Winter Update 2016

As many of you already know, I came to Mexico not just to travel and learn Spanish, but because I wanted time and space to process.  I wanted to have time to heal, to recuperate, to connect with myself.  I learned after I got here that I am also here because when I was in close proximity with my family I had a hard time maintaining my personal boundaries, and from this distance I actually have enough boundary (distance) to begin to know who I am, how I differ from those I love, and which feelings are actually mine.  It has taken me being here and them there for me to do that.

This Thanksgiving/Christmas I am here by myself, and though it feels weird to be here when all my family is there, and I have no plans to go back until spring, it feels exactly right.  I am doing a tremendous amount of emotional work, I feel incredible support, and I am grateful for this time to redefine myself in terms of my personal life, the way I work, and my evolving professional identity based on this growth.

The work I am doing is multifaceted and deep, and is absolutely blowing my mind.  Developmentally, I feel that I am finally completing my individuation process (that under the best of circumstances is largely completed by age 3, with a blessed make-up period at age 14).  At 52, I’m thrilled to finally be feeling the reality of this–what the Weinholds call psychological birth (with which comes a much stronger sense of a durable boundaried self).

This transformation process isn’t just something I woke up one morning and decided to do.  It’s an assignment that’s been shown to me and told to me in so many ways from mentors and way-showers, my own dreams and intuitions, and from just watching the patters of my life and following my guidance from day to day.  It involves a lot of not knowing, and that can be uncomfortable.  And it involves breaking out of old patterns, which is also uncomfortable.  It involves a lot of being with myself, which I actually can’t get enough of, and it has also involved being with others in new ways, which can be uncomfortable, but I’m willing–stretching myself, and eager to grow into this new, more embodied skin I’m stepping into.  I’m making progress in releasing control over outcomes, and my intention is to be more guidable by the forces of nature that are wiser and greater than my mind.  Notice that the photos I include below are upside down.  I decided that I was not going to be perfectionistic about this and left them upside down because today I’m not in the mood to troubleshoot that.  Progress!!

One of the ideas I’m currently developing I got from the Weinholds.  It has to do with the Drama Triangle I talked about a few blog entries back.  It also fits nicely with the section of Being In My Body that deals with self abuse (in the Violence and Abuse section of Chapter 5 – Healthy Adult Intimacy).




What I am now noticing in my own processes, and the processes of my new clients, is a version of the Drama Triangle (DT) that is played out inside one person’s head.  The Weinhold book, How to Break Free of the Drama Triangle and Victim Consciousness deals primarily with the DT being played out in families, communities, and between nations, where it is so prevalent and so confusing.  When this chaos plays out inside one person’s head it can be even more so because it’s hard to see who is playing which role, and roles can quickly switch from one to another, which makes it all impossible to decipher without appropriate support.

Another idea I’ve been thinking about (also compliments of the time I spent in Colorado with the Colorado Institute for Conflict Resolution and Creative Leadership) has to do with Surrender, one of the key features of many spiritual disciplines. The way the Weinholds explain it, Surrender has a masculine essence and a feminine essence.  The masculine essence is our willingness to take charge of our lives without guilt or shame.  The feminine essence is our willingness to receive without resistance or judgment.  I am seeing how these two sides of Surrender play out in virtually every aspect of connecting, whether it’s between two people, or the parts inside an unintegrated mind, what I refer to in my book as the fragmented self.  There is so much to learn here as I play with this idea of Surrender, superimposed on the Drama Triangle.

What happens for me, personally, is that with these tools I can more easily recognize internal abuse when it begins to happen.  As is usually the case with my practice, new clients have been coming in with questions that invite me to expand to better meet their needs–which mirror mine in many ways.  Together we are cultivating different kinds of alliances that are better suited to meet our more refined needs.  What it feels like I’m developing is a fairly reliable well-balanced Inner Marriage that makes both Masculine and Feminine contributions to my day-to-day, moment-to-moment movement in the world.  And of course all of this is built on my new level of commitment to staying fully embodied.

I am immersed in ideas that are begging me to develop them, and I’m doing my best to keep up.  They include collaborations with other people, where we’ll have a chance to play with sharing leadership, and of course I continue to privately explore, write and follow my muses.  My attention returns again and again to such ideas as pleasure and play, healing touch, expressive movement and so much more.

Thank you for your interest.  I’d love to hear what you think or what you’d like.

Stay Tuned for my online course: Learning to Parent Your Tender Vulnerable Self: Getting Off The Internal Drama Triangle for Good

 I’ve been working on an Online Course based on the Drama Triangle and how it can play out inside us (with the different parts of the triangle represented by different parts of us in our minds: The Victim, The Rescuer & The Persecutor).  This online course will break the Drama Triangle down into simple terms so that it can be more easily understood and applied in order to stop inner abuse and self sabotage in its tracks.

During the course, participants will learn how to replace the Drama Triangle with its magical counterpart, the Empowerment Dynamic, to help overcome early relational trauma.  They will also gain a framework for better knowing when and how to trust themselves, which naturally impacts knowing when and how to safely trust other people.

I’d like for this course to provide the container for an online community where participants support each other in their process of becoming empowered and taking charge of their lives without guilt or shame and receiving their hearts desires without resistance or judgment. The class will include a series of lessons, visual diagrams, lectures, assignments, a sharing forum, one or more individual Skype session(s) and other materials to supplement learning, facilitate sharing, and deep, safe and lasting connections.

Look for it in early 2017.

Learning to Mother and Father Myself

On the roof this morning I was reconnecting with myself after a day of feeling overwhelmed and ungrounded much of the day, yesterday. First thing I did this morning was write a list of things that I feel like all have to be done RIGHT NOW (which helped – they don’t). And while I was doing my stretches on the roof, with a tiny peek of the now-just-waning full moon to the west (we’ve been in full cloud cover for the past week), and the splendid sunrise to the east, I had a series of “downloads” from my guides and muses – you might call them inspiration (I keep my iPhone up there so I can listen to Trina Brunk, doesn’t matter how many times).  I e-mailed those “downloads” to myself so I wouldn’t lose them (technology can be so amazing when we use it consciously).

I cherish these nuggets of inspiration, and know that they will sit patiently in my Hotmail inbox until I can get to them. One of the downloads I got came from the realization (again) that I am fully supported, that I have all the time I need, and that when I feel overwhelmed, I can stop and parent myself. Feeling overwhelmed is actually a message from my younger self that I need some care and attention. I sometimes need to be reminded that I am held in loving arms. What occurred to me is that I could easily go back and re-read letters I had written to myself after a “playshop retreat” created by my sisters (Tami and Trina).

I’ll share the letters with you here. They are from my Inner Masculine and Inner Feminine.

From My Inner Masculine:

June 2013: My Dearest Toni,

I am so sorry I have not been fully here for you during the first part of your life. It has truly been my loss and I would like to reconnect now. I understand, now, how much I adore and appreciate you. I give you permission, now, to be all you came here to be, to be a woman in all senses of the word – to experience the joy of physical pleasure. Toni, you are the master of your experience and it is yours to explore pleasure and find what gives you joy and fulfillment. Go ahead. Take those steps. I will be here to support you if you’re not sure at first. I am here. I will continue to be here, whatever direction you decide to go. You will not disappoint me. I promise you this. Trust yourself. Your instincts are good. Your judgment, your discernment can be trusted. I am so proud of you, and excited about this work you are about to do.

I love you. You deserve deep satisfaction, contentment, and the fulfilment of your heart’s desires. You are good. You are pure. You are kind. You are enough.

Go forward. Be yourself.

Your Inner Masculine.

From My Inner Feminine:

June 2013

My Beloved Toni,

I adore you. You are a child of God. I give you permission to be all you came here to be. Take your time. Take all the time you need. I am strong enough to nurture you, while you explore who you are and what you will do next and next and next. How precious you are to me. I can’t wait to see what you next discover about yourself, your strengths, your yet unexplored gifts and qualities and potentials. I give you permission and my blessing to indulge in pleasure, to explore the world, inner and outer, to be great, to be vulnerable, to be playful, to be a beginner – to be exactly who you are now. I am holding this space and time for you while you do this very important work. Go ahead. Let yourself feel your emotions. It is safe to be in your body now. Listen to what it tells you. I will offer you guidance and direction through your sensory experience and I encourage you to enter the full expression of your deepest self, from this moment onward. You are enough. You are so precious to me. I love you so.

I will be here for you always.

Your Inner Feminine

Daring to Trust

I’m sharing a quick preview tonight about a book I just finished.  As its name suggests, it’s about trust.  I love love love this one, and can’t wait to share all my gleanings.  I’m also sure I’ll be integrating these ideas into my Boundaries 101 class in December.  For now, here is an excerpt from page 37 of David Richo’s Daring to Trust:


pg 37: An original secure attachment is the basis of trust.  Feeling that we are lovingly held with the five A’s (attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, allowing), that holes in trust  can be darned, that safety and security are reliably present — all these build our confidence in others.  Our trust is also in ourselves as people who are now capable both of showing trusting love and of being willing to work on repairing ruptures in fidelity.

Today I Walk

Thoughts in July

On the last leg of my walk this morning, my upper realms connected with my lower ones and I came to a glorious epiphany.  Let me explain.  In my spine lies a story that repeats itself at countless levels, the most visible and obvious of which is my living situation.

I realized today that my downstairs represents the places in my mind I don’t want to go.  The dark unconscious places that cause discomfort and pain.  Things like fear of being alone; fear of not being able to make it on my own; fear of not being enough; not having enough; not fitting in; not being able to connect, or have a whole, full, conscious, happy life if I don’t make particular sacrifices or tend particular safety nets.  Today, on my walk I let myself venture into those dark places.  What, I asked myself, does my grumpy roommate  represent to me?  She  spends her time in the lower realms.  She represents negativity, emotional immaturity, an unconscious need to protect one’s self from the unpleasant, the unsafe, the uncomfortable.  But this was the path of blaming, and projection, and I knew it was more complicated than that.

Her grumpiness had been on my mind of late.  But this morning I realized that what was at issue with me were my fears, not hers.  What I realized this morning is that my basement had begun to represent my fears to me, and that’s why I didn’t want to go down there.  Didn’t want to feel the ways I felt when I visited there.  Perhaps, because I am an empath, picking up on my roommate’s fears (that tend to resemble mine) was making the situation even worse.

A growing conscious aversion to the lower realms is what had guided me to discreetly move my bedroom upstairs in the past month.  This along with other conscious shifts in my behavior based on my relationship with my body, my higher power, my guides, my inner knowing have resulted in a subtle but noticeable improvement in my connectedness with myself.

This morning’s walk allowed me, for the first time, to go certain places in my mind to entertain the most frightening of thoughts, to explore how true they were, and to notice my feelings about them.  What if the natural consequence of my behavior is that my roommate can’t tolerate living with me if I don’t share the lower spaces of the house with her, or for some other reason she decides not to be a partner in the household?  What then?  Would it be a crisis?  For either of us?  Going through all the places in my mind: separation, splitting assets, furniture, all that we have built in the past three years, buying her out, determining real equity, etc.  What would it be like – a future without the stability she has represented for me?  In a way she has served as an emotional anchor.  Without that anchor, who and where would I be?  A rudderless ship afloat at sea?  I think about my traveling sister, Tracy, living out her dream but seeming at times so alone.

And somehow my thoughts, on the last third of my walk, came back around to what I know.  Being tethered to a particular person in a particular place is not the grounding I seek.  What grounds and centers is intimacy with the self.  And that, for me, today, is knowing at my core that regardless of the players at the physical level, there is enough, and I am enough, I have enough.  Connection, creative opportunity, guidance, love, purpose, affection, worth, credibility, strength, etc.  Whether I have the responsibilities of caring for small children or not, whether I have an incredible client base or not, whether I have a wonderful home or not, whether I have a partner or friends or savings or not, I am okay.  When I am connected to myself, I am not alone.  Those I know, those I have yet to know, and those I will never know; we are all connected.

Without a doubt, feeling some efficacy around money, probably for the first time, has helped me achieve this place.  Not having to worry about whether I’m going to bring in enough money to make the mortgage payment or meet the next financial obligation that comes with being a parent can consume so much psychic energy that it’s almost a luxury to tune in to the deeper inner realms.  Reaching this stage in my life has been a long time coming, but now that I’m here I can breathe a little more freely.  I can afford to entertain ideas one has a harder time entertaining when the biggest numbers are red.

So the great epiphany.  Maybe two-thirds of the way around my circuit, maybe a little more, I straightened a little taller, allowing my head to be suspended by the light nimble energy from the heavens.  I pushed my shoulders down, brought my jaw back and sent my shoulder blades down my back once more, and I felt it, if just for a moment, the connection with my core, my upper leg muscles, my psoas, my abdominal wall.  This was the feeling I had been wanting to avoid — and still do, if you want the honest truth — as these core muscles are so weak as if they are only now waking up from a very long slumber.  I’m not sure of the extent of the power that lives here; it’s so far been easier to let it sleep.  But now, as I watch my father (who is wrestling with the question of life and death) playing with the idea of waking up, and as the Universe pushes me to wake up, connecting upper with lower, I realize I’ve been slumping and restricting my movement and avoiding life experiences because I have been afraid.

Bringing consciousness to these dark fearful places, using the guidance I have learned to trust, feeling the resulting feelings, and building intimacy with myself is a sustainable path.  And it is a path of joy and deep fulfillment.  And to this path I say a heartfelt yes.  For you I am so grateful.