As I thought about what to write for this week’s practice in conscious living, my mind drifted to the importance of remembering to include our heart’s intelligence and perceptions as we move through daily life and, especially, as we move through challenging times. And, these are challenging times, indeed, all around the planet.
From a spiritual perspective, I experience our current national and world situation to be an expression of our need to mature as a species. On all sides, I see examples of people and countries making choices between recognizing and acting on our inevitable interdependence—our underlying oneness—versus grasping onto individual satisfaction and gain at the expense of others and the environment.
One of the ways I help myself return to an awareness of my relatedness to, and dependence on, all the life around me is to orient to my heart’s intelligence and perception. To support this perspective and direct experience, I regularly tap into sources of inspiration offered by people who live within an awareness of oneness, with the recognition that all life on this planet has the same mother/source, has inherent value, and has a right to be as free from suffering as possible.Read More “748th Week: Coming Back to Heart Intelligence”
One of the things that always touches me is listening to the critical ways in which so many of us talk to ourselves. It’s as though we culturally tune into a particular channel of self-awareness and are taught to give ourselves a hard time, weighing ourselves down with “shoulds”, comparing ourselves negatively to others, and making sure we jump on ourselves immediately if there is any hint that we might not be measuring up to whatever judgments we may carry.
For many of us, there is also the underlying anxiety, uncertainty, and downright fear that arose during times of trauma when we may have experienced verbal or physical abuse. With abuse tends to come an internal dialogue of self-blame which then grows into an internal litany of what’s wrong with us and why we, or our lives, will never be okay.
Recently, I watched a Tedx Talk by Andrew Newman, the creator of the Conscious Bedtime Story Club and the author of many children’s books. The talk is entitled, “Why the Last 20 Minutes of the Day Matter” and I was captivated by what Andrew had to say. Here’s a link to his talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfcZhlK-FAURead More “776th Week: Programming Ourselves for More Gentle Self-Talk”
Recently, I had a conversation with a colleague that revolved around the subject of cultivating an internal sense of safety. We talked about how external safety isn’t a sure thing and, in these uncertain times, doesn’t ring true as a possibility for many people.
My deepest sense, as we talked, was that the only place I could find a reliable sense of safety, and it’s a relative thing, is inside my own embodied core presence. This is because embodied presence is something we carry within us all the time, even when we’re unaware of it.
I’ve talked many times about the dynamic of “foreground/background”. Depending on what we experience in any given moment, feelings of activation, distress, overwhelm, and/or shutdown may have moved into the foreground of our awareness. When this happens, our internal steadiness and embodied core presence slide into the background and we no longer experience these qualities of our inherent being.Read More “813th Week: Cultivating an Internal Sense of Safety”
Listening to an episode of On Being on NPR, Krista Tippett interviewed a journalist on the subject of how corporations and people who do good work for the world need to ask not only, what can I give, but also, how can I stop taking so much? He mentioned that, as individuals, we need not only to want the best for our own children but also for everyone else’s children. He went on to say that this doesn’t seem to be the value system he sees in the United States at this time and his comments got me to thinking about recent studies around empathy. These studies have revealed that there appears to be a correlation between increasing wealth and lessening empathy. When I listen to the news and look at the world around me, I see rather stark expressions of this correlation. That doesn’t mean there aren’t well-off people who express empathy in powerful, positive, and important ways. Instead, it points to an invitation to all of us who live in a materially privileged society such as the U.S. to pay attention to the world around us and to find ways to support and increase our empathic awareness and choices. Read More “733rd Week: Supporting Empathy”
Even though I’ve given up my office and am now practicing psychotherapy at home on zoom, I still get into Central Park just about every day. On weekends, I go to a bench that’s under a gathering of trees and read and do writing such as this. This particular morning, as I think about our troubled world, I am also aware of the steadiness, presence, and seeming serenity of the large, towering trees around me. When I’m able to clear my mind and simply be with the trees, I find that my bodymind begins to fill with their essence of steady presence. These earth-kin, because of their size and stature, convey to me—whether this is my projection or something actually coming from the trees—a deep settling.
I also notice the boulders and large rock formations that are so much part of the park and can sense into their grounded stability, as well. Somehow, these earth-kin, along with the trees, speak to me this morning about qualities of patience and presence. In addition, the vivid greens of the trees speak to me of healing, health, well-being, and I soak those qualities in, as well.
When I’m not in the park, I can have the same kind of experience with the “trees” that live in my apartment and with all the stone people who also share my home. The three felines who are my animal companions also convey a powerful ability to totally relax and then immediately be available for play or alertness, as the situation may invite or demand.Read More “807th Week: Nurturing Well-Being with Nature”