with Apollo Grace, core-light.com

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Isolation of Men

My friend Mike committed suicide a couple months ago.

He wasn't alone.  When I went to my men's group that week, the 8 of us present could count 7 different men we collectively knew that had killed themselves in the last month.  In the US, men commit suicide four times as often as women.  Over 30,000 men killed themselves in the United States in 2010.

What's happening here?

We may never be able to understand why a particular person chooses to end their life.  I'll never know what went in to Mike's final decision.  But we can look at the condition of men generally, and see some factors that lead men to be more likely to kill themselves.

Men in our culture are notorious for not asking for help.  When it comes to our problems, we have a powerful tendency to try to figure it all out on our own.  When I was depressed in my teens, and had sexual issues around age 30, this was very much my M/O. I had different theories each week of what was going on with me, and how to fix it.  But it wasn't until I sought out therapy in each case that I really began to shift the problem.

This tendency shows up strongly in the statistics on depression, as compared with suicide.  Typical depression statistics show that it impacts women twice as often as men; and yet, men are committing suicide 4 times as often.  What accounts for this?  Depression statistics cannot measure men who don't talk about their depression - who aren't seeking counseling help, or help from their family or friends.  So I would imagine that there are hundreds of thousands of men in the USA right now who are struggling with depression and choosing to have those struggles on their own.

And there's so much help available.  There are men who have been in a similar place, and can hear about what's going on without judging you as dangerous or inadequate.  There are counselors, coaches, self-help programs, and transformational workshops that can directly address and shift this sort of pattern.  As an initiate of the Mankind Project, I know that I always have my weekly MKP meeting to bring forward any pattern that isn't serving me.

What will it take for men to open up about our suffering?  What will it take for you to open up about yours?  Here's an exercise: write down one issue in your life - emotional, sexual, financial, whatever - that you've been suffering alone on.  Then make a list of at least three resources that are available to help you with that issue.  Once that's done, ask yourself - why are you choosing to suffer alone?  Sit with this question for a while, until you get a really clear answer.  Next question - would it be beneficial for you to get support?  If the answer's yes, make a choice between the resources you listed and go ask for help right away.  You have nothing to lose but your isolation.

PS - to take it to the next level - if you want to inspire others and yourself in a bigger way - post your answers to the above questions in the comments section below!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Self-Evolving Students and the new Awakening

There’s a major shift happening in the nature of spiritual development right now. What I see in workshops I attend, in workshops I lead, and in my own experience as a seeker, is that students of awakening are taking more responsibility for the shape of their own growth and evolution. This has led to an appropriate change from rigid teacher/student hierarchies to a community of equals. Collectively, we are emerging into a new level of autonomy.

We don't need to project our deepest gifts on to others; we know that if we can’t find awakening in our own heart, we won’t find it anywhere else. And yet, teachers and coaches are still extremely useful; there are skills, techniques, perspectives, and information that we can get from others that can advance our journey. So we direct our growth by choosing the influences we see as helpful.

In schools – in the workshops, the retreats, the tele-courses and intensives that make up the collective experience of spiritual seeking - we find students arriving with greater and greater sophistication. Spiritual teachers and facilitators in schools everywhere are realizing they need to up their game if they’re going to have a hope of keeping up with the amazing students coming in. We are also refining the use of hierarchy. We need a functional hierarchy, where for this class, one of us is facilitator, and the others are participants; it serves our common purpose to drop in to those roles as deeply as we can. But we need to recognize that this functional hierarchy is based on a more fundamental equality; I’m not teaching you because I’m better than you in any fundamental respect, simply because I have skills or perspectives that are useful to your growth right now. Perhaps next time, you’ll be the teacher and I’ll get to be the student.

This demands great responsibility from each of us, as we steer ourselves past ego to find the deepest truth. But where it takes us is tremendously exciting. It creates the conditions where we can begin to answer the big question for the next phase of human evolution: What is the nature of group awakening? What happens when the spiritual awakening properties of deep truth, bliss, and compassion begin to emerge in small groups? What emerges in that group consciousness that's different from individual consciousness? Such a question can only be answered by a group of self-directed spiritual equals.


If you're a man feeling called to develop your skills around relationship and intimacy, join Ed Fell and myself on Maui, January 18-20, 2013, for a journey into "The Authentic Lover".

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to get un-stuck

Have you ever felt stuck in your life, in any way?  Of course you have, we all have.  We all have different places where we get stuck.  Some people are stuck in love, some are stuck in their career, others in their self-expression.  We can get stuck in a place where our needs aren't being met - we're lonely, or we're struggling to make ends meet - or we can get stuck in a place where our basic needs are met, but on some level we feel there could be more, and we're not sure how to get there.  Perhaps we're in a good relationship, but we wonder if there could be more intimacy or a deeper sexual connection.  Perhaps we're in a good job, but we feel we could be doing something more meaningful.

Where are you stuck today?  If you could make a change in your life, what would you shift?  Even if you don't know what "moving forward" would look like, what part of your life would you like to move forward in?  Take a moment with this question.  Write down an answer.

Having noticed that we're stuck, what do we do next?  There are so many options available to us these days.  Some work better than others.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Releasing the Golden Cord

I've been on a pretty intense path of personal growth and transformation for the past ten years.  During that time, I've changed almost everything in my life.  I released my first marriage and entered another; I moved from Minnesota to Maui; I even changed my name.  But I had always hung on to my old job as a software engineer.  It took a lot of time away from the work I truly feel called to do, but it was good money.  I always thought "maybe next year I'll let it go."

In late August of this year, I got a surprise gift from the divine.  I was laid off.

I'm in tremendous gratitude for the way my job has served me.  I was a remote employee for a great company, from my house (or wherever I happened to be at the time), for 15 years.  It gave me great health care, covered the monthly mortgage on my old house.  It's paid for 15 years of largely organic food.  It's supported all my travel, and paid for every workshop I've gone to as I've immersed in my new life and new being.  And now it's blessing me with a severance agreement which gives me breathing room to build my new support and manifestation structures and practices.

Thank you, my former employer; I appreciate you, I hope I showed up well for you, and I release you.

I know that I am not in the practice of running my own business, so this is a big transition, and it's risky, but my experience is not one of fear.  I am so, so grateful that I was chosen to be released; I know my colleagues are more in alignment with their work there.  And even though I was ready to move on, it was not a step I was ready to make on my own.

Now, I am on fire!  I am ready to create!  I processing dozens of ideas about how to move forward in writing, coaching, and workshop creation.  I'm grateful to have more space in my life to drop in to my practices, and to support being a priest-in-the-world by beginning in my own body, by doing my own work.  I'm grateful to have more time to loving and creating with my beloved.  And I'm looking forward to dropping in deeper to community here in Maui, which is so rich with growth opportunities for the leading edge of human consciousness and embodiment.

May the changes that come unexpectedly into your own life be as rich with opportunity.  Look for not just the silver lining, but for the immense vista of possibility that unfolds in the closing of a door.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Seeing your Shadow

(Shadow of Michaelangelo's David on brick wall.)
When I created my business, I chose to work with Light. "Core Light" represents the inner wisdom, energy, and divinity we all carry.  My name, Apollo, was chosen in part because of the association with the light of the Sun. But to heal and awaken on this planet, to support growth and transformation, light alone is insufficient. We also need to have the courage to step into the darkness of our own beings, and engage with the mysteries of Shadow.

Shadow is a mythic term. It's the primordial darkness, the things we cannot see. In Jungian psychology terms, it's all those parts of our self that we've disowned, and cut ourselves off from; but we still carry them, and sometimes they drive us. In the poet Robert Bly's treatment, shadow is "the long black bag we drag behind us". The things we've relegated to shadow are things we don't want to look at - things that are embarrassing, or don't match our idea of who we are. But if we don't engage with it, if we leave it unconscious, it pops up in our lives and personalities in unexpected ways. Also, there's gold lying in the darkness. Reconciling with those disowned parts of ourselves can bring us to a new level of wholeness, integration, and peace.

What's frustrating about working with shadow material is simply that we can't see it directly. (Everyone else may be able to see it...) By it's very nature it's something that's invisible to us.  But there are ways to recognize shadow indirectly.  Here are...

The Top Three Ways to Recognize Shadow in your Life

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome and Aloha.


I'm Apollo Grace, a healer, transformational guide and workshop facilitator living on Maui.  I'm here to open my heart and my mind to be of greatest service to your life and being.  Thank you for connecting.

I live on the slopes of Haleakala, the primary mountain of Maui, in the town of Kula, at 2600 feet.  Haleakala translates as "House of the Sun"; it's to the east of most of the populated areas of the island, so we see the sun rising over it each morning.  House of the Sun is also a good name for my blog; my name, Apollo, is based on Apollo the Sun God, who drives the sun across the sky each day in a chariot.  (Apollo is also the god of healing, and of dreams and intuitive revelation... more about that in a future post...)

My life's work at this point in my life - my mission and purpose - is to support healing and awakening in as many people as possible, with as much ease as possible.  What I've seen in my own life is that transformation and growth doesn't have to be hard.  It has hard moments in it - moments of doubt, of fear, of having to face terrible feelings or seemingly overwhelming challenges.  It may have periods of time that are harder or darker than others.  But the overall path, the formulas of transformation, are not fundamentally hard, and the life that results can be beautiful, meaningful, and largely easy.