Tag Archives: courage

Don’t Be Afraid to Love Too Much

I had an epiphany this morning, after several interesting conversations spanning the last week or two.

I know that the times in my life that I struggle are the times when I am afraid to connect – and I just realized that I am actually saying that

heart rocksI have often been afraid to love too much.


One of the pieces that led to this epiphany was this morning when a friend in Europe shared with me one of the most beautiful impulses I have heard yet, in relation to the refugee crisis there.

She told me that the government has housed 150 refugees in an unused gymnasium down the street from her home.


Her inclination is to go offer hugs to these people. Not with the idea of giving them something, but rather from the perspective of realizing that these people are so vulnerable right now, so cracked wide open, that there is surely much to be learned and gained from their courage and heart. You can read more about her inclination here: http://laurenhayes.nl/2015/10/27/youre-not-wrong/

Due to the growing unrest in her country around the refugees being present at all – she felt it wasn't safe to go down there personally, so we brainstormed ways to offer that level of connection energetically.

To me, the beauty of her impulse, as a human being coming from love of fellow human beings, is that rather than asking what she can give, she’s actually realizing that she has something to receive from these people – that they have something to give her, and she’s courageous enough to recognize and stay open to that. And her gift to those people, in return, in being open to receive from them, is to remind them that they still have something to give.


At a time when they are in the place none of us want to be in – the apparently powerless place of having nothing to give, only endless needing, she’s effectively offering them back their self respect, demonstrating that they are still very valuable. They still matter.


Coming up with a true way to honor that impulse without potentially sacrificing herself also reminded me how real and important the energetic connection is between us all.

This impulse came from such an open-hearted state. She was not afraid to love too much.

This brought me to a profound clarity about what is happening at the Water Cave Retreat in Colorado next week.

What we are going to be doing is consciously opening up to let ourselves love more.

Our intention is to open up and lean into loving ourselves, our lives, each other and the earth even more: more easily, more openly, and more joyfully, in deeper and deeper trust.


I believe that as we do that, we will begin to act differently as people on this beautiful planet.


While I would love to have you there, and I feel quite comfortable saying that being there in person will be a unique and life-changing experience, you don’t have to be there physically to be part of it.

I am telling you this so you can know clearly what you ARE a part of, whether you are in Colorado or not. I fully believe that because of how things work in this amazing Universe, everyone in my circle – which is everyone – will be affected by what we do in Colorado next week.

This energy will be there for you, and you can receive it as much as you want to in whatever way is right for you.


My invitation to you is to bring it into conscious awareness as much as you can, and join us in feeling it. Help us hold the space for abundant and flowing love in our world, right here and now.


Thank you. I so appreciate you and everything you bring to my life.


Why do we Resist Offering Appreciation?

Last week I wrote you a note about appreciation, and I got a tremendous amount of grateful feedback. Thank you to everyone who wrote to me. I promised to follow up with some thoughts about why we don't offer more appreciation.

Why do we resist giving pure appreciation without some sort of suggestion for correction or improvement?

So often, we temper our appreciation with something cautionary, or we point out what isn't good enough yet. (This is like saying to your son, "You did a great job setting the table, thank you! Next time will you put the forks on the right hand side?")

We dilute our appreciation with some sort of correction or suggestion of how to be better.

Why is that?


For one thing, there’s comparison.

We are constantly comparing and deciding whether we are better than that person or worse. Whether or not we’re aware of it, there's often a fear that if we make someone else look or feel too good, it will make us look bad. This is the ego piece. We've all got it. Please don't beat yourself up for this – it's just something to notice and let go as you can.

A thought that can help with this is to consider, do you enjoy being around people who are happy and relaxed, or people who are uptight? You can easily help create more of the former with some undiluted appreciation. People around you will be happier, and so will you.


"Be Realistic."

There's also a cultural belief that if you just talk about what’s good, you’re not being “realistic.” This one seems crazy, but it's true – we act like only negative stuff is real, and refer to positivity as "Pollyanna."

"Don't let it go to your head."

Tied to that "realistic" piece is a pervasive unconscious belief that without criticism, people will settle for where they are, and quit trying to improve. Basically, this is the belief that if you make a person feel too good they may think they’re good enough and stop trying to get better.

This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it's the opposite.

It is a deeply buried sense of not being good enough that keeps you settling, that keeps you from shining like the brilliant light that you are.

Think about it:

People who are comfortable in their own skin, confident that they are enough, are out living their lives, doing things, trying things, falling and getting back up, laughing, loving, exploring and contributing.

People who doubt themselves and judge themselves, who don't feel like they are enough, who are feeling unsure, insecure, depressed, or disconnected are the ones sitting it out or fighting themselves for every step they do take.


The judgment is what keeps things stuck.


This is what actually becomes true when you take away the judgment:

You accept and love yourself more, so you let yourself do more of the things you really want to do.
You do those things fully and beautifully because you love them.
Your excitement and joy mounts.
You become much more fun to be around.
You have more energy building inside yourself and are receiving more energy from the people who enjoy being around you. And vice versa.
You become more and more willing to do courageous things out of love.
You become a powerful force in the world for the things that you value, the things you care about.

And all this has nothing to do with having to push yourself or make yourself wrong.

In these scenarios, you are drawn forward by what you love.

When people know they are appreciated, all the lights are turned on and things are supercharged to get out and live fully, love abundantly and rock this amazing life.

If you want to be happier and change the world, give pure, unadulterated appreciation every chance you get. To yourself and others.

Be sincere, of course. Be real about what you are appreciating.

Be willing to go first. (This is true courage.)

Leave out any anything that would diminish your appreciation. Think of it as giving sincere appreciation from your biggest, highest self to their, biggest highest self.

Want an example? Here you go:

"I love my amazing body. Thank you, body, for everything you do for me." Leave out the next line – "I'd love you even more if you were twenty pounds lighter."

This doesn’t mean you settle for the extra twenty pounds…you just start with sincere appreciation for what is true right now. When your body feels loved and you’re working as a team so YOU feel better as well, you’ll be amazed how easy it will be to lose those twenty pounds

What we all need – us, our friends, our bodies, our bank accounts, our jobs, and even those nasty people who cut us off on the freeway – is help realizing and remembering that we are enough, right here and now. Which means appreciating ourselves, and appreciating others.


We all want appreciation and encouragement, and we are all more open, happy, generous, relaxed and willing when we get it.

This is the best we can do for ourselves, one another, and the world.

The cost/benefit ratio on this one is incalculable.

It costs us a little bit of ego – which is always a good thing to shed.


The payoff will be an epidemic of whole-hearted enoughness which will change our world.


The next note in this series will be about why it's hard to accept appreciation – and why it's so critical to build your capacity to receive.

Being Generous with Appreciation.

We’re about to enter the time of year when people start going a little crazy,

going into debt in order to appear more generous

with friends and loved ones at the holidays.

Yes, it’s craziness. But a very prevalent craziness.

I’ve been thinking a lot about generosity lately, because I hear from people who are frustrated that they don’t feel more generous, or they can’t be as generous as they want, and wonder what’s wrong with them.

Yesterday I went through a lot of old letters and notes that women have written me about their deepest frustrations. The heart-rending stories I heard repeated the same themes, over and over:

I just wish I could quit pushing so hard. I wish I could feel like what I do is enough. I wish I could stop making myself wrong. I wish I could just learn to relax and be OK.  I just want to be real. What I really want is to feel like my life has meaning, like I have meaning – I guess what I really want is to feel appreciated, just as I am. I just want to be OK.

Is that too much to ask?

A light bulb went on.

I realized that we live in a culture of stinginess. We are acting like stingy people.

Oh, sure, we’re willing to go into debt to prove that were not stingy – but we’re throwing money at something that money will not buy, while avoiding or resisting the single – and very simple – meaningful gift we could give each other.

Let me ask you – how much would it change your day today, if someone you know called you up and said: “I was sitting here thinking about you and I just had this urge to call and tell you how much I appreciate you. Your energy, your light, your smile – I really appreciate you and am glad you are in my world. Thank you.”

Would that change your day?

How long would you carry that in your heart?

Forever, probably.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard is – figure out what you really want, and find someone else to give that to.

What if you do that with appreciation?

A specific kind of appreciation.

Not appreciation based on results, or achievements, or externalized events.

Appreciation for who that person is, and for their presence in the world.


It would be amazing, wouldn’t it? It reminds me of the beautiful story of two tables of people having dinner.  In the center of each table there was a kettle of soup. There were spoons to eat with – but they were odd spoons. The handles were very long, longer than the people’s arms.

At the first table, the people were starving, because they couldn’t get the spoonful of soup to their mouth.

At the second table, the people were happy, laughing and enjoying the soup – because they had figured out the simple solution. The long spoons were the perfect length to feed each other across the table.

There’s a reason why we don’t do this, of course. Perhaps you can feel that reason inside you, as I ask you to give another person sincere appreciation.

For now, I’ll keep this short and write about that tomorrow.


And for now, know that I appreciate you, and am very glad you are in my world with me.

Conscious choice, conscious change



Do you wish you felt more excited and alive, conscious of what you want and living to make it happen?

You are not alone.

The well accepted model for human behavior called Spiral Dynamics acknowledges that human nature is not fixed: humans are able, when forced by circumstances, to adapt to their environment by constructing new, more complex, conceptual models of the world that allow them to handle the new problems. Each new model includes and transcends all previous models.

It’s a spiral evolution of consciousness and behavior.

We are entering a new time of exciting possibility.

We are entering a proactive cycle the likes of which the world has never seen. We are no longer victims of our environment, requiring the force of a bad situation to move to a higher level. We can make the conscious choice and move ourselves. We can move into this next level in love, rather than being pushed into it by fear.

The level of deep openness and appreciation, sharing and connecting with who and what we love.

I have immersed myself in exploring the process of human change all my life, and this is what I know, based on my own personal experience working with hundreds of people:

    •    Over the course of the past several decades, we have been taking the shame out of investigating our inner world. We are more and more willing to investigate our own deep patterns.
    •    Our unconscious patterns are what create our choices and actions in the world.
    •    Unconscious patterns based on fear create behaviors that replicate fear, which leads to short term thinking, excessive control, conflict and devastation.
    •    The technology and practices now available for changing unconscious patterns are highly advanced and extremely effective.
    •    It is critical for ourselves, our loved ones and this beautiful planet that we use these technologies to change our own deep patters of behavior.
    •    The more we choose to use these practices to adopt loving patterns at the unconscious level, the more positive and powerful our effect on the world will be.


How OK can you let yourself be?

Up until this point, we have held a dualistic model of the world where in order to change, we had to make what was true before wrong.
The conscious choice to move to a more loving way of being, treating ourselves, each other and the earth with love and respect, actually requires the release of that right/wrong duality.

You don’t have to make where you are wrong in order to move to the next level.

In fact, the next level will not be reached until you let go of that judgment, especially self-judgment. Judgment is like cement that holds your patterns in place.

This is why is is so important to come from self-acceptance and love.


The shift is happening. From my perspective in this conscious change community, it is clear that we have already passed a tipping point of the number of people who need to do this, in order to effect the shift.

My work is to support this shift, guiding people into this place of deep self-acceptance and appreciation, doing the work at the unconscious level that releases their attachment to the old cultural story of “not ever quite good enough,” so they connect with the truth of who they really are – beautiful, powerful beings here to connect, love and dance the dance of life.

Let’s dance!

To learn how to work with your unconscious mind to make the changes you really want in your life, download my free e-book, up and to the right.

What is going on here?

ben's campfire

I spent much of my early life feeling deeply engaged and alive.

As I grew older I became more and more closed down. I felt frustrated, depressed and unable to figure out what was wrong. There was nothing in outside circumstances that would point to anything other than a great life. But I kept swirling down into a pit. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I happy?

Why couldn’t I figure this out?


Somehow, no matter how many times I pulled myself out, I kept falling into a pit of self questioning that derailed and debilitated me.

Eventually my determination to feel alive and engaged again got bigger than whatever was holding me back.

I decided I could not settle for anything less than a fully engaged life. I set out to find it. I began following nudges from life, hoping that life knew more than I did, and would take me where I wanted and needed to go.


That turned out to be so beautifully true.

I now feel more alive than ever, with a deep sense of joy, possibility, curiosity and wonder. I am living a beautiful and fully engaged life.


What I learned

I am not crazy, broken or wrong.  I are simply human. And so are you. We are not hard wired to suffer. We simply carry two competing impulses which, unrecognized and unmanaged, can create great suffering.

On a survival level, we resist change, and have an urge to close down and protect. On an evolutionary level, we yearn for expansion, with an urge to open up and connect.


We all do. We yearn for connection even as we protect ourselves from the pain it might bring.


What you are feeling is simply the natural yearning to expand into the full expression of yourself as a beautiful individual: open, capable, curious, deeply effective, wholeheartedly connected.

This is the choice I made. I learned how to relax my inherent urge to protect, and support my desire to expand. You can too. When you do, you will find a place of deep joy, fulfillment and your greatest effectiveness.


In my book, it's worth whatever it takes. You, your relationships, your world – nothing will ever be the same.

Living a Joyful Connected Life

Expanding Willingness

What I have learned about how to live a joyful, connected, fufilling life.


How you feel is paramount.


Making the choices that lead you to feel happy, connected and fulfilled is absolutely critical.

Everything that you want in life flows from there. Here’s why:


You are not crazy, broken or wrong.
You are simply human.

You are not hard wired to suffer. 
You simply carry two competing impulses that, unmanaged, can create great suffering.


On a survival level, you resist change and have an urge to protect.

On an evolutionary level, you yearn for expansion with an urge to connect.


We all do. We yearn for connection and we protect ourselves from the pain it might bring.


Until you understand this, your entire being pushes you to maintain control. What you are controlling is how much pain you let yourself feel. As Brene Brown points out, you can’t selectively numb. When you avoid feeling the pain and you also lose the joy.


There's a deep, collective yearning to get more real.


Doing that means unwinding these old patterns and allowing ourselves to take more emotional risks. Taking the risk to open up and get real leads to the true freedom of feeling everything deeply, including feeling joyful.


True freedom is being willing to feel it all. To be fully alive, to take chances, to connect, to laugh and to love.


The thing is, the protection is happening at an unconscious level where you can’t just consciously decide to change, and have that happen. Your built-in resistance to taking those risks is a primal part of your being and the closer you get to challenging those primal patterns, the stronger that resistance will be.


This does not mean that you have to remain hostage to your protective urges. You can soften and release that resistance.


I have learned how to consciously soothe my inherent urge to protect, and support my desire to be real, live fully and connect authentically.


You can too.


This is our place of true power, deepest joy, greatest fulfillment AND delightful effectiveness.


It turned out that what I had lost, in my trip through my own depression, was myself and the things I most loved. My decision to follow what felt good and deeply mattered to me, regardless of how that “looked,” was what brought me back to myself. What it took to let go of “how it looked” (i.e. what other people thought and my negative thoughts about myself) and how I did that is the subject of my work in the world.


I’d love to share what I've learned about what it takes to let go of “how it looks” (i.e. judgment, self and otherwise). It’s an ongoing process and how I have done that, and continue to do that myself is the subject of my e-book, Just Who Is In Charge Here, Anyway? It’s free, and will come right to your inbox when you register to download it (above, right).

How I came to find my purpose


Ten years ago I felt flat, depressed and frustrated. I knew there was more to life – more I wanted to be doing, more I wanted to be contributing, more I wanted to be feeling. I wanted to live on purpose. I wanted to matter more. I couldn’t figure out what that meant or how to do it.

I was largely unaware of my inner world.

I had no idea that I was waging an incredible battle against myself inside.  


Luckily, my frustration pushed me so far that I finally let go and asked life to help me find what I was looking for.

It worked. Life took me inside to see clearly what was happening in my inner world. It led me to the people that could help me understand and approach everything differently. I got what I needed to begin to act as my own best ally instead of my own worst enemy.

In some ways, I have made this extra crazy for myself because I have been a very stubborn case. Letting go and trusting is such a stretch! Which comes first? How can I trust if I don’t let go? How can I let go if I don’t trust?


It has been and continues to be a process and daily practice.

It has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done, for myself and everyone I care about.


Everything has changed.

My relationships are fundamentally different.  I used to hide the real me, protect my heart by allowing no one access to it, control my experience and deny true connection. Now I am able to be open and loving, showing up curious, willing and able to trust enough to connect deeply.

There is no real distinction between my work and my life. I am so fully on purpose, doing what I love, that my work infuses my life and it feels wonderful. This does not mean I have become a workaholic. It means that there’s either no such thing as work, or no such thing as life without purpose or meaning. There’s just no distinction. I am fully engaged in my life and my work and they are tied together in joy and meaning.


This was not an immediate magical shift.


It has been the result of deliberate new choices made over several years. It continues to deepen and become richer. And it is the best thing I have ever done for myself and for everyone around me.

This shift has reconnected me to joy.

Now I help other people find their purpose by reconnecting to their joy. And that’s about as good as life can get.


If you feel the shift and want to find YOUR purpose here, send me an email.


One thing I feel quite sure of – if finding your purpose is your next step, your heart is telling you loud and clear. It's time.


I will be delighted to speak with you.



The Shift to Consciousness


Can you feel the shift?


There is something profound happening right now in the world. I can only describe it as a deepening into the idea and feeling of coming home. We are like salmon coming home, upstream into the rivers of our origins. And we are deeply supported by life as we do.

This shift has become so powerful that it is helping us all to swim through the nets of fear of what other people might think, fear of not being enough, and fear of how very much we might actually be.

It is helping each of us to come back home to what we ourselves know: That we are connected on a very deep level, to ourselves, each other and to life.

This expansion into our connectedness is a continual process. It is an on-going spiral that starts when we’re born and accelerates as we experience synchronicities and become more and more aware of how very supported we are by life force energy.

Right now this process of coming into awareness, clarity and joy is accelerating beautifully.


Even science is agreeing that there is a measurable, replicable, amazing force in our consciousness that connects us all and supports our connection and expansion. Life itself is holding space for us all to live according to what our hearts know and let the other fears and doubts fall away like leaves in autumn.

As a species, we are growing aware of our inner world, and the profound effect it has on what goes on outside in what we have historically called reality.

There is a new world available to all of us – a world of consciousness. In this world, what matters is mastering our personal energy awareness. It is a world in which we release control and move into trust.

It is challenging to convey what is available to you in this new world.


Most of the things I could say about being in this world sound like things you have heard many times.

What is different is the level of feeling and connection. When you move into this world, the things I would say about joy and trust and connection and love are no longer concepts outside of you, or words in your head.

You feel them in your body, you know them as your truth, and you begin to live in them as your natural state.

As you move into awareness, you see the system behind things and become far more effective, using what works and letting go of what doesn’t.

Much of what you will let go of is resistance to how good things can be.


You will release old unconscious behaviors that cost you energy, like rejection and judgment. Your energy builds on every level as you plug these leaks.

You open up and get more curious. You become an excellent leader by becoming an excellent listener.

Gratitude will become your permanent position.


You speak your truth peacefully and powerfully, letting go of concern about what other people might think. You let that be their business. Your business is simply to know what you love and stand powerfully in that.

You begin to live what you love. The more you do, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more resistance you release. The more resistance you release, the more energy you have and the more open you become.

It becomes a powerful upward spiral of energy.


It’s a beautiful new world.



Connect with Money: Free Meditation

I recommend that you listen to this post, rather than read it.

Click here to listen. (7 minutes):


Who is Money?



We all grew up with stories about money.

Stories like:


  • Money is hard to get. If you get it too easily you’re cheating somehow or taking advantage or just plain lazy.
  • You shouldn’t want money. If you were a good person, you’d be fine with what you have.
  • Money is bad and evil and you are bad if you want it.
  • You can’t be spiritual and have money.
  • People who focus on money are rigid, they’re making money more important than love.
  • You can’t trust money. You can’t trust yourself with money.
  • People who have money can’t be trusted.
  • People who don’t have money can’t be trusted.
  • People who want money are greedy, self-serving, callow, insensitive, uncaring.


Yes, there are endless stories about money.

And I carried my share. I used to have a very convoluted relationship with money,

I used to push money away, keep it at a distance.  I had my own unconscious story about who I would be, what it would mean, if I had money – and since I rejected that person, I rejected money. Somehow I always made sure, without even realizing how I was doing it – that I had just barely enough.  I doubted myself mercilessly and often stopped myself in my tracks because of all the tangled up mess that was my story about money.


Now, things have changed.

Now I view money very differently. 

And I am acting very differently, doing more of the things that really matter to me, speaking my truth more clearly and loving my life far more –


Because I have learned something.

I know something new.

I now know who money is.


I used to have money locked away in a cage, as something dangerous and bad. Something I never went near, that I could never connec with.


That changed.


I got frustrated with how money was in my life, and I got curious.

I went over to the cage, which was a bit scary in itself. 

I went over to that cage and I sat there to connect with money.

I sat with it and I felt its sadness. I felt how very bad it felt, being locked in the cage.  How very much it wanted to be out and a part of things, helping out. Helping me.


I felt how very much love was there, that I had never realized.


I saw that all the old stories about money were somebody else’s stories, and I was here with it now and it is a living, loving, breathing being that loves me and wants to help.


When I felt ready, I let it out of the cage to connect.


It came into the room. It came up to me and stood in front of me, looking me deeply in the eye.

We connected.


Money has so much energy.


I photo(20)could feel the energy. I could feel the power.

It turns out that it is life force energy, embodied. Powerful, beautiful life force energy. That is all and everything that it is.

I am so happy to have finally made peace with money, and to have let it out of its cage so that we can actually become friends and partners. I have released and connected money into my life, to join me on my journey.


It is standing here with me now, powerfully and lovingly. It has shifted in shape a bit as we have gone through this; it is now a beautiful big black spirit cat. A pamther. We are here together, standing here together, looking out at everything that is possible, my hand resting on its shoulder.


I love and honor money as the true embodiment of life force that it is.

It has been maligned, used, beaten up, imprisoned, thrown around –


Here and now, I commit to love and honor money as my partner.


I commit to stand with this beautiful being, this embodied energy that has been passed down through the generations.

Some have dissipated it. Some have strengthened it.


I will be one who strengthens.

I will honor money. I will connect with it and use the energy from that connection well, to support the things that matter. Love and beauty and playfulness and joy and connection.

Money is the life force energy behind the vision I hold, of people remembering.


Thank you, money. Thank you. I love you.

As I love myself.

As I love all things.


And as I act accordingly.

Thank you.





I would very much love it if you would leave a comment and let me know what this helped make clear for you.

Because You CAN Love your Life

I have a story to share with you.


Nancy has asked me to share it, in the hopes that it will serve you.

Nancy is an amazing gal. Just amazing. She has done so many interesting things in her life – it’s inspiring to watch her.

It’s also been confusing sometimes, and occasionally exhausting.

Because although she’s amazing, she never seemed to see it herself. She kept pushing and pushing and pushing, like nothing was ever enough.

She came to me because she was exhausted and wanted to give up.

But somehow she knew there was something more out there if she could just find it. If she could just figure out the right question to ask or find the right work or me et the right teacher.

Something I had said about never settling really resonated with her. She didn’t know what she was settling for but was determined not to settle for less than what she came here for.

She knew she came here for something good.

And it wasn’t good enough yet.

She didn’t know what to do about that. She just figured it must be time to do something very different.

So we started sorting through her old stories and getting down to what really mattered, what was really true, and what was just a story.

It’s been quite a journey.

She was very, very attached to one particular story.


It had cost her dearly in her life, because she kept looking for other people who would help her prove that it was true.

But so often they didn’t – they had their own story. They didn't believe hers.

You know those blinding flash-of-insight moments you have sometimes?

She had one this morning.

This morning, she suddenly saw that, all her life, her story had been wrong.
(Sorry to say this so bluntly, but those are her words).

She had been totally, completely wrong.


And this is what she is asking me to pass along for her:

What if your story is wrong too?


Her story was very, very simple:

"They don’t want me. I don’t belong here."


And it turns out she was wrong.
As hard as she had tried to prove it, she just couldn’t.

Life wouldn’t let her.


She IS wanted. She IS loved. She IS supported.

Now she’s sitting here in a daze, filled with a beautiful sense of possibility and curiosity about what this means, and how her life will change because of it.

It’s a bit scary, and even more, it's very, very exciting.

Mostly, though – it’s a relief beyond measure, to quit fighting the real story.


So Nancy wanted me to pass it on.

Life wants you to live.  
Life wants you to love life.
Life wants you to love YOUR life.

Life is asking you to question any story that denies life.


What if you could surrender an old story?
What story would you surrender?


Because you CAN love your life.

I see you. I would love to help you see yourself.

Click here when you'd like to explore what's possible.





"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver