Following a Trail of Heart-Crumbs

heart petals on letterI was recently sitting in a workshop that I helped coordinate, looking at the flip chart that the facilitator was using. I had provided that flipchart, thinking the pages were all blank. As she turned a page, I caught a glance of something I had written. Luckily, she did not expose the whole page, but turned to the next blank page.  I drew in a breath and a clapped my hand over my mouth. I felt mortified, shocked, and a little ashamed! A few people near me turned to see what was wrong. I felt a fierce blush creep up my neck. The person sitting next to me later told me my upper arm had gone red, too.

What on earth was on that page? A bad word? A naked picture? What?

flip chartMy eye had caught some numbers, a price. The sheets (there were two) were actually advertisements for two workshops that I had planned to put on in 2013, both cancelled because of my cancer diagnosis. So why did I have such a strong reaction? This was way beyond embarrassment at an unprofessional oversight. I thought back over the past year, to the last time I used that flip chart, and I realized it was just about a year ago. I had ambitiously scheduled three workshops over the course of three months on Maui. I was really making a push to birth a body of work into the world, to ‘make it’ as a workshop creator and facilitator. Two of the workshops would be co-taught with Apollo. We were creating weekends to help singles and couples heal their sexuality and leave the baggage behind so they might have the kinds of relationships they wanted. We were excited and giving it our all. We had spent thousands of dollars and weeks of time and travel learning how to market in a way that was heart-felt and aligned with our values.

I took everything I learned in my marketing classes and applied it to a free intro for my women’s workshop. It was called, ‘Three Common Mistakes Even Smart Single Women Make That Keep Them Alone, Lonely, and Hungry for Love.’ (Yeah, that really was the name of the intro.) I followed all the marketing rules I had learned. I planned to sell the women’s workshop and the single’s and couple’s workshops as well that day. I had written up the flipchart pages in advance, well in back of the flipchart. 35 women showed up that day, and I was really pleased with the turnout. Five women registered for the Reclaiming Aphrodite workshop. It was barely enough to make it a go…. but I was buoyed by the success of the free intro.

Following the Reclaiming Aphrodite workshop, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The two workshops to follow were cancelled. Apollo and I both breathed a huge sigh of relief. “We don’t have to do this anymore!” No more marketing, no more trying to fill workshops, no more putting in hundreds of hours and making barely enough money to survive on!  I never looked back. I was done. After nearly a decade of putting on workshops, I had had enough.

Fast forward a few months to post-cancer: fully recovered, ready-for-what’s-next. What is next? I have no idea. I’m happy to have some work to do, website and graphic design, working at home. Happy to be healthy, living in Maui with my beloved. Happy to help organize a workshop that was easy to fill on subject matter I’m very interested in, Internal Family Systems ‘Parts Work.’ Seeing those flip chart pages sparked something deep. My reaction of mortification was intense and visceral. Why?

I invite the feelings to wash over me again, so I can dig deeper. There’s shame in there. Disgust. I hated having to market myself. Some part of me feels like I was a fraud. I didn’t really know what I was doing. Nothing I was teaching was original. Who did I think I was, anyway? Another part of me knows. I have a gift and I wanted to use it. Perhaps teaching was not the right use of it. I hereby invite and invoke right use of my gift!

orange heart ribbonsMy gift is so subtle as to be almost invisible. It’s the gift of presence. Listening. Being with. Witnessing without fixing or advising. I may not always choose to use it, but when I do, it’s palpable. I can also teach others how to bring presence, if they are willing and have a desire to practice. Because it is truly a practice. If you want to know more about presence, contact me and I’ll send you info.

Since ‘workshop facilitator’ was a part of me that I identified with for so long, it’s natural that I would feel bereft when that part is no longer needed or called upon. Do I need to create another persona to take its place? I’m not so sure I do. I have tremendous contentment in my life, but I am by no means stagnant. I keep doing my inner work, and writing about it for the benefit of myself and others, as this blog and my book reveal. Perhaps I am simply myself. No labels necessary. I accept!

Who are you, without your labels? If you care to share, I respond to every comment below. Thanks for tuning in.

Love & blessings, Amrita

Posted in Balance, Gratitude, Love, Presence, Releasing | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

The Priestess in the Mirror

When I look in the mirror, I see many things. I see a woman who has reclaimed wholeness after childhood trauma. I see a breast cancer survivor who is thriving. I see a happy and contented wife. And I see a high priestess of the renaissance of the divine feminine.

divineFeminine-queenWhat does a modern priestess look like? Do they wear robes and special jewelry? Will you find them in sacred temples and at sacred sites? The modern priestess is as diverse and individual as today’s women are, and we each hold the capacity to embody the priestess within ourselves if we so choose. Formal initiations, trainings, and ceremonies are available in myriad forms by a wide range of teachers and leaders, but they are not required. I chose a path of initiation and ordination thirteen years ago that served me well as I learned to access my inner landscape and began my path of becoming conscious of the true being hiding behind the human pain and suffering. That path is a lifelong journey, and I’m grateful for that auspicious beginning.

Having been involved in circles of women and priestesses for many years, both as participant and facilitator, I released them all when I moved to Maui in 2006. I was called to Maui to work with the Divine Feminine Institute, and that felt like a new manifestation of my contribution as a priestess… more practical and less esoteric. While my outer priestess morphed into an administrator, my inner priestess continued to have initiations and give birth to her priestess arts in the form of the book and body of work known as Reclaiming Aphrodite. The Divine Feminine Institute came to a close, and breast cancer brought new insights and inquiries about my work in the world. Reclaiming Aphrodite is currently at rest, though the book continues to be offered as a $4.99 Kindle book.

The imagery and symbolism of my years of priestess work continue to feed and embrace me. Honoring the dark time of the year (in the cauldronNorthern Hemisphere), I find myself in a space of not-knowing. A cauldron or womb space, where what is gestating has not yet been born. My previous work has fallen away, and what is next has not revealed itself. I’m grateful to have some work to do in this interim time, work that I enjoy and that I’m good at and that supports a dear friend in her contribution to the renaissance of the divine feminine. My commitment to myself is to be with and in this state of not-knowing without pushing for answers or imposing my will. This is my greatest takeaway from my breast cancer experience: I trust that all will be revealed and that I will be perfectly guided.

callanish-standing-stones-17

Callanish Standing Stones

I’m experiencing a growing excitement as I answer a call to the depths of my priestess being to attend a very special gathering in Scotland this spring at the Callanish Standing Stone complex. I knew the moment I read the announcement that I was supposed to be there, and I set my intention to have it happen. Originally, I thought I would go alone and just to Scotland. This trip has now evolved into my first ever exploration of Europe with my husband. We’ll spend a few days in Amsterdam, Belgium, and Paris before heading to Scotland for a few days in Edinburgh. Then we’ll drive to Inverness for a night and fly to the Isle of Lewis, northwest of the Scottish mainland, to the tiny two-airline airport in the town of Stornoway. The week-long, expertly facilitated event will be held at the Doune Braes Hotel in Carloway near the Callanish Standing Stones. Unlike Stonehenge, Callanish is not fenced off, and is accessible to the public.

The event is called Renaissance of the Sacred Feminine – Re-dreaming the Magical Link Between Land and Sky, Soul and Spirit. It will be facilitated by Anyaa McAndrew, High Priestess; Nita Gage, Shamanic Breathwork facilitator; and Daniel Giamario, Shamanic Astrologer, who has a deep relationship with the Callanish stones. Daniel has been to Callanish eight times, and he says, “It is my belief that the Callanish complex is the largest and most important of the ancient lunar ceremonial sites on the planet, the veritable prototype of all the rest.  It’s a massive building project of more than 20 stone alignments, all oriented to Sun, Moon, and stars, and all in harmony with the sacred landscape itself.”

Sacred Feminine by Cristina McAllisterThe event is very reasonably priced to make it accessible for people, and between that and airline miles, I’m able to pull this off. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to connect to my Celtic roots and heritage, not just in my ancestry, but also in my priestess lineage. I sense that there is important information for me in this sacred place. I anticipate a magical time of deep connection with my priestess self, the land, the stones, and with the community of people I’ll be sharing this experience with. If this gathering calls to you, please click here for more information.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? I welcome your comments below and I respond to every one of them!

Wishing you a very expansive and abundant 2014!

Love & blessings, Amrita

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Was Jesus Really Born on December 25th?

axial_tilt_winter_solstice_cardIt seems pretty unlikely if you take into consideration some of the clues that are available… like the biblical evidence that there were shepherds in the fields watching their flocks at night at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7-8) and that the family of Jesus was heading into Bethlehem to register for a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4). I can’t imagine that either of these events would have happened during the freezing cold winter months. Nor can I imagine that a stable would have been warm enough for a newborn infant and his parents to survive a winter night in.

stonehenge_winter_solsticeWhat is more compelling evidence to me is that the celebration of the time of Yule predates Christianity by thousands of years. The Norse and Celtic people, the Romans and ancient Egyptians all honored the time of Yule as the return of the Sun God and the rebirth of the light. Long before Christmas trees were decorated, the Yule log burned in the fireplace, feasting and merrymaking commenced, gifts were exchanged, and the occasional sacrifice was made.

At some point, Christianity gained in popularity, and the priests of the new religion did their best to convert the people to the new order of holy days. The people did not give up their celebrations easily, so it’s said that the priests decided to overlay the ancient holy days with their own. Over the course of centuries, Christmas (Christ-Mass) became the accepted holy day and Yule (almost) faded into antiquity.

yuleBecause Yule and Christmas have become somewhat fused, I consider Christmas a time to celebrate the “birth of the Christ Consciousness” along with the birth of the Sun God. As a Celtic high priestess, I recognize the Winter Solstice, or Yule, as one of my own highest holy days while everyone around me is gearing up for what has become a gigantic retail cash cow, putting millions of people into debt and into a manic state of mind. I avoid all that by circumventing the traditional Christmas celebrations most years. Though I enjoy the lights on houses, I find most of the trappings unnecessary and I don’t engage in the shopping frenzy. If a gift exchange is called for, I prefer to make my own creative offerings… such as foods that can be consumed later, once the feasting is only a memory.  I like to bring uniqueness and a very personal touch to giving gifts… I suppose it entertains me as well as the recipient.

As we head into the darkest and longest nights, it’s a time to slow down and find repose, just like the Earth is doing (in the Northern Hemisphere). WinterSolsticeMornI’ll be keeping those holiday parties to a minimum, preferring ceremonial gatherings and time with family. And this year, I’ll have the very special touch of a white Christmas. It’s not easy to tempt me away from Maui over the holidays, but this year I’m excited to spend time with my family in Minneapolis, where the temperature differential from Maui is something like 50-70 degrees F. I am definitely dreaming of a white Christmas, and I plan to be out walking in a winter wonderland!

However you celebrate, and even if you don’t, I wish you a safe, sane, heart-filled and warm holiday season.

Love & blessings, Amrita

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The Gratitude Experiment

Gratitude rockAs the harvest season gives way to the holiday season, abundance is in evidence all around me. Even though I don’t live on a farm and I do live in a tropical climate, I still feel the overflowing cornucopia of the Earth’s northern hemisphere rhythm of completing productivity and slowing into repose for the winter. Each year at this time, I feel into the fullness of the gifts that the time of harvest has brought to fruition as I slow my own rhythms into their own seasonal repose.

Thanksgiving brought its own gift of remembrance and gratitude. As we feasted upon the harvest’s bounty, we had an opportunity to celebrate that which we are grateful for, to give thanks. That can be a fun and easy thing to do, when things are shiny and bright in our lives. But what about when things don’t feel good? Is there a place for gratitude when things are dark and scary?

I believe the answer is YES! How many times have I looked in hindsight at the difficult, challenging, and unhappy experiences in my life and realized what gems they held and how much I gained from them? What if I didn’t have to wait for hindsight to feel gratitude? What if I could choose to welcome it all, and trust that not only will it serve me, but that I created every aspect of it? I invoked immense gratitude right from the start of my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, and that turned out to be a very positive, life-affirming experience.

We live in a world of polarity, and we simply cannot live in the light all the time. We can pretend to, and many people do. Know anyone who seems to be happy all the time? Does it feel real? Are you projecting happy all the time? What’s underneath that, really?

Gratitude Experiment

What would it take to embrace the more difficult experiences and to find gratitude for them? Let’s do an experiment! I’ll call it the Gratitude Experiment. From now until the end of 2013, or for how ever many days you want to play, I propose that we invoke gratitude for every experience we have, no matter how sad, angry, or unhappy they seem to be. I’m not saying it will be easy, and it may require reminders (a note that says “open this when unhappy” that reminds us to invoke gratitude?). It may feel fake or out of place or downright ridiculous, but I invite you to give it a chance. You don’t have to make yourself feel it, simply invoke the energy of it and see what happens.

I welcome any feedback, comments, or insights you have as you take part in the experiment!

Love & blessings, Amrita

Posted in Blessings, Gratitude, Presence, Solar Feminine | Tagged | 2 Comments

Underworld Portals

invitationI’ve come to understand something very important about myself, something that is a solid compass inside me that I can finely attune myself to that will guide me without fail to places of joy and connection.  I’ve come by this knowledge in part through my dear friend Tiera, who has “reminded” me by bringing the mystery school of Human Design through her being so flawlessly and communicating my piece of it to me so concisely. It struck one of the deepest chords in my being to understand that I always, always must RESPOND TO INVITATIONS.

There are so many layers to this simple statement, “respond to invitations.” As Tiera would say, for me, it’s got to be an “engraved invitation.” Not literally, of course. As I’ve attuned myself to this compass and witnessed the ways in which invitations come my way and the ways in which they do not, I’ve begun to develop a powerful sensitivity and discernment. Better yet, I’ve actually begun to listen to and act on that discernment. The most powerful “engraved” invitation might come in the form of words, but mostly it comes in the form of waves of energy that I can feel all the way to my bones, like a siren song of my true north.

Most of my life, I’ve just gone after what I thought I wanted. What my head thought I wanted. Now I find that I’m following a deeper stream of gnosis and wisdom than my head could ever possibly think up. This listening with much more than my physical senses engages my entire body in the process and brings a lessening of tension and low-grade anxiety I often carry, especially lately, around social interactions. When I respond rather than trying to initiate, I find a much deep sense of satisfaction in the fulfillment of the invitation.  And more importantly, I’m learning to release and let go of any constructs of how I “think” things “should” be… such as when I recognize that an invitation is just not there when I think it “should” be… or maybe is was there and now it’s not.

While I recognize the value of contrast and understand that sometimes it takes experiencing what I don’t want to get clarity about what I do want, I’m ready to tap straight in to the stream of well-being that flows when I go where my energy and offerings of my sensitive self are desired, welcomed, and invited. Where my heart is exalted. Yeah! Exalted.

Having come through that above-mentioned portal sometime last night, I feel fully prepared to dance with the new moon in all her ceremonial Scorpio finery as she is accompanied to the Solar Eclipse Ball by Saturn. I remain in the question. What else is possible?

Love & blessings, Amrita

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Slipping Into Darkness

Day of the DeadI just had to borrow that great title from a song by the 80’s band War, because it’s been going through my head for the last few days. It’s a reflection of the powerful deepening that this time of year always brings to me. Today is my birthday, and tomorrow is Samhain, Hallowmas, Hallowe’en… and I’m inspired to write another blog right on the heels of the yesterday’s, in tribute to an older way of approaching this time of year.

Last night, I felt the call of the night, the thinness of the veil between the worlds, and the results of the heart healing and opening I’ve been working with. As I sat outside in the hot tub in the dark, I cried for those lost in the past year and those lost decades ago. I remembered those who are long gone from this life but not from existence or from my heart. I spoke out loud to Adrianna Grace, beloved friend lost to cancer this year, and to my Grandmothers and Grandfathers, thanking them all for being part of my life and part of my eternity. I felt as though I had truly celebrated Samhain with an appropriate ceremony of honoring.

As we slip into the dark half of the wheel of the year, so many will be starting to think about the holidays. Gearing up, making lists, making plans for parties, family dinners, and general Wheel of the Yearrevelry. I’m going in the opposite direction, as my ancestors did once the final harvest was in and the food preserved for another winter. In nature, as the weather turns colder in the northern hemisphere, many animals are fattening up on autumn’s bounty for hibernation and sleeping through the winter. While I don’t plan to fatten up, I do align with the bears and the other animals who crawl into caves and holes and dens and burrows and slow way down.

Though I live in the tropics and it doesn’t get that cold in the winter, I’ve attuned myself to the turning of the seasons and the shortening of the days that speak of winter to come. I also live at a high enough elevation to need warmer clothes and fuzzy slippers at times. It’s really a more subtle attunement to the earth’s rhythms, and a conscious choice to move to a different song, a slower and more gentle song which slows my heartbeat.

I used to think I had to swim upstream, but now I realize that I need only slip into the stream and let it carry me where it goes. In keeping with the powerful, magical time of year that we are in, I take time to be with my internal landscape, to find calm in what is sure to be an escalating holiday frenzy. This year I will even dance the balance of participating in family holiday gatherings on the mainland and maintaining my equilibrium instead of hiding out on Maui during the Christmas season.

For now, however, I will honor myself by listening deeply and acting from my inner promptings. And on this day of my birth, I celebrate a year gone past where I had cancer and then I didn’t in practically the blink of an eye. I am blessed, I am blessed, I am blessed!

Love, Amrita

Posted in Amrita, Death & Rebirth, Gratitude, High Holy Days, Releasing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Rivers of Release

Forest riverSometimes, things just have to fall away. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s a relief. Sometimes it’s freeing. Often, it’s all of the above, all at once.

When I legally changed my name to Amrita Divine Grace and moved to Maui to start a new life, I created a Gmail account with my new name. That was in 2006, when Gmail did not have a very good filing system. I just let everything build up in the inbox. I never paid much attention to it, there were never any warning messages or issues, so I just left everything there. 30,000 emails later, my husband starts poking fun at me. I can tell he’s a little appalled.

I love how the universe conspires to take me on interesting adventures. I knew I needed to deal with the Gmail *someday*, but the someday came unexpectedly when I asked my geeky beloved how I could move emails from my personal account to a business email account without sending them individually. Oh, easy, he says, just set up Gmail in your Thunderbird account and you can drag and drop them. Oh, cool, says me. Sounds easy enough… until the tens of thousands of emails had to download into Thunderbird. Well, at least now I could do some proper filing and get that Gmail account sorted.

Little did I know what was in store for me! For two full days, I went on a warp speed review of my life over the past seven years. It wasn’t totally linear, either. I found that it kind of looped and spiraled through time. I got to review every relationship, every friendship, all the experiences that were documented through my email as I decided what to keep and what to throw in the trash. I poured wheelbarrows of email into files, some important and some sentimental. Somewhere in the second day, I realized I needed to create a file called “Mementos.”

Into that Mementos file went the emails that touched me most deeply. The relationship completions; the gratitude and praise for my work and my book; the emails exchanged in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy that I witnessed early in my move to Maui. Annual birthday greetings from my former husband, indicating the gradual healing of a very difficult and painful breakup. I had the thought that is was like watching my life pass before my eyes. But really, it was watching my heart pass before my eyes.

I found myself needing to speak of each of the men who had touched my life in those early Maui years, when I was still learning how to manage my sexual energy and still learning painful lessons. My husband listened and asked questions with curiosity, letting my rivers of release flow. There was one in particular that I had ever so conveniently forgotten. Going fast through emails, I kept seeing an unfamiliar name go by. Finally, it went by often enough that I took a peek. Oh boy. Not really unfamiliar, just forgotten. One of those painful lessons.

I was, and still am, in awe of this unexpected journey through time and through matters of my heart. I so wanted my beloved, I so found Maui full of unavailable men, and still I took a couple of dips into the relationship pool, hoping and wishing, and never coming close to being truly met (until the day I met Apollo in 2008). I thank and bless each of the experiences that brought me to this now.

I see the email adventure as part of a bigger whole of releasing what no longer serves me. Certain old habits (people, places, and things) have become so uncomfortable that I can no longer pretend that they work for me. I can take a hint… eventually! I continue to surrender to the river of release that will help me move into what’s next for me. I continue to be committed to awaiting the invitation rather than making things happen, and that alone has shed light on some outmoded ways of being. I continue to feel blessed and guided in my life. And I am grateful.

blog-with-heart-award-vote-buttonIf you enjoy my blog, I invite you to vote for me for the “Blog with Heart” award.  There are no cash prizes or dream vacations, just recognition for the way in which some of us pour our messy hearts out for all the world to see. There will be 50 winners, and around 30 have been nominated so far, myself included. We all win, really. It started with my book, Reclaiming Aphrodite-The Journey to Sexual Wholeness, in which I revealed all the humbling and human mistakes I made on the path to healing, and it became a habit on my blog. My desire is that my sharing helps others in some way. If you have not read my book and would like to, I give it away here. Thank you SO MUCH!

Love & blessings, Amrita

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Pathways to my Heart, Part 3

Although this is a stand-alone post, it is also the third in a series. If you would like to follow the whole story, start with Pathways to my Heart, Part 1 and Pathways to my Heart, Part 2.

Opening chest to reveal heartWhat is it about being in the field of sexual healing that has made me feel ashamed of not being completely healed from my sexual wounding? What kind of unrealistic expectation is that? These are the questions I’m asking myself as I come to fully realize that a succession of people in my life have come to represent “mean, violent, disapproving daddy” and/or “miscellaneous perpetrator” to me and that I’ve treated them accordingly. It’s not to say that this process has been completely unconscious, or that I have not done any work with it… it’s just that I’m running out of patience. I’m tired of being in feuds with people and having friendships deteriorate because of it.

Now it feels like we are down to some pretty deep stuff on this heart pathway. As I look back over the past few years, I see how a friendship became a toxic relationship gradually and over time because I was not able to speak up when my boundaries were crossed. I made all kinds of excuses to myself about why I could not and should not speak up in that moment, and they made sense at the time. The truth is, I was frozen in fear. Instead of speaking up in the moment, I made myself as invisible as possible, just like I did when i was a kid to protect myself. Only that strategy is not longer needed and in fact, does not work. Speaking up later was not enough to deal with the charge it had for me, because by the time later came around, my scared little self had blamed the transgression on the “boundary crossers.” How could they know that my boundaries had been crossed if I did not speak up when it was happening? How could they be anything but defensive later when I held them responsible?

With ever-brightening hindsight, I see the trail of mistakes that built up to a blowout that’s been haunting me for a year. My desire to open my heart has made it impossible to let this situation continue to occupy the “elephant in the room” status. What it’s taken to resolve it is nothing less than me taking full responsibility for my projections and withdrawing my judgments from those I’ve accused of inappropriate behavior. Most importantly, I get to learn how to speak up in the moment when something does not feel right to me.  I really want to get that part right from here forward. It’s going to take commitment and it’s going to take practice, but I’m ready. This has been DECADES in coming.

It takes a great deal of courage to take accountability for a projection like this. To say “I’m wrong, and I’ve been wrong for quite awhile, and everything I accused you of was based on my own filters, which was a misconception.” To step all the way out of victim and not worry about whether anyone else takes responsibility for their parts (because Baby, it takes two to tango). I’m actually astonished to realize just how much responsibility comes with having a strong background in communication skills. No longer is blissful ignorance an option. That’s actually a good thing, but sometimes I witness people who just blow up and lose their temper and say horrible, unretractable things and I think they have it pretty easy. But there’s no going back, is there?

I’ve taken that courageous step. I got clear about that point of accountability going back more than two years and made a full confession to my friends. There’s been so much poison, it’s like a boil that’s finally been lanced and all that nasty pus gets to be released. Now the drama can finally come to a close, the the next chapter of each of our lives and relationships can begin. This has been a tough journey for all of us, and I’m ever so grateful to finally put it behind me. I did a really good job and I’m proud of myself.

Heart in HandAs ever, I remind you to be careful what you ask for. When it comes to matters of the heart, there can be no compromises. Whatever is not about love must be processed and released. It’s not for sissy-lalas, but it’s worth every step, every fork in the road, every twisted, tangled pathway to my heart.

Love & blessings, Amrita

Posted in Healing, Love, Right Relationship, Shadow | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Pathways to my Heart, Part 2

Cracked heartIf you have not yet read my previous post, Pathways to my Heart, Part 1,
I recommend doing so. You’ll have some important background for this post.

On one fine Sunday recently, I got hit with a double whammy of relationships that were toxic in their current form. It showed up as two unrelated people angry with me for no good reason that I understood. Oh, how my ego protested. “It’s NOT MY FAULT,” Miss Ego declared. “Why are these people mad at the cancer patient?” she whined. “I haven’t done anything wrong!” and she stomped her psychic foot.  Miss Ego was quick to take the victim role on both accounts. I longed to simply turn away and be done with each of these relationships, but oh no, that was not going to happen. I was plagued with internal emotional drama and turmoil around both of them, and could not shake it off. It became clear very quickly that this was a test.

As I struggled with how to handle each delicate situation, I came to understand that I had to be the grown-up in the relationship in both cases. I had the skills and it was time to use them. I’m also lucky enough to have a marriage that sets the bar really high, where I get to experience ease of communication and loving acceptance, even when I’m at my worst. I took a deep breath. Then I took another. I handled them one at a time. I got some support from trusted allies. I ate some humble pie. And I came from love. I owned all the anger, resentfulness, and disgust that I had been feeling, quit projecting blame outside of me (best as I could) and  stopped trying to convince others to take “my side.” Miss Ego continued to jump up and down and stomp around, but no longer was she running the show. I saw her as my inner little girl, and held her in compassion.

In one of the cases, the other party took in my apology and said it was their work to let it soften their heart. Fine. My part done. Right? Right! (Wrong). The other one was not so easy, as it was someone much closer girl tantrumto me. I felt really funky and weird about the second issue, and I did not understand why. As I processed through it, I realized that it had pushed a very old button for me from my unsafe childhood, and it goes something like this: I’ve done something wrong, I have no idea what it is, and any second now I’m going to be in big trouble for it. It’s not a guilty-conscience feeling, but rather a sense that I’ve been wrongly accused when I am totally innocent. I found myself fearful and afraid and again Miss Ego, in the form of my inner little girl, was seeking protection by doing her best to make the other person into a bad guy and enrolling others into her drama. It wasn’t going anywhere good.

Once I was able to see that old button had been pushed, a more rational version of me finally kicked in. To complicate things, I was pretty sure this person was not being honest with me on several counts. Part of me wanted to confront the person with proof of the lies. Nope, that was not going to work. Okay, what was that lesson again? Oh yeah, love. Acceptance. Forgiveness. I reached out via email with a loving message. After writing everything I REALLY wanted to say and cutting out all the parts that were blaming, accusing, judging, assuming, and telling stories I made up, I was able to successfully communicate and repair the relationship. It almost felt like, remember that old saying, “kissing ass?” I think kissing ass comes with an agenda, something that one might want from the person whose ass is being metaphorically kissed. My only “agenda” was personal peace and ease.

Although I’ve known this intellectually for a long time, I have a deeper and more heart-based understanding now of the following tidbits of wisdom:

  • What other people think of me is none of my business.
  • It does not matter if someone is unable to be honest with me (for whatever reason), I can take them at face value.
  • I have a fine set of communication skills, which I can now convert into what I would call “acceptance skills.”
  • Dropping heart armor means being vulnerable, and a vulnerable heart is a powerful heart.

Mantak Heart Energy

A day or two after the aforementioned resolution, I ran across a link on Facebook that really supported my process. It purported to be about protecting oneself from electro-magnetic frequencies. It was Taoist Master Mantak Chia giving a heart-focused energy and frequency generation technique through simple attention and awareness of the power of heart energy. Just by consciously magnifying love, joy, and gratitude, we can create a field of protection with our heart energy instead of building armor to try and protect our heart from hurt and harm… a lovely paradox. Again, all things I knew intellectually, but this simple video shifted my energy on a much deeper level than just mentally.

As luck would have it, my lessons were not over yet. (Are they ever?) Opportunities to look hard at how my past wounding drives me unconsciously continue to unfold. The next steps on the pathway to my heart brought me face to face with the spectre of my childhood abuser, as represented by someone in my life. I really thought I was over this stuff, a long time ago, but apparently my heart disagrees. As the deeper layers are revealed and laid bare, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for Pathways to my Heart, Part 3… to be continued.

If you have not read my book, Reclaiming Aphrodite-The Journey to Sexual Wholeness, and would like a free pdf, you can get it here.

Love & blessings, Amrita

Posted in Right Relationship, Shadow, Solar Feminine | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pathways to my Heart, Part 1

orange heart ribbonsI’ve talked about the more obvious aspects of why I believe I needed to manifest cancer into my experience, and now I’m getting into deeper layers. I’ve known for a long time that my heart was only “so” open, and have wondered how I might expand it to include more of my human brethren than just my immediate family and besties.  So I asked my God/Goddess Self what it might take to be more open-hearted, more loving, more accepting, more allowing, and more embracing. My God/Goddess Self replied–not with words, a pat answer, a new technique, or an overwhelming flush of ecstatic energy–but instead with everything that was unlike love and needed to be reviewed and released. (sigh) You would think I would have seen that one coming. It hasn’t been all rough and tumble, however. A big piece of magic paved the way, and rather than including it with the the more shadowy work, I decided to divide this post into two parts to devote all the attention to the piece that touched me really deeply.

It was a Saturday morning in August and I was still waking up. Suddenly, my first real boyfriend (circa 1978) popped into my mind out of nowhere. I had not thought of him for a long time. I had previously made the odd occasional attempt to find him on Facebook, without success, just out of curiosity. As he popped into my mind, and I remembered those failed attempts, a new idea asserted itself… I knew his wife’s name, and it would probably be easy to find her on Facebook. Sure enough, there she was and there he was, after all these many, many years.  I was flooded with memories, most of them good. I really loved this boy, best as I knew how in my deeply troubled teen-aged state of being.

I looked at his photos of his beautiful family, two daughters and a son, all grown up now. It’s astonishing how time can dilate and feel like three-plus decades ago is just last week. Our lives took such different paths. I allowed all the memories to surface that I could access, and along with them arose some feelings of shame for the ways in which I handled myself in those days. Most importantly is how I now hold myself in forgiveness, compassion, and non-judgement for the trail of emotional destruction I left in my wake in the years that followed. I got to look at just how far I’ve come, and I got to be amazed by it.

I felt so much gratitude welling up in me for who I have become and for all those who have contributed to my journey. I’m not saying that anyone is ever perfect at 16 (far Senior photofrom it), but I had come from a broken home and a background of sexual abuse, and I was on the path to being a wild and out-of-control young woman. He was a stabilizing influence for me at a time when my life was pretty messed up. His family embraced me and I loved spending time at his house.

I decided to write him a message. I wanted to be very respectful of his marriage, his family, and his life now. I know it can be a little weird to be contacted by an old girlfriend, and with all my work around sexual healing and my own appropriate use of sexual energy, I’m extremely sensitive about it. I wanted to reach out without any need for return correspondence. My heart was overflowing with a very expansive and universal love that reminded me that we are all truly connected and that when you love someone, that love does not go away with time or distance.

I shared a bit about my life, my marriage, my book, my family, and my cancer journey. I asked after his mom and siblings and expressed my appreciation for the path his life has taken and for the beautiful family he and his wife have raised. I gave Facebook a dollar to make sure it got delivered to his inbox. (Who looks in their “other” box? I sure don’t.) I left it up to him if he wanted to friend me or not. I remained completely unattached… I had already received the gift that I had asked for, the expansion of my heart energy. Since it was a Facebook message, I knew that he had seen it and that was enough for me.

As I went through the proceeding days, I was reminded of all of the relationships that prepared me to eventually receive my beloved Apollo. I felt love and appreciation for each of them, even the ones that seemed insignificant at the time. Each one added to my experience and brought me to who I am now. I decided to bring them all into my next meditation and to express my gratitude on the inner planes before releasing each one with a “cord-cutting” ceremony. With a girlfriend holding space for me, I gathered them all around me in my inner vision in a circle and thanked each of them. I then released any of their energy that I still possessed back to them and reclaimed any of my energy that I might have given away to them, clearing the slate and freeing both of us. This is the essence of cord-cutting, acknowledging all the etheric and emotional threads, ropes and sometime even chains that we unconsciously attached to others and that we allow others to attach to us, and consciously releasing them.

A couple of weeks later, I did get a reply to that message. It reminded me again that the heart is a complex, powerful, and fully conscious aspect of not just our physical body, but of our eternal being. I asked for this heart expansion and it’s revealed itself in a myriad of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. I’m grateful for the ability to recognize these diverse lessons as answers to my request. If you would like to know about the more challenging aspects of heart opening, be sure to read Pathways to My Heart, Part 2 to be released in mid-September. (If you like, you can “follow” this blog to be notified of updates.)

Thanks for tuning in!

Love & blessings, Amrita

Posted in Amrita, Communication, Grace, Love, Right Relationship, Solar Feminine | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Counting The Blessings of Cancer

Really? Blessings of cancer? Isn’t cancer a horrific disease that kills people after months or years of pain and suffering? In some cases, yes, cancer is a killer disease with treatments that are sometimes far worse than the disease itself. However, I’ve had a very different experience of cancer. Breast cancer, to be specific. And just four short months after my diagnosis, I am cancer free, in excellent health and fitness, and have never been happier in my life.

This wasn’t one of those miracle healings where the cancer just evaporated. From the first diagnosis, I employed a stellar combination of alternative therapies and Western medicine. I chose an excellent facility for surgery (4,000 miles from my Maui home) and had the tremendous loving support and prayers of my husband, my family, my friends, and people who follow my work around the world. My positive attitude and outlook never faltered.

One of the biggest blessings I received from cancer is that it forced me to shift a lifelong pattern that I had tried very consciously to shift over the course of several years. I’ve written about this in previous blogs… if you’ve been following, you may remember my introduction of an aspect of myself called GSD Girl (Get Sh*t Done Girl). Control freak, perfectionist, and workaholic, she’s been a whip master that just won’t quit. I was well aware that this kind of work ethic was unsustainable and not at all fun or joyful, even when I was doing what I loved. But I just could not budge it far enough, fast enough. Enter the breast cancer diagnosis.

I was actually relieved, because I knew that this diagnosis meant that I must bring it all to a grinding halt. I decided to go ahead with one last Reclaiming Aphrodite weekend workshop rather than cancel it, and to bring my diagnosis into the container of the weekend. I’m so glad I did, it was a fantastic workshop for all of us… plus, I have no idea if I’ll be teaching workshops in the future. Right now, the thought of putting in all the work and effort it takes to fill a workshop makes me cringe. I think that’s a good sign!

When I announced my diagnosis, every conceivable cancer “cure” was sent to me. I looked at all of them. I researched and assessed and talked to women who had been through it as well as medical professionals. Within a few weeks, I had decided on my course of treatment and taken the steps to put it all into motion. This is where GSD Girl helped out. I made arrangements to travel to the mainland with my husband, stay with my in-laws, and to receive the finest of care at the Piper Breast Center in Minneapolis. I arranged the surgery date before I left, scheduling both the surgeon to do a double mastectomy and the plastic surgeon to do immediate reconstruction with tissue transplants from my belly fat. (DIEP Flap Reconstruction).

I went into surgery early on the morning of May 29th. After the successful fourteen hour surgery, I was left with a 20″ hip to hip incision, a relocated belly button,  a flat tummy (first time in my life) and of course, a brand new pair of “girls.” The plastic surgeon did a beautiful job and I’ve been assured that the scars will flatten and lighten up over the course of the next year. Because I do not have implants, my new breasts are good for life. All the risk of transplant failure took place in the first 48 hours, during which they monitored my newly connected blood vessels hourly. My new girls are a little smaller and higher, which is fine with me, and they have the shape and feel of normal breast tissue. There are still some tender areas on my body, and places that are numb, and large ridges of scar tissue, but every day they feel better and better.

Post surgery 8 weeks cropped

You can just barely see the abdominal scars crossing my hips!

I was told going in that if they found cancer in my lymph nodes, they would not do the reconstruction so that I could have radiation and it would not be on newly transplanted tissue. I went in fingers crossed and woke up ecstatic that they did the whole deal. In subsequent dissections of the three removed sentinel lymph nodes, they found a micro-metastasis, a very tiny piece of cancer in one node. I was told that I had only a 9% chance of having cancer in my other nodes. After following up with an oncologist before leaving Minneapolis, I learned that my oncotype score came back at 14 out of 100… a low risk of recurrence. By taking a hormone blocker called Tamoxifen over the next few years, I reduce that risk to 9%, and that is with NO CHEMO or radiation. I can live with that! It was interesting to note that when I got back home and consulted with my Maui oncologist, he recommended chemo. It was very empowering to say, “no thank you” and reinforced the strength of my decision to leave the island for treatment.

Two weeks after surgery, I started walking. First, around the block, and then a mile, then four, and six, and one day over eight miles. I returned home with my husband four weeks after surgery. I’m at two months post surgery now, and I can hardly tell I’ve even had surgery! I’m back to 95% of my pre-surgery fitness routine, and back to all my normal activities. Except for one: my old work habits.

So what’s next, you ask? My current intention is this: I am immersing deeply into radical self-care, creating and integrating a healthy new model for my life, health, and work. Key word here is “integrating.” This is where the real tests begin, as I feel fully functional and healthy and ready to place myself again in service to the planet. I’m looking deeply within now for inspiration, rather than pushing myself from a place of motivation. I am opening myself to receiving, rather than seeking and going after what I “think” I “should” be doing. I am entertaining invitations and inner guidance. And I am sharing my story. I started The Breast Cancer Mystery School Facebook page, and will continue to update the Reclaiming Aphrodite Facebook page and website. And I’ll keep on writing.

Please visit the Facebook pages and like them to build the communities. I also welcome your comments below. Thank you for your prayers, your love, your support, and positive energy. It truly made a difference!

Love & blessings, Amrita

Posted in Blessings, Dancing with Cancer, Death & Rebirth, Ecstatic Life, Grace, Gratitude, Reclaiming Aphrodite, Solar Feminine, Wholeness | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

#9 Recovering From Double Mastectomy & Reconstruction

Amrita talks about her recovery from double mastectomy and DIEP Flap reconstruction at 16 days post-surgery, including the power of having loving support.

Posted in Healing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

#8 On the Other Side of Surgery

Two days out of surgery and still in the hospital, Amrita talks about the surgery and reconstruction and how she is recovering as well as the quality of care she has received.

Posted in Blessings, Gratitude, Healing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

# 7 The Day Before Surgery

Amrita declares her intentions about the outcomes of her surgery. She’s going in tomorrow for a double mastectomy and immediate DIEP Flap reconstruction. She also announces her new Facebook page: The Breast Cancer Mystery School.

Posted in Healing | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

#6 What Angelina Jolie Didn’t Say: Complementary Cancer Care

Amrita Grace gives an overview of her ten categories of complementary cancer care for wholeness.

Posted in Healing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

#5 Complementary Cancer Care Detail (overview in video #6)

Amrita fully details her personal complementary cancer care regimen. For a short overview, see video #6. The full list of resources with links is also available on her website.

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#4 The DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

Amrita speaks about her choice to have DIEP Flap reconstruction immediately following her upcoming double mastectomy.

Posted in Healing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

#3 1001 Cures for Cancer

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5zvFrqJ3uI?rel=0&w=420&h=315]

Amrita Grace talks about Angelina Jolie’s preventive mastectomy and alternative cancer cure approaches. She addresses her particular choices and the reasons for them.

Posted in Healing | Tagged , | 14 Comments

#2 Complementary Cancer Treatments

Amrita speaks about several complementary cancer treatments she is using to prepare herself before surgery.

Posted in Healing | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

#1 The Breast Cancer Mystery School

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_vnxWDEu5c?rel=0&w=420&h=315]

Amrita Grace speaks about beginning her journey with breast cancer in her first video blog.

Posted in Blessings | Tagged , | 33 Comments