Retreating Inward to the Bliss of the Heart

Step 1– Digging out the roots of suffering: We’ve all got a few limiting root beliefs that arose from wounds we may have long ago forgotten.  These pesky “bliss thieves” keep affecting repeating scenarios over and over in our lives.  Unfortunately, we can’t easily discover our own root wounds and without the catalyst of suffering we don’t often even try.  It’s like operating on our own head. Not so easy.

When with the help of an insightful executive coach or teacher, we identify one of our root wounds and its resulting limiting belief, it’s stunning to look back and see the circular pattern of behavior that repeatedly yielded results that strengthened the belief.  We can see how this pattern unfolded over and over causing progressively more intense suffering and shaping our lives with predictable precision.  Once identified and healed we shift toward creating fresh new beliefs that have us literally, rewriting our script.  So, first agenda item:  Identify and shift limiting root beliefs that are causing repeated suffering.    Time well spent?   Absolutely.

Step 2–The journey inward: Get established in BLISS!  From where does bliss arise?  For me it emerges from the joyous ease that arises when I’m at my best.   Bliss springs easily from a state of contentment.  It flows from knowing that I am safe and protected.  Bliss arises from knowing that I have the courage to face whatever challenges are before me and that I am equal to these challenges.   We attain mastery as we move beyond occasional, accidental visits to the land of BLISS and really plant our flag in this treasured territory.

In the yogic philosophy of Vedanta, bliss is the 5th Kosha or sheath at the heart of our being.  To arrive at bliss, we move progressively inward through the onion-like skins of our physical body, breath, mind, intellect and then at the very heart of who we are…we arrive at bliss.

May we each find our way inward and become established in the bliss at the Heart of our being.

May we become fearless in the center of this joy and happy not only in happiness but in difficulties as well.

This Valentine’s Day, I wish you the bliss of the Heart.


Flickr photo courtesy of qthomasbower under the Creative Commons License

Retreat to Advance with Honor, Ease and Bliss

Mountain Rainbow

My theme for 2011 is… the year of Honor, Ease and Bliss. I’m writing from Sun Mountain Lodge.  So far so good! Here’s where I’m going with these 3 attributes for 2011:

Honor: Honoring my Self as in honoring the great Divine energy that dwells within me, others and everything. This means treating my physical self, as the container of this Divine light, worthy of respect and love. Am I leading in a way that honors the people, places and things that surround me? Am I honoring them? Are we honoring each other? It’s a great word, honor.

Ease: Approaching everything with ease. Being a student of ease in the midst of activity. Breathing easy. Yes, even in business, EASE is the watchword.

Bliss: Great joy, perfect happiness. A state of spiritual blessedness. Bliss as in “follow your bliss” or “Blissed out.” I have a hunch that bliss will have me show up as a turned on leader who draws from a wellspring of vibrant energy and enthusiasm. Bliss as in genuinely existing, for the most part, in a heart flowing with love

So, these are my 3 words. It’s only been 2 weeks and I stand amazed. Just last night, after a perfect day of skiing, I watched the moon rise over the mountains while lying in bed by a roaring fire, looking out over a snow covered valley…in an exquisitely beautiful lodge room wrapped in a soft cashmere shawl…eating chocolate. (That’s the truth, I swear.) Although the quest has been challenging at times and it’s already required great discipline…it is reaping splendid rewards.

What are your 3 attributes of 2011? Don’t miss out on the synchronicity and growth that leading from this clarity will bring.

Click here to register for: “An Opening to 2011” Reflection & Intention Sessions and Download the FREE “An Opening to 2011” Worksheet. Registration closes Jan 31 so now is the time.

Retreating into the Darkness or is it really the Light?

A Moment of Joy

My parents have both had health challenges.  They are 99 and 94 and live close by.  Since December 7th I have been with them in hospital rooms and ambulances.  I’ve held their hands and watched them heroically face their destiny.  I’ve had moments where I’ve done well and  moments when I’ve fallen apart.

Through it all, I kept repeating “This will be the best Christmas ever.”  There was not much evidence to support this idea.  None of the trappings of a beautiful holiday seemed close at hand.  And…in the end I did attract a lovely Christmas eve dinner with Kevin and a beautiful church service that was freely available to me.  I just had to walk through the door.  My older sisters were tirelessly present and many, many friends offered prayers and blessings.  Each and every holiday card this year was treasured in ways that their senders can’t even imagine. 

My parents are not having the end of life experience that I would have hoped for them.  I don’t know if there is anything I can do about that.  The best solution I could muster was to get them into the same room together.  Now I  simply hold them with courageous and compassionate strength as I allow them to do their thing, whatever that looks like for them.

Yet the questions of leadership remain.  How do I take a stand for what they need when  I really don’t know what they need and I can’t trust my emotional responses to what I am witnessing?     The answer simply seems to be to unfold one moment at a time.  One breath at a time.  Keep turning my mind back to my heart’s wisdom and courage.  Keep trusting Grace.  Keep following the rays of light.  Keep savoring each and every moment of  Joy.   Keep turning away from the dark thoughts and surrendering myself and each of us into the light of Love.

Retreating into Cultivating Vigilance

Vigilant Roses


One of the keys to success is the cultivation of virtues. Some spiritual teachers assert that the cultivation of virtues is the purpose of life, period. To discern this week’s theme, I drew a virtue card from a deck and the selection is VIGILANCE. The Sanskrit word is sajagata and the Webster definition is “to Be alertly watchful, especially to avoid danger.” Yipes, sounds intense!

What dangers shall I alertly, watchfully avoid? Let’s see, fear, unworthiness, impatience, selfishness, arrogance, pride, judgment and excess responsibility, to name a few. Really, the whole wall of “thieves of the heart” that I began tearing down last week. What about vigilance against allowing limiting beliefs to run the show. Did I say FEAR???

The virtue of vigilance has me stay alert and awake. To simply notice when I have slipped into thinking that does not serve and then…ah yes, to remember who I am and allow Grace to perform the miraculous task of releasing me from the unhelpful pattern and turning me back to LOVE and my best Self.

You might ask why retreat with vigilance? Why not advance with vigilance? I’m thinking that vigilance is enhanced by quiet reflection. Once we are trapped by fear, more advancing doesn’t necessarily serve our escape. Deep wisdom arises in the compassionate silence of retreat.

Retreating inside daily

Since I recently taught a daylong meditation retreat, I’ve been considering the value of  my daily meditation practice.  This morning I meditated on the ferry to Seattle.  I stepped off the boat, contemplating what it means to bring the state of meditation into my waking state, my work state?   I made my usual stop at Starbucks and Sarah McLachlan’s Angels was playing.  As they were making my Grande Soy Latte, I tuned in to Sarah’s angelic voice and lyrics. Although I have heard this song about 100 times, I noticed that I was listening  today from a place deep in my heart. I was in a state beyond planning the elements and order of my “to do” list; a transcendent perspective overflowing with compassion, wisdom and creativity.  Today I remember who I really am at my core and that most certainly does impact how courageously I show up as a leader in my world.  How truly amazing is that?

Here is my favorite recorded guided meditation CD:

Flickr photo courtesy of Grand Velas Resort

Retreat to Transform

Photo Courtesy of Mai Vu


A friend was speaking to me about the difference between Transformational and Incremental Change last night.
Incremental Change is the step by step achievement of a goal.  Transformational Change is the inner transformation in our mind, body, spirit and heart that fashions us into one who can naturally and easily fulfill our goals and purpose.  When I heard this distinction, I realized that I am an agent of Transformational Change, utterly devoted to the mastery of this process within myself and others. 

While Transformational Change is facilitated mightily by private coaching, retreat and reflection are also essential elements.  I have learned that Transformational Change is readily available in the grace drenched splendor of nature, in beautiful physical surroundings away from the day to day, in sacred silent circles of individuals who are asking similar questions. 

Oh, and it really does help to have: 

  • fresh, delicious nourishing food ready and waiting,
  • yoga that will get you present to your body’s wisdom,
  • a bit of irrepressible laughter and
  • a soft pillow to lay your head on at the end of the day.

Hint, Hint…time to retreat my friend!  Will you book some retreat time on your calendar today?  Oh, all right, you can still register for the Sept 25 Retreat to Advance day here.  Registration closes on Sept 11. 

Advancing with Patience and Faith

S'Marie and Jeaneen at Vasjeshwari

For many years I have gone on Spiritual Retreat during the month of August.   The photo above, taken at a sacred pilgrimage site in India with my roommate, coach and poet S’Marie Young, captures the radiant inner light that being on retreat unfailingly brings.  This year, August is quite different.  It’s a time of vigorous business advance and fierce (yes, I used the word fierce) commitment to stepping up to offer the wisdom I have nurtured.  August is filled with timelines and action items. 

How do we bring the energy and lessons of retreat into a time of advance?  One answer is cultivating the virtue of Patience.  Patience with ourselves as we engage full out.   Patience with outcomes and goals.  Patience with emergence of creative insight.  Patience as we allow things to unfold in a more magnificent way than we are able to foresee and faith that this will indeed happen.  Deep faith that there is enough time.  The physical embodiment of Patience requires breathing deeply and allowing  time to become comfortable before proceeding with any action. 

That is the essence of the Retreat to Advance stamp imagery below.  Performing the actions that make us available for the sunrise, patiently waiting with full faith and then, when it does rise, drinking in its beauty. 

Last Call for Mid Year “Renew, Refocus, Re-engage” mini retreats

What are you waiting for?

Click here to hear what you can receive from a mini mid-year retreat.

What participant’s are saying about the mid-year mini retreats:

“Thanks so much! I feel so inspired, rejuvenated and catalyzed after our time together… -Sandy Buffett, Executive Director- Conservation Voters New Mexico

“Would I do this myself? In theory yes, in reality no!
Thanks so much for the ‘tune-up’. It really focused my thoughts on where I want to take my business the rest of the year”
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