Tag Archives: Consciousness

From the Head to the Heart

From the Head to the Heart

A few weekends ago, I had the privilege to attend a workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Omega is a wonderful retreat and educational center offering courses on personal and societal change from some of the leading authors, speakers and educators in the country. The title of the workshop I signed up for was “Reduced To Joy, The Journey from the Head to the Heart.” That title resonated for me because as an ex attorney, I was trained to live in my head. Even though I made some big changes in my life, transitioning from the life of an attorney to an entrepreneur, and now a writer and life coach, it was still hard to shake off some of the old patterns that seemed to come from my head. I was still grappling with issues such as trying to control outcomes, or situations, taking things personally, or striving to achieve goals that had little authentic meaning for me.

I felt that taking this workshop would serve to help me “Let Go” and really move into my heart, the place I really wanted to live.

From the beginning, the workshop, and the way it was presented started to work its magic on me. I noticed that the instructor had no written outline, there was no power point presentation. There was no agenda at all except to create an environment of presence where the sharing of experience would be honored. The instructor read from his books. He shared stories and poems about life that were about real things that happen to all of us. The heartache of loss, how an illness can shape us, how unexpected events can change one’s direction, and how through all of it, there can be a depth of joy regardless of the obstacles we encounter. Almost everyone in the room shared, and it was sharing from the heart. It was powerful.

I left the weekend workshop at Omega feeling moved and knew that I was entering a new period of transformation. I knew that for me to make the shift, I would still need to let go, but I also realized that I had already begun. By moving to Asheville after being in the same town for 19 years, and by writing and publishing a new book about healing and personal empowerment, I had entered a new phase of a journey. I embrace that journey, and am starting to trust in the more unknown but true path ahead of me.

Phil Okrend

I believe that the path for all of us to make true change in our lives starts with “letting go” of what no longer serves us. This is a passage from our book, “Messages to the Heart, Reflections of Beauty and Truth.” It calls on you to “Let Go.”

If you don’t know what you want, then let go of what you don’t want.
Perhaps when you empty yourself of outdated notions, limiting beliefs,
what you thought you had to do from your conditioned mind,
then the fruits of a new way will have the room to penetrate. It is
much like clearing the dirt and debris to plant a new garden. We fight
with ourselves when we try to force ourselves to be a certain way,
live up to life standards that weren’t set by us in the first place. Feel
what makes you come alive and do that, but first, empty out what is
no longer true for you. When you let go, don’t feel that you need to
rush into a new way. Allow yourself to take the time to be. Trust, be patient.
The new way will come.



Tropical Belize by Elise Okrend, www.eliseokrend.com


Imagine A New Story

From Separateness To Oneness

What if we knew that the individualistic ways that we were taught to be in the world are not working, and that there is another way calling to us, that is not yet here, but waiting for us to build. A world that is inclusive, whole and healing.  Imagine a door just waiting for you, and for all of us to walk through from separateness to oneness. Imagine a new story.

Imagine A New Story

From Messages to the Heart, Reflections of Beauty and Truth, by Elise and Phil Okrend


Imagine a new story:
Instead of consumerism-humanism,
Instead of greed-giving,
Instead of competition-cooperation,
Instead of conflict-coexistence,
Instead of fear-love,
Instead of sleeping-awakening,
Instead of control-surrender,
Instead of holding tightly,
letting go,
Instead of feeling alone-feeling that we are one.
The truth us that this story has begun.
Let it live into our consciousness

Elise & Phil


Finding Your Path

Do you feel that you have a destiny to fulfill, a path to follow? Read our latest blog to explore this question.

Your life path.  It was present the day you were born, and it is there waiting for you. This path gives our lives purpose and meaning, and it is our job to find the path, connect with it and follow it.  It is what the  American writer, Joseph Campbell called the hero’s journey as it moves you from the known into the unknown.  Along the way, there may be temptations, circumstances, distractions that try to throw you off, but you may also find a mentor, a book, a synchronicity that will keep you moving along the path.  The following passage from our book, Messages to the Heart, Reflections of Beauty and Truth outlines three things to help you realize your life path. The passage is paired with Elise’s Painting, “The Path.” Let us know how this passage and art speaks to you.


These three things will help you on your journey: Heal the Past, Live the Present, Dream the Future!

Heal the past- See what the old stories and patterns are costing you in your life. You will know who and what you need to forgive, and you will see that dealing with pain and discomfort now is better than having the past own you for “What you resist persists.”

Live the present- Your life only exists in this moment, and the more you can place your attention on what is in front of you, the more you will be alive, energized and resourceful.

Dream the future- Imagine an inspiring future where you are at your best, happy, fulfilled, contributing, engaged in life. From that vision, you will know what steps will either lead you there or will take you away from it.  Practice these three things and you will find the life path that has been waiting for you

Elise and Phil Okrend

To learn more about the Coffee Table Book, Messages to the Heart, Reflections of Beauty and Truth, visit www.messagestotheheart.com

Feeling Alive


In the presence of aliveness, creative ideas happen spontaneously. they don’t need to be forced. Find that place that makes you feel alive and spend time there . The answers will come.

This passage from Messages to the Heart speaks to me as I take another step in my journey as an artist.  I found a wonderful space to work and show my pastel paintings in the vibrant River Arts District of Asheville.  It is a beautiful open space with lots of natural light, and it will serve as a day to day place for me to dream, to paint and to build community. It is called Whitespace and it is located in the Wedge Building, a place filled with a diverse group of artists and crafts people.  I welcome you to visit me in my new creative home.  One of the upcoming highlights in the River Arts District will be the studio stroll coming this  June 14th and 15th where over 170 artists will open their studios for demonstrations, viewing, classes and fun. I am so excited to be a part of that experience and look forward to seeing you at the Studio Stroll or any time you may be in Asheville and want to visit.





Welcome to the Messages to the Heart Blog

1530336_402620499868113_1546710253_nWelcome to the New Blog for Messages to the Heart, Reflections of Beauty and Truth. The book was conceived from our passion to inspire and uplift others through a creative pairing of art and words. Just released on December 15th, 2013, Messages to the Heart is making its way into the hearts and homes of readers.  We invite you to share your comments about how the book speaks to you, what touches you, the paintings and the words. How does it influence the way you can see making positive change in your life?

Starting this blog with purpose. What is your purpose?  Here is an excerpt from our book from the Chapter, Reflections on Following Your Heart:

Each one of us has a purpose, a destiny. We each have a time when that purpose will manifest. You can not choose that time, that time chooses you. It is your job to recognize when that time is calling you. You can not prematurely put your actions into motion when the time isn’t right, for then it is just your ego wanting control. Listen for the time, and then act. You will know when it is time. 



What does this passage and art evoke in you?

Original pastel painting titled San Miguel by Elise, www.eliseokrend.com