In a recent conversation with a colleague, she mentioned reading an article that focused on the fact that what we perceive, where we focus our “seeing”, has a concrete effect in our world. This reminded me of the quantum physics findings around the “observer effect”. The observer effect speaks to the fact that the observer of an experiment seems to have a powerful and important impact on the outcome of the experiment. What the observer expects turns out to be what actually happens.
In the article my colleague mentioned, the author encouraged people to see what is good and right in their world as, in this way, they promote those qualities and outcomes, drawing on the dynamics of the observer effect. This reminded me of something I’ve shared before in a number of experiments on the dynamics of what is called subtle activism. Read More “693rd Week: Orienting to “Seeing What’s Good””
As a general practice, I spend time each morning looking at videos, interviews, and professional talks that support a positive sense of connection and wholeness. Beginning each day orients me to a perspective and sense of being that colors my day with a quality that nourishes my body and soul. During one of these forays into cyberspace, I ran across an article, which touched me with its emphasis on a more mystical sense of our world.
The author, Michael Edwards, says the following: “…spirituality can give us an actual experience of the unity of all things. This experience, when nurtured as a constant practice, roots quality-consciousness, non-discrimination, non-violence and reverence for all people and the earth deep into our core.” Read More “706th Week: Living With “Wide Open Eyes”
Walking through Central Park on my way to work one morning, I had been pondering the gift of blessings. As I was just about to enter my favorite path amongst a long line of cherry trees, I noticed a cardinal sitting on a branch in a large bush to my right. I stopped and enjoyed taking some time looking at, and talking to, the cardinal. As I wished him a good morning—he was a wonderful bright red—he jumped onto different branches just above me and we basically hung out together for a few minutes. (And, for sure, his hanging out on those branches was no doubt what he intended to do with or without my being there!)
When it was time for me to walk on, I noticed that my heart was full with the few moments of interaction I had with the cardinal, and I wondered about the synchronicity of thinking about the gift of blessings and then running into this beautiful bird. Read More “707th Week: Moments of Inspiration”
One of the things that most of us find challenging is to manage uncertainty. It’s a natural response to be uncomfortable with not knowing what’s going to happen next or where we are headed, individually and collectively. For some people, finding conspiracy theories offers an experience of “knowing what’s going on” that calms the discomfort most of us feel around uncertainly. For others, anxiety becomes a constant companion and they have difficulty truly soothing themselves. For yet others, becoming numb and shutting down is their natural response to constant and mounting uncertainty.
Also, I want to affirm that having a response to uncertainty is certainly normal and not necessarily something that needs the kind of process I’ll describe below, so please be gentle with yourself when circumstances elicit discomfort and anxiety about the future.
As I’ve been thinking about how we can expand our capacity to be uncomfortable and find some degree of equanimity, I found myself thinking about a concept I have taught for many years—a process of uncoupling trauma-based associations, called over-couplings in the Somatic Experiencing® world. Let me define these terms as I did when teaching SE.
Trauma over-couplings are associations that become “glued together” during times of overwhelm or distress. These are individual elements of experience or learnings that actually don’t belong together. One common trauma-based, attachment-oriented over-coupling is: If I do what I want, they (whoever “they” might be) won’t love me. Those two things don’t really belong together and especially so in adult life. Another common trauma-based over-coupling is: Unless I know what’s going on, I won’t be safe. The problem with trauma-based over-couplings is that they predict something that may not, or probably won’t, happen. They often arise from childhood experiences where we were not only ill equipped to have options available to us but when we also weren’t mature enough to understand what was happening.
I’d like to offer one way to deal with these trauma-based over-couplings. I called it “therapeutic dissociation” in my book, Getting Through the Day, but it’s actually a form of uncoupling adult awareness and options from those arising from earlier overwhelming experience.Read More “812th Week: Managing Uncertainty”
This year, we’ll focus on frequencies, the energy qualities that we embody and express in every moment. Each month, we’ll draw on a different frequency, exploring identifying, accessing, embodying, and deepening awareness of various frequencies.
If you would prefer to explore this meditation with images of nature, here’s our YouTube version:
Recently, I participated in a conversation in front of a large group of people where a colleague and I discussed intersections between Somatic Experiencing® and other body-based approaches and Buddhist practices and concepts. What became the underlying theme for me was to convey to the audience that when we feel activated—under threat or overwhelmed—our perception narrows and we lose sight of the bigger picture. We can see this dynamic all around us at this time, where people on every side of an issue become locked into their perspective and are seemingly unable to take in new information that would widen their understanding of a given stance or situation. Also, we lose sight of all the good that’s happening in the world when we’re overwhelmed by activation.
The discussion went on to underscore the importance of being aware of our own particular activation signals and behaviors, and how essential it is to be able to manage ourselves and bring ourselves back into regulation when we notice that we are activated. I spent some time talking about the difference between the “trauma brain” and the “present-day brain”. The “trauma brain” operates within an either/or, lack-of-options framework, so when we’re activated, it’s difficult to see possibilities that weren’t initially obvious. The “present-day brain” operates within a framework of both/and, along with an ability to imagine a range of options.Read More “757th Week: Coming Back to Grounding”