906th Week: Gratitude

906th Week: Gratitude

As I begin this practice in conscious living, it’s 5 degrees outside with a sparkling blue sky and strong wind. I find that I am deeply grateful to be indoors, to have heat, and have no reason to go outdoors on this very cold day. What this brings to mind are all the people who don’t have this choice because they work in jobs that serve the rest of us—in the post office, trash collection, the local Starbuck’s and other businesses, fire fighters and other emergency personnel, bus drivers, subway operators, cab drivers. The list goes on and on and, as I think about them, I am filled with gratitude. I also feel concern for them, as it’s a day when it’s not really safe to be outside.

What this brings to mind is the importance of gratitude. It’s a response that not only nurtures one’s own well-being, but it also orients awareness to the contributions of so many participants in our daily lives. Those contributors may be people, they may be other-than-human companions, they may be offerings from nature—food, water, fresh air. 

As I write this, I’m eating a pear. What an amazing gift! I often find myself mystified as to how Nature draws on a dynamic creativity that generates all the amazing life forms on this planet. Ecology at times leaves me speechless with its complexity and fundamental collaborative/cooperative underpinnings, so my gratitude, including amazement, often orients itself to the dynamic creativity and intelligence of this planet’s eco-systems.

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905th Week: Living into Our Intentions

905th Week: Living into Our Intentions

I recently posted the following quotation from Jean Houston to one of my Devadana Sanctuary postings on Facebook: “My prayer is, let me be a blessing to someone or something today.” It got me to thinking about how powerful it is when we live into our intentions, when we actually follow through with what we say we want to do.

I also recently offered the following quotation from Joanna Macy in another Devadana Sanctuary posting on Facebook: “…every act we make, every word we speak, every thought we think is not only affected by the other elements in the vast web of being in which all things take part, but also has results so far-reaching that we cannot see or imagine them.” This quotation also brought to mind the importance and power of the intentions we carry and those we actually live into.

For this week’s practice, I invite you to notice what intentions you carry that have the same kind of positive qualities as those above. In this troubled world, it seems to me that the one contribution we can all make, regardless of our circumstances or physical abilities, is to hold positive intentions about how we move through the world with care and awareness—how we treat ourselves, others, and our environment.

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904th Week: Self-Acceptance and Wholeness

904th Week: Self-Acceptance and Wholeness

One of the themes I’ve explored and lived with over many years now is my experience of the importance of acknowledging and honoring all aspects of our wholeness. I’ve also been keenly aware of the fact that life on this planet thrives most efficiently within communities, ecologies of diversity. We know from science that natural environments thrive most dynamically when they contain a wide diversity of life forms, working together as a complex community. I think it’s the same with our own, individual selves. Our wholeness contains and expresses the unique diversity of characteristics, talents, challenges, qualities, expressions that each of us embodies. Through our unique wholeness, we contribute to the “ecology of life” within which we live.

Over the years, I have also found myself orienting to an experience of “being lived” by life. My sense has been, and continues to be, that each of us—whether human or some other-than-human, more-than-human earth-kin being—represents an opportunity for life to have a unique experience within and through each of us. Our unique wholeness offers life the opportunity for diverse experiences and expressions, honoring this planet’s seeming preference for diversity.

For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore the following guided meditation and see how it feels for you to imagine “being lived” by the life that expresses itself within and through everything on this planet, as well as acknowledging, honoring, and embracing the wholeness within you, leaving nothing out. It’s your wholeness that makes you unique in all the world and it’s your wholeness that allows you to contribute to the diversity that our human family offers to the planet’s ecology.

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903rd Week: Breathing In and Breathing Out

903rd Week: Breathing In and Breathing Out

Listening to the news recently, I found myself returning to a meditation from the Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a very simple one and yet I find that, each time I do it, it invites me to more easily settle deeply into my grounded, embodied presence. So, for this week’s offering, I thought I would share this with those of you who haven’t learned it before and perhaps remind those of you who are familiar with it that it’s a very useful and helpful practice.

And so, for this week’s practice, I invite you to do the following at least once a day and perhaps to develop a habit of turning to it whenever you need support in returning to your heart space, grounding yourself, and/or simply taking some time to access quiet presence.

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2023 January Meditation
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2023 January Meditation

This year’s theme is reciprocal relationships–that we are in relationship with the world around us in every moment. For this month, we focus on the relationship we have with the community of collaborative organisms that comprise our body, offering gratitude and blessings to all of them.

The fidelity on this January meditation isn’t great, but it improves starting in February.

Here’s the audio version of the meditation. Please remember never to listen to these audio meditations when driving or operating dangerous machinery…

Here’s the YouTube version if you’d prefer to see images of nature as you move through the meditation.