~ Fall 2014 ~

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On the spiritual journey we discover that we are more than our minds, bodies, and feelings. We open to the transcendent dimension of our nature and, in so doing, our identities expand beyond our limited conditioning. We open to rich qualities of Being: wisdom, love, peace, vastness - core attributes of our essential nature. New worlds of possibility become available to us. We become more trusting, compassionate, grateful, happy, intuitive, and creative. We experience our connectedness with all of life, recognizing Spirit in everything and everyone. We come to see all of life as sacred.

And yet, the spiritual path is not all light and rainbows. Many of us encounter numerous challenges along the way. I wrote about some of these 'shadow' issues in my last newsletter and will address additional concerns here.

In many ways, you become a different person as you engage in deep and transformational spiritual work. Perhaps you become courageous in new ways - you find your authentic voice and are more willing to reveal yourself to others. You are taking risks, speaking up, no longer governed by fear and the need for approval. You are expressing your perceptions and declaring your wants and needs. Your confidence in Being has increased and you are not abandoning yourself in ways that you used to. Or, perhaps, you have come to value solitude. No longer afraid of being alone, you treasure and need times of silence. In order to carve out blocks of quiet time you realize that you need to say "no" to others. Overall, you may become less predictable. You are slipping out of the tight jacket that had you holding back, pleasing others, giving yourself away. You are conforming less, expressing what's true more of the time.

These, and many other changes in our ways of thinking and being, can cause difficulties in relationships and our interface with daily life. You are changing. You may not be showing up with family, friends, and colleagues in ways that you have in the past. You are faced with significant choice points; for example, tell a good friend something she doesn't want to hear, or be silent in order to avoid conflict and disruption. Having to make choices like this is challenging and stretches us; we are moving outside of our comfort zones.

Another shadow issue on the spiritual path is the tendency to project our light, goodness, wisdom, and other positive qualities onto others - spiritual teachers, therapists, public figures, or friends. As A.H. Almaas, author and creator of the Diamond Heart work, says, "We tend to see what is best in us outside." Of course, it is natural and wonderful to admire the Dalai Lama's wisdom and compassion and Maya Angelou's courage and powerful, poetic voice. It is another matter, though, to put others on pedestals, out of reach, and only see their positive traits, not our own. When we project, we feel diminished; we fail to recognize these qualities in ourselves. Admiration can quickly become envy, idealization, even idolatry. We unconsciously give our light to others.

There is great value in recognizing and working with projections. We have an opportunity to reclaim and integrate disowned parts of ourselves. If you would like to explore your positive projections, here is a reflective writing process:

Who Has Your Light?

1. Choose one person who you have placed on a pedestal.

2. What qualities do you most admire in this person? 

3. Choose one of these qualities and write about it for 15-20 minutes. Write about what this quality means to you, what you value about it, and what your relationship has been to this quality at different times in your life. 

4. Ask yourself if you can recognize this as a 'seed potential' in yourself. If so, reflect on and write about what may have kept you from actualizing this potential. 

5. If you decide that it's important to you to bring this quality forward in your life, write about the steps that you can take to develop this part of yourself. Then choose a step and begin.






  • 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) 721-0766 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, November 22

Saturday, December 20

10:30 am - 1:30 pm


Sitting in El Cerrito - 1036 Leneve Place

Monday, November 17

December date TBA

7:00 pm - 10:00 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 susannewest888@yahoo.com or

(415) 721-0766.

For more information about Waking Down, see



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) 721-0766.





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)721-0766.

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 newsletter.

to sign up for a FREE CONSULTATION with Susanne West