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But can you say them out loud?

by John C. Parkin

The spiritual freedom of the “F” word…

Have you watched a young child playing? Or can you remember what was going on inside your head as a child? I’ve done both. I do the first regularly because I have young children. And the second because when I really relax I remember what it was like to be a child.

If I lie down and look up into a blue sky and listen to the sound of a distant airplane, it invariably brings up a memory from my childhood. Why? Because as we grow up we stop being fascinated by ordinary things. So when I do occasionally take pleasure simply in what’s around me, it reminds me of the last time I did that: when I was a child. This is what children do. They live in the miracle of existence. Everything is new and fascinating. They can enjoy the wrapping as much as the present . . . a leaky faucet as much as a beautiful lake . . . the smell of rain falling on dry concrete as much as the smell of baking bread. Read the rest of this entry »

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“But now that I am in love

with a place that doesn’t care

how I look and if I am happy,

happy is how I look and that’s all.”

– from Fleur Adcock, “Weathering”

Now that I am living from a place I call my Core of Peace, I see that it’s the very simple things that have arrived in my life that bring me all I need to stay connected to that sense of peace. Simple things like the feeling of a warm, furry cat. Things like full-bellied, out-loud, no-holds-barred laughter. Things like a scoop of ice cream enjoyed while sitting in the two best orange Adirondack chairs in the world. Things like the pure flavors of a good piece of meat prepared lovingly and unfussily.

These were things I had long ago written off as the childish or plebeian pleasures of someone I tried hard to “outgrow”. I thought that as my sophisticated pedigree accumulated items on its list, that my tastes and bodily sensations of joy should transform and complicate accordingly. Read the rest of this entry »

A video with my initial thoughts on a topic that I feel will become a vast area of exploration and focus in my work.

For part two of the video, visit this link.

And for a written expansion on the ideas in this video, see my blog post at this link.

1. What delights you and brings you alive?
2. What breaks your heart?
3. What does healing look like?
4. What one life-affirming action will you do beautifully and consistently, with love?

These four questions, conceived by my Real Speaking teacher Gail Larsen, powerfully and succinctly capture the process of life coaching and personal transformation. They go to the heart of our own truth, and call us to look with clear eyes at what is etched in our souls.

For most of us, there is at least one of these questions we’ve been avoiding for most of our lives. It could be any one of them. Perhaps we have not allowed ourselves to want what we want, to feel the joy of being fully alive. Or maybe we have masked ourselves with a facade of “perkiness” and images of “happiness” which belie the deep caverns of unexpressed pain in our hearts. Even if we have done the work of facing our deepest truths, we can get lost there if we never look beyond these current realities into a vision of what our lives could be. And finally, all the dreaming and scheming in the world is no substitute for taking actions which are aligned with the truths we have uncovered and pointed in the direction of our brightest visions. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve written here before about “The Empty Elevator“. It’s what Martha Beck calls that period of time during your change cycle when you know you’ve really started to change. All of a sudden, the people who used to surround you and support your in your old ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to life begin to disappear. Some of them decide they don’t approve of you anymore (which really means they’re not ready to look at the part of themselves you’ve left behind in your decision to change). Some of them you find you just don’t want to interact with anymore. They no longer bring you the energy you desire to live from.

It’s a tough place to be in. You need real strength and courage to feel totally OK with yourself as you make changes from within, and then, almost like an observer, you watch the external elements of your life begin to dissolve and change as well. Starting in January, I’ve watched almost every existing relationship in my life begin to transform. Some of these people went away without any comment. Others fought kicking and screaming. Still others – the ones who truly love me – have been alternately approaching and avoiding me in an attempt to understand me. It’s been interesting to watch how the people who are closest to me have tended to want to rescue me from myself. I’ve interpreted this to mean that they don’t believe in my own ability to form desires and go after them. In reality I have no idea what their intention is, other than to make things OK in their definition of the word “OK”.

I bought two Jennifer Dahl charms this weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J.K. Rowling

“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” – Plutarch

With the wonders of technology, you can listen and watch live streaming video from my performance tonight, Friday, June 25, at 7PM Pacific (10PM Eastern), without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Visit the following link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/sf-bay-area-sounds

I will be playing improvised violin music with Randy Bales (vocal, guitar), and Cathy Luo (bass, percussion) starting at 7PM. Later, the amazing Shawn Evans Band will take the stage. These are an amazing group of Bay Area musicians that have become part of my circle as I journey into uncharted territory with my music.

Here’s a clip of Randy and me, for a taste of the kind of music we’re playing:

Love arrives;

and in its train come ecstasies

old memories of pleasure

ancient histories of pain.

Yet, if we are bold

love strikes away the chains of fear

from our souls.


We are weaned from our timidity.

In the flush of love’s light

we dare be brave

And suddenly we see

that love costs all we are

and will ever be.

Yet, it is only love

which sets us free.

– Maya Angelou

I used to spend a lot of time imagining what love would look like. I never really considered what it would feel like.

Have you really fallen in love with your Self, your soul, your essence? Have you felt the feeling of loving yourself freely?

Before you start making visions of what love looks like, or searching for things that look like love, feel in your body, your heart, and your spirit what love feels like to you. Stay awhile, listen for what it tells you. Then, maybe, you’ll be able to see the love around you, waiting for the moment to arrive.

Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes to really see what’s going on in our lives. This has been the value of life coaching for me – having a check-in partner who will not let me get away with breaking commitments I’ve made to myself; having an opportunity to hear myself speak and deciding whether I’ve been open with the truth in my heart; tracking my growth and progress over time, in ways that might not be measurable to most observers of purely material layers.

The metaphor tool is a favorite in the Martha Beck Life Coaching armamentarium. It asks the client to compare an object or an animal to a particular dilemma or feeling in their lives, to describe it and relate to it.

This morning, a friend commented on my keychain, seeing it for the first time. I looked at the massive ball of keychains and keys, and said, “Yeah, I’m carrying around a lot, aren’t I?” Suddenly I noticed that I had the key to a non-existent mailbox, another key to something I didn’t even know I owned, and a membership card to a gym where I no longer was a member. Each day, I carried these around in my hand, in my purse, hanging from the ignition in my car. Extra weight I didn’t need! I came home and took off the mailbox key and the membership card. Instantly I felt a zing of liberation. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m sitting here in a moment of deep acknowledgment. I just listened to the recording of my interview with Susanna Liller, creator of The Heroine’s Journey. It’s been such a hectic week of travel, ceremonies, meeting new people, taking some risks, and steeping myself in creative inspiration, that I haven’t had sufficient space and time to acknowledge myself along the way.

I finally opened the email and listened to the file containing the 50 minutes of conversation with Susanna and her community of heroines. I was both surprised and filled with pride to hear the clarity and power in my own voice.

Sometimes we forget to step back and listen to ourselves. We forget to enjoy who we are.

Listen to the interview here.

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