Sitting in Central Park this morning in my usual place, which is quite close to where dogs play together during the off-leash time, I’ve enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm they bring to chasing balls or just running around together. One small poodle came by and was so excited to be able to run that he squeaked as he went in ever widening circles around his human companions as they walked down a hill.
Something in the way this little dog gave his whole self to the activity touched something in me, bringing me a little more alive this morning. It got me to thinking about how we engage opportunities to express ourselves enthusiastically, celebrating life energy. There are times when the felines who share my home with me get into this same kind of abundant enthusiasm and one particular feline friend has a way of squeaking as she purrs when I rub her head in a certain way.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to do two things. First, notice what you experience when you take time to watch people or other earth-kin engaging in play or some other activity with unbridled enthusiasm. Pay attention to what happens in your body, the quality of your emotions, the tone of your thoughts when you do this. Then, notice how you engage pleasurable activities, things you really enjoy doing. They don’t have to be dramatic, just sources of pleasure or engagement. If you’re in a situation where you can’t actually physically engage in an activity, take some time to imagine that you are doing so. Allow yourself to experience the sensations and state of being that arise as you imagine whatever activity gives you real pleasure. Remember, the brain responds to imagined experience in just about the same way it does actual lived experience.Read More “834th Week: Engaging Enthusiasm”
For many years now, I have explored and practiced a variety of mind-body approaches. This focus in my life came naturally, as I was raised in a family that followed a health-food-oriented physician named Henry Bieler. This was many years before that was a popular idea, so my family’s ideas about how to stay healthy were different from most of the other people in my world. My grandmother was also a healer, so I was immersed in an environment where alternative options to everyday physical ailments were also available… Read More “687th Week: The Inner Smile”
It’s a holiday weekend and I spent a bit of time on Facebook this morning. Reading about the plight of immigrant families being separated at the U.S. border and all the other unfortunate developments arising in so many different ways, I found myself again wondering how to cultivate hope and hold a sense that things can be better. Then I remembered a documentary I recently watched that ended up giving me some unanticipated optimism. It’s a talk given by Jeremy Rifkin, an economic and social theorist. It’s called “The Third Industrial Revolution” and, even though it begins with examples of our dire environmental crisis, it ends on hopeful notes of what is emerging already within the awareness of millennials around the world. Even with all the challenges and misuses, the Internet has created a more directly connected experience amongst young people in many countries and that is already creating change in how they think about and treat one another.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to watch the documentary and notice what it touches in you. Your experience may be different from my own, and it may not bring a hopeful sense to you. Whatever arises when you have watched it all the way through, notice what it may prompt you to do. We are all in this together and our individual and collective actions matter. For me, having a sense of possibility, a sense that there may be solutions to what we see happening in the world today, is a great gift. I hope it is for you, too. Here’s the link to the documentary: Read More “715th Week: Cultivating Hope”
I’ve developed a practice when I walk across Central Park each morning of taking the time to thank all the various volunteers and employees I may pass along the way—people who give their time and energy to helping keep the park clean and well- tended. One recent morning, after a particularly heavy rain, Read More “Week 629: Expressing Gratitude”
Sitting in Central Park among my tree friends, I found myself asking the following question: How do I help people understand that the earth and everything on it isn’t inert, isn’t passive and lacking in consciousness? How to I offer a perspective that holds the awareness that everything is earth-kin and that everything is conscious, alive, and aware in its own ways? Many of us raised in the Western world were taught that our planet was filled with “resources”, available for our use, rather than the more indigenous-oriented position that everything on and of our earth is alive and is valued kin.
Here’s a quotation from an enchanting book, “Becoming Animal”, by David Abram that captures some of what we modern people have lost in our relationship to nature, our earth, and our earth-kin:
“Our chest, rising and falling, knows that the strange verb ‘to be’ means more simply ‘to breathe’; it knows that the maples and the birches are breathing, that the beaver pond inhales and exhales in its own way, as do the stones and the mountains and the pipes coursing water through the ground under the city. The lungs know this secret as well as any can know it: that the inward and the outward depths partake of the same mystery, that as the unseen wind swirls within us, so it also whirls all around us, bending the grasses and lofting the clouds even as it lights our own sensations. The vocal cords, stirred by that breath, vibrate like spiderwebs or telephone wires in the breeze, and the voice itself, laughing and murmuring, joins its song to the water gurgling under the grate.”Read More “805th Week: Everything is Alive, Everything is Earth-Kin”