813th Week: Cultivating an Internal Sense of Safety
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”
683rd Week: More Foreground/Background Dynamics: Finding Home Base
Recently, I talked about finding a deep experience of peace as I sat in Central Park, and how I could stay with that inner sense of quiet even as children, dogs, birds, all kinds of people came and went in the area where I sat. It was fundamentally an experience of playing with foreground/background dynamics: I chose to have the sensations of peace stay in the foreground of my awareness as the sounds of activity came and went in the background.
Playing with foreground/background dynamics is its own kind of mindfulness practice… Read More “683rd Week: More Foreground/Background Dynamics: Finding Home Base”
882nd Week: Resonating with Gratitude – A Practice in Frequencies
Whenever I have to go to a doctor or any other kind of practitioner, I spend time resonating with gratitude around the fact that they can do something for me that I can’t do for myself. I started this practice many years ago and find that it makes even challenging medical and dental visits easier to move through.
When I think of resonating with a specific frequency, it reminds me of putting on particular clothing appropriate to what I’ll be doing. For me, frequencies are “energy garments” which we take on and these energies affect both our own perceptions and responses as well as the environments we enter. They “set a tone” that then supports a particular quality of experience.
This has gotten me to thinking about the effects of resonating with the frequency of gratitude. With my background in working with trauma resolution and my understanding of somatic aspects of healing, I find myself wondering if the frequency of gratitude generates a quality that conveys to the body that there’s no threat, that all is well, that there’s nothing to struggle against.
What I want to offer in this practice is an opportunity for you to experiment with the effects of resonating with gratitude in a variety of situations, especially in those where you are dependent on some kind of practitioner to offer healing opportunities that you can’t offer to yourself. You can also explore your experience when you attune to gratitude before entering a store, a business, an educational setting—anyplace. I often attune to gratitude when I come into Central Park, where I am now as I write this practice. I am deeply grateful to the Spirit of Central Park for all that it offers to so many of us in this crowded urban setting.Read More “882nd Week: Resonating with Gratitude – A Practice in Frequencies”
776th Week: Programming Ourselves for More Gentle Self-Talk
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”
782nd Week: This Breath, This Moment
I ended last week’s practice with a suggestion to come back to the present moment and to this current breath as a way to manage some of the stress of this time in our collective lives.
One of the practices that I used to teach in the Somatic Experiencing® trainings was to invite people to notice how they “add fuel to the bonfires of activation”. Many of us have grown up in cultures that don’t focus on tracking how we allow our thinking to drag us hither and yon, an experience that generates enormous amounts of suffering. In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be able to notice when we increase our suffering by allowing our fear-generated thoughts to dominate our attention and experience.
One of the practices that can be difficult but is powerfully important is to hold the intention to come back to the present moment, to the breath you’re taking right now, and to focus awareness on this breath, on this moment. In terms of self-talk, one of the things that’s helpful to say while doing this practice is something along the lines of, “In this moment, right here and right now, I’m okay enough.”Read More “782nd Week: This Breath, This Moment”
7l7th Week: Thinking with Your Heart
Sitting in Central Park listening to early morning birdsong, surrounded by the gift of lush green and inhaling the fragrance of Locust trees laden with their summer flowers, I find myself soaking it all in with a grateful heart. With so much strife and suffering in the world, these quiet moments with nature represent a powerful gift, a time of restoration and deep nourishment.
As I sit here, my thoughts turn to a conversation I had recently with a group of colleagues. We were talking about practices that enhance a focus on heart intelligence and heart perception, and how different a heart-based orientation is when compared to experiencing the world primarily through a head, or brain-based, orientation. Read More “7l7th Week: Thinking with Your Heart”