Listen Closely

Who’s Really Fighting?

When we argue or disagree in relationship, who’s fighting? Raised in a house where arguments were commonplace, as an adult I found myself defaulting to conflict in my relationships. Why was I fighting all the time, and who’d benefit from the dissonance? Somewhere beneath the surface I could feel a lingering resonance to which I couldn’t gain access. When my partner introduced me to Internal Family Systems, or IFS, the fighter in me lost power. I’m learning that our “fights” aren’t really ours. Parts of ourselves, trapped in time, hosting certain unprocessed emotions, are emerging. But it’s not even those parts that are arguing. Each part of ourselves, seen in this work as a little “exile” within us, has motivations, goals, memories, and perspectives. The four year old who saw too much will become good at hiding. The eight year old who was being abused emotionally will stay small in order to escape abuse. The ten year old who couldn’t be himself will become someone else again in order to blend in. These youngest parts hold the most pain from our past. These aspects need to be viewed with great compassion and curiosity in order to determine which behaviors are …

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Practice You in School Settings

When I was in sixth grade, I sat on the bookshelf instead of my chair. Mrs. Danahy called me “Perchie” and let me sit there as long as I wasn’t talking out of turn, which sometimes happened, when I’d be relegated to my regular desk. We had a good thing, she and I. As long as I paid attention and showed up, she’d let me sit there. My bird’s eye view of the class was valuable then. Jonah’s now in sixth grade, so I’m trying to remember who I was in order to serve him. This week I was super nervous to teach my book to a crew of high school people about their inner life, how to observe and eventually modulate their innermost conversation. Reading, I realize, has a lot to do with the quality of my dialogue inside, and so does writing. My hope is that Practice You will help open us all up and bring the long-buried details to life. This image was taken by Carrie Burke, me perched on another shelf, teaching that class, offering to a group of high school humans. right from my heart. If you’re a facilitator or teacher in a school, healing or recovery setting, …

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What happens when you meditate?

Meditation is medicine.  Whether we have experience or are hearing about it from all sides, meditation gives us a way out, a way in, a way up, a way down. It’s a practice that brings balance, steadiness, quiet, and light.  What happens when you meditate? Your body begins gearing down. Literally, the functions of the systems that generate stress reactions begin slowing, and the systems that are designed to manage such reactivity come back in line. Try for one minute to simply watch your breathing, inhaling long through your nose down into your belly, then exhaling long out from belly to nose to the space around you. Set your phone. One minute. Notice how your entire body has softened, from your feet to your face. Note how your interior tone has become somehow more radiant, more vibrant, yet more quiet. This is meditation, and it doesn’t need to be elaborate.    For decades of my life I felt disconnected from pleasure, from feeling well, from trusting in myself. As a result, I couldn’t connect to the world, I never felt whole, and I couldn’t trust others. I became an addict, swimming in self-hatred and couldn’t imagine loving myself. Ever. To begin finding …

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Interview: Inspiring Women with Soul

This interview is part of Inspiring Women with Soul, a free virtual gathering featuring women who are redefining what it means to live a bold life with purpose and passion. From Marianne Williamson to Jean Shinoda Bolen, from SARK to Katherine Woodward Thomas, you’ll find much wisdom in all of the talks. Details here. 

I Lean on the Universe with My Honesty

In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and I speak on concepts of self-inquiry, spiritual discipline, and facing up to hard truths about the course of one’s life. I tell the story of how she faced her addictions to marijuana and tobacco, and the benefits that arose when she quit both. Drawing on prompts from my upcoming book Practice You, Tami and I also discuss how one needs to be completely present for the experience of learning. A delicious surprise at the end for you… LISTEN TO EPISODE

Powerful Daily Rituals for Living Your Best Life

interview with Listen to a special interview with Melissa Ambrosini In this episode we chat about: How Elena got to where she is today and how she learned to love herself (04:40) Conscious parenting and how to lead by example (09:00) How blended families can co-parent with grace (11:50) Why treating your children like an adult is imperative for their growth (14:16) Why lying to your children will break their respect (14:50) Why compassion is the key to self-love (16:35) How to love yourself (17:32) The breath exercise to rock your daily practice and amp up your self-love (22:52) How to bust through limiting beliefs and how to re-write your fear-based stories (27:28) What the powerful ‘miracle practice’ is and why it’s imperative to conscious creation (27:50) Why our children are not ‘ours’, why we can not control them, and why letting them make mistakes is key to their expansion and growth (37:00) The importance of vulnerability in all our relationships (and how to embody this sacred quality) (43:00) Listen to show

Your Resonating Signature

Mama, I am still your rhythmic, resonating signature I am your response I am your light You are still the first home I had Your voice echoes in my heart Your intelligence pulses in my smallest actions Your acknowledgement still soothes so deeply Thank you. One year.

Love Letter to 2016

Thank you, 2016. I lost my Mama this year, and gained my own trust. I learned to lead with my heart and remembered that I must practice listening, and track this sense of glimmering sweetness that’s growing. Showing me who I am, and with whom I’m surrounded; this family of friends and teachers who hold me, and heal me, and fold me, and feel me. 


A note of thanks in celebration of my 2 year sober anniversary. 1975. Back seat of my Mama’s car. That familiar viscerally revolting smell, coupled with the strangely aspirational vision of my hero, my queen, my mother, her elegantly veined hand out the window, cigarette perched between first and middle finger. Music, lightness, breeze. Freedom. 1985. My bathroom, my childhood home, standing on the closed toilet seat smoking into an exhaust vent two feet above my head, praying I’d go undetected, savouring the naughty victory. I’m exactly like her. I’m nothing like her. I’m nothing but her. Freedom. 1995. My Gramercy Park alcove studio. Rolling my own cigarettes, this time with marijuana, working too hard, playing too hard, doubting too hard, wondering if there was some layer I was missing, some alternate reality in which I wasn’t existing. Freedom. 2005. Sneaking a smoke out my window. New apartment, same battle. This time I was wondering if any of my students might catch a glimpse of me smoking and how that would go over. Knowing that this habit was a finite experience, and that someday I’d stop looking over my shoulder and start living my real life. Freedom. 2015. Mother of a 9 year …

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Honouring Fluency

Written for Yom Kippur, the Days of Awe, and my 46th turn around the Sun. Thank you for granting us the language with which to call to you. Thank you for inspiring us to use the words we have to own our part, light and dark, to soften the edges and create contexts of kindness. Thank you for making us available to receive the precious prizes of consciousness: the insights and clarities, the steadiness and the humility that comes when we are open and present to you. Thank you reminding us to continue the dialogue, mediate the polarities, modulate our doubts and strengthen our capacities. This is how we are learning to savour times spent in states of awe. This is how we mitigate confusion long enough to remember to stumble, rise up and fall into this love again, love that widens, opens, and never ends. But keeps beginning. Thank you for my heart. Thank you for my Mom. Thank you for my song. Thank you for my wisdom. Thank you for my wilderness. Thank you for my maturity. Thank you for this silence.

Insights At The Edge Podcast, with Tami Simon

Sounds True Founder, Tami Simon invited me to her Insights At The Edge Podcast. Listen to our episode here on iTunes, or here on Sounds True. Honoured to be an author with the Sounds True family. “Your interview with Tami Simon should go down in history for its stellar advice on being human. It was a perfect weaving of heart and science and being grace.”