Don’t you just love Jeff Brown’s ability to cut through the bullshit?

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‘EVERYTHING is not a gift. There may be valued transformation that arises from many experiences, but that doesn’t mean that EVERY experience is a gift. If we lean too far in that direction, we will deny trauma and victimhood all together, something we have been mistakenly doing for centuries. No, everything is not a gift. Some experiences are horrors, and it is all we can do to heal from them. To suggest that someone MUST find the gift in them, is to add insult to injury. It is also to create a culture that welcomes all horrors, because, after all- “everything is a gift.” Let’s keep it grounded- sometimes, it’s a gift. Sometimes it’s a horror. And the only who can decide that is the person who had the experience.’ -JEFF BROWN


“It’s easy to understand why you might seek a heart-to-heart dialogue with a parent who disappointed you. You long to make sense of, to heal from, to resolve. You intuitively know that they have information that can put what you experienced in context. 
At the same time, you have to be careful not to expect something that they cannot provide. For many of those who came before, it is absolutely essential that they stay away from the hotbed of emotional material that you seek to excavate. It’s too loaded, too guilt-ridden, too overwhelming, and they intuitively know they will not survive the process. They know that the dialogue will force them to awaken a whole web of unresolved emotional issues they are not able to confront. There is little worse than ending up between two worlds- one unconscious and repressed, the other conscious and awakened. Sometimes its necessary to remain asleep, because awakening is just too darn difficult. 

The important thing- when you seek dialogue with those who have hurt you- is that you understand in advance that any refusal to participate is not a reflection of your inherent value. It’s a reflection of their inherent limitations. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It doesn’t mean that they don’t privately wish that they could have done better. It often just means that they have chosen, or must choose, to never look back…
-Jeff Brown 

The Hungry Child

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‘One of the great challenges for those who have survived abusive and neglectful parents is that there is often a part of us that is still waiting for them to love us, even if there is very little chance of that happening. Locked in an archaic mindset, we continue to go back for more, looking for love in all the wrong places. Somehow we imagine that they will come around one day, realize their mistakes, see our worth, soften those armored edges. And some do, often when they are very old, made vulnerable by sickness and time. But many don’t, and we need to stop putting our emotional lives on hold waiting for something that may never happen. The bridge from stagnation to empowerment lies in our willingness to see them for who they really are, to take them off their primal pedestal and recognize their human limitations. This is not easy- the hungry child self clings to illusions- but it is oh so necessary. Until we accept the reality of who can’t love us, we cannot embrace the love of those who can.’-Jeff Brown

THE RUPTURE AND THE REPAIR by Jeff Foster

c33ca758d3ed9f6506a3ae404d079f62‘First there is the rupture. Old pain resurfaces, erupting from the depths of the unconscious.

The status quo is shattered. You feel disoriented, groundless, not knowing where to turn. An old world has crumbled, a new world has not yet formed.

You encounter the strange space of Now, pure presence, raw, unprotected by old dreams, nothing to cling to. Even your outdated concepts of God crumble.

And then you remember to breathe, and feel your feet on the ground, and observe the spinning mind rather than losing yourself in it.

The world is out of control but you are not.

You feel what you feel. Afraid. Angry. Numb. Sad. Lonely. Unsafe. Whatever. You commit to feeling it fully today, to not dissociating this time. A feeling is just a feeling, not a fact, and presence can hold it.

You wail, you weep, you scream, but you are repairing. You have broken to heal, ruptured to mend. Old energies have emerged only to be blessed with love, acceptance, tenderness.

You can’t go back to the way things were. You can’t un-see what you have seen. But you can be present, today. And take each step consciously now, not automatically, habitually, but mindfully, with care. Finding gratitude for each extra moment you are alive.

And staying close to yourself now, as you walk this unknown path with courage, and a new conviction.’

– Jeff Foster

Image from http://www.fromupnorth.com/illustration-inspiration-715/

Unbreakable- Jeff Foster

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UNBREAKABLE

You do not heal from trauma, and nobody heals you either. You simply reconnect with that sacred place in yourself that was never traumatized, never broken, never damaged in the first place; your true Self, absolute and ever-present, innocent and free.
It is not a destination; it is You, alive and awake in the moment.

Know yourself as the Absolute, and let all thoughts and feelings move through you, however intense or uncomfortable. The forms pass, they always pass, and You remain.

You are not broken; you are Unbreakable.

– Jeff Foster

For Bentley. You left paw prints on my heart.

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‘This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.’

Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear

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Supporting Loved Ones

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“Just to sit, without expectation, with someone who is in grief or fear or loneliness or despair, without trying to fix them in any way, or manipulate their experience to match your idea of how it should be; just to listen, without playing the role of ‘expert’ or ‘enlightened guru’ or ‘the one who knows best’; just to be totally available to the one in front of you, and to walk with them through the fire, to hold their hand when they are broken – this is how we begin to heal each other through love. Beyond our roles, unprotected, unresolved, undefended, we truly meet.” -Jeff Foster

A Different Take on Forgiveness

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“Forgiveness is not a concept. It’s a process. And, if you choose not to forgive at the end of that process, you are not a bad human. No-forgive and forget, works too. It’s okay to not forgive in certain situations. It doesn’t mean you are not spiritual. It doesn’t mean that you are unresolved. It doesn’t mean you will come back in the next lifetime to live it out again. The assumption that forgiving the abuser is the benchmark of a completed emotional and karmic process is the mistake. It’s another way the New Cage movement insensitively vilifies the victim. The real benchmark of resolution is whether we have gone through our emotional process authentically and have arrived at a place where the negative charge around the experience has dissipated. Perhaps we learned some lesson, or perhaps we just feel liberated from the memories—the important thing is that we feel at peace again. Focusing on our responsibility to forgive a wrongdoer sidetracks the whole process. If it’s there, it’s there. If it’s not, it’s not. Just because you don’t choose to forgive doesn’t mean you haven’t let go yet. Maybe you realize forgiveness is not essential to your healing, and not your responsibility. Some of us actually heal and choose not to forgive. Imagine that.” –Excerpt taken from ‘Spiritual Graffiti’ (image from Naldz Graphics)