We know that different languages generate different world views, different ways of experiencing the world around us, and different expectations of what we can expect from our world. Several times now, I’ve run across the writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer and each time I experience her worldview I am deeply moved. She is a botanist who is also has a Potawatomi heritage and a perspective that is much more inclusive and honoring of our planet and our global family of relations with whom we share this home.
I’ve written before about Robin’s very wise and powerful sharing of the need for pronouns that are inclusive of all the life on this beautiful home we share with so many other beings. Read More “721st Week: Grammar Shapes Our Worldview”
When the world is so filled with suffering and chaos, we can sometimes feel not only overwhelmed but pushed into collapse and fatigue because of how helpless we may feel. One of the practices I’ve been doing for quite a while that now has a name is “subtle activism”. Subtle activism involves activities such as prayer, blessing, sending healing thoughts, intentions, and images, radiating gratitude and other life-affirming qualities into the world. Subtle activism involves anything we do with our imagination and our heart-felt emotions that orients to wholeness, healing, easing of suffering, and fundamental well-being.
One of the qualities that many people believe is healing in and of itself is love—love for life, love for the planet, love for all beings—however that may express in any of us, along with a recognition that everything we encounter anywhere in life arises from the same sacred source as we do. Here are some thoughts that others have had about subtle activism, love, and the importance of the recognition of the underlying sacred in everything:Read More “763rd Week: Subtle Activism—Practices We Can Do When We’re Overwhelmed”
I’ve developed a practice when I walk across Central Park each morning of taking the time to thank all the various volunteers and employees I may pass along the way—people who give their time and energy to helping keep the park clean and well- tended. One recent morning, after a particularly heavy rain, Read More “Week 629: Expressing Gratitude”
One of the things that most of us find challenging is to manage uncertainty. It’s a natural response to be uncomfortable with not knowing what’s going to happen next or where we are headed, individually and collectively. For some people, finding conspiracy theories offers an experience of “knowing what’s going on” that calms the discomfort most of us feel around uncertainly. For others, anxiety becomes a constant companion and they have difficulty truly soothing themselves. For yet others, becoming numb and shutting down is their natural response to constant and mounting uncertainty.
Also, I want to affirm that having a response to uncertainty is certainly normal and not necessarily something that needs the kind of process I’ll describe below, so please be gentle with yourself when circumstances elicit discomfort and anxiety about the future.
As I’ve been thinking about how we can expand our capacity to be uncomfortable and find some degree of equanimity, I found myself thinking about a concept I have taught for many years—a process of uncoupling trauma-based associations, called over-couplings in the Somatic Experiencing® world. Let me define these terms as I did when teaching SE.
Trauma over-couplings are associations that become “glued together” during times of overwhelm or distress. These are individual elements of experience or learnings that actually don’t belong together. One common trauma-based, attachment-oriented over-coupling is: If I do what I want, they (whoever “they” might be) won’t love me. Those two things don’t really belong together and especially so in adult life. Another common trauma-based over-coupling is: Unless I know what’s going on, I won’t be safe. The problem with trauma-based over-couplings is that they predict something that may not, or probably won’t, happen. They often arise from childhood experiences where we were not only ill equipped to have options available to us but when we also weren’t mature enough to understand what was happening.
I’d like to offer one way to deal with these trauma-based over-couplings. I called it “therapeutic dissociation” in my book, Getting Through the Day, but it’s actually a form of uncoupling adult awareness and options from those arising from earlier overwhelming experience.Read More “812th Week: Managing Uncertainty”