835th Week: Finding Sources of Nourishment
As I sit in the park this morning, surrounded by large trees, I am keenly aware of what is a deep “relief of return”. Each year when the trees again wear their garments of green, my body and psyche go through the same kind of relief—almost a physical “sigh” as I settle into the visual and physical feast of taking in the green. The challenge is to remember to give myself this gift as often as I can.
This gets me to thinking, yet again, about sources of nourishment and how important it is to take time to nourish ourselves, body and psyche. Sources of nourishment are quite individual. For example, some people I’m close to are nourished by engaging in creative activities such as acting, singing, or crafts (severely curtailed during Covid but still happening on-line). Others have created regular zoom gatherings with friends, finding ways to keep up to date with each other and share experiences. Still others find ways to go hiking as often as possible, immersing themselves in the presence of nature as they exercise.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to bring to mind your most treasured source of nourishment and then to see how you might offer it to yourself a bit more often. For me, it means getting up early enough to be in the park before it’s crowded with all the people that flock here later in the morning and throughout the day, picnicking, exercising, walking, sitting—enjoying the park in a wide variety of ways.Read More “”
Note: At the bottom of this written practice there is a recording of it, if you would prefer to listen. In the practices that contain a guided meditation, please remember never to listen to these recorded meditations when driving or working with dangerous machinery.
As I sit in Central Park, one of the great gifts of this time is that I can soak in the steady and quiet presence of the large trees that surround me. Above and beyond the beneficial chemicals that the trees naturally emit, and above and beyond the oxygen they offer in the process of their own respiration, there is also the radiating quality of their steady stature and strength. Even though I’m sure that I project onto and into them qualities I imagine or need, I sense that the presence and qualities they exude are not all from my imagination. What I feel in my body is a deep response to the gifts offered by the trees, which include the physical and emotional nourishment I receive from the time spent with them.
This got me to thinking about all the different aspects of nature that we encounter all the time if we are lucky enough to either live in the country or to be able to spend time outdoors in parks, near lakes, the ocean, and more if we live in an urban setting. Because I live in New York City, Central Park has been an important resource for me, a place I can go and soak in the gifts of nature’s qualities. There are other parks, as well, and all of them offer gifts of healthy nourishment and well-being to those of us who are urban dwellers.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to become even more aware of the aspects of nature that support your sense of steadiness, grounding, upliftment, well-being, contentment, and more. For example, there may be boulders or other stone people in your immediate environment, perhaps in your backyard if you have a yard with your home. As you lean on them, or look at them, notice their steady presence, notice what it’s like soak in their solidity, their strength. Or, there may be birds and you find that you can imagine being one of them, flying over the landscape. Notice what you experience in your body as you do this. There may be bodies of water where you can find inspiration and where you may even be able to swim, kayak, or in other ways engage the water directly. You can even connect with clouds or with the wind currents that flow around the planet, imagining that you have that freedom of movement and then noticing what happens in your body.Read More “888th Week: Drawing on Nature’s Presence”
As I write this practice, those of us in the US are in the midst of an election process that generally moves along smoothly. Many of us have voted early, many by mail, and because of Covid many by absentee ballots. Because of the mail and absentee ballots, including those that always come from our neighbors in the military, the vote count is taking its natural time to allow for tabulation of each and every vote. People on every side of every issue feel the stress of wondering what the final outcome of a number of races will be.
One of the practices that I have cultivated over the last four years has been to strengthen both my access to, and experience of, the inherent steadiness that lives in the core of my body-mind being. It’s a steadiness that lives in the core of everyone, although often not easily recognized by Western culture, which hasn’t historically emphasized an embodied way of being.
For this week, I invite you to follow the practice below to both access a deeper awareness of the steadiness in you but also to invite yourself to radiate this steadiness into our collective consciousness and into your immediate environment. It’s important to keep in mind that the steadiness to which I refer in this practice is an aspect of your being that cannot be disturbed. It is not affected by the ups and downs of everyday life nor is it rattled or upset by what unfolds in the world around you. It is an aspect of the fundamental core of your being and, if you follow any spiritual practices, represents that aspect of you that arises from your Source, whatever you imagine that to be.Read More “815th Week: Radiating Steadiness”
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”