Preciousness arises from shared vulnerability

July 8, 2013


I often lie in bed these days postponing my appointment with gravity.  Getting up and walking around is painful to my healing body and some mornings, especially rainy mornings like this one, I put it off as long as possible.  It always backfires on me because I inevitably am late and end up running around which makes me feel the creaks and groans of my body even more.  Getting into my car with arms and hands loaded down, I feel like a two year old who does not have full use of her faculties.  I experience myself hit that familiar wall of late, but this time instead of erupting into frustration, I simply take a deep breath and acknowledged my ‘still in process’ healing body.  I am not sure why I chose this way this morning perhaps it was feeling the earth drinking the much needed rain that softened me… I love the rain.  Perhaps it is because I have started to compare myself now – not with who I was before at my best, but who I was before at my worst.  This is an important trick to the “still in process” acutely healing body.

While driving to work I saw a turkey and her babies cross the road.  Their wild innocence struck a deep chord in me and touched my own vulnerability.  I felt a big shift – a profound realization of my own soft underbelly.  I was immediately struck with insight finally on how to handle an upcoming difficult conversation that I had been pouring over for months.  Now with the help of this turkey medicine I know what I will say.  I love this dance of vulnerability and strength… because strength with ego often wants to batten down the hatches, close down, and harden itself – a bad equation for clear communication.  Strength with vulnerability is what softens us in a more authentic sharing.  It is this true courage of the heart warrior that I believe has the potential to change our world.

I began to think of our world’s formative beliefs about what strength looks like – Darwin’s theory of Survival of the Fittest.  If we were put into a proper survival situation – say an island where we had to fend for ourselves against the elements, how many of us would survive?  I think many of us would not be fit or knowledgeable enough to make it.  Yet survival of the fittest has been extended to mean something else in our culture… it means that if I am smarter and more ruthless than you and I can outwit you, then I do not need to take responsibility for my actions.  I am “the fittest” even if I am fat and eating caviar on one of my five yachts I have from bankrupting the previous owners who were stupid enough not to see it coming.  I doubt the turkeys would agree with this smug assessment.  I think they know intrinsically that survival is not a solo event, that the cycle of life and death is a give and take of a whole community of life forms in balance.  One life form is not more important than any other, there is cooperation and there is competition for food – but it is simple and pure – not ruthless.  It is just part of the give and take – no animal thinks that its life is inherently more important than any other enough to create imbalance in the system.  No tree shades out its competitors for its own sense of superiority.  This is uniquely human small-mindedness and it expresses in many ways when we close our hearts instead of embracing our vulnerability.

We are at a pivotal moment in history called The Great Turning, which has been prophesized by many indigenous cultures including the Maya and Hopi. With our smug, ruthless small  mindedness, we are wiping out species, decimating forests, altering climate patterns, threatening our water, air and food supplies, brutally warring with one another, and generally ruining our planet for future generations… all the while thinking that we are the cleverest of beings!

 When we stop to truly consider the current state of our world, we cannot help but wonder at the immense vulnerability we share with all of existence. It is at this point where we are most capable of seeing just how vital and precious all within the web of life are, how each and every being brings unique purpose and meaning. Recognizing this, we allow our eyes to see the truth of the magnificence all around us. And it is here where we find our most inspired answers to the crisis at hand. Life’s purpose is its beauty, vibrancy and sprouting transformation. When we sit in this knowing, we realize our gift for growing greater consciousness and spiritual connection to the whole.



Inner Homecoming

June 17, 2013


Sometimes when trauma finds us, we go through a series of coping strategies that end up severing parts of ourselves from our core self.  This is what happened to me these past months and tonight I was able to call them home.  Curing cancer is not for the faint of heart – especially when choosing to participate in the allopathic tradition.  Between having a growth (without my consent) take over my mouth, getting half my tongue cut off and restructured, a trachea cut into my neck, 50 lymph nodes removed, followed by weeks of poison designed to rip apart my dna via chemo and radiation, I experienced this severing.  It is not always obvious that actual parts of ourselves have left us.   We may just feel anxious, or a little out of sorts, or not ourselves… it can be subtle and it can also be more pronounced like panic attacks, depression, or suicidal thoughts.  For me, I just did not feel connected to the life around me anymore and my breath was not bringing me back into myself like I was accustomed to.

With the help of an ancient shamanic practice called soul retrieval, tonight I met with my young terrified parts that fled my body as I was undergoing these painful procedures.  Parts of me did stay and endure, but small and essential parts had also left me.  When I reached out with my intention, I met them and they were completely terrified.  They could not stop saying how scary all of that was.  These small voices of fear can be easy to miss when we are putting on a brave face and moving forward as boldly as we can.  Some people say just ignore or gloss over our fears – but would you do that with a small frightened child?  Our fears are like small children who simply need love and attention.  So I listened to how utterly scared these past months have been for these two aspects of myself.  And I knew they were not exaggerating – it really was that scary.  My adult self, the one who chose to remain present throughout the past several months nodded, listened, put an arm around each one and walked them back home.  It’s ok to be scared, there are things in this world that have the power to bring us to our knees.  To hug ourselves unconditionally through these times is what makes us whole and what crafts our ability to love bigger and bigger.  What could our world possibly need more than that?!!!  It does not take knowledge of shamanism or soul retrieval to reach out to lost aspects of self and welcome them home.  Who do you need to welcome home to become more whole and free?

Making Friends with my Resistance

May 5, 2013


“No more! I’m finished!  I quit!”  screams Ruby my fire-breathing dragon.  Yes, Ruby likes to come out and melt things down from time to time.  Fierce!  I have had to study up on dragons which means I know a lot more about courage, fear, and beauty.  Not everyone can say they have tamed a fire-breathing dragon – but can I still keep her tame?

Rosebud can make me turn invisible in an instant – gone – no where to be found.  Sure you might be looking right at me, but I am not there – just retreated into the deepest cavern.  She is masterful and does not even need an invisibility cloak – she can do it by herself instantaneously.  Sometimes she comes out when traces of chocolate are left around, but not this time – this time – she is unreachable.

“I need rest, comfort, and I need this bloody pain to go away RIGHT NOW!”  Petunia is the one clearly in touch with her needs and when they are not being met, she will let you know in no uncertain terms.  She is very good at getting her needs met, but not this time. She can’t even eat ice cream to ease the pain.

Flow can go a long with anything, put up with anything.  There is an extraordinary patience in her – she has endless capacity to be pulled apart and put back together… metamorphosis is her middle name.  But lately she is tired.  Even Flow has her limits.

Gertrude is my forever student – always a learning opportunity in everything.  Forever looking for the meaning, for the growth, for the lesson in life.  But now, even she is fed up.

What do you do when you hit your absolute wall of resistance? When you truly can go no further?  Upon who or what do you call for back up?  What do you do when the length of time you have been in pain is longer than you have ever known and your entire being is fighting with itself?  What blooms when we are pushed beyond our own limits? Have you ever been so discomforted that you transcended your body entirely and connect straight to essence?  Source?  Spirit?  These are the realms I now must grow into, expand into.  I have done so before, but never with such physical discomfort and resistance.

My council of selves is getting bigger and wiser.  Now, we welcome Faith, Grace, Angelique, and Celeste to sit at the table with us.  I look forward to getting to know them intimately.  Surely this stretch will be fruitful – even though I can’t touch it now… I can only stare my resistance straight in the eyes.  Just that alone is worth a lot. There is much to learn, much to integrate.  Fasten your seat belts ladies, it’s going to be bumpy ride!

Aligning with The Great Cosmic Ray

April 7, 2013

Strapped down with mouth guards listening to my favorite tunes and aligning with The Great Cosmic Ray

I am realizing now, how much I have approached life thinking myself as physically fragile and emotionally strong.  Give me any emotional task and I will tackle it with gusto, but put me on a steep ski slope, put me on a cell phone, or feed me microwaved food and you will find great resistance. Yes, I am the organic food eater, supplement-taker, and avoider of gluten and dairy. My exceptions in this regard have been with coffee and sugar – but I am still nowhere near the average American diet and I even have a 5 year committed anti-candida diet to brag about.

So here I am now faced with my worst fear… believe it or not it is not the cancer itself, but with the treatment.  Having toxic chemotherapy and radiation break apart my dna, wreak havoc on my immune system, destroy my body along with the cancer cells ranks up there with one of my biggest fears.  I have more trust in my body’s ability to heal itself from the cancer than I trust my body’s ability to heal from the treatment.  So why am I doing it?

It was not an easy decision – to decide how to approach this experience of cancer.  All I can say is that I went from someone who “would NEVER do chemo and radiation” to following all the indications that pointed me in that very direction.  I am doing it because, quite frankly, I listen to Spirit’s guidance in all matters of my life – and I was very clearly led to this choice.  For the record, it was not because of any last minute regrets by Steve Jobs – there are thousands of people who heal from cancer without getting radiaton or chemo.  An upcoming film outlines just what is possible in our ability to heal cancer and it is well worth supporting:–2

I am more aware of the self-righteous alternative-health attitude about cancer (I used to be one of them).  I cannot tell you how many times I have read people making grand statements that if you eat healthy, you will not get cancer.  I am living proof that this is simply not true.  We must be careful in our assumptions about this multi-dimensional disease and we must take care not to diminish the experience of those of us living with the disease.  We cannot broad brush stroke and deny the success rates seen in traditional treatments of cancer – for my exact situation which is tongue cancer with an impacted lymph node  – my chances of survival increase exponentially by combining chemo and radiation with surgery.

I don’t know why I am on this journey – I don’t even know the cause of my cancer.  But I do know that I am committed to step into my fear and learn from it.  I am committed to learning as much as I can from this experience.  And I am committed to healing to my highest ability so that I may in turn help others to heal.  For now I just have to accept that there are two parts to me.  There is the part that hates and rejects this form of treatment.  And there is a part of me that is open to it.  There is a bridge of humor that helps to make the transition between these two selves possible.  So it helps me to rename chemo to “The Great Cosmic Juice”  and refer to the radiation as “The Great Cosmic Ray”.  If there is a way to align my purpose and will to these treatments – rest assured, I will find it.

We are powerful.  Our hearts and our energy bodies are much more powerful than we have given ourselves credit.  It is a power that is both soft and vulnerable.  And so it is this teacher, cancer, and it is because I am a student of all that I once rejected – traditional treatment of cancer – that deepens the surrender, the courage and strength within me now.

Eating Courage

March 30, 2013

radiation room with 6 inch thick doors


If I could eat energy, I would eat courage.
Fear is a fast food carb
High-glycemic junk food.
Courage is the veggies, the guacamole, the enchilada.
The whale. The Eskimo.
It is Crazy Horse defending his tribe.
It is Captain Pickard unflinching,
sailing the heavens.
It is love in it’s most open and freeing form.
It is the birth and the death that happens every second
of every moment
on this Earth.
Sometimes so tiny and insignificant
only the seers would ever notice.
But it’s always there:
a beginning and an end.
And the chapters in-between
that is up to you and me
To live it
To find our knees
To put one foot in front of the other
and walk through that door.
Not pushed, not stumbling, not even sliding.
It’s a choice, you see
You choose how you live your life
it does not just happen.
It’s a gift.
It’s a polisher.
It’s an initiation of your soul.
We are together in this.
But it is only our own knees
that will walk us
one step
at a time
through that door.
Take heart dear one – you really can do it.
You were born for it.
Let yourself be strengthened.
Let yourself be softened.
You were born for this.
Take in the love all around you
Feel your knees
And walk through that door.
-Diane Osborne

Prayer from the Temple of New Beginnings

December 21, 2012


I spent my morning witnessing the perfectly aligned, rising sun birthing itself through the central axis of the Temple of Karnak.  Many people were gathered, the scene was set to music, and a sense of awe and mystery was palpable in the air.  Today the new birth of the sun is even more extraordinary because it marks the time prophesied by nearly every indigenous culture from the Amazon to the Andes to the Himalayas to the Rockies.  It is a time when the Eagle and the Condor will fly together again.  Heart and intuition will come again into balance with the rational linear mind, northern and southern cultures will bridge, yin and yang will find their balance, the feminine voice of authority will join the side of the masculine in partnership.  It is a time of a grand new beginning and the Earth’s new positioning in the universe will afford us with great insights and access into the subtle realms.

This morning after the sun rose, I managed to find myself taken under the wing of an unusually quiet and gentle man who seemed to understand my need to sit quietly in meditation and prayer. We sat together for a while under an ancient tree, drank tea, and he explained that his father, his father’s father, his father’s father’s father, etc… all worked at this temple and had sat under this tree. I told him about how auspicious this day is – that it signifies a new beginning for our world.  We both agreed that all forms of prayer – no matter how different they may seem – share a reverence to the Source of All Love.   He brought me into secret chambers where no one else could go and left me in peace to pray and meditate alone which I spent the whole morning doing.  Perhaps it was no accident that I found myself in the temple dedicated to the protection of new life and new beginnings. 

Today I send out from my heart a prayer for this new life and new beginning. I pray that the wars and greed stop.  I pray that the masculine archetype yield and make room for its insightful partner – the feminine.  I pray for global balance and healing.  I pray for those walking with the wisdom of the feminine (both men and women) to step up now and share this medicine boldly on our planet.  I pray that people tread lightly upon this earth.  I pray that all will awaken to the joy of global kinship.  I pray that I shine in illuminated service to this world. 

Even as I know these times ahead may not be easy – we may be faced with great change and chaos, I am in a gentle state of peace as I carry the whole world inside my heart, loving as only a mother can.  We have great work to do.


No Greater Joy

December 5, 2012


Christian, Muslim, Jewish leaders come together in Jerusalem

What is it that gets us to move beyond our comfort zone and reach out to “other” to our sworn enemy, to the ones we have been taught to fear?  How many times does our history need to show us that there is no “bad” group of people before we actually take it in and believe it?  It wasn’t true about African Americans, Native Americans, Russians, etc… so logic would have it – it’s not true about Muslims, Arabs, etc… either.  I stopped telling people I was traveling to Egypt in the months leading up to my departure, because I was typically met with shock, looks of fear, and words of caution.  I had been having beautiful experiences talking to people in the Middle East for well over three years on a regular basis, but the fear of some insisted on sticking to the stereotypes put forth by the media.  Well here’s the revelation – I can’t think of any greater joy than the continual process of discovery of oneness, kinship and friendship with “the other” – especially with those people we have been taught to fear.  When the fear drops away, looking into the eyes of another, there is no greater freedom and joy than to feel trust and openness renewed.  This is part of my journey here in Egypt – I want to smash the stereotypes of both East and West one person at a time.

There are so many doing this work here in the Middle East – I get to witness their courage on a daily basis through Facebook posts.  I want to bring your attention to the work of a friend of mine, Aviva Lev-David.  I have worked with Aviva for many years through a transformative group process called Naka Ima.  Aviva expresses beautifully her journey living in Israel and the programming of fear toward her Palestinian neighbors.  She is one of the brave ones who chose to move out of her comfort zone and seek truth.  In the final phase of her PhD in depth psychology, she will bring Christian, Muslim, and Jewish women together to share their favorite places with each other in Jerusalem.  Aviva explores her own relationship to what feeling a sense of place and feeling a sense of home means to herself and to these women in a land full of conflict over these very concepts.  I feel this is important work and I urge you to go to her website and read about this journey, donate if you can, and share with your friends and family.  I can vision this journey becoming a book someday soon – I hope so!

Find out more here:

Donate here:



Only This Minute

November 29, 2012


Today was my day to “get things done”.  I devoutly rejected all social invitations and set my clear and steady course toward the seas of productivity.  But where the orchestra of my own will was delighting in loudening, building, quickening grandioso, the Egyptian gods of technology finaled with more of a deadening crash of cymbals.  Their deceptive cadence stole the show in this order: no hot water followed by no water at all, the electricity went out, the internet went out, and finally my phone stopped working.  On a normal day, I might breathe the delight of this technology-free adventure.  But NOT today of all days: a project due, a 20 page paper due, a client skype appointment, laundry, dishes, tidying…  I had hit my wall days ago of having fun and simply ‘being’ – now I was ready to ‘DO’ something – something productive.  Entitlement came to me like a title wave – my American inheritance of expecting to get WHAT we want WHEN we want it.  In righteous five minute intervals, my devotion turned into obsession checking the internet exasperated that my will could not change the situation.  Finally my distress became the crescendo that exhausted me into a useless heap on the couch.  My knowing and wise friend Hassan found me this way and nodded knowingly – he has witnessed this Western meltdown before. 

 “Diane, You not need think about time because you not make time – time make you.  Always something can happen.  Maybe sometime I wish go and motor bike not go – like this – you not can change. Always man he not sure if can go or not… sometime people buy ticket for train you tell friend I come today but train stop… like this – because this people not think so much about time – it can happen today, it can happen tomorrow – like this.  You need live now – this time.  I tell you Prophet speak if you have your day good – only this day – you not make fight or make bad for another people – this like you have whole world in your hand – you not can think about tomorrow because any day different. We not can know tomorrow time – you need live now – this time.  I wish you live your time Diane – this minute – only this minute.”

 Hassan was just happy to be visiting, but I needed to be achieving something.  What is this compulsion toward productivity and is it all together healthy?  It seems I typically feel that time is scarce and I don’t like what this does to my relationship with time.  I read a quote today from Charles Eisenstein, “When everything is subject to money, then the scarcity of money makes everything scarce, including the basis of human life and happiness. Such is the life of the slave—one whose actions are compelled by threat to survival. Perhaps the deepest indication of our slavery is the monetization of time.”  There is wisdom for me in this statement – it has to do with my monetization of time and in this way I am not truly free in each moment when I am operating in this productivity model.  I wish to seek the kind of success Hassan has, minute by minute.

 Earlier that day, Hassan had two computers quit in his shop.  He called the man to fix it, but this man is going to Cairo.  Hassan will wait for the man to return, instead of call someone else. This man always fixes his computers and that is more important than two more working machines in his shop and his customers will wait. They can if they wish go to another computer shop, but they like Hassan’s computer shop so they will wait.  Besides, Hassan adds, “I make it cheap, one hour, one pound”.

My 9/11 Dare

September 11, 2011

This is a dare! Mix it up I say… don’t let the dendrites of your brain calcify into too familiar trodden territory. Arise from the old field of hard edges and plant yourself in a new garden – the world awaits the fruits of your passion.

So… to you who are asleep at the wheel, wake up and listen – all of life is screaming in your ear to arise! Turn off the TV, sober up from the intoxication of spoon-fed half-truths. Reality unfolds under your very eyes if you would only notice. You have the heart. You have the courage to see truth – so wake up and pay attention. I dare you to deeply witness the world you live in.

And to you whose constant drone is only to say over and over “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” We have heard you… we are waking up… we are seeing truth. But you talk only of the rain and of the rising river… we want to hear also of the Arc and of the Bridge! Do you not know that a bird has many songs? One is of warning, yes – but the other is of the beauty of dawn, the beauty of becoming, the beauty of what will be and of what can be. To you I say, I dare you to sing another song.

And to you whose loyalties and affections end at the borders of this great Nation – can you not feel your brothers and sisters over the horizon? Are our lives more important than theirs that you cannot hear their cries, their pain, their loss, also? How can you be so blind to the hundreds of years of colonial Imperialism that has shaped the events of 10 years ago? Expand the reaches of your heart out beyond the red white and blue and grasp the pearl of healing that lies within our shared pain. Reach out your hands now because bridges are being built this very instant. I dare you to feel the triumphant joy of out-stretched hands and heart.

To you world leaders, your support of corporate growth through conquest, colonization, and consumption is on a collision course with the end of life as we know it. And so your happiness is a physiological impossibility. Soften your edges, humble down because real growth is conscious, connecting and respects the sacredness of all life. Try that suit on, I dare you!

To you my Muslim friends all over and in the Arab world, know my sadness for your loss – of brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers. Know my outrage of the lies that got us here. After 9/11, I found myself afraid, and I reached out to you and our friendship has brought me tears of deep healing. My hands are outstretched to build a human bridge, if you have not already done so, grab hold, I dare you! We have much to learn from one another.

To all of us I say – we are the gardeners who plant the seeds of what is yet to come into this world. We are also the conductors, generators, and visionaries who, like the sun, shine upon each other in a moment, and sprout instant seeds into being. Know it in your hearts and act on it every day – I dare you! This world needs your most genius, creative love now.

A Western Woman Fasts for Ramadan

August 12, 2011

Photo by Noushad Akambadam

Last year, I decided to fast for Ramadan. My intention was to simplify my eating and join a powerful global time of prayer.  I did not fast precisely according to Muslim tradition, but I ate very little – under 500 calories per day – for the entire Ramadan holiday.  Sitting with hunger was new to me and I found myself face to face with unrealized parts of myself, particularly the part that feels entitled to immediate gratification.

One important aspect of Ramadan is to enhance human compassion towards the poor who experience thirst and hunger on a regular basis.  Imagining this intellectually is one thing, but sitting with hunger day after day, enabled me to deepen my understanding and intensify my capacity for felt perception. Facebook became my primary lens, where I was able to witness the disparity in the world. I was opening my eyes, mind, and heart to the stories of destroyed homes, polluted drinking water, cruelty, and torture to a degree that I had never allowed myself before.  No longer numbed with coffee and chocolate, something shifted inside me – my sense of humanity and justice expanded as well as my embodied awareness of the nature of consumption and conservation. Fasting became a lament, a pause, a difficult place to hang out, and a humbling time of inner reflection. No longer buffered to my own or to the world’s grief and longing, what unraveled from my memory were the times I was impatient, when I judged others, and was immobilized to act on behalf of others.  Yet simply sitting in this deeper place, I also felt the pull towards allied action with humanity.  And this amplified vulnerability became a springboard for me to renew my commitment to act on behalf of healing and social change on the planet.

Fasting is a powerful transpersonal journey.  As I deepened my awareness of my own relationship to nourishment and eating, I also became aware of how as a Western culture, we are on a binge eating course on this earth – using up resources, devouring and polluting air, water, soil, plants and animals.  It appears that many of us would prefer to jeopardize future generations, rather than shift our own appetites.  And it is precisely this engrained habit of overindulgence that has made us insensitive to the fact that we are a part of and in relationship with everything around us. We have essentially relinquished our responsibility that we are the living, breathing consciousness of this Earth.

Ramadan is also a time of turning completely toward the ultimate Source, in Arabic called Allah. Allah is universal and has been called Creator, God, Tao, Divine Mother/Father, Universal Mind, Oneness, Source of Love and Light, and many others.  Expanding my tenderness and gratitude to the Source of Creation is a mystery that fully engages and calls me to higher expansion and wholeness. I have found profound blessings in exploring various wisdom traditions.  I have learned powerful tools to unravel old patterns, deepen within myself, and to feel the common bond of oneness that connects us all into our common web of humanity.  We are blessed to be here together now as we journey as souls on a pilgrimage.  We are unique.  We are one.  We are deeply connected.

Inner contemplation to see ourselves clearly, heightens our perception and honest interaction with the world around us. The strength of our ability to humbly sit in the shadows of our own heart, creates a capacity to sit with, meet and embrace the global heart.  When we feel the collective longing, then we can align ourselves with what wants to happen in our shared human becoming.  With humbleness, it is time to engage our readiness and step into our power to act, to nourish new life, to compost that which no longer serves us, and to plant seeds that can bear fruit – even if we do not get to feast upon it in our own lifetime. The seed itself is a celebration of what is to yet to come.