Author Archives: Integral Living

About Integral Living

"On The Shoulders Of Giants" Sir Isaac Newton

Human Ingenuity


We can’t deny the polarities of the world, the bad that comes with the good. Like it or not, it’s a cycle that will continue long after we’re gone. So as far as I can tell, that leaves us with one humane option; which is to look at those things which are not inclusive, those things which are doing harm, and to use our amazing human ingenuity to solve those problems. I believe that the divide we experience between good and bad is the direct result of our denial, as humans, of being capable of doing harm. This denial is the chasm that separates us; whereas acceptance would provide us with the capacity to rise up, together, and create solutions. But so long as the initiatives, that are created to bond us together, are being torn down by our own people: it’s easy to see how we begin to lose grip of our togetherness.

A disenfranchised state is one that is easier to control and manipulate, than a united one…. It’s true that governments create and subsequently control policy; supposedly the result of a united country…. I think it’s finally safe to say that is not true. I may not be able to influence policy as one, but I have the choice to influence the way I respond to the state of the world, and amidst this chaos, I chose to stay focused on what has always mattered, what STILL matters!


The Tone Of My Voice


I long to hear the tone of my voice… what shape will it take?  What sound does it make?

She’s strong, passionate, relentlessly determined… She’s had to learn the territory of overcoming oppression.  She’s had to learn to over come oppression in a society blind to its own discrimination.  She knows that their ignorance is blind, only coming to light through impulsive sparks of rage; spurring into a mask of righteousness, to cover up their shame.

They think awareness is the devil; ashamed to see how they really feel, ashamed to realize the limitations of their autonomy.  They don’t like the emotion shame, it must be a sign to turn back, right?  How could anything good come from shame?  If they turn away from this part of their-selves, this part of the human experience, then that must be a good thing… right?

‘That is right!  I’m not ashamed!  No!  I’m much smarter than everyone else, they haven’t learned to turn away from shame like I have.  THAT is their weakness and my strength, shame is not a good thing, it’s a weakness and the only way to overcome it is to not do the things that make you feel it!  Idiots!  All idiots, shame isn’t real, it’s unnecessary, a waste of time, how stupid everyone must be for believing in shame!  I’m so glad that I can live without shame, how good is that, how smart am I.’

Yet, she’s ashamed for us, not out of weakness, but of strength.  They type of strength that is capable of carrying such a heavy weight.  The type of strength that is built through seeing all humanity as one, like a timeless net endlessly emerging from the past and forever casting into the future, she embraces shame and in turn the whole race of humanity responds.

To be human is to be flawed, but she knows that embracing our flaws and walking in their direction is the first step towards divinity.  She knows that we can never be autonomous from our flaws if we turn away from them, but in their embrace we can learn from them, heal them.  She knows that autonomy comes from being whole, integrated, considered.

She waits to hear the tone of her voice…




I Am A Woman

I Am A Woman

I am also a parent, wife, entrepreneur, friend, daughter, sister, client, service provider, philosopher, experimenter, independent, tax payer, patriot, American, contractor, straight-shooter, idealist, type A, honest, romantic, realist, customer, relative, creative, citizen, a person…

I also love music, dancing, writing, hiking, reading books, listening to podcasts, talking with my husband, being with my family, playing with my kids, playing with my dog, being good and what I do for a living, expanding my mind, putting together fun and creative ensembles, passionate about human performance and cognitive development, building a life I’m proud of, looking forward to creating a better future, obsessed with creating a different business model, I take my needs and wants into consideration…

This is the only conversation I’m willing to have.  I will not let the conversation stop at the singular fact that I am just a woman, I am so much more than just that, and I am just as capable of creating change as the next PERSON.

When I sit down to design a life I want to live, I focus on the aspects I can affect, the aspects I have the capacity to improve, and the fact that I’m woman has never once been a hurdle or issue with regards to this decision-making… never once.

We’re told that we become what we think, so how do we change the conversation?  How do we get people to understand that in order to move beyond these prejudices, we have to move beyond that conversation?  We have to start a new conversation…

How about ideas?  What if we talked in ideas?  How would that change the conversation?  That’s part of the problem isn’t it, we’re a country where no one can agree with each other.  A country divided between personal rights and religion, global warming or no global warming, republican or democrat…

I may not be able to get you to agree with me, but I can at the very least build my life to be an example of my beliefs, and they may or may not persuade you to agree with me, or perhaps even loath me.  Only time will tell.

We’re taught in school to create conclusions… yet we live in a world of flux and uncertainty.  What does that conversation look like?  Why aren’t we taught that in school?

I don’t expect the world to change for me, I will change myself.  I will become an example of the personal power we hold as individuals, regardless of our gender, generations or economic status.

I am human, and as a human I have access to all that living has to offer, good, bad or indifferent… that is my right as a human.

I’m creative, where others see boundaries, I see an opportunity.

I value the life I’ve been given to inflict some sort of positive influence, big and small.  Feet on the ground; I will raise my kids to look at people as people, as equal in the arena of being a human, and equal in the capacity to overcome any obstacle.  Head in the clouds; I work towards changing industry, towards shifting the way we look at commerce and the cookie cutter templates we currently work under.  I work towards getting people to find their inner strength and to see that inner strength as equal in each other, this strength a source power without a title, a source of creation, as the common ground from which all conversations begin in equality… a source of energy and is only interested in ideas, improvement, honesty and truth.

“Content of character”, content of ideas, content of the capacity to actually create change.  Change is not a right, it’s the result of serious conscious effort.  Change is not just a large-scale problem, in fact America’s history started with a few people with the idea of change, with the dream of a country of PEOPLE who would push the boundaries.  Somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten that.  The control is still in the hands of the many, but we’re divided.

So, I stand, as a woman, a human, an American citizen, and I choose to work on me.  I choose to believe that I have the capacity to create change, I choose to live that life, I choose to apply my efforts toward continuing the American dream.  I choose to eat healthy, regardless of fast food’s marketing efforts, I choose to listen to the fact that my body doesn’t like wheat, coffee or sugar, in spite of the current food pyramid, or America’s coffee obsession.  I choose to listen to my needs, in spite of being told by society to be a certain way.  I choose to take what seems to be the hard road to find truth, to find my voice, to reveal my purpose.  I choose to believe that I will be okay, I choose to believe that the world is working towards harmony, but that sometimes chaos is a part of that process.  I choose life, the life I’ve been given.  I choose to think outside of the box, instead of playing the same game as everyone else.  I choose to create industry in order to explore new and improved ways to positively influence the world.

I have the freedom to choose the type of life I want to live because of the country I live in, the power has and will always be in our own hands… I choose to accept this life and all of its challenges, I choose to live!

I choose to be more than just a woman.

Chains That Bind

Chains That Bind

Today I just can’t seem to quiet my mind, between the recent election and some other personal things, the noise running through my mind is loud, fast and not going anywhere.  When this happens I always turn to writing, if I can’t turn the noise down then I must get it out!  So I went to my personal folder, opened up my “writings” and came across a piece I wrote almost exactly a year ago today (11/13/15).  I can relate to this piece now more than ever.  It’s ending seems incomplete, but really I like that, it engages the reader to finish it, to think about it themselves and come up with their own answer.  I hope you do…

Chains that bind or channels that express?  We rebel against society, trying to break free from the culture that is laid under our feet the moment we are born.  Unable to escape we humbly retreat inward looking for salvation, and begin the revolution all over again in another attempt to jar loose from the psychology of our minds.  With new hope we eagerly get to work illuminating the deep dark contours of our psyche with the same wish as the last, is it possible to break free?  Can I set myself free?  Am I free?

Eventually over time we come to the realization that freedom may very well be an illusion.  As our culture, society and the experiences we’ve had in life are the very fabric that make up who we are.  After all, the culture we’re born into is as connected to us as the genes we’re passed down.  Although the journey to find autonomy may be an illusion, it’s one a lot of us experience, a common thread, one that leads us to discover something greater than just freedom.

The gift of society is finding ourselves, when we go through the trials and tribulations of modern culture, and subsequently get tossed around enough, we begin to discover aspects of ourselves that have been ever-present.  The constant needs or dislikes we carry with us day after day… We begin to discover the unique expression of our genes engaged in an eloquent dance with culture.  However, our unique expressions are not always clear, as one of the biggest challenges we face in modern culture is whether we like what we like because we like it, or whether we like it because we’re told to.  The only way to discover the different between preference and suggestion is to start asking why you like what you like and is it serving you?  Does it really fulfill your needs and wants?

Using the experience I’ve had asking myself the very question I pose here, why do I like what I like and is it serving me?  I’ve begun to discover one very important component, home.  How do you feel when you are there?  How connected are you to your family, your spouse, your kids?  Aren’t these people the very reason you do anything at all?  If so, what kind of connection do you have with your family and with your home, other than passing by each other on the way to another task, another responsibility, another item on your calendar.  The people in my home are the ones I will love the most my entire life, the ones I care more about above myself.  My home is where I recharge, where I connect with my family and be myself.  So if you looked at your “home” as the meter that quantified your actions and desires, and concluded whether you’re succeeding or failing, could you say to yourself that the “things” you’re chasing and trying to sustain are serving you?

Home is where it all begins…

Home is the stone that creates the ripple…

Home is where the heart is…

Home is what you make it.


Silent Night

Silent Night

Merry Christmas Eve!  It’s early Thursday morning and I find myself sitting with a hint of something to say lingering in my mind.  I’ve been very quiet lately, almost as if there’s nothing left to say, and so I sit watching quietly, observing actively.  I have some fear about this whole silent stage, I identify so aggressively with always having something to say.  It’s hard to see myself as someone with nothing to say at all, it actually scares me a bit.  Yet I’ve committed to a path of growth and this is where I’m at, so I must accept and move on.  Is there really nothing left to say, or do I just not know what the heck to do with myself?  Something that’s always bothered me about the path to expand and grow is that it’s labeled as being “groundless” and therefore cannot be explained, and is “everything” and therefore cannot be isolated.  So on one hand that’s sounds pretty great, but from the other I think that really sucks.  Mainly because why go on the path to grow and become enlightened at all if you can’t explain it and help others to do the same?!  Seems like a selfish pursuit, from the outside.

Yet It’s unavoidable, you must use yourself as the vessel on the path to Enlightenment, but for me the only reason I’ve persevered through some very challenging times is the belief that all this hard work will eventually result in helping others.  In the beginning of this journey I believed that how I would eventually help others would be in the realm of something formal, structured and deliberate.  Now I understand that sometimes our contribution to society is as simple as a prayer, you do the work on yourself and hope that is penetrates into the world around you; be in a an example, a breath of fresh air, the one who stops the negative chain reaction.  I’d still like to do something more formal, structured and deliberate, I’ll never give up that dream.

I want to help people raise awareness and find enlightenment, but I also want to caution people about the path as well, it’s like turning on a waterfall of information on top of yourself that never runs dry.  At first it’s overwhelming, relentless and can drive you mad, but over time you learn how to protect yourself from the constant flow of information.  You learn as time passes that all of this information and these things exist as the pulse of something much bigger, expansive and ever-present.  The necessary consequence for awareness is the bombardment of emotions that come along with it.  You’re not just being inundated with information but also with the emotion of that information, and that is when things get really intense.  This is when we start to experience the result of overwhelming misplaced emotions pent up on our bodies, as we reach for any sort of distraction.  The problem is that once you turn on awareness, distractions become less and less effective.  So you look for more and more to fill the bottomless pit of information and overwhelming emotions that come along with it.  Work, food, alcohol, drugs, vacations, electronics…  Admittedly, through this process a nice glass of wine every once in a while really helps!

The point of overwhelm is where silence is supposed to step in.  Your level of tolerance will only be unique to you.  Silence is essentially taking a step back to allow yourself to see the information from a different perspective, which is the first step towards working out your emotional connectedness to the barrage of information.  This is the point at which the chaos of life and overwhelm of emotions have reached a precipice.  You can no longer take any more, but addiction or psychosis are not acceptable outcomes, so you must move forward, otherwise the path looks grim and hopeless.  You must persevere.  So what’s next?  Silence, but not just sitting and being quite, actual pre-meditated and practiced silence.  It sounds so simple, yet how do you cultivate silence when you have an overwhelming waterfall of information falling on top of you all the time.  Fortunately, there are many bridges between the never ending noise of life and silence, it’s a path traversed many different ways, in all sorts of perspectives, not exclusive to the eastern spiritual path.  For this I am grateful.  Because once you open the doors to unfiltered information and you begin to see things differently, you never know what’s going to resonate with you once you’re ready to turn down the volume to the noise of life.

So I sit here with myself, deliberately quiet, consciously silent, as I watch and observe the expansiveness of silence and the comfort of no mind.  The aspects of myself that I cherish the most tremble in the light of not having a purpose in the place where everything is silent.  The Controller doesn’t know what comes after this, if anything, and that is terrifying to her; yet even in silence the Controller exists.  Silence is not without the aspects of the self, the self is completely whole in the place with no mind.  Ken Wilbur describes the expansion of consciousness as “transcend and include”, it’s been my experience that cultivating silence brings clarity to this description.  In other words, you grow not to leave everything behind, but to bring them along with you in a more integrated and healthy manner.  Awareness of the noise of life and conscious silence are two sides of the same coin.  Turning on your awareness to life isn’t so difficult, it’s an important and necessary step to growing, but it’s learning to turn it all down that is the challenge.

Learning to quite the noise in a healthy manner is something we’re not taught in school or in our day to day experiences.  It’s really only taught in the pursuit of spiritual development.  You experience silence when you put your faith in God, meditate, do yoga, hike, surf and so on.  The problem is that if we look at the aspects of spiritual development as an “escape” from the noise, then we are setting ourselves up for major disappointment when the noise returns, and sometimes interrupts our attempts to escape.  We also successfully put our spiritual practice in the same category as addiction, a means to isolate the noise, not to integrate it.  So yes even the spiritual pursuit can be manipulated to distract rather than to transcend.

I feel it only appropriate to pay homage to the meaning of Christmas with a quote from the bible that seems fitting for the topic at hand.  Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Merry Christmas!

A Generation Lost In Stress

A Generation Lost In Stress

Do we have a voice that’s not lost in politics?  A scream for help that doesn’t get lost in the noise of plausible deniability?  If the bigger picture can’t help us then what can?  I’m now well into my 30’s with friends ranging from late 20’s to early 40’s… and we’re suffering, big time.  Why?  What is happening to my generation, why is everyone so damn miserable and unsatisfied?

Over stimulation, I believe, may very well be the cause of all this stress.  At work, we’re constantly plugged in via our emails, which for some come in as a constant stream with the expectation that you must respond immediately.  When we get home we’re tied to our phones which plug us into what everyone we know is doing (among many other things; games, email and so forth) and how amazingly un-flawed their lives look.  The wonderful vacations and the perfect selfie.  This constant stimulation can and in my opinion is definitely causing some of our stress, but is it the only cause?  Other then the fact that we’re being constantly stimulated by our electronic devices, what else is happening?  Time, it’s taking away our time.

Time to talk about how we’re feeling, time to talk to our children about how they’re doing, time to make decisions about our lives and whether or not something needs to change.  Time to be present with our lives, to be present with ourselves.  This lack of time to be introspective within our lives and ourselves has us going mad with stress and the unrelenting feeling of dissatisfaction.  Our over stimulated lives have effectively become a sort of repression to our emotions, we’re now no longer a generation repressing emotions from childhood trauma, but rather from the trance of modern technology.  What’s worse is our culture feeds into the technology trance by it’s standards of behavior and expectations there in…  What do I mean by that?

Email used to mean that you could send someone an email and when they got around to it they would respond, be it 1 hour or 1 day, that was pretty standard, which basically meant you could check your email once a day.  These days people tend to use email as a chat room, if you’re not responding right away, then you’re a slacker, not a team player, damned by this crazy cultural expectation.  So people have become tethered to their emails… You could be working on a complicated task that will probably take you 2 hours to complete, but an email pops up, you respond, you start back up on the task where you left off, when the person you responded to emails question, and off you go down the ping pong working style that’s created as a result of this crazy email expectation.  This is not to exclude the unscheduled visits by coworkers to your office or work-space, the unproductive and distracting office meetings and so forth.  We’re wrought with distraction… The fact is that when you work in this “ping pong” style, details will be forgotten and consequently quality will suffer.

We have to start understanding that this way of “working” isn’t just effecting our work, it’s effecting our lives.  This reactionary way of looking at life is very shallow.  It causes people to make impulsive decisions without thinking them through.  It’s causing people to work behind the ball instead of in front.  It causes parents to only react to the behavior of their children as it arises… This is not okay.  We need structure, planning and time blocking… THIS isn’t just for the type-A personality.  This formal structuring is becoming a necessity among our generation.  Life has only gotten more complicated as a result of the technology boom.  Contrary to our belief that it would make our lives easier.  When you plan your day, it raises the awareness of everything that makes up your day.  It raises the awareness that when you’re in the mode of reacting you’re only ever touching maybe 30% of what actually makes up your life.  Therefore, it’s easy to conclude that if you’re living in reaction there is a good 70% of your life not being tended to.

I have a bleeding heart for my generation… We’re suffering, badly.  Health is deteriorating, therefore our quality of life suffers and we’re all going mad with stress.  It’s not just at work, but it’s also at home.  Either our kids are acting out, or our relationships are suffering.  We’re drowning in our lives to try and stay afloat with the standards of life.  The adage of roof over head and food on the plate is hollow and void of value to our generation, it’s become the only standard we can sustain.  Suffering may be a part of life and politics may be good at distracting us enough to avoid the core issues, but when a core generation isn’t thriving the system will self correct… Sounds familiar right?  We’re a political system set up to thrive as much as possible until the next unexpected event comes to correct the imbalance, we’re a political system set up to react.

It’s true that there are parts of life that cannot be predicted, but there are ways of designing your life to be prepared as much as you can for those moments.  When you get to the end of your life, the only thing you can never get back is time.  Time with your children, time with your spouse, time with yourself.  So if you’re caught in the rat race giving away your time to meet the diseased expectation of our currently overstimulated culture, then you’re giving away the most valuable resource you have for nothing in return.  Unapologetically protect this finite resource.  Plan your day to hit the pivotal marks of that day and stay focused.  Prepare to succeed.  As easy as it is to blame society for our stress and our current state of being, with the lack of help and consideration from our government, we need to take control back.  We as a generation need to realize that the power is in our own hands.  If we change behavior, so too will the behavior of our work places change.  We are after all a society set up to react to the behavior of it’s inhabitants, THAT is where we have a voice.  Change the way you move according to the way you want to live and watch the world change in order to meet that expectation.

Don’t loose your voice through the noise…

Don’t loose your voice through the noise…

Hello… is there anybody out there, just nod if you can here me.

My mind swirls with the chaotic memories that make up my current life.  Now at an age where responsibility is at an all time high, invisible chains tether me to the various aspects of my life that require my constant attention, and pull at me relentlessly.  Like the ocean swell, the chains of responsibility tug and wane, sometimes coming from all directions.  The vessel made of of my body and mind gets me through the turbulent tug-o-war of life.

Set adrift among the ebb and flow of life, where am I going?  If I were a boat set to sea, would it not be with a destination or a goal… a purpose?  A vessel without a captain is destine to deteriorate, find itself adrift, vulnerable to the ebb and flow of inevitable currents.  Captain my captain where am I going?  What is your purpose, what is the thing you’ve always been drawn to do?  The thing that no matter how good you’ve gotten at being rational, objective or “realistic”, you’ve never been able to compromise?  Is that your Captain?  Is that the thing steering the vessel of your life?  Because it should be.

The thing inside of me that has always steered my decisions… Shes a relentless bitch, a tough teacher.  I can see her saying “Oh cute, you think that making ‘that’ decision will make you happy.  Sure Sweetheart, go ahead and give it a try.”  Knowing very well the tough lessons that lie ahead.  She’s passionate, unforgivingly so and will settle for nothing less.  No shortcuts, never a shortcut.  Only the long hard road for me.  Driven to find passion in all things.

I believe we often think of passion objectively.  You’ll hear things like, I’m passionate for (fill in the blank).  This template for passion sets us adrift for some-thing that will fulfill our happiness.  What I think my tough inner teacher is trying to show me is that passion is not a thing, it’s an action.  What if you made life your passion, what would that look like?  Well life is made of a lot more then just any one singular thing, it’s made up of so many things, could you be passionate about all of them?  Is there enough time in the day, or a lifetime?

Rachel, you want to connect with people.  You want to understand suffering… you want to heal suffering.  Why can’t you see that suffering is essential to growth, it is growth.  This thing that suffers in the prospect of change, it’s not you.  Change anyway.  Sing, sing into your writing.  Cry into the abyss.  Connect.  I’ve been pushed to grow, not for myself, but for the suffering of the world, for my passion of life, for this amazing experience to live, the ultimate gift.  I didn’t ask for this…  This has just always been my voice.  I don’t always listen or hear my passion through all the noise of life, but she never goes away.  She’s always eagerly waiting for my return, with a loving and tough embrace.  She keeps me on track and moving forward.

Don’t loose your voice… Keeping singing, keep searching, keep trying.  We need to hear you!