Deep Space: The Final Frontier -or- How I learned to become a Warrior Monk


I’ve been thinking lots about what it means to be my biggest self and why I sometimes choose to play it small. Whether it’s conscious or not, each moment provides me the opportunity to choose between LOVE and FEAR.

(BREATHE, Melissa)

Before I went on retreat, there was so much fear around this notion of living into my biggest self, I couldn’t do much more than THINK about it. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to thinking and my monkey mind, if I think about it longer than a few minutes it becomes more of a torturous process than something that’s helpful. In the book, Slowing Down to the Speed of Life, Richard Carlson teaches that if it’s taking longer than 5 minutes to figure something out, it’s probably not going to happen with your current brain. Probably better to let it go and address it later. This follows Einstein’s thinking “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

 Ok. That’s helpful, but how the hell do I change my thinking?

Now, I mostly know the answer to this: meditation, yoga, my practices. Yet still, my thinking continues to bring me back to not a whole lot of change around this whole being afraid to be ME thing… (and what is that anyway? What the hell? Being afraid to be ME. Geesh…I wanna learn how to take that out of our programming codes from the beginning—but that’s a whole ‘nother blog!)


So I go on this Warrior Monk retreat and BOOM! I commit to being 100% present for 100% of the time, NO MATTER WHAT.


No matter how uncomfortable I get.

No matter how intense it feels.

No matter ANYTHING.

Nothing else I’m trying works. Might as well try something different.



 “…the monk creates an inner temple, a space in mind, imagination and heart where he or she can observe the signs of divine providence.

The work of spiritual life includes the building of these inner temples and the creation of temenos—space set apart for sacred use.

Contemplation, the primary work of the monk, achieves the necessary emptiness in every thing, ever moment and every event. These empty spaces, simply marked out as sacred, invite the soul to participate and provide places for its dwelling.”                                        –Thomas Moore

And that’s it. When I take the time to truly create SPACE for ME…quiet time apart from distractions and noise (outside my head as well as inside) and SHOULDS and the expectations, desires and values of others, a softness grows inside of ME…a sense of ease and SPACIOUSNESS.

Guess what fills that sense of spaciousness?? Guess what happens when I let go of the shit that distracts me, the stuff that might feel comfortable because it’s been around for so long and I’ve grown accustomed to it…the stuff I hold on to NOT because it’s helpful, but because it’s familiar.




I fill that space. Letting go creates space and then I fill it and suddenly, there’s even more space.

Yes. Sometimes this is uncomfortable. AND, what I’m learning is that the comfort I experience when I play it small is fleeting. It’s not real…there’s an unease, a dis-ease connected to playing small I’ve grown used to, but it’s still uncomfortable in it’s own way…my big beautiful self trying to cram into some small box.

Yuck. Not ok.

And still, in some ways, that too was helpful at some point. That small box helped keep me safe until I was ready to bust it up and break out. Right?

Ok. I’ve established that I’m uncomfortable playin’ it small AND uncomfortable starting to learn to be my biggest self. Which discomfort helps me heal fastest? No, fastest isn’t always bestest (…giggle…). Still, I have a LOT of stuff I want to do and a lot of time I want to spend chillin’ by myself or with my favorite peeps.

I ask again, which discomfort helps me heal fastest? If I’m going to expend energy, my precious life force, on dealing with the discomfort, it sure as hell better help me grow and experience more Unicorns and Rainbows, ya know?



Playing it small leads to experiencing cramped, uncomfortable, tight spaces with no room to breathe.

Being my BIGGEST SELF leads to more space and stretching out and breathing deeply into every inch of my Self—physical and spiritual.


That’s my biggest take-away…because when I’m playing at being BIG-HUGE-GIANT-MELISSA, everything else falls into place because I’m not trying to control every damn thing around me. This allows me to CO-CREATE with the Multiverse, rather than having to figure out all this shit on my own. Geesh. That’s a LOT easier.

When do you feel tempted to play it small, keep it feeling safe? And what’s one thing you might do to start breaking out of that teeny-tiny-cramped box? We’d love to read your thoughts. Please leave a comment!!


4 Responses to Deep Space: The Final Frontier -or- How I learned to become a Warrior Monk

  1. McnuttMt says:

    Enjoyed every bit of your article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  2. peter platten says:

    Wow! I’m feeling so many of the same things right now. It seems like the retreat was right on time.

  3. Asha Barkett says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    • Melissa Lopez says:

      Asha! I don’t think this is easy at all—simple, but not easy! I believe every person has it within themselves to be able to be their biggest, most beautiful Self! Baby steps, time and the desire to change is all you need. Thanks for reading!

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