Situational vs. foundational trust

We’re often advised to “trust,” as if trust were a monolithic thing that we all approach the same way. It isn’t. Trust can be situational or foundational, as well as immature or profound.

Most of us don’t need to think too long or hard to find personal examples of both immature trust and earned situational trust. This learning requires life experience; we make mistakes and we may never feel fully confident of our ability to trust wisely.

The wisdom of foundational trust says that life itself is trustworthy. Cultivating foundational trust begins with our attitude or stance toward life. The moment we are open to the idea that life is essentially kind and nurturing, we begin growing our foundational trust.

Living from a place of foundational trust affects every aspect of life. It means that we meet life’s circumstances and challenges with our hearts, minds, and eyes open for the blessings and possibilities. If this comes with any desire to pretend that what is happening is not happening or to change what is happening because it’s something we don’t like, it misses the point. Foundational trust is not a Pollyanna approach to life. Far from it.

Foundational trust meets life where it is. “Ah, here is what is happening. I don’t love this and yet I trust that there is something that wants to happen that is ultimately going to serve.” Meeting life from this place means that we are not in opposition to whatever is happening in the moment.

Who we are really – that place at the very center – equals how we show up in life. Cultivating foundational trust moves us from the surface of our self, from roles and reactions, into our depth, our strength and our authenticity. When our actions in life arise from this depth they have an entirely different order of impact. And perhaps best of all, life tends to deliver very different lessons to one who trusts.

A big shift in my life was when I stopped trying to manage it. I gave up all my strategies for getting what I wanted and avoiding what I didn’t want. I clearly remember my decision to live life differently, my fear of letting go of the ways I knew, and the moment I opened to not knowing.

I was out for a morning run along a beach near where I lived, and really in my head. “How do I let go, how do I change,” kept repeating in my mind. Then out of nowhere I noticed the wind off the sea as it brushed my skin and heard the gulls and bird song and the sound of waves. A quiet settled over my mind, and it became this recognition: “I can’t control any of this, the wind, waves, sounds, I can’t control any of this.” And that was it, really. That’s when I began to shift from a life driven by will to one based more and more on trust.

That happened in 1983. I had an inkling that everything would be on a different footing from then on, but I had no idea how completely and profoundly the moment on the beach would change my life. New career opportunities were given to me, and I said yes. The chance to go out into the world in an experiment of trust came, and I said yes. New people with unfamiliar perspectives showed up again and again, each inviting me to question my beloved viewpoints and opinions. Every opening and encounter took me naturally on to the next.

In 1989, I landed at The Findhorn Foundation (an intentional spiritual community in Northern Scotland). There I was challenged to let go of lingering victimhood and step more fully into leadership. That’s also where I met the woman I have been married with for the past 27.5 years. And believe me when I say that this relationship has called for ever deepening trust – to trust that I am safe, to trust that I am loved, and to trust that I know how to love without holding back.

When I tell this story, some people listen hungrily, and others listen with a degree of skeptical reserve. That’s okay. The hungry ones will find their own ways to connect with deep trust in life and the skeptics will find whatever path best suits them. There are many paths; some are less direct, but none are wrong.

Editor’s note: This is TEZ team member Evan Renaert’s first post for The Enlightenment Zone blog. Thank you, Evan!

Photo by Purnomo Capunk on Unsplash

Your future self is watching you: Live today’s dream, not yesterday’s

If you do not go within, you go without.

Neale Donald Walsch

Remember to look within. For it is only there that one can really find who one truly is and what is most important.

Take some time on a regular basis to slow down and go within. Suspend for a while what you think you should be doing and instead just listen to the Silence within and allow its voice to speak to you.

Slowing down and taking inventory of who you are and where you are headed is so, so important. The word inventory comes from a Latin word that means “to find, discover, ascertain.” So, by slowing down your overly active thinking mind, you can go within and, in the Quiet, discover your Self rather than constantly getting caught up in your ego mind’s never-ending, repetitive prattle.

The word invent comes from the same Latin root as inventory. By going in and listening within, you can re-invent yourself.

So, take a few deep breaths now, quiet your mind, and go within and gently and without too much focus ask, “What dream am I living now? Am I living the dream I had five years ago or my dream today? Can I be happy and fulfilled living yesterday’s dream or someone else’s dream? What is my dream today?”

Gently allow these questions or similar ones to float out there and then just sit back and listen. Do not seek your mind’s ruminations, just be still and sense, see, and feel whatever impressions, feelings, or images arise. Just “be” with them and with your Self.

You will be surprised at what comes up for you if you leave your mind behind. Don’t strain or “try,” just allow the process to come to you. Be open and receptive. In time, as you practice this, a clearer and clearer vision will come to you of yourself.

Actually, as you practice this, you learn that being conscious of who you are is a moment-to-moment process – one  where you learn to “feel in” first rather than “think” first. It is a process whereby you lose your mind and come to your senses.

It can be a bit of a stretch, if you haven’t tried it before, to ignore your mind and, instead, listen first to your heart/soul or your intuition/feelings, but it’s a good stretch—a healthy stretch. I suggest you try it for a while because by doing so, you will find your Self and your present dream. The dream your future self has been patiently waiting to reveal to you.

The final frontier is the journey within.

Inclusion envy

To be part of something larger than ourselves is an innate human drive. In our current dualistic paradigm, separation means being vulnerable, and vulnerability brings up survival issues.

When our efforts to be included are thwarted, or we simply give up on being included, one outgrowth of that can be cancer. The cancer can actually be cellular, as described in the prior blog Synchronicity and the importance of community, or it can take the form of “damaged” social systems and ways of relating that keep replicating, bringing about imbalance and decline.

I want to be radically transparent here, to offer my experience in a way that others can relate to, to create connections across what might seem to be vast differences.

I’ve been a loner on a quest for community. The longing for community didn’t arise from a lack of self-love or dissatisfaction with my own company, but rather because my internal wiring knows that all things are in relationship and nothing thrives in isolation.

However, from the time I was a child I learned to be self-reliant and not to need anyone emotionally—part of the training for being a “rugged individual.” I come from a family of good people—an average dysfunctional family—with limited skillsets for being emotionally present and able to express love without co-dependent hooks.

Being an empath didn’t help matters any. I was often confused when what I was being told wasn’t what I was picking up at a feeling level. For example, being told, “I love you,” from a parent who didn’t have time for me, or knowing that the love depended on meeting certain expectations. As an adult my course consistently veered from what my family or society deemed the best ways to fit in and have a good life. I know they wanted the best for me, although somewhere along the way the idea of having a good life turned into keeping one’s suffering to a minimum. It was sort of the “life is hard and then you die” perspective under a façade of “everything is fine.” I wanted to be included in social groups, but I just wasn’t finding the option that felt right and I knew that the consequences of living a lie were more painful than not fitting in.

I envied those who seemed to have  found inclusion, although I also saw the price tag that often went with it. In my teens I vowed that I would never use any substance to avoid being uncomfortable, either in a social setting or alone. I pretty much managed to hold true to that, with the exception of food, which I justified as a necessity. It’s not a necessity, however, when you eat six donuts and then black out driving a car because of a blood sugar crash. Hence, I too was hooked into numbing, to some extent.

Getting back to the idea of inclusion envy, there are various ways such envy plays out. Here are a few examples:

  1. Back-biting, small-talk, bullying and gangs when we derive our way of finding inclusion from pack-mentality power.
  2. Unbridled consumerism in an attempt to have what the “in-group” has.
  3. Negative thoughts or judgements about those we feel excluded by or less than.
  4. Angry disconnection and deep pain that leads to lashing out at general populations, i.e., mass shooters.
  5. Self-destructive behaviors or numbing when we don’t feel we can measure up, sometimes combined with resentment that one should have to measure up to empty standards.

I got tired of non-optimal options for social inclusion, preferring the richness of an inner spiritual journey. Yet, the bottom line was that I was still seeking inclusion. In this case it was a merging with the Divine, which I now see I never left. The beauty is that I am placed right back here, in the world of unique form, to help re-weave the web of inclusion at a higher octave.

Here are a few relevant quotes from Carl Jung:

“Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.”

“What usually has the strongest psychic effect on the child is the life the parent has not lived.”

“A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way, and is, in addition, fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbor.”

Photo by William White on Unsplash

Quantum Flirting with Something Bigger?

Wow, what an incredible couple of weeks! Have you felt it too? It’s been absolute bonkers (and wonderful!) in so many ways.

I did a short Facebook Live a while back where I mentioned how it felt like the Universe was taking a breath, that the energy had calmed down from having been quite intense a few days prior. That was temporary. 🙂

Some are experiencing that the world is seemingly going to hell in a hand basket, and the more light that is shone on us all, the more darkness and fear are bubbling to the surface.

I’ve always felt connected to something bigger, something in the subtler and unseen realms. I bring this connection into my work as a coach, mentor, sounding board, and sensing partner. It takes the form of listening to the unsaid and the unseen, the invisible. My listening to and including the invisible in the work I do is the reason I’ve decided to share what I’m about to share here today.

Some of you may think that I’m going a bit nuts as I try and describe what I notice and experience in the seen and unseen world, but it feels important to push the boundaries…

…so, without further ado, welcome to the next wave of *Fika for Your Soul*!


My experience of feeling connected to something bigger, to the field of invisible energy around me, to the collective, has grown exponentially over the last 15 years I’ve spent in the personal development field.

Although the world is still heavily driven by individualism, the notion of interconnectedness and ‘oneness’ is less fringe today as a result of spiritual evolution and the rise of, for example, the practice of compassion…

Continue reading Quantum Flirting with Something Bigger?

Life is a trip, so where are you going?

Practice the art of choosing who to be, not what to do

We live in a very fast-paced world. Information, opportunities, and challenges are expanding exponentially every day. Life is full, to say the least! Too often, we experience life like a series of breathless, unconscious, one-after-the-other chase scenes in a fast-paced movie. But I believe life is meant to be a series of vibrant still shots or landscapes, something to savor and enter into, with just enough madcap scenarios to add some spice.

Most of us, when we wake up in the morning, are immediately overwhelmed with a seemingly endless “to do” list. Instead, I propose that we start off our day by creating an exquisite, rich, high-quality “to be” list.

As I see it, it’s not what you want to do today that’s most important; it’s what you want to be, or feel, or experience. What qualities of life do you want to primarily participate in today? Peace, balance, love, courage, happiness, joy, humor, harmony, confidence, etc.? Or do you really want to go into a default mode and experience their opposites?

Why not begin your day by choosing the quality you would like to experience that day? Then, as the day progresses, create various practices that will help you to remember and reinforce that quality so that your day is filled with what is really most important to you and with what will bring you the greatest lasting value and joy.

For instance, if you choose peacefulness as the most important “to be” quality for a particular day, it will be with peacefulness that you’ll want to begin and complete every activity and interaction that day. In other words, you let the quality you choose to experience be more important than frantically getting through your “to do” list.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and with whomever you are doing it, always ask yourself, “How can this interaction be permeated with the quality I have chosen today?”

How to practice

Here’s a technique for this. Do it when you first wake up and often throughout the day to help you to remember and focus on the quality you’ve chosen:

Take seven slow, conscious breaths. Breathe in peace on the inhalation and breathe out anxiety on the exhalation. As you breathe in, also imagine that you are breathing in the quality that you have chosen for that day; see and feel it permeating your whole body-mind, and then, on the exhalation, see and feel its opposite being expelled. Really feel it and see it as you breathe in and out deeply and gently. [See below for a link to a guided meditation to help you practice this technique.]

Trust that as you learn to be consistent with focusing on your quality, you’ll be surprised. Besides the pleasure of experiencing the positive quality, you’ll find that whatever is most important on your daily “to do” lists is being accomplished more easily and effectively.

Note that this practice is an art. Don’t be discouraged if at times you just can’t seem to be able to keep your chosen quality in focus. In time you will get better at it. In time, as well, you will learn that losing your focus doesn’t really matter! Just notice that you have lost it, have a good laugh at yourself, give yourself a break, and then when you have calmed down, gently come back to practicing the quality you chose.

To recap: When you wake up in the morning, begin with your “to be” list, and then let the quality that you have chosen permeate your whole day. To help you stay focused, do the breathing exercise I described above as often as you can remember to. Do it while you are driving your car, standing in line, waiting for someone, etc. Also, you might find it helpful to post notes with your quality for the day where’ll you’ll be sure to see them. You can even write the quality on the palm of your hand or automate a message on your computer.

Just imagine, after a year of practicing this, how rich and full a tapestry of qualities and experiences you will have woven into the fabric of your life. I know many people who have turned their lives around by practicing this simple approach.

It is possible! Give yourself a chance; you deserve it. You won’t always do it perfectly, but it’s never about being perfect, is it? Remember, you can always, every day, in every moment choose “to be” filled with a wondrous joy, peace, confidence, love, etc. It is a choice, and it’s yours.You are a human being, not a human doing! Begin your day by putting first things first: claim your mastery and step into and experience who youwant “to be”today. Slow down, and you’ll get there fast.

Learn ‘not doing’ and everything will fall into place.

Lao Tsu
you’ve got to come out of the
measurable doing universe
into the immeasurable house of being


e.e. cummings

Click here to download…  a guided meditation that leads you in this practice of Creating the Experiences You Want.

The power of innocent perception

Last night I happened upon the movie, Maleficent, with Angelina Jolie, which is essentially the remake of Sleeping Beauty (with a brilliant twist).  It touched me deeply, as it plays into both my deep dive with the concept of cancer and what is happening in the world, where the prevailing message is, “Kill it before it kills you,” whatever the feared “it” is.

If you haven’t seen the movie, this is a spoiler alert because I am going to talk about the twist. There is such value in unpacking the potency of these archetypal themes, which we discount as fairy tales.

In the film, Maleficent is the evil sorceress who shows up at the King’s castle for the christening celebration and casts the spell on the newborn Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), so she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel at the age of 16 and fall into an eternal sleep. The only thing that will be able to wake her is love’s true kiss. The King makes it clear that Maleficent is unwelcome; everyone fears her unmatched power. The King takes all possible measures to protect the child, including having fairies take her into hiding to raise her.

Maleficent has full knowledge of this so she creates a wall of thorns between Aurora’s father’s kingdom and where Aurora is being raised. All attempts by the King’s knights to penetrate the wall prove useless.

As Aurora grows, Maleficent is always nearby keeping tabs on her. There are times when they interact. In each case, Aurora, who is the epitome of a Pollyanna, sees only good in Maleficent and perceives the world Maleficent rules over as magical.

The purity of Aurora’s heart and the persistence of her sovereign innocence begin to melt Maleficent’s heart. When Maleficent realizes Aurora is getting close to the age when the curse will take effect, she attempts to reverse it, but cannot. It must play out. A prince shows up and is smitten by Aurora; he’ll return later, on cue for the kiss.

As Aurora’s 16th birthday nears, the fairies return her to the King’s castle, and the fated scene begins to unfold. Maleficent risks her life to enter the castle, but despite her best efforts to prevent the spell from taking hold, Aurora pricks her finger and falls into an unshakeable sleep. The Prince is summoned to wake her with a kiss, but his kiss fails. A distraught Maleficent, looking on from behind a curtain, tells her servant that she made the spell the way she did because true love doesn’t exist. When the heartbroken Prince leaves, Maleficent draws near to Aurora and tells her she will never be able to forgive herself and confesses that she had been caught up in hatred and revenge. Grief-stricken, she kisses Aurora once on the forehead; the girl wakes, awoken by “love’s true kiss.”

Aurora asks Maleficent if they can go home, meaning back to Maleficent’s realm, but the King’s men storm the chamber. The soldiers assume Maleficent is still trying to harm the princess even though Aurora is screaming for them not to hurt her, and they unleash all of their forces on the sorceress. But now that Maleficent has redirected her power in service to love, she is stronger than ever. She is ultimately victorious, overcoming all the hatred that the enraged King and his knights have leveled at her.

Maleficent’s childhood wound, which turned her to hatred and revenge, has been healed by Aurora, who saw her as only good. Maleficent knows that she is both good and evil. In the end, it is she who reunites and restores the two kingdoms.

This is worth unpacking. There is an understandable distrust of Maleficent because of her track record, and the combination of fear and hatred on the part of the King and his minions did not allow them to see her differently. How true is this in the world where our trust has been broken and we cement a story and image about someone that doesn’t allow them to change? I have always believed that people rise or fall to our expectations of them.

Bringing about true transformation requires innocent perception. But whereas a baby may cry in the presence of anyone expressing intense, difficult emotions, as conscious adults our opportunity is to travel many paths and to discover which ones create suffering and which do not. We can then take that knowledge, apply compassion, and funnel it back through innocent perception. As Christ said, “you must become like a child again.” I would call this enlightened, innocent perception.

There is so much more we could chew on here, but for now I will end with a thought about good, evil, and power. They exist on a spectrum and those who have “mastered” either good or evil are at the ends of that spectrum. However, no “pure” state is ever achieved in which either darkness or light is totally absent; there’s always an element left that can be rekindled.

The more one focuses their intention on mastering anything, the more effective and powerful they are in that pursuit. By virtue of that, a master will have more power than someone who allows themself to drift and be influenced by others. I recently learned of the book Outwitting the Devil, written in 1938 by Napoleon Hill, which speaks to this. Hill’s family considered the book too controversial and prevented its publication until 2011. You can listen to the full book for free or get an 8-minute summary of the key points here. In the dialogue, the Devil says, “I can best define the word ‘drift’ by saying that people who think for themselves never drift, while those who do little or no thinking for themselves are drifters.”

So in essence, power exists in those who act with agency to bring about an intention. The intention doesn’t matter as much as the focus and consistent action toward that end. The universe allows for all expressions without judgement, knowing that all roads ultimately lead to the same learning.

Aurora, in her consistent innocence and commitment to calling forth love, was ultimately more powerful in dismantling hate and evil than all of the King’s men. We don’t have to fully embody hatred to get to the apex of love, as Maleficent did. However, the extent to which we can consciously touch upon the more difficult emotions, combined with innocent perception and compassion, will make our mastery of love more potent. The times demand our courageous commitment to this.

Image by tookapic from Pixabay

Have you switched on what deeply motivates you?

Welcome to the latest wave of *Fika for Your Soul*!

…In the context of freedom, what role do values play?

I’ve been given the chance to reflect on this this week. Challenges and opportunities alike have had me tune into my values and energetically realign myself and find the recharge I was looking for.

Values are usually a way to organise our beliefs, to separate good from bad, and right from wrong. To make sense of what we consider moral and ethical.

…The more I explore and work with values, the more I see how powerful it is to have them be an active part of our lives and not just a list hanging on the wall somewhere.

I’ve come to see that my values are a sacred part of me.

This is actually the first time I’ve phrased it this way. As I do so, I feel a jolt in my stomach, which for me is a sure pointer to a deeper truth in the words. They’re worth repeating: My values are a sacred part of me.

What comes up for you when I suggest that our values are a sacred part of who we are?

Is there a feeling of recognition?
A lifted eyebrow?
Rolling eyes?
Or, swoosh, don’t get it?

…In my work with values I often ask, “Do your values inspire you?” (If they don’t, it may be time for a review and a refresh.) Do they bring you a sense of expansion and depth? Of coherence and wholeness? Do they nudge you to take action? To change, grow, and evolve?

Recently, while reflecting on the state of the world…as one does…I was reminded of why keeping our values alive and active in our lives is so important. But I was also reminded of the reason why I started working with values the way I do, in the first place.

One weekday morning a few years ago I woke up to the usual news. Drama, devastation, dreary predictions and projections. Something erupted in me, “The world is going mad! It’s utterly bonkers! The greed. The divisive push-pull in politics and business. The ego-manic self-interest. The demonisation. The dehumanisation. For f@*k’s sake! We’re all grown ups. Take responsibility for your actions, reactions, and projections! What happened to truth, to decency? To seeing and treating each other as human beings? To seeing that we all have equal value?

In my heart I felt disappointed, and that particular morning it felt like life had lost some of its magic.

That said, not long after my silent rant I felt an inner nudge to ‘go back to basics’…

…’Basics’ in the sense of it no longer being helpful to rely on the outside world for my bearings, for my comfort, direction, and stability. I had to find my own.

Fast forward to now.

The state of the world is still topsy turvy, but since I identified my soul’s values I no longer feel lost at sea with nothing to hold on to. I am connected to my ‘something bigger’. I can channel any overwhelm through my values and quickly find my bearings again. Part of the values process I created back then specifically identifies what I experience when I am aligned with my values (which makes it super easy to know when I’m not), and how I need to show up, who I need to be, to be true to those values. That understanding of my own inner compass helps me keep my values front and center when I consider situations and choices from the most personal to the most global.    

This awareness, knowledge, and clarity provide a deep sense of freedom, as I’m no longer swept up by the hurricanes of the world. And if I were to get swept up, thanks to being connected to my values I know I could quickly find my bearings, my equilibrium, and my flow once again.

…As we discover and switch on what deeply motivates us (our values), our energy changes. We find ourselves being empowered, more open, and more attractive because we’re coming from a deeper place. And coming from a deeper and inspired place affects our decision-making, our confidence, our creativity, and our ability to show up with integrity, compassion, and ease.

There are three core questions that I ask in relation to finding one’s soul’s or higher values. To give you an idea of what the answers can look like, I’ve added my own.

(1) What are my values, what’s the desired outcome (or purpose)?
Freedom, Light, Truth, Courage, Deep Joy, Magic, Coherence.

(2) What’s my experience when my values are present, when I’m aligned?
There’s Gnosis, Inspiration, Unconditional Love, Engagement, Excitement, Transparency, Flow.

(3) Who do I need to be, what’s my daily practice?
Being Present, Showing Courage, Listening Deeply, Being Open, Being Humble, Being Expanded, Staying Tuned to Inner Wisdom.

Combined, the answers provide touch points at three levels: mind, heart, and gut. Super easy access to staying centred, grounded, clear, and in flow. 🙂

If you know someone who could do with a chat about their values, feel free to share this post with them. Alternatively, they can reach me directly by scheduling a free call here.  

As always, I’ll close with a question. What might your answers to the three questions be? How would you answer them if you explored what deeply motivates you?

..from my soul to yours,

Maria

Maria teased out, through brilliant questioning…and lots of Swedish chill out reflective vibe/ listening, that my actual values are Exploration, Gnosis, Leadership, Vision, Freedom & Growth. I highly recommend Maria to draw out and reflect back your highest values. Knowing my values makes me fearless, attractive, and confident in every decision I take because I’ve tested it against my values set.” –Frea O’Brien, The Prosperity Map

*Fika for Your Soul* is about connecting with inspiration from everyday situations and conversations. It’s about discovery, reflection, leaning into, and stretching beyond…how we may see, understand, and express freedom, exploration, and leadership (among other things), all in the context of our daily lives.

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels