the forest

9:00 AM I started out the day with a beautiful, long hike through the forest. The plan was to hike through the jungle to the beach, spend some time taking photos and then come back. I am a pretty experienced hiker so a four hour day-hike isn’t really a big deal. I only set aside the entire day because I had to take a train for just under two hours from the city I was staying in to get to the small town where the trails began. I brought the appropriate amount of food and water for the day, got on the first train out to have an early start and was really excited to finally make it out to the figure-eight pools. The hike down was great. I was moving along the coastline so the views were amazing the entire way down. The beach and figure-eight pools were more than what I expected. I took my photographs and began to make my way back. When I hike sometimes I like to listen to music or a podcast, especially if it is a longer hike, so I am not in total silence for several hours. Somewhere along the way I deviated from the path. This had never happened to me before, but I was going through some pretty thick jungle and that made the path hard to see. Normally I wouldn’t worry because the worst case scenario was that I would have to retrace my steps until I found a point I recognized. I quickly remembered that wasn’t the issue. The main problem was that the town outside of the jungle is so small that the train doesn’t run there that often. The last train was at around five pm and it was nearly half past three. The hike is two hours one way and I wasn’t sure how long I had been lost for. I could’ve tried to find a shortcut, but I didn’t want to risk being more lost than I was. Did I mention the way back was all uphill? I also needed to walk from the trailhead to the train station which was about a twenty minute endeavor. I was also in a foreign country so it wasn’t like I could call any family or friends to come get me. There were no hotels nearby either since it was so far out in the jungle. I essentially had two options: a) spend the night camping with no gear or b) run like hell.

3:32 PM You don’t need to get lost in the jungle to understand the feeling that I am talking about. We have all found ourselves in situations where we weren’t exactly sure how we got there in the first place. All we can do is focus on finding a way out. It is an essential energy within the classic hero’s journey. We begin our adventure with some apprehension mixed in with awe and enchantment along the way. This essence appears any time you are experiencing something new. Think back to an initiation you went through. Was it one of your first days of school? Perhaps the first partnership you ever experienced? First day at a new job? First time saying “I love you”? They are all extremely daunting at the time when we have no idea what awaits us. Will I make any friends during my first day? Will this person be “the one”? Will I enjoy this job more than my last one? Do they feel the same way about me? Every new experience like this is an opportunity to step into our power in a new way. This is what happens when we take that dive into the unknown with something we aren’t yet comfortable with and don’t know how we will come out on the other side. There are new dimensions of power, like treasures, hidden all along the forest. How much you embrace being in the unknown with an open heart will determine how many of those treasures you bring back.

3:40 PM When we experience a new manifestation of the unknown, we go in totally blind. Sure we have our previously accrued knowledge and skills to guide that will help us for the recognizable elements of the voyage. However, if it is truly a dimension of the unknown then we need to be totally open to the inevitable learning experience that awaits us. We are very likely to get lost along the way. That is nothing to be afraid of. Similarly to any other mystical adventure, we will discover some variation of friendly allies to help us out. All it takes is being open to their assistance as we move deeper into the journey. It is hard to tell exactly where they will come from since we have never been in this forest before. They could be a teacher in a class we are struggling in, friend to support us in our new relationship, mentor who provides some sage advice, or some aspect of ourselves. All of them are available as a compass. In my case, I was lucky to have the ocean. As long as the ocean remained on my left I was heading in the right direction. They are all happy to offer their wisdom, we just need to welcome them in with an open mind and heart.

3:58 PM While we feel lost it is important to not lose our heads and hearts. It is so tempting to break down and think that you are lost forever or that there is no way out. No matter what unknown forest you are in, your heart already knows that you can take care of yourself. The narrative of someone coming to your rescue is far past outdated. You need to be the one to show up for yourself and keep yourself calm so you can make your way through. This is especially crucial when you are in the middle of the jungle and it doesn’t seem like you can see your way out in any direction. Your usual senses and logic won’t work. You need to be the one to bring the patience and serenity.

4:44 PM: You may go into the unknown forest with a plan. I love plans. I love having the original plan, four backup plans and then eight backup plans for every backup plan that may fail. You may be wondering, “well if that is true, where were your thirty six backup plans that day in the jungle?” Fair point. My real backup plan in any unknown jungle is myself. I love taking all sorts of new adventures that are way outside my comfort zone. I run just over twelve kilometers daily and love a good twenty kilometer run occasionally. One of the two worst case scenarios involved me running back to the point where I got lost and coming all the way back. Even though it was uphill and through the thick brush that was still feasible… though I would have been in serious trouble if I injured myself. That is exactly what I did and I proceeded with care. No matter what, you need to know that you can always rely on yourself. You are your own greatest guide no matter what the situation is. The location of the hike was out of my comfort zone since I had never been to that park before and I was already in a foreign place. The hike itself wasn’t as novel because I love spending time outdoors. There are so many situations where we think we are totally out of our element because the form is different. When we look at the core elements, we realize we have more that enough to guide ourselves to find our way through. Besides, we are already in way too deep to turn back. Now is the time to embrace the unknown in our hearts and face the challenge head on.

4:59 PM Nevertheless, there are things that throw us off or completely through a loop that we may not be able to rely on previous experiences for. That doesn’t mean we can’t still rely on ourselves. You may just have to reach deeper into your heart than you expected. For instance, I never knew I could run that fast after already being pretty drained. I had to dig really deep for that one and didn’t stop until I was out of breath at the train station. I slept the entire ride home. The jungle will challenge you far beyond the limits you thought you had. That could mean anything e.g. cracking problems you didn’t think you could, loving something within someone else you didn’t imagine you would be called to, standing up to someone kindly, or loving yourself in a new way you didn’t think was possible. We cross those unimaginable thresholds before emerging on the other side.

5:02 PM The wonderful thing about when you make it out of the forest is that you are so relieved and you can imagine doing it again. Sounds crazy, right? I mean we did just achieve the impossible… why would we ever put ourselves through that again? Despite the fear, density, and uncertainty you may have experienced you can still feel the leftover magic and wonder. Every time we make friends with the unknown we are enticed to return. Amongst the unknown are not only new dimensions of yourself that are waiting to be unearthed, but also the overwhelming potential of strength you feel from within.

6:11 PM: You will probably also have a brilliant story afterwards. You will definitely have a new dimension of resilience that you didn’t previous know was within you. Your heart is far beyond equipped to handle any manifestation of the unknown. You just need to tap into the trust you have for yourself.

6:29 PM: When we build trust with ourselves, there is nothing we cannot handle. This has always been true, but now we are more aware of it. Even though you may not know what every forest looks like in its entirety with all of its twists, turns and tricks, you know you have the ability to adapt. You know you have the ability to reach down within yourself and pull something out to guide you.

7:00 PM The forest is a vessel to know ourselves in ways that ways we couldn’t have possibly conceived before. Every adventure into an entirely new forest becomes this practice of transforming the unknown within ourselves into something that is known that we can integrate into our daily lives.

7:00 AM The colorful, multilayered, mystical, vibrant forest is always ready for you. What is really fun is not knowing the specific manifestations of the dimensions of self that we will discover but realizing that they await us in a new adventure.

with love, katie

1:00 PM: I found out later that the shortest hike is about three and a half kilometers… I am still glad I took the long way.

thanatos

The first time I experienced death was when my grandmother passed away. I didn’t know what to expect because any other family members that passed away during my lifetime did so much earlier in my life or I didn’t know them very well. It wasn’t sudden. We all knew it was coming since she had stage four cancer. It was more of a matter of when than anything else. I went to visit her with my mom whenever I could. She lived in another country so I only got to see her every couple of months. My mom was up there every other weekend when she was really sick and it became clear that they needed to start preparing for the inevitable. The last time I saw her we spent all day together in the hospital. She couldn’t really do much more than sleep and watch television. I just stayed with her and we would talk in-between when she had the strength. When I said goodbye, I had a feeling that because I didn’t get to see her that often that it could be the last time. I just kind of knew that I wouldn’t see her again. A couple weeks later I was visiting a friend for the weekend and my mom was visiting my grandmother. That Sunday my mom messaged me from the hospital and I didn’t think much of it. My mom isn’t a huge fan of texting so when she does it usually doesn’t mean anything. She calls when she really needs something so I figured if anything happened she would just call me, as she always does. When I looked at my phone, I had a feeling that I should call just to say hi for even a couple of minutes. My mind reassured me that in the past if there was something that was pressing, my mom would call. I trusted my mind and ignored what I felt. My grandmother passed away some time that night.

I know what you may be thinking: that is a really sad story. I am truly thankful that this happened. It seems to be a part of human nature that we remember “bad” things much more easily than the “good”. Someone could have given us the most beautiful compliment this morning, but somehow we still remember if someone didn’t like our pants seventeen years ago. I really don’t understand this phenomenon, but it is absolutely real. This feeling to give my mom a call while she was still with my grandmother in the hospital was incredibly subtle. If I got that feeling and then called my mom, I wouldn’t have remembered it. Sure I likely would have thought, “thank goodness I called yesterday so I had a chance to speak with her one last time”. I wouldn’t have remember the reason why I called in the first place. Thankfully, I said my goodbyes when I last saw her because somehow I knew then that that was the last time I would ever physically be with her. Even with this, I already had my closure. I remember this very clear, yet subtle feeling because I didn’t listen and she passed away within twelve hours. This is the only reason I remember and I can never forget it. I will never forget the power behind that feeling. I am very lucky that I get to feel that way about it because I was ready for what I knew would happen for weeks. What I was not ready for was everything that followed her transition. I loved my grandmother very much. I wouldn’t say we were extremely close like some of my other cousins were with her because they all lived in the same country. I only got to see her once a year and even less so when I was at school. I personally don’t believe that we truly disappear after death. The way I understand it, my grandmother is in my heart and that is equally as powerful for me. I can feel a connection to someone’s spirit no matter where or when they are. Even though she is no longer in a physical form and we cannot communicate over the telephone anymore, she is still here in a different way. Granted, my point of view could change if one of my parents or close family members passed on. I can only work with what I know for now. Ever since her passing, I have felt closer to her than ever.

My grandmother gave me the most beautiful gift when she passed on which was to always trust what I feel in my heart. I wouldn’t say that I am psychic now or anything like that. I didn’t have a feeling and then think, “oh I must call my grandmother because if I don’t she will be gone by the morning”. I don’t view intuitive feeling that way. I felt this call to connect with her, but I didn’t receive any details. I didn’t know that this would happen. It just so happened that that was the night she died. Whenever I think back on it, I needed to learn to trust my heart far more than I needed one last goodbye. I already said goodbye weeks prior. One of the few things my mom and I have in common is the way we think of death since what matters more to us is the totality of the relationship instead of the last moments. For some, the last moments are very precious. It may be connected to how you feel about death, what you believe the space between death and life is, etc. There is no wrong way to feel about it. My mom has so many memories with her mother and for her it wasn’t the last moments that made the relationship, it was the years they had together over my mom’s lifetime. I always tell people I love them whenever I end a conversation on the phone or if they are leaving to just go out to get groceries. Nothing in this life is guaranteed, accidents happen all the time. They may not happen to us regularly, but they do happen. For whatever reason, I can’t forget that. Even when I am so upset with someone or in some sort of argument, I say within an hour that I love them (depends on how bad it was and how long of a cool down there is). My grandmother knew how much I loved her over the duration of our entire relationship. What I really needed was to learn how to trust myself moving forward. There was a lot going on around the time that my grandmother was sick. All of it stemmed from this place of me not trusting what I feel. I ignored it up until that point because I didn’t think it mattered. This is the only time I could see very clearly that what I felt wasn’t random. I needed this more than anything in my life at that moment.

Following your heart doesn’t seem easy all the time when your mind has different plans. Weirdly enough, what happened with my grandmother was a low stakes situation because of the way I view death. For someone else, this would be devastating and filled with regret. That would be totally justified. I really needed it to happen this way to see that when you pay attention to your heart, things shift immediately. You cannot waste any time. I was in the worst spot of my life and had no idea my lack of listening was the cause. I really needed something that would give me that push. My grandmother’s death was a push large enough so that I would definitely pay attention, but not so huge that I would get lost in grief. Everything happened within such a small window so the message was crystal clear, no two ways about it. There was no room for any excuses or for me to say, “well maybe it doesn’t mean that”. I could not ignore the fact that I felt to call her, decided not to, and that was my last opportunity. It wasn’t in a negative way, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more there and that it wasn’t up for discussion. You need to find the way that your heart communicates to you and always be open. I was so closed off at the time to my heart that I wasn’t listening to anything it was saying and it was causing me so many problems. It was only after when I understood through that experience the power and knowledge that I had within and that I needed to start listening.

When I allowed my heart to be my guide, everything changed. This did not happen overnight. It took nearly ten months. I am that stubborn sometimes. It was definitely because I was so afraid that a lot in my life would have to change. I was right because I was basically living under a rock where I could hear the pleas of my heart to listen. Meanwhile, my life was falling apart. I was falling apart, for completely different reasons that were there long before any of this happened. This was loud enough so that even under that boulder I didn’t have a choice of whether I wanted to hear it. During those ten months, I never forgot the wisdom. It took me awhile to crawl out from under the rock, but I made it. Her Love* was everywhere with me. It was guiding me in ever situation since the day she died. Every time I ignored my heart, I felt the same way that I did when I did the night she moved on. Every time I tried to get back underneath the rock, I knew it was time to gather my strength and face whatever I needed to head on. She also helped me understand and heal so many situations that had the same energy, way before she was sick. I was able to piece myself and life back together. As an expression of Love, even in “death”, she was my closest guide. I believe it is still important to grieve and mourn in the way that we need to for as long as we need to. This is not about totally disregarding who she was when she was alive and here. She was a remarkable woman and generous soul that changed the lives of her loved ones (that was a lot of people). This is about recognizing the eternity of the soul and that her spirit after death is just as important as when she was alive. Her Spirit as a form of Love has always been here, before and after physical death. You can understand this without being insensitive about death or as some sort of coping mechanism to emotionally bypass the inevitable. It really depends on what you believe happens after death. Whatever feels real to you is all you need to know, no matter how it manifests. If what you feel comes from Love, there is no reason to fear death.

It can be easy to oversimplify death and describe it as transition. I use the word transition to refer to death because as I mentioned before, I don’t believe anyone is completely gone just because you cannot perceive them in the way you were used to. My connection to my grandmother strengthens everyday. Death is not something that can be contained with words. It is always happening and omnipresent. Everything around us is going through the cycle of life and death. We are always witnessing the end of one being and the birth of another, whether we realize it or not. I am sure there are times when you feel like you have died and come back a totally new person. That is an equally powerful transition. We are forever changed when we feel the cosmic energy of death. It is an immense shift, unlike any other. Whether we witness it within ourselves or someone else, we learn that we don’t have control over what happens in this life. We all have our own personal timeline and know who we are meant to be along the way. We can sense those who have gone through this same experience. We know who has been through death and come back because they have this way about them. They have so much compassion, wisdom, and Love to share. Sometimes it takes letting go of a previous identity in order to land in that place.

With her death, I was reborn. One of the most important lessons I needed in my life was to use what I feel in my heart as my compass. Every single instance I of pain I have ever felt was because I was not listening. This was being reflected in every area of my life. It was in my mental health, emotional health, physical health, academic life, family relationships, romantic relationships… it was absolutely everywhere. Before this I would look around and wonder what the f*ck was going on. What was causing this mayhem?What did they all have in common? Me. Through my grandmother, I learned that what every single situation had in common was that I was ignoring my heart and experiencing the consequences. Once I realized this, I had no choice but to make a change and my life was unrecognizable afterwards. There was suddenly no more room for bullsh*t. There was no more room for me pretending not to understand what felt in alignment for me and what wasn’t. I was able to lie about it to myself before and very well. My grandmother helped me to know better. As soon as I knew better, I had to do better. I had to show up for myself with Love. Anything else would be me actively trying to not do my best. I couldn’t live with that. I would be dishonoring her and myself if I did. There are also so many simple lessons from death. We have a finite time here in this existence. I couldn’t waste anymore of my life not being myself and creating from Love. One day, you and I will both move on. For someone else, our Spirits will be here. They will receive the unique Love you decided to create and give in whatever form they need, if that is what you choose to do while you are alive. We don’t carry our bank accounts, credit cards, houses, phones, books, clothes, educations, etc. with us. The last time I saw my grandmother on Mother’s Day, she was surrounded by people that appreciated and deeply loved her. I love her spirit. Her soul is eternal. Not everyone will perceive her that way and that is okay. Her Spirit is meant to be here for those who are meant to receive it. Yours will someday too.

When we have seen death in our own lives and come back completely new, we know that there is nothing we can’t face. The changes I needed to make were hard. I wasn’t used to being myself and making decisions from Love. But when you go through something as difficult and magical as that, you know you can conquer anything else. There is truly nothing more uncomfortable than the change that happens within you. Everything on the outside comes and goes. You are stuck with you for a very long time. When you go through death, something needs to die. It is very uncomfortable to live with the part of you that needs to die and then even more uncomfortable when it eventually disappears. We get so used to a certain threshold of being uncomfortable that when even more discomfort seems to appear on the horizon, we resist. We don’t know the Love that awaits us on the other side. There is nothing more easy and graceful than knowing yourself as Love. The hardest part is over.

I never felt an intimate connection to my ancestors before this. I didn’t understand when people would talk about things like connecting to ancestors, ancestral wounds, ancestral healing, etc. There is a time and a space for everything. We all come to understand in our own way if we are open and we are meant to. I feel completely protected and connected to my grandmother as one of my ancestors because of this whole experience. It is not some sort of abstract concept to me. I directly saw what happened when I began to pay attention, even to the smallest things and saw their impact. Paying attention with an open mind and heart will give you everything that you need. You don’t need someone to die in order to know the wisdom that surrounds you. They are all different dimensions of Love in different forms, waiting to shower you with knowledge. Your ancestors have exactly what you need in the form that you need it. I used to think of my ancestors as my great great great great great great great grandparents. I have no idea who they are. I am unsure of the official definition of “ancestors”, but open it up to anyone who came before you. That is more than the perfect place to begin.

When we face death, it reveals our Truth. I love my grandmother so much because of who she was as a human and for guiding me to the Truth of myself everyday. I don’t hear her telling me what to do or see her when I am in the kitchen making dinner. I feel her all the time. She showed me my soul. That is the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. I didn’t even know it was possible. I had no concept of what that would look like and there is still so much more to uncover. I just needed the push to begin exploring that relationship. It is a gift that continues to create within itself, the gift that keeps on giving.

As you can probably tell, I feel very connected to my grandmother’s death and everything that it brought into my life. When something dies, something else is born. It may not be as linear as you expect. We are all connected to the cycle of life and death in this way. How are you connected to death? How has death brought you life?

with love, katie

*Love/Higher Self/God/Source/Spirit/Creation/Consciousness/Unmanifested/The Eternal/Soul/Everything/Nothing/All That Is/Infinity/The Unknown/The Witness/Being/… you fill in the blank…

the one

Non-duality is one of the hardest things to write about, but it is also one of my favorites. It is hard to describe without getting twisted around or confused about the picture I want to paint. The difficult part of distilling our experiences of non-duality into words is that we do it without any of the other dimensions of senses such as what we see, feel, hear, etc. that we experience when it washes over us. Consider a time when you saw this world through the lens of oneness. What was that like for you? Our world is constantly defined by individualization and separation. For instance, think about the quintessential journey of “finding ourselves” that characterizes being human. We put so much emphasis on our own self identity that experiences of non-duality are far and few between. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort and surrender to even get a glimpse of it if you aren’t used to being in that state. Those who spend more time in this realm of oneness have a stronger relationship to it, but it is available to everyone equally. The extraordinary thing about these moments is that we all have our own, personal relationship to non-duality. Thus, we all have our own unique experiences of non-duality. Where it gets really interesting is that our understandings of non-duality are specific to us but simultaneously all of them are the same at the core. There are generalizations that we can understand but don’t feel like a perfect fit because they aren’t tailored to us. It is like how we can all try a slice of cheesecake, but our third dimensional senses aren’t all the same so not everyone will have the same understanding of cheesecake. If we all described cheesecake to someone who has never tried it, they would get the gist of what we were saying and understand our individual interpretations when they eventually try it for themselves. However, our own analyses won’t capture how they personally experience it when they try cheesecake for the first time.

My first ever “download” (strong knowing that came out of nowhere) was about non-duality and an experience of non-duality. I was abroad, very homesick, and in the last couple weeks of my trip. I was panicking about something fairly stupid… it was a boy actually. Okay so it wasn’t that trivial at the time because I am someone who really values strong friendships. My personality isn’t suited for a bunch of friends I have known for a short period of time. I am far too introverted. Most of my friends I have known for at least nine years and I have some that I have only known for about four or five. (That’s a decent amount of time for how old I am). All of that aside, I promise I am not that dramatic of a person and there was a lot going on on top of this at the time. This friendship was very special to me and we were going through a rocky patch. I was very uncertain about how everything would go when I came back and was so anxious. It didn’t make it any better that I was literally on the other side of the world while we weren’t speaking. I was probably extra crazy because I wasn’t sleeping well. I was lying in my bunk with my seven other roommates, trying to drown out the noise and figure out how to calm myself down when suddenly this knowing came into my heart. I immediately felt so much better and didn’t worry about whatever was plaguing my mind again. Even though I was a ball of stress moments ago, I just knew everything was going to be okay. It was a combination of a knowing and feeling. It is a weird sensation to put into words, but it is like you just know something that you didn’t one millisecond ago and you suddenly feel filled with peace. It was like whatever I was worrying about ceased to exist. Luckily for me, the knowing did have a third dimensional form of the words, “we are all working together on the same team”. Sound pretty simple right? There are millions of sayings about teamwork, being one unit, etc. out there, but I could feel the power, the immense Love*, and multidimensionality behind the words. They felt alive and magnetic, as if they had their own spirit. The energy behind the words is the experience of non-duality. It was as if I was a container of infinite amounts of Love and those were the magic words to unlock the vessel. Love poured into me unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Now anytime that I want to experience this, I just say the magic words.

What I needed to know at the time was that no matter what appears to be happening within the material plane we know as the universe, our souls are all working together from a place of Love. No matter what seems to be separate, difficult or anxiety inducing, it is all coming from Love. We all have something to teach one another, we all have something to learn from one another. We are all mirrors for one another that reveal our capabilities for Love. We are all one universal family, a cosmic community. When we connect to our true identities as Love, we connect to the Love within everyone and everything. We all have different expressions of Love to bring to the table. I could truly describe this knowing for hours, but all of these phrases mean the same thing. I have never forgotten its medicine because it is with me every day in the shape that it needs to take to guide me. The spirit of the medicine is always changing form, but the energy and Love remains the same. Usually the theme of the third dimensional words has to do with something along the lines of Love and community, but it doesn’t have to be to achieve the same feeling. It just depends on whatever is right in the moment. Think of all of the ways that we are one unit instead of how we are different. We spend so much time defining ourselves. What if every time you thought about how you were different from someone else you thought about how you were connected? How do you experience connection? There are infinite ways to answer. Don’t get lost or overwhelmed by how other people may describe it. What feels natural to you? I have heard plenty of people describe their trippy experiences of feeling the soul of the world in their bodies, seeing different otherworldly beings, experiencing weird sensations, feeling themselves move toward a column of blue light or seeing God. I know someone who sees the connection and Truth of the world through auras. I tried really hard once to do the thing where you stare at a white wall through two of your fingers… it didn’t work. My eyes were just strained. I was seeing double with no out-of-the-ordinary colors. That’s not how I was meant to experience connection. It can be any and all of those things because there is no wrong way to experience Love. It doesn’t have to be complex, it actually feels very simple.

This timeless, universal knowing is the inspiration for the name of this space. When I got back home, I didn’t understand what I felt and didn’t know how to talk about it with anyone else. It felt like a mix of connection, love, and serenity… but that didn’t do it justice. No matter what combination of words I came up with, they didn’t fully capture the feeling the way that I wanted them to. I did what many other people do when they are moving through something they can’t explain: I wandered into a crystal store. It was less of a wandering, I had to drive an hour and a half to get to the closest one. I was very skeptical of the way I heard of people interacting with crystals. I wasn’t sure if they actually had special powers, but I needed time to think anyway so I didn’t mind the drive. I had a couple from the previous summer when my friend wanted to drop by a crystal store after work. I got a couple out of curiosity but didn’t really touch them after. My favorite was the rose quartz, but I thought that was because my favorite color is pink. Thus, I didn’t pay attention to the attraction I felt. Rose quartz is for when you want to welcome in love and compassion into your life. I was also told it was an essential crystal to have so I kept it in my back pocket. When I was in this store, the next summer, I found three that I really liked. One of them really stood out to me. It was the most stunning crystal I had ever seen and I knew I had to have it. It gave me the same feeling of magnetism and Love I had when I received the download weeks before. The crystal was cactus a.k.a spirit or fairy quartz. Cactus quartz is for when you need cleansing, purifying, amplification, harmony, alignment, peace, freedom and universal love in your life. It is also for merging with your interpretation of Love as your Higher Self and cohesive relationships. I felt the same attraction to the crystal and its meaning like the magic words that graced my heart. I was still confused, but I kept it in the back of my mind. Weeks later when I had all of my crystals out, I noticed that a combination of two crystals I had perfectly captured what I experienced that day: rose and cactus quartz. Everything that I knew in my heart about our connection to Love and to one another through our our connection to Love seemed to be held within the two crystals. Back when I was traveling, I received a message about “teamwork” because that was all my mind could comprehend. If I heard what I was writing now back then, it wouldn’t make any sense. It is the same essence, but it needed to come through in a different form for me to connect to it. When our minds are at different stages of alignment with our hearts, the medicine comes through the language that is the most appropriate so you can receive it. I could talk about this download for days on end because it has been applicable everywhere in my life, as Love and unity usually is. Whenever I feel disconnection, I channel the feeling of the download by reminding myself that when we connect ourselves as Love we connect others as Love. In those moments of disconnection, I remind myself of what it is that I know instead of following the narrative of separation from my mind. It only takes a brief moment of connecting to however non-duality shows up for you for it to shift your entire perspective. I was able to put together the pieces of my puzzle because I followed my heart every step of the way. I followed my heart by listening to it while I was abroad, when I was in the crystal stores and again in my bedroom as I pieced it all together. Follow your heart and a new plane of existence opens up for you.

This knowing doesn’t belong to me. It is here to guide everyone that wants to connect, but it will likely not look the same for you. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t come up with it. I don’t own the intellectual rights or anything. These simple expressions of Love are available to anyone who is open to them. Love comes through as a guide in infinite different forms, there really is no limit. It comes through in your personal language. Our languages, just like our relationships with Love, are multidimensional. If you are more visual, you may see how everyone is connected. If you tend to me more auditory, you may hear oneness. I don’t really know how that specifically works since I don’t really see anything quite like that but you understand. They can be combinations of different ways of perceiving Love e.g. mine is feeling and knowing. The Spirit of Love is independent of space and time because it is able to guide you, me, our loved ones and people we haven’t met yet all at the same time. It comes through in the form that we will welcome or the medicine that we need the most. It comes through in a shape we will understand. It is so personal and unique to us. Even within the way I know Love, the words have changed over time to fit where I am in my evolution, but the Spirit remains constant. Everything I have been talking about this far could be gibberish to you. Even if you don’t experience it the same way, if you have your own understanding I am sure you can appreciate what I am expressing.

I really believe we need to shift the way we connect to one another. There is so much disconnection that plagues us, which I believe explains a lot of the pain on this planet. Do you ever notice how we all have our own theories behind what is happening and why? They are all basically the same thing in different words when they are rooted in Love. I believe we are all designed to be able to bring a different expression of Love to the planet. My Love comes through the concept of connection, in its simplest form. How does yours come through? They are all welcome because they are all amplifying Love on the planet. That is all that matters. There are so many outdated things that keep happening that we really don’t need because are not allowing Love to come through. They don’t take much effort to change. Kindness is very simple. Remember the moment you may have needed someone to just be more kind and understanding. What if you offered that to someone else? You need to be kind to yourself first. There are so many things we say to ourselves that we wouldn’t dare say to our friends, children, parents, partners or even strangers! It is easy to see the way that someone treats themselves through the way they treat other people. The next time you are in a conversation, listen to the words that the person is saying, but also notice the invisible dimensions of the exchange. See if you can pick up on that person’s relationship with themselves, even if they are talking about what they ate for dinner last night. It doesn’t matter what they are talking about, their relationships with themselves and Love are reflected everywhere. It is important to do this so you can begin to see it everywhere and realize that your relationship with yourself as Love is also reflected everywhere. You spread the essence of that relationship everywhere. It is important for us to be conscious of this invisible, yet very real, footprint we leave behind. Treat yourself with kindness and watch how you will naturally do that for everyone else. Instead of thinking that we all need to compete and fight with one another over every little thing, what if it was your mission to look out for everyone as if they were your own family? For this to come naturally, you need to know how you connect to the Love within yourself so you can connect to the Love within “other people”. It needs to be yours. You will recognize it when it comes. Through your own relationship with Love you will know the Love within other people and the connection is known forever. We all have the capacity to unite with every living being and every spirit in all of existence. The connection has always been there, you just need to acknowledge it and bring it into your daily life. You don’t need any special tools or anything other than yourself and a willingness to commit. This is not some sort of inaccessible, abstract concept. It only seems abstract because when anyone else describes it, other than yourself, they are describing their own indescribable personal relationship. There are so many thoughts out there about how you can feel that you are simultaneously one and a part of Consciousness or how all duality seems to fade away within the Everythingness/Nothingness of Existence. No amount of words will ever do it justice. None of this helps you if it doesn’t come from you.

How do you find the way Love speaks to you? Quiet and stillness are great places to begin. I am not great with sitting still for hours on end so it didn’t come through in a meditation. The first time I connected to the download was in a time of disconnection. Disconnection feels very heavy in my heart so understanding how I could have connection anywhere or at any time was very powerful to me. The theme of disconnection/connection has been very present in my life. It doesn’t surprise me that this is the way I know Love and healing in my life. This is something that I really care about. I can even feel it as I write about it now. The way you know Love could have something to do with a core wound of yours. It isn’t because all evolution has to stem from great pain, you can evolve from a gentle place. Any core wound we have that follows us throughout life gives us an opportunity to show up for ourselves as our own healer. It is as if it is our own, specialized training opportunity in a unique area of healing that only we can do. We show up for ourselves constantly, giving ourselves the Love that we need in those moments, tending to the same wound with the same medicine. With all of this training, we are cultivating our own relationship to Love. Since it is so special to you, it is important that you embrace the training so you can show up with you whole heart and bring your specific medicine to the world. Love comes through to me as connection because I am very used to always healing the disconnection, in its many forms, within myself. Pay attention to the themes that seem to connect the dots of your life. It is reflected everywhere so you don’t need to look far. Those are your clues for how Love speaks to you. Where have you had the opportunity to show up for yourself to Love yourself? Begin there. You can also meditate for six hours, hike a mountain, or move to Nepal. Love is inside of you wherever you go so you can see it within yourself anywhere.

When you connect with your own Love story, be vulnerable and share it. It can inspire others to find the way that they have naturally shown Love to themselves. You can perceive the world from numerous lenses, including duality and non-duality. All of the lenses exist equally and simultaneously because they create one another. Does light exist without dark? Try imagining the world without any source of comparison. Duality doesn’t exist without non-duality and vice versa. Through our experiences of duality where we need to provide Love to ourselves, we learn how everything is an expression of Love i.e. the world is non-dualistic. It is dualistic and non-dualistic at the same time, depending on which lens you are looking through. Through our experiences of darkness, trauma, and resilience, we learn how to Love ourselves and that there was nothing but Love there in the first place. Our experiences of duality allow for our experiences of non-duality. Sometimes we just need a little push to access it. This is an experience that unites us all. Love is always creating within itself.

When you unite yourself with Love as Existence, you are able to be a vessel that gives and receives infinite amounts of Love within one moment. The connection is impossible to break. It may be possible to ignore if you want to. You can leave and come back, but once you feel the warmth of Love in your life, you won’t want to leave. Love has so many different unique languages that we can access that enrich our lives. You are always able to learn from the medicine you have to offer yourself as Love.

This is who you are. You are a loving, accepting, compassionate human being. I don’t believe that we are built to ignore, disconnect, and exclude one another. This blocks us from our natural intimacy with the world. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

Love creates within itself. The beginning and ending of all things is Love.

with love, katie

*Love/Higher Self/God/Source/Spirit/Creation/Consciousness/Unmanifested/The Eternal/Soul/Everything/Nothing/All That Is/Infinity/The Unknown/The Witness/Being/… you fill in the blank…