Walking in Central Park this morning, I came across a Springer spaniel who was having the time of her life. I watched her run full tilt here and there, sometimes chasing a squirrel, sometimes a bird, but mostly just running full out. Every so often, she would orient to her human companions and then take off again. It was clear that she was experiencing complete delight and I noticed that my body resonated with her and also filled up with a sense of freedom and delight. I wish I had a video of her to share, as it was one of the most exuberant expressions of pure enjoyment I’ve seen in a long time.
Noticing how energized, enlivened, and filled up my body and psyche felt as I watched this sweet earth-kin enjoy herself, the experience got me to thinking about how important this kind of nourishment is for the well-being of our entire body-mind being. I often feel delight when watching the three felines who live with me, as they engage in their own forms of play and discovery. I also touch into this experience at times when watching animal videos on Facebook.Read More “914th Week: Discovering Moments of Delight”
One of the things I often share with others, and have no doubt written about in these practices a number of times, is how our ongoing flow of self-talk is a form of self-hypnosis. We program ourselves with our self-talk and it’s worthwhile to notice how it affects, if not shapes, the quality of our internal lives.
This week, I want to take a particular orientation to tracking and engaging self-talk. Because our self-talk so deeply reflects our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us, for this week’s practice I would like to focus on the impact of self-talk that focuses on kindness. And, in the same way, to invite you to notice the quality of your internal experience when your self-talk focuses on unkind statements about yourself and/or others.
For most of us, the flow of self-talk is automatic and pretty much unceasing. It moves along on the stream of consciousness that constantly flows by and, even though we may not pay particular attention to it, this flow of self-talk affects the quality of our body-mind being from moment to moment.
And so, for this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to track your self-talk around the theme of kindness. Notice when you become aware of thinking unkindly about yourself or someone else. Have you noticed that we will sometimes talk to ourselves in ways we would never think of doing with someone else? That’s a key self-talk habit to change, by gently refusing to talk to yourself in ways you wouldn’t talk to someone else. In addition, I invite you to notice what happens when you talk to yourself gently, with kindness and comfort or encouragement. If what you say doesn’t feel authentic at first, that’s normal. Keep it up and notice over time how, when your heart becomes involved, you discover that you actually care about how you treat yourself.Read More “894th Week: Self-Talk and Your Worldview”
Returning to what we explored earlier this year, notice any change in your experience over this time of recognizing the living presence of relationships, collaborative communities, that are everywhere in your life and that your radiating presence touches everyone and everything you encounter along the way.
Bring to mind all the many people and life forms who work behind the scenes of your everyday experience to make your life possible; think of farmers and what they produce to contribute to what you eat and enjoy; imagine all the people who make and repair farm equipment; imagine the people who participate in communities that bring you electricity, water, garbage pickup, mail and packages; imagine all the people who contribute in any way to items you use as part of your daily life, including gadgets, household items, clothing, and more; each time you do this meditation, think of more people who are part of this community, people with whom you are in relationship even when you don’t recognize it; offer gratitude and blessings to all of them—acknowledging that without them your life would be very different. Notice your experience in your heart space as you do this.
Please remember never to listen to guided audio meditations while driving or using dangerous machinery.
Here’s the YouTube version if you’d like to see images of nature as you listen:
Given the tone of some of the political discourse these days, it seems worthwhile to revisit the importance of kindness as one of the primary qualities we can choose to express in our day-to-day interactions with other people. Read More “Week 626: Return to Kindness”
A while back, I listened to a book by Merlin Sheldrake, called “Entangled Life”. Sheldrake is a specialist in fungi and the book is an inspiring journey through all things fungal. He shares stories about how fungi participate in the “wood-wide web”, creating mycelial networks in collaboration with tree roots to support communication and access to nourishment under forest floors. He also describes the creative and truly inspiring research and development that are happening that use fungi to generate building materials and countless other products used by humans.
Listening to the book reminded me how important it is to find sources of inspiration that support an awareness that there is a much bigger picture unfolding than the one our daily lives encompasses. Given our current range of local and global crises, it can be challenging to access inspiration, possibility, and an awareness of potential creative solutions to so many problems we humans have generated and now must solve.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to take a bit of time each day to orient your awareness to something that moves, enlivens, inspires, or fills you up in a positive way that I don’t know how to put into words for you. It may be something as simple as looking out the window and seeing a bird on a tree branch, as I just did. I’m on vacation out of the city and it was inspiring to see this bird standing on a branch in a beam of sunlight. It may be that you are reading a book that touches your heart and that reading just a few lines is a way to begin a new day with a sense of possibility, or with the feeling of a deeper connection in a way that nourishes you.Read More “838th Week: Finding Inspiration in Troubling Times”
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”