Spirit Birding: Introduction

The 10th Annual Ute Mountain/Mesa Verde Birding Festival was nice enough to take a chance on me this year by hosting my lecture on “Spirit Birding”. They admitted that it was an out of the ordinary topic for them, so I was delighted to have a nice crowd assemble to put their knowledge of bird identification to a greater purpose. This video of my entire talk  is an introduction to a body of work I have been assembling for years. This work not only includes decoding the messages of birds, but also of animals and plants as well. To me, it is absolutely paramount to help the wild ones communicate their teachings. In some ways, I see myself acting as an instructor of a foreign language. It is my pleasure to offer this 45 minute presentation to you to help get you started on the path to relating to the wild ones, to nature, and to all of creation. Thank you for opening your heart and your mind and for reaching out. They are waiting to speak with you. I’m sure of it.


All bird sightings can be messages (i.e. we can find metaphor, symbolism, or meaning in them), but it’s easiest to focus in on the memorable sightings…

  • Surprising or startling appearance
  • Tough to identify birds
  • Rare for the area or rare altogether
  • Certain birds for the first time
  • Dead or injured
  • Fascinating behavior

Determining what the message from a bird is about:

  • Earmark the moment you saw the bird(s):
    • What were you JUST thinking about?
    • Were you wondering something?
    • Were you sleep walking and this woke you up?
    • What else is happening in your world?
  • Allow it to inform larger questions
    • What bigger question have you been holding?
    • Are you at a crossroads in your life and trying to make a big decision?
    • Are you struggling with a certain person or project?
fate free will and karma

Fate, Free Will, and Karma

Most, if not all, of us have a desire to know our futures. A testimony to this is our media. There are so many movies, books, and TV shows that are based in the future. Then there are those that explore the concept of predicting the future and these stories either include an the oracle (think The Matrix) or a time traveler (think Back to the Future and The Lakehouse). There is an entire workforce of psychics that thrives on our need to know what is going to happen. Mostly we’ve explored the theme of one special person or small, elite group of people who get the opportunity to foresee or visit the future. If this person is gifted (as with the TV show Medium), a brilliant scientist (such as “Doc” Brown in Back to the Future), or a layperson (like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) is up for grabs. Clearly enough of us wonder what it would be like to be one of these oracles, that a host of characters has arisen to fill that fantasy.

Just recently, I finished a TV show that ran for one season on ABC in 2009 called FlashForward. This show was unique in that it asked the question, “what if everyone saw the future?” No one had a choice to see their future or not, as the opening credits announce “The planet blacked out…The whole world saw their future.” Each person got a glimpse of 2 minutes on the same day a year into the future, unless they were dead by that date. Then they saw nothing. What happened when everyone became their own oracle? They went mad with trying to figure out their vision if it was unbelievable, to make it happen if it was amazing, or prevent it from happening if it was disastrous. All of their choices leading up to that date were based on their relationship to their own vision. By observing the future some people were able to change it, while others made happen what may not have come to pass. They were all exhausted and living on doubt and adrenaline.

Why in a blog about shamanism am I sharing stories from pop culture and mass media? I think it’s important to bring this traditional practice into perspective of the modern era. In nomadic times, shaman were sometimes known as the oracles of their tribe. They would toss bones, sort through entrails, crack eggs, or watch the clouds to receive a glimpse of the future. Divination is a branch of shamanism many current day practitioners engage in. Since shamanic practitioners are often caught under the umbrella with other healers, clairvoyants, and energy workers we are asked regularly to help people make decisions by giving them information about the future. I have never been fond of the idea of acting as an oracle on someone’s behalf. I understand how much weight is put in that vision, and I am acutely aware of how much power people give to such predictions. My goal is to empower people. By glimpsing the future, people most often come out of the present which is a loss of power. Spiritual illness is a result of not all of us being in the current time and space. Soul loss happens backwards AND forewords, and in this day and age we are spending way too much time out ahead of ourselves.

The reason why soul loss happens foreword in time is because we commit our efforts to creating or diverting a specific moment in time that we believe might come to pass. We leak an immense amount of energy and power to trying to control the uncontrollable. As we see demonstrated in so many films, we have no way of knowing the consequences of all of the choices we make. This is known as the “Butterfly Effect”. We make thousands of choices even in just a couple minutes. Will you have orange juice or tea? Should you wear a green or black shirt? How long will you run the water when you’re brushing your teeth?

Humankind has contemplated the nature of free will versus fate for centuries. Though many have presented “truths” in regard to this, there is no overlying agreement on the power of fate over free will, thus the prevalence of this inquiry in our culture. In the Middle Ages, the myth of the goddess Fortuna and her wheel of fortune (Rota Fortuna) was a common way to explain how fate works in our lives. Fortuna is often depicted wearing a blindfold and spinning the wheel at random. There is everything from great wealth to utter poverty available on the wheel. In this myth, one’s actions do not determine where the wheel lands. A man who does good deeds can be labeled a criminal and a thief can become a trusted aristocrat.

Then there is karma. What we put out there will come back. There are consequences to the actions we take. These consequences, good or bad, accumulate over time to also steer the course of our futures.

There is evidence to show that all of these laws are at play in our lives: free will, fate, and karma. It is incredibly simple to see how we can get stuck in the future, even when we try to manipulate the future through just one of these cosmic laws. We can get caught in a mire of reasoning trying to figure out what are the “best” choices to make to get us where we’d like to go, what karma we need to clear to ensure the optimal outcome, or how we can best prepare for whatever fate is thrown our way. All three of these options serve to pull us into fear and out of the moment. We are no longer acting from our authentic selves. Indulge in entertaining a combination of two or three of fate, free will, and karma and you’ve left your body altogether. There’s just too much for one person to manage. There is no way we can control or steer cosmic forces. Yes, we can make a choice, but we cannot choose the outcome of that choice. That is entirely impersonal.

In the end, it is your job to concentrate on getting here, in your body. Just as we have so much effort focused on releasing and moving on from the past, we must put an equal amount of effort on releasing the future. From the present moment you have the most power to love and to heal.

I once had a shamanic practitioner retrieve a soul part of mine that was me as a healthy, elderly woman. When I saw her in the journey I was so relieved to find her again. I knew I’d allowed her to wander off into the future out of my belief that I couldn’t be a wise crone until I was physically old. My longing for her before the soul retrieval resulted in all consuming questions like: What if I never get old (fate)? What if I take the wrong path and never make it to her (free will)? What if I don’t heal enough to become worthy of her (karma)?  Out of my intense desire to become her 40 or 50 years from now, I was draining my current resources with strategies on how to get to her. I was not in the now. Just like we can ruminate on the past and make decisions to prevent old wounds from happening again, we can obsess on the future and make choices that to feed the destiny we crave. It doesn’t matter where the prediction of the future comes from, the Gods, a psychic, or your intuition. I don’t care if the prediction is right, wrong, or highly probable. It still has the same capacity to corrupt the moment and bleed you dry. Consider setting aside the temptation to get ahead of yourself and instead settle in to yourself. Call the fragments of you home, at last.

Attending to our present-moment mind and body is a way of being tender toward self, toward other, and toward the world. This quality of attention is inherent in our ability to love.”
– Pema Chodron in Comfortable with Uncertainty

character courage and commitment

Character, Courage, and Commitment

March is women’s history month and the theme of the month for 2014 is: Character, Courage, and Commitment. This is an interesting set of words, two of which I wouldn’t be inclined to usually study. Typically, I’m interested in words like compassion, kindness, honesty, integrity, and, yes, courage. It was a helpful to spend some time with the theme for the month that includes character and commitment and gain a little more insight into what it means to be a woman in today’s world. Each section ends with some questions to help you explore each aspect of the theme yourself.


“You don’t handle the world, you handle yourself in the world.” – Caroline Myss. The definition of character is a person that focuses on handling herself a larger percentage of the time than she handles, or more so attempts to handle, the world. Caroline Myss talks about the importance of conscience and how we rarely use that phrase in our society anymore. These days we talk about understanding our shadow side and researching our unconscious, but we don’t talk enough about how to stop these parts of ourselves – the pieces that gossip and resent and resist – from taking over. That is where conscience comes in. Women of character have a deeply felt and realized list of values, an active conscience, that guides their actions on a moment-to-moment basis. We can’t just decide to be “good” when others are watching and secretly allow our minds to berate our loved ones for not doing the dishes. This resentment weighs us down and prevents us from acting in a loving way. To have character means to throw out our addiction to toxic thoughts, underhanded comments, and strategic manipulation. This is not easy because we build up these mechanisms to cope with past pain and safeguard against future loss. This means that to have character you must have faith and trust on your list of values.

What are your values? How well are you living them? What percentage of the time are you handling the world compared to handling yourself? How do you feel about this? What would you change?


“It’s ironic that I’m the most afraid when I’m being brave. Vulnerability = Courage” – Brene Brown. As women we can find that we have to strive especially hard to “man up” and be brave. We’re taught that women are inherently emotional and weak, that they need shelter and assistance. We fight against these stereotypes too much in our lives. How liberating is it to realize that you can be scared AND brave at exactly the same time? In fact when you are absolutely terrified is likely when you are the most brave. I have found this to be true and disorienting in my own life. When I first heard Brene’s words so much finally made sense. Now I understand why I’ve made such good friends with adrenaline and fear. I’ve tried a lot of new things. I’m always pushing the envelope. My envelope is not one of thrill-seeking, sky diving, or mountaineering, my envelope is living my truth. This involves a lot of risk.

How do you view fear? Do you feel ashamed or angry or beaten when you’re fearful? How can you help yourself better weather your fear?


When I think about women and commitment I must admit, I am absolutely hard pressed to think of a woman I know that ISN’T committed. I know committed mothers, committed business owners, committed counselors and therapists, committed scientists, committed friends and spouses. Commitment with them is not about being a martyr or putting on armor and being a warrior through the difficult times. Commitment is not doggedly sticking to a path regardless of the obstacles. Commitment is a way of staying optimistic and connected to the whole, the big picture. If you are lucky enough to be surrounded to great women like I am or to even know one or two of them, you don’t need to find an expert or study a famous person’s teachings. All there is to do is to go and watch a committed friend for inspiration. Ask her how her day was or what her new project is. Listen to how she stays at her goal with courage and character, in line with her values. Understand how she forgives herself for failure and uses the mistakes to enhance her creation.

Who do you have in your life that is a model of commitment? What do you see in them and their practice that you could bring into your own life?

On Ambition and Being in the Moment

“What does it take to use the life we already have in order to make us wiser rather than more stuck? What is the source of wisdom at a personal, individual level?

The answer to these questions seems to have to do with bringing everything that we encounter to the path. Everything naturally has a ground, path, and fruition. This is like saying that everything has a beginning, middle, and end. But it is also said that the path itself is both the ground and the fruition. The path is the goal.” 

– Pema Chodron in Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion

In our results driven society we prize ambition and productivity. I would venture to say that the strategy many of us take in living is either in resistance to or embrace of our ambitious idealism. We can use any number of reasons to explain why we choose to set goals or discard them, and often these reasons can be spiritual in nature.  We may say we like to “live in the moment” to explain why we don’t set goals or we are “fulfilling our calling” to justify the intense drive we express. When you use a reason like one of these, do you ever feel a twinge of doubt, like maybe you’re making an excuse? Or are you the person that is certain of your rationale?

Goal is defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result; the destination of a journey; point marking the end of a race.” With a goal there is inherently a measure of success or failure attached. We bank so much on these measures and spend countless hours, days, and years comparing the results. Who defines what success is? How many times have you had an expectation of what success should look and feel like only to find, at the end of the day, that it was not what you thought? Maybe the high of victory didn’t last very long. Maybe no one noticed and you were disappointed to find yourself alone. That exceptional review, appraisal, or reward might have left a hole in you that was there when all the lights went out. It very well may be that this achievement left you insatiably hungry for yet a loftier win. Or, you could just be filled with regret for all you sacrificed along the way.

Then there is not setting goals. There is wandering aimlessly through life. As long as we stay in the moment and the moment is joyful or comfortable, we are content. It is when the moment brings suffering, pain, or grief that we are not content. So many are currently caught up in the wave of “positive thinking”, but here is another question. How many times have you decided to “stay positive” and found that your situation still didn’t improve? That apparently perfect day may still have found you feeling alone or tired with no explanation. Maybe you started to wonder what the purpose of this all is. There’s a chance that in the middle of the night, you were holding on to a weak thread of hope that suddenly snapped. Maybe as everyone else around you continued with the long faces and the condolences you had the outrageous desire to punch them. Sometimes, the moment is just so terrible, so down right gruesome, that all you want to do is escape. Who would chose to hold themselves in a rotten moment? Then you start dreaming forward to a better future or backward to a lovelier time, or you are gone all together.

Once again, I am reminded that strategy is not God. It is when we become autocratic and choose one method to the exclusion of all others that we risk causing harm and/or losing our way. Be it fear of idleness or distaste for greed, we must remember not to choose a strategy based on self-defense. I dreamt last night of war and of losing two men I loved. They represented the two sides of my psyche that I explained above. Each was lost to a bullet wound to the head. They had been casual on the battlefield, not taking the conflict seriously. Their logic is no longer of service. The two characters left in the dream were an Indian princess, full of precious innocence and a vivid spirituality, and the German soldier who had delivered the bullets, without remorse and viewing life with objectivity. We may all have a warrior and a princess within. We can be filled with ambition and with peace. The princess had adorned herself with fake jewels and the soldier ordered her to take them off. She had gotten too caught up in her dream of life. The warrior was doing her a service in bringing her back to humility. She too would offer temperance in her ability to help the man forget the war as it was no consequence to her. Her focus was on living.

How is the battle inside you as you make decisions on daily basis whether to follow your ambition or stay in the moment? The path is the goal and the goal is the path. Consider each as different sides of the same coin. The coin can say heads or tails, but it is still a coin spinning through the air swaying the course of events.

meaning and purpose

On Meaning and Purpose

I am lucky to have blessed revelations peppered throughout my 7 day a week morning contemplation practice. Since March this year I’ve given myself at least 60 minutes a day of focused time for writing, reading and meditating. There’s one pre-requisite – the practice must be focused around my relationship with my soul. All distractions are dismissed from the conversation.

There is one particularly meaningful conversation that occurred over a month ago that I refer back to every day. I would like to share this with you. My task was to ask my soul and ego each for their interpretation of meaning and purpose.

This is what came:
To my soul, meaning is that deeply felt sense, a feeling of rich connectedness, a sense of flow and draw. To my ego, meaning is the ability to connect something in to a pattern, a system, in a logical way. It’s taking a string of symbols, synchronicities and experiences and finding that they all point in one direction or add up to a truth. 

To my soul, purpose is a life force welling up inside that fuels service and loving action and joyous experience. There is no end result in mind, just the full experience of this moment. There is a drive, but it’s a drive to pour forth the divine. For the ego, purpose is tied up in appearing like I know where I am going, in achieving a goal, fulfilling a need. There’s a practicality to this purpose even it it is to find joy. There is a striving for something rather than being in it. for the ego, if I don’t know where I’m going then I am insecure. For my soul, I am fulfilling a purpose if I know where I am. My life has meaning when I’m connected to where I am. 

When mapping the route of each, I see that the ego creates paths that I wander down, paths that take me outside the moment. I see that the soul accesses the moment as it resonates with meaning and moves with purpose.  

Beginning shamanic journey workshop.

I Love Me… I Love You

I have come upon a magic time in my life where I hear and say those three special words from and to many people in my life. “I love you.” When I SAY the words my heart opens. When I HEAR the words my heart opens. My arms open wide to receive and give. There is nothing but wild sincerity in the action.

I remember in my youth when I was in eighth grade, about 14 years old, when my friends and I came to a place of free expression. We were fledging our families and reaching out for connection elsewhere. We were seeking independence and also acceptance amongst our peers. At that time, I probably wouldn’t have been able to count the number of times I gave hugs in one day. We were, literally, hug junkies. We hugged every time we greeted each other even if our last parting was 5 minutes ago. We hugged when someone said something funny or sweet or cute. We hugged before rushing back off to class. We started to play with those simple, yet so important three words, but that’s all we knew how to do, play.

When we said “I love you” we were testing the words out. We were asking a question rather than making a statement. “Do you love me?”

I remember that same group of childhood friends creating a group agreement that being “conceited” was the worst possible trait anyone could have. This polarization prevented us from ever looking inward to find love for fear we’d overindulge and become self-involved.

I moved the next year and was thrust into an entirely different culture full of strangers. The three words fell out of use and were only spoken to a boyfriend, in private. I spent the next decade exploring what those words triggered in me in an intimate relationship. Then I realized the real question was, “Do I love me?” After digging through the morass, clearing out the enchantments and pushing out the pity, I found that at the root of it all, yes, I do love me.

Since then the task has been to not let anything get in the way of that love, absolutely nothing. For those of you that know this path, you’ll know how easy it is to get pulled off course. Some days it comes easier to plague ourselves with guilt, judgment, and doubt than to stand in our truth.

The gift of it all is that thru self-love we can find universal love and then all that acceptance and embrace we have been seeking since our youth becomes limitless. Now I’m finding the fluid ability to open my heart and arms to brand new acquaintances, to co-workers, and to lifelong friends. I do not hesitate to share love because there is no boundary to it. I do not hesitate to receive love because I know it comes through my own filters of self-love and I am capable of navigating those.

I don’t know if this is a sign of the times or a sign of my time. Regardless, I would like to invite you to explore your relationship with those simple three words, “I love you.” If they’ve lost meaning or, worse, become a trigger for trauma, turn inward and make a commitment to traveling deep to the core of who you are. This path may take minutes, months or years, but don’t give up because beyond all the ways you tell yourself that there is no love, there is.

Projecting Emotions Shamanic Healing

Where Do We Project?

Judgements and projections show up frequently in our experience as humans, but there is a pattern of places they more frequently surface. Judgements occur most commonly around or about where there is an inequality of authority. The very first place we experience them is in the parent-child relationship. Here the parent has the power and the child struggles to exert their own. The parent can obviously be despised by their child when setting a rule, and the child can be resented by the parent for disobeying their requests.

One of my teachers saw most relationships we experience in adulthood as a continuation of the parent-child bond. She was extremely talented in finding the ways in which we can project our frustration or issues with our parents onto other relationships in our lives. She really felt this way when it came to the employee-boss association. In my work with her, she identified so many instances of me projecting my parents on her that eventually I had to walk away. It was too much and began to repel me from my current, adult bond with my parents.

Then came life’s test or, actually, two tests. I had a succession of two terrible bosses. Since I had walked away from the Freudian world view of my teacher, I gave myself free reign to project on to these people that were making my life and my co-workers lives miserable. It felt good to act out, spread gossip and generally hate these bosses. I loved that after the vigorous, over-examination of everything I did to have a place where I was free to be stinking mad.

To give myself credit I was not nasty full-time. I spend too much time in my own unconscious to stay well and be mean, but I allowed myself more license than my conscience would typically allow. It was liberating to not have to be polite all the time and, rather than being a victim as I had been previously, I was an empowered rebel. It turned out that I had to learn the Herculean task of sending love rather than hate to the first boss before that relationship could end and, as for the second, that ended as a result of me finding that my dream and reality no longer met in that position.

Fast forward a couple of years and now I find myself in an interesting situation. I adore who I work for and I am now in a position of authority subject to the unconscious projections of others. And, wow, did I take those on! I felt and heard all of their judgements and gossip coming my way. When my friends would criticize their own bosses I would feel that too. I hit a state of over-empathy with people in positions of power and out of my guilt for what I had done to my previous managers I let a most of it stick. Luckily, I have friends who know how to do extraction and I was able to clear the projections out of my field and start again with a clean slate.

So, what now? Having been on both sides of the coin in recent history I realize that I have a new paradigm in which to frame these relationships. This has little to do with our parents because they become just another place to project. Instead, it has everything to do with us. When we project onto others it is our unconscious pointing to what we need to shift. If we are mad about our bosses shutting us down we should be looking at where we are afraid to speak up and how to gain the courage to do so. If we feel like they are making our lives miserable it’s time to look at how we need to shift our perspective so we can be happy. Sometimes this means leaving the job and other times it means taking responsibility for our own experience. In the end, it’s up to us to decide.

(In this Photo: Like this drake mallard duck that decided to nap on my frozen pond this week, it’s important to remember that there is a time for self-reflection about where we project and a time to rest on a frozen reflection of who we are and just accept who is.)

goddess pele

The Goddess Pele

In late July, I found myself arriving late at night onto “The Big Island” of Hawaii. I planned to go on this trip, but had left the details to my husband. We made a trade. I scheduled the logistics of our earlier trip in the summer to southern Colorado with our horse and he booked our flights to Kauai and The Big Island. It was great to finally let go and be along for the ride. I was pretty exhausted and immensely happy for the plush lodging and full-on spread of food our friend had arranged. Admittedly, I was confused and a bit worn out by the enthusiasm of our friend as he pulled out a bag full of freshly picked plumeria flowers, a “lea needle” and thread. He was excited to show us how to make our own leas. I held my eyes open through the demonstration then allowed myself to be towed along out to his car.

Where in the world could we be going at 12:30pm at night with three leas in hand? It was cold outside and that cozy bed sounded so nice. Our friend was bubbling with excitement and rightfully so, I had no idea what was in store.

In 5 minutes I was there, standing on the edge of a gigantic volcanic crater. The moonlight lit the entire crater and nearly blotted out all stars. Out before us rose and traveled out to sea an enormous plume of smoke, the breath of lava. At the mouth of the crater the smoke glowed bright red reflecting the lake of molten earth below. Molten earth. I had no idea I was going to see the Goddess Pele creating new land. I hadn’t even realized what this meant before this moment. At this moment, I remembered having this desire all my life. The fulfillment of this desire ran fresh through my veins. I was stunned by the experience and felt intense gratitude as our friend sang a chant to Pele and directed us to cast our leas as our gift.

This is what it looks like to travel, to live, without agenda. I wonder if this is what it’s like for Pele to create new land, to all of a sudden find that she has stepped foot into an experience that fulfills a deep yearning. What if every experience of our lives could be this spontaneous and this preordained? I encourage you to consider releasing the agenda and showing up on new ground. I surely wasn’t disappointed.

suppressing anger

To Suppress or Express?

As some of you know, I have been steeped in homeopathy lately. My dear friend Susan Nemcek of Willow Farm Healing Arts is mentoring me in the art. I’m treating a couple of horses homeopathically. The good news is that this week they developed hoof abscesses. This follows Herring’s Law in homeopathy that says a cure is forthcoming when the disease moves down and out of the body and into the Earth. Besides my work with them, the horses are also treated by an allopathic veterinarian. I am a huge proponent of veterinary advice and would always steer folks that direction. The vet put the horses on antibiotics. Being a novice in treatment of hoof abscesses I’m glad that the vet saw a clear course of action and that the horses are receiving relief.

As a student of homeopathy my reaction is more reserved. This prescription drove my treatment to a screaming halt. Antibiotics suppress and homeopathic remedies express. Susan warned me that we cannot ask the body to do both at the same time and that I would have to wait to continue treatment once the course of antibiotics was complete.

So, while I’m waiting for the course of treatment to finish, I’m considering this metaphor in my life. In the past couple of weeks I have had some major buttons pushed in big ways by close friends. My initial reaction has been anger then rage. There is quite a bit of crossover in these relationships so I cannot express how I feel without jeopardizing other relationships. I’ve weighed my options, chosen to suppress my anger, and worked on finding center during the process. At times like these i can’t help but think of my dogs, they have this magical ability to remove any stress I ever have. Pet owners know what I’m saying. I wanna share where I get my Dogs food , cause it has changed their life.Here ya go : http://mysweetdogs.com/dog-food-for-rottweiler/

The path to spiritual enlightenment is typically pitched as one of true expression in the world. This dogma is so much so that I’ve realized how much guilt comes along with choosing not to express. The more days that pass without expressing the more I realize how entrenched I am in this belief system. If expression is enlightenment, then suppression must be denial. In many circles, denial is the root of all things ugly in the world. What, then, is the ugly in me?

Mercury retrograde, which we have been in lately, is commonly viewed as a time to delve into our own darkness and face our demons. This time around, I have been given the opportunity to examine my belief system surrounding my own darkness. Rather than wrestle with my own shadow I’ve been invited to rest in under the shade tree and accept that the sun still shines. This, it turns out, is much harder than I thought… (continued in “The Art of Being Angry”)

art of being angry

The Art of Being Angry

We as a culture despise anger. We put anger in a very tight box. Clearly war and murder are unhealthy ways to express anger, but typically outward rage is only condoned when a logical case of righteous defense is made. When is emotion logical? When boundaries are crossed we give ourselves permission to act out of rage, but how far across others boundaries can we act without committing the same crime?

In sitting under the shade tree of anger we begin to ask interesting questions. When we do not allow ourselves immediate action and take a time out, we start to doubt. Am I suppressing who I am, who I have a right to be in the world? Will this suppression cause disease? Have I lost my way on the path to enlightenment? How can I feel shame for the beautiful self that is me?

This is the key, the beautiful self that is me. Anger is an emotion. Emotion is part of our human experience, our human experience that is beautiful, that is love. This is why the shade tree is such a curious metaphor. The tree has the power within it to fuel a raging fire, but only when we set a match to it. On a warm, summer day we love the coolness cast by the branches. The tree comforts and soothes us. Imagine that this could be the action of anger allowed. Imagine that when truly accepted for the unpolarized experience that it is, anger could be soothing.

I propose that it is not anger itself that causes so much discomfort, but the actions from it or the guilt from lack of action out of it. All in all, the disease comes when we see the anger as something ugly and cruel. We turn against our own nature by casting light where there should be shadow. By taking our turn under the shade tree we are allowed the time to look upon the lit world around us.

Anger serves the lovely purpose of casting us outside our experience for a time. We become so entrenched in its grasp that we are pulled outside of our daily lives. This allows us the chance to breathe, rest and look out at all the spectacular creation we’ve manifest in the world. So rather than fight it or fight out of it, let us drink in the cool, fresh air of the lesson that is anger.