With the impact of the Delta variant of the Covid 19 pandemic, with suffering from effects of climate change all around the globe, and the intensity of the political polarization that affects much of our global population, it seems more important than ever to have available a practice that allows us to return to the steadiness that is always present in the core of our being, in our internal home base. Many times a day, I bring myself back to this awareness, when I find myself drifting into lines of thinking that either fuel activation or intensify feelings of helplessness in the face of all that is happening.
We know from work with trauma that cultivating the “noticing brain”—which is our present-day observer awareness—calms activation and helps the body and psyche to settle. “Noticing” is a lot different from “thinking”. It represents simply becoming aware of what is happening—what’s arising in this moment in our physical experience, our emotions, and our thoughts. Once we are aware, we have more choice. We can consciously choose to seek out sensations of settling, of steadiness—of whatever the qualities are that help us to center and ground ourselves.
For this week’s practice, I offer a brief approach that supports a return to steadiness and ease when you feel overwhelmed or captured by what’s going on in the world around you. As with all practices, play with this one so that it suits your sensibilities and style of settling. What follows are suggestions for how the process might unfold for you. You can do this standing, sitting, or lying down.Read More “843rd Week: Returning to Home Base, Cultivating ”Noticing””
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”
One of the things that has been very much on my mind these days is an awareness of the stunning lack of empathy expressed by public figures, particularly in the political realm. What feels so impacting is that this apparent lack of empathy resonates with so many people around the world, as reflected in news reports about the many ways in which we harm one another. Read More “670th Week: Generating Empathy”
Walking through Central Park one morning, my usual, meditative state of mind—which emerges naturally when I walk through areas of trees—focused on a small act of kindness that someone had recently done for me. I touched back into the quality of friendliness the person seemed to radiate and I realized that the actual act of kindness offered was only part of what made the interaction meaningful. The other part was the quality of who this person is in the world, and that felt like the most important aspect of the experience.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with an acquaintance one afternoon in Starbuck’s, where she began to speak apologetically about how she didn’t feel like she ever did anything really important or meaningful in her life… Read More “680th Week: What We Radiate Into the World”
I just watched a Netflix video of Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia. I always enjoy Trevor’s humor, as it touches into cultural and racial issues that may be hard to talk about in other contexts. In this particular comedy routine, he spends a good bit of time around how he feels when people call him the “N” word. Apparently, in his mother’s language, this particular word, or the sound of it, means “to give”, so it can bring a warm feeling to him when people shout it at him.
As I watched this video, it got me to thinking about how violent some words can be and how we might respond to these words without adding to the violent energy behind them. Read More “734th Week: Meeting Violent Communication with Love”