In our world at this time, the Internet allows us to see more vividly the impact and effects of how we aren’t figuring out how to be in a world that thrives on diversity. This is an unfortunate response that encounters disagreements about worldview and beliefs and turns them into a response that views people with whom we disagree as “other”. Because of my belief in, and experience of, a fundamental oneness underlying reality, it isn’t really possible to have anyone or anything be an “other”. Everything and everyone are kin within a context of oneness, or what Thich Nhat Hanh and Charles Eisenstein call “interbeing”.
What I’d like to offer this week is a practice that supports a sense of connection with everything around us. Deepening this sense of connection can have an impact on how we perceive and respond to the world and may serve to support more constructive responses when we are confronted by people or situations with which we disagree.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t many times when we come up against situations that need to be changed. This isn’t a call not to act on our own behalf and that of others. Instead, it’s an invitation to remember that, even when we may vehemently disagree with what someone is doing, or with a situation that is untenable, we still remember that we are all connected within a fabric of life that weaves us together as kin. And, our kin are comprised of every kind of life form we encounter along the way, not just human beings.Read More “774th Week: The Space that Connects”
I write this practice on the first weekend of the new year. The year just passed brought many challenges, not the least of which has been our global, collective experience with Covid 19. Other challenges arose, as well, bringing with them an inescapable awareness of cultural beliefs and norms that need to be updated, changed, eliminated, or transformed depending on what they represent and what they support in our social consciousness and behavior.
I’ve also been thinking about the intersection between deeply held intentions and what has been called the “quantum foam”—the arena in which an infinite array of probabilities may be found. In quantum research and theory, it has become apparent that probabilities dance in and out of reality all the time, responding in part to the “observer effect”. For me, this equates with how our deep choices interact outside our conscious awareness with the emergence of particular probabilities and I find this a much more dynamic and creative idea than our usual “New Year’s resolutions” type of activity.Read More “823rd Week: Beginnings, Intentions, Probabilities”
Walking through Central Park one morning, as I do every morning on my way to work, I went in amongst the trees – something I also do every day. I’m often in the same areas where off-leash dogs run and play, so I’m used to having dogs appear seemingly out of nowhere as they explore their very large playground.
When I first began to commute across the park, some 20 years ago now, my body had to unlearn some early programing that constantly caused me to experience a startle response when a dog would either come toward me or suddenly show up behind or near me. This response came from grammar school experiences of being chased by a neighborhood dog where I was not at all amused, as were the boys who encouraged the dog to chase me.
On this particular morning, my attention was with the trees, as it usually is when I walk in certain areas of the park, and I suddenly felt something nip at the heel of my shoe… Read More “676th Week: Healing Happens”
In a recent article entitled, “Your Brain Has a Delete Button—Here’s How to Use It”, the authors, Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane, talk about research that’s been done on the presence and function of the brain’s “microglial” cells that are the “gardeners of the brain”. These cells prune and remove synapses while we sleep. Most importantly, they remove those synapses we don’t use very much. In fact, the brain marks the unused synapses with a protein that signals the microglial cells to go ahead and prune them.
Because all self-talk is self-hypnosis, and because where we focus our thinking activates the synapses related to these thoughts, it behooves us to be mindful about where we’re spending our internal self-talk time. One example in the article is this:
“If you’re in a fight with someone at work and devote your time to thinking about how to get even with them, and not about that big project, you’re going to wind up a synaptic superstar at revenge plots but a poor innovator.”
They go on to say:
“To take advantage of your brain’s natural gardening system, simply think about the things that are important to you. Your gardeners will strengthen those connections and prune the ones that you care about less. It’s how you help the garden of your brain flower.”Read More “768th Week: More Reasons Why Tracking Your Self-Talk is So Important”
When I actively taught Somatic Experiencing, one of the themes that I passed along from my first SE teacher and good friend, Diane Poole Heller, was the distinction between expressions of “power over” and those of “mutual empowerment.” Diane embodies and expresses mutual empowerment in her relationships with the people around her and her influence and modeling have had a powerful impact on me. The distinction between power over (where there are only two options—you’re on the top or you’re on the bottom) and mutual empowerment (where no one has to lose power in order for things to work out) has stayed with me as an active intention to support mutual empowerment in every way I can. I have lived that not only as a teacher but also as a mentor. When people talk about the “new Earth” that needs to arise from the breakdown of the old institutions that are now being challenged around the world, what comes to mind for me is a fundamental shift from power-over styles of leadership and dominance, including our relationship with the planet and all our human and other-than-human earth-kin, to styles that embody and express mutual empowerment within every aspect of our lives.
A key thing about mutual empowerment is that it has, as its foundation, the belief and experience that your having power doesn’t automatically take away from anyone else and their having power doesn’t automatically take away from you. A stance of mutual empowerment tends to naturally engender respect, as well as wishes for others to have as much success, happiness, satisfaction—whatever—as is possible for them.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay attention to those times when you encounter people or situations that express “power-over” dynamics and those where you see, or experience, styles of “mutual empowerment”. Also notice these dynamics in yourself so that if you have slipped into a power-over style of interaction you’ll be able to choose whether you want to continue in that mode or if you want to experiment with shifting into a mutual-empowerment style.Read More “872nd Week: Noticing Mutual-Empowerment and Power-Over Dynamics “