More from retreat

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As I mentioned in a previous post, the beginning of retreat was tough for me. Slowing down, getting used to a new routine, etc was challenging. However, once I got settled, some amazing things began to unfold.

It was almost a tale of two retreats – two halves as it were. Several people left on day 5, to go back to family, for Christmas, etc. So it was a little disruptive to the flow for those of us staying on, not to mention missing the people who were leaving!

I want to share one or two experiences in particular, okay, maybe three, that were above and beyond normal (for me).

I came down to retreat with my own (idealized, ego-driven?, I-know-what-I-need) agenda for what to work on during retreat. I got permission to skip several sessions / day to be in my room doing my own practices.

So during the first 4 days or so, I did this. I was working to accumulate a particular Dharmapala – that is Dharma Protector or Dharma Guardian practice – to accumulate mantras. I believe that this practice helps / will help to prevent Lyme’s disease for taking advantage of a stressed out immune / nervous system. So I was going for it – doing at least 1,000 mantras a day of this particular practice. For the purpose of humility, I will not mention what I was working on. If you know me really well, then I would have told you perhaps.

Long story short, one evening I was pushing even harder. I think this was day 4. At night, we had two silent sitting sessions after the Dream Play work time to integrate and prepare our minds for dream yoga. So I somehow did 1,000 mantras during one of those hours. As I was doing this, I began to have a lightening feeling – like a light bulb was turning on around my third eye – or pituitary gland in my forehead. It is very difficult to describe, but it was not a typical meditation session. Plus I felt a warmth and potency-increasing feeling which sometimes happens in my Dan Tien or Hara (below the navel) in my belly.

That evening and into the next day, I had some juicy dreams – about helping to keep a secret (in the womb) and other insightful dreams about prenatal or childhood times / issues. And then, when I went to do this mantra some more the following day, after only doing 30 or 40 mantras, I felt nauseous, sick. So I paused, sat quietly and an hour later, tried to do more mantras. Again, I felt sick trying to push through these inner obstacles.

Sometime during that day, I realized that here I was in a potent retreat where it was very easy to do inner child work – it was happening all around me, especially during the Zapchen Somatics hour and then again during the Dream Play hour. So why was I trying to push when I could be doing my own inner child work?

I realized that the nausea was probably due to my needing to do umbilicus work on myself – on my little one. (Sorry Mom – before I mention anything else here, I need to mention that my mother is a saint, she is helpful and generous and patient and skillful. As a nurse I am certain that she was, retired now, very good at what she did and at connecting people. Seriously, she is an incredible mother, going above and beyond for all of her children!) Now, with that out of the way, there are still ancestral double binds and other toxic beliefs that new babies come into when then descend down into the womb around day 6 or 7 or 8 and begin the process of implanting in the uterus to connect to mother’s nutrient. So this is what I had to work on.

In fact, just thinking about early (think blastocyst – just a collection of 200 cells at this point) Kirby, before being a fetus or a prenate, needing appropriate boundaries, needing to be welcomed into the womb and into the world, needing to have unconditional loving kindness… I feel activated (because all these needs were not met).

So I remember that that was then, and this is now. I differentiate past from present, healthy adult self now from wounded little one then. I compassionately hold little blastocyst part of me in my hands, calling on my wisdom beings support to also assist and add an extra layer of support. And I remind little one that he was so loved, so wanted, and that he can have the breathing room AND connection that he deserves (this is known as an appropriate boundary).

Ahhh… I sigh and I feel better. The sigh is probably a breath change indicating my nervous system is regulating easily again after being reminded of a traumatic early / primal period.

So this is what I started to work on. I spent almost 2 hours every day resourcing, repairing misunderstandings in my little one, inviting these little wounded parts to come forward toward health and robustness and resilience. I stopped accumulating mantras – stopped worrying about formal Dharma practice, and began a radical level of loving-kindness and compassion practice toward myself – radical Metta.

As an aside, I have had three moles removed over the past 10 years from near my navel, and so far we have caught them early enough that they are just abnormal cells (not anything serious). But it is strange that the only part of my body having abnormal skin cell (nevus / mole) growth in near my navel – my umbilicus, the part of me that was connected with the world early on (through Mom).

I fully believe that this is indicative of my having to do some major inner child work around being wanted (I was an unplanned pregnancy), being welcomed, being loved by both parents, having both parents do their own emotional growth work (not many people do this nowadays, let alone 38 years ago!), etc. I am certain I have some suppressed rage and resentment and confusion around ancestral double binds, and this festering of deep emotions is what causes the moles to grow.

Because when we have deep shock or freeze in our tissues, there is the tendency to wall off that part of ourselves, to allow the functional (or relatively healthy) parts to continue growing and living. But if we don’t ever get back around to working on the shitty material behind those walls, then those cells start to do their own thing. And this can lead to cancer and autoimmune diseases, etc. We must work on our shadow material or it will start to go rogue on us.

So this is what I did for the last 5 days of retreat. True Dharma practice – inner work. It was almost as if the Dharma Protector practice I was doing led me to see what I needed to work on. No more spiritual bypass – no more glossing over these vital Good Mother Messages. No more leaving my little blastocyst parts of me in the dark or the cold of frozen / shock-laden tissues. Time to practice true kindness to self in order to truly be kind to others!

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Early in retreat…

I picked up my friend and fellow yogi from a Richmond bus station. He was vowing for a while never to travel via cheap Chinese bus again.. and from what he was saying, I can’t blame him! Long story short, he took a flight home. 🙂

Arrived to find a dirty and dusty house, on the beach. Apparently the owners had decided to winterize the house, but they forgot to change the heat filters, so there was a layer of dark dust on everything..

The metaphor is not lost on me – we would need to purify our outer mind as well as inner mind streams! We had a bit to do with cleaning and dusting the following morning before more participants were set to arrive. It was fine though. A large, beautiful house with massive vaulted ceilings in the living room, with ample space to play and go through Dream Time, it was great. And it was right on the water.

Retreat started at 2 pm on the 18th. We pondered for a time about what our intention was for being there. I had two intentions but I chose the shorter of the two – I want to be awake in dreams. Simple right? That intention would change over time though – because I want it to be realistic. Could I realize wakefulness in dreams in 10 days? Not so much.

And being born in Hawaii, and raised there for a time too, you might find it humorous that here I was at a stormy winter beach on the East coast of the US, and my initial thoughts were, “this beach sucks.” Just being honest – that’s where my mind was.

At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the gray skies and the cold, downright bone-chilling frigid temperatures. But after a few days, it started to grow on me! Plus dolphins were playing in the surf just about 20 feet past the breaking waves, there was a falcon which seemed drawn to glide around just outside our window – which only happened when we were in session?! And the sunrises were so so majestic. The last day – when we did Lama Chopa practice (offerings to the root and lineage lamas and teachers) and then a Tsok offering (a special sacred feast offering where we offer food and then we get to feast on it), the sunrise seemed the most sublime.

On that first day, my yogi friend and I were the only two males present, with about four or five women participating. And we had signed up for cooking and cleaning duties. So at one point, he pointed out (just humor here, not trying to imply anything!!), “Hey look, the guys are cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, and the women are all moving furniture!” It was funny in the moment – think retreat mind. We had not yet entered noble silence.

The first 2 – 3 days of retreat I slept in, took a nap here and there, and even went to bed early one night. It definitely took me a couple of days to go from 70 mph of busy life to slow down to 5 mph of retreat mind mode. Thankfully I had 10 days total down there!

Write more soon!

Thanks for paying attention,


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I just returned from an incredible 10-day retreat. Actually, I returned about six days ago and somehow found myself dog-sitting at one house and cat-sitting at another nearby home for those days. (Note to self – I prefer being around animals post-retreat, rather than fast-paced, coffee-brain-type people; but I would rather not have to do anything for several days after retreat. No dog / cat / house sitting post-retreat next year!)

Retreat itself was magnificent. It was held at a beach house just south of Virginia Beach. We got to watch the majestic sun rise most mornings. I was in charge of shrine care and offerings – filling water bowls every morning at 5:30 am, always keeping a candle lit, and offering incense throughout the day.

It was a very dynamic retreat format. We blended somatic processing work (Pre- and perinatal psychology, Zapchen Somatics and other embodiment-oriented exercises), dream work (primarily from Continuum Movement teacher Susan Harper), Tibetan Buddhist prayers and Thai Buddhist meditation. Oh and we were able to do a lot of inner child work as well – during the Metta (loving-kindness) hour.

Therefore I believe this to be one of the most efficacious retreats I have ever been on. No longer do I believe that I will chant enough mantras and everything will be magically fixed and blissful. No longer do I believe that only deity yoga practice or enough silent sitting will remedy my double binds and other wounds from my early developmental and primal periods (primal period is from pre-conception up until we start talking – about 18-24 months). This is known as spiritual bypass. When we think that doing enough Qigong – working with the Heaven and Earth and moving energy through us will fix unmet childhood needs – not going to happen. Sorry to burst any bubbles. Don’t get me wrong – qigong, mantras, zazen meditation, deity yoga are all exceptionally quality forms of self care and spiritual practices – but sometimes we have to dig deep if we truly want freedom from suffering.

[Edited: as a side note, I think I need to write a longer post about whether or not the Buddha-Dharma contains all we need to attain enlightenment, efficaciously swiftly and parsimoniously. I wonder if there are modalities which serve as good supplements to the Dharma. Or as H.E. Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen put it, these other modalities might fit under the purview of “Process Buddhism.”]

Rather, I now firmly believe that I have to repair / resource my inner baby / toddler / childhood wounds. No more beating around the bush. I spent an average of one to two hours a day on retreat saying the Good Mother Messages to my little (in the womb, little 3 day old, little 7 day old, 11 day old parts of me – very little!) baby-prenate-fetus self. There was an embryology book there which I used for the pictures of these little bizarre blastocysts and fetuses. Seriously some of those pictures could easily be alien babies forming too :-O

But I have never experienced the juicy resourced feeling that I did toward the end of retreat. To spend that time with my little one, and then from time to time, staring out at the vast ocean and the boundless sky – curiously wondering about where these two great spaces meet (apparently at the horizon). I am hooked.

I hope my family doesn’t mind – I might just have to have early or late Christmases most years if this is when this 10-day retreat is occurring. Especially at the beach – I’m not going to drive an extra seven hours to go home for a day or two. Rather rest in the unity of clarity and emptiness. I don’t expect you to understand that, but that is why I took this rebirth on this planet – to free my mind of dualistic grasping.

This is the perfect slingshot for my new year. I see myself teaching more workshops and classes once I get through massage school. And now I can bring this new level of clarity with me, and hopefully I can access it with ease via sitting, yoga, self care and more good mother messages! And of course I intend to continue my Dharma practice – I took refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (first and foremost). Refuge is still my go to, grounding, resourcing, matrix of support practice.

I will write more when I get the chance – I especially want to describe one of the dream work sessions. Just wow!

For now, want to rest in Ahhhh…. with me?

Thanks for reading,


P.S. if you are able to contribute to my blogging efforts, that would be much appreciated! This blog costs me $99 / year to maintain and so far I have not been paid for the small ads I have going on it. Very grateful!


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10 day Winter retreat

It’s that time of the year again! Time to go quietly into the darkest time of the year.

At least as quietly as a radiant compassionate smile, or the volume of full ripe noble silence. 🙂

I am participating in another dynamic Winter retreat that involves some silent meditation (Vipassyana or Shamatha), some Zapchen Somatics (simple moves toward well-being), some guided meditations (the Eight Jhanas or the Anapanasati Breath meditation) and some Dream Play (dream work where we act out the role of a character from someone’s dream).

It is an amazing time for dropping into a deeper, longer, more radiant, inspiring and creative rhythm. It warms my heart to sit with good company and practice right action, right thought, etc.

Also, I am not the most diligent practitioner on my own (e.g. I can do about an hour of practice max most days before I start to feel a pull toward the dark side…). However, during a retreat, I am able to drop in deep and sit or do somatic exercises or do qigong or play with dreams from 6 am until 9 pm (with a few breaks in there). Oh I should mention that napping is not only allowed, but it is highly recommended!

I have had my most profound experiences on this retreat in the past where I would seriously nap for three or more hours per day. Especially if I am living a busy lifestyle, working many hours or pushing my way through full-time school work, then slowing down via sleeping is the way to go. Talk about catching up on some rest 🙂 I’m sure it is so very good for my kidneys.

It is most likely too late to join us this time around, but here is the website in case you want to get on Janet’s email list regarding these profound and uplifting retreats:

Janet Evergreen’s website re: meditation retreat

If you know me or Janet, you can lean into us energetically from Dec 18th – 28th and feel the support of a warm, supportive, light-generating, healthily-connected group!

May all beings know warm hearted connections now and going forward! ❤

Thank you for reading!


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I have been leading a meditation group in Charlottesville, which has been attracting a few practitioners and new students to Buddhism. And because of the potential for new people attending, and due to our only meeting once or twice a month, I want to keep doing the foundational practices for a while(!). Not to mention my own lack of realization to do deeper more potent vajrayana type practices.

We have been doing Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen’s Om Ah Hung practice. This is a good beginner’s practice I feel because there are no complicated (at least not terribly so) visualizations, no mantra garland circling the seed syllable at the heart, or deities (yidams) to picture in your mind, and yet it is a potent practice too. It is a purification process and it does plant the seeds for more profound visualizations later.

We have been doing this practice since June, so closing in on 6 months now. I happened to invite my friend who is an older experienced yogi and he had some excellent advice, which deepened things considerably.

In the Om Ah Hung practice, which is a purification practice, we first visualize a white Om at our forehead (I believe it is sitting on the sella turcica or the Turkish saddle part of the sphenoid bone – where the pituitary gland sits – if you want to be specific). This represents purifying the body of sickness and other defilements / obscurations / impurities.

Next we visualize a red Ah in our throat – preferably toward the back of the neck – right in front of the spine (in the central channel). This seed syllable represents purification of the speech – any false speech, whether lying, angry speech, divisive speech, gossip or talking about non-virtuous behavior or black magic (for instance). All impurities of the speech and voice are made pure.

Third, we visualize a blue Hung syllable at the heart level. Again, ideally we visualize it behind our heart, just in front of the spine, again in the central channel if possible. And keep in mind that if we are able to, we want to use the Tibetan characters for Om Ah Hung. If we don’t have those down, then using the Roman letters is fine – literally visualizing a white OM is fine.

See a link to the Tibetan characters here: Om Ah Hung

The blue Hung represents purifying the mind – any thoughts of negative intent, of causing harm (or wishing harm), covetous thoughts or thoughts of wrong view. It can be purified as well.

Lastly, once we ourselves are purified, we might see ourselves as crystal clear “bodies.” Either way – whether we are pure or if we have more work to do 🙂 finally we send out the white, red and blue lights from the three places, wishing to benefit all sentient beings in the world.

Here is a great recording of Khenchen giving these teachings:


Three Spaces meditation

Recently, I was invited to a precious gathering. There was a yogini / acupuncturist, a yogi / health educator, a shaman / bodyworker and myself. (So you know this might be a potent evening!)

We had dinner and then gathered for a 45 minute meditation.

My friend led it. She introduced a Nyingma type of meditation (Dzogchen) that they also apparently do at Ligmincha – a Bon po retreat / meditation center near Charlottesville VA.

I am not authorized to share the meditation, so I’m not going to. And I wouldn’t share it outside of the person-to-person transmission anyway (reading something vs. hearing it / feeling it / and being able to clarify / ask questions at the time is quite different!).

I will however share what arose for me.

Feeling into my heart, at first, there was very little spaciousness. I had had an extremely busy week – packing, studying, working, seeing clients, selling books on Amazon etc – hectic busy at times. So at first, my heart was less than spacious. Makes sense.

Then within 5 minutes, my heart opened up and somehow I started seeing fantastic galactic objects in my heart space – nebulas, colorful pastel gas clouds, stars, comets… it was wild!

Then I felt both inner space (which I just described) and outer space – not the black void outside of the Earth, but the space around me. Was there a difference between my inner space and the space around me in the room?

About 20 minutes into the meditation, I somehow felt a strong strong pull toward the center of the Earth. It was as if Mother Earth were tugging at my heart strings and I was almost at risk of being sucked down into the Earth. It was comfortable though – it was somehow one of the most grounding things I’ve ever experienced.

We were instructed to look around the room without having our eyes stop on any object. Nothing to discriminate about. Nothing to judge or categorize. Just see if inner space feels like outer space – no difference! Wow.

This was quite an interesting meditation. I look forward to going through it again. I am going to ask my friend to lead me through it if she has time. Pretty phenomenal!

I definitely believe I have a strong connection to the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. I have been “raised” Drikung Kagyu – but in the Drikung lineage, there is a lot of overlap with Nyingma masters. There have been several Tertons in the Drikung sect.

It is what it is. I am looking forward to heading back to this gathering in the future, as it seems to draw some rockin’ individuals!

Thanks for reading. Please donate to my massage school / blogging effort fund if you are able (so so grateful!).


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I am having the time of my life here in December 2017. Not sure how, but I am getting a LOT done. Prepping for massage school upcoming in January – selling books, packing things, studying Ethics of Touch and Pathology, etc. On top of that I am still seeing about 5 – 8 clients a week and assisting with a Craniosacral Therapy class.

Let us pause for an integration break. So much done, and yet to do. It is good to check in with my deeper slower healing rhythms – to connect with an organic pace that allows me to differentiate past from present, now from worrying about the future. 🙂

So as I productively go through each day, I am still doing Svaroopa Yoga each morning for about half an hour. My body gets to rest down, supported and relaxed. It is the perfect way to start my day.

And during this Yin Yoga, I still have fantasies of teaching PPN Astrology. I am slowly writing down those thoughts – perhaps in 8 or 9 months it will become a reality. One step at a time – I am heading down to Virginia Beach for a 10 day retreat around Christmas which will be incredibly rejuvenating – Qigong on the beach, meditation, Buddhist prayers, Zapchen somatics, Dream Work Play. Then I move out of my apartment. Next I drive out West for school. And that is about as far into the future as I want to plan for now!

But there are apparently these underlying currents which I tap into in the mornings on my yoga blanket. Currents which speak of resourcing, grounding, stabilizing groups of students so they can go on to deeper insights about their pre- and perinatal ages and stages.

Thank you for reading and please donate to my blogging efforts if you can!

I will be posting some amazing photos from Colorado as I will be close to 14K peaks, hot springs, desert dunes and sacred mountains. Yay!


Donate to Kirby’s blogging efforts

For every $25 you donate, Kirby will write a blog post (article) on the topic of your choosing, within his areas of knowledge. Thank you!