Crazy Moments are Just Crazy Moments (A Message From My Past Self)

Pssst! I’ve got a brand new e-guide coming out on December 9th. Signup for my newsletter to get first dibs!

Crazy moments are JUST crazy moments, nothing more.

I love when I write things on my blog or Facebook or elsewhere in this case, only to find them a week, a month, 6 months later and at just the right time. It’s like wisdom to myself, from myself, and always in the perfect timing. Continue reading “Crazy Moments are Just Crazy Moments (A Message From My Past Self)”

Gratitude Is All That’s Left (when we stop trying so hard)

Very last page of my very first #artjournal.

It’s Thanksgiving week. Our little family of three is planning our dinner and a long weekend, disconnected from the ‘puters and connecting with the tangible world.

We have yet to finish building our table. We’ve yet to find a couch we love. So we’ll be eating our meal in a camping chair. And we’re okay with that. Continue reading “Gratitude Is All That’s Left (when we stop trying so hard)”

The only blog post in which I can talk about Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Ego in one breath (okay, maybe two)

This little piece of fringe culture has been on my Bucket List for like, 87 years. Literally.

Or it was on my Bucket List. Because we went recently and it was beyond epic. We sat out in the cold. We threw rice. We yelled profanities. And Justin even did the Time Warp (happily he has no rhythm, which made it that much better).

This weekend I’m getting my nose re-pierced. Something I’ve been wanting to do for nearly a flipping decade since I took my last one out. Continue reading “The only blog post in which I can talk about Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Ego in one breath (okay, maybe two)”

Granny, Life, and Breaking Open

Let me just lay it out for you: Life is speaking loudly to me and the bedrock is shifting drastically beneath my feet. I can’t see it all, but I feel it and I just want to let you know. It’s going to change me.

We got the text last Tuesday that Granny (my great-grandma) may not make it to her 99th birthday at the end of this month. That my grandparents were flying out, my aunt’s already there, my mom making plans. It’s funny how often we can second-guess our instincts in some times and how easy it is to see and understand in others. This moment I knew quicker than instantly that I was going too. Continue reading “Granny, Life, and Breaking Open”

Free To Never Notice

Self-Love Wisdom

I shaved my head again last week.

It wasn’t in a moment of enlightenment or courage this time. It didn’t bring with it all the ecstasy and liberation. This time it was done out of frustration toward myself, almost like “pulling my hair out”. I had noticed how attached I had become to my hair, how much I cared about how it was looking, what it portrayed, and what others might think about it. Continue reading “Free To Never Notice”

My Retreat Turned Into Retreating

On my way...

I’ve got my feet up, my heart out, my head on. I’m not sure if I’m ready or just resolute, but I’m on my way. Confronting my resistance with 7 days of all day, every day meditation. It might blow my mind to bits. But that might be a good thing.

That was the photo and those were the words rattling around within me Friday. Right before I turned my phone off, handed it to my hubby, and arrived at the ashram.

I’m not sure how to describe the week that followed. People like to ask if I “had a good time”, but “good” is not exactly the word that fits. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t exactly good either.

Useful. That was the adjective I settled on.

It was a useful week. Enlightening. Challenging. Helpful in many ways. Heart-wrenching in others.

I knew I’d be confronting my resistance to meditation, but I had no idea what that resistance was. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea how I was about to crumble. Shit, I’m not even sure where to start, how to explain it, to describe the gamut of internal movement I went through and where it has lead me, and where it might be leading me now.

I mean, I see it. I feel it. I just have so few words for it.

Five meditations a day (I had thought it was only four). The first one at 6:30am, to which I could barely drag myself out of bed for.

That was my experience the first 4 and a half day actually. Bone-fucking-tired and can’t drag myself out of bed (or off the couch).

I’ve never slept so much in my life. I’d be awake just in time for the first meditation (fall asleep during it of course), then wake long enough to eat breakfast and take a shower, head to the second meditation and fall asleep within 15 min after until the third meditaiton, then eat lunch and try to read until I fell back asleep again, wake up just in time for the fourth meditation, have dinner, and then either fall back asleep until the last meditation or fight to keep my eyes open until I did.

Sleep, eat, meditate, punctuated by reading and discussion circles (of which I often fell asleep during).

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I shouldn’t have been surprised actually. My body tends to put me to sleep when I’m moving through deep work. I’m pretty sure it’s my spirit’s way of making sure my head doesn’t get in the way. I just hadn’t planned for it.

I also hadn’t planned for the way in which I retreated into myself.

Or all the crying.

Cracking open is hard work. It’s messy and more than a little embarrassing. There are so many parallels drawn in my heart, so many images my mind showed me if where I was.

I went expecting to confront the things in my world that were challenging me but all those things fell away. Instead what manifested was my own bullshit, but reflected back by my immediate surroundings. Instead what I dealt with was the deep gorges held within me. (Meaning you can’t do work in your world by withdrawing from it. At some point you’ll have to step back into your world to apply what you’ve learned.)

And there were two main things I saw within me:

  1. Exactly who I am in this body, this mind, this personality, this set of needs, these emotions, this heart.
  2. How skillfully I’ve avoid it.

I saw patterns through eyes that have never seen so clearly. I saw my heart behind a brick wall – to protect it from the world, but also from myself. I saw what I’m capable of – both good and bad. I mourned the death of everything I wanted to see. I rejoiced at what I had long insisted wasn’t allowed in my world.

I realized that one of my greatest desires is to know myself, and then I realized with a sudden start that I did know myself, and part of that self was the desire to still search, to still learn, to experience the depths of myself, the parts that can never fully be known – that that is what makes me Tara. Digging into the depths with ease. Finding beauty in what others see as darkness or ugliness or fear. I realized how dangerous those very pieces of myself could be if not handled with care.

I saw a lifetime of my real self reflected in a thousand choices, a hundred styles, all the ever-changing parts of my chameleon skin pulling together to make a whole. How every varied place I’ve been in my life was really all aspects on the same spectrum I play on.

I think I went hoping to transcend myself and my ego, and instead I ended up fitting more snuggling into my own skin.

So much more happened. Things that tore my chest open and toppled me to the floor. But each time I try to write them out, they draw themselves back again.

Right now I’m unraveling what all this unraveling means for me back in the “real world”. I can feel a need to shift, to reclaim, to embrace myself (with a bit of a middle finger to the whispers in my head that I shouldn’t). I’m wanting to unravel how to hold onto this comfortable, settled place I found when I stepped away from the busy and the crazy and the push-pull of the world.

But until I get that figured out, I’ll leave you with this, because it makes me laugh…the cocktail and decadent meal I treated myself to after I left Friday night. Because every week at an ashram should be celebrated with alcohol, baby back ribs, and cheesecake, no? 😉

What? You don't celebrate a week of meditation at an ashram with a cocktail, ribs, and cheesecake?  #yesidid #keepinitreal

P.S. Synchronistically, we’re still talking about Self-Acceptance in the Sisterhood this month. Have you joined us?

My Wisdom, My Bullshit (and showing up for the right one)

She insisted we had too much to do. I insisted nothing was more important than this right here. #betweeniandme #morningwalk #meditation #consciousness #organicwisdom

I leave in just a couple hours, and I haven’t packed or even done laundry. I’ve been rushing through all the things I need to do before I leave because once I’m gone I’m actually going to be 100% gone. Off the grid.

Seven days. Nothing but meditation.

No email. No Facebook or Instagram. No internet whatsoever.

I’m not even going to bring my phone. [Insert wide-eyed look of fear here.]

Unless there is a bonafide emergency – something that (heaven forbid) involves a hospital or a mortuary – I will have zero contact with anyone but my own Self and the few others who will be on this little “retreat” with me. (That alone is a big deal. I can’t remember ever being out of contact with Justin or Zeb for more than 24 hours.)

It’s not really a retreat, in the way we’ve come to see retreats. It’s not up in the mountains or filled with yummy organic foods made by some Kitchen Goddess. It’s not scheduled on the calendar and filled with other meditators from around the world who signed up with me (although I did plan my retreat at a time when others were also planning theirs).

Nope. Nothing “fancy” or “sexy” or “dreamy” about it. Which is exactly why I chose it.

It was only an opportunity. A standing offer to anyone who seriously wants to confront their own practice, deepen it, not because it looks fun or beautiful or restful, like a gorgeous vacation; not because it will make me look like any of those things. Those things are beautiful and wonderful and meaningful, but I knew I needed to take up this offer without all that in order to take it seriously.

The offer to stay at a nearby meditation center in the middle of busy commercial part of town. To putter around, read their books on their worn down sofas, partake in endless conversation that will either energize me or totally wipe me out, scribble mad notes in my notebook, DIG IN, and most importantly, take it all a step further – practice how to fully and completely release it and come instead to meet and know my own center of consciousness.

How does one... #artjournal

I know it will be intense, not because they or it is intense, but because the shit that has been surfacing as this date approached is intense. Intense resistance, in the form of irritation toward it, fear of it, exhaustion at the thought of it, and endless, endless, endless reasons why the timing is just not good.

I used to think that resistance like this was my inner guidance telling me not to go.

I mean, it’s LOUD, and loud is something to listen to right?

But I can now recognize it for what it is: Bullshit.

We’ve all been there, right? In that space between My Wisdom and My Bullshit, and unsure of who is telling the truth when they both insist the other can’t be trusted?

I faced those battling voices – one being damn near drown out over the screaming of the other – and had to make a choice. Which do I listen to? Which do I trust to be my guidance?

It’s a question we all struggle with. Only this time I knew what personal patterns to look for.

When I made the decision to retreat, I felt a pounding heart, tears in my eyes at the sense of homecoming, anticipation and impatience that I had to wait three months for September to come around, and an undoubtably steady knowing that I needed to be here. I felt an overwhelming surge of Love; for myself, for this opportunity and those offering it, for the journey I am on, for Life and all those who live it with me. I felt confidence in my decision to confront my own meditation practice and felt the same confidence that this safe space would be the right one to support me, without taking any of my crap. I knew it all like I know I have a vagina. It was obvious. You couldn’t convince me otherwise without sounding like a crazymaker.

When the resistance started sneaking in, I felt agitated, critical, annoyed, judgmental, unsettled, uncomfortable. I felt scattered, distracted. Too busy, full of excuses. Short-tempered or full of doubt. I danced on the corner of “how could I” and “it’s just not a good time”. I tried to DIG IN and hit a protective barrier, something that told me to go “Fuck Off” because this one wasn’t going to budge no matter what I did or said.

It sounds like it was an obvious choice when I write it all out – a choice between Love and Trust…or everything else – but it really wasn’t.

Even when I could see the contrast, I still wasn’t sure which to trust. I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time showing up for that voice of fear in my life. It’s strong, insistent, convincing.

But this time I decided to show up for that voice of Love instead.

I wrote this in the Sisterhood:

But my mantra has been to “keep showing up”, steadily choosing to follow my initial instinct…Those initial instincts can be so easily buried once the mind starts gibber-jabbering, so I just keep bringing it and me back to that moment when I knew beyond any doubt the choice was perfect. I’m not giving those surfacing doubts the same power to make my decisions as I’m giving that joy and the whole-body-Yes feelings I’ve had (even if they aren’t the stronger sense right now).

I made the final decision on Monday. I chose to just show up.

To keep showing up to my daily meditation practice, even when I really don’t wanna.

To show up to this retreat and hopefully confront whatever the hell is rearing its ugly head and locking me out of the conversation.

After making the decision I had one Oh-Shit moment when I almost backed out – too much to do, too many distractions (too many excuses).

And in that moment I chose to “just show up” again.

Not perfectly. Not with a sweet smile and a fake disposition. I might even scowl at someone when I walk through the door tonight (I think they’ll understand). And I might even just own my bullshit and ask for help.

But even without the bells on, I will definitely be there. Which is more than enough.

There is No Such Thing as Square One

I connected with a sweet, beautiful, wonderful client recently who was feeling overwhelmed and set back by life.

It’s a frustrating feeling, to set your heart and soul on a goal, or even just a new perspective…to feel the shifts happening in your life, the forward movement finally taking place. And then to experience an upheaval, a new challenge, a serious trigger, the whole of your world throwing up in your face.

Then to feel yourself losing all that ground.

If you're gonna fall, you may as well fall with pizzazz. #jazzhands
(If you’re going to fall, fall with pizzazz!)

Three steps forward, two back again…or four back it can seem.

We experience that backward slide in our own inner work and then we couple it with stories about What That Means. And the stories we tell ourselves about it SEEM true.

Our big, desperate, self-deprecating emotions like to tell us it’s real, we’ve just lost out again, Life is against us, this is proof we’re not good enough, and all our deep and meaningful (and hard) work has been thwarted by fate or circumstance or someone who just wants to watch us suffer.

And so we cry that we’re back to Square One, and we suffer for it.

But it’s just nonsense, you know?

There is no such thing as Square One.

You can’t get set back to it. You can’t even really start from it.

It’s like eating.

You go to the store, find the perfect ingredients, spend 30-60 minutes making a meal, 15 minutes eating it, 30 minutes cleaning it up…

5 hours later you don’t shake your fist at the sky and yell, “DAAAAAAAMMIIIIIIT! I’m hungry again! All that work for nothing! I’ll never get ahead! I’m going to be hungry forever!

Instead, what do you do? You just eat again.

Maybe you eat better food this time if you got hungry too soon. Maybe you eat different food if you ended up with cramps and as the lovely, Christie Inge recently said to the Sisterhood, “the roaring shits”. Maybe you ask for support if you need help getting good stuff on the table.

But you don’t give up on eating.

That would be suicide by starvation.

Such is the process of Life.

The cyclical nature of growth, of moving forward and seemingly back again, the leaps and bounds and roadblocks, the coming back around to what we want to think is Square One…it’s just your appetite for Life bringing you back to the table.

Offering you more opportunity to grow.

To fill your belly again.

To realign yourself.

So eat it up.

Get better tools. Get support if you need it. But please don’t go hungry today because you’ve just eaten yesterday. And please don’t hate all over yourself because you think you’ve somehow failed at filling your belly.

Because that job will never ever be complete, so long as you wish to truly live.

The Spiritual Type-O-Meter: Which one are you?

What's your spiritual "type"?

Have you ever noticed certain spiritual “types” – ways in which people approach or navigate or experience their own personal development or philosophies or beliefs? I’ve been playing with this idea – not as another flipping way to create a label for ourselves – but as a tongue-in-cheek way to notice our own tendencies. Don’t take it too seriously, k? 😉

Type 1: The Spiritual Doer

The Spiritual Doers are easy to spot. They take their drive in business and in life and apply it to their spirit. Their energy never stops. They devour Life and all its experiences with an insatiable hunger for more. They aren’t easily daunted by what they perceive to be their own work. They delve in, swim in it, play in it. They do the same with all of Life. They are most often the adventurers and I think they may be the ones to take the most inspiration from many different cultural beliefs, creating their own understanding of the Universe. Their curiosity helps them to explore and thus see the Truth in anything. They go after Enlightenment with a Bring It On approach. They are energetic, find the joy in Life and every experience it offers, and are contagious in their desire to release the negativity. They don’t have time for the bullshit; the Universe is too good, too breathtaking, too inspiring to get caught up in their fears or struggles for too long.

I find that most Spiritual Doers are attracted to the Law of Attraction, wanting to create their abundance and awakening through sheer will. I also find that many Spiritual Doers are hiding an inner control freak inside, and LOA appeals to that control freak by being misinterpreted as “If I DO this, I can get what I want”. (Come on, admit it. It appeals. 😉 ) This probably means it can become very easy to miss the bigger picture: that all of it is impermanent. Spiritual Doers are often challenged by the idea that even joy and happiness are impermanent human states of perceptions, especially if we go after them as something we can create or do.

Surrender is the biggest challenge of all, though. It feels like giving up, defeat, becoming passive and allowing anything (anything meaning “the worst”, naturally) to happen. With surrender, comes Trust which goes against the genetic makeup of a doer – doers often do because of what they fear might happen if they don’t. (“If I don’t grasp the opportunity, it’ll never come again.”) Or dammit, they just like to be in control! 😉 Letting go is almost sacrilegious to those of us doers, until we’ve learned to confront that part of our self that moves unconsciously from our head, instead of our hearts, our core, our Truth. I find most Spiritual Doers are very, very, very challenged by the practice of meditation. Being still, “doing nothing”, makes us itchy to move. We think of a hundred things that need doing and so our meditation can quickly turn into a planning session with a To Do list on the floor beside us.

What Spiritual Doers Can “Do”

Cuz I know you’re asking. 😉

Stillness is probably the most important practice for you if you find yourself to be a Spiritual Doer. With it will inevitably come what Spiritual Thinkers are so good at – self-inquiry. DIG IN and examine what is truly compelling you to move and what surfaces within when you consider the idea of not moving. Essential oils (Lavender, White Fir) may help you find physical stillness, calming the autonomic nervous system. While practicing this quiet space each day, also practice what comes naturally to a Spiritual Feeler – tuning in to your heart (another essential oil, ylang ylang, is really good at helping with this). Don’t just spend time noticing the emotions that arise, though. Instead, notice the way the air moves across your face. Notice the sensations in your hands. See if you can feel your eyelashes. And do a lot of observing – observing when you move, why you move, how you move, and from where. This will allow you to slow down enough to tune in more deeply and your movements will then be attuned to the natural flow and grace of the Universe.

Type 2: The Spiritual Thinker

Spiritual thinkers are obviously deeply thoughtful. They approach spirituality rationally, because it just makes sense. They devour books and ideas, and like Spiritual Doers are often curious about other cultures and beliefs, although they make not feel as adventurous or action-oriented. They simply like to learn, and everything and everyone carries a lesson for them. Spiritual Thinkers also tend to be very articulate, and can often help others through their own spiritual process by saying what that person might not be able to articulate, or offering the same wisdom in a new way that allows another person to sink deeper into the understanding within themselves. I see Thinkers as most often being spiritual guides for this reason, and we often love it because it furthers their own spiritual growth in the process. They are also very self-aware and can identify their core beliefs and triggers easily once they know how. This can lead to a lot of freedom from within, very quickly.

However, and I hate to break it to you, but of all the spiritual types, if you’re a Spiritual Thinker you might have the hardest time maintaining that freedom. That love for helping others can easily turn into your own persona-creating and ego-stroking identification. You can get lost in your own ideas and most especially get lost in your own thoughts or daydreams (which quickly turn into worries and fears). Inner fears (you know, the ones that sound silly, irrational, or embarrassing when you say them out loud) are thicker for you, because you tend to live in your head more than most, which can unconsciously feed your primal thought processes (think: survival, fear). You can easily drive yourself to the brink, just as naturally as you can drive others back from it. (I often wonder if Spiritual Thinkers and really Spiritual Doers without all the physical energy. We just do it all in our heads.)

Something for Spiritual Thinkers to Think About

Your job is to get out of your head. When you do DIG IN, do so carefully and with intention, and don’t stay in there too long. Only self-examine to bring about a new awareness; never to turn the same damn thought over and over. Take on the motto, “It’s just a thought” and practice assigning less value to them. Spend more time in your body. Go for a walk, practice yoga (which will move your body in order to still your mind), cook a meal, watch a light-hearted movie, smile and really feel the sensations of it. Say things out loud that you’ve been dwelling on in your head to diminish some of the enchantment they seem to have when you keep them hidden. Plant a garden and make it a daily practice to hand-pick the bugs (talk about meditative). And every time your mind starts to spin into its bullshit, immediately stop it in its tracks and state the Truth as you know it (even if you’re not feeling it). Practice connecting to Love and Trust in meditation, using ylang ylang or marjoram to pull you out of your head and into your heart. And practice moving from your heart – volunteering time at a shelter, performing random acts of kindness, anything to get you into that presence of beauty all around you.

Type 3: The Spiritual Feeler

Spiritual Feelers tend to be the most deeply convicted in their values and beliefs. How can they be anything else when they sense and experience things on such a deep, instinctual, and emotional level? These are the people who deeply feel their Truth, down to the bone, to the cell. They don’t often argue or debate about it, because that would be as strange to them as arguing about the color of the sky. They just believe. They know. And they know what they know because they’ve experienced it in a way that surpasses the understanding and limitations of the mind or the eye. It simply IS.

Spiritual Feelers have the greatest capacity for empathy and compassion. They are the ones wrapping their arms around the wounded and show them their own value. They see, they understand, and they feel a deep draw to be present for others in order to show them what they need to see in themselves. They can connect most easily with their own Presence, with a residing sense of Love and peace, with Spirit. Meditation start to come easier because it feels so good.

But Spiritual Feelers have an easily tragic pitfall. They tend to feel everything deeply, including what they perceive as pain and suffering in the world. Feeling the violence around them, sensing the disconnection, touching the sorrows of the world, they can often fall into their emotions so deeply they don’t find their way out. Nonattachment feels like an insult to them, heartless and cold. And that inability to be unattached can lead to feeling overwhelmed, too small, hopeless, depressed, maybe even angry, and often eventually apathetic and shutdown. In fact, I often wonder if this currency of apathy and vacancy we see in our culture is the effect of Spiritual Feelers becoming so overwhelmed with the state of the world without the tools to navigate it safely that they are left with no other option but to shut it off completely. When they become too overwhelmed with the world, or too battered by the experience of it, they disconnect from their own heart, or they get so lost in their emotions that they can no longer feel that overriding Presence they used to in meditation, and that’s if they even find themselves in meditation or prayer at all anymore. They shutdown to Love, shut down to their own gifts, and at worst, the only thing they feel is a dull ache from what they’ve buried.

A Practice for Spiritual Feelers

Spiritual Feelers are probably feeling every word written here, and hopefully feel this wave of warmth and love I’m sending, too. If you’re a Spiritual Feeler, it might be your practice to create boundaries around yourself, and time in your day (yes, every day) in which to simply breathe. Don’t call it meditation, especially if that feels too big right now. Just take a walk, watch the birds hopping around for seeds, and let yourself find some stillness away from the world. You need some time to reconnect to something bigger than your own desire to help heal others, something that whispers to you that it’s okay to Trust the process of Life.

Movement and choices – like the Spiritual Doers – are going to give you a little more space from everything you feel so acutely. Try applying some essential oils to your solar plexus or heart, like Frankincense essential oil (to help you ground yourself – especially when everything is overwhelming and leaving you feeling scattered) or Wild Orange or Lime essential oil (to raise you up out of the depths when it all seems too heavy). And try breaking the heavier energies with water. Drink water, take a swim, take a shower, wash your face (maybe not take a bath if it just ends up feeling like you’re stewing in your own stuff).

I’d also recommend you try on the role of a Spiritual Thinker and DIG IN, examining some of the emotions you feel – especially things like obligation and hopelessness. Ask where it comes from and how you can best do what you’re called to do. Most importantly, spend time with the spiritual principle that the only way you can make an impact on the world is through nonattachment, by not seeing and judging something as “negative”. Stop watching the news. At least for awhile. Practice viewing the world through the eyes of deep awareness, and viewing the Light in others, instead of viewing only their hurt and darkness. Lastly view your own reactions with some distance as well. Step back and simply observe yourself. Create some space between You and your emotional perceptions so you can see the world and those in it from that love-centered, grounded place again.


You are here.

Whichever type you are I can almost guarantee that reading all this brought up a myriad of conflicting responses – laughter as you recognized yourself hopefully, indignation or resistance as you recognized yourself perhaps, and quite possibly, self-judgment or even a sense of self-doubt, as though you think you’re stuck in this place.

The truth is our Spiritual Types change constantly. Each is an experience we move through to allow us to have the fullest understanding of Who We Are. But Who We Are is none of these things. You are not truly a doer, a thinker, or a feeler. Those are more like “habits” we can identify ourselves as having.

If you noticed, the practice is similar for each: self-inquiry, observation, stillness.

When you can allow yourself the practice of quiet observation of these traits, they will begin to fall away and the You that is true (not to sound like Dr. Suess or anything) will be all that’s left. And that’s where the freedom and joy is truly found. In Being and allowing your actions, thoughts, and emotions to organically move from that Being.