Archive for the ‘authenticity’ Category

Trump as the Shakespearean Fool

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Shakespeare loved inserting the character of a fool into his theatre, as a way of being entertaining and pointing out bluntly certain truths that other characters of higher standing wouldn’t reveal. His fool was usually a clever peasant who used his wits and spoke outside the codes of morality. Not believers in the supernatural, Shakespearean fools had no idealogy or regard for appearances, or for law, order or justice.

Doesn’t it sound like Donald Trump?

Since the function of the Shakespearean fool was to wake people up, I keep hoping that Trump is among us simply for that. The way that he presents himself and the things he says are so utterly grotesque that one advantage is he makes it clear what we don’t want.

Contrast seems to be a necessary force on this human plane. We seem to need to know what we do not want in order to know what we really desire. And so maybe Trump plays an important role, in that he reminds us how much we do not want a country ruled by prejudice, mysogeny, brute force and disregard for the tenderness of the human heart.

If the great playwright in the sky placed him here for the sake of contrast, then time is growing short for us to stop snoring in our theatre seats. We need to wake up to the real dangers this particular jester poses.

First, the Shakespearean fool does not see how ridiculous he is. Unlike a comic who is doing a routine, he is serious. In this case, that is scary.

Secondly, people are falling for this stuff. Everyone loves to watch a clown, but who wants one for President of the United States? I hope both Republicans and Democrats think about this.

Thirdly, the man is using his wits. So far, he is able to live up to his name. He has trumped the pundits and kept on gathering steam, even while chalking up more and more hideous statements. In our culture, we may have reached a new low where entertainment actually trumps the dreams of our forefathers. Where is liberty, freedom and justice? “Winning” seems to trump these.

Before she died, my mother said through her morphine fog that “It’s all a play, and we are just playing our parts.” Let’s remember what part Donald Trump is playing and take a look at what we want to happen in the last act. Please.

My friend Richard Kimball, founder of Project Vote Smart ( recently wrote a letter in which he cited some depressing studies showing that candidates who lie most outrageously capture headlines and get the highest poll numbers.

To make it worse, other studies showed that people rarely change their minds when confronted by facts, and that they’d rather listen to a politician who will tell them whom to hate than one who tells them the truth.

Now that is not funny.

If you were in the audience watching a play about this, what would you hope the most powerful characters would do? Will they wake up? Will they act in behalf of the greater good? Or will they be trumped by the fool, who will end up with a crown on his head?


This post has also been sent to Huffington Post and can be seen at


Is the Divine Feminine Working on Wall Street?

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

woman in market

Seeing the global markets tumble is as unnerving as an earthquake. Beyond questions like, “Will I be able to retire?” and other understandable, personal fears, lie other more global and cosmic ones.

We’ve long suspected that the current way of running the world is not sustainable. And we know that if something isn’t sustainable, it won’t be long before it begins to crumble. We’ve seen institutions and systems crumbling all around us. With them,  we can watch the crumbling of our illusions that the very ground beneath us and the climate around us are stable.

One way to frame this is to say that the energy responsible for the trouble we’re in is the energy of the wounded masculine. The predatory, win-at-all-costs, short-term way of “winning” through force, oppression and marginalization is the masculine in its most harmful form.

Like the masculine, the energy of the feminine has many forms. She is responsible for birth, but also death. Her realm is all matter and the passages it goes through: from seed to flowering, to dissolution, to decay, to rebirth. And so in many traditions, she has both a creative and a fierce aspect.

She is sometimes Kali, who wears the necklace of skulls. She roars onto the battlefield with a sword and cuts off heads of everything false. With the dead bodies strewn around her, she calmly sits down to nurse her baby.

In western culture, images like this one disturb most people.  When I traveled in Nepal, I saw shrines to the Divine Feminine in her fierce form everywhere. In the midst of the marketplace, many of them were covered with filth, and then strewn with flowers. They were honored just as they were, right in the center of human activity. They were not neat or pristine or protected. Many of them were destroyed in the earthquake. They are icons of the Hindu faith in the process of death and rebirth, the faith in destruction of the false as a path.

And so I look at this photo I took of a Nepalese woman in the marketplace of a little mountain village, and I wonder some things. How did she survive the earthquake? Can she still farm her vegetables and support her family? How well is the world and the marketplace supporting her? Is her faith sustaining her?

She is a reminder to me as I glance at the paper or hear the frantic debates in the media. What would be the saving grace of the Divine Feminine in this situation? What are the falsehoods the fierce feminine would destroy? What is trying to be born?

We know that our economy is largely built on a house of cards that is too false to be sustained. Our own welfare is complicated. We are in debt to the Chinese, and everyone is in debt to someone else. So the falsehood of the “dollar” will collapse at some point.

And what is trying to be born? Wall Street may be the most difficult arena for this, but the Divine Feminine in her Creative aspect is a birther, a nurturer. She is at the heart of Creation, and is the heart of Compassion.

And so as she works on Wall Street, she might be seeding a question: what would a compassionate economic system look like? What would truth look like translated into economic terms? It’s time to consider these questions.

Those men and women who are devoted to the Divine Feminine within us all can be devoted now to her re-emergence in the world. She is surely at work in the massive shift we are experiencing. Let us take a stand for her. Surely that could be the revolution that could save us all.

How to Make a Great Decision

Monday, February 9th, 2015


Sitting in sacred circle with a group of women, I listened to stories told by a group ranging from 19-90. Do you resonate with some of what they shared?

“I’m bursting with energy, but confused. How do I prioritize all I want to do?”

“I have a list of things I love, but I’m not doing that list.”

“I’m so distractible, interested in everything. I need to focus.”

“I have physical symptoms that tell me I’m not on the right path, and it’s still hard to trust doing what I love and know to be true.”

So what is the theme? It sounded to me like the question, “How do we see our path, and then how do we follow it?” This is an important and recurring theme that follows us through life.

Is the answer to discipline ourselves? To crack down and force ourselves to focus and choose? I think not! That is the old way.

This circle, facilitated by dear friend Elise Collins Shields, was an honoring of St. Brigid, descended from the Celtic goddess of the hearth. And so I asked Brigid to whisper in my ear about what we as women leaders, who are immersed in complexity, need to do. How do we discern in the new way? Here is what I “heard:”

As goddess of the hearth, I say, build a fire within to warm and bless your heart’s home–the place inside where you are who you’ve always been and always will be. This is a place outside time and space, a place only the heart knows.

Sit by the hearth, the place of warmth, comfort and safety within your heart and have a fireside chat.

Say to the Universe, “In this great journey where there are so many possibilities to manifest, I wish to liberate myself from outdated stories and beliefs and embody the IAM, The One, the Beloved, the Truth.

Now ask–no, command that the Truth within you enter this room with eyes open, head held high, and speak what is next for you. Listen and “take it in.” Embody that Truth.

Then, rooted in and embodying that Truth, you will conduct a mediation with the mind, which will be a great help to the Truth in working out the third dimension details.

This is the right order of things.

This message from Brigid has stayed with me, and it reminds me of some important things I want to remember:

  1. The heart is the first place I want to go when making any decision. That is “the right order of things.”
  1. The heart is fearless about moving forward and telling me the Truth, and that will always come in Love.
  1. My mind is useful as well, and is a wonderful implementor. I don’t have to worry that my heart will lead me down a scary or impractical path, because the mind will always help with the strategic, clever and practical ways to manifest the heart’s truth in the “real” world.
  2. We all know more than our mind admits. So another question to ask   myself is, “What if I just did what I really know is next?”

This kind of discernment and decision-making is a great gift for a heart-centered leader. It will save time in the end, and move us forward in important ways.

Will you join me in making decisions in this way? Try it and let me know how it works for you.  I look forward to your comments.




Taking the Pilot’s Seat: Bringing Forth Your Greatness

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

The world needs your genius. You have genius, you know. Every one of us does. Your genius is your “original medicine,” as Angeles Arrien put it. It is unique medicine. So if you keep it from the world, the world will never see it again.

Taking the pilot’s seat means bringing out your genius. It means remembering what Marianne Williamson reminded the world about our greatest fear: that we are really great. Playing small, she reminded us, serves no one.

When we ask the biggest part of us—the oldest, most essential, wisest part of us—to be pilot of our lives, we invite our genius to be seen and to be at work in our lives.

It’s strange, isn’t it, that this invitation seems to require courage from us. How could raising the level of our performance and bringing out our greatness be a fearsome thing? Who is it who says it’s scary?

I think it is the child within, the egoic one who is afraid of being exposed, afraid of attack, afraid of shame, failure, and afraid its worse suspicions about our real nature will be proven right. But what does the one within you who is capable of observing this voice say about those arguments?

My larger voice—my essential self—says they are illusions. She says they are the energy of fear incarnate. And not the kind of fear that serves as a valid warning. The kind of fear that cripples.

And so, if there is an inner wrestling match about who should climb into the pilot’s seat and run our lives, how do we deal with this small, fearful one who would sabotage our authentic power? I think we just name her. And then recognize her need for comfort. Hold her as we would any child. Let her know this is not her decision. Let her know we will not leave her behind.

And then, as therapist Terry Real says, peel her sticky fingers off the flight controls, move her over to the passenger seat, and climb in and begin flying.

There’s no time to do otherwise. The world needs your essential self right now.

The Story of the Sand Spirits

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

I walk along the Pacific coast of the Baja peninsula. The stones at my feet are thrown across the sand like a random galaxy, and I connect their dots, picking out constellations. As the tide encroaches, waves wash up stones and other objects. Suddenly, I have company—a mystical sand woman! Her head is a glowing coral stone that seems to contain her facial features. Streaks of iron filings paint an aura around her head and give her a clear neck, shoulders and gown. She silently declares to me that she is a sand spirit, a form here for a fleeting moment.

I photograph these forms for four days, not touching anything. Back at home, I am delighted with the images, but still have no idea what I’m going to do with them. Two weeks later, I go in for a routine mammogram and am diagnosed with breast cancer. The rest of the story is about how the Sand Spirits become part of my healing journey and eventually part of others’ journeys as well.

I invite you to explore using the Sand Spirits in your own personal life, to activate the ocean of wisdom inside you! They will help you find your purpose and passion, help solve practical problems, facilitate deeper communication and bring out the healer within.

On Saturday, October 8, you can set aside 6 hours just for you and give yourself the gift of working with a tool that will show you how to move ahead in any area of your life and evolution. For information and to register, copy and paste this link into your browser:

Sand Spirit #1 speaks about procrastination

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

I haven’t blogged in a long time. Not sure what the block has been about it, but these things happen. So in order to take action, I drew a Sand Spirit Card. Let’s see what it has to say about procrastination and blocks:

What I see in this photograph is a holy-looking figure wearing a robe and holding its hands in prayer. (Is that what you see?) Below it is a smaller figure. I’ll talk to the larger one.  Who are you? I ask it.

I am a representation of your higher self, talking to your ‘lower’ or more materially-oriented self.”

And what do you have to say to my smaller or lower self about procrastination? I ask.

“First, it’s normal. We all are changing all the time, and sometimes during periods of transition we cannot stick to our old routines. So, just forgive yourself and move on when this happens.

Second, when you realize that you’re motivated to begin, or at least dissatisfied with your waiting, just dive in. Beginning is at least half the battle.

Thirdly, have faith that all the prayers you offer about being able to be more of your real self, about contributing to the world and about manifesting more wisdom…all these prayers are heard, and their answers have perhaps been percolating during your hiatus. So consider the possibility that even your procrastination has served a purpose.”

Wow. OK, I answer. I feel relieved, and grateful for this wisdom. Thank you, Sand Spirit.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think about these three comments about procrastination and blocks? Are they true for you? If so, how will you apply them?

And what do you see in this Sand Spirit image? I look forward to a dialogue with you!

Pura vida

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Costa Rican turtles

While I was on an idyllic vacation in Costa Rica, I was shocked to have a disturbing nightmare that “woke me up” with a warning.

In the dream, I was driving a car too fast around a curve. To my horror, straight ahead of me was a toddler standing alone, right in the middle of the narrow road. I recognized her as a young version of my precious daughter, Erin (now a mother in her own right.) As in many other dreams I’ve had, little Erin seemed to represent everything innocent, beautiful, creative and fragile.

There was no time to come to a stop. To avoid hitting the toddler, I began to swerve right, onto the shoulder where there was a small store. At the moment a mother and her toddler came out of the store and walked in front of my car’s path. Confronted by the choice of hitting my own toddler or a mother and her new life, I woke up in a sweat, wondering what this nightmare could mean.

By the middle of the next day my frantic mind stopped long enough to see the simple truth. “Slow down,” the dream was saying to me. “Slow down before you mow down innocence, femininity, creativity, beauty and new life.”

And I was in the right place to practice. Costa Rica has a much slower pace than the U.S. That’s why their favorite expression is “Pura vida,” which means life is pure and good. They seem to get more juice out of every moment than I have in my usual pace. These turtles are good at practicing slowness, so I will hold them as totems.

I take my dreams seriously, so I am still practicing at home. Slow down. Breathe. All I have is this moment–with all its innocence, beauty, creativity and new life.

How do you keep your pace slow enough to make sure you experience “pura vida?” I’d love to hear your comments.

Qualities of feminine leadership: a love for beauty

Monday, June 7th, 2010

outrageous beauty

I’ve been inspired to write about the qualities of feminine leadership after seeing a wonderful exhibit in San Diego at the Mengei International Museum. It’s entitled Sonabai: A New Way of Seeing. Sonabai was a poor woman who lived in a remote village in central India and was married to a man who kept her imprisoned in their house for ten years. Unable to have contact with anyone but their small son, and able to only go out to their well, Sonabai went beyond surviving to thriving. She began to create.

When she discovered that she could sculpt the thick mud she scraped off the sides of their well, Sonabi began to make figures and animals to serve as toys. Next, it occurred to her to fashion a screen that would filter the hot sun beating down on one side of the house. She tied pieces of bamboo into small circles and connected them. She attached her screen to the house with wood, and covered the whole thing with mud. Next, she sculpted whimsical birds and figures to sit within the openings of the screen. She painted all her work with bright colors made of vegetal dyes. By the end of her decade, her whole house had become a work of art.

Sonabai created something completely unique without any training or any exposure to architecture or art. She had never seen or known about the elaborate screens that are part of the royal architecture in India’s cities. Yet out of the deep well of creative energy to which we all have access, she created outrageous beauty. Other women nearby had decorated their doorways, but in patterns and colors that stayed within the local traditions. Sonabai’s art was fresh, innocent, alive and original. Like the plants in the photo above, the details she chose, the colors and the variety of designs were delicious.

Sonabai wasn’t aware that she was going to become a leader, but she did. When she was discovered and her art was exhibited internationally, she received a grant to teach other Indian artists her methods. They have taken the basic folk art themes and developed their own styles and variations. Sonabai has left a legacy–not only of art, but a lesson about creativity and empowerment.

Perhaps the way we can all engage the creative power that lives within us, is to begin by thinking of what kinds of beauty we love. How can we create more experiences of these kinds of beauty? Some of us might not ever sculpt or paint, but we might create beauty with food or flowers or music or dance. We might recite poetry with passion or learn the forms of a sport in a way that feels beautiful to us. All these efforts are ways in which we can empower ourselves. We can do more than survive; we can thrive.

If you’re curious about Sonabai and the gorgeous exhibit created by anthropologist, photographer and curator, Stephen Huyler, go to

And then, I’d love to hear your comments about how you create beauty and how you feel that is related to the new feminine leadership!

A Message from the Sea

Friday, June 4th, 2010

This is Sand Spirit Insight Card #26.  I “drew” it for today by just picking a number and clicking on it without knowing which image would come up. This one has morphed over time. I used to see a woman in it, offering a gift to the heavens. I still can see her today, but more often now I see a face of a male figure who appears to be a wizard. He tells me he can see the invisible, see below the surface. He is warning us about the necessity for humankind to move away from the personal and the ego into the realm of greater consciousness and responsibility to the earth. He is talking about the tragedy of the oil spill as the most recent example. His left eye (his more feminine or intuitive side, connected to his right brain) is his more active eye. His right eye is focused on the heavens. This is his doing side, and he has surrendered to divine guidance for all his decision-making.

This is serious stuff, but how else can we respond to all that is happening now?  A volcano erupts in Guatemala, followed by floods and the appearance of a giant sinkhole in the capital. Oil threatens our ocean, our sea animals and a whole way of life on the southern coast. Whatever actions we must take, this looks like the time to begin them.

The card I drew coincides with my finishing Craig Hamilton’s course in integral enlightenment and moving beyond the ego. The shift we must make requires a new kind of effort–one that begins with surrender to forces greater than ourselves. We live within the Great Mystery, and it looks like it’s time to respect it again.

How will we each begin?

3 Ways to become an empowered feminine leader

Monday, May 10th, 2010

blue wave

Today there is a new wave of opportunity for women who want to become empowered, conscious, evolutionary leaders who make a difference. Teleclasses abound. Just google Integral Enlightment or Feminine Power or Conscious Evolutionaries and you’ll see.  In the meantime, here are 3 principles to think about and practice:

1. Nourish yourself. This means on the level of mind, body and spirit. These are not times for wimps. We need to be strong. Gentle warriors, standing in our truth. If we don’t take care of ourselves, what good will we be for anyone else? So what is your premium fuel? Fill that tank.

2.  Ride the wave. The wave in the photo is a wave of light, a photo projected on the wall of an imaginative San Diego restaurant. Light is nothing but energy. You are nothing but energy and light. So ride the big wave of light, the one other “en-lightened” beings ride. Jump on. Meditate, pray, do yoga, eat spinach or do whatever else helps you stay on. Ride the wave of light.

3. Bring out your soul’s gifts. If you don’t bring them out, what in the world are they for anyway? They are your “original medicine” and if you don’t bring them out, they could disappear forever. This is the moment. We are the ones. We need whatever you can offer. Remember what Jesus said (according to the Gnostic gospels): “If you bring out what is within you, what is within you will save you; if you do not bring out what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.” Sounds dramatic, but think about illness, crime and other tragedies. Could be as simple as this. Out. Into the world. Now.

The Dalai Lama said it best recently: “The western woman will save the world.” I guess it’s up to us. Let’s get started!