I’m in the process of putting together my next webinar for professionals and I find myself orienting to the subject of belonging, to the importance of feeling that we belong to something more than our individual selves. One of the practices I’ve followed for a while now is an adaptation of one that comes from David Spangler, the founder of Incarnational Spirituality and Lorian.org. The practice is called “heightening” and it focuses on offering acknowledgment and appreciation to the world around us.
Above and beyond being a practice derived from a spiritual approach, there is something deeply practical about actively acknowledging and appreciating ourselves and all that we encounter in the environment around us. From a psychological perspective, it is deeply important that we feel ourselves to be part of something bigger than our individual selves and that we find our connection to that “something more” that adds meaning to our lives.
Imagine a time when someone looked at you with delight in their eyes, a smile on their face, and expressed their pleasure in seeing you. You may have noticed that you suddenly felt more alive, more energized, as though all the lights inside you suddenly lit up. What if you noticed that the lifeforms and objects around you are made of the same “stuff” as you and are all alive in their own particular ways? If that’s an idea that’s too far out for your taste, then stick with what you consider to be living beings—plants, animals, insects, all the lifeforms in nature. For me, I consider everything alive in a certain way because all of us on this planet are made up of the same kinds of particles that we think of as comprising life as we know it. And, in my world view, everything is conscious and aware, although in a wide variety of ways.Read More “837th Week: A Practice of Acknowledgement and Appreciation”
There is a Japanese philosophy called “wabi sabi”, which is about accepting and embracing that which is imperfect or flawed. Most of you have probably seen kintsugi pottery, where gold is used to fill cracks that appear in a piece of pottery—a bowl, cup, vase. One person who wrote about this said that kintsugi is how one can acknowledge the fact that the pottery object earned those cracks through the process of living and that filling the cracks with gold honors the fact of that experience.
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 “”
One of the great gifts of my life is my relationship with gratitude. As I move through New York City, and most especially in Central Park each morning, I find myself full of gratitude much of the time. Each morning, I fill up with it as I encounter the beautiful trees, birds, and other animals, rock outcroppings, and plants I pass by on the way to my office. Also, when I’m out and about on the busy streets of New York, I find myself feeling gratitude for the fact that such a diverse array of people manages to move through this city with relative grace and I’m always moved to hear so many languages spoken as I walk from here to there.
One of the companions of gratitude has become, for me, another of the great gifts to my life—the ability to offer blessings as I move through the world… Read More “688th Week: The Dynamic Impact of Blessing”