Those of you who have been following my blog and reading what I post on Facebook know what a profound influence Tosha Silver has had on my life and my work. The way in which we met was magical. Christiane Northrup and I had been teaching a class to the Whole Health Medicine Institute (we're enrolling WHMI now, in case you feel called to join us!) Christiane insisted that all of us go out right that second and buy Tosha's book Outrageous Openness. I bought it instantly and was halfway through reading it the next day, when I was on a plane to LA to film a documentary, when I got online on the airplane, looked up Tosha's website, realized she lived right across the San Francisco Bay from me, and decided to write her a gushing fan letter. It went something like, "OMG, you don't know who I am, but I'm in love with your book, and I live in San Francisco too, and we should . . . um . . . totally be BFF's!" I signed up for her newsletter list because I knew that whatever Tosha was drinking, I wanted a Big Gulp of it.
I travel a lot, and I meet the most well-intentioned, beautiful beings who are fighting against the injustices of the world. They stand for ending sexual violence against women, the destruction of Gaia, climate change, social inequality, and any number of other very good causes. I appreciate that these people are DOING something to heal the world. Their passion seems admirable and their commitment and self-sacrifice command respect.
Yet, I find something about the energy of some forms of activism weighing heavy on my heart.
We’ve all met the angry feminists that lash out at men, the rainforest activists who judge those who drill in the Amazon, and the Occupy activists who hate the 1%. But how can we possibly co-create a more beautiful world if we’re coming from the energy of judgment and hate? As one of my spiritual teachers said, (forgive her language), "Fighting for peace is like f*cking for virginity."
When I was in Australia speaking at the Uplift Festival in December, 70 spiritual self-help leaders, elders from the indigenous tribes of five different nations, and change-the-world activists spent a week before the festival participating in an ongoing conversation about the intersection of spirituality and activism. How do we marry the principles of "Being" that we learn through our spiritual practices with the practices of "Doing" embodied by many activists on the front lines of global change? Are we better off sitting on our meditation pillows, raising the vibration of the planet and emitting frequencies of love into the world? Or do we need to get off our pillows and go DO something? Is there a way to be even more effective by merging the two?
Tuesday was the birthday of my new book The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage As Medicine For The Body, Mind & Soul. To celebrate the book’s birth, Tosha Silver and I hosted a workshop about transforming fear with spiritual surrender for 100 people live in the Bay area and 1000 people streaming in from around the globe. Given how fear-based our culture is and how much unnecessary suffering results from our belief that we have to control life, spiritual surrender is a core part of letting fear cure YOU.
Essentially, the process of spiritual surrender is about taking that thing you're afraid of or that problem you think you have to solve or that unmet longing in your heart for that thing you want but don't yet have—and making it an offering to the Divine. It's about taking all of it—your fears, your desires, your need for control—and turning it over to the arms of Love, trusting that you will be protected and guided to take any inspired action necessary, either by internal intuition, your body's compass, or external Signs from the Universe. Then, having offered this with deep trust, you wait. The part that requires courage is the part that asks you to follow the guidance, even if you don't like it.
So . . . (cue the unofficial theme song of this book, Sara Bareilles “Brave”) my new book The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage As Medicine For The Body, Mind, & Soul comes out today! You can find out more about the book at TheFearCureBook.com. This website also includes a special gift I created for you—the "Prescription for Courage Kit," which includes 5 guided meditations I recorded with my musician friend Karen Drucker—one meditation about getting in touch with the voice of your Inner Pilot Light, one about dealing with uncertainty, one about moving beyond fear of loss, one about how it's a friendly universe, and one about Oneness.
The Prescription for Courage Kit includes almost two hours of guided meditation—as a gift and celebration of today's launch of The Fear Cure. Karen and I had so much fun recording these meditations. The field in the studio was palpable. You could actually feel a pulse in the room, like angels were there with us, helping us serve you. I can't claim credit for any healing, calming goodness you might find in these meditations. I feel like Karen and I just got used as instruments of service, and something Larger Than Me came through us and landed in these meditation mp3's. I hope they help fear cure YOU and bring you peace.
I alluded to the most important book I read in 2014 in last week’s blog about ending the Story of Separation, the cultural story that has us believing that we are discrete blobs of carbon matter that need to fight for our own self interest in order to survive and thrive, even if it means harming other people or destroying Mother Gaia herself. But I want to be more explicit in sharing with you The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, a book I just finished reading after meeting author/speaker/counterculture revolutionary Charles Eisenstein, who shared a stage with me at the Uplift Festival in Byron Bay, Australia.
I probably read about a hundred books in 2014 (for real.) Some highlights were Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer’s Extraordinary Knowing, Gregg Levoy’s Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion, Sarah Drew’s Gaia Codex, Stephen Mitchell’s Jesus: What He Really Said And Did, Adyashanti’s The End of Your World, Larry Dossey’s One Mind, Kelly Turner’s Radical Remission, Alberto Villoldo’s Dance Of The Four Winds, and Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
But of all the books I’ve read this year, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible stands out as something extraordinary, one of those books you read only a few times in a lifetime, the kind that leaves you highlighting every page and feeling forlorn when you finish it because it connects you to something deep and true, something you forgot you needed like oxygen, something you grieve when you read the last word, even though the words live on in your heart like mustard seeds.
Part of what I love about this book is that, while a lot of spiritual books help us tap into Source and lend us an experience of connection to this wellspring of love on a personal level, few combine spiritual principles with sacred activism. This book is not just about doing your own personal and spiritual growth work; it’s about how BEING love in the world tends to activate you to DO something that creates real change. This kind of inspired action arises not from the energy of resistance, anger, judgment, victimization, or separation which can often fuel another form of activism. It allows you to DO simply by BEING love. Even the separation between BEING and DOING becomes irrelevant. Action naturally arises as a side effect of how much you recognize your interconnectedness with all beings.
If even 1% of the humans on this planet would read this book, perhaps we could change the world. Maybe it wouldn’t even take 1%. Maybe it only takes YOU.