A new feminine leadership paradigm: Healing trauma though resilient hierarchy and mutually empowering relationships



Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

I have always longed for deep and powerful leadership. A leader who creates a space of respect and empowerment for all. Where each member’s value is appreciated. Where the ebbs and flows within the community are seen with eyes of wisdom, and are handled with great skill. Where everyone feels they belong and are contributing a valuable part to the wholeness of community.

This month’s article is inspired by deep words from a Heal Your Heart Through Meditation community member. She brings up important issues, arising from her longing for a new leadership paradigm. Her words touched on my own longing. I propose this as the basic question arising from a longing shared by many:

How can we define a new leadership paradigm that is healthier than the male-dominated, hierarchical, top-down, oppressive, life-snuffing, inspiration-killing, and abuse-prone structured paradigm we’ve lived within for decades, and perhaps even centuries?

The quote below is shared with permission by our HYHTM community member. She engaged a deep insight process and emerged with the following pearl of longing:

Is it possible to create a program that is structured in a way that feels supportive, organic and developmental (which I think yours does [Heal Your Heart Through Meditation]) but at the same time, not fall into the male hierarchical structure that is top down and prone, I believe, to misuse and negative power imbalances?

I just wonder if the female inspired path can create something a little different. Structured but not too top down hierarchical, something like that?

I guess I know what I am seeking, and I am wondering if others would create it…and I certainly respect the time and effort it takes to create such programs so I believe women should empower each other to financially support each other as well etc…

I must first acknowledge some trepidation as I enter into responding to these thoughts. I just came out of a two-year healing retreat last Wednesday, and I have been reflecting intensively on these issues in light of my leadership of Buddhist Project Sunshine. In fact, this was the topic of a counselling session I had last week with my now former counsellor, Leland Maerz. (We contracted to do six sessions together, and this session was the sixth.)

Leland is a strong justice advocate himself, in the domain of domestic violence. He said in our last session that he sees me as one of the greatest whistleblowers of our century because of the wisdom and skill with which I lead Buddhist Project Sunshine. I was surprised by his statement. I’m going to be transparent in saying I am currently grappling with my leadership style.

I am going to begin by teasing out two topics that I see embedded in this courageous community member’s statement. First, she speaks about meditation programs, such as Heal Your Heart Through Meditation. Second, I feel she is speaking about a more feminine style of leadership.

Topic 1: Meditation programs structured as supportive, organic and developmental

In terms of the first topic, I love what she says about having a meditation program that “feels supportive, organic and developmental.” Being transparent about my own experience, I grew up in the Shambhala cult with emotionally absent parents. This was a double whammy in my experience, and together these two facets severely impacting my childhood development.

The silver lining is it caused me to immerse myself in a steep learning curve in adult life to develop emotionally, relationally and my sense of identity.

I lived in Toronto for 19 years, and I worked with master healers, including top relational therapists, two indigenous shamans and the imminent energy psychologist, Dr. Joan Beattie. With strong mentorship, I did a lot of healing and development out of my state of childhood wounding, walking through great blazing healing initiations, and I formed a personal sense of identity and responsibility as a citizen of our world.

After this therapy and other healing, I did a Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). In my degree I specialized in trauma healing, and applied each academic course to my journey of learning about developmental and relational healing.

Through all of this, I have grown a profound respect for each individual’s unique process of human development. Therefore I strive to create a space in Heal Your Heart Through Meditation that weaves together two aspects: (1) the space is palpably gentle and permissive, and (2) it evokes eustress (positive stress) through shepherding my courageous students to keep moving forward in their healing and meditation practice. My shamanic training informs how to create an organic process for this in Heal Your Heart Through Meditation.

This describes how I create a healing/feeling/organic-growing space in the program. Let us now move to the second topic, the longing for a healthier and more feminine leadership style.

Topic 2: A new paradigm of feminine leadership

This is new and juicy terrain, and I feel it’s risky territory to enter. I am a woman who has taken incredible risks in the past, knowing risk is the doorway to creating new worlds. So let’s take this risk of this discussion together, shall we?

Part of managing my risk here is to invite you to participate in this dialog. We must include a diversity of perspectives to truly form a strong new paradigm.

My approach today is to put out some initial thoughts, which I will call “puzzle pieces,” that I am currently working with, and hopefully with some more pieces that *you* bring from your experience, we can create a more complete picture.

Puzzle piece 1: I hosted a series of community discussions in the Fall of 2020, and in one of those discussions we talked about the abuse of male leaders of spiritual communities. All of the women present at that discussion had gone through an experience of profound spiritual betrayal within such a community. There was a natural aversion and even repudiation of hierarchy amongst the participants of this discussion.

We first took time to acknowledge the betrayals, wounds and resulting caution from those experiences. Then I proposed we face the fact that some people train themselves deeply and have something to offer to others from that extensive training.

Do we regard those people simply as our equals? Do we honour them for what they worked to achieve and are now sharing with us? How do we properly relate with teachers who have developed something unique and valuable? How do we relate in a way that allows us to connect with them in positive ways and receive the gifts they are sharing with us? I don’t think that coming with a hard shell of defensiveness allows for the communication and honour needed to receive gifts from a master.

The conversation participants agreed.

In my own experience, I aspire to hold masters up with the honour they deserve. I recognize their gifts, as well as their work and sacrifice to serve as a teacher. I also know that we are all human, and if they behave badly, I will call it out to be addressed and give them an opportunity to grow.

Puzzle piece 2: In 2018 another treasured member of my community recommended a book to me, “Reinventing Organizations,” by Frederic Laloux. This is a powerful book in its analysis of different types of organizations, and the role that hierarchy plays in each type. Laloux proposes there has been an evolution through history of organizations, and the currently most evolved organization type he calls, “teal organizations”. It’s been a couple of years since I read this book, so I’m going purely on my memory – so forgive any mistakes, please!

In teal organizations there is a founder who establishes core values for the organization, and then through an organic process they transmit those core values in a way that people in the organization begin living them without a top down hierarchy. The founder steps back and serves as a coach, when asked by a team within the organization that feels they need support. If core values are getting lost, the founder will step in and reassert the values in an organic way that empowers members of the organization to step up and live the values.

I love the vision for the teal organization. I love that Laloux provides numerous examples of existing teal organizations, proving it can be a reality. I continue to explore how this might work with the communities I lead.

Puzzle piece 3: I have started a number of communities and organizations, and although I have tried to create collective leadership, it has always failed. For instance, with Buddhist Project Sunshine I first tried to gather women leaders who had been harmed within Shambhala to heal together and then lead the initiative together. Their response was to beg me to abandon my project, because they were afraid I would get hurt. If I had listened to them, none of the suppressed harm would ever have been exposed.

Mid-way in the project a collective circle was forming, and I thought we could be a group leading together. However, strange dynamics started happening where the men in the circle were shutting down the voices of women survivors and demanding all the attention. I formed this initiative to hold up the voices of survivors, and I found this behaviour was sucking the life force from the project. So I ended that circle and continued forward as the solo leader.

In a much simpler example, during my Christian journey I was hosting an Easter dinner for friends from the LGBT Catholic group I was part of. I did not invite one man who was a straight ally, because he was rather dissociated and often brought strange energy into the mix. A week or so before the dinner, we were all having brunch one morning after mass, and one of my invited guests suggested in front of the straight ally that I could always make room for another person at the table and invite the ally. I said no.

Now I felt really rotten about this, because it seemed uncharitable and un-christian of me. I felt so guilty, I brought it up with one of my professors at Regis, the Jesuit College where I was studying. To my surprise my professor complimented my decision. She said that if I had allowed the dissociated man to join, it would have been a very different space for everyone. In fact, I had done something good in protecting the space so that my guests would be able to be more open and vulnerable with each other.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I spoke with my counsellor about my leadership of Buddhist Project Sunshine, he said similar things about my decisions in Buddhist Project Sunshine. He said that what he saw is that I made difficult decisions to protect the life and vitality of the project, fully aware of the possible harm I might be doing to those who I excluded from the leadership circle.

All I can say is that I am passionate about protecting space so people can be vulnerable, heal and authentically pursue their spiritual path. And it really sucks when I need to step in and remove someone from leadership. However, in the end, the group feels safe, and that seems important. It seems important to strong leadership. I do my very, very, very best to minimize any hurt someone might feel when I remove them from leadership.

I believe we all have different and valuable gifts. Some people have strong leadership skills. Others have other valuable skills. If we try to make everyone exactly the same and form collective leadership, it can become watered down and wishy washy. This leadership will never lead profound and brilliant communities.

Puzzle piece 4: I experience myself being more clear and visionary than many people I lead. I feel alone in this, and I long to share leadership power.

I also know that an inherent aspect of my leadership is that I welcome everyone sharing the gifts they possess. I know that everyone has a valued place in community. Many community experiences are pioneering experiences. Since they are so new, it feels important to me to solicit input and wisdom from the community. (Like I am doing here, in asking you to contribute your thoughts on this subject.)

We are all human, and we all have our unique connection with wisdom. I value learning from other people’s perspectives and the hard won wisdom from their life experience. And what they have to say creates more wholeness for the community wisdom.

I first learned of the notion of mutually empowering relationships at least two decades ago, and since I first heard of it, this ideal has been dear to my heart. It comes from the feminist researchers connected with the Stone Center for Developmental Services and Studies at Wellesley College. You can read about their ideas in the book, “The Healing Connection: How Women Form Relationships in Therapy and in Life.”

There is enough on this one topic to warrant a book, and it goes beyond the scope of this article. The one thing I will highlight from their research is the idea of zest. These feminist researchers claim that one of the aspects of mutually empowering relationships is they have zest – they give all parties in the relationship a sense of zest for life. I feel this particular quality is important, especially in communities impacted by trauma. We all deserve to come out of the shadows of trauma and live relationships that fill us with zest!

For me as a hierarchical leader who invites high engagement from members, I experience zest in walking the “tight wire”: on one side actively encouraging participation, and on the others side when someone has fallen into a bad energy, addressing it if it is impacting the whole. Since I often find myself with the clarity to discern this, I find myself in a lonely place of holding the space, holding the higher perspective, and guiding communities forward into bright new spaces.

Puzzle piece 5: Accountability in hierarchy. Since I often find myself with a unique level of clarity, and at the same time holding inviting space for other’s contributions, I have been developing a new leadership paradigm which I am calling resilient hierarchy with mutually empowering relationships.

It’s not comfortable for me to say I am a hierarchical leader, because I long for the collective leadership vision that I spoke of at the beginning of Buddhist Project Sunshine.

In my last session with Leland I spoke about my discomfort with practicing hierarchical leadership, and he asked me how I, as leader, safeguard against causing harms. I told him that I strongly rely on my spiritual practice to help me stay grounded and coming from a perspective of compassion. I also practice very deep self-care and make sure I get into nature regularly.

I spoke to him about having “checks and balances”. I am constantly looking at myself and assessing, “Is what I am doing fair? Is it uplifting the situation? Is it empowering the people I’m working with?” I constantly evaluate myself. This close scrutiny comes from my having seen the impacts of abuse from leaders. It is very important to me to lead from a place of deep integrity. When I fall short in my integrity, I do deep debriefs with mentors and counsellors and ensure I learn the lessons there for me to safeguard against ever making those mistakes again.

I’ve laid out some puzzle pieces here that might be useful for a new leadership paradigm. I know I have much to learn from others, and I would love to hear your ideas for how we can create a new paradigm of feminine leadership. Please do share below, or respond further through my community needs survey . Your contribution will lead to a better understanding for what can be possible.

If you are interested in checking out Heal Your Heart Through Meditation, you can try a free 2-week trial, PLUS it is on sale in the month of May – you can get it for 50%.

Why must our inner child be included in trauma-informed meditation?



Photo by Jhon David on Unsplash

I am grateful for the engagement this past month in our community needs survey! A warm thank you to everyone who participated. 

The energy this month was directed towards wondering what trauma-informed meditation is and exploration of what can open up to blossom when we include our inner child in our meditation practice.

I will put the words of community members in bold and respond below to their words. Each of these people gave permission to include their words in this blog.

Needs survey question: Are you interested in trauma-informed meditation? If yes, please share more about your interest.

Yes. Not sure what it would look like. 

I was brought up in a Tibetan Buddhist community where profound meditation practices were explored with no awareness of or attention to trauma dynamics, boundaries or the inner child. The strong drive towards spiritual fulfillment coupled with active suppression of red flags regarding sexual misconduct proved fertile ground for gross spiritual betrayal and harm in my community. 

We’ve seen this dynamic in many spiritual traditions, including the well-known sexual exploitation in the Catholic church.

I would suggest this harm is made possible and perhaps even fostered by the combination of strong needs for spirituality at the expense of and suppression of other basic human needs.

When we start to talk about trauma-informed meditation, we are opening up a space for a wider spectrum of needs, needs for spirituality along with safety, autonomy, respect, being seen, being heard, and other emotional, relational and physical needs.

In the Heal Your Heart Through Meditation (HYHTM) program we include energy psychology to release trauma blocks within the body and emotions. We also listen for and work closely with our inner child. One of the greatest gifts of working with your inner child is s/he gives you access to knowing your quieter, more subtle needs. 

Gaining access to this subtle knowledge empowers you to then act and get your deeper needs met. This allows the practitioner to form a fuller and more robust meditation practice.

Another community member who has completed the Heal Your Heart Through Meditation program wrote:

Intentionally embracing my inner child at the beginning of each meditation is helping me to connect with the vulnerability of feeling and connecting with chronic fear and slowly, gently transform this fear to a felt sense of safety and ease.

Many who have experienced trauma go through life with a hardened armour around their heart and around their feelings. It’s like a layer of shellack around those soft places, and it is created by speed – by quickly skirting around or jumping over anything threatening. 

Meditation in the HYHTM program offers a slowed down space to begin to *feel* again. We create a space of safety where even decades old fears can become less intimidating, and we can begin to see how to touch them, tend them, and move through them, as this community member so eloquently describes.

Another community member who is currently in the HYHTM program wrote:

Having a safe container – something I have felt intensely on 7 day silent retreats (I’ve never had the fortune of doing a longer one) – is really very important to me. So thank you so so much for encouraging me to create my own “shrine” and safe place AND to invite my inner child to come. 

Today she was very present in my meditation and so was the loving kindness and the tears, oh the tears! I saw her before me, all sweetness and purity, and I saw her journey of pain and pleasure and getting oh so lost, I saw it emanate and unfold from inside of her, I saw her journey to come, and I just loved her as a loving parent and I asked her to bring it all, and I held her in my heart chakra and it was very intense and now I feel a little shaky but it is ok and it is good and although it is not an easy process and one that needs deep and compassionate grounding, I believe in the alchemic power of the heart chakra that can integrate all things, through love and compassion.

Since I was brought up in a strong meditative tradition, I bring a robust firmness to the way I teach meditation. At the same time, I understand the kind of deep tenderness that is needed for healing trauma. I combine this firm strength and tenderness in my approach to guiding courageous students in the HYHTM program. 

In other communities, meditation learners are called students. I’d like to establish a different tradition in the HYHTM community and call learners, “courageous students”. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. The students of this program engage meditation with their hearts and they *are* very brave. Therefore, they are courageous students!

The HYHTM courageous students get one small exercise each day, so it is an easier load. The exercises are also part of a game, which allows for some lightness, play and fun. I feel this gentleness is necessary for any trauma healing.

At the same time, over the course of seven weeks, the courageous student creates a full, complete and rich meditation practice. Some courageous students have described this program as deceptively effective.

As courageous students grow their trust and tenderness within the careful and caring process of the program, they are enabled to establish a tender relationship with their inner child and have beautiful and heart-full breakthroughs like thie courageous student described above.

It may even be helpful to bring in the term “emotional literacy” here, which has been identified as critical to success in business and life. The quote above speaks to this courageous student’s growing knowledge of her emotional needs and flows; her emotional literacy is at a high level. Her words show how we need to start to talk about emotional literacy in meditation to deepen the possibilities of meditation for the modern Western world.

From my heart, I thank the community members who have stepped forward and engaged so beautifully this month. It is a true joy and pleasure to respond to you!

With all my love,

Andrea

I’m hosting a special

Live Spring Energy Event

featuring Singer/Song writer Ben Black

Please join us!

Non-Blog: A feminine response to things going wrong



Love Yourself
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In the midst of things going wrong, wouldn’t you love to feel that everything’s going to be okay? My aim in this non-blog is for you to have a felt experience of “Everything’s going to be okay”, and for you to be able to bring that felt experience into anything that may be going “wrong” in your life.

Okay, let’s set the scene…

Exhibit 1: I was brought up in a Tibetan Buddhist community with systemic corruption and sexualized violence. Crappy! A lot going wrong! And my response has been to put integrity as my number one value in how I live my life.

Exhibit 2: Last July I committed to offer a blog of value every month for one year to my deeply honoured Tribe.

Exhibit 3: This week the blog for March was just not happening.

Yikes! What happened this week?

  • No one responded to the February community needs survey, so I had no point of focus
  • Thursday I went to work on the Blog and was guided to a 2 hour program on Unicorns. I purchased the program and then did the program, and was introduced to my Unicorn guide, Blue.
  • Blue said to let the transformation of the Unicorn program gel for a few days
  • Fast forward to Saturday. I went to the park and had a wonderful experience feeding chickadees sunflower seeds by hand. Many of them came that day. I love the experience of their little feet grasping my finger and their happiness in plucking a couple of seeds from my palm. Very special! And I stayed longer than planned feeding the chickadees.
  • I returned home to write the blog, and Blue advised me to take a nap. The nap was great!
  • But still no blog…

Now remember: Integrity is my main value. I was entering into the soul crushing domain after promising you a blog and having no blog to offer.

I set up my diffusor Saturday night at bed time with an essential oil blend called, “Surrender,” because it seemed the sane direction to go at that point.

Sunday I reached out to my good friend and colleague, Diane Young, and ran my dilemma by her. Diane has a lovely warm, wise and flowing way about her. She responded, “Why not write about this process, because everyone has had the experience of something not working as planned.”

Magic!

And here we are with my first non-blog.

Diane is passionate about astrology. She said we just had a full moon in Virgo, which is about keeping routines. We also just experienced the Sun conjunct Venus, which is about encouraging you to take “me time”, ie relax, take time for yourself, take a nap. There was a distinct conflict happening astrologically last week between keeping routines and taking time for self. She pointed out I was experiencing this conflict in my attempt to write a blog. This was a wonderful sanity check!

What can be learned from this?

What might be your takeaway from this non-blog?

  1. It is important to honour your rhythms
  2. Enjoy feeding chickadees (and other experiences that delight you!)
  3. Know when to surrender… Allow flow. Allow grace. Allow ease.
  4. Reach out to community when you are stuck.
  5. Trust the Universe. It will provide.
  6. Honour your commitments AND your wellbeing by growing through the tricky spots with creativity and integrity.
  7. Understand the love beneath your commitments, and let that love illuminate the promise.

? ? ? I’m sending a lot of pink love out to you with this post ? ? ?

I’m wishing some grace for you today to find the way through your tricky spots. There seems to be an endless supply of support and creative options, if we can only open our hearts to the basis of goodness and care always available within life.

To join my community, click here

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Being able to feel love: Some personal reflections on Tango and our capacity for intimacy



Instructors Deborah Sclarduring (cq)(left) and Brian Dunn (cq)(right) smile while dancing during a class on Tango Dancing at PreEminence Hall in Boulder, Colorado June 16, 2007. (DAILY CAMERA/Mark Leffingwell)

The pandemic has taken a great toll on all of us. If we’re honest, the extended stress, physical distancing, and profound loss and grief have made it harder to *feel*. The most popular topic on last month’s community survey was, “being able to feel love”. This topic couldn’t have come at a better time!

As I reflected on the community’s topic, I thought back to my years in Toronto when I studied Argentinian Tango. It is a dance of feeling and of sharing love. In fact, Tango is so intimate, it was a challenge to find a photo that communicates the real spirit of this exquisite dance. I was pleased to find the one above.

Tango arose at a time when couples were separated because of work-related migration patterns. Even as lovers were apart, they still had human needs for closeness and intimacy. Tango arose as a safe and respectful way to have physical intimacy with someone other than your spouse, without it breaking your vow.

In addition, Tango developed in the context of men outnumbering women about five to one. This gave a man a big incentive to give his female dance partner a pleasurable experience so she would want to dance with him again, and not the other four men waiting to dance with her. Tango movements developed to make the woman feel good, which is a big reason why Tango can be such an intimate and lovely experience.

I want to make a note here and say that Tango is a very gender-fluid dance. When we refer to “man”, we really refer to the leader – the one proposing the movements. Many men dance tango with men especially when they are training, and women dance with women. It would be incorrect to refer to the woman as the follower, since the woman has the choice of whether or not to accept the leader’s proposed next move. She might not, and he’ll have to try something else.

So in Tango there are equal, yet different – complementary roles. Both require a high level of skill, and that is because the dance is not choreographed. The partners must engage in a present emotional intimacy to communicate through their bodies with each other. This means opening one’s heart to *feeling* the heart of your dance partner, so you can dance well together.

It includes awkwardness. It includes vulnerability. It includes taking risks. It includes making mis-steps. And it includes being willing to open your heart and feel platonic human love to work well together and enjoy the dance.

So how might we learn something from the beautiful experience of Argentinian Tango for feeling love during this pandemic?

First, let’s acknowledge the certain death of heart if we close ourselves off from authentically connecting with people. Don’t go there, please!

If we can’t physically touch others, we can still extend kindness. We can extend courtesy on public transit, whether that is making space for someone boarding, thanking the bus driver, or simply saying a kind good morning to another passenger. They may not respond, but at least you are sewing seeds of love into the world, and that’s going to open your heart to feeling more love.

We can also get creative and explore new ways to connect with friends, family and other loved ones. If you have been reduced to getting together on Zoom, then make your Zoom get together special! Here are some ideas to kick off your creativity:

  • Create a colorful and meaningful invitation and send it with a bit of flare. 
  • Set up as a festive tea/coffee date where each of you bring a special drink. Share your drink choices when you get on the call. Wow each other!
  • Make a cooking date where you decide a recipe you are going to cook, each buy the ingredients, open up your Zooms, and make the same dish together in your separate kitchens

Is it possible to be nurtured by a Zoom call? 

People attending my Zoom programs have remarked at how warm their hearts feel by the end of the program. Part of that is my leadership (as in Tango), where I set a tone of heart, kindness, and being very present and authentic with each other. They feel my care.

The equally important part is the willingness of the participants to step into that space of authenticity and share their wisdom and about what they need so we can attend to it. We co-create a space of warmth, care, wisdom and humanity that nourishes our spirits in these desolate pandemic times.

What I am proposing is that the spirit and heart that you sew into reaching out to people in your life can be meaningful. It doesn’t have to be a shallow email or a shallow Zoom call.

It can be a deeply heart-full email or Zoom call if you invest your feeling, your presence and your heart. 

Drawing on the Tango analogy… If you are willing to be present with your awkwardness and vulnerability, and hold space for your partner to be awkward and vulnerable, it makes it more real. If you sometimes take on the role of leading and proposing a “move,” then respectfully listen for how your partner receives it (ie, invite them to a festive Zoom tea). You can also respond with some grace and warmth when someone reaches out to you with a proposed “move” (ie, send a heart touching response to your loved one and add an emoji or two).

We truly create our experience, and even within a pandemic, we can dig a little deeper into how we love people. I invite you to explore how you can attend more deeply to your own heart and to the hearts of those around you this month so you are able to feel more love.

To support you in greasing your emotional intimacy wheels, I am offering a sale this month on Heal Your Heart Through Meditation.

To join my community, click here.

A special treat for those who read to the bottom of the page… This short video demonstrates the qualities of Tango that I talk about in this article. Enjoy!


Gustavo Naveira y Giselle Anne en Salon Canning

Would you like to know the key to courage?



Photo by Stillness InMotion on Unsplash

As we move as a world community through the crisis of the pandemic, one of the biggest hurdles to working together is the stark polarization among views. Many people have grabbed on to an extreme view (doesn’t matter which one for this discussion), and they are arguing for this view to their last breath.

Why such polarization? And why such fierce defending of extreme views?

I would suggest the root is fear. Fear is a highly contagious emotional state. Just watch a flock of birds or a herd of deer when one member is startled. The whole group goes into panic and flees. Are we witnessing episodes of this fear contagion globally during this pandemic?

Why else would some people swing to such extreme views? Why else would they be stubbornly unwilling to hear alternative views? And why is there so little discourse about the middle ground?

Many people are afraid and in their own emotional “lock down” mode. Is this a trauma response?

What can reach such locked down hearts? Many people are struggling intensely with loneliness, fear about money, fear for their loved ones, uncertainty about the future, fear of the unknown, anxiety about the world going in the wrong direction, and fear of being unable to cope or manage. Is there a pharmaceutical company that can produce a pill that addresses this kind of fear?

I would suggest, no. Sure, they might be able to provide a pill that numbs the heart, but so far as I know, no company has produced a “bravery” pill.

What if I told you that the single best remedy for anxiety costs nothing and is accessible anywhere and at any time

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, in our increasingly complicated world, I fear we have lost some of the basic and practical wisdom of our elders. I challenging us to pull back some of that basic wisdom to serve us as we enter into 2021.

What do you think? Can we just run fast enough to be able to outrun our fears? Can we take the fear and put it in a box – maybe a soundproof box? Or maybe pull out our sword and kill our fear? Could that bring us to a steadier, more confident and engaged place?

I don’t know about you, but these strategies never work for me. Instead, it is this simple act of courage that works unfailingly for me: I choose to be present with my fear. I slow down, sit down, and become familiar with it.

It is the pushing away of fear that gives it strength (and an unearthly scariness!). When I choose to slow my thought process down, tune into my heart, and actually feel what is going on in my heart, my fear gets acknowledged and it begins to soften and slow down too. It is very much like getting to know another person. Being curious. Being open and kind. Being patient. These behaviours work miracles with fear.

As most of you know, I was brought up in a Buddhist community where I was taught that meditation is the ultimate act of a bravery. Willingness to sit down quietly and be with my mind in a kind, caring and courageous way is the way to develop inner strength and fortitude. Rather than being run over by spinning fears, we can develop the strength to be steady and to walk the road ahead.

The Buddha called this the middle way, and I can’t help but wonder if his ancient wisdom may provide the guidance needed in these highly polarized times.

I am empowering my community to have the best year ever in 2021! I’m offering a free 2021 New Year’s Empowerment Series. Join me in initiating a well-balanced, inspired and fully empowered 2021!

And saving the best for last… see the exciting launch of the new gamified meditation course: Heal Your Heart Through Meditation.

Is “Stay safe” a dangerous thing to say?



Since the pandemic began, it seems the most popular thing people close their emails with is, “Stay safe”. Today I’m calling out the dangerous underbelly of that message.

When people tell me to “stay safe”, I know they are not intentionally wishing harm. I suspect, however, they have not thought about the underlying message they are communicating. 

Here is what I hear: “Behave in ways that protect your safety.” “Organize your life in ways to ensure you are safe.” I have a vision of putting on a thick jacket and me wrapping my arms tightly around myself, huddled inward to weather the storm. It is an inward focused, defensive posture.

These words bring to mind the notion of gated communities (also called walled communities).  These are communities with strictly enforced exclusion of non-residents or unauthorized visitors, often in the form of physical walls with security entry points. They are supposed to offer a controlled environment that protects residents from crime. However, statistically people living in gated communities experience just as much crime as those in normal communities.

I think the reason I’ve been feeling a rub every time someone sends me the “stay safe” message is because I was brought up in a community that actively taught the value of courage, and if ever there was a time for courage, it is now. I learned courage through the feeling imprinted into my physical body in meditation practice: sitting with a strong, upright back and a soft, open chest. This posture embodies both dignity and vulnerability, strength and kindness. From a lifetime of exploring this posture, I have come to believe it is an ideal way to train ourselves for living a good life, no matter what the external circumstances.

There is perhaps a natural reflexive response to the pandemic that encourages “huddling in” to weather the storm. However, we are unable to have much vision when we are looking down, with our head enveloped in a fur-lined hood for protection. Our decisions and activities are likely to lean towards reacting to things, rather than taking in the full scope of choices and making proactive decisions.

So rather than “staying safe,” I’m suggesting we raise our body upright with dignity, feel the softness and vulnerability of our humanity, take a steady gaze toward the horizon and from here, we can best navigate through the pandemic. Rather than “weathering the storm”, we could use the multi-faceted challenges of this situation to grow as human beings, develop new skills, and dig deeper into our potential for compassion and grow our connections and community.

Perhaps we could close our emails with, “Let’s meet today’s challenges well and always remember our hearts!”

As part of my own vulnerable process of digging deeper, I’m writing 12 of these monthly newsletters to respond to the needs identified in our monthly community needs survey (the link is in this month’s newsletter email). The top need identified in last month’s survey was, “Overcoming internal barriers to accepting love and help”. 

This need is directly related to the “Stay safe” discussion above. Whether we put up walls in response to the pandemic or to past trauma, those walls not only keep out “the bad”, they keep the good out too. It is understandable as a first response to trauma that we need to go into “lock down” mode, to stabilize and ensure a basic level of safety. However, it is unhealthy to continue in that walled-in way long term.

We need connection and flow with the outside world. Circulation is a sign of health. We see this on the level of our physical body and its circulation of blood. We also see it in the world in our exchanges in conversations, relationships and even financial exchanges.

So how can we come out of lockdown mode after a traumatic experience, so we are able to accept love and help? Trauma healing wisdom tells us that we can build trust by taking calculated risks. Calculated risks are in contrast to blind leaps of faith. A calculated risk involves assessing if the person we are taking the risk with has shown themselves to be reasonably stable and emotionally available. We can explore taking a small step beyond our previous zone of safety. The advice is a small step so we are not devastated if it does not work out. We can also let the person know that we are experimenting with trust, so they can be more attuned to our vulnerability. These are ways to experiment with building trust and intelligently begin to take down our walls to build healthy intimacy. 

And if one experiment does not work out and we get hurt, it does not need to be the end of building our capacity to learn trust. Building our capacity to be more open and trust is built over a number of experiments. As we build more and more positive experiences of vulnerability, we build our capacity to ask for and receive love and help.

I hope there is something useful here for you or someone you know. I’ve decided to hold another community healing Zoom this month – on November 11th. 

The topic for this month’s Community Healing Zoom is

Healthy boundaries: Increasing our capacity for intimacy

If you would like to join us, sign up here

Dialog is one of the most enriching way to create new ways of responding to the pandemic and creating vibrant lives. I welcome you posting your thoughts on this blog below and look forward to hearing from you!

“If we can feel love, we surely would feel safe”



Photo by Jenny Godwin used with permission. Jenny says, “The sweet little bird on the be kind barricade is a tanager, one of my favorites. It demarcated the edge of an outdoor dining/street closure area in Salida, CO.”

Is COVID the time of Great Healing? Healing of heart. Healing of mind. Mending our ways of being in the world. For love to be rediscovered – recovered – brought forth to shine. Let us take a few quiet moments together now and explore.

Love requires tenderness. Tenderness requires vulnerability. People who feel they are under attack, whether by past trauma or current challenges like COVID, may find it difficult to face feeling vulnerable.

A community member responded to last month’s topic survey and gave me permission to share their observation, “Being able to feel love this jumped out. If we can feel love we surely would feel safe.” Dear community member, you suggest that by feeling love we will feel safe, and I agree with you. We also need to feel safe to be able to feel love. So what comes first?

I’m wondering… If (1) feeling unsafe and (2) unable to feel love are in deadlock for some of us, how might we create new circuitry within our heart that allows for both safety and love? Such new pathways within and around our heart could allow feelings of safety and love to grow stronger enabling us to live a more stable and abundant life. A kinder life towards ourself and others.

If we go with my metaphor of circuitry… We know that working with electricity must be done with care, or we can be shocked by the current. Similarly, when we are dealing with unresolved trauma, it can suddenly turn explosive, seemingly without warning. The experience can be shocking, and this can lead to feeling “unsafe to go there” — for both a survivor and people around them.

In my view, a good place to begin is with slowing down. It is worth taking our time and understanding how we can work with one wire for safety and one wire for love. Before mixing them, we could turn on safety for a bit, then turn that current off. And then turn on love and feel it for a bit, and then turn it off. We could alternate in the beginning and become more accustomed to the *feeling* of safety and the *feeling* of love. Both may be somewhat unfamiliar for someone recovering from trauma, and it can be wise to begin with small doses and gradually build a greater ability to *feel*. 

When we originally experience trauma, we may shut down much or all of our capacity to feel. This is a common response to trauma – it is a safe guard. A safety fuse, if we continue with the electricity metaphor. It is wise and protects life. It is, however, not fulfilling to live the rest of our life in a shut down state. When we cannot feel, we are missing out on the nourishment of feelings, and most importantly, feeling love.

What might it look like to begin feeling some safety, and then feeling some love, in order to create new Heart Circuitry? I’m going to put myself on the spot and do a little exploration right now of what this can look like for me.

What I have found in my own experience is that taking an hour offline – literally turning my wifi off and putting my phone in airplane mode – can allow me to have some quiet time to myself. I am able to hear my inner world – my inner longings, needs and frivolous thoughts – without the bombardment of outside input. Disengaging in this way helps me develop a loving relationship with myself, and this gives me more grounding and safety. Otherwise I’m living my life coping in overwhelm, and I’m not able to *feel* in that space.

But being alone all the time would be rather hollow. So after my alone time, right now, I am exercising my love muscle. Note: I do not overstate this by using the word, “exercise”. As a survivor of deep trauma, I have to work hard and diligently to develop my love muscle. Breathing into my heart right now, I am experiencing expansiveness that I cannot feel when I am in a narrow defensive place of seeking safety. Actually, it is nourishing to my spirit to take this moment right now and remember how deeply I appreciate my community. You have been very kind to me. I have been kind to you. Remembering how we have grown this connection together helps me feel love (and gratitude!).

I believe in co-creating new understandings, and I believe this is necessary within current-day challenges. I have shared some of my thoughts here. I welcome your responses below. I am also hosting a live community healing Zoom call this month, Rediscovering nurture within community. Just click the link to register. You are welcome to join me so we can speak with each other face-to-face, and grow our understanding of “feeling love and feeling safe” further.

My heart is open to this dialog on being able to feel love, even though it is a bit scary for me. This seems like a worthwhile reason to have a few drops of courage and open the discussion further with you here, and in our Zoom call this month.

These are just a few humble thoughts that I put forward to begin our conversation. I want to thank the community members who voted for this topic on love last month, and for the quote that I was given permission to share about feeling love helping us to feel safe. I bow to my community’s wisdom and our growth together.

Fiercer protection for Mother Earth & The impeachment inquiry into Trump



Mother Earth
Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

I have been heartened by important trends in the news lately. Namely stronger protests happening to bring attention to protecting our home: Mother Earth, including this week’s announcement from the United Nations about the imminent need to decrease green house emissions to ensure survival of life as we know it. I am also heartened by the launch of the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

But I am not naive! I know there are systemic, intergenerational belief patterns that led to the broken relationship with and abuse of our precious earth. Similarly, a collective consciousness led to the election and continued support of Trump (and other populous leaders in the world). I’m seeing traumatized, fragmented pain living an unbridled life, causing more pain. 

Two questions on my mind are (1) What can I/we do to dismantle the ingrained systemic beliefs that created this global crisis? And (2) What can I/we do to support (a) the Earth Protection Protesters and (b) those involved with the impeachment inquiry?

I’d love to know what you think. I’m creating space here for you to share your positive, proactive, empowered and empowering ideas. I’m also creating space for you to share your sadness and grief over what we have done to our planet, and the intergenerational trauma that has impacted us all. Please, you are welcome to share below.

How to deal better in conflicts



I-Quit-peach

 

When you are at your wit’s end and ready to throw in the towel in a conflict, how can you deal with it constructively?

We have been exploring the Heart Chakra, the source and home for the energy of Love. Probably the most common reason our heart shuts down is from getting hurt. We could have a raging fight with someone, or cold distance can creep into a relationship draining the life. Both result in shutting down and losing the feeling of Love.

Today I’d like for us to have a discussion specifically around what we can do when we are in the midst of a conflict and are so hopeless and frustrated that we are ready to walk away from the relationship.

I recently took my first Non-violent Communication Course with a teacher out in Berkley, California, Marina Smirling. I put this very question to her, “What can we do in moments of wanting to throw in the towel?” Her response was imbued with a wisdom that can open the door to a whole new way of living intimacy. I have simplified her process even further so that it is clear and doable in three steps:

First, acknowledge, “Oh my God! Whoa am I triggered!”

Next, have mercy for your humanity in this difficult situation. Physically put your hand on your heart and say the word, “mercy.”

Finally, figure out a time in your schedule when you can quietly sit down with yourself and proactively attend to the needs of the situation.

This simple method can be done in 60 seconds. It is a way of moving out of the space of reactivity so that we are not doing harm either to ourselves or the other person. And it creates an appointment in the near future where we can approach the situation from a place of spaciousness and clarity – an authentic space of inquiry.

If you have a habit of getting so angry that you blow a fuse, this simple practice will be a life changer for you. You will develop the ability to deal far better with conflict, which strengthens your trust in yourself, and others will come to trust you more too! It will open the flow of Love, both for yourself and with the people you care about.

If this touches you, please share your thoughts, reflections and questions in this discussion space below. Let’s dig into this together!

How can we live with more Love?



cup-of-self-love

If we want to live with more love, we need to look at the foundational importance of self-care – caring for ourselves – so that our cup is full and overflowing.

I think we have all had the experience of running on an empty emotional tank. And like heroes we over-extend ourselves to take care of others.

It is utterly draining! It can cause serious physical disease, depression and anxiety. And, unfortunately, this is all too common an experience in today’s society.

Let’s understand the nature of the beast and what we can do to fill our cup with joy and love.

 

Historical role of women

It is worth looking at the socialization we inherited as women. Sensitive, caring men will also relate with this experience.

Women have been socialized to care for others, putting the needs of others first. We were told we are “bad” or “wrong” to take care of ourselves – it’s “selfish”!

We internalize these negative messages and live them out in our daily decisions. In this way we create a life structured around denying our needs.

This leads to situations of running on empty – our tank is empty, and yet we keep giving to others. It saps our life force.

 

What is the cost of sacrificing your self-care?

It can be a healthy step to acknowledge the cost of ignoring your needs. If you feel motivated to engage your own process of healing here today, there is a space below where you can share your answers to these questions.

What is the cost of sacrificing your self-care…

To your health?

To your relationships?

To your work and your financial well-being?

Most tragically, living life from a depleted state sabotages our ability to fulfill our life purpose. We literally don’t have the energy or mind space to attend to what is truly important.

No wonder people get sick and depressed!

 

Contrast – Empty vs Full

It literally feels good to take care of yourself. You feel worthwhile – worthy of care. You feel attended to, rather than giving up and letting the things that are important to you slide off your own plate.

When you take care of your well-being, then you have a rich reservoir from which to give to others. When you live with a full tank, you are empowered to know your personal truth – your life mission – and to live life with vibrant, healthy gusto!

 

Begin living with a full tank

Today’s post is about empowering you with awareness to help shift into more authentic care for yourself. I want to inspire you to organize your life in slightly different ways – ways that attend and nurture your well-being.

Try shifting just one thing in the next week. What is one small thing you can do to care for yourself over the next week? This is a powerful way to shift the scale to weigh in on the side of Love and Joy.

Please join me in this important discussion by sharing your thoughts and experience with self-care below. What are the costs for neglecting your self-care? What small thing are you going to try in the next week to shift the balance towards self-care?

And watch for my email next week with an exercise for your Heart Chakra to fill your cup with loving joy!

I love your comments on the story!



I am blown away by your insightful comments on the Dorothy and Alexandra posts! Susan has brought forward the insight that Dorothy and Alexandra are going to need to create the space to honour what each woman needs in order to feel taken care of and loved through this. But how are they going to be able to create that space given all the drama happening, and specifically Dorothy’s grief process?

Susan also comments, ” So what is she [Dorothy] supposed to do in order to keep her relationship with Alexandra in a good space, while grieving the relationship with Victoria?” This is a challenging question. Dorothy is so caught up in trying to leave Victoria in the right way, and she doesn’t know how to deal with her own feelings about leaving a 13-year relationship. Is it even possible for Dorothy to attend to her relationship with Alexandra in the midst of this?

It obviously hurts Alexandra deeply when Dorothy leaves the relationship to spend time with Victoria. It bothers Mary that Alexandra keeps hanging up the phone on Dorothy. I don’t have a sense that this is Alexandra’s normal behaviour, and it’s a sign that there is too much pressure on the love relationship. Mary suggests the couple needs some time apart, and she hopes that Dorothy has emotional support during this time – and yes, Alexandra is not the right person to be emotionally supporting Dorothy through her grieving process around Victoria.

Dorothy is going to have to take responsibility for getting the help she needs – there is no way around it. She is going to have to invest time, money and heart in an authentic grieving process. We tend to shelter our heart and avoid uncomfortable situations. That keeps us in the shadow limbo where we cannot experience True LOVE. To get through this, we have to get help, we have to reach out, feel awkward, and value our own well-being more than all the awkwardness and shame we may feel. We have to decide to heal and then take the leap to invest in help.

And I have a sense that Mary is right – the couple is going to have to take some time apart while Dorothy gets the help she needs and clears some space in her heart for a new love relationship with Alexandra. And when they come back together, I think the love languages is an excellent suggestion, Mary! I feel certain the couple WILL take THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES quiz available on line together. Thank you for this suggestion!

Rhonda and Mary both want this couple to take a close look at what they have and not jump ship. None of us wants to see this couple lose one another. Their love is special! And we want to see them come through this.

The fact is that it takes a lot of work and care and investment of heart to work through a situation like this. Your suggestions are a big help. Keep them coming! And I see that this week Alexandra has become aware that there are people reading this story, and she has asked for your prayers! Let’s all bring our hearts together and pray for this couple, so they can have a different ending than what many of us have experienced in the past – just like Stacie has asked for! Let’s pray that Alexandra will have patience and that Dorothy will access the resources she needs to grieve her past relationship to make space for this new one.

Dorothy could no longer feel her heart



Dorothy could no longer feel her heart. She couldn’t remember who she was – she couldn’t even remember what it felt like to know what she wanted. She found it hard to make even the simplest of decisions. It felt like her world had suddenly crashed in on her, and she didn’t know what to do. She knew she was a mess! And she wondered if Alexandra was going to get fed up with her and leave.

Alexandra cared about Dorothy, but she was finding it harder and harder to be there for Dorothy. Like last night Alexandra had suggested they put some date nights into their calendar and Dorothy let her know that she was busy over the next 3 weeks between time with Victoria and other family members.

Alexandra was stunned! She knew Dorothy was going to New York with Victoria on a trip they had planned months ago, and for Dorothy this was a final farewell to the life they had shared in marriage. This trip alone was driving Alexandra insane. She just wished Dorothy would be through with her grieving and letting go, and finally be available for a relationship with her!

Now Dorothy let her know that her sister was coming to visit for a couple of weeks after that, and she probably wouldn’t have any time to see Alexandra during that visit. Her sister didn’t know she was lesbian, and it would be too much to introduce Alexandra to her sister.

Dorothy obviously had a mind of her own and was making all kinds of plans. Alexandra felt like her only option was to distance herself from Dorothy and hope that she would settle a bit and start to be interested in building a life with her later, after she did what she needed to do with family. Truly, it was disheartening!

But Alexandra felt strongly that she wanted to keep in the game, hopeful that some day Dorothy would be more herself and be able to enter back into love relationship with Alexandra.

In the mean time, it was like a cruel joke of cupid to lose her beloved to the swamp of confusion that Dorothy was now in. Alexandra knows people are reading this story, and she asks you to please pray for this struggling couple.

 

Dorothy comes undone



Dorothy felt her grip on sanity slowly slipping away. She had worked so hard for this day! She had sacrificed so much to be with Alexandra. And Alexandra’s emotions and reactions were completely baffling her. Why wasn’t this woman opening to the loving arms that Dorothy was now extending?

Dorothy needed to know that everything was okay. She needed everything to be okay with Victoria. She needed to know that everything was okay with Alexandra. Then! Then everything could be okay for Dorothy.

She was running herself ragged, and she was losing sight of who she was. Everything was so new! This new home. No longer eating supper with Victoria every night. Sleeping alone in her new home some nights and the other nights sleeping with Alexandra.

She desperately needed some safe place of comfort to adjust to everything. But at the same time everything about her connection with both Victoria and Alexandra was feeling like screaming echoing through the Universe – like the horrible sound of nails on a chalk board.

Dorothy didn’t know how much more of this she could stand, and if Alexandra didn’t start listening to how her incessant weakness was impacting Dorothy, she truly was going to scream.

What was wrong with Alexandra? Was she afraid to hear how Dorothy was feeling? Every time she started to talk about her feelings, Alexandra would simply hang up the phone. It couldn’t be more devastating! Truly, she felt like she was going crazy and there was no hope.

She started drinking at night. First her beloved scotch, and then beer the next night. The feelings were too much to handle, and it was getting so much worse with Alexandra refusing to listen and hanging up the phone. She knew that Alexandra was giving up hope – she had said that to her.

Dorothy felt her world was closing in.

Why is this happening? Why is it when two good women love each other that this love isn’t enough to pull them through?

Well, their love may be enough to pull them through, but right now things are looking dim. I am wondering if they are going to make it, since they are both beaten down and things are intense, I wonder if Alexandra in particular is simply going to pull the plug.

You know, Dorothy was expecting a lot of herself. Leaving a 13-year relationship that she had deeply invested in, and then starting a new life with Alexandra the day she moved into her own place – that fateful Monday of the Flood.

We are all human. We have emotional fabric that is largely woven in our first relationships with our parents in childhood. Then we get into relationships ourselves in adulthood – further weaving our emotional fabric – weaving our heart with the one that we love.

When we leave a relationship it is not a physical thing – it is not simply walking out the door and saying goodbye. We need time, and we need a safe place where we can explore what emotional threads we are taking out of our heart when we leave someone (or when someone leaves us).

The end of a relationship is a BIG thing, and in our society we overlook that. Women are expected to move on in their life and somehow forget the pain of leaving the relationship. This causes great sickness in our heart, and the dis-ease in our heart impacts those around us.

Dorothy needs to give herself the chance to grieve the end of the relationship with Victoria. She needs human compassion for working through a great loss. There is simply too much going on in her heart, and there is too much going on in her transitioning relationship with Victoria for her to be present with building a relationship with Alexandra.

She needs to digest and put away the ending of her past relationship before she will have the space in her heart for Alexandra. She needs to grieve it. And until she does, she will live in emotional limbo. So let us hope that Dorothy will come to realize this before it is too late. Before she loses this amazing opportunity for True LOVE with Alexandra.

Dorothy and Alexandra’s love gets mysteriously hijacked



The two lovers reached the other side – the place where things would be safer, clearer, and they’d finally be able to build an ordinary relationship outside of the messiness of the love triangle with Victoria. Dorothy’s final words of the “hibernation” before her move echoed in Alexandra’s mind, “Come Monday, I will be all yours!”

Things were different after the move. Dorothy created a beautiful home.  And she was able to spend much more time with Alexandra. The two lovers were able to be in touch whenever they wanted without the weight of Victoria’s watchful eye. Dorothy enjoyed being able to do nice things for Alexandra and to finally start to build the kind of relationship she wanted with the woman of her dreams.

But something was not working… As each week passed, the lovers grew more and more distant. It became harder and harder to discuss things. And the problems started accumulating as they didn’t get worked out. A great weight started to grow.

This bewildered the young lovers – how could this be happening after all they had done? Now there was finally the space for them to build the relationship they had dreamed of. How could this be happening???

After the third week, Alexandra was at the breaking point. As much as she loved Dorothy and wanted a relationship with her, Dorothy was no longer herself. She could see the dynamic passionate woman before her, but she couldn’t feel her heart beat. Dorothy was gone! Although Dorothy was the most organized woman she knew, this week Dorothy forgot they were scheduled to spend Saturday night together, and she made plans to go out with her friends instead. Alexandra was dumbfounded, because this was supposed to have been their last night together before Alexandra was going out of town for 5 days to visit friends in Eastern Ontario.

Alexandra was concerned! She sat Dorothy down and said they needed to create a sense of home for their relationship – that things were too chaotic! Dorothy said okay, But… BUT she was so angry with Alexandra because she’s too sensitive and doesn’t appreciate all that Dorothy has done, and why can’t she just allow the relationship to happen (and around 20 other complaints!).

Alexandra stormed out of the room. She refused to take all this dumping of emotion on her. It was if Dorothy didn’t even hear the need to create safety and a sense of a place for their relationship. Dorothy was in all out battle mode!

Alexandra was losing hope as she felt Dorothy slipping away into the darkness of her deep emotions of anger and hurt. And it was maddening! Because Dorothy was physically more present, but now it truly seemed her spirit had left.

Alexandra felt her commitment to this relationship disappear this week. The weight of the late night hashing and gnashing nearly every night was taking it’s toll, and for Alexandra it started to feel like leaving Dorothy was a better option. Especially since Dorothy was obviously so unhappy in the relationship, and certainly Alexandra was starting to be overwhelmed by all the fighting and never getting things worked out.

These two women love each other more deeply than you and I can imagine. Do you know why things aren’t working out between them? Share your thoughts below. We want to hear what you think is wrong and why everything has gone haywire after so much care and effort has gone into their being together.

Read the next chapter…

Will Dorothy and Alexandra reach the other side?



Looking back, it all seemed like a big messy blur – like a smeared dream happening in a fitful sleep. Dorothy forced herself to pack, with her heart growing smaller and smaller under the stress. She gave up her plans of carefully sorting and organizing things as she packed – she just needed to get her stuff into boxes!

Sunday night dinner with Victoria was probably the heaviest thing she ever went through. The air clung to her like black tar, and she could hear every little tick of the silverware hitting their plates. The entire meal in silence, except for Victoria asking if they’d be meeting with the lawyers on Thursday morning. Dorothy answered, “Yes.”

She fulfilled her duty to Victoria as no other wife could – she loved her for these last two days under the same roof. Although she had betrayed her for the past seven years, she came home and was true to her for these last two days. A small token. Sometimes it is these small things that matter a great deal.

By some miracle she gathered her wits enough to put most of her things into boxes by the time the movers arrived early Monday morning. She knew she would return to the house over the coming weeks and could collect small things – which was a relief to not have the pressure of packing EVERYTHING for Monday! And well… maybe there was part of her that just couldn’t bear to completely separate from Victoria, and leaving a few things at the house brought her comfort – and a reason to return.

Dorothy’s thoughts began to return to Alexandra as she started to emerge from the weekend. She knew Alexandra was not the most stable woman, so nothing was for certain. Alexandra was paranoid about Dorothy’s safety. It’s true… Victoria lost it a couple of weeks after Dorothy said she was leaving, and was raising her fist saying crazy things like “I’m never going to let you go. You’re mine. I would lock you up if I have to, so that no one else is going to have you! And I am serious!” Ever since then, Alexandra was inconsolable.  She could understand that Alexandra loved her and cared about her, but it infuriated Dorothy that Alexandra refused to trust her ability to handle Victoria. Undoubtedly Alexandra’s paranoid mind was going wild over the weekend.

She didn’t know what she would face with Alexandra today. All she knew Monday morning is she felt awful – emotionally and physically – and did not have any energy to reach out to Alexandra. It would have to wait until later – after she moved. And she just hoped that Alexandra would still be there – especially since she was disrupting both her’s and Victoria’s life horribly so she could be with Alexandra.

Despite feeling miserable, everything went smoothly with the move. The movers were on time, and it all happened quickly. Dorothy’s head was spinning as the movers left her new place just before 1:30. She felt in shock, and there was profound silence as she stood surrounded by boxes… everywhere. She just stood there, a tiny woman facing a very big future.

Dorothy picked up her iPhone and sent a text to Alexandra. “I am moved. Going to go get some lunch. All is well.” Alexandra responded formally, “I am relieved to hear your move went well. Let me know when you are ready to reconnect. I love you.” Dorothy replied, “I love you too. I’ll be in touch again later today.” She started to feel a little space around her heart to breathe, and she went out in search of a place to get lunch in her new neighborhood.

Although the skies were clear that morning during the move, they clouded over in the afternoon and a great storm descended. It started with rain, and that rain grew more and more intense until a great flood was rushing through the streets sweeping bicyclists and even cars off the side of the road. Dorothy quickly finished her lunch and had to practically swim to get back to her place.

She closed the door behind her, dripping and headed up to her bedroom to find a box with dry clothes. She flipped on the switch in her closet only to find the power had gone out. She realized she had no source of light – not a a flash light or candle. She leapt into action and drove back over to Victoria’s to get a flashlight.

She hadn’t expected to return so soon. In some ways it was a relief to return back to the place she had called home for so many years. And in another way it felt like walking into a coffin. Victoria was visibly unnerved by seeing her, so Dorothy quickly grabbed the crank flashlight she wanted and left.

Sitting in her car she thought she’d better text Alexandra so she wouldn’t feel totally neglected and go into one of her paranoid fit. “Oh My God!” Dorothy exclaimed. Her iPhone was almost out of juice! So she texted Alexandra to let her know she was at 10% power and wouldn’t be able to call her later – she had no way to recharge with the power out. Alexandra was not pleased! She could understand, but there was nothing she could do!

It was almost 5:30 and Dorothy headed back over to her place. It took over 30 minutes to get there when normally it should take around 5 because the roads were a mess and traffic wasn’t moving. What was wrong with these people?! It’s just a bit of rain, and they lose their friggin’ heads!

Dorothy finally made it home and took the precious flashlight upstairs. The storm made it dingy dark, even this early in the evening. She found the box where she put her sheets and she made her bed by the glow of her little crank flashlight.

She sat in the middle of her bed, a little island of sanity, and looked around her room. Chaos! Boxes everywhere!

What had she done? Was this the greatest mistake of her life? Wild thoughts of doubt and self-criticism shot through her heart as she sat in the dark, alone.

She had specifically told Alexandra she wanted to spend the first night at her place alone. And now it felt like she was facing her worst nightmare with all her weakness starting to creep into her skin like a dank fog. Dorothy just sat there – facing what she had done.

After a while she started to feel a little better. Something started to turn, and it actually felt good to be in her own place, even if it was in shambles. In a way it was like camping out, especially since all she had for lighting was the flash light. Today she was beginning a new life… and her heart beat just a little faster. The fog started to lift. She had taken the leap out of a dead marriage to Victoria. She was choosing life. She was choosing to love again. She was choosing herself. And that felt good! It was as if a gentle warm sun was starting to rise up and evaporate the darkness of her fears through its warmth.

She suddenly realized she could charge her phone a little bit off of her computer, which still had life in it’s battery. She texted Alexandra, “Hey, I plugged my phone into my computer and it has life. Are you able to talk for a little bit?”

“Yeah” Alexandra replied, letting go of the pregnant anxiety of the last few days.

Their first conversation after the long weekend apart was tender, even tentative. A new beginning – charted out of the courage and love of both women.

Read the next chapter…

Dorothy blows a fuse!



Dorothy COULD NOT BELIEVE how childish Alexandra was being! Didn’t she understand how difficult this was for her?! She was leaving a 13-year relationship with Victoria. Victoria had been the love of her life, and they had built a strong life together, including this beautiful home.

Dorothy realized about seven years ago that she no longer loved Victoria, but she stayed with her because it seemed impossible to leave. Then she met Alexandra whose love totally turned her world upside down. Now Dorothy was destroying everything by leaving the relationship with Victoria, and this made her feel like the worst person on the face of the earth!

She had to watch day in and day out the devastation she was causing Victoria by leaving. And to make things worse, Victoria found out that Dorothy had been having an affair with Alexandra for almost 6 months. Victoria felt betrayed by the woman she trusted most, and she told Dorothy that she couldn’t imagine ever being able to trust her again.

Dorothy’s soul was screaming inside, and Alexandra’s petty fit about not talking tonight just made her want to scream! Alexandra was needy and insecure, and she really didn’t need this in her life!

But she always felt uneasy when things were unsettled between her and Alexandra. In some odd way, if things were good between them, then life felt good. And if things were upset – like this – then life felt unbearable. She NEEDED to fix this, or she could not bear to go on!

So she told Victoria she was going to bed, and went into her room. (She had moved into a separate bedroom a month before, so now she had this space to herself.) She phoned Alexandra, hoping she had not turned off her phone for the night.

One ring… Two rings… Three rings… Four rings.

“Hi.” Said Alexandra stoically.

“Hello, Alexandra. I can’t go to bed with you feeling so upset. Can we talk?”

“Fine.” Alexandra replied

“Look, I’m going to move out in two days. Things are really intense around here. I need you to give me space.”

“Fine. So what do you want from me.” Even more stoically.

“Well, I know that I keep letting you down. I don’t want to do that. And I am so stressed. I think I need to not be in contact with you for these last two days – until I get moved out. It’s just all too much, and I know I’m just upsetting you.”

“Well, that’s probably a good idea.” Replied Alexandra. Meanwhile her heart was sinking deeper and deeper. It was so hard being out of contact with Dorothy when so much was going on. She had this insane need to know that Dorothy was okay. But she could see she had no choice about this. Everything was SO intense, that she had to give in on this. “Okay, so I’ll wait to hear from you on Monday after you moved.”

“Okay, sweetheart. And there is something I need to say to you. I REALLY need you to hear this. Once I move, I will be yours forever – in body, heart and soul – I will be yours forever. I know this has been really hard, but I need you to hold on to the vision of our life together. I am leaving this relationship to be with you. I want that life with you – and I NEED you to hold on to knowing that we are going to come through this. Can you do that for me?”

“Christ! The only thing I can focus on right now is getting through this weekend! Don’t expect more than that from me. This is totally breaking my heart, Dorothy – totally breaking my heart! Let’s just get through this weekend, and you get safely moved into your new place. Then we’ll reconnect.”

“Okay – as long as you know that I’m going to be there on the other side – I will be your woman come Monday.”

“Okay. Well take care of yourself. I’ll be sending you good energy for your move. Look forward to hearing from you Monday.”

“Thank you, sweetheart. I will call you on Monday. I love you.”

“Love you too. Bye.”

“Good bye sweetheart. Bye bye.”

Dorothy got off the phone feeling much stronger. She knew she needed to close things properly with Victoria this weekend so she could fulfill her commitment to Alexandra. And she knew she would do this. Alexandra was such an extraordinary woman, and this relationship was the relationship of a lifetime. She would be ready to truly welcome Alexandra into her life on Monday.

She got up and brushed her teeth, and as she was drifting off to sleep she started having all kinds of wild unsettling dreams.

Read the next chapter…

The Final Word on HL’s Vision for Find True Lesbian LOVE



This 5-week journey of exploring HL’s vision has been intense and profound – not for the feint of heart, that’s for sure! Life is busy, and we all have practical demands on us. And yet… we have carved out quiet time to reflect upon and try to understand what HL has gifted us with in her vision for creating a place to learn LOVE.

The final line of her vision reads:

Welcome home to safety and love, where every heart matters.

HL is saying that this community within Find True Lesbian LOVE is a home – it is a place of safety and love. And like any home, we need to attend to it – all of us! I am serving as a leader here. And I have brought in my mate, HL, to grace us with her femininity and wisdom. But for us to have a good home together, you need to participate as well.

We need your engagement! Sign up for programs that will help you heal and open your heart. Comment on the blogs. Say prayers for this endeavour of creating a place for good, wholesome, passionate Lesbian LOVE. We need you – and I need you!

Things don’t just happen in this world. They happen because people invest energy in them. If we want to create a space of healing and love for women – a place where truly every heart matters – that requires resource.

HL phoned me last week and told me she just read that Slack’s, the local lesbian bar, closed down. Unfortunately there is a deep handicap in our community – we are afraid of relating with money. And I can only guess this is because lesbian women have been through so much hardship and trauma that we have shifted into a conservative, protective mode that shadows our hearts and removes us from life. As a community, we have a hard time giving and spending and exchanging.

I see this also when I go to women’s dances. Women tend to hang out with their friends, and they do not extend themselves in friendliness to strangers. We are not bad people! But we have a problem, and we need to find some little ways of opening our hearts to each other, giving to each other, and… receiving from each other. We need to actively create spaces of healing – where every heart matters.

So please do engage with me and engage with this community, and let’s build something beautiful and profound – something that will grow and impact the Lesbian community across the world. Let’s bring positive energy into this island community here, and allow that drop by drop to accumulate and heal and spread out from our island. So for now, please engage, please lift up your heart, and allow yourself to shift into a more and more positive place around this thing we call… LOVE.

Offered with LOVE for the profound benefit of all who read it.

Andrea

The next chapter with Alexandra and Dorothy



Alexandra was in the foulest of moods when she woke up the next morning after the blow out with Dorothy. It didn’t help that she had stayed up until almost 2:00 in the morning FaceTiming with her, only for them to decide to separate!

She dragged herself to work, arriving almost 10 minutes late – which really annoyed her! She hoped that no one would notice as she slid in behind her desk.

She lost herself in checking email and trying to figure out how to go on after that heart-crushing night. It just felt like the whole world was dark.

And then something…. Something… started knocking at the back of her mind.

She went into the Personal folder on her computer and she felt compelled to look up the Law of Attraction work she had done 6 months earlier, right around the time she had met Dorothy.

As she was reading her loooong list of qualities describing her ideal partner, her eyes started popping out! Dorothy always had a slogan she said, “I know what I want!” As a matter of fact, she had a shirt printed up this past Pride that said, “I KNOW WHAT I WANT!”. Alexandra looked at the 4th quality listed in her Ideal Partner description: “Relationally secure, knows what she wants”. “Oh my God!” thought Alexandra.

It was also important to Alexandra to live in fiscal fitness and be with a partner who was on board with this. Item # 5: “Lives in fiscal fitness – honouring of $”. And she realized Dorothy fits that to a T, too! Dorothy has been very thoughtful, researching pricing before buying things, and holding back on things that didn’t make sense. Dorothy is really good with money!

And Alexandra had always had trouble getting involved with women who weren’t into oral sex – and she really loved oral sex. In her Desire Statement Alexandra wrote, “She loves exploring emotions and she loves sexual exploration. I am so relieved knowing my ideal partner enjoys taking her time making love to me. She deeply enjoys making love to me and loves giving me oral sex.” Dorothy LOVES making love to Alexandra, and sometimes Alexandra needs to fend Dorothy off from giving her oral sex when she just wants simpler closeness and holding.

Alexandra’s spirits lifted as she read through what she had written last Spring. It was INCREDIBLE that Dorothy so closely matched these things she had asked for!

And she realized the Dorothy was in the process of leaving her 13-year partner. And when she read the opening line of her Desire Statement, she realized that things were in a process, and she needed to allow that process. The first line read, “I am in the process of attracting all that I need to do, know or have to attract my ideal partner.” It doesn’t have to all be in place immediately, because this wonderful woman, Dorothy, was clearly on the way to being in a deep love relationship with Alexandra.

Read the next chapter…

 

When you have two good women together, why does love go bad?



Alexandra is feeling a bit lonely and looking forward to connecting with Dorothy at the end of the day. At 9:23 pm she texts Dorothy, “How is it going?”.

Dorothy responds, “Very tired, so resting and watching movie. And typing email to you. No brainer movie. How are you?”

       “Bored. Is everything okay with you?”

No response

       Alexandra adds, “Watching lesbian movie too”

No response

       “Maybe this is a bad time”

Dorothy replies, “I am okay just pretty tired”

       “Ok. I can send you a good night before I head to bed. Is that good?”

       “Yes please thanks!”

A few minutes before 10:00 Alexandra texts, “Dorothy, I am heading to bed. I sense your distance tonight, and I wonder if you would like to share what is going on.”

       “Really nothing. I am so tired. And I have no energy. Sorry. And also watching movie. Aimlessly drifting.”

       “Did you enjoy your dinner?”

       “Yes. How are you tonight? I am not distancing, please know that.”

       “Ok. Want me to let you go?”

       “It’s okay, I am sorry. It’s been a long day.”

       “Would you like me to let you go. We can just say good night now.”

       “Are u going to bed now?”

       “Yes. Will brush my teeth first”

       “I’m tired for sure… I love you. Sleep well darling. I miss you.”

       “You sleep well too. Maybe go to bed earlier and get some rest. Love you. Good night.”

Alexandra leaves the conversation feeling empty, confused, and painfully insecure. Usually Dorothy values connecting by phone at the end of the day. What is going on? Dorothy says everything is fine, that she is just tired, but Alexandra knows this is not the Dorothy she knows and loves. It’s frustrating and disappointing, and she doesn’t know what to do with her feelings since Dorothy is not explaining.

Alexandra feels Dorothy does not want to relate with her, so reached out again in an email and said,

You know I am disappointed you want no connection time with me today. And surprised. I don’t understand. Normally you do. But you say you are good emotionally. So I am feeling confused. 

I guess you are just too tired to relate with me, and I will accept that.   

Good night, Dorothy. Sleep with angels and I look forward to when we come out of this strange time. 

        I’m sure you can feel the drama building. This email prompted Dorothy to telephone Alexandra, and they wound up talking on the phone until almost 2:00 am, with the call ending in them taking a break from their relationship.

So what the heck happened here? These two women love each other profoundly, but something has gone way off the tracks, and I’m wondering if this dating relationship is going to survive.

Dorothy is living with one foot in the present and one foot in the past. She certainly loves Alexandra very dearly. But her heart is stuck in the pain of her past relationship. She feels guilty – she knows she hurt her partner in her choice to leave their 13-year relationship. On this night she was watching this movie with her former partner, feeling very heavy, and she wanted to shield Alexandra from her own feelings.

The simple fact is that as long as we have emotions and energy tied up in a former relationship, we don’t have space to be present and to love another woman. Instead we distance ourselves to cope with our feelings, and in this case, Dorothy tried to pretend she wasn’t doing that. She is trying desperately to make Alexandra happy while at the same time she is dealing with overwhelmingly heavy feelings from her past relationship. It confused Alexandra and hurt her deeply. This interaction eroded the good love that was trying to live between them, and in the end they decided to take a separation.

Will they be able to come back after the separation? Is their love strong enough to pull them through to “the other side”? Will Dorothy face her feelings about leaving her partner, put her partner in the light, and let her partner go?

Read the next chapter…

The Oneness of this Island we call “Home”



HL is steeped in Taoism, and she told us last week that the notion of “Oneness” comes from Taoist philosophy. For those of us who have not been exposed to this deep tradition, it can be quite difficult to have any understanding of something like oneness.

So let’s look this week at how we can begin to crack open the gift of this line,

The Oneness of this Island we call “Home”

I’m going to share my thoughts, and I’d love for your to post your thoughts below, too! Most of the time we experience life in fragments. Here’s what this might look like:

We have a job. We have friends and a social life.

We have a cat.

We have a bank account, with more or less money in it.

We pay rent for our apartment.

We try to keep groceries in our fridge, and sometimes even that feels like a daunting task.

We end our day trying to fill our loneliness by watching a couple of hours of TV (or more).

If there is a lack of coherence, we will feel a lack of energy. It can feel depressing. It can be hard to rouse our self up… to dream… to take practical steps to actualize our dreams… to create a good, wholesome, fulfilling life. Things in life don’t work! And we rarely get ahead.

In contrast, there can be times in our life when we feel good… we feel safe to be who we are… we feel that all of the strands of our life (work, relationships, money, feeding ourselves and our pets, etc.) are working together, energetically connected and feeding each other and our hearts, leading us to fulfilling a great mission – our soul’s calling. I’m thinking this is can be an experience of Oneness – of integration and connection with the life energy that runs through everything.

Stacie commented on the post from two weeks ago, “The Power of Good Lesbian Leadership.” She insightfully wrote that good leadership lifts us out of our island and connects us universally within humanity. I believe Stacie is speaking to Oneness.

And the big question is how do we create that sense of connection within ourselves and then extend it to all of humanity. We all know it is a good thing, and we probably all want to feel our heart connection with humanity.

But just wanting it isn’t enough to get it!

We need a path. We need a journey of starting where we are – which may be isolated with an armored heart from all the deep pain we have experienced as women in this world. And we need to take the first step, and then the next step, and the next. Frankly, such a journey requires good leadership – to heal our broken hearts and reconnect with the world – with humanity.

In my response to Stacie’s post I cite the healing literature which overwhelmingly states that there are three stages to healing: (1) Create safety, (2) Rememberance and mourning, and (3) Reconnection with community. Although safety is necessary to move into the later stages, the journey is not linear. We continually revisit each stage through the journey of healing.

So this is why I am working to create an island of safety for you and with you in this community. It is the first stage, and each of you has to find your own way of truly establishing a reasonable level of physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual safety. Only then will you feel stable enough to remember your pain, mourn it, and give it a respectful burial. And then… THEN… you will have the space in your heart to connect with the greater world – to start to build heart connections with community and greater humanity.

I have carefully created a step-by-step journey with my course offerings. Lesbian Dating 201 is an easy first step. And if that feels like too much, start with my Beginner Meditation Program. Establishing a regular meditation practice can be enormously helpful for grounding yourself and establishing a bit of stability. Then you can move your way comfortably through the steps I have laid out in Lesbian Dating 201 (The First Step to True LOVE), 301 (Open Your Heart to New LOVE) and finally 401 (Attract Your Ideal Partner). These steps will lead you through creating your unique needs for safety, being able to safely mourn past relationship break ups, and then open your heart to connecting in a new love relationship.

I WELCOME your comments below!

Good Lesbian Leadership Can Open the ONENESS of Life



I let HL know last week that I have been exploring her vision for Find True Lesbian LOVE with all of you in my weekly emails to you. She said she is very happy that I am sharing her vision with all of you so that you can also share our vision and happiness in life in finding each other, and living in a profound way of love and passion.

I told her I wasn’t quite sure what she meant in the next section of the vision, so she generously recorded a little discussion of it. I just listened to what she said, and I’ve transcribed it here for you. She is speaking to the third paragraph in the vision, and makes some reference to the last two paragraphs.

On her diamond throne, the Queen leads her fellow islanders to reach a warm and colourful place, where love, life, passion, resource, and compassion become ONE. 

The Oneness of this Island we call “Home”

Welcome home to safety and love, where every heart matters.

HL: “The diamond throne is your throne. Diamond is precious and indestructible. Made of compressed carbon. Carbon is not a valuable substance. When it is so compressed, it becomes something else.

All the little things you have gone through in your life have become so precious – so compressed into someone like you. You have all the skills and ability to make your vision and your intention to lead your fellow islanders. Here’s the throne for the queen which is made of diamond.

You are leading them to a warm and colourful place, where love, life, passion, resource and compassion become ONE.

The ONE embodies everything that has reached an equilibrium. That is a concept in Taoist philosophy. One is in a cycle that encompasses everything in life. For me, the vision is love, passion, compassion and of course resource for us to live on. Everything that is on a continuum as well as in equilibrium, they go in a cycle and interacting with one another to create a life that is home.

On this island we have created a home – the home is this oneness. When I talk about the home, I really think that metaphorically it is a place that is safe and full of love. I’m also talking about home as the heart where everything matters.”

 

What is most important for finding a long-term fulfilling partner?



Women tell me they can’t find a relationship with the right woman. They know they want a love relationship. But the relationships they get into turn into Lesbian Drama…  where feelings get out of control and it feels like their worst nightmare come to life!

Some women cope by avoiding relationships, and they live alone. This leads to feelings of deep emptiness. And they stuff down their feelings by filling themselves with food, drinking, smoking, watching too much TV. Underneath this emptiness is a deep longing that feels like it could never be filled. It can lead to depression. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

When we are empty and deeply longing, we are vulnerable. Dating websites offer the promise of matching you with your perfect match, and this can become very attractive. Women tell me they are frustrated in on-line dating sites because women are only there to flirt. These websites give the illusion of closeness that will never satisfy you. They give the illusion of a promise of love.

I am offering an alternative – a path to True LOVE that is both practical and inspired. In my method, you first heal your own heart and understand how you are in relationship. You build a FOUNDATION for finding authentic love.

If you jump into action without creating a foundation, you will build a house on a shaky foundation, and of course it will fall down. This is the key reason why the Lesbian community experiences so much drama in the beginning stages of relationships –women have not prepared a solid, safe foundation for taking the journey of LOVE.

In my method for successful Lesbian dating, I lead you in three steps: You (1) Create a solid foundation, (2) Attract your ideal partner, and (3) Create your dating strategic plan. This is a solid, practical method for finding True LOVE.

My 3-step method is unique and has never been offered by anyone else. In a concrete way you will:

  • Fill your deep emptiness by learning how to care for your emotional needs and connect with a woman who can genuinely care for and love you
  • Stop stuffing down your feelings with bad habits and addictions by empowering yourself with new healthy ways of dealing with feelings and finding solutions to the problem
  • Honestly fulfill your deep longing for love by taking practical steps beginning with building an emotional foundation for finding a fulfilling, healthy love relationship
  • Shatter the illusion of promise on dating websites by getting expert guidance and doing the work – in a joyful way – to bring authentic LOVE into your heart and life

This journey begins with Lesbian Dating 201: The First Step to True LOVE

This course teaches you how to build a strong emotional foundation for dating. We will cover these three topics:

  • Class 1:  Love maps
  • Class 2:  Intimacy
  • Class 3:  Boundaries

Feel free to check out the other course offerings too!

Why is it so hard for many lesbians to foster a healthy love relationship?



You who were part of the The Key To Finding Your Dream Woman Teleseminar had great insights into this intriguing question. Your contributions show the real issues and challenges that lesbians face in our world today. Here are a few your contributions:

  • “possibly choosing unavailable people or settling for someone out of loneliness. some women suffer from lack of self esteem that began early on”
  • Lesbians deny their sexuality/emotions and physical being while they are young for the most part. This causes a self-hatred”
  • Because we are individually very wounded ourselves as a result of growing up gay”

Here’s an excerpt from the Teleseminar:

“In our society, many women have experienced trauma in relationships. The impact of trauma often leads to fragmentation of the spirit and soul, and the loss of sense of safety and reference points . . .

In lesbian relationships, we often see two women who have been both traumatized – double jeopardy – a compounding of the sensitivity that trauma creates. When both are so sensitive and can be hurt easily, it can be hard to get through the challenges that are part of the beginning of any new relationship.

When women experience trauma in a relationship, we usually make changes in our life to protect ourselves from experiencing the trauma again – we become more defended. We move into being in a reactive mode rather than being able to think clearly and expansively and to be proactive, taking steps to get what you want.”

It is possible to heal past trauma and move into this proactive mode. I strongly advocate that women connect with resources along the lines of what I offer so you can have insights and breakthroughs in a gentle and supported way. Life does not have to be so extreme – opening to loving and being loved does not have to be so scary. It can be easier, and you can be cared for in the process.

I offer an excellent Lesbian Dating program that gives you this caring process. I invite you to consider giving yourself the gift of taking Lesbian Dating 201: The First Step to True LOVE.

In this 3 session course I will lead you through a journey of exploration – where you can learn about the love map you learned from growing up with your parents. You can learn about your style of intimacy. And you can learn about your boundaries and how to be in relationship honouring both your own and the other woman’s boundaries.

This is a powerful foundational Lesbian LOVE course. And I am completely committed to assisting your doing powerful work to clear space for your new love relationship. I want you to feel you have solid ground within you so that you can enjoy the journey of finding your dream woman. If you have any questions you would like to ask me, please feel free to email me: andrea@andreamwinn.com.

I look forward to guiding you to your True LOVE!

HL’s Vision for Find True Lesbian LOVE



I sent the following message out to the community on June 12th:

Something new is opening up today for us in this venture of LOVE! As I have said in the Teleseminars and emails, I have found myself in a deep love relationship since starting Find True Lesbian LOVE February 7, 2013.

That love is woven through my activities of connecting with you, and opening your door to LOVE, over these past months. I joyfully share the energy, grace and healing of my love with you – to nourish those hidden parts of your heart, so that you can open to meeting your own soul mate – your True LOVE.

My love, who I have introduced by her initials, HL, wrote a vision for Find True Lesbian LOVE on April 28, and I want to share it with you today. Here is what she wrote:

As the tale begins. . . 

Once upon a time, on the Island of Lesbos lives a Queen, who is so graceful, loving, caring, compassionate, and beautiful. She gathers her strength and power through her incredible intellect and a pure heart to gift women who desire love and to be loved. Her vision is boundless, for her wisdom is limitless. 

On her diamond throne, the Queen leads her fellow islanders to reach a warm and colourful place, where love, life, passion, resource, and compassion become ONE. 

The Oneness of this Island we call “Home”

Welcome home to safety and love, where every heart matters.


HL brings grace to both you and I through sharing this vision. It’s a vision of hope. A vision of healing. A vision of Lesbian leadership. A vision for family and for deep love. It’s a profound vision that I would like for you and I to unpack together over the coming five weeks. I will share some of my thoughts on what this means in my weekend emails, and I’d really like it if you would share your thoughts with me, too. Then after our 5 weeks of chewing on this, I’ll ask HL if she will share more about what her vision means for us.

Do you want to engage with me in a 5-week project of opening hope, healing and love?  I want to undertake this with you – working together for the benefit of opening your heart to LOVE.

Learning with you, and opening to Grace,

Part 1: A Story to Open Your Heart To LOVE



HL, my girlfriend, told me the other day, “I thrive on LOVE.” She knows this. And in all honesty, ALL of us thrive on love. When we are in love, we feel better, we perform better, we live better. HL wants this for all of you, and she is gently cracking open the door for you through her vision below.

Welcome to part one of a special 5-week series. This is a chance for you and I to unpacking HL’s vision and open your heart to LOVE. (If you missed my first email announcing this series, you can see HL’s full vision statement below.)

This week let’s  explore the first line, “As the tale begins…” I’m giving my thoughts, and I strongly invite your input, thoughts and how you are touched by her words. My in-box is open to your emails on this.

As the tale begins…

HL suggests we are at the beginning of something that is going to happen – a story. Tales are usually for entertainment, and if it is a good tale, there will be wisdom within it – a learning – that will change the listener – transform her life.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and expert on story telling writes in her book, Women Who Run With the Wolves,

Stories are medicine. I have been taken with stories since I heard my first. They have such power; they do not require that we do, be, act anything – we need only listen. The remedies for repair or reclamation of any lost psychic drive are contained in stories. Stories engender the excitement, sadness, questions, longings, and understandings that spontaneously bring the archetype, in this case Wild Woman, back to the surface. Stories are embedded with instructions which guide us about the complexities of life. Stories enable us to understand the need for and the ways to raise a submerged archetype.” (Estes 1995: 15)

HL is opening all of us to a journey – a journey that is for the benefit of your capacity to feel love. She is pointing the way. She is engaging our psyches in a gentle and skilful – and perhaps most importantly – a LOVING way.

Certainly she is telling this story from the spiritual place of her love for me. Even moreso, she wants to help her community – she wants to have a positive impact on her community of women who love women. Through her story, she is reaching her hand out to you, to help you find your delicate path of opening your heart to deep loving.

Part 2: The Power of Good Lesbian Leadership



We are in the middle of a process of sacred “Revelation” – of revealing the vibration of LOVE, as it has been communicated by my own dear love, HL. She composed a vision for Find True Lesbian LOVE on April 28th. Now I’m pulling out my pick and shovel to dig in and grapple with what her sacred message means. I invite you to dig in with your own tools and contribute your thoughts as well – I WELCOME it!

All of this grappling is for opening your pathway to LOVE – your unique sacred pathway. It will not be magically gifted to you – You will have to work for it! What I am offering is a vehicle for your work. I would LOVE to engage with you on the sacred words HL has presented us. If anything touches you, make that effort and send me an email. Your grappling will add to the vortex of LOVE that we are building together here, and it will feed both your heart and your journey into LOVE.

This week we grapple with the second passage of her vision:

Once upon a time, on the Island of Lesbos lives a Queen, who is so graceful, loving, caring, compassionate, and beautiful. She gathers her strength and power through her incredible intellect and a pure heart to gift women who desire love and to be loved. Her vision is boundless, for her wisdom is limitless. 

“Once upon a time” are famous words for beginning a story. These words have become empowered with the ability to transport us into another world – a world where there can be dreams and fairy tales – a world where we can imagine new possibilities that would be impossible in the “real” world. These words transport us into a place of possibility and dreams.

And what do we find in this other world? A sacred island for us – for lesbians – for us who can be outcasts in this patriarchal world – and if not outcasts, perhaps we just never feel like we fully fit in. So here is a space where we belong – and we belong with each other.

The Island of Lesbos – I imagine warrior women who are strong and who live much closer to nature than what we do here in the city. I think of Amazons – women who are filled with bravery and who love fiercely. I see masculine women and I see feminine women, and there is a strength in their love for one another that I do not see often in the “real” world.

In the “real” world, I see wounded women who hide their emotions in addictions. And I see these women coping and leading lives formed around defending themselves from being taken advantage of. I see lonely women who have been hurt and no longer know how to be loved. And I see these women hurting each other –not because they are bad people – but because they have been deeply hurt in the past and this has led to them being disconnected from their own love and power. So they bring each other down. It saddens me!

So that is why it is such a beautiful vision HL gives us on the Island of Lesbos – where women have been in strong loving community for generations. I see strong healthy love flowing through their bodies! They are deeply connected with the earth and how to care well for themselves and each other. They are strong in their womanly power, and they look happy – genuinely happy – and healthy with clear skin, colour in their cheeks, and a star of aliveness shining in their eyes.

And there is a Queen, a”Queen, who is so graceful, loving, caring, compassionate, and beautiful “. We struggle to find good leadership in the “real” world. When we do find a good leader, it’s like finding an oasis in a vast desert. Here in Ontario we recently got Kathleen Wynne in as our premier. She is an exceptional leader. Yes, she is lesbian (which is fucking AMAZING!), but perhaps more importantly she is intelligent, caring and trained as a mediator – she is able to open situations in a way that brings the best out in people. She cultivates goodness and peace. Wow! We have needed a leader like that for a long time! President Obama is a similar amazing story. These people don’t have to be perfect, and it still feels amazing to have skilled leadership that operates from heart and is truly working to make this world a better place.

So our Queen on the Island of Lesbos, she is inspiring to us through her grace, love, care, compassion and beauty. The world feels in order having a good leader serving us – someone who lifts up our hearts and opens our abilities to believe and to stretch ourselves towards the light of the sun. Having a good leader makes all the difference for society. So we are graced to have such a good woman leader on our island.

She gathers her strength and power through her incredible intellect and a pure heart to gift women who desire love and to be loved. Her vision is boundless, for her wisdom is limitless. 

This Queen has the ability to lead Lesbian women in the journey of loving. HL cites her intellect and purity as key to leading women to be able to love. Intellect refers to seeing clearly and clearing away illusion and delusion. Clearing away the clouds that keep women down in patriarchal society. Perhaps I will add the image of a strong wind here to clear away those clouds – so women can remember who they are and take leadership in their own lives and hearts.

And purity because at long last, women need someone they can trust to lead them out of the desert of pain we find ourselves in after thousands of years – generation after generation – of living within patriarchal society. It has been damaging. It has been soul crushing. And great purity – a very pure heart is needed to lead women out of the darkness and into the light of reconnection.

Women’s capabilities to give love and receive love need to be cleaned and re-awakened after all these generations of oppression. We have had moments of love shine through over all this time, but the oppression of darkness has been a heavy weight on us – as so many women are raped and killed by their fathers, husbands and boyfriends every year – the people who we are taught should love and protect us. We have born a heavy, heavy weight – and it has absolutely impacted our hearts and how we give and receive love. Our hearts need to be washed with tears.

And the good news is that it is possible to heal that and reclaim our ability to love and be loved well. HL gifts us with her vision of a Queen who possesses boundless vision and limitless wisdom – fully capable of leading us back to loving ourselves and one another.

It is important to create a space within our hearts to hold this vision – and to protect it. Let us nurture this beautiful vision, and together we will make it manifest. We can create this within our community here. I myself am working towards that – and it will take all of us to contribute our special abilities to accomplish this vision.

Nothing is too silly! Please bring forward your heart and gift us with your good energy – your positive vision for our Island and for how you are bringing beauty and womanly strength into your life. And how you are witnessing the awakening of LOVE in your heart.

Leave a comment below, and let me know what is starting to stir in you!

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