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“Cept” is a root word meaning to take or receive.

I love words and enjoy playing with them (even though I nearly failed Linguistics in college!)  Looking at them from different angles sparks my creativity and helps me understand myself. Let’s look at a set of words that all contain the  root “cept” and have important implications for selfcare. We’ll start with the most obvious ones dealing with the physical body, as selfcare is very often equated to care of the physical body or care of the person via the body.

These words all have a place in the realm of yoga, which of course, is one of the main ways I help clients develop their selfcare. How many of them are familiar to you?


Exteroception – awareness of external stimuli, be it temperature or birdsong

Neuroception – ability to feel safe and/or sense threat

Proprioception – awareness of the muscles, joints, and bones and their relationship to each other and to external space

Perception – cognitive/mental sensing

Interoception – internal states and sensory processing

Pranaception – breath awareness


Not all words that include the root of “cept” are related to the body, but the following 4 words still have an important connection to selfcare, but tend not to have a positive or negative charge in and of themselves. When you look at them, what comes to mind in terms of how these words might be impacting your selfcare?


Inception – the beginning or start

Conception – the act of conceiving or creating something; the birth process

Interception – preventing or stopping something in progress

Reception – a welcome, greeting or acceptance

Exception – objection (or criticism which perhaps would take ‘exception’ into our  next category)


Now I share with you a short list of “cept” words which symbolize the energies which we must guard against in our selfcare. As you consider each one, what comes to mind in terms of your own selfcare, perhaps more so on the mental/emotional than physical level:


Deception – acts of falsehood, hiding or distorting the truth

Misconception – a misunderstanding or mistaken notion

Misperception – a false or inaccurate idea or belief

Preconception – an idea or belief made without all the necessary information

Susceptibility  – to be easily affected or swayed by one’s emotions or to succumb without critical thinking


Now consider the following 2 types of ‘ception’ that describe spiritual acuity. Do they have a place in your current selfcare?


Pneumaception and Brahmaception – sense of the spiritual or subtle

Numaception – knowing of the unseen


Words are just words. And yet they are incredibly powerful and can give us tremendous insight into ourselves and our entire belief system. Words are often used to manipulate and control us (think advertising and propaganda). But they can also give us insight into how we operate and areas of our lives that are closed off to our true potentials.

You may have the best of intentions when it comes to selfcare. Yet you may find that your methods aren’t improving your quality of life. If your physical selfcare is short-circuiting, I have some questions for you.

Have you ever:

–worn clothing that felt uncomfortable but instead of getting rid of it, continued to wear it?

–chose the stylish instead of sensible shoes and walked until you got blisters?

–were so busy that you forgot to eat?

–just wanted to get to your destination, so didn’t take car breaks on a long journey?

–sat in an uncomfortable position so as not to disturb others?

–got to the end of a long day only to realize you hardly drank any water?

–practiced a yoga pose even though something didn’t feel right?

–sit with your legs crossed so long they go numb?

These may seem like fairly insignificant discomforts, but each of these is a sign that somewhere along the line, you lost touch with your physical body, what I often refer to as your avatar, and failed to selfcare. Maybe it comes down to our conditioning around no pain, no gain. Maybe it is a belief that we have to try harder, do more, go bigger. Maybe we’ve learned all to well to invalidate our own experience. Or maybe it just boils down to a lifelong disconnect between mind and body (ironically the antithesis of yoga which is meant to unify mind and body).

So here’s how these kinds of habits can short-circuit any attempts at selfcare. I’ll use yoga as an example.

Someone might think, “I’ll take a weekly yoga class so that I’m doing some selfcare every week.” But here’s the thing; it isn’t enough to show up in a yoga class once or even three or four times a week. It’s more about how we show up. Are we present and aware or just going through the motions? As a yoga teacher (or yoga student!), I am sometimes astounded to see students (or teachers!) who are quite obviously uncomfortable push through some position or pose. Even when given a cue to check in, often they still don’t realize that they are doing something totally unnatural for their bodies.

For example, not everyone is comfortable sitting in easy pose with the legs crossed. I give options for comfort and yet, it is sometimes like pulling teeth to get a student to take the initiative to grab a blanket to place under the hips or to move against a wall so that they have back support and don’t have to try so hard.

Or I witness a student finally start to unwind in savasana, and so invite more time, but as class is coming to an end, I still have to get others up and ready to close. What inevitably happens more often than not is that the student will spring to attention with the others. Unfortunately, practicing bad habits reinforces them. They become so automatic we don’t even know we’re doing them and therefore can’t question them. We think we’re engaged in selfcare when we’re really, in essence, just pretending.

Mastery of awareness is the road to transformation.

So here’s my challenge for you. Over the next week or two, commit to discover all the ways you covertly deny your body whether in a yoga class or out. Are you: stifling a yawn, holding in a fart, overeating, holding your pee, indulging in an addiction that makes you feel ill, whatever it may be. Take a few notes and every time you catch yourself, no need to judge yourself. Just affirm to yourself, “I am committed to authentic selfcare.”

There’s a hashtag out there called #selfcaresunday.

#selfcaresunday. It’s a great idea, right? Give overworked, overstressed, overextended people a reminder to take some time out for themselves. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but in my opinion, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. The problem with our Western way of life, which frankly has infiltrated globally, is the idea that selfcare is something like church that we attend once a week to relieve our sense of guilt over mistreating others, only in the case of selfcare, it assuages the guilt we have over mistreating ourselves: “I’ve worked myself to exhaustion all week. Now I deserve to read my book for an hour,” one justifies only to dive headlong into repeating what wasn’t working in the first place…working one’s self to the point of exhaustion every week.

Selfcare, as in taking care of one’s self, shouldn’t even be a thing, if you ask me.

How about #selfcareeveryday! Selfcare shouldn’t be something we have to be reminded about or have to carve out special time for. It should be as natural as the rising and setting of the sun. It shouldn’t be a once-a-week treat. It should be ongoing, daily activities that one attends to whenever and as often as one can. Selfcare is a devotion to the self, this little God-given avatar with which we live our lives. It’s not meant to be a part-time hobby or something we really have to think about, plan for, and fight for.

Trouble is, for so many people, it is exactly that. It’s a battle. We have to fight our pressing responsibilities. We have to resist the expectations and needs of others. We have to wrestle with time and limited hours in a day. We have to plan ahead instead of just designing our lives for selfcare in the first place.

I’m telling you, selfcare doesn’t have to be so hard.

Nor does it have to be something so disconnected from who you are. Selfcare is first and foremost an attitude, not some switch to turn on when you remember it. Self-care is a vital aspect of overall health and wellness. It involves taking time to nurture yourself, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Easy Steps to Selfcare as a Way of Life

  1. One of the simplest but also most effective ways to incorporate self-care into your routine is to start your day, every day, with a few moments of quiet reflection. This may be prayer, a few words in a journal, or a few deep breaths to set an intention for the day ahead.
  2. Another important aspect of self-care is physical activity. Whether it’s a gentle yoga practice or a brisk walk in nature, moving your body is essential for both physical and mental health. Make it a priority to engage in some form of physical activity every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  3. Daily mental and emotional selfcare can be as simple as practicing mindfulness or meditation or as involved as seeking out the support of a mental health professional or group if needed. It’s about feeding your mind with wisdom and learning to understand yourself and the ways you suffer. Youtube offers a wealth of short to long videos on wellbeing.
  4. Self-care also means setting boundaries and saying no to things that don’t serve you. This can be challenging, especially if you’re used to putting others’ needs before your own. But self-care is not selfish; it’s an act of self-love and compassion that enables you to show up as your best self in all areas of your life.
  5. Finally, don’t forget to indulge in some simple pleasures. Many are under the impression that this alone is selfcare, but it is really just one facet of it, and not nearly as important as the other four. Still, whether it’s a bubble bath, a cup of tea, a good book, or a special chocolate, taking time to enjoy the little things in life can do wonders for your mood and overall well-being.

Prioritize YOU

It’s true that by prioritizing your well-being and making self-care a natural, integrated part of your daily routine, you’ll be better equipped to handle life’s challenges with grace and ease. But that is just a great side-effect to selfcare. Selfcare is something to do for the sake of itself, out of the love that you are. Be kind to you!

Need help prioritizing your selfcare? Why not schedule a session with me? I’m here to help.


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Coach, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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So have you played with ChaptGPT yet? I was going to avoid it, but then my French teacher suggested I use it in my studies. It’s been an incredibly helpful tool, and I’ve even used it for other research.

A Positive Message for Humanity?

In a Facebook group I am in, someone posted a “positive message for humanity” constructed by the AI ChatGPT. They asked it to ‘create'(I use that term loosely) something as if it had come from an ascended master. The message was indeed positive and outwardly loving, warm, and expounding of human ideals for a better world. Some who read it were even deeply touched or uplifted having read it. Here is a sample of the passage:

Love all, for love is the foundation of all creation. In the eyes of the Universe, there are no exceptions. Every living being is a unique expression of the Divine, deserving of love and respect.

Respect each other’s freedom, for it is a gift from the Universe. Allow each person to walk their own path, to learn their own lessons, and to experience their own journey.

Do not judge or discriminate, for all beings are equal in the eyes of the Universe. Honor the diversity that exists within humanity and celebrate the unique gifts that each individual brings to the world.

Protect and preserve the natural world, for it is a reflection of the Universe’s beauty and grace. Treat all living beings with kindness and compassion, recognizing that they too are expressions of the Divine.

Fascinating! My thought was, though, that perhaps this has implications in tuning one’s intuition for false messages, empty words, and manufactured talking points which is a current plague deeply affecting humanity’s ability to discern truth from the false. It is very easy to simply project our own feelings and meanings onto a technical configuration of words and thus, find it inspiring. Yet this is unfortunately what we do when our preferred politicians, corporations, or celebs give good lip-service blinding us to their true intentions (or lack of them).

I wondered whether people would be able to distinguish between an AI message generated by ChatGPT and an actual teaching from a sage, for example. Would people be able to discern which was which? That would be interesting!

My ChatGPT Experiment

ChatGPT vs. Indian Sage

So I decided to conduct some experiments of my own. What would be the result if I asked ChatGPT to create a teaching in the style of the nondual sages of India such as Ramana and Nisargadatta. This is the result:

Greetings, seekers of truth. I am here to share with you the timeless wisdom of nondual teachings, which have been passed down through the ages by the sages and saints of India.

At the heart of these teachings is the recognition that there is only one ultimate reality, which is pure consciousness or awareness. This consciousness is not something that can be grasped or understood by the mind, for it is the very ground of being, the source of all existence.

To realize this truth, one must turn inward and abide in the silence of the heart. This means letting go of all concepts and beliefs, and simply resting in the awareness that is always present, here and now.

The mind may resist this, for it is accustomed to seeking outside itself for happiness and fulfillment. But the true happiness and peace that we seek can only be found within, in the stillness of our own being.

ChatGPT vs. Rumi

“Greetings, seekers of truth?” This seemed about as deep as a 500-word blog post about…well…any topic. I figured it was far too obviously AI. So then I thought, why not have ChatGPT create a devotional poem in the style of Rumi? Maybe it would be better at that. This was the cheesy, cliched result:

Oh beloved, my heart sings with joy, For in your presence I am whole, You are the light that guides my way, The fire that ignites my soul.

Your love is like a gentle breeze, That soothes and comforts all my fears, It washes over me like a river, And drowns away my doubts and tears.

In your embrace, I find my rest, My worries and my cares dissolve, For you are the one who holds me, The anchor of my heart’s resolve.

Oh how I long to be with you, To bask in your eternal grace, For you are the source of all that is, The giver of love and endless space.

So let me be your humble servant, And sing your praises night and day, For you are the only truth I know, The reason why my heart can say:

“I am yours, and you are mine, Forever bound in love divine, In your embrace I find my home, The place where all my fears are gone.”

ChatGPT vs. Channelling

Anyone familiar with Rumi would likely spot this as a poor imposter. It’s close, but there’s very little nuance. So in one final attempt, I instructed ChatGPT to construct a channelled message as if it came from beings of another dimension. This was the result:

Greetings, dear ones. We come to you from a dimension beyond your own, where the veil between worlds is thin and the boundaries of time and space are fluid.

We are here to offer you a message of love and hope, to remind you that you are not alone in your journey through this reality. We are with you always, watching and guiding, and sending you the energies of light and healing.

The world in which you live is undergoing a profound transformation, as the old structures and systems give way to new ways of being. This can be a challenging and confusing time for many, as the familiar ways of living and thinking are no longer effective.

But know that this is part of a greater plan, a shift in consciousness that is taking place across the universe. You are being called to awaken to your true nature as spiritual beings, to remember your connection to all that is, and to take your place as co-creators of a new reality.

The path before you may be uncertain, but trust that you are being guided towards your highest good. Follow the promptings of your heart, and let go of the fears and doubts that hold you back.

Remember that you are never alone, for we are with you always. We are the ones who whisper to you in the stillness of the night, who guide your footsteps on the path of life, and who hold you in our love and light.

So take heart, dear ones, and know that all is well. The future is bright, and the possibilities are endless. You are loved, you are guided, and you are never alone.

Now, this sounds like just about every other channelled message out there and so I have to say, “Good work, ChatGPT!” I honestly don’t think I’d know the different between this and a message from Kyron for example. But, is it good because it closely simulated an actual channelled message, or was it only successful because most channelled messages are as stiff and lifeless as AI? Which begs the question…where do channelled messages really come from?

One Thing’s for Sure

The evolution of AI is going to reveal a lot to us about ourselves in the years ahead. I just hope we don’t forget that there’s an invisible but uncrossable bridge between the human capacity to create and technology’s capacity to construct.

About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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The True Deep State

Sorry to disappoint, but this post isn’t about that psychopathic underbelly of world governments and twisted corruption of unelected elites and their attempts to control the world and all of its resources, including you. But it is about the metaphor of what has become known as “The Deep State”. It’s a meaningful phrase, indeed.

While the deluded controllers do, in fact, exist, they are no more powerful and no less illusionary than any other aspect of the dream we are collectively dreaming; they are a phony deep state. The only real deep state, the only one worthy of our attention, is the one within. And the way we defeat not only “The Deep State” but our suffering is by getting to know this true deep state.

I propose to you three essentials for the age in which we find ourselves:

Overcoming Fear

Stop obsessing over the latest preposterous and onerous plans devised and supposedly incoming for the future of humanity and stop giving your precious attention to mental patients with platforms. Take care of the mental patient in your own head (we’ve ALL got one). When you feel your fear-button pushed, notice it, laugh it off, and turn your attention back to your real life. Keep your focus on what you want, not what “they” want. It’s time to unify to protect the real, not our opinions. Don’t let them confuse you, throw you off, or reshape the building blocks of reality. But how you ask?

Turn It Off!

Well, if you haven’t figured it out yet, stop watching and listening to the bloody media. Those talking heads are a mirror of our distorted, corrupted limited mental capacities. We are in an age where discernment is critical. The mind, with all of its biases and confusions and missing knowledge isn’t going to get you there, period. And not one single media source, professor, astrologer, or guru will get you there either. You have to learn to get quiet. And you have to spend time there. It’s absolutely essential to tune out the noise so you can finally begin to hear the truth again. It is something that will arise from inside. It’s a completely solitary inside job. So prepare yourself for a little battle with loneliness; it’ll have to be faced.


Okay, yes, I know. You hear this suggested as the answer to every illness, stressor, crisis, trauma, and problem. It can feel completely invalidating and condescending to our personal problems. Meditation itself, as a concept, is not the answer to anything. Meditation as a state of being, however…that’s a practice worth finding your way towards. No, the rewards aren’t immediate. Yes, there are all kinds of resistances and progress plateaus to overcome. But somehow, someway, each of us must find what works to get us out of our fragmented heads and into our integrating heart. It’s not about “just sitting there”. It’s about being open and empty. And you have to want to know your Self, the truth of you, more than anything else in the world. 

We are in a new era. It’s time for the deep state to run the world. The question for you is, which deep state will run yours?


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

❤ Instagram:
❤ Insight Timer:
❤ Youtube:

The Self-Improvement Juggernaut

There was a time in my life, as there is in many lives who grow up submersed in the Western cultural values of striving and “being better”, that I was obsessed with self-improvement. I read all the books about “how to be a better this” and “how to be better at that”. I went on retreats and took on practices to make myself happier, more productive, more creative, less neurotic, less angry, more abundant and on and on and on all in an effort to prove myself worthy of existence.

When I reached one self-inflicted goal, I immediately set another and another all in the name of becoming a better person and ensuring that I was living up to my potential. It was not only exhausting, it was expensive. And while I may have had some truly valuable experiences and come away with knowledge that indeed made my life a little better, none of it ever satisfied the unquenchable thirst at the root of what was driving me…a sense of not being good enough.

Out from Under the Self-worth Steamroller

It was grace, or quite frankly what felt like hell at the time, that woke me on this hamster wheel. Who exactly was I trying to improve? Why did she need improvement? And would she ever be good enough? From the perspective of “self-improvement”, of course she wouldn’t! I went through a period of realizing it was all useless. I’d never be that perfect self I had to be to accept myself. Somehow, I had to stop resetting the bar and quit the self-improvement race. And I knew I had better find another way to accept myself, “as is”. Slowly, selfcare began to replace self-improvement.

I wanted to heal this bottomless pit of worthlessness, but not with anything external to myself. I let an identity that I had built up go (or to be more accurate, it was ripped out from under me). I even gave this ‘false self’ a little ceremonial burial. I started to focus more on doing things that made me happy…not things that made me look good to others. I began to learn to self-nurture. Just like a plant cannot possibly be expected to thrive if conditions aren’t right, I had to realize that my ability to live up to any potential was not dependent on constant self-improvement, but rather on how well I took really excellent care of me. It was a start.

From Self-Improvement to Selfcare

It’s been many years since and now my focus is quite a bit different. It turns out that even a material sense of worth wasn’t enough for me. I needed something far more wonderous and powerful. This came as not just selfcare, but capital S Selfcare. I am still just beginning to understand that any growth I may experience is not the result of tireless egoic efforts of striving to control or improve some faulty version of myself, nor even the rather the result of receiving proper light, nutrients, and other environmental factors (of both my inner and outer environments) that this being needs to flourish. More than anything, it is a direct consequence of being connected to the truth of Self, my God-given beingness.

Self-acceptance is an ongoing affair, but I do realize that my personality is itself. I can let it be what it is, with all its silly flaws. I belong to something much greater, a force that brought me into this world and a force that will see me through it and then see me out. I decided to the best of my ability, to trust in that nameless love and in that life that courses through my veins. I just have to take tender care of this vessel in which I reside. Everything else just happens. I can let come what comes and let go what goes. At least, that’s my daily practice.

What’s Driving You?

I’m not saying that self-improvement is wrong. Obviously, if you didn’t graduate from high school and return to get a GED, that’s entirely admirable. If you are overweight and you don’t like how it feels and decide to do something about it, that’s great. If you want to learn to be a better communicator, why not? But with any self-improvement endeavour, the question is what’s driving you? Self-hatred? Feeling not good enough? Winning the validation of others? A bottomless pit in your core?

Are you on a never-ending quest of self-improvement? Is it working? Do you love yourself more? Are you kinder towards yourself and others? Or are you always resetting the bar…never quite reaching some idealised version of yourself? When will enough be enough? Maybe it’s time to find a new motivation for doing what you do and let the Light that you are take care of it all.


A straight-forward series of posts on the delicate topic of Death and Dying

Over the last several posts, I’ve shared what I have understood of my recent exposure to the Tibetan Bardos teachings. Today, I present some of the ways we can support those we love who are in transition or who have already passed.

I hope that you understand that we do not need to be experts on these teachings to benefit from them ourselves or to help our loved ones benefit. We just have to have an open mind and of course, be able to recall what we’ve learned at the time it is needed. I came across an article before writing this and I share it here because it speaks more about the importance of our own state of mind in being with those in transition.

When with someone who is transitioning, be affectionate, keeping the person calm and warm. It is most important to control your own emotions around them as these can create strong attachments or fear. Also, it is best to limit distractions (television, lively conversation, all but gentle, lyric-free music) so that they can focus on the work at hand…dying.

We can be of most help to others by pleasing them: honoring their wishes, remaining positive in spirit, surrounding them with cherished memories, and offering our forgiveness and compassion. In so doing, we open them to receiving any guidance we have to share through what we ourselves have learned through the teachings, not as some dogma of which they must be convinced but as an interesting possibility, making it possible for them to be aware and watchful for the experience of it.

This is work that can be done while our loved ones are still with us or even after their passing. It’s never too late. In fact, certain prayers or rituals should only be said and done after physical death and not before.

There are many different kinds of rituals that can be done, at different timings (for example a ritual every seven days starting from day after the 3rd day of outer death), some that address specific Bardo issues and others that are more general. I won’t go into them in any detail here, but I list them as a means to enable one’s further research:

Bardo Rituals

Pacification of Wrathful Energies
Summoning Consciousness
Help for Wandering (Lost) Beings
Help to Move Up the Realms (from hell realm, to hungry ghost, to animal to human…)
Butterlamp or Candle Offerings
Food Offerings (burned)

The last two, mantras and food offerings, I performed on behalf of my brother after his passing many years ago. It felt so loving to prepare some of his favorite foods and send them to his spirit. I will never forget chanting one day with my sisters when a framed photo of him literally shot itself off the mantle and onto the floor. There was no explanation for this…no earthquakes or strong winds. Nothing around it shook. It was clearly intentional. I wasn’t sure if he was asking us to shut up already, but at least I knew he was listening.

While I may continue to write about the subject of death, this is my last post in regard to my training with Choekhortshang Rinpoche, whose name I can now pronounce. He can be followed on Facebook where you can find more about opportunities to learn from him.

I would also like to offer the following resources for further study:

Tibetan Book of the Dead
Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia

May this series be of benefit to all sentient beings who find it, helping us all realize True Nature. And certainly, may it help you prepare for the inevitability of your own encounter with death.



About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

❤ Instagram:
❤ Insight Timer:
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A straight-forward series of posts on Death and Dying

Last time, I wrote about the most auspicious opportunity to awaken that comes to us in the Emptiness Bardo. The last two means by which one can awaken along the Bardo journey I now present to you here. Though my wish for all sentient beings is that we can take full advantage of Dharmakaya and remain forever free of cyclical existence, it is perhaps in our best interests to keep the following information tucked somewhere in our consciousness, just in case!

2nd Choice State: SAMBHOVAKAYA

In the Clarity (Rigpa) Bardo

In the Bardo of clarity, there is no familiarity. The first experience is the sound of emptiness followed by the light of clarity or rays of unity. If one recognizes even this is yet again just the mind, one can become realized. Any former physical form (or rather, the memory of it) dissolves into light. Those who fail to see the truth or who refuse to accept it might return as spirits to the world they knew. Others will establish a “life” in the Bardo.

3rd Choice State: NIRVANAKAYA

In the Sidpa Bardo (of Becoming)

If one remains heavily self-identified, there is still one last chance to be freed from the Bardo journey. If one can become aware that death has occurred, there is the realization that one must move on. One’s karma plays big part in whether or not this happens and what manifests. (This is, of course, true at every stage.) The forces of resonance and attraction will draw the being toward a new life…hopefully as another sentient being able to continue the path until full awakening can arise.

This state makes me think of the times when I have had to tell spirits that they are dead in order to be free of them in environments they were “haunting”. It always seemed to work. Perhaps they simply needed to be told this truth…they were dead and needed to move on. (Sometimes, even the living need this reminder!) At any rate, it is a simple enough thing to do and may be an act of compassion for those wandering the netherworlds rather than fearing them as hungry ghosts.

Next time, more practical tips on how to help our transitioning loved ones, perhaps the most relevant of the last 7 posts!


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

❤ Instagram:
❤ Insight Timer:
❤ Youtube:

A straight-forward series of posts on Death and Dying

According to the Tibetan Bardo teachings, there are three opportunities for full enlightenment after one dies. Dharmakaya is the first and most precious of these, and is considered the ultimate or absolute body, beyond form, substance, concept and even the ideas of existence and nonexistence.

This is probably a topic which I am least qualified to write about and one which I intend to spend more time studying, but I’ll give it a go, as my intention here is two-fold, processing what I’ve learned through writing and writing in service to even one being who would benefit from an introduction to this wisdom.

Below is a brief summary describing Dharmakaya, comprised of three “seconds” (in quotes because the last second itself is comprised of three parts) and how one might recognize it during one’s own transition. I will just say, as much as this information is related in a linear fashion, my sense of it is that it doesn’t necessarily follow our understanding of time.

Dharmakaya - Seconds to AwakenTHE BARDO OF EMPTINESS

The First Precious Second:

This is considered the most fortuitous opportunity for self-realization, when all appearances fall away.

The eyes have rolled and the final breath has been taken. The senses have turned inward. The gross body has dissolved. The energetic body has dissolved as well revealing a subtlety that was always there between mind and body, now revealed. It is all that remains. The illusory world falls away and with it, all appearances.

At this point, one drop of father essence or male bodhisattva seed descends down from the crown into the heart. In that second will come a shining vision or perhaps a feeling akin to a column of smoke rising which pacifies all emotions of the angers, leaving a sense of pleasure in its wake. If one is aware, one can abide in that purity.

The Second Precious Second to Awaken:

Here, one drop of essence of mother or female bodhisattva seed ascends up from the root into the heart. In this moment, there is a flame of a butter lamp burning and a redness that colors everything like a red dream. All afflictions of desire and attachment are pacified, giving a blissful feeling and revealing naked mind. If one is aware of this, one can awaken.

The Third Precious Second (comprised of three) to Awaken:

This final second for enlightenment in this most blessed juncture for awakening is actually followed with two more opportunities at other stages of the Bardo journey, is comprised of three seconds marked as a black, radiant near-attainment of mind. Three drops come from the heart itself back into the heart. All goes dark. It is said to be an experience like a sky full of stars. All ignorance emotions are pacified. Pure mind abides. If you see it, your very own dharmakaya, and if you can stay there, you will be realized.

I should mention that if the being fails to self-realize, then there may follow total unconsciousness and all activity ceases. Decaying back in the physical world starts. Perhaps this explains why certain realized masters or even Christian saints have remained composed and fresh long after death; they realized Dharmakaya. It is so beautiful when wisdom transcends mere religious belief.

But, in case you haven’t already noticed, things tend to happen in threes. So, there are actually two more kayas, Sambhogakaya and Nirvanakaya, in which one can awaken. I’ll talk about those next time.


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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A straight-forward series of posts on the delicate topic of Death and Dying

Last time, I posted about death as we tend to think of it — a gross physical process. Today, we’ll encounter two additional stages that appear in the Tibetan Bardo teachings.

These next two stages of death are perhaps a little harder for the typical Western mind to grasp. After all, for the majority, if you can’t see it or prove it scientifically, it doesn’t exist, right? (And these days, even if you can see it, that doesn’t mean it’s worthy of belief!) But the Tibetans understand that there is an internal death that must take place; in other words, the energy that is identified with being a person must dissolve. This is what happens at the subtle stage of Inner Death.


Practicing yogis, energy workers, healers and the like will have a much easier time understanding the Inner Death during which the 5 pranas or subtle winds (prana, apana, samana, udana, vyana) and 5 chakras or wheels of energy (as opposed to the 7 of other systems) and their elements collapse down. In other words, the energy channels of the body must also die, not just the gross physical manifestation.

The result of this is collapse is a highly concentrated mind…all that remains of the person we knew. There wouldn’t necessarily be any obvious signs of the Inner Death taking place but the one experiencing it can know it by its visions and lights, that is if that person knew to look out for them. (And now you do!) It’s a mind/body experience without the body…so very like dreaming. It bears similarities to the “light at the end of the tunnel”, which in itself is a pretty fascinating phenomena commonly reported in near-death experiences, giving the Western concepts something in common with Eastern ones.

Different elements are said to give off different lights as they dissolve:

Earth – may see yellow light
Water – may see blue
Fire – may see what appear to be fireflies
Air – lightening visions, red and green (marked by a feeling of tension and grasping)
Space – complete darkness

Unfortunately, at this stage, there is a danger of the mind becoming unconscious, making it impossible to continue one’s journey with awareness.


Finally there is the Secret Death. Secret, to remind you, just means ‘hidden’ from anyone not ready/able to receive them. Here consciousness leaves the body, and though it was not specifically stated, I took this to mean that it returns to the greater mind, the Absolute. This is the real and final death and perhaps the most mysterious of the three because of its hidden nature.

But of course, as any Tibetan will tell you, that isn’t the end! Causes and conditions can lead to other lifetimes or even Buddhahood. In fact, it is said that the best opportunity to become enlightened upon death happens between the Inner and Secret Death stages. One’s lifelong spiritual practices, if they had any, would become most valuable here. I’ll write more about this opportunity in my next post.

A brief mention for the zombie fans out there. If a dead person refuses to leave their body, this can result in the arising of the zombie state. Pulling the hair at the crown, pulling the ears, or shouting in a body’s ear can help nudge the spirit out and guide it to liberation. The question remains, are zombies something we need to fear while we live or after we die and find ourselves traversing the Bardos? Hmm…


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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A straight-forward series of posts on the delicate topic of Death and Dying

Over the next couple of posts, I’ll be going over what I understand to be the three types of death—outer, inner and secret— as reported in the Tibetan Bardo teachings, and more specifically today, the outer death.

Outer death is the death of the physical form and the way Westerners typically think about death. Our loved one stops breathing. The heart stops. That’s it. Dead, however much we wish they weren’t. However, according to Tibetan traditions, this signifies only one level of the total dying process. Furthermore, there a aspects to this outer death which are only acknowledged in the Tibetan system.

The outer death is a reversal of the creation process I wrote about HERE. So, starting with the element of earth, there is a dissolution of the physical form moving through each of the elements exemplified in the following ways:


  • senses and their cognition get weaker and as earth element decreases
  • the body shrinks
  • feelings of heaviness
  • loss of touch
  • spleen energy dissipates


  • body dissolves back to semen and blood (back to water)
  • kidney/bladder energy dissipates
  • lips dry
  • thirst
  • elimination slows
  • hearing loss


  • liver/bile energy dissipates
  • person gets cold
  • loss of taste
  • mumbling
  • other organs as containers fail


  • lung energy dissipates
  • sense of smell goes
  • breath weakens
  • intestinal control goes


  • heart energy dissolves
  • the power of manifestation/creation leaves

Unless we are in the caring professions and work directly with the dying, we don’t often notice or think about these aspects of dying. Certainly looking at this transitional process through the lens of the elements offers us a deeper understanding (and hopfully allowing of and trusting in) the experience.

It is then that we move onto the more mysterious and subtle inner death, and I’ll describe that process in my next post.

I would like to again mention in thanks that I was the beneficiary of this knowledge as shared by Choekhortshang Rinpoche. If you are fascinated and would like to delve deeper into the Bardo teachings, there will be future opportunities to do so. The description above, indeed this series of posts, is not by any means complete and simply meant to provide a tantalizing introduction to this important wisdom.

May those who would most benefit from reading this, find it. And may the act of writing it be of merit to all beings.


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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Welcome to the 3rd installment of writings on the Tibetan teachings of the Bardos. You can find the 1st installment HERE and the 2nd HERE.

Coming Into Existence

Today, I will be sharing the Tibetan view on how we come into being. This is important to understand because when we die, we take the reverse path. So understanding one is understanding the other.


First there is simply space. This space contains mind…or perhaps it is more accurate to say that space is mind. Up until receiving this transmission, I had compartmentalized the concept of space from mind. I had a concept of mind, the thing to observe in meditation, as the thing that is always full of thought, ideas, concepts, reasons, etc. Now I understand the mind itself is that purely empty expanse in which all such mental stuffs arise.

Karmic Winds

In that emptiness, the dance of the elements commences starting with a karmic wind or breath that stirs as a result of the grace and compassion of the gods. This breath then becomes fire (passion) which expands and ripples out, becoming water (blood/fluids) which then hardens, turning into earth and becoming flesh or matter.


From there, things become physical as the heart forms as the basis of our internal world, the navel develops our connection to the outer world (think umbilical cord), and each of the elements take their home in our various organs: air in the lungs, fire in the liver, water in the kidneys, and earth in the spleen. The senses develop as doorways between the inner and outer worlds.

This is perhaps a simplification of something far more complex, but you get the poetic idea. There is chain of events and all conditions must be met for life to come into being. It might not be ‘scientific’ according to Western standards, but it does not dismiss the miraculous mystery of life, as science often does, reducing life to a sterile, tiny pocket of limited understanding in the vast spaciousness of the mind.

So next time, we will begin to look at this process in reverse.


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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A straight-forward series of posts on the delicate topic of Death and Dying

Welcome to another installment on Death & Dying. In this post, we begin our dive into the Tibetan Bardo teachings.

Most would assume that once you die, you’re dead. The Tibetan, however, have a different perspective. They believe first of all that there are, if you will, levels or stages of death:

  1. outer death (that which we typically conceive of as death when the last breath is taken)
  2. inner death (the dissolution of the subtle, energetic body)
  3. secret death, secret simply implying hidden but in so much as someone who isn’t ready won’t be able to understand (when individual consciousness becomes unconscious or transcends).

They also believe that it takes at the very minimum three days for this to occur, or to occur to such an extent that the deceased will be spared from any residual discomfort. In other words, we ought not to bury or cremate our loved ones for at least three days, lest we put them through some kind of torture. Bear in mind this torture is not the physical kind, obviously, but born of the stubborn tethering of the mind to the body and not realizing that one has passed…or in rare cases, not having completely died. In fact, there are instances of those who have been assumed dead, buried even, only to be discovered still alive a short time later to the shock of those doing the discovering!

When I heard that the ‘apparent’ dead might still suffer as if in their bodies, I was a little concerned about my father’s death years ago. When he died, everything happened very fast. He was cremated, if not the next day, then the one following. I remember how sweet our family experience at the funeral home was, full of joyful laughter that probably looked like a total loss of sanity to the funeral director. But Dad (and his sense of humor) was truly present with us as we chose his urn, all five of us pointing at the exact same time to the exact same one among a wall full of different styles. Since it hurts to think of him suffering from a too-quick cremation, I choose to believe he was already very much aware he was not his body and all too happy to have it over quickly. I am also reassured because he was ill for some time and was aware of the gravity of his situation.

Actually, despite this minimum of three days, it is believed that it takes 49 days or seven weeks to move through the entire after-death bardo journey. Therefore, our loved ones remain near during that time (and many of us feel and know they are always around even afterwards in different ways), feeling separated by an unsurpassable boundary, as they process their past, resolve feelings from their most recent life, and consider possible futures. This journey is marked by present confusions and obstacles and the visions that enter the mind that continues to exist after bodily death. The dead must overcome temptations, Bardo beings and illusions, and the various traps that would render them “stuck” in the Bardos, unable to transition to another life or to self-realization altogether.

Therefore, it is of great benefit during this 49 days to offer up prayers, rituals, happy memories, and any offerings to assist the loved one’s transit. I will write more about this perhaps at a future time.

Next time, I’ll go into a little more detail about how we come into and go out of existence according to the teachings. Until then…


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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A straight-forward series of posts on the delicate topic of Death and Dying

I know. I know. It’s everybody’s favorite topic to avoid. Forget the fact that we’re all dying the minute we’re born. Forget the fact that everyone we know now will be dead in, at best, 100 years. Forget the fact that life has been pushing death in our faces for the last two years (to say nothing of countries that have been facing it on a daily basis for much longer). It’s a disturbing taboo subject. And so naturally, I am enthralled!

In my last post, I began a conversation about death sharing some insights from philosopher Alan Watts as well as a recent dream I had. Over my next few blog posts, I will be sharing what I learned in 2022 having received the transmission of Tibetan Bardo teachings with Choekhortshang Rinpoche. Bardo, if you are unfamiliar with the term, literally means ‘journey between two lives’. It also refers to those opportunities for realization that come during/between the death stages outlined in these teachings.

In the West, we are most familiar with the tantric approach to the dying process or journey between two lives. What I received, however, was the Dzogchen approach. I was humored by Rinpoche’s explanation of the difference which says everything it needs to about Western culture. The tantric approach is like an action adventure movie, full of drama and complexity. The Dzogchen approach is pure simplicity. (That one! I’ll take that one.)

Death was also a confronted aspect in my Toltec studies in which a friendship with the Angel of Death reminds us that everything is on loan to her. Furthermore, a ritual writing of one’s Book of Death helps one along the journey of personal transformation, to confront what must die in order to be free. In that regard, the focus was more of the death that happens before death, the death of the identity and conditioning in which we had no choice. But it, of course, prepares one for the ultimate death, too.

But I see how the Bardo teachings can also apply to the egoic death before physical death as well. In fact, life is not ended in a single death. Life is full of millions of little deaths…of moments, of relationships, of circumstances. And our aversions, attachments, and ignorance (the three poisons according to Buddhist teachings) are what make us suffer each of those little unavoidable deaths. Naturally, when Selfcare is our concern, we are working to minimize our suffering, so this wisdom becomes a very helpful tool.

This is my 3rd exposure to these teachings, the first being a part of Ngondro, the foundational practices of Tibetan Bon Buddhism, the second being Chod, practices for overcoming fear. Each exposure deepens my insight a little more, but I’m obviously far from being any kind of expert. I’m just a student, mostly interested in finding ways to apply ancient teachings to my own modern life. But I’m happy to process my understanding here and share it with you.

So stay tuned…


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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Introducing a straight-forward series of posts on the delicate topic of
Death and Dying.

I doubt anyone on this globe hasn’t been thinking of their own mortality. If fears of some disease taking hold and killing you and your loved ones didn’t get you, then the life-abolishing threat of nuclear war may very well have. But the subject of death is often deemed unsuitable for discussion and we are left alone with our anxieties.

Since Selfcare, at least the capital S kind, deals with all aspects of life and requires a commitment to facing challenging topics, I thought I would share some of my own explorations on the topic of death. Over a series of posts, I hope to get us all thinking in ways that might reduce or eliminate altogether the anxieties surrounding the 100% eventual loss of everything we ever thought we owned, knew or loved, ultimately including our own life.

Death is a Constant

I was listening to a fabulous satsang, or teaching, by Alan Watts in which he said, “Death is constant”. He’s not exaggerating. We die in every moment to the one that follows. And we are, for our entire lifespan, mysteriously reborn into the next moment. Sometimes, these moments pass with some fanfare and other times, we barely notice a difference. But this is the truth of our physical existence. Death isn’t some end-of-life event. It is happening now, and now. and now.

At least for me, this perspective seems to make the ultimate death somehow less important. It’s just one more little loss in a life that is actually full of such losses.

Look at it this way…

Can you imagine a tree that every Fall started to freak out the dropping of its leaves? This sad little neurotic tree would be giving itself so much anguish over something it had zero control over. It would dread the winter and the thought of all its branches exposed for the world to see. It is no less absurd that we fight against or even try to deny what is a very natural, unavoidable part of life.

A Recent Dream

A few weeks ago, I had a powerful dream. I was outside under a tree on a park bench with my sister. On the table was a plastic cup of some kind full of liquid starting to bubble and fizz. I told my sister we needed to move or back up or something. It kept heating up and went through the container but then it wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t flowing like liquid. It was burning like heat.

The dream scene changed to my old room but the bubble and fizz was still there boring through what surrounded slowly. I realized we needed to move everything out of the room. It was a process of deciding what mattered and what didn’t. We carried stuff out, but that light kept boring, like a white hole. Back and forth with notebooks, stamps, postcards, clothes…

I had a realization of the depth of the situation. That boring wasn’t going to stop. It would take the entire room, then eat away at the next and so on. I was credulous. I thought, “this can’t be happening.” I walked up to a mirror and could see my reflection in it. I said, “Wake up. You’re dreaming.” I lifted my hands to clap, but they were all foggy. I repeated the chant three times trying to clap.

I felt my body drop like a ghostly sack; I felt a second of fear and then felt myself faint from outside my body. In an instant, my consciousness came back to my sleeping body as I woke up.

Waking from the Dream

Maybe that’s all death really is…simply waking up somewhere else. Or, as Alan Watts put it, “Death might be how we wake up from the dream called life.”

Death is not only a constant; it is a certainty. The better we are at dying to moments, the easier it will be to face that final one. Our souls will simply slip out of these containers and that ineffable something that we are will suddenly be elsewhere, the dead self never-the-wiser and the new self ever wiser.


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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     You name it.



The Meditation Solution to Every Problem

The other day, my husband asked me the common question, “How are you today?” I noticed my mind start to parse through my experience in order to answer that question. In an instant, my mind went to the challenges I was facing, the news headlines I’d seen, and the frustrations of daily life. I caught myself and instead stopped the thoughts and answered, “I’m great if I don’t think.”

Some may think that not thinking is actually an avoidance of life, and it certainly can be. When we fill our lives with external voices, activities, and entertainments, we are definitely avoiding what’s inside. That’s not the kind of “not thinking” I’m referring to. I’m talking about the practice of becoming quiet, frequently referred to as meditation.

This solution to the overwhelming problems the world faces may seem overly simplistic and ineffective against the evils we face. Many may read and dismiss them with a snort, “Yeah, I’ll just meditate the political filth away while the rich get richer and future generations are enslaved.” But that kind of (fear-based) response is because many people are still entirely focused upon and entrenched in externals., disconnected from who they really are. If we only understand life according to the world we see around us, then meditation is an ineffective ritual equivalent to shutting one’s eyes and hiding under the covers.

Meditation Solutions

A Deeper Reality

But there is another world inside. And while it may be subtle and difficult to feel (at least at first) and express due to the limitations of language, that doesn’t make it any less valid. In fact, the more one spends time there, the more one generates grace and the more one realizes that stillness, silence and spaciousness offer a truer reality, allowing us to access the deeper drives creating the world we see around us.

For example, we can often be in a mental state of alarm over something ‘out there’. There certainly is no shortage of threats these days. Our minds may toil to understand according to past experience or find routes of escape or resolution in the future. But if we close our eyes (or even leave them open) and come into the present moment, chances are you’re not being chased by a lion in the immediate. You likely are breathing, heart-beating, clothed, sheltered and possibly even well-fed. There is stillness underneath the rise and fall of your breath. There is silence under that throbbing heart and anxious mind. There is space in which one can float, free from the grip of thought. That’s your reality. And solutions can only arise…well, good solutions…can only arise from that place. Otherwise, decisions are either snap and arising from fight or flight or are overthought, leading to second guessing and paralysis. The habit of doing anything to avoid the fear can even mean trusting people you absolutely shouldn’t. This perpetuates the cycle of suffering.

The Challenges

The challenges to meditation are twofold. One) we have to be willing to sit and be fully present with the fear that is generated by our thoughts. And that is miserably uncomfortable. We may feel the urge to bolt, to get up and get busy, or be led by our minds right back into thought. And two) we have to be willing to go beyond the mind that tells us if we don’t think, if we don’t solve the problems here and now that we’re being irresponsible or bypassing our reality. Going beyond the mind with which we’ve come to greatly identify over our entire lives is no easy task and exchanging what seemed like tangible reality for a less comprehensible one can at times seem like an exercise in futility. But, if we just STAY, we can incrementally or even all at once discover that NOTHING WE THINK IS REAL. It’s simply a narrative of what is real.

Granted, it is exceedingly difficult (if not completely impossible) to meditate when under real threats unless you are some kind of enlightened master already. That’s why you have to start now. Practice, practice, practice. It’s not a quick fix; I’ll give you that. But it is a fix. It’s really the only true and lasting fix.


About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

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The Shadow-Side Qualities

Last post, I spent time defining the qualities of Divine Self Care. I mentioned that these symbols can be corrupted by the ego into shadow-side qualities and keep us trapped in our fearful, restrictive, egoic identity. We could say that each quality has a shadow, in other words, a very low frequency expression of itself. But it’s important to remember that inherent in the shadow is the light-filled, highest expression of each quality, especially helpful when we are facing these lower frequency expressions in ourselves and others. It is our ego that keeps us locked in these low frequencies, and recognizing we’ve fallen into them can help us start to change the frequency.

I’d like to spend some time in this post explaining those lower frequency aspects of each of the qualities of Capital S Self-care.

Compassion Can Become Pity

You might know of someone who seems to enjoy their suffering (it might even be you!). They love telling their story about how they were wronged or about how cruel life has been to them. They might even engage in a sort of competition of misery with others. Or they might twist compassion so tightly that they themselves become the totally unaware perpetrator by either reliving their painful past again and again or by focusing on righteous revenge.

Or perhaps you know someone (it might even be you!) who hears about the misery of another and uses that suffering to make themselves feel superior. This unfortunately happens a lot in spiritual circles. Those who fancy themselves enlightened manifestors who have mastered all negative states might blame the victim for “choosing” their situation. It’s quite ridiculous. But this can also simply be denying the light in another, keeping them down.

Trust Can Become Willful Ignorance

When we are too trusting or all of our trust is directed outwardly instead of inwardly, we might fall into a form of willful ignorance and an unwillingness to question authority or status quo. Such a low-frequency expression of trust has caused devastating harm throughout history.

Rather than trusting our own experiences from the space of the heart, we enter a state of either doubt or fear, or even both. Instead, we choose a false certainty in order to feel safe and comfortable and begin to deny all other possibilities and perspectives. It doesn’t take much of either for our eyes to slowly close which leads us to our next quality.

Faith Can Become Blind

Remember that faith is pure power. It doesn’t care what you believe in; it will empower that belief. So if we don’t question our beliefs, we may very well be putting our faith in things that simply do not and cannot ever serve us. Often we are taught or misunderstand that faith must exist without doubt, without question. But this can result in either a ‘savior complex’ by which we wait for someone else to come to our rescue, taking no responsibility for ourselves and our thoughts and actions in the meantime or it can become the faulty drive behind those thoughts and actions.

We have to understand the objects of our faith completely, not blindly. We have to bring those objects into the light so that they can be fully seen and selected consciously.

Surrender Can Become Helplessness

I’ve already written about the trouble with the word surrender. Now we can understand that it is a matter of the frequency of expression, for surrender can indeed mean giving up instead of giving back. When we don’t understand it is the ego that must be surrendered, it can turn into a sense of helplessness for that very ego, making it even stronger than before. You might hear thoughts of “I can’t…” or “I’ll never…” and while that may or may not be true, you will accept such thoughts without the question that would reveal your liberty from them.

Or in another expression, you might be filled with too much pride to let go. You might dig your heels in, cut of your nose to spite your face, or sabotage yourself. Resistance is the shadow aspect of surrender, and it is one of the major roots of suffering, along with ignorance. Ironically, the prideful resister to what is might feel strong and even noble in their resistance, but it is false strength and nobility. It is actually helplessness, for such a one will never realize the Self.

Patience Can Become Procrastination

We all know of something we ought to or must do that we keep putting off. This is a bastardization of patience. It is an unwillingness to take responsibility and step into our power. We tolerate things and waste precious energy rather than summon that same energy to change them and be free.

Procrastination leaves us wanting. We want what we don’t have and remain in a state of wanting rather than taking the steps necessary to either fullfil that desire or to cultivate the wisdom to realize that it won’t make us happy, thereby letting it go. Impatience is desire for what we want when we want it…now! Desire is also a major cause of our suffering along with ignorance and resistance.

Devotion Can Become Fanaticism

Just as devotion is the fuel behind the highest expressions of the qualities, fanaticism is the fuel behind their shadow expressions. This may look like the more familiar religious or ideological rigidity we see in the world, but more importantly and in a broader sense, it is the tiny box of pure ego expression. Instead of living from a recognition that we are all the one connected organism of life, we go about our lives as if we were separate. And instead of living in alignment with universal principles of wisdom and love, we fall into the hells of foolish ignorance, prideful resistance, and self-serving desire.

There are qualities of Divine Self-care that help us live that way of life. I’ve written about the differences between little s and capital s selfcare in previous posts which included touched upon those qualities. Though capital S Self-care is not something we ourselves do but, rather, a mysterious process to which we submit, the following terms point us into a space that allows us to soften to the process without egoic anxiety or confusion. Think of one’s self as a tea bag and these qualities as the hot water in which one steeps for the sake of healing and wholeness.

A Closer Look at the Qualities of Divine Self-care

Now let’s spend a little bit of time covering each of these qualities in more detail. Although, as symbols, they remain in essence quite beyond the definitions used to describe them, it is still helpful to have a common understanding of them, and we can get a little closer and clearer to the energy they transmit and the potentials they offer us by defining them.


Co meaning together and passion meaning a powerful emotion, compassion is defined as a deep awareness and understanding of the suffering of others or the ability to feel with them. Indeed, understanding our collective suffering, as well as individual suffering, is what softens the heart center. Compassion allows us to forgive ourselves and each other. Lacking compassion, we become hard and unyielding. We become fixated and fearful, though often in denial of both. More importantly, we remain ignorant of the one understanding that can begin to ease our suffering–the recognition that we are all connected and that the suffering of one becomes the suffering of all.


Trust is defined as confidence in the truth and is associated with fidelity and loyalty. Divine Me Time upholds that we are not just connected with all beings, but that we are also one with God. Therefore, our thoughts and actions reflect our confidence, or trust, in that even if we don’t fully grock the power of its full meaning. We remain loyal to that truth even when the illusions of life (the maya) test that trust, even if we cannot wholly define that truth with mere words. The simple fact is, our egoic intelligence will never be great enough to comprehend the mysteries of existence, no matter how hard we may try and no matter how much effort we put into convincing ourselves otherwise. We have no choice but to trust that a greater intelligence is at play.

Qualities of Divine Me Time Self CareFaith

Usually associated with religion, faith is quite simply belief, usually in the absence of concrete proof. So really, the word can be applied to any aspect of our thinking. If we believe the thoughts we think, we have faith in them, quite often to our detriment. Faith is a powerful thing. Think of the placebo effect and how people are actually cured of ailments with a sugar pill. That’s the power of the mind that we must harness but in a way that serves our highest self.

Unfortunately, so much of our faith is trapped within our conditioned mind. We believe in the stories our parents fed us, that we were naughty children, or failures. We believe things that others tell us and doubt our own senses and experience.

In the Bible, Jesus is quoted as having said, “Your faith has healed you” to a woman who touched his cloak in an effort to be cured of her illness. This is a very pure teaching regardless of your religious beliefs. Faith alone does indeed have that power. What we believe, free from doubt, can move mountains. There is another aspect to faith in regards to duty. In practicing Self-care, we have promised to be faithful to that Self.


Ah, this word. It gets such a bad rap. The Western mind especially abhors the idea of ‘giving up the fight’. But the original meaning of surrender is “to give one’s self up” and that is exactly what is required for Self-care. We must give up the little s self and deliver it into the hands of the capital S Self. We “grant back” to God what is God’s. We “abandonner” or release our need to control, to be right, to understand, and to be important, and we let a higher power orchestrate our lives. Surrender is release, a letting go of the struggle, and a melting into acceptance.


When we bear the uncomfortable without complaint, we are exercising patience. The path of healing can be a long and challenging one that tests our patience. Sometimes, it feels like we are getting nowhere. Months and even years can go by without much to show for our efforts. Patience is needed to remain steadfast. Patience can also be defined as calmly awaiting an outcome.

But with Self-care it is important to release our hopes for outcomes and instead focus on attention on learning to clearly see and accept what is. We must be prepared to wait an eternity for change to come. Fortunately and paradoxically, it doesn’t usually take that long once we are willing. But in the meantime, our next quality comes to the rescue.


Though it is usually used in regard to religious feeling, relationships, or even man’s best friend, my preferred meaning is “awe and reverence”. While it helps to have an object of that devotion…some God figure or guru…one can also simply be devoted to Truth or Beauty (and even, quite unfortunately Money or Power). And in so being, that devotion drives all efforts in life towards that energy. There is a sense of doing anything and everything for the object of our devotion.

In fact, devotion is the fuel of every other quality above. It makes compassion, trust, faith, surrender and patience possible. We devote without ever expecting anything in return. The gaping lack of and misdirected devotion in this world will be our downfall if humanity cannot return to a state of awe and reverence for the mystical because a life without it is unthinkably dry and devoid of meaning.

Neither Good Nor Bad

It is important to note that despite the positive associations we usually have with each of these words, it is our thoughts and actions around them that make them helpful or detrimental to Self-care. Every single quality can be adulterated and twisted by the ego into something quite different than what is represented by the symbols in their purest form. For example, compassion can turn into pity. Trust can turn into willful ignorance. Faith can become blind. Surrender can become helplessness. Patience can become procrastination. And devotion can lead to a fanaticism.

Can you see how these qualities are able to help us release the things that keep us trapped in our fearful, restrictive, egoic identity? If it isn’t clear yet, I’ll write about that another time.

In my last post, I wrote about redefining self-care in the most common use of the term. I touched upon the distinction between little s and capital S self-care. Today’s post is about that capital S Self-care.

Our True Nature

The Self (capital S) is our highest, truest nature (whereas the little s self is our ego identity). There is a percentage of those who understand instantly what I mean and of that percent, a number who even already recognize the truth of which I write. But for most people, if I told them outright what that nature was in words, they’d likely either:

a) not know what on earth I was talking about or take interest in it

b) misunderstand what I’m talking about

c) shrink away from it believing it some kind of heresy or thinking, “Oh, that can’t be me!”

But in our deepest heart, we all know this truth: we are Divine. It’s our denial of this that keeps us in suffering, in the separate self or ego. Our sense of separation from Love, from the archetypal Heavenly Father and Mother, from Oneness with all is is without a doubt, our source of suffering.

Divine Me Time Is Self-Care

Divine Me Time is about reconnecting to that Self. In fact, the entire main purpose of life on this earth is reconnecting to and then living in alignment with that Self. We could talk about how we ever got so disconnected in the first place, but I won’t address that here. Rather, I want to look at how capital S Self-care can works.

There are some things we can control…like how we choose to look at things. But there are so many things that we cannot control…like the things that either happen to us or don’t. So the first aspect of Self-care is to know the difference and accept it. The irony is that we have to do something but that whatever we do will never be enough on its own. It is simply not in our hands.

“Wait a second…are you telling us that we have to reconnect, that there are things we can do, but that those things will never work?”

Don’t you just love a good paradox? What I’m actually saying is that all of our efforts must be put towards the things we can control, or to be more accurate, the one thing we can progress in controlling: our attention. But this task can be approached via the many different practices of little s self-care. For the things we cannot control, that’s where Divine Me Time comes in.

The Capital S Self-Care Regimen

The practice of Capital S Self-care has a miraculous result but requires a much different regimen. One of:

  • Compassion
  • Trust
  • Faith
  • Surrender
  • Patience
  • Devotion

I’ll address each of these qualities in future posts. If they sound utterly frightening, unrealistic or even impossible, then your work starts with understanding why you feel that way and freeing yourself from such detrimental limitations and resistances that will forever keep you from ever knowing who you are. But of course, you have to want to know.

Since you’re here reading this, chances are, you already know that it is not only possible but essential to spend time cultivating these qualities. However, knowing what these qualities are, even being able to speak eloquently about them, is a far cry from activating and living them in every single moment, especially in the face of our daily tests and challenges.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Where you place your attention is what expands.” So if you focus on all the things that are unpleasant, wrong, or painful in your life, that’s what life reflects back. Likewise, if we practice things like gratitude and are careful about the memes and energies to which we are exposed, other seeds will take root. And if we consistently water and nourish those roots through Divine Me Time, more and more of what is possible will open up for us in ways we could not have ever imagined.

We’re not doing the caring. The Self  is. We are merely doing our best to live in abidance with the qualities required to be open to receiving the love and healing Self always has in store for us.

So I hope it is clearer now, the difference between little s self-care and capital S Self-care. We must be in charge of the former. Self is in charge of the latter.

That’s Self-care with a capital S!

Self-care. It’s a word that, like everything else, means different things to different people.

Since Divine Me Time is about capital s Self-care as a way of life, I thought I would share with you how I define it. Perhaps the best way to go about this is to first define what Self-care isn’t, which will automatically reveal what it is.

An Important Distinction

First, notice that I’m spelling it Self-care with a capital S, not self-care. This is an important distinction, though really, the two are inseparable and rely one upon the other. The capital S Self-care is a means of tapping into the higher aspects of who we are. It is allowing our divine selves to reach towards and care for our material selves. It’s a mysterious but ever-present force. It’s our nature, our body’s ability to heal itself, and the grace that is always available to us, whether or not we are either aware of it or open to it.

The little s self-care, however, are all the things we do…our thoughts and actions…the reaching back toward the Self. It’s the practical things and the choices we make. So the essential difference for me is that an understanding of Self-care is as, if not more, important to our healing than anything we do on the self-care level.

But capital S Self-care is a bit outside our realm of complete understanding.  But we can take a closer look another time.

Now then, let’s look at little s self-care through common misperceptions:

  • It is not simply the 10-minute meditation you make time for everyday or once a week massage or yoga class, though that’s definitely a start. It is very much a way we live our lives, not just in carving out time for ourselves, but keeping our self-care attitude in mind throughout the day.
  • It is not selfishness or negligently forsaking responsibilities. Rather, it is seeking alternatives, accommodations, and freshness in managing responsibilities. It is placing the oxygen mask on ourselves first so that we can serve others.
  • It is not indulgence in addictions we know are bad for us just because they make us temporarily feel better. It is, however, perfectly okay to indulge now and again in things that are non-addicting and/or do not have lasting harmful effects to self. (And here, it is important to understand that the capital s Self is never harmed and cannot be.)
  • It is not in forcing ourselves into some self-improvement program, or endlessly trying to make ourselves into ‘better’ people by constantly moving the goal posts. It is, however, fulfilling our innate potentials and accepting the highest truth of who we are.
  • It is not necessarily about spending large amounts of money on retreats, treatments, therapies, or any other material thing. If you have the money, lucky you! If you don’t, you can still make Self-care and self-care a way of life. It doesn’t cost a dime to change the way we think. But it does take a certain amount of willingness, relearning, and effort…actually, a lot!

Ultimately, all self-care is rooted in kindness and authenticity toward the self. It is the turning of your attentions away from thoughts and things that pull you down and refocusing your attention and energies on things that elevate your Spirit. Your self-care will be entirely unique to you based on what feeds your soul: the music, the landscapes, the artwork, the poetry, the wisdom paths, the colors, the foods, the activities…  Of course, it is always helpful to find like-minded souls with whom you share such things in common.

That’s self-care, with a little s.

Now read about Self-care.