Friday, December 21, 2012

Your Light

In this season of the winter's solstice, may you find light amidst the darkness. May you be filled with a quiet knowing that, that which you fear, that which you resist, that which you see as dark about yourself or others, contains within it your path to illumination.

Darkness cannot thrive in the light of your compassionate awareness. It cannot fester when held in loving kindness.

There is nothing so dark in you that I have not acknowledged within myself. I've known terror. I've known rage. I have known self-hatred and pain so great that I just didn't want to be here anymore - in a body or on this planet.

And yet amidst all of that darkness there was light - ever present, always in me, waiting for me to learn how to access its transformative power to heal all that was and is not love.

In this season, may you birth forth the light that is in you, the light that is you. Regardless of your spiritual tradition, you can take a hint from the one that is said to have been born in a stable, amidst the animals, and animal poop, and all things earthy. 

Birthing the light that is in you doesn't usually happen under sanitary, already light-filled, smooth sailing conditions. It often happens when you're alone and in the dark and when it smells so bad that you're finally humbled enough to let go and ask for help.

And when you do, know that I am here, that I know who you are, and I know the way home.

I love you,


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Heart of Compassion

Whatever it is that you think is the problem, is really just a call for more love.

When you have a problem you try to figure it out, analyze it, and strategize your way into fixing it. In solving the problem you believe you can return to a place of peace and preproblem ok-ness. But what if the real peace and ok-ness you seek doesn't lie in the temporary solving of a problem or in the successful manipulation of outer events? What if the real peace and ok-ness you seek lies deep in the inner recesses of your own heart?

Your desire to solve a problem is driven by your need to feel better, to feel solid again, and like everything is back in its rightful place. But haven't you noticed that these good feelings are temporary and sooner or later there is a new problem or at least a new version of the old one?

Underneath the desire to conquer the problem lies the desire to quell the feelings that it stirs up - feelings like uncertainty, frustration, helplessness, and a lack of control. These are scary feelings. And, it's all too human to want to do something to fix them. But what if there was something you could do with the feelings that was deeper and longer lasting than just fixing the problem so the feelings would go away?  And what if feeling better wasn't dependent on whether you fixed the problem or not? What if you could use the problem and the resulting feelings as a way to take you closer to home - as a way to reconnect you with the peace and well-being that's who you really are?

The answer lies within your own heart and in the bottomless well of compassion that waits for you there. Unlike other feelings that come and go, compassion is hard-wired into your heart circuitry. It is a constant. It is always available to you and contains within it the capacity to transform all negative feelings

If you have the courage to confront the scary feelings that your problem evokes, then you are one step closer to real freedom. When you can allow yourself to simply be with yourself and acknowledge the truth of all of your feelings, you acknowledge your own humanness. You might notice some self-judgement. You might notice some resistance to the unpleasant feelings, but that's human too. Whatever you feel, whatever you notice, see if you'd be willing to extend to yourself and your feelings a little compassion. When you knock on the door of compassion it always opens, for compassion never goes away. It never vacillates. It's always there for the taking. It's who you are.

So celebrate your problems. Celebrate the feelings that come up. They are calling you, beckoning you. They say, "Love me. Listen to me. I want to go home."


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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Beyond the Question of Being or Doing

When you are doing from your being there is no effort. There is no trying. Being is who you are. Being is not just something that you do when you take time out to meditate or quiet yourself. Carving out a spot in your day so you can check it off your list, is still doing even if what you say you're doing is being. You see? It has within it an energy of ego-decision. "Oh, I'm going to meditate now and be."

When I hear friends say, "Thank you for reminding me to have balance, to take time for being instead of so much doing," I realize they are still missing the point. They are still seeing the issue from a westernized duality - doing or being, as if it's one or the other.

Being doesn't negate doing. Nor does doing negate being. In observing the animals and in feeling into those around me, wild and domestic, it's easy to feel their "no conflict" with this issue. The birds are busy, flying here and there, to and from the feeders. The horses eat grass, walk to their water, and play games with each other. All the while they are expressing from the ALL, that which they are and that which they've never lost their connection to.

Their teaching is this:

You are what you are. In expressing and being fully in what you are, you have unlimited internal resources. You draw your wisdom and your energy from the All. You feel yourself as an expression of the All. You are the All. And everything that is, you are also. The more you rest in this, this truth, this way, this knowing, the lighter you feel, because the All carries the energy for you. It does the work. It moves the mountains. You don't have to.

So as best you can, allow your doing to flow from the Source of power that is you. Consider adopting the animal-way and let your doing flow without effort, without trying, from the deep well of that which you are - infinite power, infinite love, and infinite well-being.
Being love with you,

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Longest Journey

The longest journey that you'll ever take, is the one that you make from your head to your heart.

Happy trails from a friend and fellow traveler,

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The Truth About Love

You can't give love
that you don't have

You can't receive love
that you don't have

The question is not, Are you
giving or receiving,
but . . .

Are you?

Being in love with you,

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

When All Else Fails

When all else fails . . .

See if you can simply allow yourself to be
exactly where you are
right now
in this moment.

See if you can allow yourself to feel
however you feel
about where you are
about yourself for being where you are
as best you can.

And see if you can give yourself
some compassion
for having an all-too-human experience
and for having all-too-human feelings about it.

and by the way . . .
you don't have to wait until "all else fails"
to give any of the above
a try.

From my heart to yours,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What I Know About You

Whatever you're doing . . . is good enough.
Whatever you're feeling . . . is totally understandable.
Whoever you are . . . is perfection,
in this moment and always.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Special October Love Offering

Now scheduling *FREE* Peace and Well-Being sessions all month long!!!

Dear Fabulous Friends,

This cooler weather finds me feeling frisky. And despite all the glorious opportunities that it presents, I find nothing more fulfilling or inspiring than working. For me this means lying in the grass or sitting by the stream and helping my fabulous friends feel more peace, more love, and more freedom.

For me, playing with energy is fun - not work. I'm kinda weird that way. And when I can show a friend how easy it is and how fun it is to connect with energy and convert it, I am thrilled.

For this reason I'm wanting to "work" as much as possible in the month of October. So much so that I'm willing to do it for free. (Of course, I'd love it if, as a result, you wanted to work with me more in the future or spread the word to your friends. But mostly, I just want to feel the work flowing through me).

When I help you achieve peace, I feel peaceful. When I help you release the critical voice in your head, I release it for myself. When I help you bask in your own love, we bask together. And isn't it nice to know that we're in this "energy soup" together and that together we can remember that what we are seeking is right here inside of us, right now.

Freedom, peace, and happiness really is free! Hallelujah!

Please call soon (864/933-8000) to secure your spot on October's calendar.

Love and blessings to you always,


P.S. Please feel free to pass this on to your like-minded friends. I will offer this to them as long as space is available.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tension is who you think you should be.

Relaxation is who you are.

      - Chinese Proverb

In case you missed it, please see my previous article on this topic: Tension Is ... dated March 21, 2012.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Spiritual Teachings and Life Lessons From a Horse Named Brown

For almost twenty years my horse Brown and I have shared a living space. Her pasture is, in essence, my front yard. I often see her standing in her barn or under the big oak tree as I stand at my kitchen sink to wash dishes or prepare a meal. At those times she often feels me watching her and will break her meditation to raise her head to look for me. She seems to look right at me, even though she can't really see me through the kitchen window. This has happened with such clockwork predictability, that I have come to accept as fact, her ability to feel me and my feelings toward her, from a distance.

Over the years I've observed Brown as she goes about her daily life. I've noticed when she eats, rests, and drinks water. I've watched while she developed a significant relationship with an oak tree, before she had a herd of horse friends. I've watched her respond to and cope with the changes in her world - a shift in the wind, a new herd member, the loss of a loved one, the change of seasons, getting older.

I've been a horsewoman my entire life, but it wasn't until sharing my living space with Brown, that I noticed how much horses have to teach me. With more opportunities to study her and her way of being up close and personal, and by sharing some common tragedies and challenges, I have, over time, absorbed some of her wisdom. I have gleaned some of the great horse lessons from a master teacher. 

Becoming more horselike has helped me to meet life's challenges with more grace, more compassion, and more trust. I often ask myself, "What would Brown do?" And the answer usually involves more about being and less about doing.

Brown is fully grounded in this world, but not completely of it. She is solidly rooted in her body, in the now. Her genius lies in being fully present in this world, while simultaneously feeling with and responding to promptings from other worlds, other times, and other dimensions. She hears voices I cannot hear. She knows things I cannot know. Her sensitivity to the shifts in energy around her informs her decisions and ensures her survival. The things she feels and senses as a matter of course throughout her daily life, are barely detectable to me.

I am so grateful for and humbled by this remarkable creature. Everything she has taught me has made me who I am and has contributed to this online journal, my work, and my offering to the world.

Over the years I've made mental notes as I've watched her and learned from her. Recently, I've started writing things down as her subtle teachings have become clearer to me. And I've started putting them on a blog that I've created in her honor, so that others can benefit from her wisdom. I only hope I have done her justice. I only hope that my words adequately convey the depth and beautiful simplicity of her way of being in this world. 

The blog is called If you want, you can sign up to receive new bits of her wisdom automatically.

Her first post is a fine example of how her teachings have inspired me. I want to share it, since it resonates so well with the recent entries on this site.

Brown says, "Do what you do while you're doing it, and don't worry about what you're not doing while you're not doing it." 

Lots of love,
Shelly and Brown

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Doing versus Not Doing

I was complaining to my partner one night that I had not accomplished very much the day before. My body hurt, my back was tired, and even though I didn't feel physically like doing very much, I still felt like I should have accomplished more. I was feeling a little unproductive, lost, and worthless.

After listening for awhile he said, "Why don't you just give yourself a break and act like you're on vacation?" And I said, "You mean, just do nothing?" And he said, "Well yeah."

My mind went blank. It came to a screeching halt. And then I caught myself thinking, "What? Is he crazy? How can I justify acting like I'm on vacation? How can I reconcile being at home, with so much stuff to do, so many things to fix, problems to resolve, and then just do nothing?" And then I realized that if we went away, went on an actual vacation, I would allow myself to relax and do only what I really wanted to do, eat the foods I wanted to eat, and have no real expectations of myself. I would let myself, you know, have fun. Enjoy myself. Enjoy the present moment, knowing there is nothing I have to fix right this minute. And I wouldn't feel guilty about what I wasn't accomplishing.

When I reflected back on my "worthless day," I realized that I was either a) thinking about what I should be doing, but judging myself for not doing it, or b) pushing myself to get it done faster, so that I could get to the next thing I thought I should be doing. In either case I wasn't having a very good time. And, my back ached and my legs were tired.

So I decided that I could afford one day to experiment - to stay at home while trying on my vacation self. You know, assume the position of doing nothing except that which pleased me. So the next day, I woke up and reminded myself that I was on vacation. I lounged in bed, meditated, found my center, my peace, and my own love. I basked in the beauty of my home, my life, and my present moment. And I waited. I reminded myself, again, that there was nothing I had to do, because I was on vacation. And then, ever so gently, a surprising thing happened. I found myself writing a blog post. Actually, it seemed to be writing me. And then I wrote another. And then another. Effortlessly. 

And then I got out of bed and fed my horses. I treated each horse's hooves - a typically daunting task considering my current back trouble. But you know what? I took my time. I listened to my body. I enjoyed the process, instead of taking my usual "get it done" approach. And surprise surprise! My back didn't hurt. My legs weren't weak and tired, and I wasn't worn out afterwards.

Moral of the story? Doing, in and of itself, is not the problem. Not doing is not the problem. The problem and its solution lies within my relationship with myself while I'm doing or not doing. Am I in a space of love and connection to Self as evidenced by a sense of ease and flow? Or, am I feeling stressed? Stress indicates collusion with my ego - the part of me that says I should, I ought to, I need to, and if I don't . . .  well, something bad is sure to happen. 

So what thoughts and feelings come up for you if I say, "Why don't you give yourself a break? Stop all of your doing. Take a vacation." And I don't mean the kind of vacation we Americans normally take. (You know the kind - we slot a week or two a year to allow ourselves to escape the self-induced stress and tedium of our daily lives). I mean the kind of vacation you can do at home - a vacation from worry, from obligation, from shoulds and ought to's, from trying so hard.

How does it feel to decide, just for one day, that nurturing your relationship with your Self, is the most important thing you could ever tend to, the most important thing you could ever do? And what if you then allowed all of your doing or not doing to evolve naturally from that? 

Just a thought.

Loving you whether you're doing or not,


Friday, July 27, 2012

Postponing Happiness

If you take a moment right now to breathe and be still, what do you notice? Do you feel an open, soft, and allowing sense of peace and well-being? An ease? A sense of being in love or held in a space of love? If so, in this moment, you are living and breathing the truth of who you are. If not, you have temporarily forgotten.

If you're anything like me, you often feel a certain amount of tension. Sometimes it's obvious. Other times it's barely detectable. In either case, this tension is a symptom of resistance - resistance to who you really are. It is the ego at work. It's making sure you stay in relationship with it, making sure you identify with it, instead of remembering the truth. When the ego is in charge, you may feel a sense of pushing - efforting to get somewhere, to get something. If you stop and ask yourself why you're pushing, you'll find that there's a belief that your efforts will eventually deliver you to a greater happiness and peace than what you have now. You believe that when you accomplish ____, have more money, solve your health or relationship problem, you can then feel at peace or loved or safe. 

This journal entry is a loving reminder that the happiness you are seeking, that this "better place" is not "out there." It doesn't lie in some future event or accomplishment. Your ego wants you to believe that you will one day get what you want through strategy, effort, and control. It says that if you just keep working at it and working at it hard enough, you will get to some magical place in which you will finally feel better. It's a trick. And it's a lie.

The happiness, peace, and well-being that you're looking for, that we're all looking for, lies not in your efforts, or in the crafting of your life through your will, but in your willingness to surrender to the glorious Now. If you can surrender to Now, to the truth, you might first encounter the suppressed emotions that are driving all of your doing. If you can continue to surrender to the layers of feelings that come up, you will eventually arrive at the endless peace that lives at the center of it all - the peace that is your true nature.

So, when you catch yourself feeling less than open, loving, and happy, ask yourself if you are postponing your happiness until some future event happens. And if so, ask yourself if you'd rather postpone your happiness until  ______ happens or would you rather be your happiness now?

Loads of love,

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Breaking Open

My heart is breaking open,
and as it breaks, 
there is only love.

Only love feeds me.
Only love fuels me.

I've lived my whole life on adrenaline,
or some such fuel.
But now it's gone, depleted.
It had a shelf life ... apparently.

The resources of my youth:
my willpower,
the drive,
the buck-up-and-forge-ahead ...
all gone.

I reach for it,
but it's not there.
I reach again, 
but it hurts.

So I let it break.
I let it break open.
And all that's left ...

is love.


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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Unopened Heart

The unopened heart aches for your surrender:
to its sorrows, its disappointments,
its fears,
and to your deepest dreams and desires.
But most of all, it wants you to know
the pulsating aliveness of yourself
as love.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

More From the Heart

   The pain in your chest says,
   "I need you and you need me.
   I am here,
   I know the way home."


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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Ache

The ache in my chest,
my constant companion,
is so afraid,
afraid I'm going to leave.

I say,
I am here.
I'll never leave again.

And she softens
and says,
"I want to go home.
Please take me home."

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Heart Murmurings

Did you know that the heart is the only organ in the body that doesn't get cancer? I like to think that it's because cancer can't thrive in the seat of true love. For the love of the heart is pure. It transcends ego, personality, and even death. Of course, people have heart disease, heart murmurs, heart attacks, and other such problems. I have been concerned about my own heart over the last few years, but a trip to Urgent Care confirmed what I'd already suspected. There's nothing physiologically wrong with my heart. 

So I've started listening, in earnest, to what my aching heart has to say. It speaks not in the language of the intellect, but in the language of the poet.

In future posts, I'd like to share my humble attempts to express with words, the truth of my heart. I hope these words inspire you to take a little time each day to feel into, acknowledge, and listen to your own heart's murmurings. 

Mine says . . .

                   If you take a moment to listen,
                   I'll always tell you what's true,
                   I'll say, I am love. You need me.
                  Then you'll say,

                  "You need me too."

From my heart to yours,

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Choice Is Yours (a poem)

One day, Shelly Smith, will no longer exist:
this body,
the things I did,
the people I met ....
They're gone.

Some of the things I wanted in this life ....
they didn't happen,
but some of them did.
And in the end it doesn't really matter.

What matters is this ....

Was my heart open or closed?

Was my heart open to the beauty of love,
of God,
all around me?

Or was it closed in fear
of what I couldn't control?

A life lived in fear ....
you're already dead.
But if you're too scared to open ....
yuck, you're stuck -
stuck between the fear of opening,
and the pain of a closed
and unmet heart.

So which will you choose?
Which will I choose?
And if not now,


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Monday, May 28, 2012

You say, "Trust." I say, "Trust what?"

For as long as I can remember, I've heard people say, "Trust God," "Trust the process," "Trust." And while it seemed like a good idea intellectually, I never really got it. In fact most of the time, the whole idea kinda pissed me off. If I was scared or worried or overwhelmed and somebody said "Trust God,"  I secretly thought, "For what? Am I trusting God to keep something bad from happening to me or someone I love? Is God, my Higher Self, or 'the process' (whatever that means) gonna rush in and fix this thing up for me to my liking? And if not, what's the point? What is my trusting for?"

I have lived enough life to know that bad stuff, unwanted stuff happens ... you know ... shocking things, things that happen no matter how well I plan, strategize, and try to prevent them, no matter how hard I work to clean up my "vibration," my "point of attraction," in hopes of avoiding such things. Bad stuff happens anyway. Life happens - complete with unexplained illnesses, career failures, untimely deaths, and losses so unexpected, so heartbreaking that I wonder how a loving God could ever allow such things. And why would trusting such a God ever make any sense?  And if it doesn't work that way, if there isn't a God "up there" orchestrating things on my behalf, then what is it that I'm supposed to trust and why? Some say it's karma or my Higher Self and that painful events are all about lessons or mirrors for what I'm holding in my unconscious ...... blah, blah, blah. No matter what you call it, it still sounds unloving and punitive to me, and like yet another, all too human, lame-ass attempt to make sense of life's inherent tragedies and suffering.

Lately though, it seems as if someone, life, has cracked open a little window for me and shed some light on this whole subject of trust. I've realized that maybe I'm not being asked to trust that life won't hurt, that bad stuff won't happen, or that something, someone, or even my own machinations can save me from life's heartbreaks, but that the heartbreaks themselves are the key. I can pretty much trust that in this life, my heart will break. And when it does, the shell, the protective armour I've placed around my heart, will break as well. And if I can stand it, if I can bear it, to let it break open, and break open some more, its breaking will open me to the most reliable, trustable source of love there is - the love that's in my own heart, the love that's in me, the love that is me.

And so now I'm starting to get it. Even though I can't trust God, my Higher Self, or anyone else to fix things up so I don't have to hurt, and while I can't count on myself to control my own life, what I can trust is this ... life itself. With all it's unexpected tragedies, deaths, and failures, Life is always, always taking me where I truly want to go. It may not suit the desires of my ego, my desires for control, and "no bad stuff," but it speaks to the deeper desires and purposes of my heart - wholeness, freedom, love, peace, compassion, and Oneness.

If I can let go a little and trust in the not knowing why or where this is all going, I can feel my life marching me steadily, assuredly, persistently onward, challenging me to open as I go, asking for my surrender, and doing its part to deliver me, open me, and reconnect me with that which I really am . . .  Love.

And that, my friends, is worth trusting, no matter who or what you call it.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Wish

My wish for you on this Mother's Day, is that you take time to give yourself, a mother's love. And, that you give yourself the gentle, comforting, allowing, nurturing, unconditional acceptance that only a mother can.

Perhaps your own mother fell short in this regard. Her love for you was imperfect, as was her love for herself, and from her own mother. But there is love all around us - a nurturing that is always available as we surrender ourselves to the precious, present moment. The bird outside my window sings a lullaby just for me.The gentle rain seems to soothe me and wash away my tears. With the steady conscious rhythm of my breathing, I can rock myself to sleep.

It would have been nice if she had loved you perfectly and had been all the things you needed her to be. Perhaps if you have children of your own, you have found healing in loving them the way you always wanted to be loved. Perhaps you think, at times, that you have fallen short as well. But therein lies the grace and the opportunity; to open and surrender to the love that's within you, all around you, and to the love that's who you are

When you do this for yourself, you do it for us all.

Happy Mother Yourself Day,


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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Former Self (a poem)

I miss her, 
the one who knew it all,
who never had a doubt,
who always had a point to prove.


She might have been scared,
but she'd never tell,
the girl who always, always
got back on the horse that threw her.

Oh, I do miss her!
What a friendly illusion she was,
full of vim and vigor,

But life came crashing down,
crash after crash,
and then she saw
that it wasn't real, 
that she,
wasn't real.

And then she died,
and I realized,
she didn't know much
after all.

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Why Am I Here?", I asked.

"What is my purpose? Shouldn't I be more focused, more directed? Shouldn't I be doing something? Shouldn't I be on top of things, my life, what I want? Everybody seems to be doing it right but me. Please help."

And this is what I heard ...

You are here to love yourself. No one else can do it for you. Steve can love you, tell you you're wonderful, you're talented, you're terrific, but you will not believe it until you know it for yourself. This is your job.

It's your only job ... for now.

Love yourself. Come to terms with who you are.

Give yourself the love, attention, and approval you desire. You can do it when no one else can.

I am here for you always. My love for you is so immense, so vast ..... you cannot conceive it.

Do nothing.
Prove nothing.
Be still.

You are worthy. You are lovable .... just as you are.

But shouldn't I be helping others, focusing on my purpose?

It is not your job to save the world. It is not your job to save others.

I come to show you the way, a better way. I come to show you what's true. I come to be an example of light and love.

I do not come to condemn or correct nor do I come to chastise or admonish.

I come to remind you that you are love, that the kingdom of heaven is within you, that all that you seek ... you are.

But aren't we here to serve others?

You cannot serve others if you don't know who you are. There is just projection and your own agenda.

Stand in the truth of who you are and there will be very little to say and very little to do.

Your doingness is ego-driven. It's all about making things happen, controlling life, controlling what happens to you.

You are tired and it is good.

Rest yourself. Seek peace. Seek quiet. Seek comfort in your own beingness.

Beingness knows the way. Beingness is the way. Within Beingness is everything you need and all that you are searching for.

There is nowhere else to go, nowhere else to get to, nowhere else to look.

Relax ... And be.

- you are done.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Labels or Love?

I don't know which I enjoy doing more, ruffling the feathers of my non-Christian friends by talking about Jesus or ruffling the feathers of my Christian friends by talking about "the Universe." Maybe it's the devil in me, but I feel the need to do both from time to time. Or, maybe it's just because I hate to see labels, which we really intend to bring us closer to Love, in fact create separation between us and other people, and therefore separation between us and the Divine.

We all want the same things. We want to be healthy, whole, and prosperous. We want to feel loved. We want to know love and be love. We want ourselves and our loved ones to be safe and healthy and happy. We want to be appreciated and accepted for who we are. We want to be respected for our beliefs and feel safe in sharing those beliefs.

All of our beliefs, all of our opinions, all of the decisions we make and actions we take, are intended to support our happiness and the love and well-being that we are seeking. We are all entitled to pursue this happiness.

For me the problem lies in identifying with a group and wearing the identity of my group like a suit, so I can distinguish myself from other people in different groups, who wear different suits. Identifying myself with a certain group, that has certain beliefs, often evolves into feeling as though I have to defend those beliefs, defend myself, and defend my group. Granted there's a certain comfort in being part of a group, a security and stability, an innate human desire to be part of a tribe. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But there's something about a label that inherently separates us, distinguishes us from those "other people" who don't share that label. It automatically says, "I am this and if you are not, then you must be that."

Too many wars, too much human suffering has happened as a result of this, "I am this, you are that. I am right so you have to be wrong," kind of thinking. And that's what doesn't feel good to me.

When I am quiet, still, and with myself and that which I call God, my Higher Self, or whatever name I give the Divine, I'm filled to the brim with loving patience, peace, and a sense of goodness, safety, and well-being. In that place, there is no room for mental chatter, so there's certainly no room for beliefs, opinions, or thoughts about what anybody else is doing or should be doing. I never hear the voice of love say, "Don't hang out with those people," or "Those people are wrong, don't talk to them," or "I think you should disagree with them," or "They are wrong for not believing the way that you do."

Ridiculous! All I have ever heard from the voice of spirit is, "You are loved. I love you. You are perfect. You are whole. You are complete. Forgive." I am suspicious of any voice claiming to represent the God of love if it sounds anything less than loving. That just doesn't make good sense.

I don't think love, God, the Divine, Jehovah, Allah, Jesus Christ, our Higher Selves, the Virgin Mary, or the goddess Quan Yin is, was, or ever will be about separation. That's all I'm saying.

Now having said all that, I hope I haven't pissed anybody off too bad . . . . . . (tee-hee-hee).


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Non-Love ... The Only Real Problem

I'm learning that the only thing that stops me from feeling good ... is me.  It's not my job, the lack of money, my health, my partner, or my social life that affects my good feelings, but my feelings about those things. And more importantly, my feelings about myself with regards to those things.

I would be the last person in the world to judge you for feeling scared about money, frustrated about your health, or angry at your partner. So please don't hear that you're doing it wrong if you're feeling these things.

In fact, I'd say that allowing ourselves to acknowledge these feelings is the best place to start. But often, that's the tricky part. If you're anything like me, you start suppressing your feelings before you're even aware of them. It's an automatic, mostly unconscious response, a habit we've created to defend against bad feelings. Left suppressed and unacknowledged, discomfort grows. You then might start trying to figure out what you're feeling, why you're feeling it, and start trying to fix it. You might even engage in some technique you've learned to get rid of your negative feelings.

While all of these efforts are well-intentioned, they all smack of the same thing  ... non-love. They say, "I don't like you feeling. Get out of here. You don't feel good." And, underneath it all is, "I don't like you Shelly, when you feel this way. What's wrong with you? Why can't you fix this? Why can't you be happy?" I wasn't aware of this for a long time. It's subtle. But I've noticed with myself and in my work with others, that underneath that first layer of feelings, is a disapproval of ourselves for having them.

Using non-love strategies to get rid of non-love feelings just doesn't work.

Only love works. Only love heals. Only love can transform non-love energy. Maybe loving my angry feelings or my fearful feelings is a stretch. Maybe I can't love myself when I feel stuck or depressed. But I can start with forgiving myself, allowing myself, and just letting myself be. I can be with myself, comfort myself, and wait for that still small voice which says, "It's going to be okay." Because it always comes, eventually, if I just sit with myself and be with myself, right where I am.

So when I say that I'm the only reason I don't feel good, it's because I've learned that beating up on myself, resisting what's happening, and judging it as wrong, is the only real reason for my unhappiness. My unhappiness is merely a symptom of non-love. And while I agree that loving myself, accepting myself, my life or my situation, the way it is, is not always easy, there's freedom and power in knowing I have a choice .... the choice to love, the choice to open to love, the choice to surrender to love, no matter what.

Much, much love and approval to you, wherever you are and whatever you're feeling,

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

One Woman's Healing Journey

A good friend has written a summary of our work together. I'd suggested that she journal about her progress, so she'd always have a reminder of how far she has come. I was unprepared for the beauty and simplicity of her words. When I received this email, I was so deeply moved that I asked her if I could share it with you. She said she'd be honored and "if we can help others to take that first step, I would love it." And so, here it is.

When I came to you, I had overwhelming feelings of gloom and doom with . . . . as far as I could see. No reason. I had a home, a job, and was self-supportive. And to me that should be enough to make you a happy person. However I felt very empty and sad. In our work together, I saw that my feelings were coming from years of stories that I felt unable to change or control. So I stuffed all of this until finally at 58 years old I couldn't breathe. I really couldn't breathe. I felt as though it was too much effort to breathe. I remember my first walk into your pasture, taking a deep breath, and at that point I attached myself to that place thinking I had to get out of my world to relax and breathe. Then simply taking deep breaths seemed to be a tremendous help. From that point, doing body scans and talking to my scared little girl and recognizing her I started to feel better, much better.

All the stories I had stuffed because they meant that I was stupid or undeserving, all my trying not to be like the alcoholic that had raised me. All those stories I faced for what they really were came up and I was able to face them and let them go. I gave my little girl attention and listened to her fears and almost immediately she was one with me.  Since then I talk to myself a lot and know that my feelings are just energy that I have to allow to pass through my body. But they must be listened to and not stuffed.

I am sure the future will bring up more stories. My hope is that I can remind myself to acknowledge them and process them in a healthy way. I tell myself, "I love you" every day. I will always need to I think because for so many years and so many circumstances I have felt undeserving of love.

So today, I love myself and feel worthy of that love and I feel calm and I feel like I am smiling inside. I have things to work on but I am confident that now I am in a stable place with myself to conquer what comes. I must close in saying it amazes me that I had no idea where to start or what to do. Turns out the answers were IN ME all the time. Thanks Shell.

Thank you friend, from all of us.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Easter Affirmation

Deep at the center of my being, there is an infinite source of love. I now allow this love to rise to the surface. It fills me, it heals me, it makes me whole. It penetrates the cells and tissues of my body, bringing goodness and light to every cell, every tissue, every energy, every chemical.

I allow this love to rise up in me. I don't have to fix anything, change anything, or figure anything out, because this love, my love, knows what to do, I simply let go, let down, and allow the love energy that is always here, always present, to fill up the space I've created.

I allow myself to let go and let it fill me some more, and some more, and more, and more. For I know there is no limit to how much love I can hold and no limit to the power of love to transform all energy that is not love. I surrender to this love. I surrender my clenching, my fears and worries, my grip on other people and future events, and mostly I surrender my judgement of myself, my relentless criticisms, and my denial of the love that I am. I forgive myself, for I know not what I do. I surrender my resistance to knowing, feeling, and breathing the love that was born in me, that is me. When I cannot trust anything else, I know that I can trust this love. For it is pure, and true, and always always takes me where I want to go.

On this Easter day, please join me in surrendering to the all-knowing, all-providing, organizing principle of the Universe. Join me in allowing the love that we are, the Christ in all of us, to rise up and fill us with light, love, peace, and well-being.

He is risen indeed.


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Saturday, March 31, 2012

5 Steps to Loving Yourself

I've heard it said that the most loving thing we can do for another person is to offer our full, unwavering, compassionate presence - to simply be with them, right where they are. This is what good therapy is all about.

The same principle holds true as we learn to love ourselves. To love ourselves means to fully be with ourselves.

Here's how.

You cannot love yourself if you are not with yourself  And you are not with yourself if you're distracting yourself with busyness or doing.

As you inhale, say the word "in" silently, to yourself. Use your belly muscles to inflate your belly (try to look pregnant). As you exhale, relax your belly, and say the word "out".

Repeat this cycle at least 10 times.

Remember to say "in" and "out" to yourself. This will quiet your mind.

See if you can feel your feet, your backside, your torso, your belly, your heart, your arms and hands, your throat and neck, your face and head, and anything else you can feel. See if you can feel yourself in your body. (It often helps to close your eyes).

Acknowledge to yourself any physical sensations or emotions that might arise. Whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, it doesn't matter. In either case, they are what's true in the moment. Simply acknowledge their presence.

Allow whatever you notice, to simply be. You're learning to offer your full presence to yourself, the way you would a friend. Allow yourself to feel and be exactly where you are without trying to fix, change, or understand it. "Fixing it" says, "I don't accept you the way you are. You need to be different." This is NOT love.

Only real love, unconditional love, can transform non-love energy.

So ... throughout your day, take a moment to stop, breathe, check in with yourself, and listen to your body and your feelings. Listen to yourself the way you would a friend. Be with her. Be with yourself - without trying to change, fix, or do anything. Simply give yourself and your feelings your full attention, your acceptance, and your compassion.

Loving you right where you are,


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tension is . . .

 . . . the energy it takes to keep the truth out of awareness - Gay Hendricks.

I came across this quote many years ago in one of Gay and Kathlyn Hendrick's many books. For several years I followed their work. This quote, in particular, struck home. In some ways it launched my move away from more traditional therapy to the type of work I do now. And, it helped revolutionize my ideas about stress and what causes it.

It served as a turning point for me personally . so simple yet so profound in its impact.

When I feel stressed or tense, I've developed the habit of asking myself, "OK Shelly, what's here now? What's the truth here? What are you not acknowledging or admitting?" At these times I usually find that I'm not liking ... the way it is. I'm thinking that I'm having ... the wrong experience. If I can catch that judgement, take time to simply notice it, I can then notice that there's either a feeling of resistance to the way it is or there's resistance to a feeling that I'm having about the way it is. More often than not, I discover that it's a feeling I don't want to feel.

Recently I was working with a friend who has struggled on and off with anxiety. Anxiety was a familiar feeling for her. I was trying to help her release it (the key word here is trying, but that's another journal entry). We seemed a little stuck. With further probing she said, "I'm frustrated. I'm sick of it." She then said, "That's strange. I noticed when I said that, I felt some relief. Why is that Shelly?"

"Why is that" indeed? As soon as she connected with the truth (the less familiar feeling of frustration), underneath the more familiar feeling of anxiety, the tension released (as did some of the anxiety).

Moral of the story? If you want to feel relief, you must first find the truth. If you're wondering what's true, you must feel for it inside your body. Even if what you uncover are "bad" feelings like fear, sadness, or anger, you should still experience some relief in simply acknowledging what's true. Acknowledged or not, the feelings are in you anyway. Might as well make friends with them.

Love to you and all your friends,


P.S. Due to a technical problem, you may not have received the next post entitled Time to Fire the Man in Me. Check it out!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time to Fire the Man in Me

I woke up this morning wanting to write, once again, about love - the love that's in me and all around me, the love that's in the little bird outside my window, that's in the wet green grass, and in the egg I ate for breakfast.

I'm starting to wonder how I ever lived, went through my days, without this love. I've come to see that I was always trying to get somewhere. If I wasn't trying to make something happen on the outside, you can bet I was trying to make something happen on the inside. I was always trying to get to something.

It seems ridiculous now that what I was looking for, what I was trying to get to, was inside me all along. There is no striving in this "inside me" love, nowhere to "get to." Amazing!

At times it's harder to find this love than at other times. It's easiest to feel it first thing in the morning, right between sleep and waking. At these times I milk it. I bask in it.

Ironically, it's harder to find when my partner is around - not because he's not lovable, not because our relationship is not loving, but because of my own, deeply ingrained habits of leaving myself, and therefore my own love, when my man is around.

It's wonderful to catch it now. I can almost feel myself stepping out of my body and going over to him to take a reading. "What's his mood? What's he feeling? Is he happy with me? What does that look mean?" I use my energy field like a sort of psychic periscope. It comes up and out of me to scan for safety, to scan for approval, to scan for love. This habit is so second nature to me that it must have started when I was really little.

Maybe, like me, you wanted to make your daddy happy. Maybe your daddy, like mine, was busy, distracted, or otherwise unavailable. So maybe, like me, you're still trying to figure out what daddy wants, still trying to figure out what you need to do and be to get love.

The man in me is a brutal tyrant. He is relentless in his running critique of how I'm doing. He doles out his approval in stingy morsels, thinking this will entice me to do better. It seems I could always "do better." In the back of my mind I'm always thinking, "Maybe next time I'll do it good enough, maybe I will be good enough." But, in truth, there never is a next time. For it seems it's his job to keep me looking, striving, working at it. It's like I'm addicted to the, "one day I'll be good enough" drug. And, he's my dealer.

I can now see the program that's been driving my disapproval of myself. It goes something like this, "If I can see what I'm doing wrong (disapprove of myself), I'll feel motivated to improve myself, and then there's hope that one day, if I work hard enough, I will be worthy of approval."


The approval I'm looking for is in me, right here, right now!

So, as I approach my 52nd year, I'm finally ready to say to the man in me, "Enough's enough. I'm tired. I'm too tired to try to please you. I've been trying so hard for so long and I don't want to do it anymore. Plus, it never works. I'm sorry if you're disappointed and I'm sorry if you're not happy. But, I'm done here. You can go now. I want to be free."

And, I think I can finally say . . .  today . . . . . I am.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Key to Heaven

The following story is taken from Swami Muktananda's book, Kundalini: The Secret of Life. I've always liked it and I want to share it with you.

Before the creation of the world, only God existed. After some time, God became bored with being all alone and wanted somebody to play with. So God created the world from Himself and Herself and formed lesser gods to help operate the Universe. But the beings in God's creation knew they were divine, and they knew how to merge back into the source from which they came. Within a short time, they lost interest in the world, and all thronged back to God in heaven. God's game was ruined. God once again became bored.

God called a council of the other gods and asked them for their help. One suggested, "Why not throw everyone out of heaven, close the gates, and hide the key? And erect the veils of forgetfulness, so that these beings do not remember easily where they came from?"

God thought this was an excellent idea. "But where should we hide the key to heaven?" God asked.

"In the deepest depths of Pacific Ocean," suggested one god.

"How about the top of the Himalayas?" said another.

"No, no. Put it on the moon. It is so far, no one will ever reach it."

God sat in meditation to see the future. God appeared to be discouraged, saying, "None of these ideas will work. Humans will explore the far reaches of the Universe. Not only will they dive to the bottom of the ocean and climb the highest mountain, but they will visit the moon, explore the planets, and attempt to discover the workings of the cosmos."

The gods became silent. Suddenly God said, "I have the answer. I know the one place humans will never look for the key to Heaven. That place is within themselves, right in the core of their being. They'll travel millions of miles into space, but they will never take two steps within themselves to find the key to heaven."

The gods all applauded God's brilliant plan. And God has delighted in watching our search for the way home ever since.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Scared Little Girl

When was the last time you admitted you were scared? When was the last time you actually felt your fear, let yourself sit in it, be with it, and instead of intellectualizing it, gave it your undivided attention, love, and approval?

Well, a friend of mine has done just that. And, her comment on a recent post has inspired me to tell you more about her.

For 30 something years this woman has pushed through her fears. She has gone to work, held a management position, been appreciated and financially rewarded for her ability to be "in control" and hold it all together. But, for all these years, she's had a secret.

While her ability to take charge was, and still is, a strength, it has also been a cover for how out of control she's really felt. She's realized that a long-ignored part of her feels quite vulnerable, intimidated, and very much at the mercy of people and situations that seem out of her control.

Recently, this Take Charge Woman realized she was tired - tired of trying to hold it all together, tired of going to work with a knot in her stomach, tired of surviving, but not thriving. And so she found the courage to ask the knot in her stomach what it wanted to tell her. And it said, in the voice of a little girl, "I'm scared."

Instead of trying to reason with the little girl, instead of pushing her aside, instead of trying to shut her up with a cookie, this brave woman decided to listen to her.  She learned how to be still, acknowledge her, love her, and be with her, which was all the little girl ever really wanted.

Now the Take Charge Woman and the Scared Little Girl have a relationship. They talk on the way to work. They talk on the way home. They bought a pink and turquoise bicycle, with a basket on the front. The woman says that now it feels like they've become one - no more knots in the stomach, no more dreading going to work.

Will you join me in celebrating and appreciating this woman for her courage? And, will you also join me in learning how to love the Take Charge Woman and Scared Little Girl in all of us?

With love and compassion for us all,


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Saturday, March 3, 2012

A New Man In My Life

I had quieted my mind. I was minding my own business, feeling my body, feeling myself, feeling my feelings, being with myself, and then I heard  . . . . . . .HIM? . . . a masculine, quiet, calm, solid, loving, oh so loving voice, said,  "I love you . . .  I will always love you . . .  I will never leave you . . . You are mine . . . You are perfect . . . You are my dream come true . . . I am always here for you . . . I want to help you, support you, help you make your dreams come true . . .  I want to be with you always . . . You are my heart's desire . . .  I want to be with you . . . . . . . .  forever."

"Who are you?" I asked.

"I am your Beloved. We are one. I will never leave you. I am with you always."

I basked in his love, swam in it, immersed myself in it, and asked again, "Are you God, my higher Self, an angel?"

And, all I heard for sure was "We are one, the same. You are me and I am you and I love you. "

David Deida writes that before a woman can truly have a fulfilling relationship with a man, she must first fall in love with the man inside herself. Was this the man in me? Had I finally made up with him, resolved my love/hate relationship with him? Or, was this God coming to me in a form I really needed? Was this Jesus? Was this Muhammad? Was this my twin soul?"

The answers seemed to be,  "Yes, yes, yes, and more yes."

And really, what difference did it make? Love is love, and the more I sat with this love, this man, over the next few days I knew, "There is no substitute for this love. No earthly, human, flawed person could ever love me with such purity, such depth, such strength of devotion."

And then I realized, to my surprise, that it didn't matter.

For, he and I were, and are . . . . .  ONE.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

How I learned to love myself - thanks to a bulging disc

It had been percolating for awhile - a vague nagging sense that "it" wasn't working, something was missing, something had to give, something had to change.

I had thought about blaming/improving my partner, our relationship, my financial situation, my health, menopause, and my work situation. But, deep down I knew that none of these things were really the problem. 

A couple of years ago I lost a lucrative contract working at a residential facility for teenage girls. The jist of my income was gone. I was scared.

I knew it was a "sign", an opportunity to create/revive my private practice - to create work that was even more compelling and fulfilling. But, I was scared - resistant and scared.

I've never been short on dreams or ideas. Never been short on willpower or determination, but I was stuck, frozen, and didn't know why.

As my emotional discomfort grew, a chronic physical condition became even more chronic, more intense, and harder to ignore.

Thanks to the results of an MRI, I found myself on doctor/chiropractor-ordered bed rest. For weeks, I laid flat on my back, most of the time alone, in the silence, with myself.

That's when I realized, for sure and for real, in that aloneness and silence, that the thing that was missing . . .  was my own love.

I'd suspected it all along. I'd felt it and had been "working on it" for months. But this time I knew. This time I was really ready to know . . . 


So I started forgiving myself - for being scared, for wanting to be rescued, for wanting to do it alone, for isolating myself, for feeling stuck, for not knowing how to fix it, for not knowing what I wanted, for doubting what I wanted, for getting older, for gaining weight, for being hurt and sick, for expecting my partner to fix it sometimes, for feeling financially insecure, for not having more friends, for having a dirty house, for feeling overwhelmed, for feeling vulnerable, for wanting to be married, for not wanting to be married, for being confused and acting like such a "girl" about it, for trying to escape with chocolate and Sex and the City videos, for not having enough confidence, for not having it all together (after all I'm a coach, I'm supposed to be a role model) and then, maybe, most important of all . . . 


I'm not saying I've "cured" myself once and for all, but I think I'm on top of it now. I'm wise to it. That vague sense that something's missing, that  "I want more" feeling from my partner, that "I want to eat something but I'm not hungry" feeling, are wake-up calls, screams maybe, to love my feelings . . .  to love myself.

Join me in learning more about how to love yourself in future posts.