HEART MEDICINE ~ Chap. 15 ~ Unlocking Our Superpowers
~ Unlocking Our Superpowers ~
~ Love Locally, Connect Globally ~
2. Gratitude Attitude
3. The Power of Forgiveness
4. Sweet Surrender
5. Dark Night of the Soul
7. Service and Purpose
8. Truthspeaking / Radical Honesty
9. Bringing Love Into The World
The Heart is at the center of essentially every Spiritual Tradition throughout our planet’s history. The wide array of feelings that we experience through our heart creates the ineffably incredible journey of being Human! Modern science has recently shown that the Heart is not just a “pump for blood”, but that our hearts have neurons (brain cells), and thus we can literally “think with our hearts!”
Connecting with my heart and the themes associated with it have enhanced my life in innumerable ways. In this chapter, I will highlight a few aspects of the Heart that I am most inspired by. I invite you to explore the marvelous magic that can be felt with that beautiful vessel inside your chest :)
“ A grateful heart sits at a continuous feast. ”
Gratitude is truly a central pillar to having an awesome and wholesome life. If you cultivate an “attitude of gratitude,” then you can make it through the toughest challenges, and soar even higher when times are good. Many books and teachings are out there on how to cultivate gratitude. One unique tool that a mentor of mine has shared is called “The Altar of Your Heart.”
This is a metaphorical altar, where instead of placing physical knick-knacks and gifts from your travels, you place profound memories, moments of connection, and cherished experiences.
Any time you experience something that touches you deeply, you can say to yourself, “I place this upon the altar of my heart.” As you cultivate this practice, you can then tune into your Heart Altar, and go back into these warm, treasured memories. If you feel inspired, you can create a Heart Altar Journal, where you write down the magical details of each experience, so you can relish in the subtleties, which may slip your mind otherwise :)
In some sense, every experience of your life is stored in the Altar of your Heart, and upon your final breaths, you will experience a “Flashback / Life Review” where you get to relive all of these gems. Though, if you don’t want to wait until the end of this life, you can visit your Heart Altar more often!
The Power of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is one of the most potent Superpowers that we have available to us as Humans. It often feels like invisible thorns are lifted out of my heart as I forgive myself and others.
In all my reading, I have not found a better summation of Forgiveness than from Israeli writer, Eitan Press :
“After being hurt it's easy to hold a grudge, to psychologically hold on to the thorn we believe was put in our heart by whomever hurt us, and to point the finger of blame at whomever we believe to be guilty. Besides individuals, a person could also blame "the system" or "society." What I have learned is that to hold a grudge against someone takes energy, like if I were holding a heavy object against a wall, I would have to exert effort to maintain the object there. If someone wanted to give me hug, or if I wanted to paint or cook, I wouldn't be able to because my hands would be occupied holding that object there. So too, when I am holding a grudge against someone, I have to burn psychological calories to keep that grudge there. That is energy I could be using for something else, to be more loving in a relationship, to engage in acts of creativity or kindness, but until I put down that grudge, that energy is stuck maintaining a wound from the past.
Forgiveness is putting down the thorn of anger in our heart, allowing that wound to heal and opening our hands.”
It is important to note that forgiveness often comes only after we release the anger, frustration, sadness, and other emotion attached to the experience that caused us to carry a grudge. I recommend working on each issue through the “Healing Process” tools outlined in that chapter. For example, if you are holding a grudge towards your sister, you can explore what memories are attached to that feeling. What does your inner child want to express? Where in your body is the grudge being stored? As you exercise, stretch, and massage that area, you can tap into that feeling and/or memory. As you gain greater clarity on why you are holding the grudge, you can practice catharsis on your own and/or share some Radical Honesty with the person involved.
Questions on Forgiveness :
1. What burdens / grudges are you still carrying that are potentially weighing you down?
2. How would you like to express the feelings related to the grudge? Yelling? Talking to the person? Letting your Inner Child Speak?
3. What changes do you notice in your BodyMind System after expressing how you feel and/or forgiving yourself and others?
“ When you surrender the universe moves. ”
~ Granny Earth
September 18th, 2014 @ 6:51pm : Sometimes surrender is the most powerful action we can take. Trusting the larger Evolutionary process we are embedded in takes a lot of the pressure off. May we all find peace, clarity, and understanding in the eye of the storm, however it may appear.
When it feels like “crunchtime” and we need to finish a project or accomplish a task in a limited amount of time, our rational mind usually tells us to “go, go, go” and use force and willpower to achieve the goal. Sometimes grinding it out works, but often times it leads to hitting brick walls and burnouts.
There is another approach that doesn’t make sense to the rational mind. This is to let all the hurries and worries fall by the wayside, and relax into “Sweet Surrender.”
A simple example of this happened back in 2013 when I was one of the main organizers for a big event in my hometown of Peaceburgh. The event was a few days away, and I was up to my eyeballs in stress trying to pull everything together. ( Mind you, 99% of the stress was caused by my own mind, not external circumstances. ) I was making phone calls, sending emails, and checking in with other organizers. We were unsure if we would have enough tents and volunteers for all of the different activities.
The pressure was building inside of me, and the Universe / God pretty much forced me into a state of surrender. My body was full of stress and anxiety. I rode my bike to my local sanctuary of Frick Park. As I rode by a big mud pond, it looked surprisingly attractive. I took off my shirt and shoes, and slowly walked into this gooey pond. The mud oozed between my toes, and it felt like my worries were melting away one by one. I burst into laughter! People walking by were in awe, and I cracked a smile and waved to these confused dog walkers. I decided to surrender even deeper. I let myself flop back into the mud like I was falling into a pile of leaves. I laughed out loud and felt like a free, little child!
By this point, I was totally covered in mud. I washed off my feet and legs in a nearby stream, and then biked home. When I got back to my house, I glanced in the mirror and looked like I was from a different ethnicity :) The mud brought me into a playful state, relaxed my muscles, and helped me surrender all the worries that were previously rushing through my head. I decided to let go of most of my to-do list, and simply trust that I didn’t necessarily have to check in with every other person helping to organize the event.
On the morning of the Peaceful Gathering of Hands I was focused and certainly in “action mode,” though I felt relaxed, like I was in the eye of the storm. As the lead organizer of the event, everyone was counting on me to pull many of the strings together, and although I did a lot of leading, much of it flowed effortlessly. For example, we were concerned if we had enough tents for every station at the festival. Out of the blue, a man new to our community network walks over and asks for assistance to carry in a massive 30 x 20 ft. tent - the biggest tent we’d ever had! This gigantic tent was able to serve several purposes, and made the event much more visible, which attracted even more participants :)
I was also concerned that we wouldn’t have enough people to set up everything, though plenty of new participants enthusiastically jumped on board to help — and also volunteer — during the event. Overall, the day was a consistent flow of beautiful synchronicities and blessings. As we all surrendered to the harmony and magic weaving through the event, everything unfolded smoothly. That year, 2013, we made a 20 minute documentary about the festival called “Cultivating Community : Peaceful Gathering of Hands,” which I invite you to watch on YouTube :)
Sometimes surrendering means completely letting go of all effort and flopping down on the couch, or into a mud pit. Other times, it means taking action, but in a state of surrender, where you take decisive action moment to moment, and trust that you are being guided by Great Spirit / God / The Universe / Life. Either way, it allows you to be more connected to your heart, rather than being wrapped up in the worries of your mind. I call this “Flexing your Surrender Muscle,” and it certainly qualifies as a Superpower.
Questions on Surrender :
1. When was a time that you chose to surrender rather than trying to force things to happen?
2. What changes in your BodyMind System did you notice when you surrendered?
3. What areas of your life / situations could you flex your surrender muscle more?
“ You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you. ”
~ Joseph Campbell
Dark Night of the Soul
“ If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open Again and Again so it can hold evermore wonders. ”
~ Andrew Harvey
November 24th, 2015 @ 3:43pm :
If you’re going through Hell - keep going!.. I didn't fully understand this quote until I dove deeper into my Inner Healing Journey.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Our pain is never in vain. We have never been abandoned.
Many of us are healing wounds, which have been festering in humanity for thousands of years. This process is incredibly challenging. It can be insanely painful, and I mean RIDICULOUSLY and outrageously painful. AND it is the great work that we are here for. We were made for this shit! hahah
The pain purifies us like fire. We are left with deeper compassion, peace, and understanding than we could previously imagine.
So, whenever you find yourself in a tough situation, I invite you to both surrender and keep on pushin!
Lovin you all so much. ((( ♥ )))
The “Dark Night of the Soul” is when you are tested to your ultimate limits and feel like everything is crashing down around you. These are some of the most difficult experiences of your entire life, but this is what makes the journey of being human so profound and valuable. As the Facebook post above explains, “If you’re going through Hell - keep going.” The only way through a dark night of the soul is to keep on going, even when it seems hopeless. Sometimes it requires surrender to the higher guiding forces of life. Sometimes perseverance requires every ounce of effort and will-power within you. I invite you to utilize your Internal Compass whenever you find yourself in a Dark Night of the Soul. Blessed be :)
Self - Love
On Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2015 I posted this message about the importance of loving oneself. I feel that I summed up my views on it quite well :
I believe Self-Love is the foundation for loving anyone or anything.
It’s important to distinguish between Self-Love and Narcissism. I see Narcissism as a substitute for self-love. Narcissism is based on things, labels, accomplishments etc. - all of which are conditional and subject to change. Narcissism implies separation from the rest of life.
Self-love is unconditional acceptance. It is based on our deeper essence, which is unified with all of existence.
On this Valentine’s Day, I invite us all to commit deeper to our Self-Love practices. If you feel inspired, please post a picture of you hugging yourself.
3 Questions on Self - Love :
1. How do you prefer to show love for yourself daily?
2. What aspects of yourself do you find most difficult to love / accept?
3. How can you cultivate greater love, acceptance, and self-nurturing habits?
Service and Purpose
What are we supposed to do once we tap into these incredible Superpowers? I believe the next step is to put them into service to benefit some aspect of the Web of Life. As we become more empowered, we are able to support friends and family on their journeys. Countless beings have extended their energy to support me on my path, and thus I have grown and evolved to a point where I am able to contribute in a big way to the collective. Here are three different posts I made, when this theme was very present in me and flowing through my veins :
November 27th, 2014 (Thanksgiving) @ 6:14pm :
Many authors and spiritual teachers have written about the power of gratitude, but what are we supposed to do with all this gratitude? One of my mentors always says "Place it on the altar of your heart. And if you are feeling inspired, channel it into service."
I believe that gratitude is like the fuel we can use to transform our world. When we truly receive all the blessings around us, we fill up our cup, and then the only natural thing to do is SHARE.
I invite you to step aboard the Great Gratitude Train. Every time you feel thankful, blessed, or grateful, do something kind or helpful for somebody else. There are many beings on this planet going through tough times. We can all do our part to spread positive vibrations and raise up the collective.
All aboard the Great Gratitude Train! (((♥))) Please invite your friends to ride too!
I posted this on October 13th, 2013 @ 10:42pm :
After spending a year in the jungle with Shipibo shamans, a friend of mine returned to the "Developed World". I asked him what he thinks is the biggest challenge facing America. He replied "Most Americans are spiritually starving."
What does it mean to be "spiritually starving"? To me, it means to be disconnected from one's inner truth, disconnected from deep relationships with other beings, out of harmony with the Earth, and the larger order of the Universe.
This spiritual starvation then leads to always seeking outside of oneself for fulfillment, truth, love, guidance, etc. when for the most part we can find these things within. Our mainstream culture, built upon outdated "myth-perceptions" leads us astray in so many ways.
How do we reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the Earth? I believe there are hundreds of ways to do this. I do it by waking up every day and exercising, practicing yoga on the Earth, meditating, singing, chanting, laughing, etc. I strive to eat / drink / consume the best quality, organic food, water, music and information possible. I have gained immense knowledge from reading "spiritual" books, and listening / watching thousands of videos on these topics. These teachings have inspired me to trust my inner truth, while simultaneously learning from the external world.
A key factor for spiritual nourishment is also service to other beings. Once one realizes that everything is intricately interwoven, service to others is not only obvious, but also profoundly fulfilling and fun. Once you deeply devote yourself to a path of service, opportunities will sprout up everywhere to lend a hand or heart.
As we truly nourish our own spirit, we inspire others to do the same. Together, we are awakening and healing this beautiful planet. I see more proof of this everyday.
Posted on January 6th, 2015 @ 9:37pm :
I was a benchwarmer for most of my high school soccer career. I would sweat my butt off at every practice session, ride the bus an hour away, do all the warm-ups, and then sit on the bench as my teammates played the actual game.
This is a very unique feeling. I knew I had skills, and I had a strong desire to take off my warm-up gear, and step onto the soccer field. "Put me in coach, put me in coach!" was often replaying through my head. But for the better part of 3 years, I sat on the bench at every single Varsity soccer game. I often felt demoralized and useless, and vented this energy in unhealthy ways like snacking and partying.
Finally, my senior year, I had climbed the ranks, built more muscle, and was ready for the big leagues. It was such a LIBERATING and FULFILLING experience to feel like I was actually unleashing my full potential and being UTILIZED. I wasn't necessarily an All-Star, though I started as a Varsity player and helped lead my team to win the City Championship.
This metaphor applies to many of us. We each carry tremendous potential inside of us to fully share our gifts with the world. Yet many of us still feel like we are watching from the sidelines. Then, we need an outlet for this energy, so we plug it into distractions of all sorts.
The solution I recommend is to wake up and ask "How can I utilize my gifts to be of service today?" Then, simply take action. Self-doubt is paralyzing 99% of the time. We will learn along the way.
It’s time to step on the playing field.
When it comes to Service and Purpose, the goal is to find your “Sweet Spot.” This is where these 3 categories all overlap :
1. What gifts, skills, and talents do you possess and feel inspired to share?
2. What is a cause you care deeply about making a difference in?
3. How can you provide value in a way that generates income / sustenance for you?
If you find a situation where you can apply your gifts to make a positive difference and get paid for it, then you are living in the “Sweet Spot.” An example of this is my friend who goes by “Shine.” His passion is to teach an interactive game called “Peace Sticks” that builds mindfulness, body awareness and eco-consciousness. His goal was to inspire young people all over the world to cultivate both inner peace and work for World Peace. Last, he connected with some Youth Programs and Rehab Centers who hired him and his team to come and teach the youth “Peace Sticks.” Hooray! He found the “Sweet Spot.”
Questions on Service and Purpose:
1. When was a time where you volunteered or supported a cause that was greater than you?
2. How did you feel after this experience?
3. What are some potential ideas for a “Sweet Spot” that would sound exciting and fulfilling to you?
4. Who do you know personally who is living in, or close to their “Sweet Spot?”
Truthspeaking / Radical Honesty
Flashback to when I was a freshman at Penn State. I had been watching a lot of YouTube videos of people discussing concepts from a book I’d recently read called “Ishmael.” The main message of the book is that “there is no one right way to live,” and that Western Civilization is simply one option, out of thousands of possibilities. The book discusses how there are many Indigenous cultures still existing on this planet, and living in an amazing reciprocal relationship with their environment.
One of the video bloggers explained that a new movie called “Avatar” had the same message as Ishmael. I had seen some previews for this film, but I was surprised to hear that a mainstream film would have such radical ideas in it. I decided to check it out for myself. During Thanksgiving break, I was home in Peaceburgh and went to the movies for the first time in about a year. The special effects in this film were incredible, though it was the message that truly blew me away! This movie struck a deep chord in my heart, and did indeed echo the truth that “there is no one right way to live.”
A week later, a few of my friends who hadn’t seen Avatar invited me to go see it again. I decided that this movie was worth seeing twice. As I was sitting in the theater, I felt like this film was speaking directly to my soul. I was very passionate about protecting the wisdom and cultures of Indigenous Tribes. The Na’vi indigenous tribe in the film was fighting for their survival against the industrial, imperializing culture from Earth.
Near the end of the movie, I felt my heart begin to race. “I wonder if the people in the audience understand that these same types of battles are happening right now all across our planet,?” I thought to myself. It felt as though the spirit of our planet, Mother Earth, was compelling me to somehow spread this message to the audience. I got chills up and down my spine. I decided it was my duty to speak up on behalf of not only the Indigenous Tribes of Earth, but also the birds, trees, and animals, whose voices are not heard by most “civilized folks.”
As the movie concluded, I walked down the aisle, knees shaking - to the very front of the movie theater. The lights came on, and I shouted to the whole crowd “Hey everyone, I know you may think this is just a movie, but this story is REAL. There are tribes of people similar to the Na’vi struggling to survive all across our planet RIGHT NOW! We need to wake up to this reality, and protect these cultures from going extinct! We don’t have to destroy these cultures, all we need to do is change the way we think! If you don’t believe me, check out a group called Survival International”
A lot of people were frozen in their chairs. They looked at me like I was a glitch in the matrix. A few people snickered at me. A few people clapped. As I walked back over to my friends, my adrenaline was pumping full force. I felt FULLY ALIVE. This is what I had been waiting to do for all my life : Stand up for what I believe in. It felt so good. My friends were awestruck. They didn’t know what to say.
As we left the movie theater, I felt like I had reclaimed a part of my soul, and also stepped up into my sacred duty as a steward of this planet. This was one of the first times I utilized my superpower of “Truthspeaking.”
Truthspeaking can also be a powerful tool in 1-on-1 relationships. As one person becomes vulnerable and shares a deep truth about themselves, it gives permission for the other person to share as well. This often leads to the “thinning of the veils” - where the normal boundaries and walls of “protection” that we often hold up, come tumbling down. The result is a deep sense of connection and it feels like you are peering into the soul of the other being.
Posted on January 25th 2015 @ 8:42pm :
I think that many of us are afraid to express our full, raw, and authentic selves. Instead we "Beat Around The Bush", telling half-truths, policing ourselves, and end up feeling only half-alive. It seems there is some deep rooted fear around "Telling the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth."
For me, this fear manifests through only partially expressing my needs / desires. Instead of just telling it straight up, I may give a vague or indecisive request. Also, in my deep inner healing process, I've learned that "In order to get it ALL OUT, I have to go ALL OUT." This means yelling as loud as I possibly can, stomping the ground with as much ferocity as I can muster, and crying every single tear that is ready to release.
What would happen if we were totally HONEST and VULNERABLE? Would we end up in a state of failure, rejection, or abandonment? I doubt it. Usually when I courageously speak from a vulnerable place, whoever hears me is inspired to share some of their unspoken stories. Truth leads to more truth.
Even if people do reject or abandon us for being RAW, that is better than ABANDONING and REJECTING ourselves and what we know to be true.
Mainstream Society has conditioned us to "police ourselves", and to be polite, so that we don't rock the boat. I proudly say "F*^#@K THAT!" It feels horrible to not express our natural instincts and desires. Just look at the animals in the zoo. They have been robbed of their most basic birthright : To be themselves.
It’s time for us to break out of the Human Zoo. I invite and encourage us all to express our full, primal selves. Whether it’s speaking up for a Cause we believe in, telling our intimate partner our true desires, or leaving a situation that is not serving us, THE TRUTH SHALL SET US FREE!
3 Questions on Truthspeaking / Radical Honesty :
1. When was a time that you felt like you wanted to speak your truth, but you held back?
2. What would it take for you to share Radical Honesty more often?
3. What message of truth do you feel called to share with the world?
Bringing Love into The World
Now that you’ve got your Heart activated and pulsing with love and gratitude, let’s spread the love out into the world! No longer need we keep our love sheltered in small yoga studios, backyard gatherings, and living rooms. Let’s take this love to the streets :)
On the note of breaking social norms, here is what I posted on September 26th, 2013 at 6:51pm :
Today I discovered a powerful game for transforming the world. I decided that every person I interact with throughout the day, I will ask them their name, tell them mine in exchange, and shake hands with them.
First, I did it with a chef who made a salad for me. He seemed so surprised that I genuinely honored him as a human being with a unique story and purpose. As I ate my salad outside the cafe, he came out and struck up a conversation with me, as if we were old friends.
Later today in Berkeley, California, I noticed a lot of people living on the streets. I realized I had an extra pillow, which was not being used, so I decided to find someone to gift it to. I found an older man sitting on a plastic milk crate, so I walked up and introduced myself. The man’s name was Smitty, and he graciously received my offering of the pillow with a smile on his face. I walked away grateful to have helped brighten his day.
In the hustle and bustle of modern civilization, we often forget that the people we interact with are real human beings, not just robotic objects doing various services for us. Even making eye contact with a "stranger" for more than a millisecond can change someone’s state of being, and make them feel "seen".
I challenge you to try this "game" out for at least one day. Although I'm calling it a game, the key is to be authentic and genuine, and realize that we are all equals in this crazy world together. Whether it’s a bus driver, store clerk, or security guard, just simply take a few moments to commune with this being and honor their life upon this Earth...but beware: this practice might cause unforeseen miracles to happen in your life.
Happy Thursday...and please share this game if it resonates with you.
Another fun way to bring love into the world is by giving Free Hugs. I often offer these to people who I meet at the grocery store or at a local event. It is a great way to break down social norms, and increase genuine human connection. If the person seems open to it, I will also offer a “Heart to Heart Hug,” which is where you lean to the opposite person’s left side (rather than the usual right side) and connect the magnetic field between your hearts. To me, this feels like the most cozy style of hug, and usually leaves both people feeling warm and fuzzy :)
If you want to spice it up even more, you can make a colorful Free Hugs shirt or sign. Recently, my friends and I in Delray have been going out in public with a “Free Group Hugs” sign. A group of us stand on a busy street corner holding onto each other’s shoulders. As people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and backgrounds walk by, we offer them “Free Group Hugs.” Whether they accept or not, they usually crack a smile, and it snaps them into the present moment. Many people who join in on a group hug say it made their night, and they often want to take a picture with us!
Let’s keep sharing the love vibrations with the world, and growing the Conscious Co-Creative Culture represented by the Thriving Tree in the “Tale of the Two Trees!
Growing up in the Mainstream Strange Dream, many of us have become disconnected from the magic, innocence, and wisdom of our hearts. I pray that the tools in this chapter can assist you in rekindling that sacred fire within your chest.
May you cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude into Infinitude.
May you remove the thorns from your heart through the power of Forgiveness.
May you relax into sweet surrender, and remember Nahko’s lyrics : “Everything’s already alright, always alright.”
May you persevere through the darkest of darkness, even when it seems hopeless. There is light at the end of the tunnel :)
May you love yourself more and more every day, and in doing so bring love into the lives of everyone you interact with.
May you find a purpose and way to be of service that fulfills your soul and brings joy to your heart :)
May you say what you mean, and mean what you say. May you speak your truth, even when your voice shakes!
May you bring your unique vibration of Love into the world through hugs, smiles, art, music, and million other ways! Yay! Hooray! Aho Ahey!
((( <3 )))
To get your own personal copy of "Unlocking Our Superpowers," here is the link to Amazon : https://tinyurl.com/y8oj7zov