these key phrases in your head you will stop and say to yourself “that is my judge speaking”. Suzy. what is your problem?” The first step in stopping the judge is being able to clearly hear when it is speaking. To transform your judge. they are going to hate you for saying that”.Stop Seeking. It is not doing you any favors by guarding you with its book of rules. This list should reflect your own internal dialogue. “Oh man. be honest about how your judge and punishment make you feel and if they strengthen your container.

for fear of being alone with their shattered container. always fearful of being punished or rejected. and the judge feels like it must fiercely guard this vulnerable. We feel out of control and constantly in doubt of our actions and other people's motivations. feeding energy and power into the victim's fears. that it is not supported. that it is broken. From this sense of emptiness comes a great sense of neediness. From the victim's point of view. Victims tend to gravitate to unhealthy. Start Being! When our judge holds the container of our being. helpless part of us.Stop Seeking. Victims thus clutch at the first grain of love they come across. and so feel constantly empty. We are not able to receive and hold love. we become scared and overwhelmed. When our victim holds the container of our being. When our victim does find a place of love. The victim huddles inside of us. The judge is an inner critical voice. They often stay in these situations long after they know they are not working. and the victim feels it is doing everything wrong. and there is no way to keep other people's energy or emotions out of our field. our container has been shattered into thousands of pieces. The judge stands nearby. and then do whatever they must to keep it. Often this means dropping themselves and trying to become who they think others want them to be. 93 . it is either an illusion or the judge comes in and tells us we are not worth it. abusive relationships and work situations. The victim has no voice. we become rigid and protective.

The judge is not a good discriminator. Just to be really. whether that threat is a perpetrator or a loved one. and feed you strength and courage. It will emotionally or physically lash out at any perceived threat.Stop Seeking. It will give you the fortitude to learn from your own mistakes and make new actions. Stop the Overwhelm/Inaction Dance When your own emotional container is weakened by the judge and victim dance or is untended you cannot live your 94 . Willingness is a powerful force. Start Being! Often when the victim gets too overwhelmed the judge will come forward and take over the container. or emjudging my victim? Am I helping my victim get clearer with her needs and filling in the gaps in the container. or anyone who is close to the victim. or yourself! This is not empowerment. wrap its arms around you. Your willingness allows a higher part of yourself to come forward. and the heart of empowering your victim. or is my victim channeling my judge to feel strong and vindicated? Learning to empower your victim starts when you find the willingness to stop giving power to others and to your judge. it is emjudgment! Do not give the power to your judge! Keep checking in with yourself: am I empowering my victim. Willingness is a crucial factor in beginning to mend your container. The judge will then severely punish the victim. and anyone else who has hurt the victim. really clear: empowering the victim does not mean giving the victim permission to punish others.

From a shallow container. you bring more resilience and 95 . When your emotional container is strong. A strong emotional container is made of self-respect and deepened by self-intimacy. Start Being! fullest potential. loving boundaries. you have the patience. A strong container holds both of these polarities with compassion and firm. insecurities. emotions. Anytime you get continually overwhelmed by your emotions or emotionally frozen. and beliefs. you end up connecting to the dramas. A strong container embraces the entire spiral of emotions with love. and not have the power to find out what you actually want from your life. You will constantly leak energy.Stop Seeking. The suffering you cause yourself when you do not root deep into your core is immense! A fractured container ends up unconsciously connecting you to the instability of other people's opinions. This allows you to witness what the judge or victim are up to without giving them the keys to ransack your life. Each time you do so. grounded container holds. vision. This happens when your container is too shallow and unstable. responses. rather than to the stable depth of your soul. and busyness of everyday life. A strong container is one that is not compromised by either the victim or the judge. and opinions. either your victim or your judge is taking charge. You will rarely have the sense of overflowing fullness and inner peace that a resilient. and courage to face your weaknesses. You will struggle to feel whole and complete and be easily shaken by other people's emotions.

Turn off the phone.Stop Seeking. Set aside at least a half an hour of undisturbed time in a contained environment where you will not be interrupted. Start Being! flexibility to your emotional container. None of our emotional aspects can be pushed aside. in another a heavy blanket and pillow. from the most unconscious places within us to the most healed and vibrant. Full integrity is being honest where we are at in our emotional journey. At one station put a drum or bell. in another a pile of pillows. It may feel contrived at first. lock the door. etc. and in the final corner a small 96 . EMOTIONAL EXPLORATION Emotional Fluidity Exercise This exercise is perfect for gaining more flow and less attachment to your emotions. Set up four stations in the same room. the work is to do it as a practice until you can consciously and completely bring up each emotion and completely drop it at the end of each section. and finding the willingness to take action again and again to continue to align in this present moment with our emotions. which allows you to keep moving on the spiral! This container includes ALL loops of the spiral.

97 . laugh. yell. ring the bell. Ho! - Set a timer to ring every 3-5 minutes. When the timer goes off immediately move to the next corner and again work to totally embody and express that state. move your body a lot. help me to find the courage to express all of who I am without judgment. pound the pillows. Start Being! mediation area/altar with objects that help you get still and quiet. Start in one of the corners and work to totally be in and express that energetic state for the entire 3-5 minutes. help me to open to all of who I am in acceptance and love.Stop Seeking. - The states/exercises for each corner are as follows: • Drum/Bell corner – Absolute joy and happiness! Pound the drum. don’t start or end with the meditation corner. Work your way all the way around the room. giggle. jump up and down for joy. I ask for energy and awareness of all my states of being. - Get grounded and centered and say the following prayer: Spirit help me to find fluidity. swear. shout and have riotous fun! • Pile of pillows – Anger! Get furious. do it somewhere in the middle of the exercise.

After you have done all 4 corners. using the eyes of your victim. Journal about what the exercise was like for you. curl up with the blanket. feel your body against the ground. or maybe without thinking. open to your divinity. be miserable and sad. no. wail.Stop Seeking. pull it over your head. sob. • Meditation/Altar – Stillness! Take deep. Answer yes. Healing the Victim Read the following list. Which states were hard to bring up? Which were easy? Which ones were hard to let go of? Just let the information settle without judgment. Start Being! • Blanket/Pillow – Grief! Cry. changes over time. but letting your victim-self speak: I am willing to learn how to hold myself I am willing to not need others approval I am willing to ask for what I want I am willing to make appropriate boundaries for myself I am willing to stop comparing myself to others Notice what 98 . come back to the meditation corner and sit quietly. slow breaths. slow your heart rate. Do this exercise a couple of times a month and keep journaling about it. feel yourself as light and clear as a mountain stream.

and fill in the blank... 99 . without thinking. Each sentence will start with: I am not willing to.. What is your victim willing to do? Now write another list. Start Being! I am willing to increase my self-worth I am willing to release relationships that no longer serve me I am willing to breathe through discomfort and fear I am willing to learn new behaviors I am willing to move beyond my past I am willing to forgive myself I am willing to forgive others I am willing to open around my fears I am willing to ask for support from appropriate people I am willing to stand on my own I am willing to listen to my own needs I am willing to become more self-intimate I am willing to be completely healed I am willing to not be broken I am willing to say no I am willing to say yes I am willing to let people in my life go there separate ways I am willing to grow up Now write three more I am willing to.. Let the victim write this list as well.Stop Seeking.

and are willing to hold yourself steady. Let yourself know you are aware of your container. Pick one of the willingness statements to work with. compare the two lists. STOP! Take a breath. Cease the Overwhelm/Inaction Game! Follow these simple steps to get out of the overwhelm/inaction dance: 1. and embrace yourself energetically. and your commitment to hold yourself through the places that keep you from living your statement 100 percent. Where are the places they contradict each other? Notice how there is a part of you that is willing where your victim may not be. slow down.Stop Seeking. Write this willingness statement on a piece of paper and put it someplace you will see it regularly. It can be one that you and your victim are in alignment with. 100 . Dream into the statement over the next seven days. or one that is in opposition. What does it really mean to you? What actions might you need to take? How might you need to start perceiving your world differently to create space for this willingness to be true? Which actions are you willing to take? Let yourself feel the strength of your willingness. Start Being! Now.

but the next physical thing you can do. LISTEN! Get clear about what your next possible action step is. Look for what belief is keeping you from reaching for your depth in this moment. Not the next ten things you want to do so you feel overwhelmed or paralyzed. 101 . Start Being! 2. LOOK! Tell your victim or judge to stop talking at you. You may be stopping.Stop Seeking. taking a next conscious action is movement in the right direction. No matter how small. I only need to do this once and it will be fixed. looking. into your own stillness. Deepen your container by reminding yourself of your intent to heal. oh. 3. and listening in a new way every few seconds as you gain control of your emotional container. You will do these three steps over and over and over again! Don't think. Move beyond the shallow fears and busyness.

Knowledge about one’s process is great. When you understand what your primary strategy is and how you physically act it out in the world you come to a place of choice rather than habit. Start Being! Chapter Four Physical Integrity On Action and Loving What Is Physical Integrity arises when your actions align with your heart. They begin to create an idea of what it is like to be spiritual and then try and live from the idea rather than the full realization of what that idea represents. BEING the divine mystery is not a passive state. awareness is wonderful.Stop Seeking. Each of us takes on a strategy to help us understand the world around us and make us feels safe. but without ACTION none of it means anything! To realize your potential. Standing fully in the magnificence 102 . So much of the time people step onto a spiritual path and start accumulating knowledge about what it is like to be spiritual. to transform your life into a place of integrity. you must be willing to take concrete steps directed toward the fruition of your desired change. Choice is the foundation of physical integrity. Welcome to the world of the physical! Once we have seen where we are on the continuum of healing our mental and emotional we now get to bring it into the physical and take action. not your strategies.

disdain or fear we are feeding ourselves toxic thoughts that take us out of integrity. active engagement in the process of change in a physical way. but moving into mental integrity and acceptance of what is. Some of these things we can take action to transform. directed actions in the world to unweave your strategies from your mind. the mind does! Our mind takes on all sorts of opinions about what our bodies should be like from the culture around us. Start Being! of who you really are requires your full.” “If I was younger I would have a partner.” “If I didn’t have arthritis I would be happier. and physical being. We wish we were thinner or younger or healthier. Often the body doesn’t have the problem. Right Relationship with the Body We often create a lot of suffering over how our bodies look or feel. What is most important in coming into physical integrity with our bodies is our thoughts. The first is coming into acceptance and right relationship with your human body. such as wrinkles as you age or being tall. such as eating healthier or starting to work out. emotions.” But this is simply the mind blabbing! So the issue in this case is not actually physical integrity.Stop Seeking. The second is taking specific. If we are looking at our bodies with judgment. Usually there is a whole story wrapped in our perception of our bodies: “If only I had bigger breasts people would like me more. 103 . Others are simply what is. Physical integrity is comprised of two main components.

As I was growing up. You have invested an enormous amount of energy in creating and holding onto your strategies and familiar structure. I knew I needed to take a yoga teacher training course with my yoga 104 . Past traumas and unexpressed emotions get trapped in the body. and can be accessed and released most effectively through the physical. my main strategy was to be a pleaser. I knew there were some things I could not get to by thinking about them! As I opened to what action to take to get more into physical integrity. and will remain until we touch them with love and acceptance. I felt strongly that I needed to do something to work with my physical body to help me release old emotions and deeper belief patterns. For over 20 years I lived chronic pain in my left shoulder. Through my yoga practice (Heather Ash) I’ve seen the power of working through my body to access healing directly. Over time this holding and tension built up in my shoulders and between my shoulder blades. Each of the agreements and traumas of your life are stored in your physical form. and a pattern of hunching my shoulders (unconsciously to protect my heart.Stop Seeking. Start Being! Another aspect of right relationship to our body is the recognition that our thoughts and strategies have a strong impact on our physical form. which played itself out by my taking responsibility for making sure the people around me were not upset.) After years of stalking my patterns and habits and clearing out a lot of agreements.

and 105 . when we are out of mental or emotional integrity over time these imbalances will show up in our physical form. to understand. Start Being! instructor. The fifth day into the training during our two-hour intensive morning session. And so I wept and wept for the entire two hours. My shoulders relaxed down my back. as it unwinds the physical tension and patterning from mental and emotional imbalances of the past. Any physical discipline can be an access point for getting at stuck emotions or thoughts that have solidified in the body. My mind became calmer and I was able to access my emotions much more easily. And I was guided to trust the process and keep going. Yoga continues to be an important part of my spiritual practice. to control it. Years of repressed grief and clenching got touched.Stop Seeking. something inside of me cracked wide open. This combination of movement and emotional expression transformed not only my body. Part of me wanted to analyze it. Ana Forrest. It felt like a huge leap: taking almost a month off to do yoga at a level I was not sure my body could do. snot and tears running down my face. Clearing our present day judgments and learning to create emotional flow will help. and I felt a huge softening behind my shoulder blades. Again. but also my relationship to my mind and emotions. as I kept doing the yoga practice. I was guided with love by Ana and the assistants to keep breathing and weeping and doing the poses. and I allowed myself to let it be expressed through my form.

One of my student’s (Heather Ash) whom we will call Rachel talked to me about her hatred of her body.” And we use food. Start Being! there will still be places stuck in the body that can only be accessed through physical movement. This causes us to abandon ourselves and not be present with what is actually necessary for our form. All of these are temporary fixes. Physical Integrity supports us in not using food or drugs as a crutch. I helped her track this feeling to the fact that due to a new job she was spending all her time behind a desk. but fixated on what we think it should look or feel like. I invited her to notice when she last felt in alignment with her form. When we link meaning assignment to our physical state. and her body really wanted to be doing something physical each day. We are often very self-punishing in how we interact with our bodies! We create all sorts of nifty agreements: “If I am overweight I will be safe. we are often not actually present with what our body needs. but learning to create freedom in our bodies and minds by attending to what our body and/or spirit is actually craving. to keep our emotions or mind contained. or drugs to change the state of our physical body: to calm us down.” “if I was only a size 6 I would be finally happy. she was also eating less than optimal foods for her body and drinking most nights after work to relax her.Stop Seeking. Because of her huge workload.” “since I am physically compromised I cannot do my spiritual work. “I felt 106 . no one will try to hurt me. to feel filled. alcohol.

Sometimes old patterns are also a buffer against feeling vulnerable or out of control. Tapping the Body’s Innate Brilliance Oh. Physical Integrity invites us to go deeper in our listening. Instead of eating that second slice of pie we listen deeper and the body whispers: “You are feeling anger. For Rachel. On the surface the body will say I want to avoid discomfort. We then take physical actions to make us feel safe and/or nourished in the moment. heavy foods and alcohol. Start Being! happy and healthy when I was working out and doing martial arts. Now I can’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. Her work was to go back to the spiral of the mind and take action to come into acceptance of her form. there were two places to attend to in relationship with her body. go express it! We notice that we are rushing through our day with a sense of panic. we come into the present moment. :Oh! My body is feeling fragile and on the edge of getting sick. The first was a mental piece. It was feeling neglected and toxic due to lack of exercise. the body is smart! Physical Integrity taps into this intelligence. And from this moment the body’s innate wisdom will shine through and tell you what it needs.Stop Seeking. The second was simple: Her body needed more attention and care. such as overeating or criticizing our appearance or watching television instead of exercising. because these actions are familiar. and we consciously slow down and listen. When we separate the mind’s opinions from the body’s needs.” she said. I need 107 .

I am tired (I am always tired after work because I’ve been sitting all day and my body shuts down.Stop Seeking. We are conditioned to either not listen to the bodies needs at all.” “I don’t want to go work out today.)” For these places we need honesty and a strong structure to help us get back to integrity with our bodies. We hear the surface and ignore the reality. “I like eating lots of dairy.)” “I don’t like being sexual anymore (when the truth is you are afraid of being hurt or sharing what you really want with your partner. Sometimes the patterning we have taken on is so strong it is very difficult to listen to the truth of our bodies. or to be fearful anytime there is an unexplained change in our physical state. Physical Integrity means going deeper. Start Being! to sit quietly with a blanket wrapped around me and reassure myself by giving myself hugs. beneath any discomfort. beyond our habits. Our back speaks to us of needing to stop taking other people’s drama personally. Instead of repeating a story about how awful it is that my body is broken and no one is every going to love me. We have a tendency to create excuses about why we are not releasing old repressed emotions or why we so fiercely believe our mind’s drama.” We wake up with our back in pain. we listen deeper. 108 . This is also true for our mental and emotional beings. I feel nourished by it (even though it causes us to feel sluggish and hurts our stomach).

Stop Seeking, Start Being!
It Is All Sacred Our physical body is sacred, and is the current vessel for our evolving soul. As you align more with your physical integrity, the light of your soul will shine through your body. Age, physical ability, and health are not barriers to the soul’s brilliance. If we have heavy opinions about our age or mobility, or if we attach stories to physical pain, we create denseness in our physical form. If we honor where are body is, without meaning assignments or comparison, we create transparency in our physical form, allowing more light of our soul to permeate. Ram Dass talks about this beautifully in his book, Still Here. After his stroke he was forced to allow others to take care of him. As he surrendered to his new state, he found deep joy and sweetness. If he had followed his mind in any thoughts of, “it is not fair, I can’t be helpless, I can’t teach now…” this would have created more heaviness to his condition. But he was able to take what was: a stroke that left him less physically able. His acceptance allowed him to slow down to let spirit in. Due to this deeper embodiment of spirit in Ram Dass’s being, his teaching presence since his stroke is profound. Remember, it will take an equal amount of energy to dismantle the structure you have created, to change your perception of the world around you, and to open to the fullness of the possibilities available to you in this life as it took to create

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your limitations. The way to integrity is through conscious action to interrupt and unweave your old structure. It takes courage to take action. Action is the statement of your commitment to Life. In the world, concrete actions will bring you into integrity not only with your physical form, but also with your mental and emotional being. Directed Action There are many areas in our life that we know exactly what we need to do to create change. (If I want to get into Physical Integrity with myself, I need to have a stable living situation. To quiet my mind, I want to meditate more.) In other areas, we know what we want to accomplish, but have no idea how to make it happen. (I want to stop working a 9 to 5 job and start living my passion, but I don’t see a way to make this happen. I need to release the old emotional trauma from when my brother died, but I am scared to go back into the feelings.) When you know what actions you want to take in your life, but you find that you are not following through with them, we recommend creating an action plan. An action plan is a very specific list of what you are going to do next, in what timeframe. Raven learned from his first teacher how to make very concrete action plans, and Heather Ash was inspired by Dave Allen’s excellent book, Getting Things Done.

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Basically, a good action has four components: That it is concrete, has a time frame, that you can track it, and that you set consequences when you do not accomplish it. 1) The action is not a concept of something, but an actual physical action. You need to be able to measure it and know when it is accomplished. I need to meditate is a concept. It is a nice concept, but one that usually remains in our thoughts rather than manifesting in physical reality. The action would be: I will meditate for ten minutes in the mornings before breakfast. I want to open my heart more. So how are you going to accomplish this? What specific steps will you take so you can measure if your action is working or not? An action might be: I will consciously breathe into my heart and look into people’s eyes at least twice a day. I would like to work at a job that is more in alignment with my purpose. Great! What is the next step? Do you know what your purpose is? Do you know what area you want to work in? Your first actionable step might be to spend half a day writing about your purpose. Or looking through the newspaper for what types of jobs are available that interests you. Or mapping out how much money you need to be making each month to maintain your lifestyle. Once you finish one action, it will lead you to the next.

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Make sure that initially you create small actions that you can succeed at. Many of us start to take actions in our life and totally overwhelm ourselves by taking on too much. Start small and let yourself build up slowly. This is your gift to yourself. Thought without energy behind it does not affect the world around you. Your desire to change must be backed by your energy for anything new to manifest in your reality. Taking actions in alignment with your desire puts your energy into motion. Aligned action engages your personal power and directs it toward the change you are working to accomplish. It doesn’t matter how small of steps you take in the direction of your intent, what matters is that you keep taking steps. This builds momentum that results in more and more energy available for your transformation. Your energy is habituated to moving in the direction of your false beliefs, so to shift the flow takes consistency. A new groove for your energy has to be formed before you can fully shut down the flow of energy into your old patterns. Consistent action is the way to form that new groove. This process is cumulative; it builds momentum as you move along. So each step is important, no matter how small. Every step adds to the flow of energy moving in a new direction toward choice and freedom. 2) The action has a time frame or container associated with it. This allows you to follow through and check in with

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and you get a clear idea of what actions to take next to best serve your goals. three days a week for the next month. you can also add more detail such as. An important part of your action plan is accumulating data about your behaviors. “I will meditate for ten minutes in the mornings before breakfast” has a specific time frame. Narrowing down when we do the action gives us a better chance of success at actually doing it steadily. what happens when you take the new action. 113 . and if you want to shift anything to better serve you. and what the result is of taking the action (or not taking it).” “I will consciously breathe into my heart and look into people’s eyes before I speak to them. By doing this you get a clear perception of the situation you find yourself in. and spend Saturday dreaming and doing artwork on my intent for fulfilling employment.” Now there is a container that will help support actually doing the action. you can more easily see the patterns of your habitual behavior. Start Being! yourself at the end of the period to see how you did. “I will meditate for ten minutes in the morning before breakfast.Stop Seeking.” 3) You can track the action: Any time you are taking a new action you need to record where you are at the beginning. “I will spend a half hour each day researching job possibilities on the Internet.

blame. Start Being! You can use journaling or charts to map your behavior. Part of creating change in our lives is taking absolute responsibility for our actions. 4) You create a consequence if you do not accomplish the action. or feeling powerless and victimized by your beliefs. 114 . or noting the time you looked for jobs. rebellion. We hold ourselves accountable by setting consequences for ourselves for not taking the actions we have committed to. shame. This would mean actually marking when you do meditate for your ten minutes. Now most people hear the word “consequence” and immediately change it to “punishment” for being bad. Without this type of commitment we will never take concerted. so re-enforcing them with punishment serves nothing. They almost always lead you into judgment of yourself. So let me be very clear: consequences that punish you for being bad never work. All of these reactions are part of the beliefs that you are trying to get rid of. We have to hold ourselves accountable for following through with new actions that counter our belief structure. consistent actions that will bring about the desired change. the important thing is to get it all down somewhere so you can look at it later and see the patterns.Stop Seeking. journaling about what you feel like to be opening your heart before you speak.

The more you can change your state toward the feelings you want in your life the more willing you will be to take the harder action steps. and at that point the change has begun! Even the smallest action toward your intent will begin to build momentum that will allow you to take bigger and bigger actions.Stop Seeking. but from a completely different action. giving it the same kind of honoring you were trying to accomplish with the yoga. If you were suppose to do yoga four times this week and you only did it once. what kind of consequences serve you? One of the best consequences you can have to not doing an action is to change your commitment to lessen the amount of action you had originally set. Supporting yourself in this way is not a cop out. If you can’t do it twice the next week then you commit to doing yoga once the following week. So start small. Then it can go into judgment and through that keep you from ever trying to change it again. you commit to getting a massage that weekend. treating your body. 115 . One of the traps of the ego is to get you to take too big of a step at once. the consequence is to do yoga two times next week. So going to our above example if you can’t do the yoga. one it knows you won’t succeed at. with actions you can accomplish and congratulate yourself about! Another good type of consequence is to add to the actions that nourish you if you can’t do one of the others (more about nourishing actions below). it is an act of acceptance for where you are coupled with true willingness to make a change. Eventually you will get it down to something you can actually do. Start Being! So.

This is important! Good actions stem from a place of clarity. Then do a ceremony and burn what you wrote. the unscheduled events that happened. the judgments you made of yourself. what area of your life needs the most attention right now? When you look at where you are in the spiral of your mind or your emotions. Start Being! A third type of consequence is data accumulation. We highly recommend that once you commit to an action that you stick to it whether it feels “good” or not. When you feel into your being. and committing to them implies you know you will be in a less clear place at some point. Look through what you wrote and see if there is anything there that might help you complete the commitment next week. severing yourself from the past week and beginning fresh with your new commitment to do yoga four times this week. The best way to create an action plan is to start small. so you have something to lean on when you are less clear! Creating Balanced Action Plans Guided by your purpose. Make sure you make your actions when you are in a place of clarity. You might journal for an hour about all the events that led up to you not doing the yoga. an action plan is a map of what actions you are choosing to take in the world. what actions would best serve you in moving forward? What actions would best serve your physical body? Pick one or two 116 . That is why you need a commitment. etc. with two or three actions that you work with at a time. Write out all of the excuses.Stop Seeking.

What is important about these types of actions is that you get all the data down somewhere so that you can sort through it. if you are working on not taking things personally. Start Being! areas. For example. and actions that nourish the new feeling states that we want in our life. to map out what you are doing to yourself that is making you suffer. actions that clean out our old behaviors. and create a plan for Spiritual Integrity based on what area of your being needs support at this time. actions that help us open to new possibilities. Journal and chart your responses as you move through each day. the feelings you experienced and any insights you had about why you got down on yourself because of meanings you assigned to something someone said or did. journal at the end of each day any places you took something personally.Stop Seeking. here are four categories of actions we can take to create change in our lives: Actions that help us get a clear perception of what needs to be done. looking for patterns in your thoughts and behaviors that can be specifically targeted with experiments in the following categories. Using The Four Elements Of Change by Heather Ash as a guide. Actions to Clear Your Perceptions These types of action are designed to get a clear look at what the issues are. 117 . They are data accumulation exercises. Write down the thoughts you had.

These types of actions are great to use in conjunction with the other types to help track the results of all your experiments. when I discovered (Raven) I had a lot of grief stored in my body that I couldn’t get to because I believed those emotions would overwhelm or hurt me. What you will find from this at the end of the month is all the patterns you have around money. whether some types of spending make you anxious while others make you feel satisfied. and the places you are lying to yourself about there not being enough. Actions to Open Design these types of experiments to help you open more fully to who you are right now. bringing that into acceptance. and how you felt while you were spending it. I tried several different modalities for releasing emotions in the body: yoga. Start Being! An example of charting would be if you were working on a belief like “there is never enough money. I started experimenting with ways of opening to that grief. where you sabotage any feelings of abundance. This allows you to clearly evaluate the data about what is working and what isn’t and will help guide the course of future experiments. What worked best for 118 . For example. what you spent the money on.” Every day for a month chart how much money you spend each day. and also to open you to new possibilities in your life.Stop Seeking. and Network Spinal Analysis. massage. It will tell you whether you spend money to feel better.

it was very scary at first to actually DO what I said I was going to. and then it was incredibly freeing to break through the limitations this belief imposed on my life. The actions I designed to deal with this moved from a commitment to approach one woman every day and say “hello. In the beginning I couldn’t even do the part of saying “hello. because I was so unattractive. Actions to Clean Cleaning actions are those actions that are usually the most uncomfortable actions you can take. Here is another example: I (Raven) had a belief that I wasn’t attractive. From there I eventually go to a place where I could do the full commitment of asking them out on a date.”I had to cut it back to asking them what time was. Like all such actions.Stop Seeking. so for the next 6 months I did sessions just about every week with the intent of opening to those old emotions so I could clear them from my body. and finally to asking one woman a month out on a date. They are actions that 119 . Over the course of about a year these actions totally shattered my belief about being unattractive and removed the mask I held up to keep me safe from interacting with people.” to approaching one woman a week and telling them I was attracted to them. Start Being! me was the Network sessions. Part of the habitual behavior that was created by that belief was that I never approached or talked to women because they wouldn’t want anything to do with me or would be scared by me.

At the end of the day you realize you had an hour-long conversation with your sister that was almost purely gossip about your mother and brother. patience. and discipline for you to actualize. or actions that work directly to reclaim the energy you are losing through your limiting beliefs.Stop Seeking. Backtracking is perfect for practicing not taking things personally. Backtracking works great for beliefs that keep you from expressing your truth because you believe you will be punished or rejected for doing so. Start Being! directly challenge your habitual behaviors. you go back to that person and tell them what you actually wanted to say. You go back to your sister the next day and say “ Yesterday I really wanted to talk to you and see how you were doing and tell you about what is 120 . Just look at the areas you have the most resistance to and those will define your cleaning actions. One of the best cleaning tools is backtracking. Here is how it works: Anytime you discover that you had an interaction with someone where you said or did something that wasn’t in your integrity. They are the actions that require the most courage. It is a practice of accepting yourself so fully that it is more important to you to serve your truth than anything else. Examples: You are working on not gossiping with people.

” You are working on being authentic. I got scared you would reject me so I let the conversation degenerate into talking about mom and brother. I said yes to you because I felt obligated to help you because you are my friend. Start Being! really going on for me. Realizing this you call them up tonight and say. Today your best friend came over after work and asked you to help them move some furniture on Saturday.Stop Seeking. Even though this is the toughest work week you’ve experienced in a long time and you know you will be exhausted this weekend you said “yes” to them because you felt you should. “Jim. You just smile at them 121 . I realize I’m doing both of us a disservice to agree to help you because I’m having a tough week. Your co-worker dumps on you because they are having a bad day. I need to say no to this weekend.” You are working on setting good boundaries and saying no to helping people when you don’t have the energy. I really don’t want to be doing that anymore and I’d like to tell you now how I’m really doing.

I felt offended and angry with you when you were blaming me for your bad day. but to clear your own slate. Recapitulation directly reclaims the energy you have invested in your beliefs. just so it won’t have to go back later. even though by helping you it will eventually undo itself. by doing it faithfully over time. Backtracking works so well because our egos hate to admit being wrong. and I want you to know I wasn’t feeling nice.Stop Seeking. First. 122 . Our old self-identity finds backtracking so distasteful it will help you out if you prove to yourself that you will backtrack no matter what. Another great cleaning tool is recapitulation. and deliberately pulling back your energy. You are simply stating your truth for yourself. The next day approach them and say “Yesterday I got caught in my “good girl” mask.” The important thing with backtracking is to remember you are not looking for a particular response from the person. not to get them to apologize or to process the whole thing out with you. By holding the place of witness to your past. It is strange but true: you can co-opt your ego’s help. two things happen. and practice staying in your integrity. If you can force yourself to admit to being wrong the ego detests it so much it will begin helping you to stay in your integrity from moment to moment. Start Being! and tell them it will be ok even though you are offended and angry at their behavior.

you create actions that nourish the new behaviors you want to exhibit that truly support you on your life path. Or not eating sugar or 123 . Start Being! you clearly see the patterns of your behavior. Second. For more information on recapitulation. Or getting up 15 minutes earlier than usual each day to do a grounding or relaxation meditation. and what exactly is triggering you to initiate action based on your belief. you gather the energy of the exact vibration and frequency needed to maintain your awareness and make a different choice when a similar situation arises in the future. see the Recapitulation Workbook listed in the reference section. For instance. From your recapitulation you can design experiments that put you into a similar circumstance so you can practice making a new choice.Stop Seeking. what types of things could you do in your life that would make you feel relaxed and like you have plenty of time? Perhaps committing to taking a hot bath at the end of each day. By looking at the opposite of those states you will probably find the feeling states that you would like to be holding in your life. When you wrote out your core beliefs you also wrote out the feeling states that those beliefs generate in you. if one of your core beliefs makes you feel impatient and anxious. Actions that Nourish Nourishing actions are those actions that support the way you want to be in world. To foster change. Nourishing actions are those that support and generate those feeling states that you desire in your life.

They move us out of thinking or despairing about how to create change. do an equal amount to nourish your desired states. Experiments are conscious actions directed at either uncovering or breaking limiting patterns and beliefs. Get the idea? Actions that actually create the state you are looking for. to actually unveiling and breaking our structures with our actions. and spirit and inspire you to look for other opportunities to move into that state as you move through your day. body. Balancing the actions creates a container for change that keeps things from getting overwhelming. For as many difficult actions that you take to clean. and gives you lots of options each day to create movement away from your limitations and toward your new ways of being in the world. emotions. For as many actions as you do to clear your perception. 124 . Balancing the Actions The best way to approach initiating change is to find a balance between all four different types of actions. These nourish mind. The Art of Experimentation One of our favorite action tools is experimentation. do as many actions to open yourself to new possibilities and accept yourself exactly as you are right now. Start Being! caffeine after lunch so you can sleep better.Stop Seeking.

We take actions when we know exactly what we need to help us at a certain part of the spiral of change. I believed that no one really saw me as a potential partner (sexual or otherwise) because I was ugly and unusual looking. They can also be as complex as moving to a new city and taking on a job that is completely different from anything you have ever done before to help break your selfidentification.Stop Seeking. Experiments can be as simple as committing to go for walks five times a week over the next month to see if it changes your energy level. We run experiments when we want to gather more data or are stuck on what to do next. Below we will share some experiments designed to help bring awareness and freedom for each of the pleaser. or when we get clear inner direction. isolator. it is important to be open about what the outcome will be! If you already believe you know what will be the end result of your experiment. one of the beliefs I discovered was that I believed I was very un-attractive. and in short very unappealing to 125 . and help us stay on track through the discomfort that can arise as we hit up against our edges. it is not really an experiment. Start Being! Experiments give us focus and purpose. When you run any type of experiment. controller. and distracter strategies. is it? Here is an example of one of Raven’s early experiments: When I was going through the process of uncovering these beliefs in myself.

My experience of that evening was that none of the women in the bar looked at me all night. Several of them flirted with me and went out of their way to get my attention. so they suggested I spend some time reviewing the evening at the bar. When I was telling my experience to my friends they looked at me with disbelief. I couldn’t get anyone’s attention to talk to them. Their experience was that many women looked at me all through the evening. From their perspective most of the women at the bar checked me out and liked what they saw and would have interacted with me if I had talked to them. of course! However at the time I was doing a lot of awareness practices and had developed a great ability to go back through scenes from the past.Stop Seeking. and no one wanted to interact with me. and then immediately blocked the memory of both the embarrassed feeling and the fact that they had approached me at all. I had felt embarrassed and therefore ignored anyone who said “hi” to me. Start Being! people of the opposite sex. One day I ran an experiment to try and break this belief by going out with some aware friends to a bar to try and interact with people I was attracted to. or seeming not to hear that they were addressing me. No one noticed me. recalling detail and tracking my energy. They were right! I had filtered out anyone who glanced my way. At first I didn’t believe them. When I did so I was truly stunned. and several actually initiated that contact and I distanced myself from them immediately by looking away. 126 . automatically turning my head away so I didn’t see them.

Start Being! Not only that. This was only the start of a several year process of unweaving old agreements that were wrapped up in “I am not attractive. places that we cannot clearly see the truth. so that many times if someone was about to look at me. Again we must be willing to be wrong. I would turn my head the other way before they even started to glance my direction. and to continue to run experiments to not just see. I took the data from this initial experiment and went on to create many more experiments to help me break my belief that I was unattractive. I saw that I had refined all of this down to such a fine art that I was reading the room energetically. but also created my reality through the filter! Experiments are great at uncovering where we have blind spots. It was truly amazing the way this belief was filtering my reality. but clear.Stop Seeking. completely distorting my perception of other people and the events that were unfolding in my life. 127 . Just seeing the data that I might be wrong about what others thought to me was not enough. the old agreements and patterns out.” What I learned from this experiment was that I could not trust my perceptions. since I was obviously not only filtering. We get so habituated to acting from the strategies that support our beliefs that it can be almost impossible to see that we are doing them in the moment.

This led me to creating actions that limited how many times a week I could help others out. Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun # of things I did for other people # of things I did for myself Amount of free time I had My emotional state today After charting this over several months I saw how much of my time was spent on other people at the expense of my own well being. you can do it! We believe in you… 128 . Have fun! Be creative! Yes. It also pointed out how if I over-did helping people over a number of days my ability to stay centered quickly declined. Out of running good experiments and tracking the data. Start Being! Tracking It is vital to do very precise tracking when you are running an experiment.Stop Seeking. We recommend that you always have an action plan to guide you. Here is a sample chart of when I (Raven) was working on not being co-dependant with people by care taking them. and actions that enforced me taking time out for myself. or what your next experiments are. and that one of the actions on your list be an experiment. you will discover what action steps to take next on your path.

The practice of sitting will bring more calmness into the rest of your life. Energy. stay steady. even when it seems you are doing it wrong! Trust your intent to get quiet. • Start speaking your truth and telling yourself the truth. Mental Purification • Meditate for five to ten minutes each day. go 129 . here are more examples of experiments/actions to support purifying and finding integrity with each aspect of self. When sitting sometimes your mind will keep chattering the whole time. Start Being! PHYSICAL EXPLORATION Little Actions for Mind. Witness the busyness of your mind. say period! Imagine the judge tracking mud in your temple. Practice clearing your mind of clutter and focusing on your breath. and send it outside! Know that you may do this a couple of hundred times a day! Be diligent in not feeding your judge. • Make a commitment to stop judging yourself. Emotions.Stop Seeking. Keep your awareness strong and anytime you notice a judgment. Body Based on the work of Heather Ash’s book. If you notice yourself telling a lie or partial truth. without punishment. The Four Elements of Change.

visualizing it clearing the tangled brush. Energetic Purification • Do a daily meditation with fire where you ask the flame to help you burn away the old energetic structures that do not serve you. Start Being! back to the person and clean it up. • Practice shielding. Breath the fire into your being. Use your hands to trace the edge of your energetic field. When we are willing to speak our truth to others without rejecting ourselves. Cindy taught the Jumpers! To imagine being surrounded by a very. Energy follows imagination. Play with different images until you find one you like. If you are sensitive to other people’s energetic or emotional states. you must learn to shield your energetic field.Stop Seeking. but it is a great practice that clears up a lot of confusion and mental shuffling. and fill yourself up with energy and vibrancy all the way to the edge of your field. When we are not aware our energy can be affected by other people’s attitudes and opinions. very fine golden mesh. When we tell ourselves the truth about what we want or do not want in our lives we cut out a lot of chatter. Keep your heart open when you shield… it is a bad happen to close or constrict and believe you are shielding… you are actually 130 . our sense of integrity returns. It can be awkward. so your best tool is strong visualization. defining it. My favorite is to imagine myself wearing a beautiful cloak that keeps out energy I do not want and lets love in.

finding your internal energetic balance. Stop. Now walk slowly. but keep 131 . etc. Get soft inside. bigger! Connect to nature from this bigness. You can also do this by dancing vigorously and yelling. fear. Call in the trees and spirits and juiciness of nature around you. to pound on pillows and move some energy. Allow yourself to cry and express (grief. Emotional Purification • Take five minutes each day. When you feel full. cry. bigger. Get bigger. Feel the energy rushing through your system and feed it to every part of you. Bring your energy close inside of you and ground it into the earth.) while you practice being very aware of your thoughts. Get quiet. which is different.Stop Seeking. Shielding allows us to stay soft and present no matter what is happening around us. practicing energetic fluidity and exploring the polarities of big energy and still energy. Reach out and connect to nature from this still center. scream. Slowly come to a stop and stand still. pick a flat space and run as fast as you can for a quick burst. Use your voice and make sound. Go into the emotion fully. growl… let your emotions MOVE! • To clear old emotions: Find a movie that touches the specific emotion you are working with and will open you. calming your breath and letting all of your muscles relax completely. Start Being! armoring. om. • Once a week go for a walk in nature. anger. whether you feel like it or not. Repeat three times.

How does an emotion make your body feel. neither good nor bad. And if the emotion does come up. Start Being! part of your awareness keen on finding the specific story you are telling yourself. Practice witnessing your emotions not through the filter of the mind. go express it! • There is a very strong dysfunctional relationship between the mind and the emotional body that keep emotions trapped in our bodies instead of allowing them to arise and clear. 132 .Stop Seeking. How can you express emotions without creating more internal or external drama? Physical Purification • Crank up your favorite music and dance naked in front of your altar once a day. who do you need to forgive? What do you need to release from the past? Watch yourself over the next two days to see if your mind starts to recreate the story. If heavier. so you can dance in front of the mirror. Add a mirror. Shift your focus to a mantra or chant or practice opening and breathing fully. When you finish emoting. Do not let your mind re-stimulate the emotion. notice if you feel lighter or heavier. and start perceiving them from an energy point of view. but from a place of curiosity. or your energy? Stop thinking about your emotions and whether they are good or bad. Ask the Divine to help you release body shame and hatred and reclaim your self-love as you dance.

Go slow. What you do 133 . see resource below. Start Being! • Do not use other people’s body size to judge yourself… Stop looking at other people’s bodies and do your best to avoid magazines and TV so you stop being inundated with images. If you are ready for a big cleanse. Ask it: what do you want? And go beneath the habits and quick fixes to listen to your body’s wisdom and depth. Use the time you exercise to bring acceptance and gratitude to your physical form. Doing some exercise three times a week will make you feel stronger and more in your body. • Take down all the mirrors in your house. or sugar. or eating more veggies at home and less McDonalds. Actions and Experiments to Unravel Your Strategies Keep breathing as you read and practice the exercises below! You can work with your own strategy. No matter which strategy you work with these targeted exercises will all teach you something about yourself and others. or do all of them. Also remove one thing from your diet that is not serving you: it could be the potato chips at lunch time. For controllers One of the best actions I know for controllers to break their fixation on control is to go on an opinion fast.Stop Seeking. and practice feeling your body rather than looking at it all the time. • Exercise and /or cleanse.

Stop Seeking, Start Being!
on an opinion fast is you go for a set period of time without speaking an opinion about anything. Controllers have opinions about everything (which they may or may not express to the outside world.) They always know the best way to do something. They are always sure and confident that if people would just do things the way they want them to do them everything would turn out “right.” Because of this they have an ongoing internal dialogue about what the best thing is to do, are constantly evaluating what should be done, and always forming an opinion about the next best action. To go on an opinion fast: Whenever you are involved in any conversation around anything that regards a sharing of opinions, or deciding on a course of action, stay silent. Allow the preferences and opinions of the other people around you to rule the actions that are going to be taken. For most controllers this is an incredibly difficult thing to do because they are so sure that other people’s opinions will cause a course of action that is the “wrong” one, or that will not meet the desired goal. The truth is some of the time you may be right, but so what? Was it really that important, so important that you expended an enormous amount of energy around being right, when in all likelihood things would have worked out fine anyway? What about all the drama and hard feelings that happened because you got your way? Didn’t you have to deal with that too?

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A large portion of the time you are just flat wrong. Other people have better ideas than you, but you rarely listen to these ideas that could actually save you energy because you were so invested in doing it your way. Another portion of the time there are a half a dozen ideas on the table that would all lead to a satisfactory result, why are you spilling your energy out to insure it happens this one way that you came up with? The truth is that reality will continue to exist even if you don’t get your way! All of the energy wasted above could be going to your connection with the Divine, to your ability to attend to What Is without limitations, to focusing on your own inner peace. The lie controllers tell themselves is that if things aren’t done the way they want them done nothing will happen, nothing will be accomplished, which stimulates enormous fear in them because they place their own value on the outcome of the actions they are involved in. An opinion fast will quickly show you all the ways you are leaking energy into this fear matrix and give you the motivation to choose your actions from a more conscious and open space. The best way to not act out on your opinions is to not speak them at all. Don’t even put them out there on the table and you will remove a lot of the internal pressure you are feeling to make things happen the “right” way. The work for controllers is to practice surrender by taking actions that are not being dictated by fear-based internal opinions. Another great experiment for controllers is to take actions that have no meaning whatsoever and do things just for the hell of it, without any attachment to the outcome. Initially for a

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controller this seems ludicrous, “why would I take an action if there is no desired outcome?” This is the voice of the controller! From the perspective of Spirit, every act we take in this lifetime is small and insignificant. Each movement is happening in the context of something so vast and so incredible that the actions that you take really have no bearing on Spirit at all. It continues to exist undivided and unchanged no matter what you do. It is your self-importance that makes your acts so “meaningful.” It is your attachment to control that keeps you from feeling the perfection flowing around you all the time. The resistance that a controller feels around this concept is that then everything is hopeless, why take any action at all if nothing has any meaning? The answer is that you take action because it is your joy to act, it is your joy to engage with life no matter what is happening without attachment, without a fixation on the outcome that limits your ability to enjoy the action itself. Doing something just for the hell of it gives you the opportunity to act just from joy, just from openness, just from spaciousness. When you act from this place your life is full regardless of the outcome of events. You have brought everything that you are into each action, so you are not constantly worried about whether everything will be ok, whether the desired result will happen, and whether it’s the most efficient thing to do. Letting go of control frees you to truly be present in each moment instead of having your attention on worrying about the “right” thing to do.

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For pleasers One of the best actions for a pleaser to take to break their habitual behaviors is to just say NO. Go for one week out of a month, or one day out of a week and simply say “no” to anyone who asks you to do something for them. This can be incredibly uncomfortable for a pleaser! Their whole identification is built on doing things for other people, built on caretaking people and making sure they are ok, even projecting into the future what people might need and trying to make it happen. Since the unconscious habit is to say “yes” no matter what, the practice for undoing it is to go for a specific period of time and consciously say “no” to everyone. Then watch and notice what goes on in your internal dialogue when you do that. Notice all the places you weigh your worth solely based on other people’s responses to you, based on how much validation you are getting for doing things for others. Saying “no” is an incredible practice of awareness. One of the people I gave this exercise to said no to everyone for an entire week. She did it impeccably, she was very clear when she said “no” to everyone who asked her to do something. Then the following week came around and she went back and contacted every one of those people she had said no to and said yes to them! She was totally unconscious that she had done so until we pointed it out to her. What this showed her was the way saying "yes" was ingrained inside her. She could will herself to say no, but the truth was her internal dialogue was kicking her ass the

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Then the question to ask yourself is 138 . and most of the time they will come back to you later and won’t even remember that you had told them no.Stop Seeking. The other thing you find when you say no to people is that many people don’t care! The pleaser strategy is telling us this lie that if we say “no”. no one will like us. However. It is your pleaser that makes communication such a black and white proposition that you have to say “yes” all the time or you will be abandoned in some way. There will also be times when you say “no” to someone that you have developed a co-dependant relationship with and they will be disappointed or upset. or just do the activity themselves. Start Being! whole time and she didn’t catch it. And yes. far from it. Many times what you will find is that when you say no people go “oh. a place of neutrality and choice. and then they won’t give us affection or value us at all. As she stopped the experiment that behind the scenes judgment made her go and take back every no so that her judge would quit whaling on her in the background about what a selfish/self-absorbed person she was for taking time for herself by saying no to other people. if you watch what happens much of the time they will take care of it or drop it. By going back and running that experiment again and again you can come to a place of equanimity with other people’s responses to you. occasionally someone might not like you if you don’t say “yes” to their every whim and desire. ok” and they will go look for help from someone else. It simply pointed out how entrenched her desire to say “yes” was. This doesn’t mean the experiment failed.

Pleasers often feel an incredible need to justify when they take an action that supports them instead of someone else.” Period. They do this because they feel bad about doing things for themselves when they could be using the time to do something for someone else. So quit lying to yourself about your motivations and make conscious choices about your actions that are in your integrity! Another fantastic exercise for a pleaser to break their fixation is to not justify anything. You do not explain it beyond this.Stop Seeking. As one of our mentors Gini Gentry once said to Raven “if you can’t say no. You are not doing it because you truly want to from a place of service and respect. Start Being! why are you associating with this person? Why would you spend your time with someone who only values you if you are doing things for them. and there is no other basis for the relationship? Why would you put yourself through that? This experiment can give you all kinds of data about yourself and your relationships and bring you to a new place of clarity and choice. There are two ways of accomplishing this: The first is to just take actions that you want to and if anyone asks you why you are doing it your response is “because I want to. so they have to build up a lot of justification so that their judge 139 . then your yes isn’t worth a damn!” This is because when you say a pleaser “yes” you don’t mean it. Set a period of time where you take actions that you want to take and don’t explain why you are taking them to anyone. you are doing it because you want something back from the other person.

“because I wanted to.” but initially these types of actions will free 140 .Stop Seeking.” Do not give any explanation or justification for it. The other way to break the pleaser grip is to take absurd actions and then not explain why you are doing them. and not tell people why you are doing it. and you will see the ways you abuse yourself whenever you take an action that really serves you instead of doing things for others. Obviously if you played this out indefinitely you would just be creating a new strategy of “rebellion. Deliberately breaking the “rules” begins to bring us into a place of being able to consciously make choices about what actions we want to take from our integrity. An example of this would be to wear the same outrageous polka dotted shirt every day for a week. The breaking of the habit of justification works for all the strategies. Start Being! doesn’t take them out for being “selfish” or “self centered” or … By not justifying you will bring all of that up to the surface. You begin to remove the attachment to getting approval from other people (or your own judge) for the actions you are taking. and when people ask you about it you just smile and say. When we do something outside the bounds of what the strategy considers “acceptable behavior” we always want to explain and justify it away so that our own judge does not punish us. By taking an action that makes little sense to you or others you start to move away from needing to justify your actions or evaluate yourself based on what the outcome is for other people (or yourself). and just sit with whatever internal dialogue and discomfort that arises. Or take a completely random action in public.

Stop Seeking. do not leave. For most isolators making eye contact with strangers in terrifying because it creates 141 . Now. A great way for an isolator to break their pattern is to consciously go and make connections with as many people as they can as they move through their day. Keep breathing and work to stay centered regardless of the emotions other people are having. Another action is to go out in public like a mall or downtown shopping area and sit in public view of everyone in a crowded area. Start Being! up the energy locked in the fixation we have on our beliefs. Other good actions are: When you are in a situation where people are expressing a lot of emotion. Stay there. or starting conversations with three new people each day. are ways of breaking the unconscious pattern of always withdrawing from social situations and pulling away from people because you are afraid of what their responses will be. For isolators One of the actions we love to give isolators at workshops and public events is go and give at least ten people a hug. Notice what your internal dialogue says. look around! Do not look down at the table or read a book. Taking on a commitment like hugging ten people a day. shaking up the structure enough that we can begin working toward true choice. Consciously look around and make solid eye contact with as many people as you can. and practice being present and not taking their emotions personally.

or a yoga class.Stop Seeking. Record the thoughts that arise. then look up again and make eye contact with a new person. Making eye contact will start to break the fixation on thinking people are constantly going to hurt you. Start Being! a sense of connection and now they feel like there is something they will have to do and they don’t know what it is. they might think…” Listen to the huge deal your mind makes of just making eye contact! Look away and take some deep breaths each time. For distracters For distracters the types of actions you need to take to break the fixation on distraction are actions that create a conscious structure that you can’t get out of. any practice where 142 . what your judge is telling you about yourself when you go to connect to other people. this is your prison! These are the constant limitations you place on yourself from fear that keep you from making deep connections with people. Distracters are constantly bouncing from thing to thing to thing with no structure. or whatever it is that you are telling yourself. A great thing to take on is something like a martial art. or not like you. It brings that dialogue to the forefront where you can look at it. They always have an excuse or reason for dodging out of what they are currently doing and going off to do something else. abandon you. And they worry about what others will do “What if they…. They are constantly re-prioritizing one thing above the other so that they never stay focused on anything. which will eventually allow you to do something about it! You will see very quickly why you have an isolation strategy.

They are constantly taking themselves out of the present. so activities that you do by yourself really do not work very well. Each time it does let it remind you to take a breath. stretch a little. anything that helps you maintain structure and presence will help you break this strategy. look away from the screen. Another exercise for distracters is to buy a watch that really works! Make sure it has an alarm that you can set to go off every few minutes. Having alarms. Start Being! there are other people around that will support you in staying focused on a particular activity for a set period of time. When it went off I had to stand up. to re-focus on what you are doing right now. watches. to come back into awareness of your body and your surroundings. remember I had a body. It is best to pick things in the beginning that really help you stay focused on your body. Most distracters are not capable in the beginning of staying focused by themselves.Stop Seeking. so anything that has a structured way of keeping you in this moment. 143 . friends who remind you. when I was working through distraction I would set my computer to ring a bell every 20 minutes. with the support of other people doing the same thing all around you works the best. For myself. then go back to what I was doing. as most distracters are very disconnected from their body and as a result have a hard time focusing on anything for long. It is much better to take a class doing something physical several times a week.

emotions. the illusion of yourself as a separate mind. Start Being! Chapter Five Spiritual Integrity Surrender and Holding Hands with Death Spiritual Integrity is a cellular recognition that you are not your mind. and body rather than our essence. emotions. so the luminous light of your spirit radiates out. your attachment to certain emotional states and repulsion of others. We have each had these moments of touching Spirit and 144 . The light that we are is not confused or dimmed by our human struggles. emotions. As you move more and more into Spiritual Integrity your mind.Stop Seeking. and running experiments are all steps towards regaining your integrity. and your identification with your physical form would fall away like discarded clothing. and body and are willing to take action or run experiments to create more spaciousness in your being. If you could fully stand in your own radiance. When you honestly look at your mind. but the light that illuminates from within. The truth is that the core of us resides in Spiritual Integrity. or body. The issue is our continuing identification with our mind. you are beckoning your own Spiritual Integrity. piece by piece. and form become sweetly transparent. making action plans. emotions. Knowing your purpose.

We feel victimized by life for not giving us what we want. we begin to form a new limited belief about “this is the way it is suppose to be” and we once again make ourselves suffer. “stop trying” or “I’ve lost. All the while. strand by strand. over and over again we forget the big picture and worry about the little things. Often people hear the word “surrender” and think. while at the same time causing ourselves pain and suffering. or we didn’t realize what we were really asking for in the first place. The game is two-fold! To cultivate the experience our true nature of Spiritual Integrity as often as possible. Surrendering the Outcome of Your Actions Whenever we become attached to the outcome of our actions we limit the universe’s ability to respond to our intent.Stop Seeking. To support this process we invite you to nourish two states of being as you take all of your actions: surrender and using death as an ally.” When surrendering to the Divine. but it came in a form that we didn’t recognize. Start Being! remember our Oneness. we miss the fact that the universe in fact provided us exactly what we asked for. (Having fun yet?) We judge ourselves (or others) for every little detail that didn’t come out the way we thought it should. neither 145 . When we attach to an outcome. And yet. and to untangle. the beliefs that hook our attention away from this truth.

but then decided it was all wrong and that it really wanted something else. Is that really something you are not willing to give up? If you stop and look at this construct your mind has created about manifesting things in the world it gets pretty humorous. just a bunch of recollections of what happened in the past. If you were Spirit (which of course you are.Stop Seeking. What is being surrendered is the attachment. the part of you that feels pain when things do not manifest like you thought they would. Start Being! could be farther from the truth. Surrender is a verb! It means there is an action to be taken to make it real. It is constantly wrong about what manifests. but all of the details of how it happened were not what it expected or It got what it wanted. not paying attention to the fact that: 1) 2) 3) It got what it wanted. or It didn’t get what it wanted but the reason was because it got fixated on something that was between it and what it wanted. but that’s another story) would you grant a wish to a whiner who wasn’t willing to put any energy toward what they want? 146 . or 4) It said it wanted something. but then never put another lick of energy or attention on that other than to complain that it didn’t have it. Of course it glosses over this all the time. What you will see is things actually NEVER turn out the way your mind pictured them! The mind has no idea what is going to happen in the future.

Stop Seeking, Start Being!
Yet for all of this data that we immediately find if we look, we go on and on believing the lies the mind is telling us: that it knows what is going on, knows best what needs to happen next, and is capable of creating it in exacting detail regardless of everything else happening in the universe. What, you thought your intent was the only one being set in any given moment? Give Spirit a break here, you try creating something that satisfies everybody’s little ego desires in every moment, its tough work! It requires a few compromises! Show a little compassion! Surrender is about letting go of all this crap. Letting go of all the if onlys, ands, buts, and complaints. It is about rounding up all your energy and going for it NOW, instead living your life in regret for what could have been, or longing for what might be. The key concept of surrender is to relax, set your intent, take the actions in alignment with them and then look at what happens. Learn to have faith in the process, and to trust the unfolding of changing your old patterns. Let go of your selfimportant mind that thinks everything revolves around it and every little detail of life is a personal insult against its desires. A great way to practice surrender is to practice gratitude. Take time each day to be thankful for your life and the people and events that are helping you grow. Find a place of thanks for all the wonder and mystery of this life that you have already experienced. No, really! Write it down every day! Every place you had success, every thing in your life you have gratitude for, every gift you received today. This will change your attitude

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about life and the work you are doing quicker than anything we know of.

Working with the Angel of Death How often have you really considered the fact that you are going to die? All spiritual traditions invite us to contemplate our death as part of our path. But how many of us actually have integrated the enormity of the concept of our own death? Everyone has an intellectual understanding that they will die. You cannot refute the evidence of the physical world; nobody who has a body gets out of here alive. But have you really internalized the fact that this is it? That this existence, this being that you think you are, this mind, will at some point cease to exist. Yes, who we really are will continue in some form, but who you think you are, your personality, the “I” in any statement you make about yourself or your life has a finite existence. Imagine if you really believed that each moment was your last. Your last chance to take an action, to speak your truth, to love yourself, to love somebody, think a thought, to just be with the wonder, mystery, and joy of being alive in a body. Can you imagine the richness that would bring to every minute of your life? Imagine the freedom that would bring you, no time for your normal bullshit, this is the last moment, only the decision of how best to use it would fill your mind. Imagine living from that place in your day today life.

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If you cannot hold this concept moment to moment, then what is in the way? This is the work before us. This is what brings Spiritual Integrity out of a concept and into life. It is about getting all the stuff out of the way that keeps you from enjoying this very moment, because this is it baby, nothing else exists but this moment. Our entire life comes into existence and disappears in each moment; if you are not aware of this moment then what is it you think you are living? It is a dream of the past or a projection into the future - why waste your time with that? The juice is happening right now, the only thing worth our time is this moment. Past and future only exist in this moment. To pretend otherwise is to waste the opportunity of a lifetime, this lifetime, the only one you will ever have as this body, as this personality. The key to living our lives in the present is to bring the proper mood to how we view death. Not the morbid, whining, victimized mood of a society that does not want to think about death because “It is not fair, it is so sad” or “Why would I want to think of death, it is so depressing?” Instead we need to bring the mood of a warrior to how we view death. For us this is best exemplified by the following quote of Don Juan talking to Carlos Castaneda in the book Journey to Ixtlan: “For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous

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desert, in this marvelous time. I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while; in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.” The first and foremost thing we need to do to assume this mood in our lives is to take responsibility for our actions. Taking responsibility means measuring each act we take against the fact that death is waiting, ready to tap us at any minute. It means doing our best all the time, no vacations. It does not mean going into judgment around the actions we take, or trying to bypass dealing with our stuff so we can pretend to be in the present. It means seriously looking at what is keeping us out of the present moment and committing to doing whatever work is necessary to bring our full awareness and presence into each delicious minute left to us in this Great Mystery of existence. Being willing means you are willing to die. Willing to die to all the concepts you hold to, all the thoughts and story lines that keep you from the infinite Now. Freedom is being able in your next breath to let it all go, all concepts, all ideas, your entire personal history, and any fantasies about the future and just BE. That takes a lot of willingness! It takes the full understanding and personal validation that everything you are thinking about, every belief you are investing yourself in is a lie that if you believe it will pull you out of the present, out of your connection with God and Goddess, and back into the hell of identifying with something that is guaranteed to change momentarily.

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Start Being! We suffer because we identify with things that are always changing. even death is part of the illusion! Resolving our confusion around death can lead us to freedom. You may not think it is fair. Guy looks alive. Consider Raven’s perspective as an eighteen-year old when a loved one died: Momentary Destruction of the Ego through Trauma From Raven’s journal 1986 It all came down to one night. 151 . That one understanding can make you suffer or free you forever. And. Understanding fully that the existence we find ourselves in is finite. of course.Stop Seeking. In the last six months my great grandfather died: (stiff. the strange blank whitewash of a modern funeral. And make no mistake. in this world of Form EVERYTHING is always changing! Nothing is constant in the illusion. but it is simply the way it is. holding back the tears. Anything that is created must change and die. how can he look so alive in a coffin. Death is part of creation. yet the Awareness of this existence is Infinite. In the first stage of dealing with death we have no understanding of it at all. Having no models we feel deranged and out of control just thinking about loss. One nexus of repressed emotion set off by a girlfriend. Letting go of our fear of death can lead to full presence in each moment.

Screaming into the night Who am I? I? I? I? Hearing the echo of the I’s in my mind as if it were an endless cave. everything snaps. he was a hunter. On and on the mind screeches out its demands that it be fair. stop being my family? Christ. Desolation. I can’t believe it. it’s not fair. Unable to handle the loss of itself it descends into a mad 152 . why am I changing. what am I doing here………. yuppies are around). Start Being! random thoughts of how to honor him. Suddenly everything collapses. all the things I think I am fall apart. hate it that they fight all the time. I want to leave. I don’t know what I want.. better if they were apart I tell them. sycophantic. that it get what it wants. what do I do now?) And I decide I have to leave girlfriend because she is selling cocaine. Total. that things work out happily ever after. I want it back the way it was. Fuck. Chaos of despair. grieving the loss of all I thought I was. it’s so unfair. come back the next night and she is with another guy. making him my favorite dinner. why have you both changed. this isn’t what he would have wanted. How could she throw away all we had? How could he die? How could they stop being together. understood death. Yet what I never say is better if you don’t fight. never ending darkness. why can’t it be the way it was. I hate life. Parents divorce: (I council them to. this is unreal. I hate God. I know I’ll sacrifice a rabbit on his grave when none of these whacked out. blame.Stop Seeking. what the hell is this? What is this stupid life? How does it end.

We delve as deeply as we can into our feelings and we work to figure out how our lives fit into the spiritual teachings we have been taught. we run from the feelings we have around it. move on. No models of how to really understand it. just want to get away from it as quick as I can. Start Being! whirl of emotion. In the next stage of the journey we begin to ask the hard questions. So at a given moment we start “working on it” we start trying to “figure it out. We will tell ourselves any lie. All of this to get away from a quickly changing feeling. how to see it in some sort of context. The armoring of “I can handle it” re-arises because I do not want to feel the pain. Isolate. We are on the spiritual path.” Here is a piece from Raven’s process at this point in the journey: The Illusion Of Sasha From Raven’s Journal 2001 (my beautiful dog friend who has now passed away) 153 .Stop Seeking. It’s all I can do. Then the denial. I do not understand it. We deny it. Distract. that would be gone in nothing flat if we were to just turn and feel it fully. This is normally how we handle death. finally letting go of control into a sobbing release it has needed for months. To deny the loss we will do anything. we know we have to deal with our death. just for the illusion of safety. the re-walling away of the emotion. how to move through it. Just see pain and want to run. We spend enormous energy trying to not feel any sense of loss.

So what is there to grieve about when nothing could ever actually be gone? But doesn’t this then mean that everything is an illusion? If the memories aren’t real then is the present moment any more real? I feel like I exist. therefore it can’t be a constant. but by the time I think and then write that the moment I felt it no longer exists. therefore things are all happening in some other manner than a linear form. it is saying the experiences I’ve had in the past can be duplicated. it is all one moment.Stop Seeking. it feels like right now that the only other viable option is that it is all happening at once. Start Being! What I am missing are memories of her that no longer exist anyway. all things are equal and exist in this moment. when in fact it is already impossible for them to happen again because the Sasha and the Raven that those events happened to no longer exist. and now that moment has ceased to exist (and thus the me that was there has ceased to exist) or does it still exist and this is just another moment that is itself a complete and eternal existence? 154 . so those experiences are happening with as much validity as what is going on in this moment at all times. What does that mean? Did I actually exist in the moment I thought it. When I’m asleep time does not exist. The grief is over not being able to have these experiences happen again. That being the case. time isn’t linear. when in fact those experiences are gone forever. it is only an intangible memory. At the same time those experiences are happening right now. So the grief is telling me a lie. birth-life-death-all of it.

For the same reason I cannot exist in the future. Me having a fantasy can exist in the moment. its only option is to quit thinking which it equates with death so it is very reluctant to do it. Thinking about it now it seems like the moments did really flow onward. therefore they will never exist again. or it is but its also being destroyed in each moment. So what I’m left with is negation. it gets tied up in knots trying to understand paradox. Which would mean its not all happening at once. So how can the device that is storing the memories and generating the fantasies not be real in the 155 . My memories are not alive and are about events that can never be duplicated exactly again. OK.Stop Seeking. I can feel my mind almost panicking at these thoughts. I can say “oh yeah it is a paradox. yet those moments did flow into one another. both points of view are correct” very easily. it is not the event the memory is referring to that is real. so the thing that is clear is I do not exist in the past. but the playing back of the memory that is real. a completely new reality being created in each new step. which it seems fundamentally unable to do. Start Being! When I was walking the other day the experience was that each step was a separate and complete existence. but when I actually try and embody those concepts with my mind it really seems like it can’t do it. it is the movie of it playing that is existing. So what happens when I have a memory in this moment? in this moment “having a memory” is what is real. the previous instant no longer existing. but the fantasy itself doesn’t exist.

It is difficult to validate because the mind must be shut off to really experience life. and instead of finding the poetry of our existence in this wildly divine mystery tour of life we get trapped by the paradoxes the mind is loathe to unravel. In the next stage we instead see death as the truly awesome teaching of wonder and joy that it is. Death becomes a little stale. Often this understanding stays intellectual. a little clinical. The desire is there to find the truth. because the mechanism for recording the memory doesn’t exist in the moment the recording needs to take place. Of course this would explain why no one ever really has a memory of Consciousness. We have to get still and silent to grasp any real truths. Do I exist in this moment or not? Who is it that exists in this moment? Can everything actually exist and not be in existence at the same time? At this stage we work to find meaning and understanding. death and all that is in between. If I take that tact I definitely wind up in the place that none of this exists. Start Being! moment when it is recording and playing them? It would have to be or nothing would be recorded.Stop Seeking. the only thing that exists is Consciousness and I can never know what that is with my mind because it isn’t part of existence. but at this point true willingness is still eluding us because we still want to figure it out instead of surrendering into it. This next writing is from Raven’s journal of his recent experience skydiving: 156 .

“heart breath. One and a half hours of breathing as we waited for the military to get done with their flights so it would be our turn. Stillness. Here we go! Mind takes off for a bit.. Breathing. Energy patterns shifting and moving.” He nods his head and moves off to talk with someone. The whole world breathes with me. Start Being! The Eagle’s View – Skydiving through the Infinite From Raven’s journal 2006 Breathing. breathe out. Feeling everyone in the room. Coming together. oh yeah. such richness. I’m going to jump out of this one…. Breathing. Destruction on the exhalation. “Taciturn instructor! Will this be fun? Harness isn’t very comfortable. Creation on the inhalation. ok. feel myself through time. Breath in. Heart opening. just another plane ride right? I have been on maybe 30 planes this year. ] Stillness. Out we go. So has my death. Breathe. “5 count” I say. 5 count. Breathing.Stop Seeking. but this is very different. heading toward the plane! I watch the ground pull away as the plane takes off. moving apart. It has already happened. wild! 157 . I already feel the other side of this event. endless chain of events. Now I can feel through time. lots of time to breathe into it and through it time and again. Is this strap really tight enough? 5 minutes of instruction is it?” Breathe. Lots of time to contemplate death. I notice it. Let it all go. 5 count. “What breath would be good?” Jai asked.

from the Eagle. right? Yet how often to people choose fear over love? All the time. I laugh with them and grin hugely to myself.Stop Seeking. Start Being! About 5 minutes in I pull myself away from the beauty of the world out the window as one of the instructors makes a joke to Jai about feeling like he was forgetting something important. Now looking out the window everything shifts. My perception really begins to expand. but simple. I would much rather have this feeling of peaceful cheerfulness than of terror and angst against the universe. Choose. there isn’t any suffering. Who would not. and everything it would take to bring me back here again if I died in the next few moments. of having to go through all of this again and again. I choose to feel this way during the last few moments of my life. It feels nice to be able to make a choice around my state. I start feeling and seeing life from the standpoint of the Eagle as the plane rises so far above the ground. and whatever happens is what is and since its all one thing its all perfect just the way it is. it was all good. to have awareness of that choice and know it is conscious. then above the clouds. it is not a problem. When I was a teen I remember the horror I had of reincarnation. 158 . Not easy. I choose it. of happiness bubbling through my system. I like it. To take responsibility for it and for anything I might start to do to take myself out of it. Simple. From the big picture it wasn’t a big deal. everything it took to get me to this point. Seeing my whole life. it is all just playing out. that feeling of laughter. But from where I am now. Here we are joking in the face of death. it was all ok.

Falling toward an infinite field of soft white. knowing without description. there are excited energy fields all around me. The body is reacting. then Whoomph! bursting back out into light and color. just as I’d promised myself. falling through grayness. Of course you know all these words came after! In the stillness of the moment everything was in each instant and no description stood between That and me. that deep knowing as I stare out the door of a plane I am about to jump out of. We passed them on the way up. and earth. All one beautiful 159 . Life come around again in all its glory. no sitting on a meditation pillow here. It is nice to feel that center. Calm. And then there was the cloud. light. Start Being! I have this feeling a lot. Here I am in the stillness. Wow. racing down onto it from above. there is a lot going on. It is different having the stimulus right in front of me. a brilliant tube of light. Wow. pumping adrenaline. but it is good to get the validation here. breathing as I’m suddenly falling toward the earth at 120 miles an hour. parachutes. chaos. here is my breath at the door. here we go. what a trip. movement and excitement. clouds. connection and quiet. falling and flying. life living itself in full gusto! Yet here is my breath as we move toward the door. dampness. shadow of me within it. There was just wind.Stop Seeking. will it end?. openness and expansive beauty. everything changes. here is death coming up fast. humans. and now here I am falling toward a cloud. feeling beyond sensation. Then Whoomph!. a golden halo (the reflection of the sun) growing larger on the surface.

Over time everything you know. It is ever flowing. we understand beyond words that change is essential to growth. to be created. everything you perceive as reality will change. everything you are. euphoria of a good adrenaline rush. Start Being! raging dance of energy and depth of stillness with nothing happening at all. Think of how many times something leaving your life has made room for something more to come forward. Change is inevitable and should not be avoided. Elation. Life is not stagnant. that broadness of vision. and just like this experience ended so to shall all experiences pass. here I am on the other side of an event once again. but embraced. ever being created and ever being destroyed. seeing so much of the earth all at once. I’ll never see them gliding the same way again. It will cease to exist as you 160 . I will always feel that acceleration as you make a turn. and the sure knowledge that time has passed.Stop Seeking. and that soft whumph as you backwash your wings and come to rest ever so gently on the ground. ever moving. it truly is all good! What else can I can say but JUMP! The infinite has ways of holding and catching you that you have never imagined! When we learn to embrace the Angel of Death. And you know. that’s just fine. Death is the greatest teacher in this regard. It was grand! Swooshing down under the canopy getting in my body what those birds are always doing when they bank and turn and ride the currents of air.

It will take it all eventually anyway. and yet the underlying formless consciousness does not. Deny it and cling to anything and it will cause you suffering. why not chose it consciously? By doing so it will lend you the clarity to see beyond your life into 161 . Death claims everyone and everything in your existence. Allow it into your consciousness and you will be free of the limitations that you claim as your own. part of its growth and aliveness. All comes back to death that is created. of moving fluidly through life. Nothing is beyond it. it ebbs and flows. Embrace it and it will free you of suffering. Start Being! know it now and will be different. It is the way of life. all you think you are. but can not be known by the part of you that knows things. yet knowing that is ok. knowing it will change. Pure Awareness remains. That is the way of this existence. decays.Stop Seeking. to death’s flow. Not one thing that you know now will stay the same over time. It is a joy and a sorrow and the beauty of god. and changes. transforms. completely different. Give them to death. To remove death is to remove life. part of its process. Knowledge of death is knowledge of eternity. not a stagnant note. and to create stagnations and disharmony. let go of all you know. All else is subject to death’s rules. Knowing that the seeds of death are in every new beginning brings you to a place of flow. The flow of creation and death is ever present in everything you do. In each moment all is created and all is destroyed. It is foolish to act as if you will never die. Look around. flows through it all. Through it you can access the infinite. the one life force. it is a fluid symphony. All rots.

Notice any places you have anger or fear of abandonment or loss of control associated with death. Let go and be free. and the deaths of those close to you. Start Being! the infinite expansion and stillness that is your birthright. Let go of the illusion of immortality and you will be at peace with yourself and the world around you. do you really have something better to do with your last moment than your absolute best? SPIRITUAL EXPLORATION Befriending Death What is your relationship to Death? Do you hate her. This is Spiritual Integrity. The flow of pure being awaits your decision to stop attaching yourself to an illusion of past and future. want to avoid her at all costs. Take the challenge of death and you will find yourself with more willingness. After all. or honor that she is loaning you all that you see? Talk with a friend or journal about how you view death. What were you taught about death as a child? How 162 . Are you ready? Can you let it all go in this moment? If not.Stop Seeking. you are suffering and that pain will continue until you surrender your small self up to death. wonder and determination than you have ever experienced. Name all of your fears and beliefs around your own death.

who you are as spirit. it embraces death as a friend. Nature as a whole does not fight death. Breathe every concept and belief you have about yourself and this lifetime into the rock. Go for a walk and explore the cycles of life by looking at plants. from the tiniest sprout to the withered flower. and animals. each idea flowing from you into the rock as you continue walking. Practice seeing the beauty of life in all its phases. Your ideas about who you are as a body. Start Being! much death have you experienced in your life? Get it all out on paper or verbalized to someone close to you. symbolically leaving it here in an act of power to consciously surrender your identifications with your form. The soil that supports us is the result of the death of millions of creatures. 163 . Next find a beautiful spot where you would want to be buried. As you walk put all the ideas you have about yourself into the rock. Somewhere along the way find a small rock or another object to represent your physical body. Carefully dig a little hole and ceremonially bury the object. Feel every identification. who you are as a personality. insects.Stop Seeking. Look within yourself for any agreements you are holding that humans are not suppose to die (or babies are not suppose to die or my beloveds are not suppose to die…) Creating Your Own Funeral Go out into nature and take a long walk. Get intimate with how life feeds on death.

the ways you related to your emotions and mind. and let go of the desire for all the experiences you wanted to have but did not.the pleasurable and the painful. every person you ever interacted with physically. a life now consciously chosen. Speak your gratitude with the intent of releasing any attachment that you formed to any of these experiences. to any event that has transpired during this lifetime. Release the body.Stop Seeking. and free. every place you ever visited. Express your gratefulness for all of those experiences. Give gratitude and thanks for the experiences that you have had. surrender the identifications. perform a eulogy to that physical being that you were. a life to be lived in every moment: Connected. and liberate your consciousness from the limitations of believing that you are only this limited form. the ways we related to our appearance. Express your gratitude for the entire experience you have had this lifetime. Start Being! Once you have buried yourself. Speak your gratitude for every event. the sense of new beginning. Feel the freshness of everything. Once you are done stand up and look at the sky. Voice your gratitude for the myriad of bodily experiences you had -. 164 . present.

Start Being! 165 .Stop Seeking.

When spirit and physical are aligned. or judge where we should 166 . right now. right here. Within us we hold the endless space of spirit and the very instinct of the earth. We have each had direct experiences of this state of spiritual embodiment. We embody Spiritual Integrity. knowing there is no separation between all of life and us. knowing that we are endless infinity packaged into portable bundles of flesh and bones.Stop Seeking. animal self experiences the power and play of individuality and choice. Start Being! Chapter 6 Creatively Intending Your Life At our highest potential. we ground the infinite in every cell of our bodies. Half ethereal. undivided awareness. during a night of wild dancing or holding a newborn child. we are the bridge between the realm of no form and the realm of form. human beings are a magical blend of spirit and animal. half physical. Our physical. Our essence communes with the Divine mystery. We live our lives as a gift of the Divine. and bring spirit into form. we are avoiding half of our being. When we reject our present. When we ignore the wisdom or needs of our bodies. instinctual animal self and reach only for the fleeting winds of spiritual bliss. Whether it happens in deep meditation or from achieving a long-term goal. or compare our self to others. there is a bright burst of connection from the center of our being to pure.

Do not know our purpose or what our unique gifts are -. we limit our potential and make a sense of peace impossible. and physical.Stop Seeking.Hold ourselves as broken or wounded or as victims -. or feel victimized -.Hold ourselves as more important or less important than others 167 . minds.Value other people's opinions of us above our own self-worth -.Compare ourselves to others -. and focus solely on material comforts and gains. Our attention becomes hooked by the external world and the desire to feel safe and valued. criticize. We are out of balance with our spiritual and human being when we: -. Spiritual Integrity is a movement towards wholeness of all our potential: mental. or spiritual connection -. Our sacred individuality as a part of the whole gets warped into selfimportance and separation. When we ignore the call of spirit. Start Being! be rather than honor where we are. emotions. emotions. and needs as we seek integrity. emotional. blame.Dislike and reject our bodies. we stifle the flow of creative juices necessary for our own inner healing. We must beware of not splitting our spiritual being from our human being and all its myriad of thoughts.Stagnate in or bounce between self-importance or selfrejection -.Judge.

Take full responsibility for our experiences.Hold ourselves as whole.Live out of fear and a sense of scarcity When our spiritual and human aspects are balanced. expansive beings -. and physical being into integrity with your Spirit is a process of alchemy.Stop Seeking.Live from love and a sense of abundant flow The transition from being out of balance with our spiritual-human self to living in integrity with our full potential is a journey of inner alchemy. emotional. healing.Have deep self-respect and respect for all other beings -. minds. and spirit -. Spiritual Integrity is an inner alchemy: the process of guiding our immature.Have strong self-awareness and curiosity around our internal state -. we: -. Start Being! -. Alchemy takes one set 168 . Bringing your mental.Know our purpose and overflow our gifts to the world -.Honor the uniqueness of who we are -. a magical transformation from one state to another.Are open and in-tune to all aspects of our bodies. fearful aspects towards the maturity of authentic alignment. Alchemy is the art of taking one substance and transforming it into another. without outer or inner blame -. emotions. more vital substance.Feel no separation from the life force around and in us -.

And here is where even the hardiest of us quiver. Obstacles on the horizon can evoke delighted anticipation in one moment. No matter how anticipated or dreaded. How many times have you purposefully started down a path of transformation. and confusion. change often shakes up your familiar world and ruffles your sense of stability. you may cringe from others in fear. known variously as instability. transmutes it into a more valuable or vibrant set of stable ingredients. We are each our own worst enemy. rolled into one. These challenges and changes strengthen and temper you to stretch beyond what you know and towards your highest expression and purpose. Even when you consciously initiate moving past your limitations towards your potential. the old ways of being can be very stubborn. Both types are gifts. and while you may welcome some with open arms. and reluctant avoidance in another. stirring you out of habitual behaviors and comfort as reminders of your limitless possibilities. Start Being! of stable ingredients and. and our best ally. uncertainty. Often when you take an action to break an old structure. Some of these challenges will be unbidden. with the help of a catalyst. Which will you choose to be today? Throughout the journey to take new actions and reclaim your Spiritual Integrity. what arises are the very obstacles that separate you from your goal. Between the before and after lies a vast land of mystery. only to be thwarted or overwhelmed? 169 . you will meet many challenges.Stop Seeking.

or on a myriad of external factors aligning perfectly.Stop Seeking. pummel your self-worth. overwhelming exhaustion. Start Being! With hope and determination. Whether you are filled with clarity and excitement or illusion and fear as you meet your obstacles is not based on the size of the shift you are facing. That force is you. find a job you love. but also the perhaps uncomfortable middle all the way through the alchemical process of internal transformation. or give you wings to soar beyond your knowing. How you face the uncomfortable. It is rather due to your own attitude and vision. For every conscious new action you take in your life. or a thousand more-important distractions. or increase self-esteem only to find yourself stopped by fierce self-judgment. using strategies that flatten your enthusiasm. 170 . sudden terror. To stop undermining yourself and truly unfurl your wings means attending to not only the beginning. start a spiritual or healing practice. murky parts of your journey to wholeness will either stop you in mid-flight. stop a painful addiction. there is a force waiting to turn you away from your goals. self-doubt. and make you forget what you were doing. on having had a secure childhood. you start a new action plan with a strong focus to get into better physical shape. get out of debt.

and brings joy to 171 . intuition. There is no room for discovery and learning through our mistakes. and a wide horizon of perception. and it moves as a piercing force of transformation. Creative energy is the flow of art." This is your ability to find innovative ways of moving past obstacles while staying focused on your final goal. Creativity is one polarity of expression. Our creativity gets us outside of the narrowness of our domestication and structure. but there is no force greater than our own creative intent when both aspects are blended together.Stop Seeking. It is only when we balance play and focus. but not the force to manifest them in a concrete manner. the movement of focused purpose. It is the determined questing of science. a sense of playful experimentation that stems from dreaming. that we possess the ingredients to fully catalyze our blossoming. Start Being! The catalyst for internal alchemy is what I call "creative intent. we become ungrounded and scattered. we get narrowminded and dogmatic. The dance of these two forces is the fuel that drives the whole process of transformation. Intent stems from disciplined stalking of the goal and strong action to stay on course. and it moves as a spontaneous response to stimuli. They can get out of balance. intent and creativity. Intent is another polarity of expression. When we have too much intent running. Our intent gives us a direction to move towards. discipline and experimentation. We have a lot of ideas. When we live solely from our creativity. and the ability to follow through.

you are the artist-scientist of your own internal world. and to become your own best ally instead of your worst enemy. sensations. new actions. 172 . Creativity is our unique expression of life. manifested for pure joy. creativity often comes to fill and soon overflow through us. we do not seek a reward or recognition. and taste of our inner world and make them tangible. This creative expression is not only what artists strive for. Start Being! the process of inner alchemy. we tap into the unknown and for a moment. Creativity is a vital force in helping us move through our own internal obstacles and fears. It is often unexpected. and unpredictable. unexplainable. Support Your Internal Creativity Creativity is the juiciness and flow of life. As an alchemist of change. Creativity cannot be forced or scheduled.Stop Seeking. new ways of being. to keep experimenting through discomfort or confusion. mystery moves through us into form. When we are in the river of creative flow. We are inspired to take the inner images. We see new possibilities. When we block or judge either energy we cut ourselves off from our full potential. As we make ourselves vessels and clear out our own doubts and shoulds and rules. but it can be enticed and opened to. Your work is to ignite your own creative intent to foster the process of maturation.

Our pleaser." All examples of wacky internal creativity! As you set up action plans and run experiments to break habits. nourishing ourselves with good food and lots of 173 . so I must have done something wrong. What will I do today? Who will I be today? What will I learn about myself today? Yeehaaaa! For example: Your relationship ends.Stop Seeking. That relationship just ended. We approach our obstacles and fears with a sense of adventure. fights to stay alive.) My friend is disappointed in me. where we cut the cords on this and all of our previous relationships. Our old structure. "I have to be in a relationship or I am not whole. I am safe. obstacles will arise. or feel lonely and fragmented until I do." "If I make sure everyone likes me. Our habitual response is to follow the old pattern. so I must quickly find another one. It is exciting! We pull our heads out of our tiny box of responses and look towards infinity for our answers. Spend a week in retreat. I am feeling insecure. Start Being! The places of limitation within us often stem from the creative ways we tried to stay "safe" when we were children. or distracter rears their head. controller. so I am going to go buy something expensive (and later go into fear that I don't have enough money. When we are willing to risk being creative. so you: Have a divorce celebration with some close friends to support us. isolator. and you consciously choose to be creative. which we created to make order in an unpredictable world. We create fantastic agreements or strategies. there are a million different ways we can respond to stimuli." "If I have a lot of money in the bank. I know I am a good person.

Find a good therapist or spiritual guide. Get on the internet and create a personal. which can feel frightening or liberating. Start Being! long hikes. Pay attention to where you want to limit yourself. It gives us direction and the will to carry on. despite the obstacles that arise. And keep dancing towards the infinite! Honing Your Intent Intent is the clarity in life that keeps us focused on a specific purpose. Intent is a combination of determination and dedication. and then go on dates with fifteen people in four weeks with the agreement that you will not get into a relationship. a practice of getting from 174 . Intent acts as the guiding force for our actions in the world. What would be different from your usual pattern? Be creative! The best actions to help us return to integrity come from the wellspring of creativity we all possess... or both simultaneously. or where you are uncomfortable stepping out of your own comfort zone. Shave your head and dedicate yourself to meditation for a year. Volunteer to help a child in need. Tapping into your creativity may feel awkward at first. Be playful as you dream up ways to experiment and take action. Take our new alone time to do something we have always dreamed of trying. Remember you are breaking your own box. Enjoy and keep breathing through whatever arises.Stop Seeking. but simply explore what you like or who you are around others.. Intent is a science.

"Today I Will Nourish My Inner Martyr" by Ann Thornhill and Sarah Wells is a book of "Affirmations for Cynics. Old agreements and strategies dictate how we react to life happening around us. our integrity and truth of this moment is compromised. When we act from unconscious intent. We would never consciously say: "My intent is to sabotage myself and prove that I am not deserving. We know what we want and are not afraid to go for it. for the unconscious." or "My intent is to blame everyone else around me for my inability to take responsibility for my life decisions. all our actions are colored by our experiences of the past. and temptation. Our intent then stays at its default setting. We are a pure point of perception. All of our senses align with our goal.Stop Seeking. But intent often flows from an unconscious place. undaunted by the impossible. Intent allows us to see beyond chaos." But we all hold these types of wacky intents and live our lives from them! There is a great little book that expresses perfectly the sort of intents we carry within us. Some favorite samples are: 175 . so I do not have to worry about failing. which is usually the setting we agreed to when we were very young. All of our energy aligns with our senses. Start Being! point A to point B systematically without getting distracted or straying from our course. Instead." or "My intent is to never put my full heart and energy into any project." or really. fear.

" "Today I will remind myself that my friends and family are just waiting for me to fail. instead of dealing with situations that upset me. Use your intent to keep taking actions even if it feels hopeless or overwhelming. Your intent in the present must be as strong or stronger than the intent you set in the past! Remember. tiny whisper. our own intent is but a teeny. But compared to the immensity of greater Intent that flows through all things. you have been repeating some of these stories and dramas to yourself for a long time. you cannot fail. Be patient and keep going. Inner Focus. You can do it! If you tap into something greater than yourself. Start Being! "Today. Many people spend their lives struggling to manifest their little desires and intents with no relation to the larger flow of Intent. Creative Action. This is a lot 176 .Stop Seeking. I will disown my body today. I will create melodramatic diversions" "I have a right to be a victim after all that I have been through. watch out for these type of old stories arising. and Big Flow Our individual intent is a very powerful force." As you tap into your intent and take action." "Because I demand that everything in my life is the best and beautiful.

and forget that we are part of a much bigger flow of creative intent. but we can learn to coax and seduce it. if we are clever and skillful. To tap into Intent. Self-absorption causes us to narrow down to our immediate needs and desires. Start Being! like stubbornly trying to fly a kite using your favorite fan instead of the wind. or the timing we think is best. and often takes us away from our spiritual path (and highest purpose).Stop Seeking. In Carlos Castaneda’s books the Toltec Nagual Don Juan talks about intent as a force that is unknowable and mysterious. rather than looking up at "what would best for my own highest purpose?" We get fixated on what we want to happen. We cannot make it bend to our will. beyond self-importance and self-rejection. Intent is a mystery that can be tapped into. but never understood or controlled. To attract its attention we must make ourselves bigger energetically. Intent will always remind us that it is bigger than us (often after letting us puff up big. so the fall is noticeable!) If we act from self-rejection. To align our own intent with Intent. It is a lot like 177 . We get caught in wanting to create comfort or security or quick fixes for pain. Intent ignores us. we must be present. humble. When we align our little intent with the larger force of Intent. we tap into the highest outcome. or how things "should" be happening. and willing to change at a moment's notice. If we are self-important. We must trust that the creative force of life has a bigger view than we do. we must first surrender our desired outcome.

but we often ignore the flows of energy by getting fixated on a desired outcome. Get clear with what you are actually asking for.) Hone down what your intent actually is for. Then double check internally if there are any ways that you think you know what the outcome should be. Or you might find what you want is to feel excited about your life (as excited as you feel about the red Mustang. Also double check internally if you have a desire or image of how the outcome should look. Plant your seed. The universe loves to work with us. Let go! Trust that by planting the little seed of your intent into the greater soil of Intent you are co-creating with the Universe. when you set any intent always ask for the highest outcome. To align yourself with the larger flow of Intent. takes practice.Stop Seeking. Perhaps you see a red 1966 Mustang and you think: I want that car. or big energy. what I really want is transportation to and from work. know that you are taking the first steps in activating and enticing a much greater source of creative intent. Then begin to take the creative actions 178 . "I want transportation to and from work. respect of the element." Imagine connecting your intent with the Universal Intent Life Force GodGoddess Magic Flow of all Things as One. Now hold that intent in your being. you will feel what you really want: Ah. Start Being! rafting a big river. A simple example I use is around asking for a car. May this be for my highest purpose. Riding big water. But if you stop and listen more deeply. or whatever you want to call it. or surfing. and courage. Whenever you set your intent and begin to take your creative action steps.

we will get exercise. Example: Someone might offer us a bicycle. but we think “I don't want a bicycle. Not only will we save money riding our new bike to work.” If we actually got still for a second and listened. plus some other intents we had set. the bicycle is PERFECT! It fits our original intent. Wow. Often we will set our intent and the Universe will receive it and give it back to us almost immediately. the universal intent is infinitely creative. Pay attention to both the obstacles that arise. we might find that actually. I want that red Mustang. we ignore the gift. But since we are looking for a specific outcome. all the ways the world is wrong and people are keeping them down. The other 95% of their energy is wrapped up in all the reasons they don’t get what they want. and we will have alone time on our ride. that is four intents completed with one bicycle! Yahoo! Remember. Be open to the creativity of the universe by being open to what it brings toward you. and the gifts from intent. Start Being! to move towards your intent.Stop Seeking. and all the things that have happened to them 179 . The more creative you are in your actions. all the ways they wish it were different. the more creative energy will flow towards you. both the obstacles and the unexpected surprises! Bringing Yourself Fully into Each Action Most of the people most of the time have about 5% of their energy engaged in doing what they say they want to do.

What keeps you from standing in that place is the energy you have invested in the past. Whew! No wonder nothing gets done! Integrity is about pulling your energy back from all of those beliefs. By pulling the energy out of the past and standing fresh and excited in the mystery of each moment. It is about making each action count. space out. because you are willing to put 100% of yourself behind it.Stop Seeking. clean up your false beliefs. judgmental. and stories. judgments. don’t you want to enjoy that? Do you really want to settle for 9 to 5 drudgery until someday you get to “retire” (read “die out in the pasture”)? BOOOOOOORING! We will take life as God/dess any day. Start Being! before that support them feeling dissatisfied. and victimized right now. you engage with the world in a way that blows away the pale and wan reality most people settle for. there is nothing else! 180 . It is about knowing YOU WILL DIE and in that knowing you do not waste time with trivia. would you scrimp? Would you blow it off. in your belief in the stories and descriptions of your life of limitation. run away in fear? Of course not! If you truly new that acting from your integrity meant more of the God/dess manifesting in the world you would do your best to stay in your integrity. Why settle? You are here as God for crying out loud. We invite you to get down to business. remove the ways you limit yourself and let your divinity shine out into everything you do! If you truly knew each action you took was God/dess at work. The reward is NOW the place is HERE.

they would run amok and wantonly destroy the world they live in. If you look around. Start Being! Why not live your life in such a way that your full energy is always present. Take action! May you live each moment from the 181 . you will see that is what is happening right now in our world for the exact opposite reason. and therefore by definition leading a life of Joy and Spirit. If everyone was just having fun then life would be total chaos” These are the flimsy excuses of people too scared to actually live from their integrity! Think about it! What is being said is that if people were in their integrity. The conscience you have as a person of integrity is 100 times more powerful than that of the societal boundaries we have placed around ourselves. living from their Highest Purpose. but if everyone was just present in the moment no one would be doing anything and the world would fall apart. Call in allies.Stop Seeking. Why would you waste your energy on something that would cause you suffering and disconnection with Spirit? When you are a living a life of integrity that is the last thing you would do. Find mentors. It just doesn’t make sense! Would you say. ready to engage in the next thing that will open you the most? What a fun game! How much Spirit can you be aware of in each moment? Much better than how much suffering and hell can I project from the past onto this moment. “I spent all this energy freeing myself from suffering and now you think I would like to take a bunch of stupid actions to put myself back in it?” Not likely. Much more FUN! Perhaps you have heard people say “Yeah.

Start Being! sweetest wisdom of your heart. and at least ten different ways to work with it. and constantly be asking yourself: how can I be creative in this situation? 182 . Let some of your ideas be crazy! Stretch your mind. build a fire and speak to the flames. pay attention to the ways your mind goes into habit. Also.Stop Seeking. take the examples above (money in bank and disappointing a friend) and list ten creative things someone could do. grounded in your own Spiritual Integrity. visit a museum and wander through the hallways feeling the art. Then do at least one of these creative ideas. sing out loud in public. If you cannot think of a problem. CREATIVE INTENT EXPLORATION Creative Action Do at least one physical activity that opens up your creativity this week: Paint a dream. dance wildly under the moonlight. Cultivating Wild Creativity To cultivate your own creativity start by making a list of a problem in your life.

Stop Seeking. or nourish your new one (preferably one of each. What different action can you take? How can you bring the creative aspect in to this new intent? Write these intents when you are not in the pattern. Start Being! Unclogging Your Intent Machinery The first step in honing your intent is to clear out the garbage intents that clog up your system.) 183 ." "Today. I will make a mistake and repeat it in my head over and over again. Then make a joke of it: "Today." As Raven always says. Notice where you are sabotaging yourself or acting in ways that go against your heart. before you get depressed or confused or anxious or whatever. but I will spend the day cleaning up someone else's mess.. Keep this practice as play. Action is best planned from a neutral to joyous space. for it will expose more of your unconscious heaviness. I will wake up depressed and then punish myself all day for it. Is that really the intent you want to hold for your day/week/life? Once you have played with and felt your unconscious intents. They are heavy energies that weigh down the lightness of pure. rewrite what intent you actually want to be living from.. I will say I want to write. Make three action steps you will take that oppose the old intent. conscious intent." "Today. get them out in front of you so you can see them! Now you have the power to make a choice. For the week play with making up intents for yourself based on your unconscious beliefs.

"Today I will write despite distraction or drama. what uncomfortable feeling or thought arose that I can teach myself to sit through? Write out your new intent.Stop Seeking. and/or 3) I will go out and take a dance class. Do you have lots of ideas with very little follow through. If I get distracted or caught in drama. Just do your actions when you get off track. Balancing Creativity and Intent Journal about which polarity of creativity or intent you tend to lean on.. Start Being! "Today if I wake up depressed. Enjoy. I will not believe the lies my mind tells me. or do you judge people who are more intent-oriented? What part of 184 . and continue onward and/or 4) Spend a few moments looking at what I felt like before I was distracted. Notice the results. I will: 1) Take a deep breath and acknowledge my distraction 2) Get my butt back to the writing chair with minimal judgment or 3) Drink a cup of tea while I read what I wrote before I was distracted. or do you start strong but get confused or bull-headed if something shifts mid-stream? Are you more attracted to allowing the flow to happen or following your list of steps? Do you judge people who are more creatively inclined. and/or 2) I will email two people and share what I appreciate about them. not thinking.. 1) I will call two people and ask them to tell me what they appreciate about me. and new actions someplace you will have them handy when the situation next arises.

from the mundane to the esoteric: From "How do I get my children out of the house in the morning for school?" to "How can I bring more compassion to myself and those around me?" Write this intent down on a piece of paper. Using free-style writing (keep your hand moving. The issue can be anything. Open and connect with the flower or color or energy you touched on your walk in the last exercise. go for a walk and admire some flowers. Open and stir up your perception in a creative way! Creative Intent in Action… Go! Ask yourself or talk to a friend about a recent issue you have been wrestling with. and do not think or edit!) answer the following questions: In what ways am I creative in my life? In what ways do I block my creativity? In what areas of my life is my intent strong? In what areas of my life is my intent weak? How can my creativity better support my intent? How can my intent better support my creativity? After you answer the questions.Stop Seeking. or do cartwheels down the street. drink in the colors of cars. Start Being! yourself are you actually judging via others? This will be a clue about where you do not honor your own creativity or intent. Bring your senses in: 185 .

make a note at the bottom of your actions of "What agreements may pop-up as I move towards my intent So your list will look like this: My intent is to teach my children how to get out of bed in the morning with ease. fuzzy heart to my clothes and carrying around a teddy bear for the next week." "I can bring more compassion to myself by attaching a big. "I can get my children out of bed by hiring a four piece band and having them play under their window each morning. The crazier. Three ways I can do this: 1. the better for one of them. 2. Hire a marching band to play outside their window. brainstorming with yourself or with a friend." Stretch yourself out of the box you usually come up with solutions from. Make one of these three actions wildly creative. Start Being! How did that flower smell? How did the color taste? How did the energy you raised with your cartwheel feel in your body? Now. Make the other two do-able (though you may have to stretch for them to!) Write all three creative actions down under your intent. Have their father wake them up for the next week. quickly write down three ways that you can creatively manifest your intent. 3.Stop Seeking. To close the loop. Go shopping with each of them to buy an alarm clock. 186 . and teach them how to use it.

When I get scared or judgmental. Start Being! What may come up: My old story around being a failure as a mother. I will give myself a hug and ask what did you learn? 3.Stop Seeking. and the creative flow of the universe. My intent is to bring more compassion into my life. I will attach a fuzzy heart to my jacket and carry my teddy bear around with me this week Watch for: My judge telling me I am doing it all wrong Put this list up somewhere you will see it. I will put my hands on my heart and breathe peace 2. and contemplate or actually do your wild action! This will keep your brain free and fluid to allow more creative ideas to arise. bathroom mirror. This will tap you into the larger force of Intent. The doing of your actions puts the notice out to the universe that you want to create change. on the fridge. If I make a mistake. Look at it each day.. 187 . near your desk. Do your two actions. Three ways I can do this: 1..

but first I must find that peace within. who can see farther and wider and deeper than you. or a more specific feeling state you want to manifest? Write this down. and image linking it to a larger flow of pure Intent. or something you wish for another? Start with intents for yourself. (For example. connect with the big mystery. Now let it go! It is in motion. this beautifully wild river of Intent. Feel your own intent. and it was: for my father who is ill to feel at peace. But this does not mean that you stop your actions. I can model peace and support him in moving towards peace. Yes. it is up to him! So my new first intent is: to feel peace around my father and his choices. I surrender my desired outcome and open to finding my own sense of peace. Pray with your heart open to your concept of Higher Power God-Goddess-Creative-Intent-InfinitePossibilities-Life-Force-Web. Start by feeling into your intent: is there a deeper longing behind it.) Take your piece of paper and write down (or review) your creative action steps to manifest your intent. I want this. Continue to be creative in how you 188 . but this is not up to me. And double check: is your intent for yourself. and ask for guidance from a Higher Source. Ask for support in getting past your own limitations and obstacles in a creative and graceful way. Now holding your paper in your hand. I just felt into my intent. Consciously put your paper someplace sacred.Stop Seeking. Start Being! Big Mystery Connection Pick one intent that is the most important to you.

189 . fears. Keep your inner focus on your intent. Start Being! manifest your intent. Continue to track yourself and learn from what arises: How do you react to obstacles? Are you able to surrender the outcome? Does your creativity wane when you hit an obstacle over and over again? Do you get overwhelmed with information and shut down your creative flow? Keep track of your strategies. and strengths. This keeps you linked and interesting to the larger mystery of Intent.Stop Seeking. and your creative actions in alignment with that intent.

regardless of what they are doing. When you are in spiritual integrity you come from a place of choice. Start Being! Chapter 7 Mastery People who live their lives from a place of Spiritual Integrity do not become spiritual “masters. they are not a “somebody. living this lifetime. You never see them retiring from anything because there is nothing to retire from when you are living your purpose and joy in life. Spiritual Integrity is about living that choice. now. And a person in spiritual integrity recognizes that they are here for a reason. no matter if they are working 9 to 5 or meditating in the woods.” Rather they live a life of mastery in their connection to Spirit in each moment. You have stripped away all of your unconscious limitations and come back to a place where you can consciously choose how you want to be in each moment. they don’t have static titles. People in spiritual integrity do not have jobs. 190 .” They are the embodiment of their purpose. ideas or concepts about who they should be. that their life has meaning. They have a clear way of being in the world. We are here. and that meaning is based on their connection to this moment. we are in these bodies. a journey into more and more choice as to how you live our life. Every day is a journey into more presence.Stop Seeking. not on any beliefs.

Start Being! When we choose consciously to experience fully the world opens up around us. to the awareness and Divinity that flows through us. The beauty of everything you see around you. knowing that your best is going to change over time.Stop Seeking. our entire reality is based on our perception of it. When we remove all the unconscious limitations we have placed on ourselves we come back to a place of freedom. everything that happens to us in life. more and more connected. we feel our passion for life. It is pure awareness flowing effortlessly. in this body. It is about working all the time to become more and more present. even over the course of a day. Mastery is about doing one’s best. We feel our joy. This opens up an incredible realm of exploration about being in this form. we feel our connection. the incredible dynamic 191 . We put our attention on opening into the Divine every day and making the connection every day to who we really are. We know that even though everything is changing all the time. without struggle through life. who we really are is a constant that is not based upon the world around us. and when you are in integrity your perception is connected to your Spirit. because the connection. gracefully. the context that life is happening in is clear. Mastery is life living itself fully. capable of perceiving the world in any way we want to perceive it? Every event. in this life. Why would we choose struggle? Why would we choose limitation? Why would we choose to suffer as we move through life when we know deeply that we are limitless beings capable of being anything.

We know this moment may be the last one. there is simply the living of it as fully and completely as we can. Start Being! of life living itself becomes your context. no matter their reactions. totally in love. and we consciously choose to be in our integrity. we hold our integrity and truth. nothing is more important than that integrity. the wonder. 192 .Stop Seeking. no matter what is happening in the world. knowing that this life will come to a place of completion at some point. that moment to moment decision to be here now in this moment. a course of action. we consciously choose to be in our connection with Spirit no matter what. No matter how heavy the energies of the world are. we feel the magic of being here in this incredible exploration of being a human. open as wide as we can possibly be. this choice may be the last choice we ever make. the mystery that surrounds us even in the most mundane situations. a journey that we live every day. how much suffering there is in the world. That choice becomes the focus of our mastery. That is Mastery! The spiritual path is a path. we feel the magic of life. no matter how many wars are being fought. no matter how many people have been killed. We sacrifice nothing that will take us out of our integrity. engaged in this life fully from all of our senses. No matter the limitations of those around us. When we are in spiritual integrity. Seeing the beauty. we live our lives totally engaged. There is no endpoint to a spiritual path. from all of our being. And knowing that this life will end. totally in connection with everything around us because we choose to.

And their spiritual connection was palpable. If we allow ourselves to identify with the suffering then we cannot stay in touch with our integrity. rather than the solutions to the problems! When I lived in Asia growing up (Heather Ash) I saw tremendous poverty. I remember walking through a slum outside of Bangkok where cardboard and tin shacks perched on top of rickety walkways that stretched over open sewers. the shining of our connection with Spirit that creates the most impact and change in the world. There was a presence. While living conditions were horrible by my standards. so we stay focused on that above all else. It is the shining of our light. They create more illusion and identification with the problems of the world. I saw the same fortitude when I spent time in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco talking to homeless people. Actions out of integrity have little impact other than to create more confusion and suffering in the world. We know that to take any action that is not from our integrity is to take an action that is weak. dignity and sense of community I rarely see in America. This does not mean ignoring suffering or closing to pain.Stop Seeking. what I saw in the people amazed me. These people were not victims. Start Being! We do not allow anything to affect our connection to Spirit because we know deeply that the only way to alleviate the heaviness and suffering of the world is to come at it from a place of integrity. This deep integrity is about opening to everything without attaching to anything and radiating our fierce love out. they were making life work. 193 .

this ripples out and touches everyone around you. One person I spoke with stands out. When you reclaim your Spiritual Integrity you will find that you have truly done your part in changing the world. So we may not agree with society all of the time. but simply point out that integrity is not about how many resources you have or the right job or relationship. 194 . not because of them. and so he chose to live on the streets with other men who had similar experiences and understanding. The solution for our suffering as humans is not more material gain. and simply told me that he could no longer fit in with his family when he returned home. but for each person to come back into a connection with spirit in every moment.Stop Seeking. Your Spiritual Integrity is internal. Start Being! Many of the people I talked to were Vietnam veterans. It is in spite of your circumstances. Blessings on your path! MASTERY EXPLORATION Creating Your Own Moral Code Heather Ash and my moral code is based on our individual relationship with Spirit. I am not wanting to romanticize poverty or homelessness. He was lucid. not necessarily our relationship with society. gentle. no matter what! When you live your own connection. He was more at peace with himself than many of the people I know.

The whole reason we have all of these laws and social morals is that almost everyone is out of integrity! If everyone was in integrity it would not look homogenous. Choosing to reclaim your own Spiritual Integrity means the difference between a life lived as suffering. far from it. that does not mean we lead a life of chaos and destruction. eating well. If you create it too soon what it will mostly be is a representation of your unconscious beliefs and strategies. If you were to look at most people who are in integrity with their spiritual path. Not helpful! As such you should always be willing to 195 . Begin. A personal moral code is something that is developed after you have done the work to validate for yourself what is actually in your integrity. and do not tarry. It may take years for you to sort out and integrate your own personal moral code. or spiritual integrity is a gift to yourself. punishment. or a life filled with the love. their lives would have a similar flavor. Do not rush. and spreading the reach of the true experience of connection with the Creator as far and wide as we can. emotional. and it would also not be a group of people suffering because of one another. physical. Each little action you take to come back into your own mental. and disillusionment. though the specifics would all look completely different.Stop Seeking. Continue. Start Being! However. We live a relatively disciplined life of staying quiet. joy and presence of the Divine flowing through you in whatever spiritual tradition you follow. creating abundance for ourselves.

A moral code is not a new set of beliefs! It is a plan of action. This comes from the many times I have validated that reality is not an absolute. This comes from seeing in what an incredible waste of energy it is to talk about the past. Here are a couple of examples from my (Raven) personal moral code.Stop Seeking. Constantly cycling past events leads to attachment. not to being consistent. What is 196 . This tenet arose from my exploration and validation that my life is a process that is most closely reflected by the spiral of truth. allowing the space for it to change as you continue to gain insight into your integrity and purpose in this lifetime and grow your connection to Spirit. and a fixation of attention that does not leave room for new ways of being and connecting to Spirit. limiting beliefs. It is there as a reminder to you of the insights you have gained and your commitment to live your life from a place of Spiritual Integrity. Different things are true at different points and in different situations. - I don’t talk about my personal history except as an example to help people understand an insight or teaching. it is a point of perception that is always changing. a set of guidelines to help you stay in integrity. Start Being! review your moral code. - My commitment is to the Truth.

Stop Seeking. Don’t let dogma. Start Being! important is NOW. The past is dead. but as a way of walking it! 197 . it is not here now and I KNOW that re-hashing it keeps me from experiencing the Divine joy that is present in every moment. this moment. remember? It did not turn out so well. When in doubt design actions and experiments that will help you to truly KNOW what is in your integrity. not as a concept. did it? Always be willing to question what you think you know. that is what you did the first time. tradition. or other people’s opinions create your personal code. My support to you is to allow your personal moral code to arise from the insights you gain by truly walking your path.

books and audio visit out websites at: http://www. Start Being! For more information on Spiritual Integrity or any of our other programs.org 198 .Stop Seeking.toci.

Start Being! 199 .Stop Seeking.

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