Tag Archives: Personal Development

Our Place in the Web of Life

By Leslie Davenport, who will be presenting Deepening Climate Advocacy at Hollyhock on June 19-23, 2017.

Let an image form in your mind’s eye of a web, the delicate filaments intricately connected, each one vibrating in response to the smallest movement on any part of the net. We know this image from the wisdom traditions, like the Buddhist sutra that describes Indra’s Net as a vast, jeweled web suspended in the heavenly abode, the essential structure that supports all of life. Quantum physics mirrors this ancient teaching in scientific terms, revealing that the universe is interconnected in much more subtle ways than previously realized. And perhaps when we wander deep into nature and see the roots of trees growing into a stream and the leaves tipping upward to be nurtured by the sun, it is easy to recognize the way that life self-organizes into a functional, interdependent whole. When we are quiet and open, some part of us, down in our bones, simply feels the truth of our connection with all of life.

While Image result for spider webthis web is an inspiring image and philosophically profound, it is essentially practical. Maintaining an awareness of our interdependence can guide our day-to-day choices in being part of something larger than ourselves. As we recognize the living connections between ourselves and all other life forms, we begin to discover our role within the potential of a larger reparative movement, a vitally needed shift toward an eco-harmonious way of living. This is becoming clearer as awareness grows regarding where our food and clothing comes from, and how to maintain, recycle or upcycle items to reduce waste. But our practical interdependence is an even more subtle and pervasive weaving of energetic filaments. It includes not only what we do, but how we express the gifts of who we are in the world. Continue reading Our Place in the Web of Life

The 5 Elements of the Cuban Spirit

By Chen Lizra, who will be presenting The Power of the Cuban Spirit on May 19 – 24, 2017 at Hollyhock.

In today’s world we are seeing crumbling values and a loss of our core as human beings. As we look around, many world leaders, but not all, don’t set a good example anymore. They have stopped being role models we care to live up to. The problem is that seeing and feeling this change causes many to lose hope. We need hope to be happy and to feel a certain magic. Life is meant to be lived with a little ‘je ne sais quoi.’

On top of this, we chase careers, fulfillment, owning a house, cars, raising kids and giving them a comfortable future, we want more and more, but with that more comes a sacrifice. We get addicted to the race, to the stress, to doing without knowing anymore how to stop. Does it really make us happy? Are we really satisfied with life? Do we know how to really enjoy the journey and not just the end goal?

I’ve been traveling back and forth forImage result for chen lizra work to Cuba since 2005. Cuba
is a country that did not follow society’s trajectory, model of the Western World and capitalism. As such it became a case study and a human laboratory for alternative living, connecting and enjoying life. When visiting Cuba there is a certain magic you feel that can’t be explained. And it’s not just because you are on a holiday.

So what is this magic? What are its components? And can they be learned and can work anywhere?

Continue reading The 5 Elements of the Cuban Spirit

Emotional Freedom Technique

The technique of “tapping” is one of the most sought after energy psychology approaches on the planet. Learn more about this mind-body approach and EFT Tapping Training in the video below:

Orvie Nix, Director of Counselling Services at West Texas A & M University, talks about Alina Frank’s EFT Tapping Training:


Alina-FrankAlina Frank is an internationally renowned and highly sought after Master EFT trainer, presenter and mentor.  She has been teaching and mentoring practitioners since 2005 and has been rated the #1 EFT coach since 2009. A certified trainer through both EFT Universe and Matrix Reimprinting, she has trained and mentored hundreds of practitioners around the world. tapyourpower.net

Learn more and register for Emotional Freedom Technique Level 1 & 2 with Alina Frank at Hollyhock Sept 27 – Oct 2.

Meet Deepa Narayan ~ one of 100 most influential global thinkers

Deepa Narayan has been selected by the US based Foreign Policy magazine as one of the 100 most influential global thinkers of 2011.

She is an independent international poverty, gender and development advisor and writer with over 25 years of experience working at the World Bank, the UN, and NGOs. Dr. Narayan spent many years living in village communities in Africa, South and East Asia; this led to her focus on ‘people first’, and local community driven approaches nested in social and political processes.

Her current interests include reducing inequality, shared and sustainable living, making corporate social responsibility a reality, ethical development and economic policies that help create wealth for poor people. She serves on boards of NGOs, participates in think tanks and is a frequent speaker at conferences and retreats. She also conducts experiential workshops on creative leadership for women and youth, such as the one at Hollyhock July 26-31, “Mindfulness & Intimacy for Women“, introduced in the video below.


What's in the Way, is the Way

By Raphael Cushnir

Am I Done With My Personal Work?

Short answer: No

Nuanced answer: As most of you know, last year I presented an online interview series called Teaching What We Need To Learn, in which 46 leaders in personal and spiritual growth shared their own “growing edge.” During the series I went to great lengths to share my own ordinary humanity. I wanted it to be abundantly clear that no amount of spiritual transformation eliminates the need for ongoing personal growth.

But I didn’t talk very much about how, in my view, that kind of growth best occurs. I believe that we’re not meant to do that work alone; even, and perhaps especially, as teachers. So the first thing I’d like to share in this regard is that I work regularly with someone very skilled in doing the exact same work I do with my own clients.

The next thing to share is that we don’t do anything advanced or fancy. We employ the moment by moment work of Emotional Connection, relying on the very same principles and practices described in my book, The One Thing Holding You Back.

Here’s a super-fresh example. Recently my growth partner and I met by Skype. I described a very old feeling that had been resurfacing lately. It causes me to slump and curl inward. It makes me want to give up, and stirs a deep, old belief that I’m doomed to be separate, unseen, unloved, and also to be shamed and vilified for the very things that are best about me.

As soon as I described the feeling, I knew that the belief connected to it wasn’t true. But it was still necessary for me to allow the feeling my full, compassionate attention. So I relaxed into that attention and let the wave of emotion take me over in real time. I also let it further express itself in my posture. I noticed my lower lip begin to jut into a trembling pout. I not only surfed this pout, but in addition exaggerated it. Suddenly I felt like I was all pout, like a toddler in a quivery tantrum.

Once I was in toddler mode, an image arose of myself around that age. It wasn’t exactly a memory, but came more from a story that had been told to me many times, about how I, extra-verbal Raphael, stared at the world glumly for my first two years and didn’t say a single word.

It didn’t matter to me whether the image was from an actual experience because the felt sense of it was so real. As the feeling cascaded through me, and the image remained as well, I found myself saying, out loud, “I didn’t do anything wrong!” I repeated that phrase, over and over, louder and louder, and felt a corresponding surge of energy.

I said, “Stop hurting me!” and the energy grew. I felt bigger, more animated. Then I said, “Leave me alone!” and once again hunkered down. The energy that was so vividly present now almost instantly disappeared.

Through this process, and the reflection that followed, I saw very clearly how my pattern of retreat to safety from hurtful intimacy has continued, all these years, and contributed to a periodic deflating of my life force. I saw how important it was for me to redouble my intention to stay present, to keep showing up, especially when this pattern activates.

Key points:

1)The greatest gift of this process was that it came as direct experience. I used Emotional Connection to get into it, and to move through it. The insight about my energy states, and how they connect to hurt, intimacy and safety wasn’t merely conceptual. I knew more than ever the visceral truth of it, and I also knew exactly how to to work with that energy for the purpose of continued healing and expansion.

2)None of this was new. It was a well-worn point of my personal journey, revisited anew at a deeper rung of my life spiral. It would have been easy to throw up my hands and walk away, to cry out, “This?! Again?! I thought I was done with it years ago!” It would have been just as easy to see this recurrence as proof that I’m back where I started, no different or better off than when I first began to address my issues consciously.

What kept me from retreating in despair was my internal sense of the exact opposite feeling. I was engaged, excited, more fully alive than when I began the session. The body doesn’t lie, it’s true, but energy is an even more reliable truthteller. In the aftermath of the session my energy was equal parts grounded and vibrant. I was wide awake to new potential.

And, I was profoundly grateful. I still am. And I’ve offered this window into my own personal process in the hope that it may inspire you, too, to keep committed to your own personal work no matter how far you’ve come on your corresponding spiritual journey.

The emotional realm is the nexus between self and Spirit. Whatever is in the way, is the way. When you stay with what might feel old, forever-stuck, hopeless, when you revisit it with a trusted and skillful partner, miracles do happen. And the greatest miracle of all, perhaps, is the deep knowing that you’re right where you need to be…

Here. Now. Home.


Raphael_CushnirRaphael Cushnir is an author and a faculty member of the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. In addition, he coaches individuals and teams at Fortune 500 companies, governments, religious organizations, and leading non-profits.

Join Raphael for his Hollyhock Program on Cortes Island, Total Immersion For Total Transformation, July 26 – 31, 2013.