I wrote last week about drawing on steadiness as a form of subtle activism. Another quality that is sorely needed within our human family is the expression of kindness. Here in the United States, we’ve had an unfortunate shift toward a lack of civility toward one another, and it seems that there is a lessening of kindness in many places on the planet. This lack of kindness, and an accompanying lack of care, extends to our other-than-human earth-kin and to the planet in general.
Kindness and care are expressions of the heart more than the head. They are heart-centered responses and it’s possible to strengthen the tendency to express kindness and care when we offer ourselves practices that orient to heart perception and intelligence. I’ve written about this a lot and continue to return to it because of its central role in helping us to be with one another in more compassionate ways.
Drawing on a combination of information from HeartMath (www.heartmath.org) and other sources, I’ve spent a good bit of time orienting to my “heart brain” and to checking in with what my heart thinks about various issues. How often the heart perceives things differently from how the head brain understands them and how helpful it can be to have both perspectives available!Read More “841st Week: Revisiting Kindness”
As I write this practice, current violent events that have caused immense distress and suffering continue to fill the news and Internet. Working through my own responses got me to thinking about what I might offer as this week’s practice that might be both supportive and useful.
Whenever I am in the presence of suffering and challenges that I can’t directly change, I inevitably turn to my heart space for support, comfort, and as a way to actively and mindfully process my sense of outrage, helplessness, or despair that may arise. And, inevitably and thankfully, my heart space is able to process and manage these difficult feelings in a way that always surprises and eases me. It may be because I feel like I’m doing something, or it may be—as the HeartMath Institute’s research has shown—that a coherent heart eases the amygdala and reduces activation.Read More “761st Week: Holding Space for Ourselves and All Our Kin (Which is Everyone)”
Recently, I saw a clip from Fox News that got me to thinking about how many of us now engage conversations not to understand one another but to convince or to show that we are “right”. Read More “Week 665: Rediscovering Curiosity”
Without doubt, we live in challenging times locally and globally. I’ve written before about the importance of being able to return to the steadiness that is always at the core of our being as a way to manage the collective distress and suffering that can come into our awareness in any moment. It’s equally important to have access to what’s known as the “noticing” part of our brain, the aspect of our awareness that arises within our present-day observer. Janina Fisher writes about this part of the brain in her new book, “Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma: A Workbook for Survivors and Therapists”.
The observer function is very different from the internal critic or judge. It’s that aspect of our awareness that notices, that mindfully observes. This kind of mindful awareness offers us an opportunity to choose how we want to respond to what comes our way. It can allow us to do so in a non-reactive, or at least less-reactive, way.
Below is a brief practice for cultivating the “noticing” brain, especially focused on those times when you move toward becoming overwhelmed by all that’s going on your life, in our collective human family, and with our beleaguered planet.Read More “845th Week: Cultivating the “Noticing” Brain”