Jesica Hanley Vega

Sing Your Song



Finding The Soul Behind Your Walls

IMG_9700In the space between sleep and wake this morning, I was inspired by some thoughts about contemplation, subjectivity and the human necessity for physical and symbolic structures to represent the ineffable. Because that’s what I like to think about when I’m waking up.

It got me writing as soon as I got up, and then browsing through the internets, where I found this wonderful review of Parker J. Palmer’s book “A Hidden Wholeness” on

Wikipedia lists Parker J. Palmer as an author, educator and activist. He’s also a Quaker and a wise voice to which I return again and again.

The physical structure which he uses to describe what keeps us from our true selves is the wall. And this is what he has to say about it: Here is the ultimate irony of the divided life: live behind a wall long enough, and the true self you tried to hide from the world disappears from your own view. The wall itself and the wall outside it become all that you know. Eventually, you even forget that the wall is there. And that hidden behind it is someone called “you.”

When we talk about things which are subjective – how we feel, what we sense – language immediately becomes a challenge. That is why these things are the domain of art and poetry: how else can we capture such elusive sensations than through symbol and suggestion?

In our rational world, what is subjective is assumed to be the unreliable inferior to its more scientific counterpart, the objective. And yet, as Parker makes clear, when we address our subjective selves, we can find who we really are.

The next questions become: how important is it to discover who we really are and are we willing to give up objectivity to find out?

Do You Want To Evolve?

IMG_0964The field of coaching, guidance and personal development is a crowded one, full of promises and potential miracles. I get it. The best way to sell anything is to make it seem like an easy path to everything that people want.

But I’ve never been a fan of easy.

Rather than offering silver bullets, my work is about discovering and surpassing your own inner limits. It’s about distinguishing what holds you back and daring to go beyond it. It’s about recognizing some of your most deeply held beliefs and questioning whether they still serve you. It’s about discovering where you’re weak and choosing to become strong.

Doing readings with my clients enables me to address what lies beyond the surface of their stories and their circumstances. Recommending practices to my clients enables them to develop new habits that will help them see beyond as well. Loving my clients enables them to embrace those valuable parts of themselves they once relegated to the shadows.

I love tough, tenacious people. I love people who are so in love with something, so committed to it, that they are willing to let me be the grim reaper cutting down the limitations to which they are attached.

Clearly, my work is not for everybody.

But if you want to evolve, if you see a great reason to do so, a great purpose that will only be fulfilled once you are willing to look at yourself straight and give up your identity in favor of your soul, it may be for you.

Let me help you be the person you know you are inside.

Why Open Your Heart?

Nothing has convinced me more of the value of our work than the impact it has already had on my life.

Recently, Margo, Stephanie and I have been asking each other the same questions, and guiding each other through the same processes, we will offer participants during our upcoming retreat.

I’ve looked at my own experiences of fear versus love. I’ve asked myself “Who am I that is not my fears or my ego?” And I’ve discovered how following my heart opens up vistas and possibilities unimaginable to my mind.

Doing these practices with such gifted women has altered my understanding of the work I do and the difference it can make. It has also revealed to me how dramatically I cut myself off from relationships and possibilities when I let my mind do all my thinking for me.

One evening, in the midst of this process, I opened up to my husband in a way I rarely have. I’m 45 and, I told him, I’m noticing myself age. In our culture, there’s very little to “look forward to” as a woman who is not youthful, thin or sexy. And yet, I said, I feel these very things approaching: as if the woman I have been is going to be replaced by someone I don’t yet know.

It was surprising enough that I shared these thoughts. But what was even more surprising was how much more authentic and real he became in the following days. As if my own opened heart made it easier for him to explore his own.

It’s not always true that the people in our lives follow our lead as we grow and expand. But by taking the first steps, at least we give them the opportunity. By taking the risk to open our own hearts, we can show others the way and create a ripple effect that touches the entire world.

If that’s not a good enough reason to open your heart, I don’t know what is.

We have two spaces left for next week’s retreat. Is it your time to Come Home To Your Heart? Register online now or email for more information.

Thinking about Columbus Day – a few days after the fact

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Rocking the Latina Vibe!

As part of my recent work with The Pachamama Alliance, I volunteered to write an editorial reconsidering ColumbusDay for some local papers in Tacoma. It was a fun assignment and I enjoyed it, but didn’t think much more about it until this evening when I discovered my Op-Ed in The Tacoma Weekly.

Here is the complete text – co-written with the kind folks at Pachamama. And I am happy to say – even before the publication of this piece, the city of Seattle designated Indigenous People’s Day on the day traditionally reserved for Columbus.

Reconsidering Columbus Day

With Columbus Day approaching, it’s interesting to consider what we learned, and more importantly, what we didn’t learn in school about the holiday and the man. We can all probably still recite the names of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, but what were we taught about the brutal legacy of Columbus’ venture and those that followed?

According to the late historian Howard Zinn, Columbus’ discovery initiated a time of mass killings and commenced an era marked by colonization, the tragic dispossession of native homelands – including those of my Taino ancestors – and a seemingly unending drive toward the accumulation of money and power. While much of our modern lifestyle is possible due to resources acquired this way – and much knowledge has been gained through interaction with other cultures – it’s time to consider the harm that has also been done.

Beyond the historical destruction of our natural world and the devastation of indigenous peoples, we would benefit by looking at the insidious impact these trajectories continue to have on contemporary lives as well. While the excessive development that ensued in the New World celebrated the notion that “more is better,” that belief has kept us all moving at unhealthy speeds to achieve an idea of success characterized by money, power and little else. With both human health and the health of the planet in jeopardy, it may serve us to question what values we celebrate in our modern culture and consider whether there are different values we should cultivate instead at this point in human history – values such as sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfillment. Something else we didn’t learn much about in school was the mutually enhancing relationship indigenous cultures have had with the Earth for millennia – and this may be a lesson we ignore at our peril.

Last month more than 300,000 people gathered in New York for the largest climate march in history. It was a plea to return to a more reverent relationship with the Earth. With Columbus Day approaching, it’s time for a reality check on what we’ve learned, a correction of what we haven’t and the cultivation of a relationship between ourselves and the Earth that’s more in harmony with indigenous wisdom.


5 Steps On The Path To Peace

Beach grass with dew.

1) In the October, 2014 issue of “O”  The Oprah Magazine, Paulo Coelho says: If you think small, your world will be small. If you think big, your world will be big*.

The smallest things seem big to me. When I was a child, I believed that if everyone slowed down and saw things as I saw them, there would be peace. Which is why I wanted to be a filmmaker. I wanted to show my world to people and have them experience life in all its perfection and glory.  If we took this world into our hearts, I believed, there would be no war.

Fallen feather.

2) A heart is like a flower… It can be very brave, but it can easily be hurt.

As a young adult, I began to believe this desire meant there was something wrong with me: that I was naive and idealistic, that I was not cut out for the “real world.”

I was brave for a while but, as I grew older,  it seemed impossible that my vision of peace would be realized and I forgot my dream. My world grew small and I felt hurt.

Purple Centaurea Nigra.

3) There is a Zen proverb that says, basically, if you want something, step aside and let this thing come to you.

And yet, once my heart was broken, it could be re-opened to the beauty that had captivated me when I was young. When I reconnected with the natural world, I reconnected with the vision of peace I had once known. Inside me was an inner child who said: Hey, do you remember that dream?

Reflecting pool in an old tree stump.

4) A Personal Legend is the reason you are here…It is the only thing that gives you enthusiasm.

The only thing that gives me enthusiasm is the experience I have when I pay close attention to the world and my mind gives way to my heart. This experience is available to all people but it’s too often forgotten.

In Paulo Coelho’s terms, it is my Legend to live this principle: to demonstrate that peace is within reach at all times, within all people and between all divisions if we can slow down, listen and connect – with each other and the world around us.

White clover.

5) If you are honest enough, God will guide you. Even if you take some wrong steps along the way, God will recognize that you have a pure heart and put you back on track. 

I have taken many wrong steps along the way but I am still on the journey. My resolve is tested daily. I’m not the proof but I AM the experiment and I live for peace not only as if my life depends on it, but as if yours does.

*All italicized statements from the Paulo Coelho interview in the October, 2014 issue of “O” magazine.

What Story Are You Living?

Leave a trail of light and beauty in your wake and others will follow.

I’ve always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives but, for much of my life, assumed film-making would be the path.

For as long as I could remember, movies had been my greatest source of inspiration and joy. Nothing moved me as much as a good movie could – nothing could make me think, feel and expand as much. So it felt natural to dedicate my life to providing others with the bliss I experienced watching awesome films.

Therefore it was quite a surprise – and a crushing disappointment – to discover that sometimes when we “follow our dreams” they don’t actually come true. Despite my passion for film, I was a poor fit for the day-to-day realities of the industry and I was rarely happy there.

The realization that I was barking up the wrong tree did not happen overnight. It took many tears and a lot of  soul-searching to eventually turn what felt like a story of professional and personal failure into something more empowering, and yet…

Through a fortuitous meeting with someone who recommended I read tarot cards (of all things) I unexpectedly embarked on a new path that ended up leading me where I wanted to go.

At this point, I don’t consider myself a “tarot card reader.” Though divination and intuition remain a signification aspect of my work, ultimately I provide people with insights and tools for self-actualization. This is less because I know what my clients should do and more because – together – we create conversations in which such insights and tools naturally arise.

While the bliss of watching a movie derives from experiencing a story that touches us and provides us with a new way of seeing things, I’ve now discovered that bliss is also possible when people discover their own stories.

We are all heroes of our own story – if we choose to see our lives that way. But when we get stuck in one version of events, it can be hard to see our way out. I’ve lived my own hero’s journey – I certainly know what it’s like to be stuck in hell – but having come out the other side,  I unknowingly prepared myself to lead others out as well. 

What story are you living? Where is it going? And have you considered a rewrite?

When We Come Together With Open Hearts…

The power to awaken love and healing in ourselves and others comes when we find our own connections to nature and the roots of our experience – Rachel Pollack

No matter how challenging life feels, the experience of connecting with others in a space of love and healing always reminds me that I am not alone in my struggles.

In this way, the work I do supports not only my clients but myself. When we come together with open hearts, and recognize each other’s wholeness, we create a field of fellowship and support that flows both ways.

Left to our own devices – yours and mine – we can easily become mired in doubt and fear. Just as easily, without the loving reflection of others, we often misread our intuitions and desires, missing the essential truths trying to make themselves felt in our lives.

Frequently, my clients respond to a reading with some variation of “that’s what I thought” or “I had a feeling that’s what you would say.” It’s a privilege to be the one who tells them to trust their gut, to honor the most deeply felt stirrings of their souls and to confirm and bless the road ahead.

This is not a poor reflection on them as much as an affirmation of how much we need each other to confirm our most private desires and suspicions. It is also an affirmation of how difficult it can be to get the soul-level support we seek in a world preoccupied with fear, judgement and an attachment to the status quo.

When the longings of our souls contradict the dictates of our families, our identities and our culture, too often it can feel like there’s nowhere for them to be confirmed and celebrated.

But when we have people in our lives  – be they friends, family members or members of our soul community – who champion our journeys wherever they take us, greater levels of passion, truth and power become possible in our lives and those journeys can lead us to entirely unexpected new destinations.

Where are you headed? And do you have who you need to help you get there?

Are You Too Sensitive?

The Earth itself is both sensitive AND strong.

A number of years ago, I was seeing a therapist who would regularly bring up the fact that I was sensitive. Every time she said it, I would  squirm  because it sounded like she was insulting me and calling me weak.

Needless to say, if there was anything I didn’t want to be called, it was sensitive.

Girl poets who put their heads in ovens were sensitive. Boys who cried on the playground were sensitive. People who didn’t speak up for themselves, who wouldn’t pursue their dreams and who couldn’t succeed were sensitive. And that wasn’t me.

Over time, however, I grew to love my sensitivity and regard it as a gift rather than a liability. Along the way, I also transformed my entire notion of what it means to be a sensitive person in an insensitive world. I discovered that when we try to hide our sensitivity and function like other people (the “insensitives”?) our best results often DO end up flawed and, as our constitutions wear down from neglect, we often DO end up weak (or addicted or depressed).

But, I also learned that when we embrace sensitivity as a precious gift and the source of our greatest contributions, we can surprise ourselves with who we really are and carve out a powerful existence based on our true selves and our authentic strengths.

If you are a person who has ever been called oversensitive or has thought that about yourself, consider looking at the term differently from now on – not as an insult but as a clue to your deeper nature – and try asking yourself some questions:

  • If you spent more time alone and less time forcing yourself to be social, what would happen and how would you feel?
  • If you stopped trying to be like other people and surrendered to being exactly who you are, who would you be?
  • What if the thoughts and images of your imagination were projected outside yourself?  What if you shared your experience of the world? What would be possible? Not just for yourself but for others?
  • And lastly, what if you cherished your sensitivity and designed a life to nurture and care for it? What then?

How I Found Some Wisdom – And You Can Too

When we share our gifts freely, we have no idea what seeds we are planting.
When we share our gifts freely, we have no idea what seeds we are planting.

My Free Introductory Call to our weekly Mastermind Call is coming up on April 22 at 7:00 p.m. (PST).

Listen in to learn more about the community we are building to support readers, mystics and mediums in mastering their gifts, developing their contributions and enjoying their paths.

Register now at

One day, when my son was a baby, I had a conversation with a woman who was a shaman and a healer. When I told her I’d recently been having a lot of dreams, she asked if I’d like to join a dream circle.

Money was an issue. Time was an issue. Childcare and breastfeeding were an issue. But still I said yes – not knowing how I was going to handle even one of those – because I just knew there was something in it for me. And there was.

Over the course of almost two years, our small group met weekly and I learned more than I ever could have imagined about my own gifts and the worlds of imagination, symbolism, healing and the unconscious.

Another day, while sitting on my bed, I had a conversation with a friend who is a passionate advocate for transformation and community. I was writing a book and she asked if I would like to join a Mastermind Call.

I had no idea what a Mastermind Call was, but I’d been facing the same professional challenges for years and, if I was going to overcome them, I just knew I’d need some support.  So I said yes.

Three years later, I still make that weekly call to share my intentions, my triumphs and my failures and to offer my support, my experience and my love. I still face many of the same obstacles I always did, but now I have an arsenal of techniques to overcome them and a team that’s got my back.

Both of these experiences have been integral to my growth as a guide, a teacher and a writer – as well as to my development as a human being. And while the settings have been relatively simple, their impact has been profound.

Sometimes the most powerful way to find our own wisdom is to hear ourselves speaking it out loud. It may be inside us all the time, but often it is only within the space of others’ trusted listening that we feel safe enough to express it and realize what we know.

That’s why I’m inspired to offer that opportunity to others. Because there comes a moment when you’ve read enough books and taken enough classes. There comes a moment when it’s time to listen and be astounded at what you hear – a moment when it’s time to speak and not know what you’re going to say.

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