Jesica Hanley Vega

Sing Your Song




coffee pot
For a long time, espresso has meant home to me. At least for the time being, something else will have to do.

A few weeks prior to heading to San Francisco, I wasn’t feeling my best physically. I was suffering from body aches, my energy levels were erratic, and my appetite wasn’t good. Making my bed more comfortable helped, but I thought I might feel even better if I improved my diet and eliminated coffee

After the initial withdrawal wore off, my energy levels and mood quickly  improved  and my thinking got more clear. I considered the experiment a success and decided to keep going.

And then one day, stuck with nothing to do while my husband discussed alignment with a mechanic at a used tire shop I took a walk. Even before I set out, I knew that if I walked far enough, I would pass Bluebeard Cafe: where I’ve made many pit stops to make a bad day better, where I’ve brought visiting guests to show off my adopted hometown and where they serve the best espresso in Tacoma, 

Even before I could see it, I felt my body pulled towards the familiar entrance. Conditioned to know that pleasure and relief were on the way, my physical excitement mounted and I started to wonder why I’d quit drinking coffee in the first place.

Espresso; it was a bright spot in a bad day, a boring day, an exhausting day or a good day. It  was a guaranteed pleasure, my one daily indulgence and part of my heritage.

But rather than going in, I kept on walking and instead stepped into a healthy tea and herb shop where I found a book called Rumi’s Four Essential Practices. One of those essential practices, I discovered, is fasting.

I’ve never been a dieter and, though I am a spiritual practitioner, I’d never taken on fasting as a spiritual discipline. And yet, without realizing it, in addition to improving my physical condition, my new diet had actually been giving me the opportunity to deepen my relationship to self.

I brought the book with me to San Francisco and was glad I did when the first thing I found upon checking into my room was a gleaming Nespresso maker. In addition to providing an exciting opportunity to join a community of impassioned and accomplished leaders, my weekend at The Hive was clearly going to be a continual challenge to my resolve.

But I kept in mind these words from Rumi, which were a constant reminder that my commitment to hearing my soul was stronger than my commitment to having a buzz.

yesterday you filled your stomach 
with all kinds of bread and foods
you became so sluggish 
so sleepy

what comes of such indulgence?
either recklessness
or the need to go to the toilet

sounds of moans and mourning
come from the soul while fasting
but the only sound that comes after a meal
is a low-pitched rumble from the rear end

so friend
if you want to hear what the soul has to say
then skip the meal;
it you want to hear from the other end
then bring the bowl closer to you

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?

What’s In Your Closet?

Even the smallest things can leave me in awe.
Even the smallest things can leave me in awe.

My first-ever Mastermind Call has been going for almost two months and, despite a few anxiety attacks along the way, I’m thrilled with it.

Before each weekly call, I do a reading to get a sense of where everyone is at and where we need to focus our conversation. This week the theme was honesty, so I posed the questions: What are you hiding from yourself or others? and What would be possible if you came clean?

What I heard inspired me; I am regularly in awe of the courage and depth demonstrated by our little tribe and today was no different.

But then it was my turn. What had I been hiding  – and would I be willing to share it with people who look to me for leadership and wisdom? I wanted to share, but I hesitated: Would it make me look bad to admit I’m as susceptible to concealment and fear as they are? Would it diminish my role as facilitator and guide?

Brene Brown writes that vulnerability is the soul of leadership, so I stepped into the arena.

I am in love with God, I said, and I want God’s light to shine so brightly through me that other people fall in love with God as well.

Not the “God” that’s “out there,” mind you.  Not the  Human-Like God of punitive laws, damning judgments and religious wars. But the energy and light inside each one of us, that some don’t even call “God” but which they may call Source, Spirit, Purpose, Creativity, Unity, Unconditional Love  or, as Yoda put it, the The Force.

I love this —- that I call “God” and I have created a life around my devotion to it. But I hesitate to call myself – or my work – “spiritual.” Where there are words, there are prior associations, and nothing “God” has ever touched on earth has gone untainted by humanity’s tragic limitations on understanding and imagination. I haven’t wanted to be misunderstood, criticized or invalidated so I have kept my experiences to myself and remained in the closet.

But whether I call it something as lofty as God-the-Beloved or as secular and humanist as awe, I see and feel it everywhere and speak about it almost nowhere.

A friend reading a recent post asked me to describe a dimension of my sensitivity that I have re-framed from weakness into strength. This would be it.

Falling into trance-like states of awe doesn’t work in the dog-eat-dog world of busyness, competition and deadlines. And no matter how I tried, in my previous career I could never stop myself from becoming transfixed by a blade of grass, the nap on a shag carpet or the soul of another human being. I even cursed my “distractability” and untameable adoration of creation as the “thing” that stopped me from succeeding in life.

But now I celebrate it as one of my greatest gifts.

And, through my work as a guide and teacher, I seek to foster environments in which others have access and permission to experience such wonder in their own lives as well. By coming clean, risking being misunderstood and stepping into the arena with courage and depth, perhaps something entirely new is now possible for me and my world.  I can’t say, but it sure beats hiding my light.

What are you hiding?

And what would happen if you let the cat out of the bag?

Listening to…Geophysicist Xavier Le Pichon


To celebrate my son’s very first day of preschool, as well as my daughter’s first Monday in fourth grade, this morning I listened to an interview with geophysicist Xavier Le Pichon from Krista Tippett’s website “On Being.”

If you’re not familiar with the website or the radio show of the same name, I highly recommend both. Formerly known as Speaking of Faith,  Tippett’s program features interviews with spiritual leaders, as well as scientists, artists and politicians who offer valuable perspective on the life of the spirit.

Entitled Fragility and the Evolution of Humanity, Pichon’s interview reveals the insights of a man who – as a pioneer in the field of Plate Tectonics – has given much thought to the role that fragility and weakness play in both geological and human evolution.

His main thesis is that – just as the earth’s surface reached its current configuration when stresses on weak spots below the surface caused land to shift and create the continental masses – humanity also evolved, and can only continue to evolve, through a fluid relationship between the weak and the strong.

As early as the Neolithic Age, he points out, our ancestors were caring for the disabled  – not leaving them to die, as would be expected if only the fittest could survive.

Drawing on such history, as well as  personal experiences in communities caring for the poor  and the sick, Pichon has observed that a community which is flexible enough to accommodate the weak will evolve, while a community unable or unwilling to do so will only be changed through crisis and revolution.

Humanity at its best, Le Pichon concludes,  is not something we are born with: nor is it something that is arrived at and done with. It is a quality that must be nurtured – individually and socially – throughout a lifetime and throughout history.

This rich interview with Le Pichon offers a  profound teaching that can be carried into any life: whether the weakness we are meant to accommodate and care for is our children’s, our parents’, our spouse’s, our friends’ – or our own.

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