As I write this practice, I’m sitting in Central Park on a Sunday morning, having some quiet time to write, to soak in the sounds of birds, insects, hawks, dogs, and people. It’s a place I come to each weekend morning when weather and schedule permit. What comes to mind this morning is that I bring my iPad so I can write. I bring my container of coffee. I bring the muffin I buy along the way. I carry everything in my backpack, including my phone and earbud connections.
As I think of all these things that are part of my weekend morning routine, I also begin to think about the many people and resources that went into making this moment possible, people I will never know and yet without whom I wouldn’t have all the things with me that I want to bring along on these quiet, meditative morning journeys. Read More “725th Week: Noticing Relationship and Gratitude”
When I actively taught Somatic Experiencing, one of the themes that I passed along from my first SE teacher and good friend, Diane Poole Heller, was the distinction between expressions of “power over” and those of “mutual empowerment.” Diane embodies and expresses mutual empowerment in her relationships with the people around her and her influence and modeling have had a powerful impact on me. The distinction between power over (where there are only two options—you’re on the top or you’re on the bottom) and mutual empowerment (where no one has to lose power in order for things to work out) has stayed with me as an active intention to support mutual empowerment in every way I can. I have lived that not only as a teacher but also as a mentor. When people talk about the “new Earth” that needs to arise from the breakdown of the old institutions that are now being challenged around the world, what comes to mind for me is a fundamental shift from power-over styles of leadership and dominance, including our relationship with the planet and all our human and other-than-human earth-kin, to styles that embody and express mutual empowerment within every aspect of our lives.
A key thing about mutual empowerment is that it has, as its foundation, the belief and experience that your having power doesn’t automatically take away from anyone else and their having power doesn’t automatically take away from you. A stance of mutual empowerment tends to naturally engender respect, as well as wishes for others to have as much success, happiness, satisfaction—whatever—as is possible for them.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay attention to those times when you encounter people or situations that express “power-over” dynamics and those where you see, or experience, styles of “mutual empowerment”. Also notice these dynamics in yourself so that if you have slipped into a power-over style of interaction you’ll be able to choose whether you want to continue in that mode or if you want to experiment with shifting into a mutual-empowerment style.Read More “872nd Week: Noticing Mutual-Empowerment and Power-Over Dynamics “
A colleague and I were talking about the polarization currently expressing in human communities all around the world. I mentioned that I have a practice of sending universal love to people who are caught up in the kinds of fears that generate aggression, harsh laws, nationalism, and other similar responses. As we continued to talk, I also mentioned something that I learned in a class with David Spangler: When we find ourselves encountering energy or behavior that we experience as negative or threatening, remember to generate a frequency that is inhospitable to that energy or quality of being.
In my experience, the most positive frequency or quality of energy is universal love. Every spiritual tradition I’ve explored speaks to the power of universal love, that it is the most essential healing energy in the universe. Because of this, I’d like to offer a practice this time that orients to offering the essence, the frequency, the light of Universal Love to our beautiful planet and all beings on it. In this practice, not only do we imagine Universal Love pouring into our precious planet but remembering that this energy naturally conveys blessings and healing. Gaia, Earth’s intelligence, then decides where healing is needed most.
For many people, doing this kind of practice means imagining the light of Universal Love, usually a white or golden light, but see what color comes to you, flowing into the body perhaps through the back of your heart, filling your entire heart space, and then out through your heart to the planet. For this practice, I invite you to imagine a place on the Earth that you experience as a sacred place. It may be a mountain, a lake, a forest, or some other natural setting that calls to you. Hold in your awareness that this sacred place accesses the intelligence of Gaia, of our Earth, and that Gaia receives the healing energy and will distribute it as needed most.
In addition, and I offer this only as an additional suggestion, I also hold the thought that all humans on the planet who suffer from fear, and who act in violent, repressive, and/or aggressive ways, even when they don’t realize that it’s fear that drives them, will also receive an inflow of universal love, along with the blessings and healing that this powerful energy automatically conveys. I don’t qualify the blessings or healing in any way, other than to hold the thought that these people can be healed from the grip of the kind of fear that leads to hatred and division.Read More “915th Week: A Practice in Sending Universal Love”
Sitting in Central Park on an absolutely beautiful morning, I find myself focusing on a daily practice I’ve taken up since the political situation in the United States became so contentious. I’d like to share it here, in case you, too, would like to engage a way to contribute each day to whatever healing may be possible for all of us.
Because of my history of growing up in a multidimensional reality, where my grandmother was a healer and collaborated actively with the “unseen world”, I have been deeply grateful to have been able to engage in what is called subtle activism. For some people, this means a practice of prayer and/or meditation. For others, it’s a practice of imagining positive energies and outcomes, offering healing energy to situations of trauma and distress, and more.
The practice I’ve taken on as a serious daily aspect of my spiritual life is to imagine the essence of universal love flowing onto the planet and into every living being, offering whatever healing and inspiration may be available. I also imagine this universal force as flowing into our human collective consciousness, touching our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with the healing essence of love. My underlying intention is to support “the greatest good for the greatest number”. This intention allows me to be fully engaged without having to figure out how we will get to an outcome that serves the greatest good for the greatest number.
What appeals to me about imagining universal love touching and filling everything and everyone is that this force doesn’t come with any belief system. Every spiritual approach I’ve encountered has identified love as the most healing force in the universe and it comes with an open neutrality, content-wise, that appeals to me. One doesn’t have to believe anything in particular to have the healing benefits of universal love. One doesn’t have to do anything at all in order to receive love—it holds no prejudice, it expresses absolutely no separateness or tribalism.Read More “817th Week: The Healing Power of Love”
As I write this, I’m sitting in Central Park, as I often do on weekend mornings, attuning to the trees that have become my companions. I notice that I am resonating with their steady, still presence and that their steadiness and stillness, even their expression of presence, is moving into my body-mind experience. As I sit here, I absorb the qualities I experience in them and I find that access to the steadiness and stillness in me is enhanced by their presence. Central Park has been, and continues to be, one of the most important gifts in my life for over 35 years now, and my gratitude for having access to the natural life of the park is boundless.
This got me to thinking about how powerful it is to spend time in nature and to absorb the qualities that may not be easily accessible in urban life. When I look at the large rock outcropping off to my right, I think of its solidity, its constancy, its steady presence. When I hear the sound of the locusts that populate the park at this time of the year, I think of the freedom to express. When I think of one of the small waterfalls up in the northern section of the park, I am touched by a sense of flow. These are all projections, perhaps, and yet they offer me an experience that I find both strengthening and nourishing.Read More “762nd Week: Accessing and Nurturing Qualities from Nature”