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Stepping into the Stream: a Foundation practice

by Lisa Avnet

From the moment I encountered it during my studies with the Institute for Soul Centered Psychology, I felt a deep affinity and love for the practice of Focusing. Embedded in module 2 - "Psyche and Soma" (a module I added so much Focusing study and material to that it took me five plus months to complete) everything about the Focusing work and Gendlin's philosophy felt  like a homecoming to me.  I now teach the introduction to the material in a presentation I call "Coming Home to the Body", and weave the practice into my work in many ways.  We have within us, an "Inner Healer" and it's truly inspiring (and delightful) to watch the way using this practice empowers those I work with by connecting them with their own inner wisdom and allowing that to create the energy shifts that move them forward.  Guiding the co-creative process of healing is so different from the outmoded hierarchical model of healer "doing" and client "receiving". 

As a placeholder and introduction to Focusing, I'm reposting this excellent blog post by Dr. Dawn Flynn, naturopathic physician, accupuncturist, and Focusing practitioner. Dawn is graduate of the Seattle Focusing Institute, where I'm currently completing a 2 year program in Focusing Oriented Therapy with my treasured teacher, Jeffrey Morrison.  While my goal is to write my own, generating a new blog post takes more time than I have available, and I wanted this material to be available for the new year, which is just around the corner now.

My hope is that this will intrigue your curiosity: there's so much new agey quantum healing material out there that is not evidence based. Focusing work goes back many decades, is well researched and documented, and has withstood the test of time, in fact, it's widely integrated into many psychotherapy and healing modalities including body oriented psychotherapy, somatic psychology, Dr. Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing work, and Richard Swartz's Internal Family Systems work.

So here goes.  Worth the time.  I promise!

"Stepping into the Unfoldment of Our Being: How Focusing Helps us Change"

Dawn writes:

"I would love to live life like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding." John O’Donohue

Stepping into the Stream: a Foundation practice, Lisa Avnet in Pittsfield, MA

"Without (or despite) deciding in which direction one wants to change, the body has its own direction of health. And not only the direction, but very exactly the next step, is prefigured in the bodily concreteness of any trouble." Eugene Gendlin PhD

This summer I had the most awe-inspiring backpacking trip in Mt. St Helens. The only other time I had been there was back in 1983, a few years after it erupted. Visiting 35 years later I was stunned by the beauty, the crater now filled with new lush green vegetation growing tall out of the ashes. Later, at the visitors center I watched videos of the volcanoes’ eruption and destruction for miles around. Seeing a huge chunk of the mountain slide away in the avalanche carrying with it large trees, earth, and wildlife into overflowing rivers was startling. I heard first account tales of people who were there at the time, describing the enormity of what they observed and the travails of what they experienced.

As I hiked through old lava canyons it came to me that the earth was not created at one time long ago, but that it is in a continual and current process of creation. Melting glaciers, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, erupting volcanoes, the Earth’s seas and landscapes are changing, transforming, shifting as she lives through time. Likewise, our own earthly bodies are in a continual process of creation. At times the changes that are inherent in growth can feel like an avalanche when strong emotions move through us; anger, grief, fear. Other times we can feel them as smaller shifts that occur day by day.

In the world of Focusing we use this term “shift” often to describe the changes that are felt within the inner landscape of the body during a Focusing session- these moments during the process when we are sitting with a problem, a feeling, a thought and we experience change in a bodily felt way. It may be felt as a relief that comes, more fresh air, more breathing room, the body unwinding. There may be no words for it at all, but it just feels different inside. These shifts are the body providing “exactly the next step” for fresh new growth and allowing us, if we are present some of the time, to be like the river, “carried by the surprise of its own unfolding”.

The Body’s Inherent Wisdom
We can know more about how we change by recognizing that the body is one with its environment, it’s a continual interaction occurring. From when we are in mother’s oceanic womb feeling her warmth and rhythmic heartbeat, as we grow older listening to the sound of our parent’s voices and mimicking their messages, we are in communion with our environment. When I hear a piece of music the vibration of the sound passes through the skin envelope of my body and touches me deeply, moving me. Nature, people, animals and more are all interacting with me and are more than just objects outside of myself that I am perceiving. There is a process of interacting and changing. We are affected by our environment and we in turn affect the environment in which we are embodied. When this process gets stopped, when we experience a traumatic event or feel hurt, betrayed or shamed for example, and our environment doesn’t provide us what we need to move forward from the experience, the body will continue to create this stopped process in our behaviors, relationships, family, work, etc. until an opening occurs and allows what is blocked to be carried forward. Focusing provides such an opening.

"Some people think that since they were not loved as children, they cannot love, cannot recognize love, and cannot expect to find it inside themselves. This is not so. Every living creature has the conditions for its living built into it, organically. Therefore, no unloved child ever fails to wonder why it is not loved (long before it can talk), since its body knows that it should be.”            Eugene Gendlin PhD

The body inherently knows its way forward. Focusing is a process of bringing our awareness inward and interacting with a felt sense that comes and enables the process to move forward into its next step. The felt sense is not there waiting for us, it forms as we sense into its home, the body space. This all happens freshly in the present, yet also includes the past and the future, has embodied meaning, and is always part of a natural, regenerating, dynamic process.

When we come to an unfamiliar place while Focusing, when we don’t yet have the words to describe what is being felt, when it feels unfamiliar, this is when the process is moving. If we let the body guide us, the process will continue to live itself forward in our lives.

The Bodily Felt Intricate Web
What is occurring in these steps of the living forward process? What happens that allows the body to feel different? The problem or situation doesn’t necessarily change (although our perception of the problem might). What occurred in the past doesn’t change (although how it lives into the present does). So how is it that we feel changed, lighter, have a different kind of relationship to the situation we started with and likely other situations and behave differently moving forward?

"The bodily felt complexity moves of its own accord; it makes its own steps, and thereby it changes. These steps of change are not just any change, but exactly the change that the whole organism as an adaptive system needs" Eugene Gendlin PhD

As I am writing this I am aware of a tension that’s in the background. It feels new, like it’s not normally part of my experience. But of course! I start a new job tomorrow. That’s what it’s about. I could say I feel anxious and leave it at that. It’s not uncommon for someone to feel anxious about starting a new job. But if I spend time with this feeling, a rich bodily felt intricacy underneath the words exists and is unique to me at this moment in time.

Underneath the “I am anxious.” I sense into what more is there… It’s a web of interconnecting feelings, thoughts, memories, each thread connecting to another and another, interlacing, overlapping, past and present. Ah, there is a kind of worried…maybe even an afraid feeling…a wanting to do a good job…ahh, there is a wanting to be respected. Inside my chest a dropping, sinking sensation comes. I pause here…a past memory comes of beginning something new and not knowing how to do it. And what came after… a feeling of not being respected and… yes, there is what came after… a feeling like defeat now comes. I can feel it in my hunched shoulders as I sit here, my chin drops, a heaviness in my belly sinks me down. Mmm, this is at the crux of this tension, anxious feeling in my belly-this defeated way this whole thing sits in my body.

Just with this acknowledgement I feel the threads loosen. Yes. I feel this “yes” as a confirmation from my body letting me know that this is how it is… And I feel a relief… It feels good! Defeated doesn’t necessarily feel good but the “yes” feels good. I feel more spacious, I breath more deeply. On the outside one might see a relaxation of my face, a change in my posture, I’m breathing differently, color comes to my skin. This is the body making its own step evidenced by the sense of lightness I feel and the spaciousness that has opened inside, a difference from what I was feeling before. I sit with this longer, enjoying what I am feeling, just staying with it. I could stop here.

Every bad feeling is potential energy toward a more right way of being if you give it space to move toward its rightness."
Eugene Gendlin, PhD

But something more is coming forward…it’s coming from my belly… I wait…it’s a sense of speed, or, lifting up… momentum. Yes, it’s momentum. It’s like being on a bike speeding down the lowest point of a steep hill as velocity carries me and the bicycle up the beginning of the next hill. I feel that inside…those seconds between hills… now my spine is straightening, my shoulders roll back. I’m being carried upward… no effort on my part, such ease.

I allow this shift to be with me fully, feeling the movement of change, pausing to allow the energy of “momentum” circulate within me. This is another step carrying me forward. The bodily way of holding “the defeated feeling” has shifted in a physical way and created an opening for a new step in the unfolding process. I could spend time with this and see where the sense of “momentum, ease, effortless, being carried” take me. But it feels right to stop here for now and continue writing.

Carrying Forward
The body is change. It is a living, breathing, fluid organism that inhales and exhales, gets hungry and eats, feels stiff and stretches, becomes cold and seeks warmth. It feels the pain of being wounded and is the guide who shepherds us to healing. It is in an ongoing interaction with its environment that includes air and food, people, culture, time, the universe and more. It contains our life force that is always pushing toward growth. When what we are experiencing seems bad or difficult, when we feel stuck, we can be sure that within these hardened places is the opening and inherent forward movement that will carry us to what is right and true for the exquisite unfoldment of our inner being.

Thanks to Dawn for this wonderful article!  And back to me, Lisa.  If you'd like to explore how my work might benefit you, or any questions you might have, please click here.

Gendlin, E.T. (1978). The body’s releasing steps in experiential process. In J.L. Fosshage & P. Olsen (Eds.), Healing. Implications for psychotherapy, pp. 323-349. New York: Human Sciences Press.

Gendlin, E.T. (2012). In Z. Radman (Ed.), Knowing without thinking: The theory of the background in philosophy of mind, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2012)

Gendlin, E.T. (2013). Arakawa and Gins: the Organism-Person-Environment Process. In Keane, J. and Glazebrook, T (Eds.) Arakawa and Gins Special Issue of Inflexions Journal, No. 6: 225-236


Re-connecting with Your Original Blueprint

We’re designed to bloom like the most beautiful flowers, offering our gifts freely to the world.  Yet, from the time we're very young, we take on limiting beliefs and patterns of behavior from our culture, our parents, and our experiences, that shroud this original blueprint, our core essence, making it invisible to us.  Living from the surface helps us to fit in with society, however, it can leave us feeling disconnected from our inner world, the world of our feelings and the innate gifts we were born with.  This disconnection keeps us from being able to shine our true light into the world.  Now more than ever, we need the visions, the gifts, and the energy of the core essence of each person to light up the darkness that has overtaken us.  The threat of catastrophe and ecological crisis looms like a dark cloud, creating an inner climate of fear and a pandemic of anxiety.

The opportunity to uncover and reclaim our deepest Self, blossoming so that we can live our soul’s purpose and gifts in the world is always available to us; in fact, there is an entire industry known as the "transformational industry" and marketing rife with empty and inflated promises. 

Daily life has an inexorable pull outward, lives filled with responsibility and a time and energy crunch that diverts us from fulfilling our own inner needs. Many of my clients are investing enormous amounts of energy in tending others, including children, partners, a household, elderly parents or family members, and a demanding work environment. This constant outer focus leaves them depleted and parched. 

As a graduate of the premier energy healing school in the world, the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, I’m trained to assist people in recovering their divine blueprint -  the being that you were born to be - by working with your energy field to address what is keeping you living a life disconnected with your deeper Self – a life and energy system affected by unconscious blockages, entanglements, patterns of distortion, and hidden limiting beliefs.  I work with the chakras, the 7 levels of the energy field, the hara and the core star level, to clear, charge and restructure what keeps you limited and distanced from yourself, freeing your core essence to upwell so that its presence begins to be visible to you and others, so that it can come forward and be lived.  This process brings change with every session, opening up your energy so that you feel lighter, brighter, and closer to your authentic presence.

Tending the inner garden of the mind, the body, and the spirit through this work cultivates your internal feedback system – which is always attempting to communicate with us through sensation so we can notice and act on our inner wisdom and intuition.  Sadly, we continuously miss the meaning of these cues, resulting in missed opportunities and illness.

In addition to the extensive healing techniques I've cultivated during my 30 year of working with clients, I've trained in multiple ways of working with the mind, as well as the wider, transpersonal fields that surround us. Many people turn to psychedelics to access these often ecstatic expanded states that occur when encountering these transpersonal fields.  An option to expanding consciousness through substances, is to enter an altered state of awareness through hypnosis or trance.  This offers access to that wider level of being, of connecting to something greater, that comes through the upper layers of our energy chakras and auric fields.  The difference between these ways of altering consciousness, is that with trance, you’ll be in a state that’s able to consciously interact with what you find there and access the resources for use in healing and daily life, with an experienced guide who knows the territory of the inner mind as well as expanded states of consciousness.  In my Soul-centric Energy Guiding sessions, you can drop in and connect with the wisdom that resides there, and return to your life with the gifts you receive, knowing how to use them as inner resources.

Whether you have a concrete physical, mental or emotional pain, or you're interested in expanding your awareness to bring more joy into your life, my healing work will be tailored to address your needs and interests.  I offer hands on energy healing sessions, healing dreamwork, and verbal guided session that are a synthesis of my transpersonal coaching, shamanic and hypnosis training. 

For more information, book a free Q and A call to meet me and discuss how my work might best serve your unique needs.  Or, if you're ready to begin your healing journey, book a session.


Coaching the Unconscious Mind: Soul-centric Energy Coaching

The unconscious mind is the deeper, unseen, and mysterious part of you, that in large part, pre-shapes your thoughts, beliefs, identity, preferences, and habits before you've had a chance to "think" about it.  It lives in your body, energy field, and nervous system, and acts in ways that are sometimes confusing to the brain.

It's even encoded in your DNA.

But the cool news is that your unconscious mind is code-able.

It is highly malleable and susceptible to change.  In fact, it's changing all the time - even now.

What it can do is enormously powerful.  When I skillfully interact with that part of someone, it's a bit like downloading the "cheat key" to the human experience.  My high sense perception and energy healing skills, combined with my extensive training in hypnosis, assists me in locating the unconscious pattern at work and resolving it.  The process triggers neurochemicals that help you feel more like yourself, and also supports you to become the best version of yourself, in an elegant and timely way.

Change work at both the conscious and unconscious levels of the mind as well as the energy system, is at the very cutting edge of where neuroscience meets ancient healing wisdom and straight up magic. 

If this intrigues you, reach out and book a free Q and A call, or a Soul-centric Energy Coaching session!

































Healing through the 4 Dimensions of Humankind - Brennan Healing Science

Healing through the 4 Dimensions of Humankind:  Brennan Healing Science

As a Brennan Healing Science Practitioner and a Usui and Karuna Reiki Master this is information I enjoy bringing to the blog to help readers understand more about what I do.  It's amazing work that I've devoted many years to perfecting!

What is it?

Brennan Healing Science is a specialized form of healing which combines hands-on healing work with in-depth self exploration and development.  It is a great way to work through an issue in your life (emotional, psychological or physical), to gain insight and awareness and to connect with your authentic self or deeper truth.

In contrast, Reiki, a more widely known energy modality, is a pattern of hand placement and an attunement from a Reiki Master to activate the Reiki energy frequency. Reiki 1 and 2 is a two day weekend, and most Reiki Masters have less than a total of 50 hours of study. One simply places hands on or above the body and allows the Reiki healing frequency to be transmitted through them. This is a simple modality, excellent for bringing relaxation to the nervous system and having a practice of basic energy self-care.


Brennan Healing Science was developed by Dr. Barbara Ann Brennan, a former NASA scientist, after she spent years researching the Human Energy Field and studying many healing modalities.  It is a holistic healing modality based on the Human Energy Consciousness System and its relationship to health and disease.  It combines high sense perception skills, hands-on energy healing techniques and psychological process work to assist individuals with their personal process of healing.

Dr. Brennan is known from her best-selling book “Hands of Light”, one of the most in-depth books on energy healing ever written, as well as for her advanced training schools in the USA and Europe.  The Barbara Brennan School of Healing celebrated it’s 40th year in 2023, offering a diploma as well as a Bachelor of Science degree.  Graduates are called “Brennan Healing Science Practitioners” and have been through a rigorous and intensive 4 years training in energy awareness, high sense perception and personal transformation.  They are highly trained energy healers (over 2000 hours of supervised instruction) who have learned specialized hands on healing techniques along with skills in professional practice and integrative care.  They have a strong awareness of the connections between the human energy field, health and disease and of how mind, body and emotions connect.  They have also been on their own deeply personal healing journey.  Training in Brennan Healing Science requires dedication and a significant investment, on many levels, from the practitioner. 

A foundational concept in Brennan Healing Science describes four distinct vibrational dimensions of human existence. Barbara Brennan calls these dimensions “The Four Dimensions of Humankind”.  Brennan Healing Science Practitioners are trained to work with all four dimensions.

The Physical: the organs, systems and cells of our body are physical but they are also made of energy and can be worked with directly in a healing.
The Aura: carries the energy of our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and day to day experiences and is made up of the chakras and seven levels of the energy field.
The Hara: is the dimension of our intentions, our soul’s longings and our connection to our divine path. It has a tremendous impact on how we create our lives.
The Core Star: is our connection to the source of who we truly are. It is also sometimes described as our inner divinity or our core Essence.
Each dimension is a quantum leap deeper than the preceding dimension. Further, each dimension serves as a foundation to the preceding dimension. Accordingly, profound healing is possible by working on the deeper dimensions and allowing the shift to ripple up through the other levels. The practitioner will use discernment in determining a client’s readiness for this deeper level of work, as it can result in a rapid manifestation of changes on the physical and auric levels.

Whether you want to develop your relationship with yourself, deal with a troubling issue or just take some time to nourish your energy, unwind and relax, Brennan Healing Science has something to offer you.

For more information, book a free Q and A session, or an energy healing with me here.




Boulders in the Heart: The Somatic Energy of Grief and Loss

by Lisa Avnet

Boulders in the Heart: The Somatic Energy of Grief and Loss, Lisa Avnet in Pittsfield, MA

Grief can be lodged in the body, a boulder on the heart, the internal landscape of loss. Many of my clients report feelings of grief and sadness, living in this time of profound personal, collective, and ecological loss.  They may have lost connection with themselves in the fast pace of daily life; they may have lost a loved one, a relationship, a job, a home, a dream. So many metaphors describe the somatic sense of grief, sadness, and loss:  I feel like there is a boulder on my chest, like my heart is broken, heavy, takes my breath away...all the color is gone.  These metaphors describe the feeling of the unseen energy of emotion which has form in both our physical and energetic bodies. 

Our modern culture has a difficult relationship with emotions in general, and with grief and sadness in particular; which can play out in daily life by limiting the flow of our life force, causing dullness, heaviness and fatigue.  We cope by holding on, holding it in, holding it all together, tuning it out rather than allowing emotion to flow through us and dissipate naturally.  Grief and sadness may be denied, minimized, and held in; people receive explicit messages to "suck it up" and "get over it" by those around them, and there is often little support, even within ourselves, for the vulnerability inherent in open expression of emotion.  Often, a client has had no modeling and no support during childhood in expressing emotion. Grief has a minimal sanctioned period in our fast paced culture - perhaps a year in the case of a major loss.  The pain of loss, particularly the loss of a deep attachment such as a parent or longtime partner or friend, has no timetable and can linger for years, eventually going underground. Grief can become a ghost, a boulder in the heart, that affects many areas of your life.

Sometimes, though, the loss might be old, minor, unrecognized and unconscious.  Because emotions, including grief and sadness, are located in the body/mind or somatic unconscious, they often arise in dreams. Sometimes you may know what the strong feeling of grief was about, it's explicit in the dream, but just as often, it's inscrutable because it's been relegated to the unconscious.  The feeling in the dream seems unrelated to the action and images. 

Because emotions come from a different part of us than rational thought, and live outside of our brain, it's possible to understand the story behind what happened, perhaps why it happened, and why you feel something, and yet, your feelings and emotional reactivity doesn't shift or change and remains firmly lodged - it's still easily triggered or felt, coming out in dreams or crying during sad movies or while listening to music.

Throughout the early days of the pandemic, when hospital wards were full and death was coming hard and fast, my grief and pain at the situation was overwhelming.  I grieved so many things: lives cut short;  the loss of connection with others;  the deep political divisions that arose; the valiant front line workers; the children stuck at home; the pain of women torn between the needs of their children and their jobs.  I found an antidote, releasing my pain by howling daily along with the wolves via the Wolf Conservation Center live or recorded wolf cams, allowing my pain to flow.  Vocalizing along with the wolves, offered me a sense of comfort in community that was unavailable during the lockdown.

I offer several pathways for working with held emotions, tailored to the unique needs of the individuals I work with.  Energy work combined with somatic methods; interactive guided imagery combined with hypnosis; shamanic practices; and dreamwork are all quite effective.

If you're interested in learning more, you can book an information call or a session here

Lisa Avnet offers Transpersonal Coaching in Pittsfield, MA

How does your Garden Grow?

by Lisa Avnet

How does your Garden Grow?, Lisa Avnet in Pittsfield, MA

All of the garden photos on my website were taken in my own garden beds.  The gardens are a legacy from my parents in law, both devoted gardeners, who installed them over the 4 decades that they lived here.  My sister in law,  garden designer Judy Murphy of Old Farms Nursery in Lakeville, CT designed the main bed with its Asian style rock garden many years ago.  The mossy stones bring a special energy to the yard year round, and clients coming for an office visit are invited to enjoy the gardens, which have many places to sit and meditate or journal.

As a dedicated gardener and lover of plant life, I find gardening an apt metaphor for the process of personal evolution and growth.  Gardens respond to outer conditions of weather and the other life forms that are ever present, just as we respond to life.  The wind, rain, seasons, microbes, bugs, birds, bees, bunnies, woodchucks, mice and voles constantly shape the gardens, creating changes big and small.  Oh, and I mustn't forget the pesky chipmunks digging holes everywhere!  The garden is always changing.  In the course of time, some flowers have disappeared, and new ones have arrived without me lifting a finger.  Blue lobelia, or cardinal flower, a large one called nicotiana, and others have come into the garden in the years I've been tending it.  Natur, and life, truly works in mysterious ways. 

While I love flowers and have admired gardens all my life, I came to gardening relatively late in life. The learning curve was steep: gardening is so much more than just weeding!  I always dreamed of having the kind of gardens I admired at my in law's properties and in magazines but I was completely naive about what gardening involves and the sheer amount of time  and effort it takes to maintain them. A gardener friend did tell me that 20-30 hours a week for much of the weed season was going to be necessary in order to keep up the gardens here, and in my naivete,  I thought she was exaggerating.  Not so.  What a shock.  Real life is not the movies!

However, the garden gives back so much more than I put into it - the joy that fills my heart just looking at the gardens is a huge sustaining energy in my life.  I love walking around the yard, taking photos of whatever catches my eye, and I've got about a zillion photos of them taken in all weathers, seasons, and times of day. My Instagram "berkshirehaven" is a place I post them, although it includes a few photos taken at my workplace at the Canyon Ranch Lenox property.  The garden is a never ending delight, and sitting in various spots brings peace and grounding that balance my day.

Spiritual traditions worldwide have used the garden as a metaphor for that part of us often known as the heart, and sometimes, the soul.  I often use it as a metaphor for the mind as well, as in "weed out the thoughts  and worries you don't want and replace them with what you do - a mantra, phrase, affirmation, or prayer that over time, creates a new pathway in your thinking."    My Mindfulness Meditation teacher once taught that we think approximately 90 thousand thoughts a day, and of those, 89,990 are similar and often less than positive things - part of the stories we tell ourselves about what's happening in our lives, the negative thoughts, and negative self talk that makes up our mind chatter.   

Try identifying and pulling a specific mind-weed from the garden of your mind, and replacing it.  If it's a negative thought like "you suck" find something you are proud of and reverse the negative with: you rock at ______!  Or if it's a worry, weed that and replace with asking for, or sending, a blessing or acknowledging something you're grateful for.  Like a garden, the thought weeds will keep popping up, and you just keep up the practice of weeding and replacing.  In the short term, you can feel the benefits of this practice in your energy - it feels better!  Over time, like water wearing a groove in stone, your persistence will yield the beauty of a more expansive and peaceful mind.

One of my favorite poets, speaks of it thus:

The Seven Of Pentacles by Marge Piercy

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

If this metaphor intrigues and delights you, consider booking a free Q and A call or a session here.  My new signature program offering "Tending the Inner Garden" is a deeply restorative, organic unfolding of transformative practices and inner work. Read more about it here.


What is a "Coaching Container" ?

by Lisa Avnet

What is a "Coaching Container" ?, Lisa Avnet in Pittsfield, MA

When I saw this beautiful painting by artist Mara Friedman I was struck by how accurately it depicted the energy of the coaching container - what it feels like to sit with an attuned, compassionate, and loving practitioner - the energetics.  There is a magic that happens in the coaching session: you are held in safety, free to show all of yourself, deeply listened to and mirrored in your wholeness, a rare and deeply nourishing opportunity in life. 

In my experiences with my own Soul Centered Coach, I noticed that my consciousness was amplified by the coaching dyad; that insights and epiphanies spontaneously arose in each session.  Images, archetypes, and symbols have energetic form and that energy becomes available to us when we engage with it consciously, creating valuable resources to draw on in daily life.  The symbols in Mara's painting - the butterfly, spiral, and flower, the golden orb - are arising in the energy field created in the session - the synthesis of my energy field and yours bringing the mingled field to a new and higher level, a level from which insight arises.

Lisa Avnet offers Transpersonal Coaching in Pittsfield, MA

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing.

From poem "St. Francis and the Sow" by Galway Kinnell

As a healer and guide, this poem is dear to me, as it touches into the heart of the coaching relationship.  In our work together, we'll be exploring your inner world through the lens of your soul self with love and an eye to developing that "self-blessing" .  

I'll share an example from my own experience.  In the early spring of 2022, an image of a wise woman holding an ornately decorated scrying bowl arose in one of my own coaching sessions and began to kindle my imagination.  It seemed to be the perfect image for the energetics involved in working with someone as a practitioner - the bowl as the container.  I brought this into daily life, gathering some of the many bowls in my home and considering their energetic qualities and what that might represent.  I journaled on this and have included a segment below.  It was an enlivening and satisfying process.

ILisa Avnet in Pittsfield, MA

I hold this sacred image, a wise woman holding a bowl in her two hands, offering it to those seeking soul sustenance.

When I sit with a bowl on my lap, the well of my heart opens and pours love into the world.

When I'm tending a soul, my own, or another’s, which container will best serve their needs?

The blown beach glass bowl with swirls of blue waters to bring flow and clarity?

The Himalayan singing bowl, to sound the complexity of overtones and bring forth new energy?

The heavy clay bowl, Raku fired with wood, and its many hued blue glaze, bringing its gift of earth, water, and fire, and grounding into the body?

Or the turned wood bowl, gifted to me with love, full of the nature elements of the standing people, home to the winged ones, and of earth, air, and sky?

Which bowl is called into service today?  What energy is needed in this particular coaching container, with this precious being?

What is an image you hold?  Can you expand it into daily life using metaphor?

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