We’ll begin every module with a prompt to become present ➸
Pause and glance back. Have you:
- Chosen your Dedicated Person and done the “3 Preparations”?
- Made Your Meditation Practice Plan and scheduled your meditation sessions in your calendar?
- Listened to the Audio on the Welcome Page?
No? Finish up all of that work first, then come back here and begin this module.
Yes? Pause. Deep breath. As many times as necessary to consciously cross the threshold into practice, allowing the rest of life to be put aside for later. Slowing down as a form of waking up and becoming present.
Note: Never, ever skip these pauses. They can prime you for a profoundly positive effect, and— perhaps more importantly– can also protect you emotionally on days when you’re more vulnerable than you realize.
Ready? Okay, let’s dive in.
This Module is about something we all know how to do, but don’t always skillfully do: “Open Up and Reach Out”.
Sometimes we easily, wholeheartedly open up— to those we love and care about, or those we want to love and care about us, or those we want to love and care about despite complications and difficulties doing so.
Sometimes we’re not as genuinely open as we think we are. Other times, we aren’t open but would like to be. Sometimes we consciously are not open.
So, in this module, check in on the actual nature of your opening to your Dedicated Person. Go beyond your assumptions of how ready you think you are to reach into yourself in order to reach out to them.
On this page, in this order are:
1. The Meditation, minimum of 10 minutes/day
2. The Deepening Work, minimum of 20 minutes/week
3. General Guidelines to All the Modules
4. Link to the BONUS Material
Opening Up and Reaching Out Meditation
At your scheduled time, practice the meditation for a minus of 10 minutes daily.
Use the text or audio version or both together.
The phrases are so simple, perhaps you practice from memory. ➸
Opening Up and Reaching Out Text Version
May you be forgiven.
May you be accepted.
May you be cared for.
May you be thankful.
Did you notice that some phrases seemed to apply to your dedicated person more than others? and/or resonate with you more than others?
Your Dedicated Person is very popular and loved by so many people that you aren’t feeling the phrase, “May you be accepted.”
Strongest recommendation: Think of how this popular person must value acceptance so much that they put so much of their energy into being liked. Feel how much they must want to be accepted and the anxieties that rejection might bring up.
If the above approach doesn’t work, try this:
Adapt the language to be more appropriate for you and your Dedicated Person. Example: “May you be accepted” can become “May you be adored” or “appreciated”. (This approach isn’t second place because it’s inferior to the first, but because the first is a richer exploration more likely to uncover new facets and “keys” within your current view of your Dedicated Person and also requires more “meditative muscle” on your part.)
Opening Up and Reaching Out Meditation Audio Version
At least once this week (for at least 20 minutes) do this Deepening Work.
Part 1. Contemplation Prompts. Choose to read the text version, listen to the audio version or do both, according to what works for you. ➸
“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” –Brene Brown
Life requires us to be skillful in our openheartedness.
Ironically, the more our heart opens, the more boundaries we need to protect our heart. We all know what it’s like to be truly open and trusting to someone who we later learned trampled on our trust out of not knowing how to meet it with respect.
In the hyper-connected, fast paced information age we live in, there are so many relationships to maintain, through so many channels of communication, with so much information to react to, that it simply becomes easier to lock our truest feelings away for safe keeping and to fashion our external behavior with the likenesses of openness and trust.
This would all be fine and good were we not creatures who thrive on genuine interconnectivity with others.
Funny how our need for interconnectivity is what leads us to create this hyper-connected world. On the one hand, we want to have so many doors open to the world. On the other, we aren’t quite skillful enough to monitor who and what enters all those open doors.
So we stay hyper-connected, but lock a lot of ourselves away. Usually, the most vulnerable parts of ourselves get locked away. Naturally, right? Makes total sense.
The vulnerable stuff: the places we’ve been hurt, the parts of ourselves we don’t understand, shame, guilt, fear, but also some of the most beautiful parts of ourselves, the parts of ourselves the world really needs, like our generosity, kindness, innocence, wisdom, insight and joy.
What we all know but perhaps don’t entirely face is the truth that we can’t really hide from danger, adversity and struggle. They find us anyway.
The good news is that self-protection is healthy, but a lot of the feelings we lock away actually have their own set of keys. Much of this locked away stuff holds the keys to our dreams and wellbeing.
Imagine this place where you lock away your most vulnerable parts as an actual location in yourself. What does it look like?
Over the course of your life, beginning with your earliest days, some of the most difficult emotional stuff you encountered (fears, things that made you sad, things you were too young to understand) got locked away in this location very few people know about. Maybe even you don’t know so much about this place anymore, because the longer you stay away, the harder it is to return, unlock the door and sort through all that stuff.
This is your stockpile of all the rejected and abandoned life experience. Your “Inner Junkyard”, so to speak, and it’s a sacred place.
(If the expression “Inner Junkyard” doesn’t resonate with you or feels too harsh, find another one that feels more appropriate, such as “Inner Rubbish Pile”, “The Forgotten Zone” or any expression your intuition provides.)
In the Welcome Audio I mentioned a 10 day silent retreat where I first did these practices.
During this retreat, I had a dream wherein I actually saw and walked through my Inner Junkyard for the first time.
After a few days of silent retreat, our dreams tend to become more direct and realistic. Sometimes all symbolism falls away and truths are revealed in a very straightforward manner, almost like an “inner announcement”. Or, symbolism remains, but becomes very clear and easy to interpret. This latter case was my experience of dreaming about my Inner Junkyard.
In the dream, my Inner Junkyard took the form of an abandoned, dilapidated high-rise building, like you might see on the news after a city was bombed. Walls blown out, interiors exposed, wires hanging from the ceiling, dust, debris, and lots of doors, with hallways and staircases leading to them. I know this building was me, I was in it, but also had the felt bodily sense that it was in me.
I moved through the destruction more with astonishment and curiosity than fear or dread. The fact that I had found my way there felt like an opportunity.
I felt the loss, but with a sense of empowerment that I could somehow navigate this space.
And most astonishing of all was that I wanted to navigate the space, I wanted to sort through the rubble and had a clear inner knowing that I had the tools to let go of what I needed to let go of and repair what needed repairing. I felt inspired by this new project…
So…..certain things in our Inner Junkyard aren’t really worth our time and energy. Those things really do need to be recycled or sent to the landfill.
However, a lot of valuable stuff gets thrown away as well. Inside the stockpile of unwanted experiences are keys (insights, answers, truths) to various issues that currently seem challenging or even impossible to face, much less “unlock”.
That’s right! A lot of the problems (habits we think we can’t break; mistakes we continue to repeat) are like locked doors.
We can’t pass through these doors only because we have thrown away the keys.
The practices in Lovingkindness 2.0 have a way of turning over objects in our emotional junkyard to reveal the keys hidden underneath.
Often instantly and effortlessly, in fact. Completely without analysis.
We have instantly clarity about how our habits (what we do and don’t do) shape the experiences within our relationships and life.
Know that you have the tools and inner wisdom to carry you through this process without a lot of analysis, methodology or theory. Know that you can find the keys to unlock doors you didn’t know you could open and some you didn’t even know were locked, and maybe a door or two you didn’t even know existed!
You might find a huge ring of anonymous keys, and wonder if you have the time (or the desire) to try every key in every door, for any that might match up.
The opportunity to enter this Inner Junkyard full of keys is really, REALLY huge.
Furthermore, some keys are going to be immediately visible in the rubble, just winking up at you like a diamond in the rough.
This is an “aha” moment that will facilitate a shift inside you, if you pick up the key and allow it to turn the lock.
Take this moment, right now, to feel what this journey has brought you so far. Maybe farther than you think at this early stage.
Thank yourself for your willingness to feel, to be vulnerable, to open up and pass through doorways as a way of reaching out.
What locked doors in your experience would you like to pass through?
What do you believe stands hidden on the other side of those doors?
2. Digging Exercise. Now, dig deeper. Be open to uncovering new facets and “keys” within your current view of your Dedicated Person– in life, in the meditation and in all the work we’re doing here. ➸
Open, relax and listen for answers. Don’t deliberate, answer fairly quickly. Flow through the answers intuitively.
- I can forgive _(name)_ for…..
_(name)_ can be forgiven for…..
- I can accept (or other word) _(name)_ because…..
_(name)_ can be accepted because…..
- I can care for _(name)_ because…..
_(name)_ can be cared for because…..
- I can imagine _(name)_ feeling thankful because…..
_(name)_ can feel thankful because…..
- When did I feel most open to ______? Why?
- When did I feel less open to ______? Why?
- Now a question about reaching out? Were there moments in the meditation when you were open to ______ as well as reaching out? (Moments when not just seeing/ feeling them, but actually having the sense of effort or activity. I often experience reaching out as a feeling of hugging them or a sense of “fusing” with them. When I’m simply open to them, I have the sense of “I am in one place and I see them there, in another place.” Open, but separated. Reaching out is a dissolution of that separation.) Were there moments of reaching out to them?
This concludes the work for Module 1, Opening Up and Reaching out. Congratulations on getting it done! Ready for the BONUS materials? Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the BONUS materials button. ↡
Guidelines for All Modules (1 -4):
- Look at your Dedicated Person from different angles until you find the “side” of them that fits the language in the phrases. For example, if “May you be forgiven” doesn’t feel appropriate (perhaps you’re feeling like the one that needs to be forgiven) view them from the universal angle, where everyone has things to be forgiven for.
- If the above approach doesn’t work. use words that resonate with you or feel more appropriate for the person you’re practicing with and the nature of your relationship with them. For example, you can substitute “appreciated” for “accepted” or use “cared for” in place of “loved”. (This applies to each meditation in each module, not just Module 1.)
- Visualize this person, look at their photo, sense what it’s like to be in their presence, feel how they make you feel or reflect upon prominent moments in your relationship.
- Once you start to open, let the images, words, memories, sensations, realizations arise– what ever arises, let it come. Continually softening and continuously breathing smoothly will make you strong. This is the stuff that heroes are made of.
- However, avoid dwelling on any issue in a way that doesn’t seem really productive. There’s a difference between letting feelings fully flow and getting mired down or taking on baggage.
- You can imagine breathing directly into and out of the heart, and/or place your hand on your heart. As you breath into your heart, observe any sensations you feel precisely in that area or arising from there. Note the sensation silently in your mind with a one-word descriptor: expansive, warm, tight, hard, open, aching, jumping, softening, etc.
- Abandon the urge to figure out why you’re feeling what is present. Let everything be what it actually is. Just notice what you notice and keep going.
- Shift your focus to yourself at any point you need to. Keep in mind, however, that practicing with your chosen person as often as possible is your core practice in Lovingkindness 2.0.
- Feel nothing? Join the club. Get curious about this so-called nothing. Look closer. Or just keep going, letting this “nothing” fully manifest moment to moment. Eventually, it might become “something”.
Deepening work Guidelines:
- The day(s) you do your deepening work, also do your meditation. Deepening work is meant to occur alongside meditation.
- You might look over your notes from other days to help you answer the prompts in the deepening work.
- You might find yourself reflecting on these questions at odd times throughout the week. Listen to how you “talk” in these reflections, notice how you feel. Notice if there’s a particular time of day or a particular experience that triggers you to reflect on the prompts, your meditation and all the work you’re doing in Lovingkindness 2.0.
Weekly Consultation Guidelines:
- Weekly consults are optional, but not any less important than any of the work you’ll do in Lovingkindness 2.0.
- Consultations are not just about troubleshooting, so think again if you hear something like this going on in your head, “I’m doing okay with this, I’ll skip the consult.”
- Consults are also about savoring, deepening insight and opening doors– the stuff you want MORE of when you’re “doing well.”
- You’ll enjoy these conversations, and get real life practice at “Opening Up and Reaching Out”.
- Let me know asap if you need to cancel. Via email, or for less than 24 hours notice, text me: 415 531 8439
- Re-scheduling requires at least 24 hours notice.
- Each participant will only be allowed one re-scheduled appointment.