889th Week: Embracing Wholeness with Kindness
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.
One of the themes I’ve noticed in my work in recent years is an increasing emphasis on inviting clients to notice their wholeness, and on accepting the fact that our human wholeness includes aspects of ourselves that we don’t particularly like. This means acknowledging and accepting these aspects of self, recognizing that we can’t remove or eliminate parts of our human wholeness.
One metaphor I use for managing wholeness when we’re in touch with things about ourselves that we want to hide or exorcise is a rainbow. We can’t take a color out of the rainbow, even if we don’t like it. Another metaphor is the foreground/background dynamic I’ve written about a number of times, where aspects of our wholeness are sometimes in the foreground of our awareness and behavior and then sometimes in the background. Whatever moves into the foreground can be invited into the background and whatever lives in the background can be invited forward.
In addition to becoming aware of and engaging more consciously the foreground/background dynamic inherent in our wholeness, one of the practices I’ve encouraged people to engage is to imagine that they put a gentle arm around parts of themselves that they don’t like. This would include aspects of themselves that generate shame or discomfort of some other kind, ways of being that they see in themselves that they swore they would never express, responses and behaviors that embarrass them or that they dislike intensely. We can’t escape our wholeness, but we can learn to relate to this fact of being with kindness and gentleness rather than with criticism, aggression, and anger.
And so, for this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore the following guided meditation and notice what works for you and what doesn’t. Please be sure to allow and track mixed feelings, as they are inherent in our wholeness. The key is to bring awareness to them without having to do anything with them right now.Read More “889th Week: Embracing Wholeness with Kindness”
873rd Week: An “As-If” Experiment in Conscious Living: Living in A World of Reciprocal Relationships
This week’s practice invites you to consider something that may be second nature to you, or it may be a new idea that seems way out there. One of the ways I move through the world is with the assumption that everything I encounter is conscious—not in the way I am conscious as a human but in the way that is unique and appropriate for whatever it is that I encounter along the way. I guess that’s another way of saying I believe we live in a conscious universe and that it’s impossible for anything that exists to be outside that consciousness.
I also believe that I am in ongoing and inherent reciprocal relationship with all the life around me, and I wonder if you would be willing to bring that hypothesis into this as-if experiment, as well. My belief is that I affect everything I encounter and that everything I encounter affects me, that it’s impossible not to be in relationship with the consciousness of my world.
At the very least, at the most basic level of biology, everything I encounter is comprised of the same kinds of molecules as those that comprise my body. We share an ecology that arises from the same carbon-based life and, even in that most basic way, we are part of each other.
I am also a believer in collective consciousness so, for me, we share not only our common biology but also our consciousness. (You will know from this that I do not believe that the brain generates consciousness…)Read More “873rd Week: An “As-If” Experiment in Conscious Living: Living in A World of Reciprocal Relationships”
705th Week: Preparing for Change
As we know, the one thing we can depend on in life is change. What I’ve learned in my years as a psychotherapist who specializes in treating trauma is that it makes a big difference if we have time to prepare for change. When life brings unexpected changes, it’s often much more difficult to meet and adapt to those kinds of change in a relatively comfortable way. In my years of teaching Somatic Experiencing, one of the many important things I have learned is that readiness allows our nervous system to meet and move through change in ways that tend to be less traumatic compared to what we experience when something unexpected jumps into our experience. Read More “705th Week: Preparing for Change”
2021 December Audio Meditation
This month’s meditation on wholeness ends the year with touching into the fact that every living thing on the planet emits its own unique tone and quality of wholeness and that these individual contributions offer themselves to the brilliant light radiating from the wholeness of our precious earth.
If you’d like to see images with your meditation, the YouTube version is below the audio…
744th Week: Expressing Gratitude
Often as I walk through Central Park, I thank workers along the way for the help they offer in keeping the park a wonderful place to spend time. Yesterday I thanked a worker and he said, “We love this park, so we love this work.” This morning I thanked a garbage man for helping to make our city more livable. I always thank the postal carriers at both my office and at home when I see them, along with people from all the various delivery services that bring packages filled with things that make my life work. Without these people, life would be very different.
As I move through New York City, I pay attention to people whose job it is to support the rest of us, people who help make our lives easier to navigate. For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to do the same and, if you are already someone who thanks people along the way, ramp it up a bit and see how that feels. Gratitude brings its gifts not only to those we thank but to us, as well. It has the power to lift our spirits, as well as those who receive gratitude from us.
Our sense of well-being is nourished when we engage in expressing gratitude to the people around us. We are more likely to remember that we are part of a community and that, without the whole community, we wouldn’t be able to live our lives in the ways we do. This awareness of community can also remind us of the underlying interdependence that is fundamental to human existence. We depend on one another for just about every aspect of our lives and taking the time to thank people we don’t know and may never see again helps to reinforce an awareness of just how much we need one another.Read More “744th Week: Expressing Gratitude”