Tapping In – by Laurel Parnell

Helena, the instructor from the Meditation and the Chakras class offered at the Transformational Arts College, brought in a book yesterday. She mentioned that she worked with people who have experienced trauma. There’s a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) “a clinically recognized system for tapping both sides of the body to overcome trauma, boost confidence, calm the body on a deep, physiological level, and to respond better to stress.”

Those all sound wonderful to me!

So I borrowed it. SO excited to start. Just wanted to share it with the world! 🙂

Here’s an excerpt also, so you’re not just left with a pool of my thoughts.

“When I was in my early twenties, Lama Yeshe gifted me with a direct experience of this inner resource. I had just spend the day with him and two friends visiting a sacred lake in the Sierras, where he did a ceremony to protect the lake with a group of Native Americans. We had taken him to a house where he was to stay for a few days before returning to a meditation retreat we were all attending. As I walked down a hallway of the house, I encountered Lama Yeshe; immediately my heart overflowed with love for him. Yet I felt a little awkward, as I was also in awe of him – his presence was so powerful. Breaking the silence, I began to express my appreciation for him, but he stopped me. Taking my right hand in his, he gently but firmly placed it over my heart. Then, looking directly into my eyes, he said, “The Buddha is within you, dear.” In that moment, time stood still. His words struck a chord of truth that resonated in the depth of my being. Tears streamed own my face. Truth recognized itself and came to the foreground of my awareness. The Buddha in me recognized the Buddha in him. I realized in that instant that we were not two, but one and the same. He held my gaze for a few moments then released my hand and continued down the hall.”

The world is full of people who want us to follow them. Often, we are quite willing, also, to throw off our own cloak and put on someone else’s. It’s easier. We don’t have to dig through our own shit, figure out what we really believe in, what we truly value. But we can’t live someone else’s life. We must live our own. But How, you ask? This question seems to bring us back to consider the ancient wisdom of Socrates, who said that the unexamined life is not worth living, and Shakespeare, who encouraged us, to thine own self be true.

It’s beautiful to come across souls who turn the tables and reflect the light back.

May you always see the light in yourself, and in others. Namaste.


*being* over doing

The concept of “being” first caught my attention when cousin Dan shared about this book he was reading, The Art of Being by Erich Fromm.  To me, it illuminated the difference between basing our lives on “having”, on consuming, on doing, and rather being focused, or oriented towards being. The difference is monumentally significant and alters the way we greet the world.

More recently, psychiatrist and author Mark Epstein has been popping up around me. I was familiar with his book, Thoughts Without a Thinker, but hadn’t read it. Curious, but not enough.

Until sisbum told me about his new book, The Trauma of Everyday Life.

Going through therapy makes me super interested in the internal world and the personal experience that is uniquely ours. Upon researching his books, I found a copy of Going on Being at the nearest library!

I’m drawn to his psychotherapeutic approach that has Buddhist inspiration. Here’s an excerpt that really helped to untie the knots in my brain revolving the concept of self/no-self. Therapy is a digging deep into our past to heal our emotional wounds. How does this fit in with the concept of no-self? If there is no “self” to work with, are we grappling at ego when we do this? But how do we release the past without acknowledging it?

“I remember once trying to explain the Buddhist view of self to Isadore. In Buddhism, there is said to be no fixed, intrinsic identity; only a flow with no one behind it. Isadore had no problem with the Buddhist view. Gestalt therapy also sees the world as a flow; as a continual unfolding, a succession of meeting places at the contact-boundaries of experience. The “ego” is the individual vehicle for carrying out these meetings, but it has no intrinsic identity either. A healthy ego initiates, approaches, makes contact, and dissolves, only to begin the cycle again. A disturbed ego gets in its own way and interferes with healthy contact, perpetuating its own reality at the expense of the interaction. When I was having trouble speaking to Isadore directly, my ego was actually more active than when I learned to relate openly. In those circumstances where my ego did not dissolve, I was left with a sense of deficiency, having failed to accomplish the intimacy or relationship that I was naturally seeking. An ego that gets in its own way never gets to transparency; the result is a person contracted around his own sense of inadequacy. A positive sense of self emerges only when the ego allows itself to melt away.”

This was a Eureka moment for me in so many ways. It helped explain how we can have an ego and also how this comes and goes like waves on a beach. Nothing wrong with ego. It’s the clinging to it, clinging to this concept of ‘self’ that obscures us from forming authentic relationships.

Being over doing. Be there as a conscious, present energy, and this will be of most benefit to life. Otherwise we’re so clouded by our perceptions, our expectations, the past. How can we expect our relations to be free of clutter? How can we be free of the past? Free from our own mental constructs and mental prison?

I’ve temporarily concluded that we can observe our experiences like a check-out counter. We have all these things in our cart, and some we’ve hidden in our jacket and clothes. When we brush things under the carpet, ignore and deny, that’s what we’re doing. Smuggling things out of the store without paying.

So what can we do?

We can scan each item, each experience, through the thingamajig, process it through our consciousness, log it as something that happened, then let it go. Bag it, and be done with it. Don’t keep paying the price for it every day.

It’s the acknowledgement and awareness that can help heal… does this make sense?? it did in my head…

Thank you, Universe, for all the blessings and synchronicities. May I be of service to you.

Will the naughty boy change through punishment or through love? – Krishnamurti

I love this. I’m such a feeler. I was with my therapist one day and he sort of did impressions of people who would be more thinkers vs. feelers and it was pretty funny… the thinkers obviously would focus on the tangible aspects of something. In this case we were talking about the benefits of digital clocks vs. analog. Blahblah.

Anyway, it was funny because he kind of gushed on and on about how analog clocks feel nice, and have this quality to them that’s less blocky than digital, etc. And it’s pretty much how i talk!

Ok. Sharing now Krishnamurti’s answer:

What do you think? Listen very carefully to the question; think it out, feel it out. Will a naughty boy change through punishment or through love? If he changes through punishment, which is a form of compulsion, is that change? You are a bigger person, you have authority as the teacher or the parent, and if you threaten him, frighten him, the poor chap may do as you say; but is that change? Is there change through any form of compulsion? Can there ever be change through legislation, through any form of fear?

And, when you ask if love will bring about a change in the naughty boy, what do you mean by that word ‘love’? If to love is to understand the boy – not to change him, but to understand the causes that are producing naughtiness – then that very understanding will bring about in him the cessation of naughtiness. If I want to change the boy so that he will stop being naughty, my very desire to change him is a form of compulsion, is it not? But if I begin to understand why he is naughty, if I can discover and eradicate the causes that are producing naughtiness in him – it may be wrong food, a lack of sleep, want of affection, the fact that he is being teased by another boy, and so on – then the boy will not be naughty. But if my desire is merely to change the boy, which is wanting him to fit into a particular pattern, then I cannot understand him.

You see, this brings up the problem of what we mean by change. Even if the boy ceases to be naughty because of your love for him, which is a kind of influence, is that a real change? It may be love, but it is still a form of pressure on him to do or be something. And when you say a boy must change, what do you mean by that? Change from what to what? From what he is to what he should be? If he changes to what he should be, has he not merely modified what he was, and therefore it is no change at all?

To put it differently, if I am greedy and I become non-greedy because you and society and the sacred books all tell me that I must do so, have I changed, or am I merely calling greed by a different name? Whereas, if I am capable of investigating and understanding the whole problem of my greed, then I shall be free of it – which is entirely different from becoming non-greedy.

This reminds me somewhat of what Charles Eisenstein said in A More Beautiful World: “Let us be wary of measures that address only the most proximate cause of that symptom and leave the deeper causes untouched.”

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 31?

I’ve recently started to read the Tao Te Ching – Stephen Mitchell’s version. This one struck a cord with me as it relates to the politics of the world now…

Weapons are the tools of violence;
all decent men detest them.

Weapons are the tools of fear;
a decent man will avoid them
except in the direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value.
If the peace has been shattered,
how can he be content?
His enemies are not demons,
but human beings like himself.
He doesn’t wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory.
How could he rejoice in victory
and delight in the slaughter of men?

He enters a battle gravely,
with sorrow and with great compassion,
as if he were attending a funeral.

May we be led with our hearts and highest selves, rather than meagre substitutes for them.


The Gift – Poems by Hafiz

At my last class, a fellow classmate pulled out this book and said it was her absolute favorite. She has a copy beside her bed and reads it every night.

Here’s a popular one that I love. What’s cool is I found one that seems to follow, but I’d never come across it before.

Sharing them both here. 🙂


All this time
The sun never says to the earth,

“You owe

What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the


Earth would die
If the sun stopped kissing her.

Hafiz is now such an exquisite world
That perishes

When God is not

Spiritual Psychotherapy @TAC

So….. I’ve met with Linda K from the Transformational Arts College re: Spiritual Psychotherapy program. From what I see now, it seems a wonderful fit for all I love. She gave me the reading list for the program, and so many of those are books I already have read / plan to read.

Authors include: Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer, Doreen Virtue, Esther Hicks, Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle and so on.

Regarding hesitations about my future competence, she shared that the program does prepare students to work one-on-one with clients. (I have a deep fear of never knowing the “right” question to ask, how to gently propel someone towards self-reflection… ) Therapy isn’t about the therapist. It’s not about what I bring, who I am, what I say. For sure, there are qualifications to being a therapist, but when the focus is shifted away from self, conversation can flow naturally from a grounded place of respectful curiosity and supportive exploration.

The first Total Self course, Meditation & the Chakras, starts on Thursday, November 9th. I have to actually register, but i wanted to journal all of this in my blog to capture the journey!

This is supremely exciting for me. I am grateful and thrilled to embark on this new adventure. May it serve the Universe. 🙂

Are you tapping into your Personal HotSpot (PHS?)

“Empaths” is a term to generally refer to people who feel easily affected by people’s energy. This sensitivity combined with a desire to please can be entirely draining and unnecessary.

It occurred to me that we are all our own PHS, yet our inability to see this causes us to roam around with unsecured WiFi, searching for, and latching on to, any signals open for connecting. We invest valuable daily resources to this activity of external focus – monitoring and trying to influence people and activities thoroughly outside our control.  Observing how much this drains your phone battery easily translates into some resource-calculation implications for the human world.

I don’t quite like to take the tone of a moralist, but it seems suitable to say: Tap into your PHS – All you seek is within you!


March 18: Awakening Sleeping Beauty

On my way to the therapist’s yesterday, I found myself trailing behind an odorous dump truck. Plodding along on the one-lane street, my eyes rested on a sign for Toronto’s oldest used book store, with 40 – 60% off all books! After a mental note was made to return, I took in some nearby landmarks to guide me.

Wonderfully, on the way back I indeed staved off my laziness and decided to go peruse for a bit. Packed to the ceiling in narrow rows were more books than i could take in. A book called Simple Abundance crossed by path and I opened it.

March 18 – Awakening Sleeping Beauty
“We are the hero of our own story.” – Mary McCarthy

In every one of us there lies a sleeping beauty waiting to be awakened through love. Because she has slumbered for so long, she must be awakened very gently. But instead of waiting for Prince Charming to storm the palace gates, you must summon the magic powers of your authentic self to break any cruel enchantment that has left you unaware of your own glory.

I love the beauty of the images the above passage evokes. Being a fan of Anne Roquelaure’s Sleeping Beauty book, I can easily envision the peace of the castle grounds while all beings were under the magical spell. Happy to say, I’ve “grown” out of the whole Disney-wait-for-prince-charming-to-save-me thing. Which is why I love that we need to wake ourselves up. From past programming, from cultural narratives, from social norms.

I fancy Rumi’s quotation on this:
“Everything in the Universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.”

Everything is within us, truly. All our approval, disapproval, self-love, self-sabatoge… other people merely reflect to us our deepest wounds. If we can see this for what it is, we can proactively take steps to mend ourselves and heal, rather than continue to spew poison outwards, mistaking the enemy from without.

It’s a hard lesson to swallow. It’s much easier to blame others for our pain. Oftentimes I deny this truth. It’s not me – it’s the other person. And then I reflect on what bothers me and what goes unnoticed, and there’s a clear pattern – the things that annoy/irritate/hurt me are all things that I myself see as true. This is the real challenge. The truth is that I do not approve of myself, and that is the real issue.

In more concrete terms, I’ve been seriously contemplating pursing my passions, which include spirituality, spiritual healing, mysticism and consciousness. Because they still seem “woo-woo”, taboo, it is unclear what I can do with this in the future. Some external messages that come in undoubtedly concern the practicality of these studies, and how they will pay off in the future. Having said that, I see much pain in the world that calls for healing, and I’d love to be part of that. I’d love to use my skills to contribute… something… I see and feel the power of energy healing and know that this can give me tangible skills to share, to help, to heal.

I’ve never been a huge risk-taker, imho. My parents would probably view me differently, given our varied perceptions on “risk”, lol. They probably think i’m reckless and impulsive and follow my heart with no consideration of the repercussions. Having said that, these opinions would not matter to me (as much) if I had not the same perspective… Things sting only when we internally agree with them. Hence –> Mirrors!

In conclusion (I can’t remember the last time I wrote that outside of a high school paper), all we seek is inside ourselves. We can love ourselves enough that we care more about our own approval, and our own internal compass, than we do about others’ view of us. We can also compassionately understand that others want the best for us, but are working within their own “book of law”, as Don Miguel Ruiz would say. It is the only book they understand!

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell



Emotionally healthy spirituality

Spiritual bypassing is a concept I have come across many times. My personal interpretation is that it is when we “stuff away” our emotions and sweep them away in the interest of spirituality.

The other extreme is reckless indulgence in our emotions and treating them as the ultimate end-all-be-all.

How do we find a balance between the two, and how can we navigate our emotions consciously in a relationship with others, regardless of partner, family, friend or even just someone we pass on the street? One of the keys, methinks, is to treat people like people! Lol.. so simple yet so difficult to follow? More than consciously using people as things, I think we fall into the trap of unconsciously spreading our poison because of our own internal suffering… When we don’t know how to manage our difficult emotions, we lash out and seek to “fix” ourselves, to feel better, to put the blame on someone else to alleviate our pain, if only temporarily… Learning to sit with this discomfort is vital to our growth…

From Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero, recommended by my therapist!

I-It Relationships

In 1923, the great Jewish theologian Martin Buber wrote a brilliant but difficult to read book, called I and Thou. Buber described the most healthy or mature relationship possible between two human beings as an “I-Thou” relationship. In such a relationship I recognize that I am made in the image of God and so is every other person on theface of the earth. This makes them a “Thou” to me. Because of that reality, every person deserves respect – that is, I treat them with dignity and worth. I do not dehumanize or objectify them. I affirm them as having a unique and separate existence apart from me.

Buber argued that in most of our human relationships we lose sight of others as separate from us. We treat people as objects, as an “It” (to use Buber’s word). In the I-It relationship I treat you as a means to an end – as we might use a toothbrush or car.

What might that look like?

  • I walk in and dump my work on my secretary without saying hello
  • I move people around on an organizational chart at a staff meeting as if they were objects or subhuman
  • I talk about people in authority as if they were subhuman
  • I treat Geri or our children as if they are not in charge of their own freedom, dreams, autonomy; I expect them to be the picture I have of them in my head
  • I am threatened when someone disagrees with my political views
  • I listen to my neighbors’ problems and help them with chores around their house hoping they will attend the Christmas outreach at our church. They don’t… and I move on to someone else

The result of I-It relationships is that I get frustrated when people don’t fit into my plans. The way I see things is “right”. And if you don’t see it as I do, you are not seeing things the “right” way. You are wrong.

Recognizing the uniqueness and separateness of every other person on earth is so pivotal to emotional maturity. We so easily demand that people view the world the way we do. We believe our way is the right way.

I-Thou Relationships

True relationships, said Buber, can only exist between two people willing to connect across their differences. God fills that in-between space of an I-Thou relationship.

I won’t type up all of it here, but I thought the above was already quite enlightening and gives me much to work on. The Four Agreements I also find very helpful in guiding my actions in a way that expresses my personal integrity and values.

Every moment offers a multiple choice of perceptions. Choose wonderment.

Much of my blog seems to act as a gathering hole for other wonderful thinkers and bloggers out there. This doesn’t bother me, as I had started this blog originally to have a space to put all the things I find inspirational.

This is a beautiful post by Pammy Sue Grout about someone who chose to see the light despite dreary circumstances.

May I learn to face life with the same strength and courage! 🙂

Pam Grout

“Life is not a roll of the dice. It is a result of what conscious awareness we find ourselves living out from. We can make a deliberate choice to shift our perception from this atmosphere of sickness and sorrow and live out from a higher principle.”–Michele Longo-O’Donnell

Elizabeth Gilbert had the words “stubborn gladness” tattooed on her arm. It’s from her favorite poem by Jack Gilbert. In the poem, “A Brief for the Defense,” he writes, “We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”

I think about stubborn gladness a lot. It defies the chasm so many of us believe—that you are either A) a realist who can’t help but notice the world is going to you-know-where in a you-know-what or 2) you’re a naïve Pollyanna who turns a blind eye to the world’s suffering.

The middle way, that Gilbert embraces, is…

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