All posts by valilama

Just Who is Telling Your Story Anyway?


Just how many versions of CLASSIC can one guy have?

Bill Murray was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this week.  He debated whether or not he could be present for the award because the timing might conflict with his beloved Cubs winning the pennant.  Also, he has no agent or PR team and if you are pitching him a script you most likely leave a message on his 800 number and he will decide if he ever gets back to you. This guy writes his own ticket these days doesn’t he?

How did that happen? How did he go from screwball anchor of the SNL not ready for prime time players to a Legend of humor and authenticity?  –

Understanding the story you are telling about yourself, your brand, your start-up, your social venture, your vision for making all right in the world is powerful tonic indeed in a world where so many businesses and corporations cover-up or erase their story because it detracts from their image.

Transparent, generous, making a difference, business maven, disruptor in your field…it’s time you were clear about who you are.  Make no apologies, and trust me, your clientele will respond.

Are you ready to get to center stage in your own industry?  Clear out the confusion of who you are and what you do well, really well and aren’t gonna hide it any more?

Let’s get into that. 

The LamaFarm is keenly aware we need help being brave.  Telling our stories.  Claiming our birthright if you will.

If you’ve got Bill on speed-dial then no need to jump on our bandwagon.  But if you are looking to find your way, rise to the next level of known and sought in your industry and you need some insights, Let’s do that together.


Let me know when you’re ready…I’m right here.  
Book a complimentary discovery session. My gift to you as we consider this step together. 
No obligation, just conversation.  

From Drama to Detachment, You Just Had to be There

When is Story just Drama all prettied up to suck us in?
Last week was my birthday, and just a head’s up, I pretty much celebrate the whole month. The year I turned 21 no one remembered my birthday. Not my mom, not the guy I was dating, not my roommates…no one! I lived that day in gradually increasing misery. I let myself get so carried away in this reality, I went from a relatively healthy, happy college student to a woeful, Ophelia-like waif just looking for a stream to end it all in.

(                          Story enhanced for Dramatic Effect–no streams were harmed in this story–real or imagined        ).

On a phone call in the early evening with a friend of mine, I finally mentioned it out loud. ‘It’s my birthday and nobody remembered’, I said. She jumped into action like the Sister of Mercy her mother trained her to be, whipped up a cake with chocolate Dreamwhip frosting to beat the band and delivered it post-haste! On top of that frosting still being among one of my most-favorites, ever, she taught me this. Life spins on a dime. We make the choice to change, be in drama, be in love, be in happiness or just be haunted.

This year, this birthday, this birth-month has been glorious. I OWN my birthday month now like the brilliant, beloved Maven of Transformation I AM. I ask for what I want, not demanding, just asking. I share my feelings. I plan the festivities…no attachment if you can come or not. No need to be defined by the drama of what others do or don’t.
And here’s how that plays out…

Late, late birthday evening this year, as I drove home the long-way just for the beauty of it, all alone in my zippy car, I hummed a little tune of satisfaction to myself. I watched the sliver of SisterMoon rise above the towering mountains to the east, and pretty much kept my head in the clouds the whole time. Suddenly, in the dark, headlights not streaming near far enough as I rounded a corner, my car made a horrendously loud and insistent beep. ‘CHECK COOLANT LEVEL AND STOP ENGINE IMMEDIATELY’, it said; in its loud, judgmental European way of saying nothing out loud but spelling it with all caps. I slammed on the brakes, glanced at the engine heat levels which were all in the norm and discovered that most likely the manufacturer just didn’t want me to overdrive without an oil change and was none-too-subtle about it.

Deep breath, all is o.k., eyes front.
And there at the edge of my headlights, in the middle of the road, stood two fawns. Maybe this was the first time mamma let them wander alone? Maybe they are so used to headlights they thought nothing of mine hurtling their way at 35 miles an hour?  Who knows, but they weren’t budging, they were just curious.

Now here is the drama or non-drama if you will…
What could have been a total engine freeze or major car dilemma was just a warning sign, urging me to pay attention to signs. And there in the headlights, next drama averted. Two beauties ready to be seen in the pale light of the moon. Ready for me to slow down, notice the gifts around me; find, feel and celebrate my gratitude in the fullness of this moment.

Happy Birthday to me, well-blessed and happy. No Drama!

You Just Got to be Startin’ Something: Start-ups, Grand Schemes and Outrageous Fortune

Long before the era of social media and the ubiquitous phrase ‘there’s an app for that’; road trips, marathon break-up convos and workout videos filled us with the ever-present sense of ‘there’s a song for that’.  When someone elses words zing into your psyche like a silver bullet, we immediately recognize how personal a song is, how the spoken word tells our story too,  how it evokes memories and emotions with the drop of a mic!

I fully subscribe to the notion of songlines resonating for a reason.  My reactions or recall of certain snippets are my most obvious indicator of things going on inside of me which are begging for attention. Whether a subconscious playlist or a line that plants itself in my thoughts without mercy , these songs of ourselves are the bits of us we must express. They are what is crying to be set free from our own spirit.  Nascent thoughts like this muse around in our psyche until they burst out and become the expression of how our dreams are made. They often become how we start a business, disrupt an industry, dump the agenda at staff meeting and finally listen, or even raise our children to grow up to be starters, dreamers and make us glad to be alive. (Insert the Beatles, You may say I’m a dreamer)  And so freakin’ glad I’m not the only one.

Song lines run through my head like a baseball announcer, as commentary and ambiance in practically every conversation I have. I recently watched a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers documentary, and immediately saw how hopelessly attached I am to the adrenaline-filled, windows-down car-ride of Tom Cruise in ‘Jerry Maguire’ and his balls-to-the-wall version of Free-fallin.  This anthem is seared in my memory  as my triumphant goto tune whenever I am about tight pants onto take a leap of faith.  And hilariously enough, I run through a certain, Tight pants On, line all the time when I am dressing up to go out and want to inject a little fun and fierceness into my vibe. (google jimmy fallon, got my tight pants on, if you don’t know the song and that earworm may never leave the premises).

Lately I find myself asking, ‘what about my own song?‘ (insert barry manilow’s, This one’s for you) and how do I find the words or sensthoreaue of self  I cannot and must not keep down any longer? (insert madonna’s Express Yourself, now you see how the song thing haunts me right?) In fact, I hear so many questions of this ilk it seems time to start crafting some really good answers. There is something so incredibly universal about sharing our story, and doing it with music is pretty much the frosting on top. But with music, or as the spoken word, a bit of poetry, a manifesto or even a memo I’m really curious…what is it within that insists on a reaction or telling of these songs of self?  For myself, I can react to a line or lyric, a marketing slogan or simple jingle in such profound ways. The author has inevitably hit a chord of shared experience with me.  They have inspired or reminded me of something I was just trying to put my finger on only yesterday.  Or they reignited the full sorrow of my heartbreak, and my tears finally flowed.

This blog entry isn’t so much about becoming a songwriter as it is about Finding Your Voice. It’s about responding to a biological clock ticking  that has nothing to do with having live babies, and everything to do with giving birth to an idea so real it makes the difference of our lifetime. It’s about rising up, resonating to the song that burns within, that which we must express to be free.

Tell me, as you read this in something welling up in you? Are you feeling a sense of longing or notion of bursting at the seams about now? Do you have a pretty good idea you are Ready to be starting something?65739-christina-aguilera-quotes-from-songs.jpg

Right this very minute is the best time to discover your song within and sound it from the rooftops.  It is useless to resist this (says Cake in Comfort Eagle), and rather than jumping in line to the fervent march of someone else’s tune,(obvious ‘Different Strokes’ theme song reference) you are on the precipice of finding your own words. Right now, IN THE NOW,  dig deep and find the words or bring out the unique gifts only you have to give.  And here’s the cool thing, this burning to be seen and heard is not unique, just the way you do it is. What your gifts are and how you write the songs in the key of U is the symphony, or project, first novel or medical discovery the world has been waiting for. As Walt Whitman himself tells us in his ‘Song of Myself’…It is you talking just as much as myself… I act as the tongue of you…§47  In this search to express and create, to build and teach from our own truth, we are not alone in our struggle to be free, there are way more than 50 ways to be discovered. (go on, you know what to insert here…)

‘And just how do you suggest I do that?’ you might ask.

This is imagesthe moment to find your way, discover the words, reveal the part of you who must be seen.  When these bits of you find their way into the world, onto our sketch pads, into the boardrooms and bedrooms life begins to happen in technicolor (Mama don’t take my kodachrome away, bookended Simon and Garfunkel reference for the win).  And here is where the magic begins…

If you’re gonna sing out, sing out! (you get it by now right?  sing along...’if you’re gonna be free, be free) Each of our songs in the key of me may not be heard by another single-living soul, but what we do with the music of our hearts just might start a symphony.  And finally, here is the essence of how what we do makes a difference…we do it with love, our song as part of the harmony, with a purpose, a mission to be the change, live the love, ride the wave…(break on through to the other side). When you do there is beauty to behold, take a look at those stars…look at the starsAre you ready to sing out? You’ve just got to be startin something!

(and now definitely, the obvious Michael Jackson tune, you wanna be startin’ somethin, you got ta be startin’ somethin…)

If you are ready to start something, or make something you already do with a whole lot more of your voice attached, join me in a leap, do some Free-Falling of your own on a VIP Deep Dive Intensive. Flip the switch and find your voice, amp up to the next level while honing the unique gifts you bring to the world, your business, your vision of how things should be. We gotta start by finding our tune…

Let’s do that together shall we?

Dig Deep for your Personal or Business Brand, The ARCHETYPE OF YOU    

VIP Deep Dive Intensive Half or  Full Day

Up-Level Your WORK IN THE WORLD       

90 Day Deep Dive

VIP Deep Dive Intensive recommended Full Day

VIP alternate Deep Dive Half Day

(all available in person or via skype)




The Bard at Large

I recently completed a project proposal on storytelling as a tool for transformation. Defining the idea for others refined how this wonderful medium of pure auditory indulgence works such magic on our psyche. Who doesn’t want to have a tale spun by a true wizard of storytelling?
‘Raconteur Racoon’ Jeffry Yeager

My own engagement with story has always been a palpable transformative experience.  When I recognized how story was a tangible force of change in me personally was not until college, and I fed my hunger for change by reading. My infatuation at the time was for Louis L’amour; quick easy reads about larger than life Mavericks in the Wild West breaking rules and saving the day.  I would read these tiny tomes of pulp fiction late into the night gobbling up the miraculous way the loner and outsider became the hero. It wasn’t really until I graduated from college that I outgrew this need for Western gobbling and how it fed my own independent spirit, helped me filter through my need to break rules and absolutely fed my own perception of loving my  own MacGuyver skills in the world.

At the same time I would read what I thought were ‘important’ books too.  In fact, for a while I bought every copy of Anna Karenina I came across in the thrift shops because it was too big to carry with me, and I was always buying it again to pick-up where I had last left off.

But it was my literary ‘indulgences’ that seemed to weave together the fabric of my own transformation.  For probably 5 years in a row I would re-read ‘A Room With a View” every summer.  The young romantic in me craving a wistful, coming-of-age begging for grounding in real life every time I had too much time on my hands and began to worry my life wasn’t active enough for a smart young lady moving into productive life. And it was then I started writing; considering story and recognizing a growing need to tell my own .

As a transformative medium, reading can be too big an undertaking for the time or space we are willing to take for internalizing–we have been spoon fed our story for so long.  Reading can take a bit more self-awareness to strip out the bits that apply to me, integrating their meaning so I am actually aware of it. Listening to a story is different than this.  It slips in through the cracks of our self-assured or possibly protective exterior; appeals to our entertainment gene and digs right in to subvert  and maybe even convert what the subconscious is calling for. Story slips right the border of what we think we know and goes to work on the deep-within we aren’t even aware of yet. 

Disney’s Bard, the Rooster of Robin Hood

Most often I think we get our story from video, so prevalent, such a no-brainer to sit and watch. Here’s what’s tough about embracing story in this way–we often settle for the fast-food version of how this works!  Aaaarrgghhh, Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to blaspheme the holy cow of television and even more importantly filmmaking as storytelling.  Screen story took the place of reading for me for over a decade in importance, and I still get lost in a film that works hard to engage me in that way.  But I have learned it is the video reel playing in my own head when listening to a story that starts the transformation for me–it is an action verb in the way my senses engage.  I become the casting director, the props master, the executive producer.  There is no budget limiting my vision of the story.  And I get to include an unknown element–I am not the director in these reels of story in my head–at least not consciously so.  There are so many factors my waking self doesn’t know how to play.  I can’t make the choice for a heroine faced with odds I have never encountered in my own life, or can I?

When I step off the page in story I get to be surprised by what my unconscious does to settle a scene.  And it is in this way–not reading, but telling, speaking out loud–that the true Bard shares her gift.  Each member of the audience, that’s you and me in any given moment of listening, get’s to contribute equally to the complete experience.  A raconteur sets the mood, invites us to draw back the curtains and mount the production of the story most called for from our own experience in the moment of our imagination.  The Bards of old traveled from town to town, sitting out late by the light of the fire, spinning yarns of nonsense and great import all at once. Society’s controls for exposing intrigues were tightly  guarded and public sharing of info contrary to local government or the reigning monarch was punishable by death even.

Shift in gears when story engages our brain. Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

But is was the gift and hidden meaning of the stories shared by these Bards that revealed truths to those who were willing to listen. Eager minds interested in understanding the layers of what is being revealed were ripe for this pastime. So let’s frame that level of intrigue in what might be hidden now in the stories that stream at us non-stop. We are practically drowned in the flood of information which society may or may approve of sharing. How do we filter through what is important to us?  Our ‘storytellers’ break every convention in shocking or taboo image making.  In television and film, our senses can be overstimulated and desensitized by every sight, sound and often touch (like when our seats rumble, or our seatmate grabs us frantically when the villain appears). How can I filter these inputs and settle on what moves me in a way that matters? How do I know what is important to me?
 I return to the story, I engage in every way I can find where stories are being told; in group discussion, in Ted talks, on my favorite radio program, in panel discussions where surprise questions bring phenomenal stories in response.  I notice what stories grab me, where my imagination takes me as the facts unfold and how I am drawn in or done with it in that moment. 

And I tell stories of my own, i write them, i sit with children and whisper them, 
i share them at the dinner table, over drinks and by the fireside.  
They go to work on me, they inspire my self-understanding, they transform like nothing else can.

Monk in the World Guestpost

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of writing a piece for Christine Valters Paintner over at

It turned out to be this great moment of clarity for me, learning a bit about how I make a mountain out of a molehill, or something into this huge whopping truth, when it might just really be a piece of my experience and someone else would define the truth of it entirely differently.  Here’s a bit about how that unfolded for me…

A few years ago, I was on a sales trip to San Francisco, working at a convention center across the street from Grace Cathedral.  I was exhausted from my work and searching for a few moments of peace and quiet.  On the second day I stepped out of the convention center for some fresh air and caught sight of the cathedral set up on a hill, beckoning me to cross the street and clear my head.  A posted sign read there was an organ and choir performance that day, the perfect opportunity to decompress.
valerie holt labyrinthAs I entered the cathedral, I realized I was too early for the performance and heard the organist practicing. The space was cool and dimly lit from nearby stained glass windows. I quietly circled the main space and returned to the entry when I finally looked down.  There at my feet, woven in simple variations of woolen dove grey was a huge labyrinth.  A nearby sign stated it was patterned after the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France, which I had been to years earlier. The sign further described the labyrinth as a meditation tool.  It hinted at secrets of the walk and how levels of awareness were available to the devout practitioner.

Read the whole story HERE


Difficult Questions and Beautiful Answers

Feb 6th and 7th, 2015 The Lama Farm and Jung Society of Utah welcome the renowned poet, David Whyte, in a live poetry evening and workshop for an early Valentine’s weekend event. Whyte’s poetry readings and teachings take his audience on a fierce exploration into the frontiers of the beloved and undiscovered self. For this author it seems perhaps the boldest love affair any of us might hope to achieve in this lifetime—a love for our once and future self—reminding us of the beauty of an awakened life. Whyte’s venture into the inner-scape of self is entitled “What to Remember when Waking, Asking the Beautiful Questions.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation…
All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves,
Everything, everything, everything is waiting for you.
—David Whyte “Everything is waiting for you”
* Difficult Questions and Beautiful Answers
David Whyte is a poet, transformational teacher and organizational consultant. One might question how these three unlikely pursuits combine in a cohesive career, and be delighted to find it is Whyte’s most particular and profound gift of inquiry through poetry which invites participants in all three arenas to dare ask their own courageous, difficult and beautiful questions.  In each of his disciplines, Whyte pushes his audiences to examine the inner world in our diverse and sometimes disconnected aspects of life and thereby discover how closely related the answers are in each. His impassioned and lyrical insight offer balm, guidance and practical application for everyday people grappling with a desire to reconnect or most simply, uncover their inner voice.
This February Whyte makes his public debut in Salt Lake City to ask those very questions. Over the past two years Whyte’s career has crystallized around the planet as his poetry and prose reach new levels of recognition and familiarity. With this notoriety, Whyte is sought out to teach and perform extensively to audiences entranced with the modern mystic nature of his voice and themes. Co-sponsoring the event are The LamaFarm a Utah mentoring and guidance organization cultivating inner-consciousness and awakened living and the Jung Society of Utah. Machiel Klerk, founder of the Jung Society, says “David Whyte’s poetic vision is similar to the depth psychology of Carl Jung with the notion that the human is no accident but a carrier of meaning and of gifts, that there is an ‘other world’. This is what Jung meant as he defined the individuation process and the collective unconscious. Poets explore these ideas in their own words suited for their time, and David Whyte does that magically.”
Whyte has authored seven volumes of poetry and four works of prose. To his devoted readers, Whyte’s poems cast a web of sonorous and earthy self-discovery. In his live readings, Whyte’s gift of penetrating human connection draws his audience into the same web. Shifting seamlessly between reciting his own poems and quoting the work of his favorite poets he weaves an irresistible spell of sound and silence. Whyte’s performances call to mind firesides of old, in which audiences disappear from the world of passive listener and enter into a journey alongside him—the journey into the self .
A native of England, Whyte now makes his home with his family in the Pacific Northwest. As a child, David, roamed the fields of his father’s Yorkshire, England, memorizing aloud—to  clouds and cows alike, the poems of the romantic poets—Wordsworth and Keats to name a few.  “My mother’s voice taught me a connection to Irish folklore tradition coming right out of the ground and imagination of the Irish.”  And it was his “father’s Yorkshire which had its own storytelling tradition and lent a grounded, steady compassion and almost surreal honesty to the voice.”  Whyte says, “In many ways I got schooled in the two ends of the spectrum in human voice.”   “I was always naturally interested in the voice and memorizing poetry. I started quite young and constantly looked to the future with anticipation for building my repertoire; always thinking what the next poem would be, even if that were only two or three a year.”
It was perhaps through his youthful learning to recognize the soulfulness in others’ words that Whyte began his own development in understanding human expression of the inner voice. These early solitary recitations began a lifelong ‘courtship’ with his favorite poems and authors—well over 300 at last count—which Whyte recites in his performances as they uniquely apply to the present moment of his teachings.
By education and training Whyte began his formal career with a degree in marine biology, working as a naturalist guide and anthropologist in the Galapagos Islands, Andes, Amazon, and Himalayas.  One can only imagine how he might have plied his craft as a wordsmith pondering anthropological insights and guiding human conversation along the trails and extremes such journeys offer. The combination of explorer of the natural world and guide to seekers’ paths shifted from geographical boundaries to human frontiers as his vocation in poetry emerged.
Speaking from his home last month in the Pacific Northwest, Whyte offered his perspective on his poetry and work and how he enters the conversation on the human experience. Whyte’s transition from geographic to human interior exploration suggests an underlying quest to discover his personal genius. “I think I always intuited the human voice as a representation of our identity in the world,” Whyte explains, “Everyone possesses a personal genius.” Whyte says finding, or at the very least seeking our authentic voice through asking questions of our deepest self is a means of uncovering this personal genius. At the center of every conversation is an invitation, just as there’s an invitation in good poetry to the truth; to uncovering…your own particular way to be in that truth.  It has to do with your own genius, not as Mozart, or Dylan Thomas or Madam Curie. I am thinking just of the way you hold life as an individual.”
Why is it so difficult to ask ourselves these questions and find our authentic voice? (VH)
Whyte describes his own experiences discovering a ‘hidden voice’ that needed to be remembered or gathered back into full expression within the body.I remember when I was 13 or 14 [deciding] to have a consistency of voice no matter who I was speaking to; to have it grounded in my body.”  Learning to express his authentic voice at that time, Whyte says ”Strangely enough, there are huge parts of your body you don’t want to be in because of the hurt and trauma of living, ways you do not want to share your voice. You actually try to escape from that psychologically, so the journey into the voice is the journey back into the body, actually being here. Poetry is a representation of that, an artful expression of the human journey.”
How does our authentic voice help us uncover our genius? (VH)
 “Genius is not something we either have or we don’t.” According to Whyte, “we all have genius to be revealed, an identity to be shaped. By exploring our self-perception, releasing judgments we hold onto in our physical bodies we help reveal our genius, which is often buried in the darkest corners within.” Whyte describes a “fully-embodied” voice as the place from which he strives to share his poetry, a place that allows him to express his own genius. In an era when spiritual seekers ask questions for which they find no answers and mid-life crisis newbies don’t have a manual on which to cut their teeth, David Whyte gently and insistently urges us with his deeply compelling point of view to explore our internal frontiers  for the answers. He explains how as our own voices explore difficult inner questions, we discover “the way the voice represents the frontier of what you think is you versus what you don’t think is you. Once these limits are exposed, [you] just might reach past them into the possibility of who [you] actually are.”
Whyte’s teachings will captivate Utahns at once for his guide-work in untamed frontiers and the discipline of his philosophical and contemplative tradition.
As a powerful storyteller, it is not uncommon for Whyte to recount experiences from his days as a trail guide and anthropologist and share poetry from his current walking retreats in Ireland, Italy, England and the Galapagos Islands. Such pilgrimages have long been a practice of the seeking soul. Here in Utah we are fortunate to have some of the most beautiful and untamed vistas of any wilderness anywhere on earth. We have the opportunity to take to the trails and mountains with similar intent, finding enough silence in nature to awaken, or free from sleep, a certain element of the unconscious mind and possibly begin to examine those interior frontiers.  Speaking about ways to begin an ‘embodied practice’ for self-exploration, Whyte says “our great religious and contemplative traditions look at the way human beings are constantly being invited into the new, emancipated sense of self in the world.” Starting with the walks in the countryside he took as a youth memorizing a favorite verse, Whyte’s expeditions into exterior frontiers introduce an embodied physical practice for the parallel journey we are invited to explore in his poetry—to find our voice and honest expression of self.
The poet has spent years in spiritual practice uncovering his authentic voice.  Whyte says “I sat Zen for years where the beautiful questions are known as Koans, an Eastern contemplative tradition asking the unanswerable questions.” Citing an example of such a question, Whyte asks “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” and goes on to describe what personal meaning such a question might hold by feeling into the places of the body that might be blocked by this query.  A possible answer, he goes on is “how much of my life is real, how much is what I make up speaking back to me in my own voice?”  Explaining how we separate from our manufactured perception of self, Whyte suggests we might discover “…a deeper, more foundational self. Starting there can feel like a kind of death, at least dismemberment or falling away. This is a letting go of a part of you that can no longer speak the truth.”
What are the ‘Beautiful questions’ you are asking us to remember when waking?(VH)
“These questions come from a part of you already knowing and calling you, one who already knows the new truth to which we belong,” Whyte says.  “A place from which to speak, dance or shape a life that can distinguish the authentic you from the pattern of thousands of images told from the courageous human life at the center of your existence.”  As suggested by answering the Koan above, we  “[don’t want] to be part of some other life, body…but right here at this place, now!  Taking only the steps you can take, speaking the only words you can speak, making the only life you can make.”
Why is the live interaction you have with an audience so profound? (VH)
“On stage, there is a kind of ritual invitation being made; strangely enough that invitation is to the silence that lies as a context for all the beautiful language and truths you hear in poetry. Quite often in a room full of people whether on stage or in a conference room, I’m following the listening in the room–where the silence is most profound.”  When Whyte speaks to an audience, something almost alchemical happens in the interaction. As he describes “something quite new happens in performance; listening and responding to the profundity of the silence…that’s where the magic and the art form are and that’s where something new will happen at the same time.”  Audience members engage in dynamic interaction in response to the poet’s invitation to discover our personal genius, to join what resonates from that selfsame voice of authenticity and honesty with which he speaks. As Whyte engages with an audience he dares us to ask the Beautiful Questions, to risk discovering our unexplored interior frontiers, not necessarily because of their innate beauty, but because of the beauty and genius we discover in ourselves when we ask them.
Valerie Holt is a writer, mentor and founder of The LamaFarm where the soul of the seeker rises from the ground we break, dig on purpose.™  She  is thrilled to cohost David Whyte in February as he urges us to Remember the Beautiful Questions as we are waking.
see the article as it appears in the CATALYST MAGAZINE  Here

Start Making Sense

Before great vision can become reality there may be difficulty. Before a person begins a great endeavor, they may encounter chaos. As a new plant breaks the ground with great effort, foreshadowing the huge tree, so must we sometimes push against difficulty in bringing forth our dreams. Chaos-where dreams begin…

I Ching Hexagram #3

Brilliance from Chaos
 mandala by Valerie Holt

Dharma: Finding sense in  
the Order of the Universe…
Finding senseor orderin life asks us to bring our ‘A’ game.
Consider this an invitation to get into  
coaching mode for yourself–Time for an internal dialogue.
Life gets messy, chaotic even.
How do we incorporate the experiences of our own lives and those examples that we truly value,  as a way to make some sense, find some wisdom, seek a path we actually want follow?  So often we seek and seek, learn and learn, surf the waves of living and totally turf it on the shore…over and over and over…When someone has lived or survived a certain cycle of learning and whether they consciously choose to or not, they are holding out a light for all they are worth to make their way on the path in front of them without breaking their neck. We are each of us, doing this, in some aspect of our lives– 
Showing the Way, Making the sense, Finding the path.
Take a minute as you read these words, reflect on your own Turf Sessions, call this the video highlights of the game.  Now it’s time to talk strategy–we’re gonna call this part of living and learning the spin cycleand my suggestion today is that you start to reflect, apply a tiny bit of big picture strategy, find that inner voice of coach; dig a little deeper and amazingly you will see you have such inner wisdom, you are your best divine source for guidance–the best choice to bring order to your sense of spin. 
The divine, still, knowing self that dwells right in your center–the Divine Wayshower–knows what it takes to bring your ‘A’ game–so it’s time to start a little chatter,
wouldn’t you say?
 Getting to the insight or perspective of WayShower requires living through the Spin Cycle–cycles of personal growth. That means you gotta play a lot of games just to figure out how you like to throw, whether you are a fast runner or better at a slow game…
The Wayshower is a powerful archetype to take on, sit with, walk around and think about, or invite into dreamtime when learning to recognize inner guidance–start some inner chatter with this guy! 
I like to picture the very humble image of a monk or maybe even a hermit-someone who journeys to the holy mountain to get some perspective and stillness. But the beauty of inner dialogue is that you get to choose any image you like that offers great perspective, wisdom, and most definitely humor in your life (it’s really just Divine You in a new suit).
You could even sit with the image of a lighthouse, but one that is moving-not locked in place-and only just missing the rocks ahead in time enough to shine a light for those following behind because you are living this wisdom, learning it moment by moment and applying it in the very next moment when new rocks appear.
 The rocks, Spin Cycles or cycles of learning are constantly arising as we make our way through life. When we understand this cycle is rotating through our liveson huge major cog wheels, or tiny little spokes, they can be measured in generations, minutes, milliseconds or milennia–it is the beginning of understanding our own strategy for a successful Spin Cycle. 
Here’s the key… we become empowered in our own lives when we recognize & acknowledge the cycle.  The Brilliance of this sense of Order is begging for its turn–this is your turf, why not master the spin?   
 We start just by recognizing
big loves, Valilama 

A ‘Stalk’ on The Wild Side…

A ‘Stalk’ on The Wild Side…

Seek, Explore, Unleash the Wise One in You

 Are you ready to get all powerful and native
to GO FORTH  and be a
 Life is too short to do it any other way!

Can you remember being that kid on the roof up there with your red cape flying?  I mean it, remember being a kid and making a game out of hunting down the biggest, baddest adventures and mysteries on the block?  I can remember getting all outfitted up and setting out in the neighborhood to peek into all the scariest places i knew about…I would wait with my best friend in the whole world at the edge of the golfcourse until no carts were in sight…and then dash onto the field and into the sprinklers to get completely wet and cooled from the intense summer heat;  i stealthily followed my older brother around on his own adventure route, who had threatened life and limb if i did,  from a very safe distance and watch him catch lizards–wishing for the day when i would be fast enough to catch my own; i would even sneak into the huge unlandscaped backyard at the end of the block–where i was pretty sure a single dad lived who had most likely eaten all his children–to kick up storms of powdery white sand–pretending i was a giant walking on clouds.  The adventures of the wildchild–daily slips into imaginary realms, yearnings for moments of heightened awareness–we all were born with this. Somehow the gift our spirit enters this world with is an inner youthful one willing to explore, approach our most profound moments with stealth and attention, focus for extended periods of time on the things we were most afraid of, but that promised thrills beyond imagination.

And then our wildchild meets maturity..welcome to adultville, land of commonsense and avoiding doing anything scary at all.

What happened to that wild being inside of us that knew the worth of getting very still in the darkest corner just to have a chance to see Santa go by? Where did the little one disappear to who knew somewhere deep inside the only way to spot a fairy was to slip effortlessly and silently through the dappled light and shadows along the forest trail?

How about a little epic awesome! How about stepping back into moments of anything is possible when i walk the edge of shadow and light, use all my wild jungle hunter skills to stalk the place where i pass through fear and discover the light?  This is the exact notion of Stalking Our Wild Side, where our ageless selves have the power to unearth the ‘danger zone’ in the light of day. 

How about this?
Rather than never attempting to observe what exists in the darkest places for ourselves, to recognize that on the other side of fear exists the next level of our greatest high; how about getting fully outfitted into the best cape and boots ever and leap into that adventure?

It’s pretty epic to consider that all i might need to get to awesome is the right cape and boots! 

Tools, timing, stealthy stalker instincts…
How about somma that to bring on the Epic Shit!

   SHAZAM!   (and all those other superhero secret passwords)
 Let the Epic Begin!


April Fool’s Day

      The Musing of a Fool:The Pause & Beginner’s Mind

Are you reading for your own awakening?  Every year as the days start to lengthen and the sun shines a little warmer, I can feel the urgency within me seeking …. something.  This Spring is no different, and I am amazingly experiencing this so differently that it feels like a whole new me.
 Let’s start with the ‘PAUSE’, shall we? 
 That precious and exhilarating moment of waiting just as your legs crouch down and get ready to leap, the pause is about gathering in your breath, taking in the landscape around you and putting your intuitive strength of spirit on notice…now is the time for AWAKENING! 
Sometimes all this motivation and heavy breathing can get the best of us before we actually know what is happening.  This is where the notion of Beginner’s Mind comes in; and for all you yogis and yoginis out there, I suspect you know right where this beginner’s pause is leading.

Several years ago I began a consistent yoga practice, as opposed to the occasional stretch with a video in my living room or full-moon meditation at the spa, and oddly (just to me really) I chose Bikram Yoga as my entry into the practice.  For those of you not personally acquainted with this form of yoga, it is a 90 minute, 26 pose, 105 degree dance with self every time you enter the room.  For me, the dance was particularly inspiring (she says with tongue in cheek) because of my level of general fitness(or lack thereof) and overall intense need to analyze every moment of stretch as it arises.  I had challenged myself (and won btw) to two 30 Day challenges, almost gotten my nose to my toes and in fact, touched my head to the ground in a backward bend.  So you can imagine how pleased with myself I was when I mentioned to my yoga teacher that I had some goals to reach in my daily practice.  She immediately giggled as if I must be joking, and with a prolonged looked that eventually shared her understanding that I was obviously not joking, she asserted,

“you get that yoga isn’t about goals right?”  
I most certainly didn’t get that, and said as much, and her next statement, literally set me free!…this is the kind of truth we are all seeking, but generally don’t hear even when it hits us over the head with a two-by-four…”yoga is just about showing up in the room, about being fully your best in every moment of your practice…as that moment appears…and then letting the moment pass’.( I’m pretty sure she said something wonderful just like this, but time has turned it into these words as the meaning has emerged for me.)
How is that concept even real? 

I almost felt like it was an attempt at a poor planner’s way of getting away with doing nothing.  But that day as I entered the room, as if for the first time, I came to understand the truth

of Beginner’s Mind.  Rather than psyching myself up for all that is possible, mentally stringing together each step I will take and filling my otherwise stuffed mind with more plans to be perfect by the time I die, I simply took a very deep breath(the Pause both literally and figuratively), emptied my mind of everything that was coming unbidden to presuppose it knew better than my own innate sense of intuition and stepped into the best ongoing meditation I have ever ventured into. (read as, this is a practice and discipline that is now my best form of meditation in every waking moment of my own daily living.)
There is nothing that knows me better than trusting to my own divine guidance, opening myself to the very moment of inspiration as it appears, allowing the space to evolve and act upon new information at the very moment it becomes real to me. This space of being willing to put down the ‘should have dones’, the ‘could have beens’ or the ‘supposed to be’s’ is the most freeing moment of putting down baggage…like the fool stepping out onto a truly joyous journey, there is no baggage to carry when we expect the moment and divinity of life to show up perfectly to support our path.  There is no goal to set, when I remain true to the very demanding calling for authenticity and authoring of self in each moment with a beautifully opened and divinely attuned Beginner’s Mind.

Listen, can you hear the beckon of the Spring?
 Take a deep breath my friend, clear your mind and get ready for the ride!


I’ll be your Huckleberry

Artiste avant
Atop, a humorous note.
Teakettle brass
And caramel
A sea without a boat.

Conceptual weaver
Reader of ways
High-hedged labyrinth.
Curiouser and curiouser
This place is hidden
Black velvet hyacinth.

Desert maiden
Her Heart a tree
Ever-breathing, layered knots.
Ahead, the red-rocked peaks
of fire and earth
Through speckled sun she walks.

How beautiful is that when the first person to ever call me Auntie, gives me this for Christmas?