“Heal your broken heart”

When I first worked with the circle of trees in my woods, called the Harmony medicine wheel, I would buy Her gifts. This place is the seat of the Feminine on the property where two creek beds come together. I found this beautiful pink heart shaped bowl at TJ Max, and I knew immediately She would love it! So, I nestled it in her sweet spot and there it remained for about three years.

I gave my heart to Harmony
I gave my heart to Harmony

It’s made of glass, and a year ago I started noticing cracks, and since then it began to break into pieces. While sitting in the medicine wheel earlier this week, she gently said to me: “it is time to mend your broken heart.” So I dug up it’s shattered pieces.

I have felt this broken heart as an intense emotional pressure, right in the middle of my chest. It’s origins elude me, but I sense it is layered from past lives to this one. Often when I watch a movie that has sadness, loss, or harm between a child and parent, that wolf comes and sits right in the middle of my chest and grabs my throat. It happened watching Black Snake Moan with Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci the other night. They are two beat up people who help each other heal through tough love and compassion.  A broken heart that never gets fixed will shatter into a multitude of pieces. It can still be fixed, but takes Will, and much more time and energy. Fortunately, I think I was in time with mine!

Mending a broken heart is not easy, nor does it come free. In fact, it is quite expensive. I costs the illusion that someone else “broke my heart.” Personally, it has always been expectations of another, or worse, the abandoning of myself to them, that has caused the heaviest of my heartbreak. It costs us our status as victim of yet another relationship that did not go the way we wanted it to. It also costs the addiction to endorphins: to being in love with that feeling of being in love. Healing a broken heart costs the infatuation with falling in love, and calls us instead to rise into love. Letting go of all these emotional structures is costly, but not nearly as costly as a heart that keeps breaking into smaller and smaller pieces. And what is gained from mending that broken heart is beyond measure.

So, I’m happy to say my heart is on the mend! And what that healed heart gives in return is an endless capacity to grow, and adapt, and love, and live a life that knows no bounds. A heart that has broken and healed has a tremendous gift of empathy for the pain of others. It has an ability to see beyond the moment. to the potential in all. Even with its scars, It holds water. Indeed an ocean will fit into a compassionately healed heart.

A mended heart...
My mended heart…

As I crawl into the proverbial bear cave at this winter solstice, healing my broken heart is my number one desire. I am grateful for the support of friends who come along just at the right moment radiating love from their hearts. And so, in the heart of my woods, a gift I bought Harmony, returns to the giver as a gift that keeps on giving. And I am open and receiving!

Harmony Medicine Whell
Harmony Medicine Wheel

In 2015, I learned to live

Ghost stance

2015 was like a new birth for me. This time around I felt every inch of being squeezed out a new birth canal. I entered 2015 on the verge of leaving, which you can read about here. Honestly, on that cold and lonely cliff-edge of early January 2015, lying in bed, when I spoke a commitment to stay, I did not know what I doing. Through the lens of a year lived, I can see what it was I decided to stay for, and more importantly what steps I had to take to realize that commitment.

When, by early March, I was not feeling better, all I remembered was the message that “if I choose to stay, I will have lots of help.” So I asked for help and the response, no matter what the situation, was loud and clear throughout the whole year. In short, I have never CONSCIOUSLY incarnated. I was fully incarnate when I was born, but I came in that way! As I grew up, soaked in the indoctrination of both wise, and unwise adults, I slowly disconnected from that “original completeness,” into a no-man’s-land of being neither here, nor there. At this crossroads of life and death, it was time to remember who I am, and fully occupy this body. It was time to come home.


Gazing into my own eyes, I could see an old soul in a newly occupied body, giddy with the infatuation of first love. This was energy incarnate; spirit unleashed in flesh; form with function; fecundity and frivolity; a relationship between body and soul in its original uncorrupt form. It was time to forget about occupying wall street, or town hall…it was time to occupy this temple-body, and to come home to the here and now.

Breath Universe
Architecture of a single breath

The decision to stay, I had to make alone. The ensuing journey was shared with so many helpers: the masterful reiki of Lana Maree Haas; the healing gifts of Dr. Tim Bhakta; the bioenergy work of Tracy Rasmussen that launched this whole endeavor; the music making with Brad Van Wick and Heidi Svoboda; the Dance of 5 Rhythms in Lawrence at Be Moved! and the fire-tending at Stone Dance. Perhaps the spark that lit “learning how to incarnate” was the burning of my prairie in March.

Buddha in the flames (photo: Steve Smith)
Dragonheart (photo by Mitch Kauffman)

The first hump was to flat out admit that I didn’t know how to incarnate! I had some clues from the past 10 years of self-healing work, however. To remember why I came here was crucial, and that task is to FEEL. EVERYTHING! Resisting the pain, the dislikes, the challenges and discomfort, made them worse. I’ve learned that choosing to ignore anything along the way just means that it will circle back around, again and again, each time with a higher amplitude, until it gets my attention. So I pay attention. To everything.

There are too many lessons from the year to narrate about, so I’ll just summarize what I gained:

  • Feel without judgment…just feel
  • If I need something ask
  • If I am lost, sit still, listen, and look around
  • The answer is usually in the question
  • Play
  • Dance
  • Move

The final most potent lesson came just last month through TUT, The Universe (Mike Dooley) when the daily message stated:

How about, Paul, no matter the temptation, you no longer think or say, ‘I’m tired,” “I’m hurt,” “I’m angry.” 
Don’t even think or say, “I’m happy.” Instead, whenever the urge arises, think or say, “I choose to be tired, hurt, angry or happy.” And give it a little time. 

Because this is how you become anything, 

The Universe

After years of trying to figure out why things were happening in my life, this simple suggestion showed another way! Trying to constantly figure out why, creates attachment. And attachment makes anything in life harder to let go of. Instead, the message was clear: just act like I choose everything, speak it, and watch how differently reality can unfold. When I started saying: “I choose this pain in my shoulder” it actually began to evaporate.

So I choose life. I choose to be here, to be now. I choose to experience everything I encounter. I choose to engage people (Thank you Z Hall and Salon-360), thoughts and ideas-especially those that differ from my own. I choose to engage my body, and dance with life. I choose to be grateful for 2015, and for the richness of experience and feeling it brought. And today, I choose to be pain and judgment free.

Peace and blessings to all of you as you experience life in 2016 wherever you find yourself in this moment. Now’s the time!

Now clock

Wound dressing

There are two stages to healing a wound. First, it must be cleaned and covered. Covering serves two purposes. It protects the wound from further wounding, and it puts the wound into darkness. Darkness is the healing space where moisture is preserved in a womb-like environment for the body, mind and spirit to mend what was broken. It isolates the wound so all internal powers can be mustered and concentrated. It also keeps the wound clean and prevents spreading or worsening. During this time, the wound will begin to cover itself with natural defenses and strengthen. The second stage is to bring the wound out of the darkness and into the light, where air allows it to breath and take in healing energy from the sun. Both of these steps are equally important. A wound that is covered and never brought into the light, however, festers. That wound will grow and spread and eventually begin inflicting other wounds. When the time is right, a wound MUST be courageously brought into the light.

John Adams has a wonderful piece called “The Wound Dresser” based on Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name from 1865, inspired by the horrors of treating Civil War casualties.

“I onward go, I stop,
With hinged knees and steady hand to dress wounds,
I am firm with each, the pangs are sharp yet unavoidable,
One turns to me his appealing eyes—poor boy! I never knew you,
Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.”
Whitman’s poem is a story from a now distant war, and yet what inspires this blog is a young woman I’ve never met in South Dakota, who builds her way back to wholeness from the broken state of a near fatal assault. Her trauma seems to be a manifestation of life as war (see Naqoyqatsi in the Godrey Reggio/Philip Glass collaborative Qatsi trilogy). War and battle are the most overused metaphors we have: the war on terror and the war on drugs…we battle cancer and other illness, we even talk about the war on poverty. Perhaps the greatest irony is the “war on crime.” Crime itself is a war, and we fight that war with another war. One Fall, on the cover of my electric companies’ magazine, read the headline: “Time to prepare to battle winter.” War war war. Can we imagine nothing else? Is war so important to us, to pervade every avenue of our lives and society?  “Life as war” is so unimaginative. My brother Jon (Peacebuilding Global), reminded me that the opposite of violence is not peace, but creativity. Time to leave the dogs of war in their kennel and unleash the sprites of creativity. Healing is one of the most beautiful and powerful acts of creativity our body, mind and spirit can manifest!
Whitman’s poem speaks of two kinds of sacrifice: the young soldier sacrificing his life in battle over a cause, carried out through destruction, and Whitman’s ultimate desire to take the man’s place. The latter is an offer of grace bestowed upon youth by an elder. And yet no one can carry our wounds and our scars for us. We must each deal with them on our own terms and in our own time.
We have been trained many generations for war. We remember wars, we study wars and mark our history by them, and we even carry the grudges long after the wars are over. But why?
“From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand…
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, he dares not look on the bloody stump,
And has not yet look’d on it.” (Whitman)
Some wounds are so deep, that we fear to look, as if the only thing holding us together is that we survived them. What is it that causes one race to enslave millions of another? Why do we kill others to defend our own beliefs, as if the the world is not big enough for more than one view point? Why would someone assault and shoot a 21 year old woman in the prime of her life? Why? Because we have wounds in ourselves, so deep, so old, so festered beyond the physical, and so scarred over in every fiber of our existence, that we fear to look upon these: our soul wounds. Culture after culture has re-inflicted their soul wounds: the Egyptians upon Jews, Romans upon Europe, Jews and Christians upon Mysitcs and Gnostics (see John Lamb Lash “Not in His Image”) and finally, the accumulation of all those unhealed and deep soul wounds, came the hell unleashed against Native Americans in one of the largest genocides of all times, followed by the enslavement of millions in the United States. His-tory is littered with these hells on earth, but a new power to heal these wounds is being nurtured in Her-story: the warriors strength is in his tears, not her weapons. Bathe in them, and let the wind dry you off…
Justice and healing will never be served until each of us, and our societies address these deep soul wounds. Unhealed wounds worsen, fester and kill. Incarcerating and executing those who perpetuate them through violence, only postpones dealing with these wounds into the future. And we can no longer afford that because the accumulation of wounds we are inflicting upon the plant is perhaps the most dangerous of all, and one we cannot survive indefinitely.

In a vision during a sound healing for my young friend in South Dakota, the person who assaulted her came into the light. It was more than him being “found”. It was his soul wound being shown light so that it could begin to heal. In another session, I saw him lying in a puddle of his own tears, and then being dried off by the wind. The images were powerful and showed me that it is time to gaze upon our own wounds, wash ourselves with the tears that need be shed, and bring them into the open to recieve the light and air that will heal them, breaking the cycle, and launching us into “Life as Creativity” in the way it was meant to be.

Thank you to all with the courage to heal, and to those who tell the new stories.