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Happy New Year, Dear One. I hope this message finds you well and happy as we greet this new year – this collective shift into a new gear, the heading back to the light, right in the soulful dark of winter.

As you read this, I am on retreat into meditation and quiet to mark the turn of the year. Though I love teaching on New Year’s Day so much, I felt this year I needed a deep dive into stillness, and an opportunity to work on my conditioning without any distractions. 2016 has been such a call to action, has drawn me so close to the necessity of my own contribution, that I know I need to start clear and straight in 2017. There is no time to luxuriate over my choices, as I mentioned in my last newsletter. Instead, I am called to take action, and I have lots of offerings coming up in 2017 to support my life’s mission to support people in discovering and living their true self worth, and enjoying a life with Spirit at the centre.

Each year I teach on a theme that I begin in my New Year’s class, and that informs my whole year of offerings. It’s a vital statement of my heart’s intention, and one that has unfolded a world of wisdom and unexpected joy. My theme last year – A Year of Divine Enchantment – has brought me deep into a whole new experience of gratitude and abundance, and a new relationship to the Divine in general and my vision of my Self specifically. Too much to say here – about the WILDNESS of the Divine and how enchantment isn’t always enchanting (but is certainly powerful) – but it has been rich.

What were your 2016 intentions? What unfoldings of your own heart have spoken new truths and shattered worn beliefs this year?

It took me some time sitting to hear the 2017 message within me – but when it came sailing forward it resonated deeply:

To Open the Eye of the Heart.

When I first met the hugging saint Amma, I wasn’t so impressed. I mean, considering there was a menopausal woman hugging countless strangers before my eyes, for hours on the trot, without food or a trip to the loo or serving any personal needs whatsoever… you’d think I would NOTICE. But I really took it for granted. I thought – ‘Oh, here’s this weird Indian stuff and these kooky people all jostling around.’ I didn’t see a high act of divine service. I saw a cultural phenomenon that I didn’t fully understand that was both non-threatening and not altogether interesting.

I was 25 years old. My view of the world was narrow, but I thought it was very big and open. I would have called myself open-minded. Now I know – my heart, the real essence, wasn’t open yet. But at the time I wouldn’t have understood what that term meant. I would have thought – of course my heart is open! I’m so emotional!

Now I understand the heart to be vastly more than my emotional receptivity. The Heart is a term that refers to my embodied awakened relatedness to everything. It is the Truth-Seer. The Vision – and the experience – of the inter-connectedness of All. And the embodied knowing of the primacy of the Heart’s vision.

In a world of such divisiveness, I can think of nothing more significant than to open the Heart Vision, at the collective and individual level.

Years after that first encounter with Amma, I was suffering deeply. I was begging (I mean, actually begging) one of my teachers for help, and he asked me if I had asked Amma about this. I looked at him furtively, and said no. He knew I had no idea what she was, and what she was capable of. He practically guffawed at my ignorance, and told me to make a bee line.

And so I did, by plane and taxi, and I asked her, in my mind as I approached her, to show me EVERYTHING she had. What IS she capable of? I wanted to know.

When I got up to the front of the queue, and she took me into her arms, I was astounded by the unbelievably pleasurable sensation the arose within me. It was as though someone has unleashed a flood of nectar from the centre of my skull, and it was pouring down my spine, bathing my insides with the most luscious sensation I had ever had.

For weeks afterwards, I actually SAW differently. When I saw people in conflict, it seemed so strange and even sweet, like watching children at play. I felt this intense and glowing kinship with everyone I saw; and all I could say, when asked about what was going on with me- is that I was seeing through the Eye of the Heart for the first time.

The intensity of the experience faded, and all of my concerns and the vicissitudes of life became louder and the Heart Vision became quieter. But the awakening was more than the experience I had. It was the beginning of a profound and significant process – one that I sense is the birthright of every embodied soul.

And so this year I take up this mantle as a living question: what does it mean to see through the Eye of the Heart? Knowing it is more than my behaviour and my choices and my intention. How is the Eye of the Heart showing up now, at this moment?

I had a deep experience this year when I got very close to someone who has not shared an experience like this, of heart opening at this level. I could see him not SEEING – missing so much of the richness of life. Yet I could also see both his longing for it, and simultaneous denial of it as a possibility at regular turns. ‘I want that!’ and ‘Oh, that doesn’t even exist…’ Like a kind of painful revolving door of human potential. Watching this turning away from the Heart, even as it’s sustaining and empowered reality was so desired, really opened my compassion for him, and for everyone who feels that call and doesn’t have a language for it.

for everyone who is convinced that the old stories about what is true still hold
(where the Vision of the Heart sees anew)

for everyone who calls this narrow nest freedom
(where the Heart simply flies)

for you if you feel pain, and it doesn’t go, and everything is fine, so why is this pain here
(where the Heart Visions a way to hold and then release and all in perfect time)

for that gripping competitiveness that pits you against those you wish to love
(where the Heart Vision sees opportunity)

And, perhaps most of all –

for the overarching dullness of undiscovered life, and the sad and broken world it creates
(where Heart Vision greets a Supreme Enchantment at every turn)

I am called me to talk about this, to presence this matter this year.

Life can be so confusing. There are so many conflicting needs and desires and so many forces interrupting our nervous system stability and so many dimensions of our Selves to feel and discern and just so much going on. As the incredible chef and my beloved friend Heather Umlah put it, ‘Life gets really LIFEY.’ In other words – even when you’ve opened up the Heart Vision, the necessity of all of the doings and forces in life can pull you astray from Heart Vision.

So –

what is the status of The Eye of Your Heart? Are you called to open and expand your Vision?