In my work as a trauma specialist, I have touched into many approaches that help to re-center ourselves when we feel activated, as well as to heal unresolved trauma. During this time in our history, when so many people across the planet are frightened, angry, overwhelmed, and feeling stressed in so many ways, working with processes that support re-centering feels more important than ever.
Back in the early ‘80’s, when I went through a year-long training in hypnosis, I began to develop ways to work with “parts of the self” that seemed to help people calm themselves, to work through deep fears and then, ultimately, to resolve trauma and dissociation. Read More “686th Week: Working with Parts to Support Re-centering”
Sitting in Central Park one weekend morning, a morning that was cloudy and quiet in the park, I felt a deep sense of peace radiating from all the trees around me. The quality of the trees and the environment they evoked reminded me of the Japanese practice of “forest bathing”, where people go amongst trees to soak in the healing that naturally emerges.
Attuning to the peaceful quality of the trees is, for me, similar to tuning in to a particular radio station, television channel, or on-line program. It reminded me, yet again, of the importance and power of mindful awareness, of being able to choose where I focus my attention… Read More “692nd Week: Resonating with the Essence of Peace”
A friend of mine has been pretty consistently putting posts on Facebook that ask people to focus on what they are forrather than what they are against. These posts have been very helpful in reminding all of us that what we feed grows and that, when we spend our internal time fighting against something, we actually feed the very thing to which we object. From an energy perspective, it’s as though we’re actually turning up the volume on things we’d rather not hear at all.
One example that comes to mind at this time is the pervasive presence of expressions of lack of empathy for each other. Decisions by some lawmakers, treatment of neighbors by other neighbors, seeming lack of concern for one another’s well-being if we aren’t “part of the tribe” are found on every side these days. Rather than spending time expressing helpless rage at these conditions, I want to invite us to explore some alternatives.
First, there are approaches that convey the message, “What you fight, you feed.” This doesn’t mean not to take action when action is needed to change things or to intervene. Instead, it speaks to the habits of mind and self-talk we carry around with us internally every day, all day. From a Solution-Focused perspective (solution-focused therapy is a more modern branch of psychology), we are invited to look at, and to look for, what’s going right. For our practice here, I would add that we can ask ourselves to pay attention to the qualities we would like to see expressed more generously in ourselves and in the world around us.Read More “787th Week: Orienting to Solution-Focused Awareness and Helpful Archetypes”
I’ve written many times about the importance of teaching ourselves to have access to the inherent intelligence and perception of the heart. The heart brain automatically orients to a sense of connection and it is deeply enriching to move through daily life from this perspective. That said, when one seeks to be in the world with an open heart, it is also possible to more keenly feel the pain and suffering of others, be they other humans, other species, our planet, Gaia, a living being.
I have long had, and constantly recommend, a practice of starting the day taking in something inspiring, rather than beginning the day watching or listening to the news. In the current political and social climate, I notice that my heart needs to fill up with even more inspiring stories of people helping people, people working to protect the environment, people doing acts that embody kindness, empathy, and awareness of the suffering of others. The lack of empathy in our current leadership in the United States is a powerful source of anguish, and one of the ways I’m able to keep my heart open and my awareness willing to take in what is happening to us collectively is to offer myself these daily moments of inspiration and good news. I remind myself regularly that, within a context of wholeness, there is always good happening if I will take the time to look for it. Read More “736th Week: Sources of Inspiration and Information”
Listening to a report on poverty on NPR this morning got me to thinking more deeply about the difference between compassion and empathy. The report included research on the impact of compassion and empathy in the presence of suffering. Read More “Week 646: Compassion and Empathy”