Walking home through Central Park one evening, I found myself thinking about something I had read about a kind of tree whose name I can’t remember. It’s a tree that is from ages past, long past. It came into being during a time when trees required mates in order to reproduce and the powerful, and sad, thing is that there are no more mates for this tree. It is the last one of its kind in the world. Read More “Week 637: Celebrating Nature’s Intelligence – Generating Awe”
I woke up one morning—on one of those delicious mornings when I was able to awaken naturally, without an alarm—and discovered that I was smiling. It was a surprising discovery, as the smile was simply planted on my face and wasn’t going anywhere. Read More “Week 621: Mouth Yoga”
In my work as a trauma specialist, I have touched into many approaches that help to re-center ourselves when we feel activated, as well as to heal unresolved trauma. During this time in our history, when so many people across the planet are frightened, angry, overwhelmed, and feeling stressed in so many ways, working with processes that support re-centering feels more important than ever.
Back in the early ‘80’s, when I went through a year-long training in hypnosis, I began to develop ways to work with “parts of the self” that seemed to help people calm themselves, to work through deep fears and then, ultimately, to resolve trauma and dissociation. Read More “686th Week: Working with Parts to Support Re-centering”
I’m sure I’ve written about this many times, but here I go again. Where we focus our attention, what we think about, how we engage our imagination has a powerful impact on the quality of our inner life and on how we behave and act in our world. What we attend to matters. What we imagine matters.
This week I want to share some thoughts about engaging what’s called the “imaginal realm”. When we enter the imaginal realm, we aren’t engaging something “imaginary”. Instead, we touch into a kind of language or communication that uses visual and other sensory impressions rather than strings of words. Our culture tends not to privilege awareness that operates in the imaginal realm and yet it’s one of the most powerful creative forces we have available to us.
For example, spend a moment right now bringing into awareness either an image of some beautiful place you’ve been—a place that touched you deeply, or recall a sound, fragrance, or sensation that moves you in a way that is meaningful to you. Since images are my main language in this realm, I often “see” trees that have touched me, such as the giant Sequoia I’m imagining right now. This image generates a powerful felt-sense of awe and heart-filling expansion, with my whole body-mind responding to the memory of the presence of this magnificent tree. Or, I might bring into awareness an image of one of the cats who live with me doing something amusing, something that fills me with delight and touches my heart, as well as generating a smile and a chuckle.
We know from science that our brains register imaginal experience in much the same way as actual lived experience, creating a full experience in the body (sensations) and psyche (emotional and mental states). The only difference is that these experiences and awareness arise and unfold in the imaginal realm.Read More “829th Week: The Imaginal Realm”
As a child, my grandmother was my first spiritual teacher and many of the things she taught me have stayed in my awareness over all these many years. One of the things she taught me I’ve written about before—the raincloud of knowable things. What continues to touch me about this concept is how vividly it reminds me that I’m never alone, that I am always and inevitably part of something much bigger than myself. In this case, it reminds me that I’m part of a vast collective consciousness that contains the wisdom of all humans across all time and that I and everyone else contributes to and draws from this collective all the time. This is an idea that has supported my work as a trauma specialist in psychotherapy and it is an idea that has given me hope even when things may have looked profoundly bleak.
It also touches into an experience that gets stronger for me as I age—that I am in community with a reciprocal environment all the time. I saw an illustration of this the other day as I walked across Central Park. I noticed a gentleman, early in the morning, taking cans and bottles out of the trash bins scattered throughout the park. It was a Monday morning, so the bins had quite a few offerings and I began to think about how this man’s activities support recycling, and that he contributes something meaningful that I usually wouldn’t know anything about. That got me to thinking about all the activities going on in my world that I don’t see and yet add to the quality and support of my life. It reminded me of the fact that, even at subtle levels, we constantly contribute to and draw from our collective environment.Read More “769th Week: The Raincloud of Knowable Things”