Here’s the July 2020 Audio Meditation…
For those of you who would prefer to have images with your meditation, here’s the YouTube version…
I’ve written a number of times about a particular dog I run into in Central Park on many mornings as I walk to my office. She’s some kind of border collie and finds a great deal of delight in chasing and retrieving a Frisbee her human throws for her each morning. What she adds to her fun is to capture the attention of certain people who walk amongst trees along a small path near where she plays, and her relentless enthusiasm has caused many of us to risk being late to work to throw the Frisbee for her “just one more time.”
One morning, I walked along a different part of this particular area in the park, up a bit higher, amongst some pine trees, and I was able to watch her discover yet another person she chose to be her playmate for that morning. It was delightful to watch her enthusiasm when the woman picked up and threw the Frisbee for her. This dog’s human is always right nearby, but he has also learned that she enjoys including others in her morning ritual of play.
As I walked on across the park, I got to thinking about the many opportunities a day provides to connect with people, animals, plants, critters of every kind. Read More “710th Week: Catching Moments to Connect”
In a recent On Being broadcast on NPR, I heard a story about Howard Thurman’s grandmother. Howard Thurman was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement and was an influential theologian. He was a mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King and also one of the principle architects of nonviolent protests. His grandmother was a former slave who owned land in an area where there were also white people.
Apparently, Thurman’s grandmother had a neighbor, a white woman who apparently was unkind to all in her neighborhood and not just to Thurman’s grandmother. At one point, the neighbor began to gather chicken droppings from her chicken coop on a regular basis and dump them on the garden of Thurman’s grandmother. Rather than retaliate, his grandmother turned the chicken droppings into the soil each time they arrived. In time, her garden flourished because of all the natural fertilizer in the chicken droppings.
The neighbor woman eventually became quite ill and, because of her way of relating to people, no one was willing to visit her or help her. One day, Thurman’s grandmother went to visit the woman, taking her a large bouquet of flowers. The woman was surprised and delighted to receive the flowers and commented on how beautiful they were. Thurman’s grandmother said in response that the flowers were so beautiful because of all the neighbor’s contributions of fertilizer to her garden.Read More “814th Week: Being Kind Doesn’t Mean You Have to Agree”
Even though I’ve given up my office and am now practicing psychotherapy at home on zoom, I still get into Central Park just about every day. On weekends, I go to a bench that’s under a gathering of trees and read and do writing such as this. This particular morning, as I think about our troubled world, I am also aware of the steadiness, presence, and seeming serenity of the large, towering trees around me. When I’m able to clear my mind and simply be with the trees, I find that my bodymind begins to fill with their essence of steady presence. These earth-kin, because of their size and stature, convey to me—whether this is my projection or something actually coming from the trees—a deep settling.
I also notice the boulders and large rock formations that are so much part of the park and can sense into their grounded stability, as well. Somehow, these earth-kin, along with the trees, speak to me this morning about qualities of patience and presence. In addition, the vivid greens of the trees speak to me of healing, health, well-being, and I soak those qualities in, as well.
When I’m not in the park, I can have the same kind of experience with the “trees” that live in my apartment and with all the stone people who also share my home. The three felines who are my animal companions also convey a powerful ability to totally relax and then immediately be available for play or alertness, as the situation may invite or demand.Read More “807th Week: Nurturing Well-Being with Nature”
One of the themes I’ve explored and lived with over many years now is my experience of the importance of acknowledging and honoring all aspects of our wholeness. I’ve also been keenly aware of the fact that life on this planet thrives most efficiently within communities, ecologies of diversity. We know from science that natural environments thrive most dynamically when they contain a wide diversity of life forms, working together as a complex community. I think it’s the same with our own, individual selves. Our wholeness contains and expresses the unique diversity of characteristics, talents, challenges, qualities, expressions that each of us embodies. Through our unique wholeness, we contribute to the “ecology of life” within which we live.
Over the years, I have also found myself orienting to an experience of “being lived” by life. My sense has been, and continues to be, that each of us—whether human or some other-than-human, more-than-human earth-kin being—represents an opportunity for life to have a unique experience within and through each of us. Our unique wholeness offers life the opportunity for diverse experiences and expressions, honoring this planet’s seeming preference for diversity.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore the following guided meditation and see how it feels for you to imagine “being lived” by the life that expresses itself within and through everything on this planet, as well as acknowledging, honoring, and embracing the wholeness within you, leaving nothing out. It’s your wholeness that makes you unique in all the world and it’s your wholeness that allows you to contribute to the diversity that our human family offers to the planet’s ecology.Read More “904th Week: Self-Acceptance and Wholeness“