Our New Paradigm


I didn’t know my strength until I was broken open. Life dealt circumstances that woke me up or was it my soul shaking me awake to my potential?


It takes a catastrophe to wake up. Would I have woken up otherwise? Who wants to stir when routines and expectations are so comfortable?


Disasters shake us awake.
Helplessness demands self-care and positive action.
Loss teaches us we are not alone.
Death is not the end.

Welcome to the new paradigm. So often I hear “I can’t wait for life to go back to normal.”

Normal is living with expectations.

The new paradigm is living in expectancy.

The world is demanding our attention.

Drop the rocks that hold you back. It is up to you.

We can focus on fear or we can focus on blessings.

We can sabotage our ease or we can stop pushing against the tide.

Our brains are teachable. We are the teachers.

We are smart. We are worth it. We deserve love.


Be like the tree and grow into the strength you want.

Walk to the edge of your limits and see beyond your beliefs.

There is a grand movement emerging.


When we wake up and see with our hearts, we are surrounded by love.

When we wake up and quell our fears, comfort comes.

When we reach beyond our solid beliefs, we find answers.

With your breath, grow your roots and become a tree.


Start with intentions and Act as if.

We are stronger and wiser than we believe.


The Oak Tree

by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr


A mighty wind blew night and day It stole the oak tree's leaves away Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark Until the oak was tired and stark But still the oak tree held its ground While other trees fell all around The weary wind gave up and spoke. How can you still be standing Oak? The oak tree said, I know that you Can break each branch of mine in two Carry every leaf away Shake my limbs, and make me sway But I have roots stretched in the earth Growing stronger since my birth You'll never touch them, for you see They are the deepest part of me Until today, I wasn't sure Of just how much I could endure But now I've found, with thanks to you I'm stronger than I ever knew


Participants' Reflections:

  • Thank you for the reminder. I love that thought ‘be a tree.’ It’s a powerful attitude. I’m glad you reminded me. I’ve been so overwhelmed this past week trying to do so many things plus try to get a vaccination appointment. I’ve been driving myself crazy. It’s such a good reminder to dig in deep with my roots and do what is in front of me and rest. Sometimes, I don’t have to be a doer, I can be a be-er, and just be. Thank you.

  • Your opening line said something about being broken brought change that you never could have foreseen. Years ago, I led music at a church for homeless people. It was the most meaningful setting I’ve ever been in. Because when you are homeless, you have been broken open. There is no mask, no façade, and it was always such a real time. Being in this group reminds me of that. In this group, our masks are off and you model that in your reflections. Thank you ever so much. I feel so real when I gather with this group.

  • I know that when I do hospice work there is no pretense. There is only authenticity. To me, that is truth. It is so powerful because of that. It is living, breathing in and out only truth. It is so incredibly powerful.

  • Speaking of hospice work and truth, I read Saved by the Light, a book by Dannion Brinkley who was struck by lightening twice. It changed his nervous system so that he could hear people’s thoughts. When he went out in the world, he was disgusted by what people were thinking, so he became a hospice worker because that’s when he could hear people thinking their absolute truth. It’s at that moment facing our deaths that we become the most real. I met him. It was a strange situation with him standing in front of me, my knowing he was reading my thoughts. I didn’t know what to say so I just went up and hugged him. We made a heart connection. It was very powerful.

  • Thank you for what you said. I loved the poem about the tree. During the meditation, I thought how I’ve never felt strong. I’m feeling the least strong I have in years. Some day, maybe we could all meet and we could hug one another. I’m going to try to picture me in the middle and all you wonderful people around me. My roots could go into the ground and connect with all of you. We could give each other strength through all of our roots. (as this was said, people on the Zoom hugged themselves as a way to give each of us strength)

  • I was in a session “Aging as a spiritual practice.” We were asked to figure out when lightening struck us and we realized we were aging. There’s a moment when you realize, I’m getting old or I’m old. For me, it was when I was 22 years old and I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I remember the fear. I had just graduated. I wanted to start my career. I was afraid no one would hire me because I walked like an old lady. I am sure it made a huge difference in my life. Other people recognize pains in their knees as they age, it’s no big deal for me, I’ve had pain in my knee for decades. I’m concentrating on things that are more meaningful than whether I’ve got a few aches and pains. I am grateful.

  • The phrase that spoke to me was ‘act as if you’re stronger.’ I don’t know why it stuck with me. I worry I suffer from an imposter syndrome when I am pretending, but the image I had was of a connection like when we plug our cell phones in to recharge the battery. I had an image of connecting into the universe and pulling in all this energy and strength. Connecting to that divinity. I was able to send that love out so much stronger today to all of you and to the people in my heart. It’s that connection or acting as if I am stronger and I am stronger.

  • Act as if you’re smarter and you are smarter. Act as if you’re loved and you are loved. Fake it til you make it. In our authenticity, we can fake it til we make it. It’s getting past the gate believe we can’t. If I can imagine that I can do it, then I’m there. So I fake it til I make it. If you imagine you can do it, you can do it.

  • I want to add that your image, you are half in light and half in dark. At times, it’s right down the middle. It looks like a two-color shirt. It’s a beautiful reminder to use the phrase we are light beings and yet we are also human. Just a beautiful visual image of the reality of that.

  • This morning, I was reflecting and taking in this fear that I carry around. It’s a familiar fear. I don’t always know what I am feeling fear about. Usually, it’s around my concern for my health and for my spouse’s health. I see a perspective that I didn’t see before that is a lot more pervasive in my life. It’s like it has antennas in so many directions. What I became aware of is that there is a fundamental part of me that doesn’t trust I can take care of myself. It’s such a powerful piece of why I get so frightened. I think it has a lot to do with losing my mother at an early age and it being a theme throughout my life. It’s just there. I found a way to be comfortable with this belief as opposed to the other piece of me which can take care of myself, is competent and able to do whatever I need to do. I think that’s what my blessings is. Feeling my strength.

  • What a wonderful awareness because essentially you got in touch with a core belief. A belief that was born out of an experience that was then embodied. You learned to live with the fear and turned it into a strength. This awareness may help you release this core belief. I use positive affirmations to help me release painful core beliefs so I can fully be present to my blessing of strength.

  • You’re blessed by both the experience of your ability to care of yourself and the awareness of a core belief of abandonment. Instead of ignoring the feeling of abandonment, it’s an opportunity to create an affirmation that frees the core belief.

  • I don’t get the idea of a core belief in an affirmation.

  • You spoke of losing your mother at a young age. It is in a sense feeling abandoned and not being taken care of. It hurts a lot and the painful hurt is held in the body. At the same time, you’ve grown up and are doing things to take care of yourself. Still that core belief resides in your energy field. Words are very powerful. By using an affirmation such as “I am safe” or “I am capable,” it sends an inner message to encourage your core belief to know a different story. It’s a blessing to get in touch with a core belief. A core belief acts as a filter we see our world through. When we hold our wounds hidden within, it has a looping cycle of pain that stays hidden. When we address this pain, we give it the gift of release. I have a sign on my wall “I am safe, I am happy.” My primal wound had me believing I am neither safe nor happy. I have that message hanging all over the house. I don’t even see it half the time, but I read it like a subliminal message that works on my core belief.

  • On the issue of aging, I am dealing with aches and pains. But in the last year or so, I’ve been feeling blessed, especially after my recent brush with mortality. I’m not a big believer in astrology, but I am a Taurus and I bull my way through a lot of stuff. I feel like I’m in a state of grace now, after recovering from Covid. Thanks to this group, I feel more at ease and more insightful and able to see trends in my life. I feel wonderful.

  • We all deserve it. There’s no good or bad. We all experience these wounds and they take up space, and we learn from them as they are ready to come out.

  • I just want to add to this wonderful conversation that for me, this wound related to a lack of trust in life. Distrust in god. When I start healing that, everything shifts. It’s an important piece, I have skills, abilities, I have resources within me to survive. As well, I can trust other people to not hurt me. And the big key, in me, was trusting in the divine. And making sense of why bad things happen, but restating that trust was a key.

  • I believe we learn from every experience, no matter how horrible it is. It may take years for the learning to emerge but there is learning. Forgiveness is not about condoning harmful behavior. Forgiveness is an act of self-love to soften our grip on the pain, and accept what we feel, learn from it and release it.

  • Thank you. We walk right up to the edge in these discussions. We can choose to hang onto the hurt and hold onto the pain and ignore the learning. There is learning in every experience and it takes our breath, it takes courage, community, and it takes self-love and self-worth to look and take action to remedy core beliefs because it’s all about loving ourselves. I wish you all a gentle day.