Journey of the Heart from Inside My Skin

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I wanted to take a little moment to share with you all what our Journey of the Heart program is from inside my skin. It’s been so hard to talk about this deep and profound program we offer because it doesn’t fit into a nice neat description. It’s one of those things that if I wasn’t teaching it and someone else was teaching I’d say to you, “Just go do it! It’s awesome and will change your life!”. But I am co teaching and saying that feels a little uncomfortable. Yet it’s true. So here we go.

If you were to tell me 10 years ago I’d be coleading a course where we talk about our feelings, strategies for working with them and skills for connecting to spirit I would’ve nervously laughed, diverted the conversation and planned my immediate exit strategy from you and the conversation.

You see, I am a very private person when it comes to my inner world, including my emotional/psychological work, my spirit practices and yes, my innermost feelings. Well I guess I need to correct that, I was a more private person. (Please don’t worry, I’m not about to start dumping them all out here right now…I’m not that public.) Over the years I’ve worked hard to look at my own limiting beliefs and behaviors that were preventing me from opening my heart & mind and causing much suffering to me and my close people. Nothing special or spectacular, just the garden variety of coping mechanisms learned when I was young that no longer served me. 

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As for my connection to spirit, that was even more private. My coming out process regarding my spirit connection has been incredibly slow. I would so much rather sit with you out with the canyons or trees than talk about spirit. “Please! Can we go sit with the plants instead of talking?” or maybe show you a picture.


And yet here we are, Kris and I are getting ready for our second go round with Journey of the Heart, our year long program that requires I share, talk and teach from these places. I can’t hide behind blabbing about physiology & science (ok I can a little). I “get to” show up – out in public – as my whole, big hearted, deeply connected self. And invite others in.

What is this Journey of the Heart program you ask?

Kris and I have taken our 70 years of combined experience of being fellow humans/seekers/learners, with our similar & different backgrounds; therapist, teacher, program leader, cultural competency trainer, student of the mind, feminist, outdoor leadership, primitive skills, crafter and crafted it all into this Journey of the Heart program. 

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We decided to create a space & curriculum for fellow women travelers to land, form a community and journey into the rich & deep inner landscape.

The five weekends spent together over the year allows us to drop into the seasonal-themed lessons while we are nourished by the land, each other, working with our hands creating beauty and plain ol’ good food cooked for us. The curriculum balances deep guided introspection with hands on crafting and integration time creating physical representations of spirit and the insights we gain.

Yes, we spend time crafting each weekend, for good reasons. 

We need time to integrate what we experience over the weekend. I love making things with my hands. I love the feel and sound of community as we chat & laugh while we craft together. This companionship & camaraderie is ancient in us. We don’t know our longing for it until we experience it again. Spending time together making a gourd bowl gives us a beautiful container and it allows time to integrate the lessons learned earlier in the day, giving the heart and mind a break from the deep dives to percolate what’s important to us. It also allows us to fulfill our destiny of being the “hands of god”. We can do things with them. As Martin Prechtel says, “we feed the spirits with our handwork.”

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Now some of you might be saying, “I am horrible at crafts, I can’t do that!”. Maybe you are. Or maybe you haven’t had the time or space to practice. Maybe you’re having flashbacks to 6th grade art class? This is not that class. The only similarity is we provide all the materials and set them out for you to play with. Other than that, the environment is safe and supportive for you to nudge yourself into trying. There’s enough room even for you to wander off by yourself to a quiet spot under a tree to craft there if you’d rather get inspiration from the green ones. 

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Inspiration comes from many places. We recognize as we are building this community together that we need some common framework. Along with setting the framework during the weekends, we also have books we read while we are apart through the seasons. Again, please no panicking, it’s usually one book in between weekends together and there’s no test or book report. If this course is not for you, you might find some of these books helpful or interesting. They have been integral in paradigm shifts within me. Here is the current list of some of the books we work with.  

  • Rising Strong by Brene Brown
  • Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
  • Belonging by Toko-pa Turner
  • Sacred Instructions by Sherri Mitchell

The final piece of our program is the land itself. Kris and I are stewards of this beautiful patch of land and know that the real healing comes from folks showing up here and getting to re-member who they are in connection with the greater world. We may provide some of the container for this healing to occur, but the land herself does a majority of it. The fact that folks come, leave their cars, phones and other flat screens behind while they walk and sometimes sleep on the land allows a space for deep & real insight and healing to occur. We are so grateful for the blessing of living and working here. 

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If after reading all this you are interested in the program, click here to read more about it, find the dates when it’s happening and see if it’s for you. Thank you my friends for taking this time and listening to me share from this more private place.

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I'm a researcher, educator, guest lecturer, and co-founder of Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials in Van Etten, NY.