Spiritual Networks


Allow the surprise – and be ready for it!
What you feel is the value of your life. It’s worth a little work!

Exercises for Gathering Emotional Wisdom regarding
the fifth Cycle, Creativity

Here is a brief description of each Core Emotion, accompanied by its synonyms.


Amazement is the receptive inspiration of the Dreamer: pleasure in simply noticing what holds fascination for me. I allow whatever inspires me to continue to hold my attention as I let it in. I treasure such gifts, letting them weave their way into my being. Every experience of Amazement reawakens my dream of what my life may become, and the energy that arises within me powers my dream into its realization.

Synonyms for Amazement: wonder, awe, bliss, enlightened, enriched, surprised, astounded, fascinated, inspired.


Surrender is the receptive disillusionment of the Dreamer. When I allow myself to feel Surrender, I find a way to limit disillusionment by learning from it, and letting it pass. I recognize that an illusion in my old way of being is contrary to my dream and needs to die. As I give in to my need to let go, I release attempts at control, and engage more deeply with what is beyond my immediate understanding. I become aware of the tension in me holding back my potential, and I soften into it. I allow myself to awaken inside the tomb, and discover it is really a womb. Here I am, waiting to be born.

Synonyms for Surrender: germinate, release, let go, discard, prune, eliminate, sacrifice, deconstruct, refine, purify, distill, sift, cleanse, clarify (blocked, disoriented, confused, depleted).


Passion is the expressive disillusionment of the Pioneer. Passion is the movement of energy to bring a threat to my Dream to an end. Something new needs to happen. I welcome the refiner’s fire, purging whatever it is, inside or outside that is holding me back. I discard the old illusions to which I have clung. There is a newness waiting within me that must emerge. I am charged with energy to bring this potential into being. I push through all obstacles, emerging into the light. Here I am, anew!

Synonyms for Passion: devotion, dedication, boldness, daring, audacity, fidelity, commitment, attentiveness, zeal, enthusiasm, perseverance, ardor, eagerness, fervor, gusto, zest, firmness, urgency, determination.


Fulfillment is the expressive inspiration of the Pioneer. I am here now, given over to the fascination of this unexpected flow. Moment to moment I am releasing control, embracing the chaos, engaging with my potential as something new and valuable emerges. I am living my Dream right now! It is happening as each moment emerges from the one that is passing. I have become the fire of transformation, dancing in the breeze, enlivening what is being born, bringing out the best in myself and those with whom I’m engaged. I am the new life given to all.

Synonyms for Fulfillment: satisfaction, success, gratification, blessed, enjoyment, glowing, enthralled, pleasure, joy, happiness, triumph, realization, accomplishment, completion, manifestation, materialization, surfacing, emergence.

    This exercise invites you to explore your relative comfort with the Core Emotions in the Cycle of Creativity.

    1. Choose one Core Emotion at a time, peruse the definitions and synonyms provided above, and choose a specific word from the list, one that draws your curiosity at the moment. Reflect on specific experiences of this feeling, and, using the following chart, identify the degree of your Emotional Availability. Repeat for as many feelings and variations as draw your curiosity.




      about past experience

      Feel now
      within my body

      to another while
      feeling it now

      (don’t acknowledge:
      Invalidate the feeling)





      (feel it, validate the feeling, though challenging to do so)






      (feel it with natural, flowing ease)








    2. Gather your Emotional Wisdom: summarize what you learn about yourself with regard to each particular Core Emotion.
    3. How satisfied are you with the degree of your Emotional Availability? If you’d like to increase your emotional comfort zone, proceed to the next exercise.

    This exercise gives you a way to explore the history of your experience with any given emotion. The more you appreciate the roots of a feeling, the more you can make yourself at home with it, the more it can become a source of wisdom for ever better choices.

      I use a meditation exercise to get my awareness centered (5 minutes).  How am I feeling now, as I begin?
    2. FOCUS
      I browse through the list of feelings, carefully sensing which feeling word holds energy for me. Which stirs my curiosity, draws me into further exploration?
        I search my memory for my recollection of my most recent experience of the emotion which I wish to explore.  I let my memory and imagination recreate the event which generated the emotion.  Factual recall is not necessary. I let myself imagine the event vividly, as if it were happening now.  I allow myself to notice all the elements of my experience (Reason, Imagine, Feel, Sense).  When the Experience is complete, I identify its important elements on a blank page, perhaps even writing a comprehensive narrative of the event.
        I let my awareness regress through time to explore other past events which generated this emotion.  I stop at two or three which stand out with some clarity.  I allow myself, as in part a), above, to vividly process each event.  Upon completion of each recollection, I note its elements in the same manner as used in part a).
        I let go of all of the above awareness and imagine I am traveling further back in time.  I let images of experience roll by until I am at my earliest recollection of the emotion of interest.  I allow myself to vividly process the event where this emotion was first generated (as far as I know at this time).  I attend to each element of the experience as though to a sacred revelation.  Finally, I note significant elements of this experience as above.
      Now I review the fruits of my reflection.  I allow myself to really 'get a feel' for this emotion.  I imagine myself in a future event, experiencing the emotion.  What is the storyline?  What might be a core image or metaphor?  How might I artistically represent this image?  What physical positioning or movement seems to belong with this image?  Finally, I put my body into the imagined position, allowing the energy to move and sound to be made until I am more fully appreciating the embodied wonder of this emotion.
      What have I learned about myself with regard to this feeling?  What patterns do I notice?  How have some patterns changed across time?  To what extent do I allow my inner awareness and/or outer expression of this feeling?  What ways do I have in my body or mind of avoiding it? What new choices am I making now about relational challenges in my life?  What few words hold the core of my learning?  How might I use this mantra/belief/affirmation to deepen my access to this emotion?

      **NOTE: If I am unable to find sufficient memories (clarity or number), I can simply allow my imagination to create events as if they once happened or are now happening.  This will still inform me as to where I am with the emotion.  I can also consider vicarious experience, where I witnessed someone else's experience in a way that affected me.

  3. CORE EMOTIONS: further reflection

    1. AMAZEMENT: I enjoy whatever nurtures my Dream.

      • If I track my feelings for a week, how often and for how long do I find myself feeling Amazement? How often and for how long do I allow myself to contemplatively appreciate what is simply given to my fascination?
      • What are the beliefs (self-talk) that get in the way of my feeling Amazement? How do I talk myself out of staying tuned in to whatever is inspiring me? Do I automatically tell myself it’s a waste of my time? What negative judgments do I have about what it costs me to be so frivolous as to just spend time with whatever intrigues or fascinates me?
      • When I am having a moment of Amazement, if I pay attention to my body, where do I notice tension that is not getting released? If I listen to this tension, what does it tell me about changes that I need to make?
      • How intentional am I about noticing and tracking my experiences of Amazement? How might I gather or honor them in way that allows them to continue to nurture me?
    2. SURRENDER: An old way of being is contrary to my Dream and needs to die.

      • How willing am I to listen to my need to Surrender when I am feeling it? To allow it to teach me what I need to let go? Might I try just sitting, breathing with, and listening to the Surrender to see what it has to say to me? What belief needs to change?
      • How quick am I to get defensive, clinging to old ways even when they’ve become clearly self-defeating? What are examples of this? How do I distract myself from what undercuts my Dream by focusing on something still under my control?
      • How automatically do I refuse to acknowledge Surrender? How convinced am I that it is just an unwanted vulnerability, something that diminishes my power to keep everything under control? How much do I consider Surrender to be shameful, even humiliating, proving and exposing in some way that there is something wrong with me?
      • If I pay attention to myself when I am experiencing Surrender, how much do I notice myself tensing up against it, not wanting to allow myself to feel it?
      • How often do I avoid experiences that I anticipate might possibly lead to me feeling the need to Surrender? What might such avoidance be costing me? What moments of potential growth have I shut down because I was avoiding Surrender? How much of my life is going unlived, how much potential unfulfilled because I automatically avoid possible Surrender?
      • What experiences have I had of a compassionate other, someone willing and able to be with me when I felt disillusioned, in a way that helped it to pass? Who do I have in my life at this time to whom I can turn to talk through my unresolved need to Surrender? If no one comes to mind, might I need to seek out such a resource so that I can discover how to learn and grow by listening to Surrender?
    3. PASSION: I push through what holds back the new life emerging.

      • If I pay attention to my experiences for a week, how often am I in situations where my Dream feels threatened? How willing am I to notice and speak up when the way things are happening is disillusioning to me? How much do I allow disillusionment to continue rather than engage my own Passion?
      • If I look back over moments when my Dream seemed threatened, even imagine that I am in the experience again at this moment, what energy do I notice moving in my body? What impulses am I aware of? If I didn’t restrain the emotional energy, what do I imagine myself doing? If I think responsibly about this event, and my feelings, what might I choose to do if it happens again?
      • What experiences have I had that have led me to distrust my own Passion? How convinced am I that my Passion is selfish or harmful to others? How afraid am I of this energy in myself? In others? How helpless do I become in the face of another’s Passion? How much do I turn my Passion into making sure I get my way, no matter how disillusioning this may be to others?
    4. FULFILLMENT: I am flowing with my potential as something new emerges.

      • How do I cultivate experiences where I am experiencing, moment to moment, the joy of creative flow? How important is this kind of pleasure to me?
      • If I pay attention to my experiences for a week or two, how frequent and how long lasting are the times when I am spontaneously playing my part as something delightfully new comes into being?
      • How comfortable am I with spontaneous participation? If I pay attention when the opportunity arises, how much do I allow myself to go with it? How much do I find a way to dampen the energy, to mute it, or bring it to an end?
      • How willing am I to join in with others when they have initiated the Fulfilling activity? What self-talk goes on inside me that tells me to distrust it, that finds a way to negatively judge it, to find something wrong with it?
      • How much am I afraid of initiating spontaneity, by myself, or with others? How much do I expect that someone or something will come along and spoil it? What other beliefs do I have that hold me back?

    Now that you have given yourself some familiarity with the Core Emotions of Creativity, you are in a better position to give daily attention to these feelings. In our complex and fast paced lives, so much happens so fast that some of the feelings go unattended. The way to grow in Creativity is to make a commitment to regularly noticing, experiencing, and processing these feelings.

      Use a meditation exercise to get your awareness centered. Bodyscan, Following the Breath, or Mindfulness can be useful here. The point is to become conscious of your embodied presence in the moment.
      Then spend time breathing while remembering the events of the day. Allow your awareness to sift slowly through your experiences as seen through the lens of the choices you made. Recall as many of the details as help each event to become real once again. Watch for any forms of these feelings: Amazement, Surrender, Passion, Fulfillment. Pause to acknowledge and honor your feelings, one at a time.

      Let yourself be present to each feeling as if the event were happening now. This means breathing with awareness of the energy of the feeling in your body, as well as thinking through the value that is highlighted by this feeling. If there is a particular feeling that is challenging for you to allow yourself to fully experience, review and use the Breathing a Feeling method from exercises in the Introductory chapter.
      As you acknowledge the meaning of each feeling, listen with care to what this feeling has to tell you about yourself, your relationships, your intentions, your choices. Gather your learning, if you wish, in a journal.
      Many days you may notice an incompleteness to some experiences.

      • What has come into your awareness that requires further attention? What intention can you identify? What will you do to realize this intention? Perhaps the following exercise, Processing a Feeling, would help you to fill this out.
      • Perhaps your feelings tell you that something in one of your relationships requires further attention. Following the next exercise is another called Relational Review. It will help you process specific interpersonal experiences, and clarify where you go from here.

    A step by step method for clarifying the meaning of a feeling so as to make a well informed choice what to do with its energy.

    Awareness + Choice = Personal Power

    EXPERIENCE ------------- UNDERSTAND -------------------- CHOOSE
    What’s happening?          What does it mean to me?          What do I do?

    Choose any feeling from the synonyms provided earlier, and reflect upon a specific experience of this feeling.

    1. Body: What am I aware of inside my body? How is the energy moving?
    2. Impulse: What do I feel like doing? If no thought held me back, what do I imagine myself doing?
    3. Meaning: What does my feeling tell me about what’s at stake for me? How is my relationship to what I care about affected?
    4. Options: What are the ways I might choose to express this feeling? What words and/or actions would identify the meaning of this feeling for me?
    5. Intention: What do I want to have happen as a result of my choice of expression of this feeling?
    6. Choice: I decide how to express (or keep private) the feeling.
    7. Learning: What happens as a result of my choice? How is my relationship to whatever I care about affected? What do I learn? What would I do differently next time?

    This exercise helps you explore specific relationships in terms of the interactive experience of the Creativity therein. There is much of value to be learned by following these steps with regard to significant relationships during formative years (mother, father, teachers, religious leaders), as well as with regard to important friendships, past and present. These reflections could also be valuable with regard to your relationship with your Muse, with whatever or whomever has been a source of Inspiration (or Disillusionment!) to you, whatever form this other has taken from time to time throughout your life.

    Choose one specific relationship and reflect on your experience of it using the following questions. Repeat with regard to any relationship that has been important to you.

    1. Renewal:
      In what way was the ability to flow with changes between yourself and the other(s) invigorating at specific times during the course of the relationship? How much did you allow yourself to notice and value the renewal?
    2. Balance of Inspiration and Disillusionment:
      Identify specific events where your experience of the relationship supported the Inspiration in your interaction with a significant other. Do the same with regard to Disillusionment.

      • What do you learn about the impact of your experiences of Inspiration and Disillusionment upon your ability to sustain creative flow with the other? What supported or prevented the ongoing renewal of each other in the relationship?
      • What patterns do you notice in the relationship over time? Did Inspiration or Disillusionment predominate at certain times, or even throughout most of the relationship?
      • What relational experiences, in your personal history, have led to the patterns you are noticing in this relationship?
      • What do you learn about yourself in terms of how attentive you are to Inspiration, and what you might do to cultivate more of it?
      • What do you learn about yourself in terms of how attentive and responsive you are to Disillusionment? How might you more productively engage with it so that it becomes even more helpful in collaborating with this significant other?
    3. Balance of Contemplate and Improvise:
      Identify specific events where your experience of the relationship allowed you to Contemplate whatever was inspiring or disillusioning in the participation of yourself and/or the other. Do the same with regard to ways that you were able to Improvise in a way that supported yourself or the other in moving toward your Dream.

      • How did you allow the other to inspire or disillusion you, and what was it that you were able to Contemplate? How did this receptivity support your own Creativity or that of the other? How much did you allow the other to feed your imagination? How open are you to allowing your imagination to roam free?
      • How much do you allow yourself to sit quietly simply listening to whatever inspiration (or disillusionment!) might arise?
      • How were you able to Improvise something valuable to the creative process? How did this nurture your Dream or that of the other?
      • How did your clarity about Contemplating and Improvising help to keep the boundary clear as to what was you and what was the other? How is a clear boundary important to supporting your participation in creative process?
      • What do you learn about how comfortable you are in allowing yourself to slow down enough to let in from the other whatever might be inspiring? How does trying to get something done too fast block your receptivity?
      • What do you learn about how comfortable you are in allowing your energy to quicken in order to take the risk of improvising your contribution to the Creativity? How does slowing yourself down too much block your ingenuity?
    4. Unfinished Business:
      Now take time to reflect on what there is in this relationship that requires further attention.

      • What is the overall impact of the relationship upon your Creativity, your ability to continue being open to your experiences in a way that supports living your way into your Dreams, for both yourself and the other?
      • What patterns do you notice that you would like to change? Are these changes specific to this relationship, or related to how you are in many relationships? How will you go about making the changes?
      • Would it help to talk this through within this specific relationship? Is there someone else with whom you might consult?
      • What else occurs to you that, if you followed through on it, would deepen your ability to be Creative with this other?

    A way to stay current with what is happening for me in any significant relationship, to learn about myself, and to take what I’ve learned back into the relationship.

    I use a meditation exercise to get my awareness centered. Then I spend time remembering what happened in recent memory. I choose one specific experience that involves my Creativity in relationship with another person, an experience where further reflection might help me to learn about myself.


      I write a description of the relational event I have chosen, identifying what actually happened, in terms of what I observed outside myself (Sensing), as well as what happened inside me (Thinking and Feeling). I write this as a story, including all the information that has value in understanding what happened.
    2. REFLECT

      • How am I feeling right now, as I begin to write this review? How do I understand this feeling?
      • How does the interpersonal event described above represent a pattern in my way of relating? (Situation … Organism … Response … Consequences).
      • What are the roots of this pattern? Where does it come from in my history?
      • What else have I learned about myself?
      • How do I understand myself in relationship to the significant other in the current interpersonal event?
      • What impressions have I formed about the other? What have I come to notice in terms of their personality, personal characteristics, behavior patterns?
      • How am I feeling toward this other as a result of this event?
    3. DECIDE

      • How do I take what I've learned here back into the relationship? What is my intention? What will I actually do?
      • How am I feeling now as I end this review? How do I understand this feeling?


    1. Tracking Changes:

      • With your memory and your imagination working together, make your way from your earliest memories of using your imagination through to your present day experience.
      • Identify specific points or times when your use of imagination changed, and identify the stages between these points.
      • What use of imagination typified each of the stages?
      • What happened to make a shift from one stage to the other?
      • What differences do you notice between the effect of “passive imagination” (allowing someone else to generate the new experiences for you), and that of “active imagination” (participatory engagement with the new experiences)?
    2. Patterns and Feelings:

      • Specify the pattern in your use of imagination at each stage. Sit with your awareness of this pattern, and listen to your feelings about it.
      • What is pleasurable in the pattern, and what does this tell you about how lifegiving the pattern was, is, or might be?
      • What is distressing in the pattern, and what does this tell you about how lifegiving the pattern was, is, or might be?
      • How do you feel overall about the availability of imagination in your current life?
    3. Renewal:

      • How might your Creativity, your engagement with transformative change, improve if you found greater access to your imagination?
      • How does your stifled imagination keep you stuck with the status quo?
      • What activities might you engage in to cultivate your imagination?


    1. Meaningful Coincidences:

      • Chart your history of times when there was “an exquisite purposefulness in the convergence of events”, when something wonderful came into your life, or a lifegiving change occurred, as if simply by accident. It’s OK if you are only seeing it now, with hindsight!
      • How was each such event a gift from beyond yourself, from outside of your control? And how was your response to the opportunity pivotal to the improvement in your life that came about?
      • What helped you to notice and/or trust and respond to the opportunity?
      • What meaning did you give to the apparent coincidence at the time? What meaning do you give to it now?
      • Do any missed opportunities come to mind? How do you feel about them? What do you learn from them?
    2. Patterns and Feelings:

      • What patterns do you notice in your openness and responsiveness to the experience of synchronicity?
      • What is pleasurable in the pattern, and what does this tell you about how lifegiving the pattern is, or might become?
      • What is distressing in the pattern, and what does this tell you about what needs to change if you are to become increasingly guided and nurtured by synchronicity?
      • How do you feel overall about your availability to synchronicity?
    3. Renewal:

      • How might your participation in your own transformation be enhanced by greater attentiveness and responsiveness to the experience of synchronicity?
      • What might happen if every day for a month you chose to look back over each day with a contemplative eye for the moments where a meaningful coincidence may have happened?
      • How much more creative and flowing might your life be if you made attunement to synchronicity an ongoing intention to which you were faithful?
      • What holds you back from believing that coincidence can be meaningful? That a gift for your growth into conscious participation in the divine is recurrently available?
      • How might your attachment to the status quo block your recognition of the opportunities for change that synchronicity offers? What are you afraid to lose, and how does this limit the openness of your awareness to the flow of change?


a look at how (much) you have (or haven't) changed


Divide your life into sequential periods of time, during which your sense of self and way of being in the world was relatively stable. Identify the length of time without major changes in your identity("old self"), and the length of time in transition to a "new self" (which lasts until, thanks to another transition, it becomes your "old self").


Who were you during each relatively stable period of identity? What adjectives would others have used to describe you? What adjectives would you have used, at the time? What adjectives would you use with hindsight? How would you describe your world view during each stable period (i.e. what you believed about the meaning of love and work (relationships and achievements). What was your image of God, and your relationship to her/him/it? What emotions were common during this time? What were relatively absent? What is one experience (life event) that typefies who you were during each period to time?


What sparked the shift? What adjectives would you use to describe yourself during each time of change? How did others see you? What emotions were common? Which were rare? What is one experience that typefies each time of transition?


Reflect on your changes across time? What do you see? Are there a few predominant themes? How did you resist the changes by clinging to your old self? How did you facilitate the changes by grieving your old self, and by feeding your new self? Over the course of your life, how have you become increasingly resistant to changing, and/or how have you learned to embrace and consciously direct the changes? What else do you see that is worthy of note, even remarkable?


Where are you at this time in your life? What have you been avoiding in your life? What have you embraced, and how does it feed you? When you die, what few words would you want to characterize your life?

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