“The movement of love is that of a sacred thief, come to remove your clothing and your concepts, and to burn away everything that is false and less than whole within you. And when it is done all that will be left is a raging firestorm of creativity, sensuality, openness, warmth, and kindness. For this is what you are.”
~ Matt Licata

I’ve often caught mere glimpses of her, this ‘raging firestorm’ within. Just the glimpses would freak me out. Afraid of this power, I’ve thought of this firestorm as something bad, some strange and frightening part of me. So, I’ve contained her. I turned my back on her. I cut myself off from her.

But, she never was something bad. I’ve been containing my own beautiful, brilliant, firestorm of a soul, the wilderness within my flesh.

One night a few weeks ago, I woke up, halfway, from a dream. I was in that in-between state –half awake, half asleep. I don’t even really remember the dream, but in that halfway state, I heard a voice inside saying, “But I thought if I contained myself everything would be okay.” I could feel a kind of surprise in this voice, a sense of feeling like what she thought would happen didn’t. I could almost see her, this young version of me, with a look of surprise and sadness that what she expected would happen didn’t happen, even though she had contained herself, held herself in, suppressed her own vibrancy. I could see her standing with her arms by her side, hanging straight down with her lower arms sticking out at a 90 degree angle yet pulled in toward her belly. She was containing her life force, my life force. She learned it well.

As I woke up from the dream, I had this sense again of feeling like I’ve been containing something frightening. Then, I had this flash of wondering what I would be letting out if I quit containing me. And then…

The next night before preparing for bed, I went into my living room to sit and meditate. As I walked into the living room, I suddenly sensed a very large presence, so big it filled the room. At once, I knew. This was my soul. I’ve never experienced it this way before. As I sat, I realized it was no longer contained. It was full and deep and palpable. This was me, but not the personality me, it was the presence that I am. Yet, as I sat, I felt distant from this presence. This was my own presence and I felt a distance from myself. Tears came. This distance was painful. And the fear was painful, too. But the greatest pain was realizing that I had done this to my own Soul.

For many years of this spiritual search, I’ve seen presence as out there, or up there, somewhere, and that a deeper knowing of presence would be by way of it coming down into the body. But in this moment, that didn’t jive with my experience. The presence I felt was all around me, completely around me, but I was seeing myself outside of it, or up above it, or distant from it.

A long time ago, I made up something about my power and came to believe something about it. I could go into what that was, or is, but that doesn’t feel relevant here. What feels relevant is my relationship to the power of this presence itself – I keep myself from it. Nothing I could ever have done would change the nature of what I am; but the beliefs absolutely shifted my connection to it. I turned my back on it. I came to believe, and then pretend, it wasn’t there, so that I wouldn’t be ‘too much’.

Imagine the beautiful tiger above coming to believe that its power was too much, and then finding some way to disconnect from that power. Crazy, huh!?

It’s been a few weeks between the part one of this series and this second part. It’s been a time of experiencing great shifts in my relationship to this power, this presence. It’s had to do with coming to see, and ‘understand’, how our childhood years, no matter the nature of our family life, are about trading in conditional love. As a girl, I learned to turn my back on my own soul, the source of this firestorm. Soul that is wild at its core. I made that choice. Painful. Painful to see. Yet, I made it to survive in that family life, in this culture. But, now, it is no longer offering survival. Instead, it is a painful loss of life force.

Ultimately, though, I am responsible for the choice.

Soul is animal. Soul is body. Soul is where body and Spirit meet. Soul is instinct and appetite, and wilderness.

God and Goddess are not above earthly life. They are infused through every part of earthly life. When I cut myself off from soul, I cut myself off from the wilderness in my flesh. And coming back into right relationship with this powerful presence means coming back into the deepest, darkest places within my flesh.

Can you relate? I write about my experience rather than trying to tell you how things are. It’s the only way that I feel in integrity – by staying with my own experience, and in doing so, coming to honor my experience as real and valid, and offering a lens for you to also know that your experience is as well – real and valid, and so important to make known.


This is part two of a three-part series.

You can read part one, here.

And, stay tuned for part three.



“Above all, the world needs passionate people: not people who are passionate about this political cause or that religious teaching, this candidate or that guru, this project or that movement, but passionate about Being, about Awakening, about this very Breath, this miraculous gaze into the eyes of a Friend. The only power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt, is passion for Presence itself. It is the Serpent Fire in your spine, the Beloved in your heart, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence. This is the passion that will transform the earth.” ~ Fred LaMotte


Three nights ago, I was messier. Last night at dance, I was messier still. Messier than how I usually am on the dance floor. Not messier as in sweatier. Sweat happens when I dance, no matter what. No, messier as in real. Messier as in following the desire in my body, the wilderness that prowls and stalks just below the surface of my skin, skin fashioned from words I ingested and digested and metabolized into cells that hold and tow the line. The line of good girl, good woman, contained woman is held by my skin.

Except, now, my skin is longing for something else. It is longing to express what is beneath it, swimming within it, firing up from below it.

It is longing to touch, and be touched by, the miraculous – the wild spirit in flesh.

Three nights ago, I gazed into another dancer’s eyes. At the end, in stillness, we were prone on the hot planks of well-loved wood, so still in stillness that the only movement was our breath…and a slight movement of our bodies as they settled down into the floor, each muscle finding its own way to being held by the bones, the bones held by the floor. As the teacher called us into the ending circle, this dancer looked at me, deep into me, and I held his gaze with mine. My own wild gaze felt like it came straight from the depths of beyond-black space.

Last night at dance, I danced against another dancer’s skin, close enough to smell his scent, close enough to feel the emotional sea roiling within him. Our skin met, then moved away, then met, again. Wilderness oozed from beneath my skin, tracking him with its natural predilection for breath, gaze, and the miracle of knowing another in stillness and movement and silence. The wilderness of my flesh explored the nuances felt through my skin, through hands that pulsed with heartbeat and feet that moved with the sensuous.

Something in me has been dying to come to the surface, dying to make its way into expression. I’ve kept it under the tense and taught derma-sheath that pens it in, pens me in. I am not this body, and I am this body. I am known, and I am this never-to-be-fully-known wilderness, too. I am this passion, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence.

And, I am not just the thinking mind that keeps referring to myself as I, the thinking trying to keep messy at bay. We all have our own ways we don’t like to get messy, and it’s our over active minds trying so hard to contain life, contain this wilderness we can feel within.


I’ve been on the fence about dating. On one side, then on the other, then back again, finally just setting my ass down on it to stay. For a bit. Until now. Now I can see what the until has been about. I want to be physical, sensual, sexual. I’ve been alone for four years. I’ve been happy and content, but also desiring companionship and intimacy. I want to be connected, flesh to flesh, heart to heart, soul to soul.

I learned that the real wild self should only come out in the bedroom, although she often prowls on the dance floor where ‘behavior’ like that is more acceptable. But, the real wild self? I’ve been waiting for just the right time, just the right partner, just the right…

But, there is no, and there will never be,  just the right anything.

Yes, it is exquisite to experience this wilderness in connection with another, but it doesn’t need to wait. I don’t need to wait for anyone or anything. To pretend I have to wait for him and a bedroom is to give my power away, continually. To believe this is just about sex and the bedroom, is to believe the lies I’ve been taught that I’ve used to keep myself contained.

To continue to contain it is to deny what I am. A woman’s wilderness is frightening to many, but especially to herself. When a woman wakes up to this  ‘power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt’ there is nothing that can stop her. 

This is a ‘passion for Presence itself’. It isn’t passion for a partner, nor is it passion simply for sex. When we know passion for Presence itself, all else flows from this.

It’s not personal.

It is in this flesh where wilderness and Spirit meet in Presence.

It is the wilderness beneath your skin.


This is part two of a three-part series.

You can read part two, here.

And, stay tuned for part three.




Belonging – 21 Days to Find your Way Home.

I’ve opened registration for another round of Belonging: 21 Days to Find Your Way Home

For 21 days, you’ll receive a daily email that will guide you through to a new way to see belonging and practices for you to begin to find it in your own life. We’ll have two calls together, and a secret Facebook group where we’ll share what we are discovering through this journey of belonging.

This goes deeper than trying to fit in. This is about belonging to that which never left you, will never leave you.

We belonged the moment we were born.

We can find our way back home…together.

The cost is $59 dollars, and increases to $99 on October 20th. We begin Oct. 22.

Read more and register here.

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Developing the Practice of Going Within

by Julie on September 22, 2015 · 2 comments



woman breathing underwater


Last night was the first class of ten in the Creativity & Leadership course I teach at Stanford Continuing Studies. I’ve been teaching this course with my wonderful colleague, Hal Louchheim, for nine years now. (Hal’s been teaching this class for eighteen!) The class is highly experiential. Each week, we offer exercises and practices that open the students to their own internal world, the place from which our creativity flows. The class exercises are varied because we all learn differently.

As I led these students through the first exercise, I could feel, really clearly, the depth of trust it takes to go within. I know this from my own experience. When I first began to explore this myself, I was indeed a bit frightened of what I would find when I turned inward. For so long, I’d felt as though there was just a big hole inside of me. Would I find anything inside me? Was there something I didn’t want to see or know?

From a young age, we are taught to look outside for things – answers, guidance, advice, etc. And, in this teaching, we lose touch with not only our own internal knowing, but the idea that there even is an internal world to know. So then, developing trust is a key practice to learning to go within, to access the depth’s of one’s essential creative source.

What else is key? Practice itself. The practice of learning to notice the experience of being creative by developing the presence and capability to bring it out without judgment and manipulation. And by creative, I mean giving voice (both literally and metaphorically) to the voice within, to what you hear when you go within and listen, then bringing what you hear into form.

This can be where it gets hard. To not judge the process, not judge the chaos, and not judge what we hear when we listen within. To let go of the expectations our minds tend to hang onto in order to feel in control. Our minds are so good at judgment, comparison, and critical thinking. Our minds love to ‘problem solve’. But our creativity is not a problem. It can help find solutions to existing problems, but not by attempting to control the outcome through problem ‘solving’. Creativity is our nature, not a problem. If we believe it is a problem, we are believing that what we are is a problem. And, I know many of us learn to believe that this last piece is true…that we are a problem.

As I facilitated the students through the process last night, I came to, once again, realize how vitally important the capacity to listen is. To listen. Not to listen so we can prepare a response. Not to listen so we can win the argument. Not to listen in order to defend or deflect. But to listen in order to truly hear.

To listen in order to truly hear.

This goes for listening to another as well as listening to oneself, to that inner voice that beckons constantly from within.

This kind of listening includes seeing, feeling, and sensing as well. It is a whole-body, whole-being listening.

To bring forth a new capacity, we must practice. We practice to bring forth our ability to be nimble and conscious and capable. I am not sure the fear ever goes away, but at least, in being nimble, our practice helps us to flow with the fear.

Last year, I began to use a new way to help guide people into this internal world using an ages-old technology – that of the labyrinth. This is what we use in Writing Raw. We go within using the same methodology labyrinth walkers have used for ages. And we listen, feel, sense, and look with our inner-eyes. Our inner world is rich and full, and if we don’t judge it but listen instead, we begin to deepen our relationship with our vast creative resource.

I feel that this is the great invitation of our time: to come to trust the mysterious and intelligent nature of our vast creative potential so that what we create comes from the intelligence of life itself.

Our vast creative potential is life potential, and life lives not for itself. Life lives for life. When we do this, when we listen to life what we bring forth will be for the benefit of the whole, for all of life.


Unabashedly Female with Julie Daley's photo.Writing Raw begins tomorrow, Wednesday September 23rd.

Writing Raw is a practice… a practice in trusting, listening, receiving, and speaking. It’s a practice in learning to trust not only yourself but also your sisters.

While we will write, Writing Raw isn’t really about writing; rather, it’s about learning to go within yourself, deep into your own inner world, then listening for that voice you’ve yearned for a lifetime to hear. Finally, it’s about trusting this inner voice enough to share it into a circle of women, and into the light of day.

Each week, for six weeks, we have two calls. You can come to one, the other, or both. Wednesdays 9:00 am pt and Thursdays 5:00 pm pt.

Each week, you’ll receive an original PDF highlighting a threshold to take you deeper into expressing what is within you.

This circle is powerful, transformative, and fun. I’d love to have you join us. If you have questions, please reach out to me.



Purpose is not static. Purpose is alive.

by Julie on September 17, 2015 · 2 comments



Creativity is a process.

Creativity is a transformative process, a process of where the essential Self unfolds itself, continuously. While you are creating ‘something’, the process of making something is creating you.

In the creative process, you ‘go into’ the unknown. When you step off from the ‘perch of the known’, meaning you let go because you have NO idea HOW you are going to do this thing you must do, you go in and down. You enter the creative void. It’s not empty, it’s actually really, incredibly rich and full. It’s pregnant. We don’t know how deep it is nor how long we will be in it. I’d never thought about the sense of falling into it until I read this:

I know this transformation is painful, but you’re not falling apart. You’re just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful. ~ William C. Hannan

As we create, we can, and often do, feel pain, discomfort, and fear. We know that this process of unfolding brings transformation. We know it on a deep level, but we do not know who and what we will become. That not knowing is frightening. Yet, in the creative process, each time we descend, we reveal more and more of this true Self. We rescue ourselves out of the abyss of forgetfullness.

I am curious about this new capacity to be beautiful. As I fall deeper and deeper into this unknown place of Self, I am finding life to be more beautiful, even the hard parts. It feels as though, more and more, I sense the beautiful, both within and outside of myself, as well as a sense of walking in beauty.


The creative process is alive. It is a process, meaning it is life unfolding as you and through you. We are alive, and we exist in a world that is alive.

What we create is alive if we create it from a place of aliveness. Each creation carries a transmission of life if we, ourselves, know our own aliveness.

There is aliveness to our existence as human beings. I’ve known this aliveness. As a child, it was all I knew until I began to replace this experience of feeling alive with mental ideas of being alive. But life wasn’t ever those ideas, really. Ideas of what life is are not the same as life itself. Life has never been what others told me it was, what I’ve told myself it is.

If we are living in our mental ideas of what life is, we don’t feel alive. Instead, the feeling of life divorced from itself is hard, metallic, cold, seemingly almost lifeless, which makes sense. Lifelessness in the midst of life comes when life no longer trusts life, no longer feels safe in its embrace. It is cold and hard, and seemingly brittle, because oxygen is no longer allowed all the way down into the whole of the body, into the limbs and cells.

Life married to itself is rich, fragrant, and giving. It is open-hearted, ‘giving to’ rather than ‘taking from’.

In reality, there is only One life. And, there are infinite life forms. Life knowing life knowing life knowing life. Life could never really divorce itself from itself, but we attempt to do this over and over. We divorce ourselves from others for many reasons, but one of the main ones is the idea that connection to others makes us unsafe.


When I think of creativity as a process, as an alive and flowing process, I realize that our purpose for being here is just as alive – and just as much of a process. If we think of purpose as a static thing, we are missing the point by trying to put an alive process into a static idea. Everything is alive, and so is our purpose.

Purpose is flow, it’s the unfolding of who we really are, the essential Self. We are living on purpose when we are living the qualities of our essential nature.

Just as it’s about the journey and not only the destination, it’s also about the act of creating and not just the created result. Focusing too much on the end result stifles and constricts creativity, and not only affects the end result but also stifles our capacity to unfold. Having rigid expectations up front, keeps us rigid, not flowing, and constricts our ability to come to know ourselves.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have some kind of intention, but if we hold the intention with spaciousness, and allow for fluidity and change along the way, the process of unfolding is supported by way of creation rather than stifled by it.

Many ‘accepted ways of doing things’ DO stifle and constrict our unfolding. This is how and why the status quo can be so hard to change.

To live purpose, follow the flow of what is alive within you. Pay attention to the experience of being alive. The experience of creating is flow, is life in flow. But it’s not just the creation that is flowing, the creator is, too – YOU, you are flowing. You change, transform, grow – unfold – as you create, as you ‘make’ whatever it is you are offering to this world.

To live purpose, hold both these things: what you are creating and your own unique process of unfolding. Allow them to dance together. Allow life to grow you.



WRStardustWriting Raw is now open for registration. We begin in one week, on September 23rd.

More than anything, Writing Raw is a process. It is held in a circle in such a way that the unfolding of who you are is just as, if not more, important than the product you output. I created Writing Raw for just this reason, because we tend to focus on the output rather than on becoming. The process of becoming is hugely important.

Writing Raw is a deep dive into this creative process. By consciously turning to go within, you come directly into this rich and fertile void, then speak aloud what has come through you.

If you’ve longed to feel more alive, to unfold and come to know who you truly are, and to speak what you discover then Writing Raw is for you. Take a look at the registration page and read it through. Even if you decide not to join, I know you will learn a lot simply from reading, and listening to, what I have shared. And, if you know of any women that would benefit from joining Writing Raw, please send it on to them so they can join this circle of creativity and discovery.



The Radiance of Life Unfolding

by Julie on September 2, 2015 · 0 comments


the radiance of life unfolding

…the body is suffused with wild and vital divinity.
…the sensuous is sacred in the deepest sense.
~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara


I go to the side doors of the large room where we are to dance. These double doors are open to the park just across the way letting in the late-summer evening breeze. I lie down on the floor, face up, and gaze up and out the doors. All I see are the branches of the tall pine that stands across the way, branches that fall across the way between the tree and me.

The first music of the night is soft and slow, and I feel my body soften into the floor. I’ve been dancing long enough now that when the music begins my body begins to dance, even if that dance is simply breath meeting beat.

There is so much here in this moment that I love – truly love. Warm soft wind, music with melody and soul, trees, and others surrounding me who’ve come here to move, too.

As the stresses of the day fall away, I begin to feel my flesh and bones against the floor in places where my body meets wood well-worn from years of feet moving across it and bodies sweating over it.

Here in these moments between the heat of the late-summer day and the cool of evening, between the word-soaked moments of my busy life and the ripe silence of moving to music without conversation, I remember, then feel, the words John O’Donohue wrote before his body passed back into the earth:

Your body is in the soul, and the soul suffuses you completely.
Therefore, all around you there is a secret and beautiful soul-light.

Lying here, I feel this beautiful soul-light. Around me. Around the tree. Around the room. Around the others coming and dropping into silence.

As the music shifts and the tempo picks up, my body rises to meet it and I begin to dance.


I always love the first moments of the evening dance as I move into flow, relaxing into it like easing into a stream. Toes dip in, then legs, and then I slide the rest of my body down into the cool dark waters of the dance. Each time I dance, these waters cleanse me, washing through the layers of soul that suffuse this body. These waters cleanse me of everything I’ve brought in with me, and over the last few weeks each time I come I’ve brought memories and images of generations past.

My sister and I’ve been going through pictures my mother left behind after her passing, and we’ve come across images of great-great-greats. Moving my fingers across these portraits of faces from five generations prior, I touch more than paper and tin-type. I touch people who gave birth to those who would give birth to me. I touch joy and heartache. I touch youth and old age. I touch promise and defeat. I touch my own DNA.

As I dance, it comes to my mind that they are all gone now. Yet I, their offspring, still dance. My body moves with the wild and vital divinity of one who is alive, fully alive, with breath and beat, sweat and heart. I feel the radiance of life unfolding from deep within me, deep in the hidden places of the heart, deep in the dark of my belly.

I notice the soul-light because the music hits soul first, before it enters my ears. The soul suffuses my body, but the music suffuses my soul.

To be touched in this way by rhythm, to have it touch my soul even before it touches my cells, is to be touched by the sacred. Literally touched. Rhythm and beat to soul, and soul to skin. And when, in the heat of the dance, my skin brushes up against the skin of another, our souls have already met prior to skin meeting skin.

Perhaps this is why it is so hard-to-describe the experience of dance when flesh meets flesh. Perhaps this is why life is so sensuous. It isn’t flesh meeting flesh first. It is soul meeting soul.


Incredibly and Intimately Near

by Julie on August 12, 2015 · 3 comments


“I think the beauty of being human is that we are incredibly and intimately near each other, we know about each other, but yet we do not know, or never can know, what it is like inside another person.

It’s amazing. Here am I sitting in front of you. I am looking at your face, and you’re looking at mine, yet neither of us have ever seen our own faces.”     ~ John O’Donohue speaking to Krista Tippett


After a wild chaos, the music finds its way to stillness. As the music slows and softens, the blood pumping, sweat dripping that was chaos still vibrates throughout the room.

Stillness brings me face to face with the intensity of my own aliveness. In stillness, while the body might barely move on the outside, inside planets orbit in wide arcs, the ground shakes, and oceans break against shores. In stillness after chaos, there is no doubt I am alive.

And, I am aware of just how alive I am when my skin touches his skin and electricity sparks. We are dancing near each other; yet, it is when our arms barely brush against each other in response to the music that a new channel opens between us, between his soul and mine.

As our forearms slide alongside one another, something within me communicates with something within him, and it happens through our skin. Fluidly, where arms were merely meeting, hands come together and clasp. We are not looking at each other, but we can ‘see’ each other. It’s a seeing that doesn’t rely on eyes. And I am a witness to ‘this dance that is the two of us’. And, he is a witness to the same dance.

I can sense where I end and where ‘this dance that is the two of us’ begins. My fingers begin to travel this new terrain.

Sparks fly.

Cells buzz.

A more shy part of me emerges with fur standing on end and hunger whetted. My heart hungers to touch because it is through touch that my heart can navigate this wise flesh and what lies within it.

And so, I make my way out of my own dark forest and meet him under the moonlit sky.

I am amazed to feel my heart beat against his skin. We are not that close; yet, we are incredibly and intimately near each other. My heart beat travels down my arm, through my fingers, and pulses against his skin. My heart wants to know him but I can never really know him. I can only navigate the land where we come together, where we both feel ‘this dance that is the two of us’.

As this last song of stillness meanders from beginning to end, our bodies move together – arms around waists, cheeks touching cheeks, front to back and back to front – and tears begin to form below the surface of my eyes. They never fall down my cheeks. Instead they flow from ‘this dance that is the two of us’ back up and into my heart.

I can feel ‘we’ in me.

Something in me has had the incredible chance to know something in him. In the depth of a dance. For the length of a song.

And then, the music stops and ‘this dance that is the two of us’ ends. But, I am now different, changed. I know more of myself because I opened and touched and listened. I know more of myself because I navigated the terrain of us. In a few short minutes, I’ve remembered unseen realms and listened to ancient stories.

And, while I can never know what it is like inside of him, maybe, just maybe, out of the shadows of soul I’ve seen a glimpse of my own face.







Allowing My Argument With Love to Die

by Julie on July 18, 2015 · 2 comments





Small, elderly, and frail-looking-but-not-acting, she darted past me on the ashram’s dirt walkway.

She almost knocked me over she was in such a hurry. As she bumped into me, I almost lost my balance. Immediately, she stopped and turned to me. Her big brown eyes were overflowing with love and a gentle request for forgiveness. Her eyes said everything. Mine answered in return. Yes. Of course. Forgiveness. Then, she handed me a card. A small card, like a business card. But this one was different. It had a message, a message from Amma. We were in Amma’s house after all – her house in Kerala, India.

As she watched me, intently with those big brown eyes, I took the card and read the words.

“Grace is always falling like rain. You just have to open to receive it.” ~ Amma

I read them again. And then I looked back up at her…but she was gone.

I stood there for what was probably a few minutes. In that moment, I needed grace. I was homesick and a bit overwhelmed with everything that India offers. I wanted to feel comfortable, and I was feeling anything but.

As I stood there taking in the dusk light and the many people scurrying across the ashram grounds, I could feel, even if just slightly, a sense of the grace Amma was speaking to. I could feel presence. It was faint, like a small window had been opened to a world that has always surrounded me even if I was unaware of it.

I kept that card with me throughout the rest of my time in India. I brought it home with me, back to the States. Somewhere along the way, I lost the card, but I’ve never forgotten the message.


A window into grace became a doorway into grace; and, eventually a world of grace.

Just the other day, I was speaking to two women about the spiritual ‘work’ each of us has done over the past many years. The three of us share similar patterns of feeling like we must work really, really hard to heal; that it is all up to us; and, that we never think to ask for help. I was telling them about some of the really powerful work I’ve been doing lately. I’ve been so grateful for the openings and awakenings I’ve been experiencing. And, it can be really deep, emotional work. It can feel hard, and yet I have this determination to get to the bottom of it all.

There’s this quest to go all the way in, all the way through. Trauma (the trauma of life) can cause us to disassociate, to leave, to go numb. I went numb a long time ago, and I stayed numb until a death woke me up, and then another death, and another death.

In my thawing, I’ve developed a fierce determination to not isolate, and to not continue to live in world that feels so separate. But, sometimes that fierce determination also comes from a  belief of having to do it all myself, and a belief that it will and must be hard.

One of the women looked at me and said, “You know. We can ask for grace.”

We can ask for grace.


Two days later,

I was dancing as I do on Sundays. Toward the end of the two-hour moving meditation, I remembered her words. In that moment, I was so open, so vulnerable, so ready. And, in that moment, I asked.

I asked for grace.

Five days later,

Grace came. The details do not matter. What mattered enough to share with you is this:

When grace rained down upon me, I wept because for the first time in my life I truly knew what it felt like to have love pour itself into me, over me, and through me, without having to ‘earn it’; without having to feel unlovable, lovable, or something in between; without having to believe in some way that I was deserving, without having to feel I was broken in some way.

I have felt love fill me before. But this time, what was extraordinary was the quality of love. It was love that gives with a clear feeling of asking for nothing in return. There was a clear sense of the unconditioned nature of love.

There was no duality present – no conditional/unconditional duality.

There was no sense of exchange. There was only a pouring out of itself.

What I did have to do was open to receive love’s rain shower.

What I did have to do was allow myself to be loved – completely and utterly loved – to no longer push love away, to truly feel love and loved. Once I did, I could no longer argue with love.

Grace is love without any demand in return. It comes and pours itself over you. It graces you.

Grace washed over me and through me. Like waves, it came and poured itself into me. Waves and waves of love, each given completely. As it washed over me, I could feel, and finally see and know, how love moves.

Love gives of itself without asking for anything in return.

Love gives of itself.

And in receiving this grace, this love, something in me did die.

What died was my argument with love itself.

There was no argument left; there was only love.





And Then She Moves

by Julie on July 9, 2015 · 3 comments


“Let me open like a flower”, she says.

“Just breathe, and I will open.”

“Let me stretch and yawn. Allow me to soften, soften, soften.”

I feel her words in my flesh, echoing in the chambers of my heart.

In response to her voice, I try to soften. I discover that trying to soften actually isn’t softening. The trying causes even the slightest tensing up of muscles. I can feel this. I can feel that I do not ‘know’ how to soften. And with this, I relax and breath. I breathe into the place that feels hard, the place that is tight and constricting. My breath knows how to soften flesh, and even how to soften my mind.

I do not have to ‘know’ how; my body naturally wants to soften. When it isn’t believing the tight thoughts I tell it, its natural state is soft. Mary Oliver knew this well. The animal of my being is soft. She has a soft animal body – except when she believes my thoughts – old, outdated thoughts that are really about the past or the future.

My soft animal body lives here, now, in the soil of life. She doesn’t like it much when she gets yanked around across time that doesn’t exist except in a mind that’s forgotten its part of an animal (a naturally soft animal at that) and part of life.

When it feels separate from flesh, my mind tries really hard. A really deep rut was created in my mind when I was young. The rut was thinking I had to try hard to be understood, to find the right way to do something, to make sure it was ‘the right way’ to do it. And, then, to put a bunch of effort into it. Lots of effort. Tight stomach effort. Clenched jaw and neck effort. Determined thinking effort.

When I feel separate from my flesh, flesh that hasn’t forgotten she’s a part of this earthly life, I harden with a sense of not belonging, a sense of having to protect myself from something unknown yet seemingly real.

But the soft animal? That’s not her way. She likes to lounge and from her soft body do what is in front of her. She likes to take in the world around her, to breath in the beauty of flowers and taste their fragrance. She loves to feel and then out of feeling do what she needs to do.

She likes to lick her paws, slowly, rhythmically, with great satisfaction. And then she moves.


photo (28)

her fire burns hot.
flames lick through me.
but, there’s no stake holding me here.
no, here she burns for me,
the goddess of fire,
to remind me that
deep in my belly a fire should be raging,


the women of my line,
did they fear this fire?
was fire too close to the history of this line of women immemorial?
i see them, their faces dark,
no firelight in their souls,
no burning in their core,
no fuel to fire longing and desire, to give volume to voice.

after 1,000 years of loving watch,
Brigid’s flame was extinguished by those determined to deny the Goddess’s light.

how powerful was this message?
put out your light, woman.
by fearing our own fire,
we douse our own flame.

this fear of fire,
how deep does it run?
I see them,
a line bleeding back into the dark bowels of centuries past where no flame burns.
dark faces, tightly drawn skin reminding me of my own jawbone.

I was taught to leave my own interior,
but dignity knew something different.
dignity said, “No, I will not forget.”
dignity did what was necessary to keep this pearl of consciousness whole,
like the crown jewels of the monarchy sanctioned away in that dark old tower.


a red sun at the center of the earth’s heart.
deep in the hollow of the oak,
flames lick through.
fire in my breast, fire in my heart,
i travel down to her core, to the red heart that fuels life.

she beckons me to her.
she lays me down across the altar that rings around her heart.
i’m not the only one here.
sisters all around me drink in what they’ve come for.
she pours me a vial of liquid heat,
so hot it is pure blue.
she lifts it to my lips.
and with her own eyes aflame,
she pours this offering into my soul.
you, my love, are me in human form.
you, my love, need fire in your heart, your belly, your womb.
you cannot live without my fire burning at the center of your being.
can you imagine me,
your mother,
the source of your nourishment,
without fire in my core?
can you see how quickly life would die here in my garden
if there were no fire in my belly,
no flame in my heart?


We cannot live what we are here to do without fire.
Instinct tells us something is off, something is wrong.
Instinct, bright and vivid, must be deeply felt, acknowledged, and lived.
Fire is an element of life, as natural as the sun.
We are fiery creatures as much as we are of water, air, earth, and spirit.

Something has to wake us up to the fact we are dying while there is still time to live.

Something has to ignite our spirit again before the next inhale becomes our last.

This something is our holy knowing.

We are all in this together.

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I’d love to guide you to relight that fire within – that holy knowing that lies at the heart of your instincts as a woman.
Becoming a Force of Nature is my course designed to do this!

When I asked graduates the most important thing they received from Becoming a Force of Nature, they responded with:

  1. Tapping into our fierce feminine power from the inside out with a renewed central focus being…the body’s intelligence.
  2. Trusting your Self and your feminine nature.
  3. A path to discovering or rediscovering one’s true self and how to embrace and nurture who you are…embracing both the feminine (and masculine) within. The course teaches that you don’t have to apologize to anyone for who you are.

This will be the last time I offer Becoming a Force of Nature in its current format. We begin on June 9th.


Nature is Light Made Flesh

by Julie on May 29, 2015 · 2 comments



ten years ago…

It’s a brilliant sunny day in San Francisco. My boyfriend and I are, very slowly, making our way through the community garden near Fort Mason. It’s a really wonderful place because the people gardening there seem to love what they cultivate. You can feel it in the air. Flowers seem to flourish here. It could be the weather, too, and I can see the care with which each person is tending their patch.

We’ve wound our way through most of the garden, and as we come into the northwestern corner, just before we make our way up the terraced hillside to the gate to leave, I see a flower right before my eyes. Something in this flower draws me in. It’s the colors. It’s the light. And, it’s something more.

My eyes completely take this flower in. I don’t know what kind of flower it is, but it is tall and narrow in shape, and along the height of it it moves from deep purple, to indigo blue, to green, to yellow. The color flows in and out with no perceptible shift from one to the next.

In what is probably not more than a second of looking, I am filled with a profound sense of something that I have no words for. Absolutely no words. But, I am filled with it. My heart…my whole body is filled with it. A space even bigger than my body is filled with it. This space encompasses this flower. For a length of time that is outside of time, I am enveloped in something I have no words for, something that literally causes me to go speechless. Tears are streaming from my eyes.

The beauty of this flower as it moves from purple through to yellow has opened me to the wordless place, and I stand still, transfixed, transported, transformed. In this moment beyond moments, in this community garden filled with the most commonplace happenings of daily life, I come to know something profoundly beyond what my eyes normally take in.

My boyfriend takes my hand and asks me, “What’s wrong, Honey?” He sees my tears. He sees that I am not moving, transfixed in front of what looks like just another flower. I cannot speak. I try, but I am speechless. He puts his arm around me, and his touch slowly brings me back to the garden, to standing there with him.

The flower still looks extraordinary to me, but I am no longer transfixed nor speechless. I begin to try to tell him what I experienced, but again there are no words. Everything I say just sounds ordinary. “It is so beautiful. Look at the colors; how the gradually move from purple, to indigo, to blue, to green, to yellow. It is so incredibly beautiful.” Yet inside, the experience I am trying to relate is so alive with fire, with light, with life. The words cannot capture the feeling, but they do carry some of it because it is alive.


Back to now, ten years later…

In looking back, I see how my relationship with life changed, my relationship with flowers changed, my ability to ‘see’ changed.

The flower was filled with light, with a fire of radiance, a fire of light in every cell.

That experience stayed with me for a bit, and then it began to recede in memory…until now. I remember trying to understand what had happened. I tried to make sense of it. But, I don’t think that is necessary, even if it is what we tend to do. I feel experiences like this come when they come. I see now that all the while something was deepening in me: a relationship with beauty, with light, with immanence.

In that moment, I felt love. I felt the light of being streaming through me, streaming through the flower. In that moment, I cannot say what I was or who I was. The woman. The flower. The light. The fire. The love.

What birds plunge through is not the intimate space
in which you see all forms intensified.
(Out in the Open, you would be denied
your self, would disappear into that vastness.)
Space reaches from us and construes the world:
to know a tree, in its true element,
throw inner space around it, from that pure
abundance in you. Surround it with restraint.
It has no limits. Not till it is held
in your renouncing is it truly there.

Rainer Maria Rilke, translation by Stephen Mitchell, by way of my friend Barbara


To know this, in its true element, throw inner space around it…from that pure abundance, pure love, pure beauty [with]in you.

Why do I share this story with you? We are all this. This love. This light. This fire. This space. We are this force. We are this Nature.

Nature is Light made flesh.

Becoming aware that we are this is the necessary work of our time.

Becoming a Force of Nature is waking up to the divinity, the holiness of your own flesh, blood, and bones. To see this light within you, to see your own divine, sacred Self radiating and pulsing with life, and to see it in all of life. It is waking up to your body’s intelligence, and to your own beautiful self worth.

I’d love to have you join me for this summer course of awakening to the force of nature that you already are. We begin June 9th.

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