Learn more about Inner Work, the ideas behind inner work, the skills needed, and the ways others have applied inner work skills.

The Blues Chase the Blues Away

Legendary Chicago Blues musician, Buddy Guy, is credited with this quote. 

When asked how personal experience influenced his music, Guy claimed that to create Blues music you need to feel your own blues and be in touch with your troubles.  You don’t play the blues so much as they play you.  And when that happens, your moods and problems are momentarily relieved.  Something deep inside you is satisfied.

Guy’s quip reflects a psychological truism — often the way through our difficulties is to feel and express them fully — even become them, and ultimately to be transformed by them.  Music is one way people have found to do this.  Other forms of artistic expression (painting, sculpting, writing, weaving, etc..) and embodiment (dance and other movement forms) also offer this experience and possibility.  

When we let ourselves embody and become the spirit of our deepest troubles, we let go of our everyday identity and are able to pick up the energy and power of the disturbance from a new point of view. 

We gain something from becoming the blues that is far different than having the blues. 

Inner work offers an opportunity to feel deeply into what disturbs us, to imagine the disturber, to use the energy of the disturber and to find the value, learning or new perspective that the disturber carries.  

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Keep Growing

Yesterday morning I went for a walk. The sun which had technically already risen, was coming up over some distant trees. As I strolled east, a particular bush on a neighbor’s lawn caught my eye. The sunlight was falling on it just so that each of the leaves on the newly grown branches were glowing red. I stopped taken by the sight and reminded that a week before, around sunset, I had seen another bush of its type also glowing red. I tried to capture the then sunset-illuminated bush but my camera could not catch this amazing phenomenon.

As I walked toward this much larger bush this morning, I took in its entire shape and size. I noticed that the newly grown branches of the summer shot straight out as if radiating from the greener crown of the original bush like exclamation marks. They looked almost comical in their radiant and energetic spray.

I paused for a moment and held these exclamation marks in my mind. I closed my eyes and felt into those stalks with their glowing red leaves like outstretched arms reaching upward with so much openness and joy. As I did, I let myself become those open outstretched branches. I reached to the sky and felt subtle vibrations lifting thru my arms, hands and fingertips. And then, a spontaneous message came to me from this illuminated, open-armed plant – “keep growing.”

I thought briefly about the ways that I have been growing and made a mental note to “keep growing” toward what lay ahead that day and this week as well.

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What is an Energy Sketch?

Stick figureHave you ever just scribbled a little something without thinking too much about how it might come out?  Have you ever used stick figure drawings to illustrate something?  Have you ever had a felt sense or strong association to the energy or movement that a simple line or piece of abstract art was expressing?

An energy sketch is a quick and often simple set of marks on paper that reflects the attitude or feeling of a moment. Here are some examples of energy sketches.

Squiggly linesSome inner work exercises suggest you make an energy sketch to capture a quality, feeling or atmosphere.  Energy sketches can help express experiences that may be hard to put into words or they may help you go farther with an experience you are already thinking or talking about. When you draw or doodle or even just make marks on a page, a different part of yourself comes into play.

Here are some suggestions for making an energy sketch:

  1. Don’t think too much about it.
  2. Try making your energy sketch in the air with your finger.
  3. Let your hand be moved.
  4. Pick up your pen, pencil or marker and put it to paper and see what happens.
  5. Energy sketches don’t have to look like anything. If your energy sketch starts to become “something”, that’s ok. But it also just fine if it does not look like or resemble any particular object or thing.
  6. Trust that your energy sketch is just right.

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Integrating Wisdom Into Daily Life

This is part 6 of a 6-part series that looks at the main steps in inner work exercises, explains why each is important and provides some tips for increasing one’s skills with each step.

While the experience you have and the wisdom you find during an inner work exercise may be relieving, compelling or fascinating, what you do with that learning or message after is just as important. This is where integration comes into play.  Integrating what you discover in an inner work process into your everyday life is the final challenge in applying what you have discovered. 

Integration is making your learning a living aspect of who you are. It is taking a seed or sprout you find in the inner work exercise, transplanting it carefully and supporting it to take root in you.

How do you integrate what you have found?  For each person, the answer to this question may be different. For some, finding the strength or flexibility to move into less familiar or less comfortable parts of themselves may be important. On the other hand, using your awareness in your daily life more consciously or intentionally may be what is needed. For others, integration will be a process of letting go of intentionality itself and following spontaneous impulses more closely. And for some, integration will be simply noticing how the quality or message you found is already alive in you.

Integration is building a bridge to a new way of being, a new quality or point of view. A bridge helps you access new territory – new territory in you! Many inner work exercises will conclude with a question or prompt meant to help you relate in an ongoing way to what you have experienced. Here are some suggestions to help you with the integration of what you have learned, the wisdom or message you received:  

  • Take the message, the learning, what you have found seriously.  That is, resist the urge (if it occurs) to minimize or dismiss your experience. 
  • Ask yourself, “how or where is this experience already occurring in my life?”
  • Notice when you catch yourself naturally following your new learning. Take time be present to it. One way to do this is to notice what you are experiencing in each of your senses.
  • If the inner work exercise asks you to draw or write something (to anchor your experience), you might hold on to that drawing or writing for a few days or more, and put it somewhere where you can reflect on it.
  • In the hours or days following the inner work exercise, take time to actively recall aspects of your inner work experience and let yourself re-create, re-connect with and experience whatever you are aware of.
  • Take the felt experience or state of mind from your inner work with you into your everyday life. See if you can relate to your world (family/home, co-workers/job, play/hobbies, or other areas of your life) from that state or experience just a little bit. 
  • If your inner work prescribes an activity, attitude or action, try it! Experiment and see what you learn. Be willing to be surprised!

If you do enough inner work, you may come to recognize themes in the learning you are attempting to integrate. This is a good sign. It means your inner process is expressing itself in varied ways at different moments and central issues or opportunities for growth and change are emerging. And as you integrate your learning, new processes may arise.  

Grasshopper: Recognizing Wisdom

This is part 5 of a 6-part series that looks at the main steps in inner work exercises, explains why each is important and provides some tips for increasing one’s skills with each step.

In the 1970s TV series, Kung Fu, the central character Kwai Chang flashes back to the wise Master Po, a blind Shaolin monk, who teaches him about being aware of the world around him, including noticing the grasshopper at his feet. Thereafter, Master Po calls his student Grasshopper.

Most inner work will help you with recognizing wisdom or an important suggestion by taking a new perspective or allowing yourself to use abilities that you cannot yet see in yourself. Once you have become aware of the quality or figure your inner work has led you to, if you can sink deeply into your most sentient or lucid awareness, you may become aware of a wise message, important feeling state, or special point of view or tendency that feels congruent and organic with this figure. 

Inner work processes often culminate with an essential quality that provides a new or transformative perspective. Looking and listening from within this point of view or state of mind helps you to notice what you could not be see or hear previously.  This an important step because it is where you connect the learning available from your process to the problem or question you noted at the outset of the exercise. Receiving this wisdom can be effortless if you use your awareness.

Here are some tips to recognize wisdom:

  1. Your figure will speak in its own language and style, perhaps as a song, poem or prayer. Allow yourself to record the message exactly as it comes to you. 
  2. If you have lost touch with the figure, go back to the last moment when you felt the energy of the figure and take as much time as you need to become the figure fully.
  3. See the world thru your figure’s eyes, feel what they feel, hear what they hear, notice their state of mind, and then you may be recognizing wisdom that this figure brings.

Shape Shifting: Inhabiting Another Point of View

This is part 4 of a 6-part series that looks at the main steps in inner work exercises, explains why each is important and provides some tips for increasing one’s skills with each step.

At some point in many inner work exercises, you may be encouraged to study and carefully describe something or someone that you feel is unlike you in some specific way.  After a bit of time, the inner work may suggest you “shape shift” or become that figure, object or quality. This is often a challenging step. 

Shape shifting means literally taking the posture, the expression, the attitude or the perspective of something foreign to you.  This means imagining into and letting yourself become a figure or quality that is radically different than you know yourself to be and feeling or leaning into something that is unlike you.  This can be a bit tricky to do.

It may be hard to let go of your primary sense of who you are, to give up your identity or identities, even for a moment.

Why is shape shifting important to do?

Inner work starts from a premise that your mind and body are not only connected but are actually mirroring each other in some ways. So, using your body experience is a way to directly access information that may elude your everyday thinking.

The figures and qualities in your inner work offer you a chance to recognize, discover or use previously untapped information.  These figures may have a new or helpful point of view on life or a message for you or your situation. Often this wisdom is amazing, paradoxical or transcendent. How exciting!

Wisdom, important learning and self-discovery often lie outside of or beyond who you know yourself to be. The insight, experience or perspective that will most help you may not yet be known to you. But it is present in the things, people and ideas that you deny, do not identify with, put down, criticize or hold apart from yourself in some way.  Shape shifting allows you to temporarily access powers and abilities that you can’t yet find or own in yourself.

Here are a couple tips for shape shifting:

  1. Close your eyes.  Become aware of what you are noticing.  Closing your eyes will support you to sense into your inner vision of the figure and see it more clearly. It will also help you step beyond where you are physically and loosen the grip your physical space may have on your identity. 
  2. Imagine where this figure is in time and space.  Ask yourself: where are they? In what setting? What are they doing? How big are they?  How would you describe them? Notice their environment.
  3. Imagine where this figure is in time and space.  Ask yourself: where are they? In what setting? What are they doing? How big are they?  How would you describe them? Notice their environment.
  4. Imagine where this figure is in time and space.  Ask yourself: where are they? In what setting? What are they doing? How big are they?  How would you describe them? Notice their environment.

Surprise! Finding an Unexpected Source of Information

This is part 3 of a 6-part series that looks at the main steps in inner work exercises, explains why each is important and provides some tips for increasing one’s skills with each step.

After selecting an everyday issue or concern to focus on, some inner work asks you to set that issue aside and focus on your experience in the present moment. Then, it asks you to find an ally or helper, to go to a place in nature, or to notice where your deepest sense of self is being experienced in your body. The simplest way to do this is to scan your experience, and become aware of a figure, sound, image, movement or sensation.  

This is the surprise!  Trust what is occurring.  Don’t think about it too much. It is OK to let something pop into your awareness. Trust there is something right about what you become first aware of.  This can require some practice but more than practice, it requires trust. 

As with other steps in inner work, being willing to go with your momentary experience is not only helpful, it is essential. Paradoxically, problem solving may be easier when you step away from your usual way of thinking. Allow yourself to embrace what you see or hear, the images or voices, feelings or movements that may spontaneously occur to you.

Here are some tips:

  1. Go with what comes first. Don’t overthink it. Inner work is not about making things make sense. It is about finding the meaning that you do not yet recognized.
  2. Take a chance on something that does not make sense to you ordinarily. Go with the unfamiliar or surprising, the less known or even something you don’t identify with. You may be surprised.

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another: Choosing a Problem

This is part 2 of a 6-part series that looks at the main steps in inner work exercises, explains why each is important and provides some tips for increasing one’s skills with each step.

I have noticed that people often have trouble focusing on a single issue to use as a platform for their inner work experience.  When asked about a specific problem or question, you might think of 2 or 3 questions or concerns that are on your mind and then find it difficult to choose just one.  Or something completely new or newly formed might spring to mind.  How do you choose which concern to use?

A problem or question is simply a starting point.

I will start by saying something that may surprise you: the problem or issue you choose is not that important. By that I mean it is not defining in the way you might imagine.  Your experience will have its own logic or cohesion. Whatever comes to mind is exactly the right thing. Trust it!

Here are some ways to approach this step if you get stumped.

  1. Choose the first thing that comes to mind. Take an experimental state of mind. 
  2. Bigger is not better. Select a simple or small problem you have been bothered by or has been on your mind lately. Go with a less charged issue.
  3. If you are having trouble choosing one issue, you can make a short list of the 3 or 4 questions or issues that come to mind. Sit quietly with this list for a moment and notice which one pulls on you or catches your attention. Use that regardless of other considerations you may have.
  4. Follow the Tao. If you are choosing between two questions, flip a coin. 

Your everyday problem is just one manifestation of something deeper in you that is already occurring.  Like springs that bubble up from an underground river, your everyday concerns and problems are often connected by a deeper unseen process.  You may start from any point. Choose something that resonates with you a little.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning: Relaxing

This is part 1 of a 6-part series that looks at the main steps in inner work exercises, explains why each is important and provides some tips for increasing one’s skills with each step.

Inner work exercises often begin with a suggestion to relax, to let one’s mind become foggy or to turn one’s attention inward to the sensations of the body.

Taking your attention away from the outer world helps you open to the flow of inner experience you are having.  Inner experiences include thoughts, worries, aches and pains, subtle sensations you might ordinarily dismiss, as well as unexpected images, even songs and memories.  Relaxing your body and mind often shifts your mood and can take you gently away from preconceived notions of what you will or should experience. You can stop making demands of yourself and just rest, noticing or not noticing what is going on inside when you pause your more familiar way of being.

Many people have trouble slowing down and relaxing. Our everyday world requires much of our attention and many of us have become very good at focusing there. 

Here are some tips you might consider if you sometimes have trouble with this first step.

  1.  Find a space or room where you are not likely to be disturbed.  Turn off the ringer on your phone.  Turn off your computer and other devices with sound-based alerts. If you become disturbed or distracted, take time to move to another location or simply pause or rewind the audio recording.
  2. Allow yourself some time to be in the process.
  3. Make yourself physically comfortable. You can sit or lie down.
  4. Once you are situated, close your eyes if that is comfortable for you, or relax your gaze.
  5. Take a few long, slow, deep breaths. Don’t force your breathing into any particular pattern. Just give yourself a chance to inhale and exhale in a natural way to release any tension you may be holding.
  6. Remind yourself that no particular outcome is required in inner work. Whatever experience you can be meaningful and have value.
  7. Be a little open to the unknown. Be a little not-knowing. Inner work is not about confirming or proving anything, it is about discovery.

Welcome to DeepWell

DeepWell is a place for those who are interested in learning about their inner wisdom — as yet unarticulated beliefs, unseen abilities and unrecognized qualities and then, applying these insights or experiences to current situations, problems or concerns. Using inner work exercises, listeners can find answers, solve problems, gain new perspectives, connect to mystery and go beyond their ordinary thinking and point of view to connect to deeply personal and universal truths.

Inner work is both a tool and a skill set for exploring your concerns from new angles to find undiscovered potential within yourself. As a tool, you listen to the audio recordings and follow your awareness to tap into previously unknown or less known experiences and resources.  As a skill set, inner work includes: 


  • Developing and using curiosity and beginner’s mind
  • Noticing signals in various sensory channels (visual, auditory, movement, etc..)
  • Holding signals in your awareness in order to study their presence and what is attracting you to them
  • Amplifying signals – for example, using your body or imagination to increase, enlarge, speed up or slow down signals
  • Noticing your own or another’s world view or state of mind
  • Shapeshifting or taking on the qualities, posture or attributes of other people, objects, beings, animals, etc… to gain new insights and perspective
  • Observing your or other’s state of mind and experience
  • Holding a point of view or state of mind that is not your own
  • Recognizing essential qualities 
  • Looking at your concerns or problems from new perspectives
  • Applying your learning to the life you are living

As with any practice, your ability to use inner work and your facility with the skills of inner work expands as you spend more time finding your way to your DeepWell.  Overtime, you become able to apply your learnings and discoveries more easily. With more experience, you may become able to use your awareness to create your own impromptu inner work processes to find meaning or explore concerns. 

Inner work can be used to address all kinds of human concerns and troubles.  No special knowledge is required. Your greatest asset in developing your inner work capacity is your openness, curiosity and ability to focus. Being willing to suspend judgement and letting yourself discover what is right about your experience at each step in your process will also help. Respecting your process and its limits is also important. The work of awareness is a life-long task and you may return to the same issues or stuck places many times in order to deepen your learning and relationship to yourself.   It takes time to develop your own inner work practice but I hope the DeepWell library and resources will help you!


Who We Are

About DeepWell

DeepWell offers a way to use your awareness consciously, intentionally, and accurately. Are you looking for an alternative approach to self-discovery, wanting to connect with your deepest nature, or longing to make sense of life experiences?

If you want to find meaning, to make decisions, or to improve relationships with self or others, DeepWell may be right for you.

Learn more about us and Inner Work exercises.

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