~ Winter 2015 ~

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Over the last six months I have been reminded of the limitless potential of creative energy to heal, enliven, ignite, and transform. The creative force is the Being force and when we tap into it, we open to powerful life-giving energies.

Caregiving for my mom surfaced in my life again with an intense precipitating event in June. She fell for the second time in six months, couldn't get up from the floor, and was in terrible pain. I called an ambulance and we went to the ER. Sitting beside her in the treatment room as she was shivering, moaning and crying out, "I want to go home," I felt scared and helpless. I knew that this wasn't going to be an isolated event because of other symptoms she was experiencing, and I also knew that I would need to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically fit to hold all of this. I quickly decided to put self-care at the top of my to-do list. In the past, self-care wouldn't have even occurred to me. Serving my family or friends if they were in need always came first. I wasn't even in the equation. Over the years, though, I have come, to know and trust that self-care is not a luxury when it comes to caregiving. It is a necessity.

When my mother was taken upstairs for a CT scan, I pulled out the small notebook I always carry with me, and let feelings spill onto the page. My intention to connect to my body and emotions, and to write without censoring, helped me access more of what I couldn't let myself fully feel in her presence. I was calmer and more spacious after this deep writing. Then I reflected on self-care, wanting to avoid 'shoulds' and just free write about choices and practices that I sensed would be nourishing and life-affirming for me. I came up with writing and reading poetry, dance, gardening, drawing, collage, intuitive writing, and inventing games with my grandchildren, knowing this list would likely shift and change over time.

The following weeks were very difficult; there were many unexpected challenges, and it became clear that prioritizing self-care was imperative. I noticed that when I had open blocks of time, anywhere from ten to ninety minutes, it was writing and art work that I turned to most often. I was committed to letting my inner wisdom, not my thinking mind, guide my choices. I did a lot of inward asking, "What is right action now? What will feed my soul? What will be relaxing or, perhaps, revitalizing right now?" I kept letting go of agendas, even seemingly reasonable ideas like, "It makes sense to go to the park with my notebook because it's a beautiful day and it would be 'good' to go out." No. Nothing had to make sense. There just needed to be a spark, a click that said, "Yes - this." I didn't need to know why.

I was often directed to a notebook or sketchpad. I never knew, though, if I'd write, doodle, or draw pictures of whatever I saw in front of me: the trees outside the window, cloud formations, doors, windows, coffee mugs, vases of flowers. My intention was to be open to wherever the threads of wisdom would take me.

My mother was hospitalized twice over a three month period and when she was home, the caregiving tasks and responsibilities were great. I also felt stretched emotionally because she was suffering a lot both mentally and physically. Even though it seemed to be counterintuitive to take many self-care breaks, that's what I did. It was clear that these activities were helping me to be present, clear, and resilient. And because I was being true to the prompts from my soul, I felt empowered and 'on my beam.' I was resourced a lot of the time, and much more effective in meeting and managing all that was on my plate. My deep respect for the healing benefits of creativity was renewed.

I am fully back in my life again with a variety of projects on my plate, and a commitment to carve out as many blocks as possible every day for creativity and self-care, regardless of whether or not my mind tells me there is no time for that. I am noticing that the more steadfast I am with my intention and follow through, the more time seems to just 'magically' keep opening up. I am accomplishing more than ever and am in a 'flow state' quite often since I've made this commitment.

If you decide to devote more time to cultivating your relationship to the Muse, remember that creative expression is not reserved for artistic and literary pursuits. That's too small of a box for creativity. The creative force can be expressed in any form at all: cooking, gardening, developing a new business, designing a website, or decorating your bedroom (or yourself.) Just look for the "Yeses" - whatever will help you feel most alive - and happy.





 Beginning this June, I will be teaching a new certification telecourse: ADDICTION, RECOVERY and SPIRITUALITY. The topics will include:

 *Characteristics and stages of the addiction process 

*The passages of recovery
*The role of spirituality in recovery
*Addiction as a 'soul event' - How addiction can catalyze transformation
*Subpersonalities in recovery. Dialogues with the "addict self," the "recovering self," and the "inner critic.
*Inner wisdom as an ally in recovery
*How to work with challenges in recovery
*Spiritual practices to support recovery and help prevent relapse
...and more.
More information will be available in my Spring newsletter.






  • Achieve your personal and professional goals
  • Navigate through periods of transition
  • Develop strengths and seed potentials
  • Find your purpose and passion
  • Overcome blocks and limiting patterns
  • Quiet the voice of the Inner Critic
  • Access inner knowing for decision-making and clarity about your goals and life direction
  • Ignite and sustain your creativity
  • Create action steps that generate tangible results
  • Integrate your spirituality into daily life

I specialize in helping clients overcome blocks of all kinds and translate ideas and visions into concrete action. Fees for individual sessions are based on a sliding scale. A coaching package is available, as well. Sessions are available in person, via Skype, or phone.


Contact me if you'd like a FREE CONSULTATION

(415) 987-0766 or susannewest888@yahoo.com.



Individual Sessions and Sittings

Waking Down is an integrated, whole-being spirituality that includes body, mind, feelings, and spirit. In this work you embrace your humanity and your divinity. Spirit is not seen as separate from the body or our world. Our full humanness is experienced as sacred, as is all of life. 

I offer phone, Skype, or in-person individual sessions, a 45 minute FREE Introductory Session, and sittings in San Rafael and El Cerrito, California.




*A 10 minute period of silent meditation


*Gazing Meditation - Being to Being meeting, in which the teacher briefly connects with each participant through eye contact.

*Personal Sharing Time - Each person who wants to, takes time to share. This can include speaking about what is currently important to you in your spiritual life, sharing an "edge" or area of exploration, or asking questions.


Sittings in San Rafael (contact me for address)

Saturday, January 17

10:30 am - 1:30 pm

Monday, January 26

7:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Monday, February 9

7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Saturday, February 28

10:30 am - 1:30 pm


Monday, March 16

7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Saturday, March 28

10:30 am - 1:30 pm


Fee for Sittings: $25




FREE 45 minute Introductory Session

One hour phone, Skype or in-person sessions

Sliding scale of $55-$80/hour

Contact me to reserve spaces for sittings or for the Introduction to Waking Down Event at susannewest888@yahoo.com or (415) 987-0766.

For more information about Waking Down, see www.wakingdown.org



An Introduction to Waking Down


In this afternoon event, we will explore the following questions and topics:

*  What is Waking Down?
*  What are the basic teachings?
*  How does Waking Down work?
*  What do the concepts of Embodied Awakening, Greenlighting, the Onlyness, Mutuality, the Core Wound, and Transmission mean in this work?

This class is for people who are new to Waking Down and for those who are already involved in this work and want to brush up on the principles and practices of Waking Down.

Date: Saturday, January 31
Time: 1:30 - 5:30 pm
Place: San Rafael, CA (contact me for address)
Fee: $45 


Writing for Creative Expression and Spiritual Growth

In this ongoing, drop-in group you will learn processes to free your imagination, develop ease and confidence in writing, cultivate your unique writing voice, and overcome blocks to writing.


San Rafael, CA (Call for address)
Alternate Thursdays
7:30 - 9:30 pm


All levels of experience and all types of writing are welcome

INDIVIDUAL COACHING SESSIONS (phone, Skype, or in-person) to assist you in any or all stages of the writing process:

  • Start, develop, and/or complete writing projects
  • Learn how to ignite and sustain motivation
  • Overcome writer's block
  • Discover your natural writing voice
  • Develop confidence and ease in writing
  • Create attainable short and long term goals

A FREE CONSULTATION is available. You can contact me at susannewest888@yahoo.com or (415) 987-0766.




My book, Soul Care for Caregivers, is a guide and toolkit for family and professional caregivers that includes practical suggestions, creative processes, action steps, anecdotes from my own caregiving journey, and inspiration from other family and professional caregivers to help you care for your mind, body, and soul while caring for others.


Here's what Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom and Hardwiring Happiness, says about the book:
"To keep caring for others, we must replenish ourselves; otherwise, we start running on empty.  In the warm and wise voice of someone who has been there herself, Susanne West offers many effective ways to take care of yourself from the inside out.  Her book - full of her own qualities of deep kindness and practical wisdom - is a gift from the heart both to caregivers and to those they help and love."

If you are interested in ordering the book, just click on the image of the book above to be taken to the Amazon order page. 


For information or to sign up for courses or free consultations, contact me at susannewest888@yahoo.com or (415)987-0766.

Click here
to visit my website if you'd like to learn more about my phone or in-person Insight to Action Coaching, Waking Down in Mutuality, Writing from the Soul Programs, or Soul Care for Caregivers.

A Free Consultation is available. You can also sign up for my free quarterly newsletter.

to sign up for a FREE CONSULTATION with Susanne West