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Posted By Opening the Heart

Twigs as Spiders


In my childhood home there was one room I was afraid to enter on my own.  This was because of the picture that hung on the wall.  It was a framed watercolor painting of a woodland scene.  In the center of the painting were the bare twigs and branches of a hazel bush.  To my childhood eyes the bush seemed to be a large and scary spider. My parent’s attempts at reassurance - ” It's only a painting!” –
“There's no need to be frightened!” - were not effective, and the picture was eventually removed.  When I next saw the painting I was in my 20s, and, although I could perceive how I mistook some twigs and branches for a spider, it was clear to me that the artist was portraying a beautiful, if stark woodland scene.

I recalled these memories as I took my morning walk through early winter woods today, and I thought about how frequently in life I have mistaken something ultimately beautiful and beneficial for something frightening that needed to be avoided or approached with great trepidation.  A case in point was my first Opening the Heart Workshop.

The prospect of attending a workshop where I would be invited to reveal myself to myself – and to others - was scary. I was ashamed of the baggage I was carrying and I didn’t want to look at my own “issues” let alone allow others a glimpse inside that dark place. Being real would mean showing up “warts and all.” It was a prospect just as frightening as entering that room from my childhood.

What finally got me moving was the realization that slinking around in my comfort zone was actually not comfortable. Comfort is not the same as equanimity, and what I really needed in an apparently fearful situation was the ability to see and face it with an open heart and mind, without pre-judgment and without the automatic imagined prospect of suffering – in short, with equanimity.

This realization, and the support of close friends was enough to get me to my first workshop. There I discovered that the thing I had feared – ownership and acknowledgement of my so-called “negative” emotions – was a challenge shared with everyone else present – including the workshop faculty. Instead of finding myself in a court of rejection, blame and accusation I found myself in a community of love and complete acceptance.

Just as my fear of the scary spider picture transformed into appreciation of a beautiful painting, the anticipatory trepidation about the workshop experience turned into appreciation, gratitude and a sense of deep fulfillment. So, if fear is preventing you from living the life you would like, I encourage you to bring sensory clarity to the inner discomforts of the “comfort-zone,” to face your fears with an attitude of “Bring It On!” and move towards the freedom that lies beyond your personal scary spiders. Perhaps we’ll see you at an Opening the Heart Workshop one day.



Posted By Opening the Heart

Our next Opening the Heart Worshop begins in just four days. If you have been stalking this blog, or our website, our Facebook page or our Tweets, and have entertained the thought that this work could be of benefit to you at this time -  now is the moment to take the leap.

We fully acknowledge that the toughest part of this workshop is 'getting there'. You have to face fear of the unknown, you have to devote precious resources of time and money, you might have to ask others to 'cover' for you while you take a weekend away. All I can tell you is that, once these things are done and you are 'on board', everything is a bonus. We have yet to meet a person who regretted their decision to attend.

You simply cannot match the experiential quality of this workshop in individual therapy, by reading self-help books or even in a weekly support group. The safe environment and structured flow of the exercises quickly build a unique community of trust in every group that comes together. You can be assured that you will be taken good care of as you relax into the process. At the same time, the revitalized connection with your core self that is engendered is a powerful engine of positive change. You will find yourself opening up as inevitably as a flower opens its petals  to the summer sun and rain.

I sincerely hope that you will join us this weekend. We look forward to welcoming you.


Posted By Opening the Heart

Someone recently asked why they should even consider experiencing an Opening the Heart Workshop™. Here's the list I gave them to consider:


You're living life with a 'safety first' approach.

You want to be more 'whole hearted' in your relationships.

You tend to substitute a fantasy life for the real thing.

You wish you were able to be more spontaneous.

You spend a lot of time being anxious.

You'd love to live life more gracefully.

You live a constricted existence.

You'd like to be more genuine in your interactions with others.

There's a compulsive or desperate quality to your actions.

You'd love your responses to others and to situations to be more appropriate.

Real fulfillment is absent from your life.

You long for clarity of expression.

You'd love to be more gratedul and less grouchy.

You'd like to feel that you had more choices.

You live in the past or future rather than the present.

Your responses don't match the situation.

You are hesitant or tentative in your interactions with others.

You are inhibited in living up to your potential.

You'd love to be more 'present'.


We're very confident that the workshop can help any of the above conditions. If you haven't done so already you might like to investigate further at The Opening the Heart Workshop™


Posted By Opening the Heart

As some of you may have intuited from my Loving Kindness blog entry of June 10th,  I am currently awakening to the presence of cancerous cells in my prostate. As part of my own care and as a way to process some of he feeling states that  will inevitably arise i have decided that i need to write about this experience. However - this blog is not the place for that. Instead I have created a separate blog called Dancing with Prostate Cancer.


I don't warm to the term "fighting cancer" - it seems too aggressive to me. I prefer the analogy of 'dancing' and here's why. In ballroom dancing either partner can be taking the lead, shaping the course of the dance, but in the end neither partner is in complete control. Each one is to a great extent dependant on the cooperation of the other. There is give and take, movement and response, action and reaction. i expect that to be the way with this particular cancer.


Pushing the analogy further - there are forms of dancing which involve many partners. My support network will be my other partners in this dance. Of course there will be my close group of family and friends, but there will also be my adjunct network of healing arts professionals - acupuncturist, chiropractor, herbalist etc. Other partners in the dance will be the huge amount of information and study to be gleaned from all kinds of sources, and the many healing practices (meditation, tai chi, visualization, nutrition etc) to which I have access.


One more connection with dance. At the end of The Opening the Heart Workshop™
Linda teaches the Action Step process. Each conscious step is designed to move you forward in the dance of life.  i now have the opportunity of crafting some steps of my own in Dancing with Prostate Cancer