Immerse Yourself in the Ocean of the Heart

“The yogi who is established in a steady posture easily becomes immersed in the ocean of the heart.” ~ Shiva Sutra 3.16 

I enjoy contemplating and studying teachings from many traditions. This little gem has captured my attention for years. As I reflect on this sutra, what is most compelling to me is the phrase “ocean of the heart.”

The ocean can be still and smooth as a mirror reflecting the thousands of tiny diamond lights of the sun. Or, it can be swirling with tumultuous waves reflecting a sky of darkened clouds. In the same way, the heart can be calm and serene or it can flutter with anger and anxiety. 

As therapists and coaches, a steady inner posture is what we aim to help our clients cultivate, yes? A steady posture is not just the asana form. It is a steadiness in the heart, where we can reflect the pure BEING that we are. 

This steady posture is a heart free of emotional static, free of charge. 

When’s the last time you gave yourself TIME to immerse yourself in the OCEAN of the heart? I mean, we give a LOT to others. When’s the last time, you touched the spacious inner territory that is closest to the TRUTH of who you are?

If you are ANYTHING like me, you LOVE touching the edge of mystery that comes from working intimately with others as they encounter the spacious beauty of their TRUE self. Yet, there have been times in my career I was more like the spoon serving the soup, not really taking the time to dive into that space myself.

What keeps you from taking time to yourself, time to explore the spacious mystery that for many of us is at the heart of why we serve. We want to touch and become established in the truth of who we are and help others do the same. We yearn for the peace of KNOWING.

Today, I’m prepping for next Saturday. For one day ONLY, the 2017 AAIT Fellowship Training Group opens our doors for guests. Join us and explore the mystery that is you. We have a couple of spots left. 

Here’s what my mentor, Zivorad Slavinski, says about the territory we will be exploring, “The only goal of the Gnostic Intensive is that as many participants as possible have Direct Experience of Truth and that those Experiences be as profound as possible! Everything else is not as important.”

If you are a therapist, coach or spiritual director, isn’t it time you give yourself the space to re-discover your TRUE self? Take a look and see if this opportunity speaks to you

Decisions. Decisions.

Way back in 1988 I made a decision to join a training group I had been invited to by Dick Olney to join his training group for therapists,. This was a big deal decision for me. I knew I wanted to study with Dick. I had one workshop with him, he was a master therapist. What I hadn’t quite counted on is what it would mean --- leaving my young family to fly from Salt Lake to San Francisco once a month PLUS the $200 group fee, a FORTUNE to me.

I have no regrets for that decision. Not a single one. Early on, I had been given the advice that I could be an “OK” therapist as things were going, but if I wanted to be a master therapist and make a REAL difference in people’s lives, I needed to step up my game and study with masters. Thank God I listened! It was not an easy decision. But this decision to invest in myself, to study with masters, to refuse to settle into just being an “OK” therapist. 

Over the course of the next few months, I will be introducing you to professionals who took the leap and invested in themselves. They said, “YES” to deeper study and profound impact with Acceptance and Integration Training. They are all part of the 10 month AAIT Fellowship Training Group

First, Please meet Flo Paquet. Flo is a masters prepared social worker who has an intuitive understanding of the most efficient way to help people untangle from the tendrils of stress and slide into greater ease of being with AAIT. She has a very cool, super affordable 6 week program “Burned out to Blazing.” This program will give you resources and a roadmap to find your way to radical self care – WHILE doing the doing you are doing! READ to the end to take advantage of her sweet offer.

Why did I decide to get certified in AAIT?

To be honest when I said yes to getting trained in AAIT I had no idea I would devote myself to starting a full time counseling business less than a year later. So I’m not entirely sure what drew me so magnetically to taking this training when I wasn’t sure that I would use it - I think it was a combination of being so compelled by the work: I knew how effective and empowering AAIT was for clients because I had experienced it myself. Also, since I was a little girl I have wanted to be a strong partner in seeing folks through mental hurdles and becoming their true, free, empowered self and deep down I knew AAIT would help me with that goal. 

How am I using it now?

I like to combine AAIT with tarot. On the most in depth side - after discussing the client’s goals, and problems they are ready to get unstuck from - I create a custom tarot spread. That reading creates an outline of problems to address, goals to achieve, and action steps to get there using AAIT over the following weeks. On the other end of the spectrum, 1 card readings are a great way to quickly identify a problem to rapidly resolve using AAIT - these sessions are around 20 minutes but folks walk away with a lasting sense of calm, confidence and empowerment.  I love the AAIT and tarot work I’ve done with groups. A quick 1 card reading reveals an issue the group collectively relates to and wants to address and is followed up with AAIT to do just that. It is a beautiful tool for creating a deep feeling that you aren’t alone, are understood, and have the collective support to see you realize your goals. 

What difference has it made?

I regularly experience the profound sense of empowerment and calm to address previously sticky and tricky problems when using AAIT. The lifting of a burden for clients when they don’t have to rehash their narrative or share when they aren’t ready - like many have done before in therapy that didn't work for them. That’s huge. AAIT transforms therapy from a cold, ineffective burden to something empowering, warm, and liberating. From something folks don’t want to do, or believe in, - to something that connects us to what we all want most - an ability to enjoy and withstand the realities: the good, bad, and ugly, of our selves and our lives and this world as it is. 

Burned out to Blazing

When we are in the business of helping others it can be exhausting. It is supposed to be "work" but you pour your heart into it and it follows you home. You want to do work that is meaningful and compassionately motivated - it brings so much purpose and meaning to your life. You want to give back, but you feel done - truly burnt out.  Deep inside, there's a part of you that knows your potential, you know the depths of your compassion, and you are driven to do this work - you won't accept any other kind of work. 

Burned out to Blazing is a package tailored to YOU, created uniquely to unlock YOUR potential, to free you to do the work you feel called for and to leave you feeling competent, confident, and at ease in your work. If you are anything like most helping professionals, YOU are the last thing on the list. Let’s remedy that.

We'll do a personal reading that explores issues standing between you and this goal: solid self care routine and boundaries, workplace issues, trauma that creates countertransference, and finding and empowering what you uniquely offer your clients. This will create an outline of our work together over the next month which we will address using powerful AAIT techniques in our sessions. You will also learn effective tools to tend to your wellbeing outside of our sessions. Come on over to Grow With Flo Counseling and let’s get you started.



Blazing or Burned Out?

aait blazing or burned out

Anna Lyn is an accomplished professional who loves her work. With plenty of friends and a satisfying career, she was nonetheless troubled by persistent and ruminative thoughts about being with a man. She described how she would rearrange her schedule if there was a possibility she might meet someone, abandoning her much needed time to herself on the whisper of a hope.

It’s easy to imagine where this conversation might have gone were we to approach it with a more traditional approach. Instead, Anna Lyn and I made sure we were on the same page about the work she was about to do. Collaboration is a bedrock component of AAIT.

Rocking between an exploration of the polarities of this ‘man thinking’ phenomena and the experience of ‘knowing I’m enough,’ Anna Lyn settled into a spacious freedom, an inner territory that illumined her countenance with its soft stillness. The ‘man thinking’ no longer felt like a problem.

Lovely, right? Not so fast. One aspect of the sheer beauty of what I’ve learned from Zivorad Slavinski is the potential of preventing the reappearance of problems through resolution of the problem in the future. 

When asked, “Is it possible for that ‘man thinking’ to impose itself on you in the future AGAINST YOUR WILL?” In a glance, we both knew the answer. I mean, it’s one thing to have a beautiful experience and feel better about something. It’s a whole different ballgame if we want to rest easy that we have actually RESOLVED this issue.

Back to work. Within minutes, Anna Lyn was smiling with confident assurance that the ‘man thinking’ would no longer be a problem for her. We STILL had ten minutes left in our session.

With a twinkle in her eye and a sly smile, Anna Lyn reported in her next session that a MALE friend called and invited her to go out in the middle of the past week. Without hesitation, she graciously declined and returned to her book and tea, all cozy in her PJs enjoying her time alone.

I LOVE my work, more and more every single day. And, I totally get that for most of us, most sessions are not like the one I just described. They COULD be. They ARE for me and most of my students. 

But for many of us, the accumulated stress of trying to help and not seeing ready change – ESPECIALLY in these speeded up times – contributes to burnout. It’s wearing to repeatedly feel hamstrung by the limitations of talk therapy to bring REAL relief. In some ways, I feel like I’m just getting started and I’ve been in practice since 1984! Burnout? Not even close, more like blazing!

After all, we got in this game to help people, really help them as best we can. One of the students in this year’s AAIT Fellowship Training group recently shared in our Inspired Agents of Transformation Facebook group about helping others:

“I wanted to my whole life – always interested in psychology, also struggled with my own mental health issues, and wanted to help others in that journey. Walked away when traditional therapy and mental health practice seemed so disenfranchising and ineffective. Discovering empowering, practical tools that bring tender human-ness as opposed to a clinical approach has me back in the game.” ~ Flo Paquet, MSW

What about you? Closer to burnout or blazing? What keeps you blazing?