Tuesday, August 20, 2013


“The path to awakening from suffering…calls for vigilant discipline. We are asked to believe in Love without seeing it and to see fear without believing it”.

Nouk Sanchez

After two years of weekly gathering, Light Tree is taking a sabbatical to contemplate what we have learned so far.

Our meetings have been supremely important in helping us stay present with the various teachings we have studied as we learn new ways to apply them to our everyday lives. We are continuing to gather along with various other groups and individuals who are concerned with awakening to the truth of who we are.

This is not a journey for the faint-hearted. However, by remaining vigilant and practicing forgiveness we are more confident when we face something that appears overwhelming or fearful. We are certain that any thing that appears to cause suffering cannot possibly be real and therefore choose love instead. We have seen repeatedly the transformative power of changing our thoughts from fear to love and are committed to deepen our awareness further.

The mutual support, wisdom and insight that emerge at each meeting is a miracle in itself. As challenging as life appears to be, we have come to understand that each event that appears on the screen of our awareness is really an important opportunity to heal our minds. We continually remind ourselves and each other that the contents of our stories are unimportant, but they are essential to noticing and releasing the fear thoughts that appear to arise in all their forms.

We wish you many blessings for your own awakening, and encourage you to contact us by email with any thoughts or insights that may arise.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Embracing Holiness

“Once a living being has heard and understood that deliverance is within his reach, he will never forget, for it is the first message from within.

It will take root and grow in due course take the blessed shape of the Guru”.

Nisargadatta Maharaj.

The last few weeks have been very full for our Mighty Companions at Light Tree. We have had many opportunities to practice patience and trust. One thing is certain; by choosing to see the unfolding of our lives with new eyes we have been able to traverse very challenging terrain with greater ease.

It is a relief to stop whenever we find ourselves getting too involved in the dream we are creating and sit in pure awareness. After a while, love appears with greater frequency and the peace that arises calls us to awaken and stay longer.

We noticed that the belief that we must keep ‘working at it’, or that we will awaken at some future date is pure mythology. We are already dwelling in pure peace and happiness, but we keep papering it over with drama and stories. Eventually the tale is just too boring and we decide to make getting to the truth of our True Nature our main priority.

Yes, there is always something appearing on the screen of our awareness that is juicy and distracts us for a while. However, if we just stay awake long enough our willingness to see it differently carries us through and we can find a way to choose forgiveness. After all, it’s only our thoughts that cause us to suffer. Once we drop those and stay open to a new way of seeing it’s amazing what will unfold.

Our True Nature calls us to ‘undo’ rather than ‘do more’. For westerners like us this is a key realization. We are so busy that we don’t even notice when we are on auto pilot and our ego is running the show. If we are serious about letting greater awareness take root, we must make time to sit back and listen.

With practice we discover that suffering is optional after all.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Three Step Practice

"First, come into the present. Flash on what’s happening with you right now. Be fully aware of your body, its energetic quality. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions. 

Next, feel your heart, literally placing your hand on your chest if you find that helpful. This is a way of accepting yourself just as you are in that moment, a way of saying, 'This is my experience right now, and it’s okay.

Then go into the next moment without any agenda”

Pema Chodron (Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change).

Lately we have been discussing how a sense of gratitude emerges spontaneously when we can notice and let go of thoughts that appear to keep us safe. What does it mean to be fully present with ourselves anyway?

If we practice the attitude of kindness that Pema describes above, we reduce the need to feel defensive by making excuses for our thoughts and behaviour. When we treat ourselves as we would like to be treated, we become aware of how often we treat ourselves harshly. This is what Jesus meant when he advised us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. We see ourselves and everyone else as Divine beings trying to awaken to love. Gratitude and compassion emerge spontaneously from this awareness.

When we are willing to becoming more aware of how we create our reality we become dilligent about listening to our inner chatter. We can experience moving through discomfort with grace. We realize that its really up to us how much we create our own suffering when our endless judgments and criticisms try to steal the show. Its probably our resistance or attachment to outcomes that really twists the knife.

Life can be challenging enough without listening to the ‘Peanut Gallery’ that drones on endlessly within our mind. Buddha describes the root of all suffering as ignorance. When he says this, he seems to be speaking to our need to pay attention to the chatter of our ‘monkey-mind’ that keeps us ignorant.

Instead we can choose again. Its never too late to stop and pay attention to our own limitless Presence. When do we make this leap? For us its emerged from our sense of being fed up with the story that never ends. We want a new direction that emerges from our own Divine Authority, not the endless list of rules that the world sets out for us, while claiming to keep us safe.

Join us and choose compassion for yourself. Its never too late and we never run out of opportunities to practice.   
Then go into the next moment without any agenda.
(From Pema's book Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stop the madness!

More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm”.


From our practices at Light Tree, one thing appears abundantly clear. The ego-mind with all its incessant chatter is completely insane. If we do not practice sitting back and joining with the peace of our True Nature on a regular basis we run the risk of letting ego run the show.

Sometimes it seems that the ego has no purpose but the maintenance of the status quo. It likes things just as they are. Then, suddenly, self doubt takes a new twist and what seems like a good plan becomes riddled with fear and negative thoughts. We are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. This is the madness of our monkey-mind, or ego.

Buddha knew this, Jesus knew this, and all the great teachers have come to this basic conclusion themselves. We cannot fully appreciate the hold ego-mind has on our thoughts and behaviour until we slow down enough to hear it. If we can sit and just witness, without believing its insane commentary, we can learn to recognize it starting it spiel.

It’s in this precious moment that we begin to join the consciousness of our True Nature. Really? we begin to ask ourselves. This much nonsense cannot possibly be true. When we sit in a witness place, not judging and just watching our essence it’s obvious that only Love exists. The fear that arises is the false self (little me) trying to justify its teeny tiny worldview. Why don’t we just try holding it with love and watch it dissolve? Its just a thought anyway.

It seems we have all had our share of fear thoughts lately. What can we do when we feel hopelessly lost in our thoughts and emotions?

For us, the first step is to realize what is happening and draw on our desire for peace and happiness. We can choose to love ourselves immediately, before guilt and self doubt come to see what’s going on. We can use an affirmation that we have practiced in meditation and choose to forgive ourselves for buying into an illusion that was created by the false self.

For example we might say, “I forgive myself for using this (situation) to attack myself and separate from love”. 

We can also bring to mind the love that we have experienced in our lives and embrace ourselves and the situation in the memory of that experience of pure peace. There is no reason to keep the attack going. We may as well stop, notice, forgive, and then laugh at the ego’s insane attempt to draw us into another of its crazy stories. Why prolong the agony? Let’s stop the madness now.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Step Back

"Nothing exists independent of the Supreme Power. Everything you experience, even the difficult things in life, are your teachers. The one who realizes the Truth blesses everything. How can I be overwhelmed by anything that happens? That is only an idea. You are the untouched One. Do not be afraid."

This Spring has provided many opportunities to spend time practicing authenticity. There is no doubt that it takes a firm resolve to stop spinning the story and taking a stand for what our True Self leads us to.

At Light Tree, an essential part of our practice is to stop as soon as we notice ourselves being sucked into our seeming reality. From there we are still and become the observer. We are curious to notice what is happening when the unfolding drama seems real in some way. From there, we stand back, either physically or mentally and wait.

The wait is the most important part. Instead of rushing ahead, fixing, controlling and deciding what’s best, we simply step back. Our intention is “ Teach me, Guide me, Show me.” Sometimes our guidance comes quickly, sometimes a week later, sometimes we never know. Somehow it just feels better.

One thing is for sure, the outcome is always just right when we trust our guidance and don’t try to act on impulse and animal instinct. After a while it becomes easier to let our life unfold through us instead of forcing it through the blender of our fears before we fling it out into the Universe.

Its also important to sit back and laugh at our efforts to control the uncontollable. We can witness our craziness with compassion and be glad that its all unfolding according to a bigger plan. We don’t need to worry at all. What a relief to know we can just be open and ask for help.

Our True Nature is inseparable from the Divine and cannot be changed no matter how much we try to run. We are only trying to escape from ourselves anyway.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Join us in Retreat this Summer

“For those who wonder, 'embodiment' means resting our awareness in the quiet inner center, deep within, timeless and whole, anchored vertically through all worlds, all dreams, as the grounded Presence of Pure Love, the Heart of Oneness.”


Jewel gives us a living example of what it means to live an authentic life. As her students, clients and friends, we have noticed that being in her presence allows all those that abide with her to have a fresh experience of their Divine nature.

Her humour and deep compassion allow us to feel a deep sense of safety that is essential for healing to take place. In her Presence, we find a rich opportunity to view our ego, along with all its dance of illusions, as an opportunity to grow. From this grounded place, we deepen our understanding of the interconnectedness of all things and are reminded that we can never be separate from our Source. 

Jewel and Stacy are a dynamic example of how to live fully in the present moment by resting in our true nature, which is love. Laugh with us as we watch the ego undo itself from its dominant place in our lives and minds. Come and be inspired and transformed as old identities fall away to reveal our deeper truth. Prepare to be amazed as we drop ever deeper into the peace that dwells within.

Join The Light Tree and our Mighty Companions in retreat this summer.

‘Embodying the Essence of Presence’ with Stacy Sully and Julia Day 

Quantum Forgiveness recognizes the world we see as an illusory projection of opposites and the Truth of Love as our eternal nature.

We learn to trust the voice for Love, the choice for Love, the feeling of Love

and the Knowing of Love through non-dual meditation, deep inner journeying
divine light, non-judgment, quantum forgiveness, the universal Heart, art, sound, expression and happy laughter...

June 29th to July 1st, 2013

For details please find Jewel at www.onenessinoneness.org 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Niceness vs. Authenticity

“When there is nothing about you or anyone else that you are afraid to look at, 
the darkness has no more power over you”.

Paul Ferrini (Everyday Wisdom).

Arwen Barr 2012

How do we address the unease that arises when we feel deep dislike for certain kinds of people? Perhaps we don’t even know them, but we feel anger and hostility coming off them in waves and our usual ways of coping just don’t apply.

Most of us know the discomfort we feel when another person seems aloof, self centered and sometimes mean or vindictive. No matter how friendly we are they remain unaffected. Our niceness just doesn't cut it.

This brings the issue of authenticity clearly into focus. Are we remaining true to ourselves or projecting our own unhealed parts onto the person and acting as if it were true? There is difference. The coldness we experience just might be an aspect of a frozen part of our own psyche.

Deep down we feel cut off from our One-ness with others and ourselves and the feeling of self-betrayal leaves us feeling helpless and angry. Just how did we get off track anyway? One solution is to sit with the unease and notice what it is triggering within us.

As Annie notes: “We welcome back that part … that believes it made a big mistake, is cut off from love, and deserves to be punished.  Our role is to see it, acknowledge it, listen to it, soften towards it, open to joining with it, offer to feel it fully, and embrace it as we would a long-lost best friend.   And in this willingness to surrender resistance, this opening to unconditional love, we invite and patiently await the voice of authenticity to guide our insights and actions.”

Yes, it’s a tall order to admit that our dislikes of others stem from our dislike of aspects of ourselves. We turn the hour-glass over and acknowledge that we must be willing to give up every strategy we think might make us popular, likeable, or socially acceptable and toss niceness out with the rest of the illusions.

It is only by embracing our wholeness that we can feel our True Self beckoning. In sitting with our authenticity we may decide to walk away and be unconcerned about the outcome of the situation. We may feel the need to speak out. Either way, the choice that leaves us feeling authentic is the one that moves away from the turmoil of the ‘shoulds’ and towards a deeper sense of satisfaction and inner peace.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Path of Deepening Authenticity

 “You come to harmony with others not through conformity, but through authenticity. 
When you have the courage to be yourself, you find the highest truth you are capable of receiving.
That truth is what enables you to reach across the aisle to your brother or sister.

You do not have to agree with others to value them and respect them.
Because you accept your own uniqueness, you can honour the unique path that others take.
Finding the truth in yourself, you recognize it when you see it manifest in others.”

Paul Ferrini (Everyday Wisdom).

The Path of Deepening Authenticity
(Part 2 of 3 of “Why Authenticity?”)

So if being fake brings unease and authenticity brings peace, what fool would keep choosing to fake it?  Apparently most of us most of the time! Whether consciously or unconsciously, we seem to prefer unease or dis-ease, even if we adamantly deny it. Sounds like another layer of self-deception? Certainly confusion.

So much confusion. 

How then do we get real?  How do we distinguish the true from the false, the authentic from the inauthentic?  For me, it is certainly a journey, a deepening process of discernment. 

Surely we all know the excruciating guilt of feeling we have not been true to ourselves. We are often haunted by it. Well, what if all disquiet is at root the pain of self-betrayal? If our truth is oneness, then all attack, all judgement, all rivalry, all resistance, all separation from perceived “other” is an act of self-betrayal because it feels like we are betraying our oneness. And we feel really bad about it even if we don't immediately recognize why we feel bad.

Our first line of defense is typically to blame someone else. If only he or she were different, then I could feel whole again. And then there are those of us whose torment takes the form of scapegoating our own perceived wrong-doing.  Our mind flits around and spots, say, the time I was unkind to so-and-so (substitute the gazillion possible scapegoats and false idols we could adopt). It becomes an “idée-fixe” circling round and round in the mind endlessly. It exhausts us; it reduces us to despair.  The blame, the guilt, the shame seem relentless, and underneath it is the sinking conviction we must be unredeemable.

Even the quest for authenticity, like anything, can be co-opted by ego, and become a tyrant:  “I can't move forward for fear of committing the ultimate sin: being inauthentic!”

What I didn't understand for a long time is that feeling bad is actually, in a funny sort of way, a good thing. Guilt, shame, grief, anxiety are our allies if we understand them to be red flags of our inauthenticity.  What if that is their only significance? What if the pang or stab of guilt is just a scalpel that points out our fakery?  What if the nausea and lightheadedness of anxiety are simply serving notice that we have chosen the separated state of ego-land again?

So we have a great system for discerning between the inauthentic and the authentic.  Unease is the hallmark of faking it.  Peace is the hallmark of authenticity.  Our job is always and only to restore our peace.  Spirit guides with peace.  The absence of peace is the tip-off that we have strayed from the path of authenticity.  What I am learning is that nothing but this is going on.  All the complexity and confusion is simply losing sight of the truth of this.

So what does restoring our peace actually look like?  How do we go about it?

(to be continued)

10 March 2013

Speaking my Truth, study 1

The Path of Deepening Authenticity
(Part 3 of “Why Authenticity?”)

So, what does restoring our peace and living authentically actually look like?  How do we go about it?

First, I would say, it is helpful to be clear on the one and only equation:  all my disquiet boils down, beneath all the projections onto scapegoats, to the belief that I committed the ultimate sin, betrayed my oneness. I have betrayed love and the only fit punishment is to be cut off from love, terminally ostracized, and soldier on alone. Understandably this feels really bad, so bad that I would do just about anything not to feel it or look at it. This, I am learning, is the equation to be kept clear. Nothing else is going on.

Second, from the platform (or altar) of present moment awareness, that is, a palpable resting in the
Here and Now (the only place we experience oneness, true joining, non-separation, Christ awareness, authentic guidance), I welcome the disquiet that it is so tempting to resist (and its apparent source, be it an unfaithful friend, a cheating partner, an illness, financial scarcity, etc.). This does not mean I welcome misforture; it means I welcome back that part of me that believes it made a big mistake, is cut off from love, and deserves to be punished.  My role is to see it, acknowledge it, listen to it, soften towards it,  open to joining with it, offer to feel it fully, and embrace it as I would a long-lost best friend.   And in this willingness to surrender resistance, this opening to unconditional love, I invite and patiently await the voice of authenticity to guide my insights and actions.  

Now this does not mean “anything goes.”  Authentic action or insight means discerning the false from the true, not assuming that because everything is “Love and Light,” I should accept it all. Afterall the “should-word” is a dead give-away of inauthenticity. As Byron Katie so wisely observes, we can't act from a place beyond our own evolution.  That is the journey.  Not to fake it.  Not to hurry past our lessons, our forgiveness opportunities, our grievances. If we are not authentically ready or inclined to understand or do something at a felt level, that's okay, that's precisely what we are being asked to discern:  what is it that truly offers us the juiciness of authenticity, not the sterility of fakery? What truly lights our fire?  What is our passion?  What is nourishing, not wearying?  What is whole-hearted, not faint-hearted?  What is unforced, not efforted?  What is empowering and resonant with authority?

This path, between disquiet and fakery, on one hand, and authenticity and peace, on the other, is, it seems to me, the cutting edge of our healing and growing awareness and trust.

14 March 2013



Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Authenticity?

So why is authenticity significant? What IS authenticity?  And what does practicing authenticity even look like? These are among the questions that we come back to again and again in our Lighttree circle.

For starters, there are clearly some things that authenticity is not.  If there is a “should” anywhere in sight, anywhere in one's decision-making equation, it's a great tip-off that ego, not spirit or inspiration or guidance or true knowing (whatever you want to call it) is in the driver's seat. If you catch any whiff of “I should do something because I owe her, I want to appear to be a good citizen, I'll feel guilty if I don't, etc.,”it's a great opportunity to stop and inquire into what's going on here.

Another great tip-off that inauthenticity is calling the shots is the urge to “people-please,” a variation of that seductive urge to “sweep something under the rug.”  And then there's that big one: the temptation to fake how “enlightened,” aware, loving one is on the “noble”grounds that, well, I should suck back my anger, grief, sadness, and just be loving (as if when we are faking it we can even attune to what love what look like in a particular situation).

And the list grows, I find, as I become more aware of the slyness of ego/fear at masquerading behind the various identities I cling to in order to try and feel more safe.

Another way I can spot inauthenticity or fakeness is that lousy feeling of self-betrayal, whether it expresses as mild unease or a full-blown melt-down, in which I invariably make someone else or something else a scapegoat for my own discontent.  But even if I manage to pretend most of the time and blame something other than myself for my unease, I, like us all, have those moments of clarity when I know it is me who is the problem:  I have not been true or authentic in a particular situation and it is that that is tormenting me.  In A Course in Miracles terms, the reason inauthenticity feels so bad, is that we are “reliving” the excruciating guilt we feel at imagining ourselves as separate from our truth, from our oneness with all that is. Put another way:  if our truth is oneness then, of course, it feels like self-betrayal when we act from what we believe to be a separated place.

And the way we recognize authenticity is the peace it brings.

(to be continued) 


28 February 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013


“The chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious, he advances little by little. He advices “Be careful, protect yourself” Whereas love says “Let yourself, go!” The mind is strong, never fells down, while love hurts itself, fells into ruins. But isn’t it in ruins that we mostly find the treasures? A broken heart hides so many treasures.”

~ Shams Tabrizi

Quan Yin

This week our dear friend and Mighty Companion Linda Nicol, offers up this wonderful and illuminating poem. She is one who has walked through the fire and come through unscathed because of her deep comitment to understanding that love is real and fear is not.


Love requires no gilded invitation to the ball for it is woven throughout the fabric of the party, embracing all.

Fear, invited in, attends constantly wearing countless, varied masks. Anger is itsʼ favourite and most spectacular costume; a peacock strutting itsʼ plumage, obscuring all.

In its many forms Fear leaps chaotically, grandly, loudly, and then with great vigour, plays with mortal selves whilst glaring at the shiny, waxed floor, demanding attention.

Love is only capable of showing its true self as It glides through the masses bringing Joy and Peace. Gentle undulations of a never-ending waltz fill the room; oft hid beneath the frantic bustle of the party.

The multiplicity of dancers dazzle the sole pair of gazing eyes. Life is the grandest masquerade but in the shadows of our illusions, the dance quiets.

Mask-less, we find the maker of our dream.

Come. See.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

An authentic life

Your nature is truth, and when you oppose it, you don’t feel like yourself. Stress never feels as natural as peace does.”

Byron Katie (Loving What Is, 2002).

Tsum Valley, Nepal by Julia Day 2012

Our recent discussions at The Light Tree have revolved around what happens when we attempt to live an authentic life while living in the ‘real’ world. It can be a challenge to stay in the peace of our true nature and live from there with complete trust. Demands from the world quickly emerge to distract us in one form or another.

The conflict between our desire for inner peace and the need to jump up and fix something are often at odds with each other. How do we stay authentic in our relationships while staying true to ourselves?

Sometimes the belief that our spiritual life is separate from our daily life can cause us to lose our center. We find ourselves trying to attend to both aspects of our seeming needs and desires. We feel we need to choose one over the other. Maybe we give up the yoga, the book club, or the painting class in order to take care of our worldly demands when the discomfort of our inner conflict is too great.

But what if we could just use our internal barometer to notice our reactions to thoughts and choose from that place? What if we stood firm and stopped betraying our inner wisdom in order to keep the ‘external’ peace. The anxiety calms down temporarily when we give in to the worlds demands, but the gnawing sensations continue…

Maybe we can just stay present until we get a clear yes, a sense of opening to life. Perhaps the only choice we need to make is the one that gives us a deeper sense of happiness and fulfillment. Ego will always find way to keep us running and second guessing ourselves. Something or someone will appear to keep the guilt running.

In the end, there is only Truth, only Presence. The other stuff is temporary and passes away as swiftly as the clouds move through the sky. We can commit to be one with the sky, the eternal, unchanging ever-present moment. If it doesn’t work out every time, that’s ok. There are no mistakes and we can’t get it wrong. There are just more opportunities to practice.

If there is anything to ‘do’ it is simply this: commit to authenticity in all our daily activities. Learn to say no gracefully. Be determined to practice kindness and compassion with everyone we meet.  If we stray, find ways to restore peace by staying with what gives us joy.  After all, we are all in this together, walking each other home one small step at a time. 

Friday, February 15, 2013


 “I have given everything I see… all the meaning it has for me”

A Course in Miracles. (Lesson 2).

Lotus by Simon

One of our guiding principles at Light Tree is that elements of Truth can be found among most spiritual traditions and modern thought systems. It is helpful when a principle repeats itself across a variety of traditions; this usually reveals an aspect of universal truth that is worth paying attention to.

For example, Buddhism, modern psychology and A Course in Miracles discuss the idea that humans tend to project seeming unpleasant thoughts outward on to others. Projection appears to be a common way in which aspects of our mind can be viewed when we look at people and places that seem to be apart from us.

If we are sincere about self exploration, the easiest way to see what is going on within our mind is to notice what is being projected outward onto the screen we see all around us. The projections are merely neutral, but we create our own meaning based on our past experience. They serve to show us the places that are yet to be healed from guilt and fear.

Many of our projections seem to revolve around ideas of guilt and unworthiness. When we perceive any kind of scarcity or ugliness outside ourselves we can be pretty sure it’s our own mind showing us places of fear. We often judge and label others when all we are seeing are aspects of ourselves that are crying out for acceptance.

This is why it is important to dwell in equanimity and forgive ourselves for believing in the illusions we have created. We may have believed that fear keeps us safe in some way, but in reality it is only by bringing gentle awareness to these frightened parts of ourselves that we can find real peace.

The key word is gentle. Our terrified inner self will only relax and open to healing if it does not feel rushed or threatened. Anger and threat of punishment only make it hide or lash out in defensiveness.

If we are ruthless at all, it is in our determination to see what is true and apply all our resources to send love to that frozen part. When we start to thaw these aspects of ourselves that seem cut off from the rest, we find the deep peace that is part of our wholeness. We know ourselves to be worthy and invulnerable when we hold our projections with ‘utmost gentle affection’ and are willing to see ourselves in a new light.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Love Without Conditions

When you establish conditions on love, you experience the conditions, not the love”

From Everyday Wisdom by Paul Ferrini

Esquimalt 2013

This week at Light Tree we looked deeply and noticed that we had surrounded ourselves by a fortress of things we believed made us safe or comfortable in some way. While this may be helpful in the short term, it does not help us to undo our dependence on external objects to make us feel happy and secure.

We became aware that our relationship to these ‘good things’ such as special food, clothing, people, animals, cars etc. are all ways we think we keep ourselves safe. While we believed that we were embracing life as fully as possible, in reality we were making sure we were doing it from a place of familiarity and safety. This kind of thinking comes from the ‘little me’ or ego self which is limited in perception and feels utterly powerless, despite its efforts to appear tough and in control.

This is why it is important to keep the practice of resting in the peace of our True Nature at the forefront of our endeavour to find real happiness. We cannot pick and choose only the good bits. This only leads to an endless cycle of desire and disappointment. We can only move through life loving and blessing everything that comes into our awareness while forgiving ourselves for believing that the seemingly undesirable has any real power to hurt us.

We are learning to live life without conditions. When start to notice that we only want something for what fleeting happiness it might bring us we can simply sit back and be curious. What seems to be charming me into believing it has special powers, when in fact it has no real ability to bring lasting happiness and peace?

We don’t need to feel guilty when we are fooled, once again, into riding the merry-go-round of desire and disappointment. It’s only another opportunity to heal a confused part of our mind. We don’t have to engage with it, or try to tweak it somehow. We simply notice and let it go with compassion and forgiveness.

This is the power of resting in our creator, however we might perceive them. When we remember that we are part of a cosmic whole that supports and sustains each breath, we do not need to love with a vast range of conditions and preferences.

Its all ok, nothing is missing that needs our ‘little me’ to try and fix or improve it in some way. We can surrender to what feels true in our hearts and let go of the rest. We are unconcerned about outcomes because we know it’s handled by something wiser and greater. What a relief!

We can relax and be at peace, anywhere, anytime. No conditions required.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Don't believe everything you think!

“The mind has an experience, and we translate it into an image. There is a deeper sense of something that’s happening, but the mind can only experience it in terms of thoughts and images”.

Gabor Maté  (When the body says No, 2004)

Melanie 2012

As a person living with chronic illness I have noticed that it is tempting to let the mind follow the body’s symptoms and make up stories about what is happening, or what may happen in the future. It likes to be dramatic at times and I am reminded of the bumper sticker that says, “You don’t have to believe everything you think”.

If we can just sit and witness our minds frantic attempts to make sense of its perceptions, it’s easier to touch into the deeper knowing that lies beneath the discomfort. It’s tempting to get hooked by the drama of the story, but most of the time it is only thoughts and images trying to get our attention to a deeper layer of meaning.

If we are able to remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience it’s easier to come back to center and get back in touch with our true nature. Perhaps we can hang out with the panicking part and hold it in our mind with love, just as if we are comforting a small child. Sometimes we need to call on someone else to assist us because we feel too overwhelmed to cope.

When I am consumed by fear and dread it’s a sure sign I think I am cut off from my source. I cannot hear, see or feel clearly. The doorway to my inner guidance seems closed and I feel alone and scared.

This is when I am grateful to my regular meditation practice. It makes it much easier to come back to center and not run around outside of myself looking for answers. When I do this, my worst fears are more easily confirmed because I invite others to join my fear experience in order to confirm it and make it appear even more real.

Instead, I can sit with my own dear Self and be curious about what wants to happen. I use my felt sense to dive a bit deeper down and ask Spirit to guide me, teach me, show me.

In this way infinite possibilities are available to me and I am more likely to see the situation differently. I don’t paper it over by having a ‘positive attitude’ but look honestly and with trust that I will be shown what I need to know. I don’t have to rush off and fix anything because it will reveal itself when I am ready. I am deepening my awareness that I there is much more to me than just a body.

Perhaps it has been trying to remind me about this all along….

Saturday, January 19, 2013


"The traditional image for equanimity is a banquet to which everyone is invited. That means that everyone and everything, without exception, is on the guest list. Consider your worst enemy. Consider someone who would do you harm. Imagine inviting them to this feast.

Training in equanimity is learning to open the door to all, welcoming all beings, inviting life to come visit. Of course, as certain guests arrive, we’ll feel fear and aversion. We allow ourselves to open the door just a crack if that’s all that we can presently do, and we allow ourselves to shut the door when necessary. 

Cultivating equanimity is a work in progress. We aspire to spend our lives training in the loving-kindness and courage that it takes to receive whatever appears—sickness, health, poverty, wealth, sorrow, and joy. We welcome and get to know them all."

Pema Chodron (The Places That Scare You) www.shambala.com

Welcome to 2013! As we suspected, the world did not disappear along with the end of the Mayan Calendar. However, at Light Tree it does seem as though a new era has arrived. As we have been collectively clearing away some of the heaviness there seems to be a new clarity emerging. We want more transparency, accountability, truthfulness. We don’t want to participate in the BS anymore because it just keeps the story spinning even longer.

One of our practices has been the acceptance, blessing and transformation of things we have have held in judgment. Pema Chodron might call this dwelling in equanimity. We simply take what appears on the screen of our awareness and view it with benign curiosity. We witness. We 'feel into it' to find out what might still linger there for us, waiting to be healed.

It has been helpful to join regularly to share how we are doing with this process. It can seem difficult sometimes, especially when we feel stuck or triggered by something that seems unjust. Perceiving others as left out of society, physically violated, or impoverished can be viewed as our inner self crying out for some kind of recognition. For us, joining and asking Spirit to show us another way to see the situation is essential. We want to see with new eyes…

We don’t have to do it all at once. We can go at our own pace. Sometimes the images seem terrifying and overwhelming. Instead of turning away, we can practice hanging out with them a while. After a while, the boogie man isn’t nearly as powerful or scary; we notice how he is simply a reflection of our inner world waiting to be transformed.