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”
With all that has happened in the United States since January 6th, it seems a good time to revisit the process of returning to steadiness. Also, it’s a time to keep in mind that where we place our awareness and attention has an impact on the quality of reality that we experience and engage.
For many of us, it’s challenging to even begin to imagine how we will collectively heal the polarities and divisions we see not only in the United States, but all around the planet. I have framed this current situation as a potential “healing crisis”, where we are seemingly stuck in a collective situation that seems not to have an easy or ready solution.
In my recent return to explorations into dynamics that are more “quantum” in nature, I have been inviting myself to be curious as to how to orient myself to the idea of an “optimal human family” living on the planet in ways that support healthy living for everyone, including our non-human earth-kin. I’ve done this in much the same way as I have worked with the concept of the “optimal future self” over the past almost 40 years.
When I think of the idea of an “optimal human family”, I recognize that I have no way to envision specifics around this potential. So, drawing on what I have done with the “optimal future self” over all these years, I find myself calling on this potential, more than imagining it, and asking for it to move into this reality, holding the assumption that such a process is possible.Read More “824th Week: Returning to Steadiness Revisited”
Listening to an episode of On Being on NPR, Krista Tippett interviewed a journalist on the subject of how corporations and people who do good work for the world need to ask not only, what can I give, but also, how can I stop taking so much? He mentioned that, as individuals, we need not only to want the best for our own children but also for everyone else’s children. He went on to say that this doesn’t seem to be the value system he sees in the United States at this time and his comments got me to thinking about recent studies around empathy. These studies have revealed that there appears to be a correlation between increasing wealth and lessening empathy. When I listen to the news and look at the world around me, I see rather stark expressions of this correlation. That doesn’t mean there aren’t well-off people who express empathy in powerful, positive, and important ways. Instead, it points to an invitation to all of us who live in a materially privileged society such as the U.S. to pay attention to the world around us and to find ways to support and increase our empathic awareness and choices. Read More “733rd Week: Supporting Empathy”
As I write this practice, I—along with most other people in the U.S. and in many places around the world right now—am at home practicing “social distancing”. Because of the current coronavirus pandemic, I’m not having my daily experience of crossing Central Park, to and from my office. I have to say that I miss the powerful and inspiring emergence of Spring in the park as well as the quiet presence of so many trees.
A couple of weeks ago, before we were all asked to stay home, I was in daily amazement at the beautiful colors of this season in the Northern hemisphere, the emergence of abundant, colorful life after the quiet grays and dun colors of winter. As I write this, I’m sitting at a bench I often inhabit on weekend mornings. This is a cool morning and it will be raining soon, but I wanted this early-morning opportunity to touch into this favorite place where I feel deeply connected and attuned to the nature around me.
As I sit here, I find myself wondering, yet again, how did nature ever know to create the brilliant yellows, pinks, and whites of Spring? All around me, trees are in bloom and all over the park are daffodils and other bulbs showing their wonderfully enthusiastic yellows, blues, whites, and purples. These colorful displays speak to my bodymind in ways that bring me alive, that remind me that life seems to always be waiting to express in creative and energetic ways.Read More “781st Week: The Gift of Inspiration”
On my birthday last year, I had an opportunity to offer myself an unexpected gift, one for which I was inordinately grateful. It turned out that, upon awakening the morning of my birthday, it became immediately evident that I urgently needed a root canal. Much to my relief, my endodontist was able to see me at exactly the time my schedule allowed that day, although I would have canceled whatever I had to in order to see him.
As I sat in his chair, the local anesthesia taking effect I was filled with gratitude that this man had gotten training that allowed him to relieve my pain in such skillful and, frankly, easy ways. Read More “697th Week: Gratitude for Help Along the Way”