How to Love

by Alan Waugh, Sacred Valley Spiritual Retreat

This powerful sculpture entitled ‘LOVE’ and otherwise known as ‘Inner Child’ evokes the innocent child within us wanting to reach out and connect with the innocent, inner child within our partner.

It is symbolic of the deep yearning within us to connect with the core essence of our mate, despite the challenges and conflict that are so prevalent in miscommunication through projection or unrealized expectations.

It is a beautiful homage to that which lies within our own divine essence that is at its core our innate nature, wishing to touch the innate nature of our partner and ultimately all beings.

How many times have you had conflict with your partner, felt hurt, not seen nor heard, validated nor acknowledged? In those moments, have you wished to make it all right, forgive and let go of what appears to be so inconsequential or petty and yet has triggered you so strongly? In those times have you then turned away from your partner in anger and fear where you are pushed into a place of distrust or of not feeling safe?

How many times in those painful moments have you accepted responsibility for the miscommunication or even non- communication of your feelings or reactions before you quickly moved into the fight or flight mode, just wanting to get away, hide or even smash something? Probably not too many!

The sculpture ‘LOVE’ could also have been presented in a different way, in that it is really the Inner Child that is turning away, with the ‘parenting couple’ facing each other. Appropriately rigid and tense in their metallic form, they put an energetic guard, not just around their outer body but ultimately around their hearts, like a suit of armor to protect from all the perceived energetic and emotional arrows being shot at them via ill-placed words, actions or even critical looks.

It is the child within our sub-conscious self that that holds all the woundings and conditioning manifesting in our adult self that gets triggered and sends the message that we are in a place of conflict/ fear/un-safety.

Why would you respond with such a strong reaction with something that could be as petty as your partner saying that they are going out for a drink with their friends? Ultimately your partner just wants to go out with friends. But maybe your inner child is tapping into deep feelings of abandonment that happened as you were taken straight from birth to an incubator?

Or maybe because your Father left the family house when you were two? It is the deeply held unresolved memory of past experiences that hold most of the emotional/ mental or physical triggers for you that caused the present day reaction and not the fact that your partner was planning on abandoning you? Or maybe it is a past memory that somehow you believed that you are not good enough? So your partner going out without inviting you, triggers this inner belief or conditioned response that sends a wave of deep cellular patterning to create the re-action that your body/mind still believes?

Another term for this inner child within each of this is the Shadow Self. The very fact that they are referred to as ‘Shadows’ invokes the belief that they somehow are to be feared because they lie in wait for us hidden in the dark: unseen, unacknowledged nor cared for.

How can we be in Sacred/Conscious relationship unless we take care of all that is held within our sub-conscious experience that holds the limiting beliefs about ourselves, that we project onto the world outside ourselves?

Maybe you have more or less managed to create a safe container within your epidermal layer, that as long as you can live the life you believe to be authentically you, you can live a life of a form of inner peace. But what happens if one or some of those past traumatic or limiting beliefs get triggered by something that someone outside of yourself says or does, that seems like a hurtful gesture or action?

Guess what, that wounding that holds a personality with an associated inner voice kicks you and says “See, you’re not good enough! You will never be able to do that! You’re not pretty enough, they are going to leave you!”

So then what you do is push the responsibility for your pain or neurotic response onto the person that you feel caused that inner feeling of discomfort. “It’s their fault I feel that way!”

So in relationship work with another, the only way to release projections or blame on the ‘other’ is to accept accountability for the source of that blame. Yes, its good to learn communication processes through couples counseling and to better understand what hurts or displease your partner. But unless you learn to develop a better more loving, supportive and nurturing relationship with yourself, to yourself, nothing ultimately will change at the core.

Here at The Sacred Valley Spiritual Retreat, our skill-full facilitators help you gain incite into the originating cause of your triggers and conditioning and through a variety of powerful and transformative techniques, help you love that wounded child within you, that is the source of all love and help bring it out from the shadows.

This is the path of self mastery that the sages and gurus from ancient times teach as the path to inner peace. Maybe now, see the illuminated child in the above photo as an illumination of your heart center.

Look at it.

It is only through shining light into yourself that you can illuminate your capacity to fully love.

Big Love.

Sculpture By Ukrainian Artist Alexander Milov for 2015 Burning Ma Installation


4 Key Practices To Open Your Heart

What does it mean to open your heart?

Today, I’ll explore four key practices that help you open your heart and live a more heart-centered existence.

One of the most powerful teachings I’ve ever received around heart energy comes from the name of the heart chakra, Anahata. This Sanskrit name roughly translates to – the sound that two things make WITHOUT striking.  In other words, it means union or NO resistance.

Take a deep breath in. Exhale your resistance…aaahhhh! Feel that relaxation around your heart?

Living and being in heart-centered consciousness is to drop your resistance and to operate from a place of love and compassion. It’s to relax around your heart. Healthy heart energy is for connection, communion and collaboration.

When your heart is depleted of energy you may feel tight around your heart or even empty. You may experience feelings like grief, sadness, and pain. This could mutate as well into the umbrella emotion of anger. You may close off your heart and feel  isolation and start to compare and compete for love.

This is when the Ego and Mind try to step in and take over. Yikes!

I know when I am in my heart, I feel good.  When I’m not, I don’t. It really can be that simple if we let it be.

Why not follow the trail of feeling good?

Through my life what I have found to be the most powerful tools for opening and freeing my own heart energy are mindfulness meditation, yogic breathing, gratitude and forgiveness.

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1. Mindfulness Meditation

The practice of slowing down through mindfulness meditation is powerful.  You are not living in your heart if you are constantly in your head and not in your body.  If you take your attention and focus away from the external world you can learn how to focus on your internal landscape, free of others projections, influences and energies.

With meditation you are able listen to what is taking you away from your own body, emotions, energy and experience.   To be connected to your heart you need to connect with your subtle body energies, or parts of your system that are unseen.  In this way you can become a better feeler, sensor and intuit for your own desires and needs.

This also frees you to connect with your Higher Self, Source and the Universe for the most Authentic Love Relationship you will ever find. Your relationship with YOU.

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2. Yoga and Yogic Breathing

Yoga and yogic breathing is an incredible tool for relaxation and mindfulness.  It is said that most people only breath to 30% of their capacity in a day, starving their body, brain and cells of oxygen.  This is not helping the body-mind system heal, but hindering it and creating more resistance.  Remember, we are looking for NO resistance so we can have our energy flowing.  When we slow down and relax, we can use the breath to release toxins, emotions and anything that is creating tension which blocks the flow of our energy and creates illness.

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3. Gratitude

Living an ‘attitude of gratitude’ brings so much heart and joy to your life experience.  When you are practicing what you are grateful for there is no room for negativity – your heart is filled with Love.  In that life expanding energy, you attract more life expanding energy like prosperity, abundance and soul nourishment.

The Dr. Emoto water research projects brought so much light to this.  When he used positive words and blessing vibrations over water, the crystalline structure of the water harmonized to create sacred geometry.  When the water was sent negative energy and vibration it became dissonant, fragmented and chaotic.

It’s up to you to bring your vibration into alignment with love and your heart.

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4. Forgiveness

The antidote to grief, sadness and isolation is to forgive, or ‘give forth’ the energy that you are holding onto from the past that created your suffering and pain.  If the heart is union, then you want to offer your heart’s energy of union to your experience of separation.  You can do this through the power of recognizing that what happened was for the greatest good. The universe always leads with what’s best for your soul’s evolution.The life lesson you received is bringing you back home to your heart.

Deepak Chopra had a phrase that always stuck with me in a meditation of his, “Forgiveness is for me, Forgiveness sets me free.”  Set yourself free of your pain by offering yourself love and compassion.

Opening your heart is an ongoing practice of relaxation, releasing resistance and honoring your own healing path.  Every day you have a choice to live more fully in your heart or to create more separation.  If you want to feel good more of the time, it can be as simple as starting to practice one of these self-love tools.

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May you feel peace and union in your heart today.

To receive meditations, affirmations and other inspirational tools for self-care and self-love, click this link and enter your email address!

xo Nicole

photo credit: courtney-hedger @unsplash


How can I forgive?

“How can I forgive this?”
That was something I have said to myself over and over again.
There are some things that have happened to me that seem irreparable, yet I have been able to forgive.
What I have learned over the years, is that you can’t change the past, but you can change your mind about it now in the present. 
How do you do that?
It’s become part of my life’s work and what I love to share with my clients.
Deepak Chopra helped me with this one a while ago when I was going through a breakup. He said, “Forgiveness is for me. Forgiveness sets you free.” 
The thing is, people make decisions based on their needs and their level of awareness at the time of an event.  That doesn’t always mean that its the best for you. Things can be unexpected.
Yet, if you hold on to these feelings of resentment from the past, you are just punishing yourself in the present.  The person that you are not forgiving isn’t walking around being punished by you because of your feelings, that’s happening to you.
Old stories formulate emotions. If they aren’t released and forgiven, then they can remain trapped in your mind-body system.  Each time the mind relives these stories, those same feelings can be elicited.  If we don’t release them, and forgive them, the negative beliefs can form “dis-ease” or disease in our bodies.
So why not give it up and let it go?
The best thing I’ve found about my forgiveness process is that when no stone is left unturned, you have so much freed up energy and no one to hide from. There is only beauty left in your life, friendships and love.
Rest assured the final say is with karma and God.
If you want to learn more about forgiveness and letting go — sign up for your FREE Shamanic Priestess session. You may just learn there are a few more things to forgive and forget. Click Here

Infinite blessings on the path to awaken to the Divinity in all,



“Our power to manifest is equal to our power to generate our own evolution.”
– Claire Zammit