Listening to an episode of On Being on NPR this morning, I was inspired and moved by Krista Tippett’s guests, two poets – one a Muslim man, Interfaith Visionary Eboo Patel, and the other, former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, who is also a biracial woman. Read More “Week 649:Orienting to Empathy”
There is no question that we live in stressful times and that the challenges facing humanity and the planet are of global proportions. Those of us who pay attention to science reports and environmental conditions understand the dangers we have helped to generate around environmental degradation. Those of us who pay attention to social sciences and to social movements understand that humanity is currently going through a powerful time of polarization between people who are deeply afraid of, and feel threatened by, certain “others” and people who are comfortable experiencing connection to all members of their global family.
Collectively, we are in a time of intense activation, from a trauma perspective, and one of the key antidotes to this kind of activation is finding out how to re-center, re-ground, and re-stabilize ourselves. When our brain is triggered into a threat response, we perceive through that lens and it can be very challenging to re-center and settle ourselves down. Fortunately, there is help available, as many people currently share ways to help ourselves find that place inside us that is always steady, even when we feel quite unstable.Read More “739th Week: Re-centering, Re-centering, Re-centering”
One of the things that has always made sense to me is an awareness that, at the core of us, we are whole. We may not feel all the aspects of ourselves at any given moment but, just as a kaleidoscope doesn’t reveal all the pieces of glass in any one design it creates, all the pieces are still there, even when they aren’t visible. Read More “Week 648:Finding Your Inherent Steadiness”
In times of personal and collective distress, it’s important to have ways to re-center ourselves as we move through daily life, as we hear news reports of terrible things happening to people and the planet, and as we face the ordinary challenges and stresses of everyday life. One of the things I do each morning is take time to settle myself, even if I don’t have time to meditate or do my regular attunement process. Each of us may have a different way to settle ourselves. The practice that follows organizes itself around what I think is the fundamental importance of not only having a reliable way to ground yourself but also to have a commitment to do so each day.
One of the reasons I feel it’s so important to re-center and settle ourselves each day is because of the powerful impact of collective consciousness on all of us. Read More “718th Week: Supporting Re-Centering”
Each morning, I post a “daily inspiration” on the Devadana Sanctuary Facebook page. It’s something I do 365 days a year and it’s the first computer thing I do once my morning routine of getting my own act together is accomplished along with taking care of the three felines who live with me.
On a recent morning, I opened the computer and found that none of my documents would open. I decided to restart the computer and when I did the computer simply stopped booting up. I was left with a dark screen and no way into the computer. I shut it down and gratefully went to my smaller travel computer to do the post. Later, after my regular computer had had some time to rest, I turned it on and everything was back to normal. What struck me was that my recent intention to resonate with qualities of flexibility was very much in the foreground of this experience, as I didn’t get activated or tense when my computer stopped working. Having a backup device certainly made a difference but the “old” me would have been agitated anyway.
This is a very small adaptation compared to what’s happening in people’s lives all around the planet, so I don’t present it as something that was hard to do. Rather, it brings to mind the current reality of how we are confronted with a need to adapt to change in countless ways. With the pandemic and climate change, these moments of having to be flexible and generate new options appear just about every day. They are further complicated when what unfolds generates trauma, loss, financial fears and need, food scarcity, and so much more.
In my experience, one of the characteristics of flexibility is the ability to “soften” in the presence of frustration and obstruction. One thing I want to be sure to say now, rather than later, is that being flexible and softening don’t in any way mean not to respond or take actions that may be needed. Even when we are flexible, we also maintain the ability to act in whatever ways are called for, be these personal actions or actions on behalf of others.Read More “848th Week: Cultivating Flexibility, Generating Options”
Early this morning, before the world was really up and going, I awakened to hear fire engine sirens going down Second Avenue here in New York City. As I listened, I found myself filled with gratitude for all the people who have worked to take care of the rest of us during this time of the pandemic. I thought about the firefighters on the trucks I heard outside my window. I thought of the people who collect garbage, all the workers in my apartment building who have traveled back and forth from home to work throughout the pandemic. I thought of police officers (those who serve with care), grocery workers, street cleaners, the amazing health-care workers who have given their all during this time, those people working to offer vaccines to the rest of us—the list goes on and on and on.
Without all these people, life in the city—pretty much life anywhere—would not be possible and I am filled with gratitude overflowing for their service to the rest of us. I have been safe in my apartment, working on zoom throughout the past year, and because of countless people, most of whom I will never meet, I’ve been able to have food, electricity, water, medical care if needed.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay even more attention to expressions of gratitude than you may already be doing. These expressions needn’t be out loud. The important thing is that the contributions of so many people can live in your heart and generate the internal experience of gratitude. That said, I have a tendency to thank people as I see them, which includes those I mentioned above, as well as the people who take care of Central Park so the rest of us can enjoy some time there.Read More “828th Week: Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude”