I would never have thought of myself as someone who is easily distractible, or even has a tendency in that direction, but I have to admit that after a number of years of attending to social media, I have learned to be distracted, which is a great surprise to me. As a psychotherapist, being focused is part of what I do every day, just about all day, and yet I notice that in my personal life my tendency now is to jump around from focus to focus in ways that are entirely new to me.
This development has gotten me to thinking about not only the benefits of regular mediation, which I don’t do in as focused a way as I used to, but also the importance and gifts of silence. Thinking about distraction took me back to some notes I collected about silence a couple of years ago and I want to share them here. The benefits of silence are profound and cultivating practices that include it becomes increasingly important in these times where there are so many ways to be distracted.Read More “738th Week: The Gifts of Silence”
Recently, I had a conversation with a colleague that revolved around the subject of cultivating an internal sense of safety. We talked about how external safety isn’t a sure thing and, in these uncertain times, doesn’t ring true as a possibility for many people.
My deepest sense, as we talked, was that the only place I could find a reliable sense of safety, and it’s a relative thing, is inside my own embodied core presence. This is because embodied presence is something we carry within us all the time, even when we’re unaware of it.
I’ve talked many times about the dynamic of “foreground/background”. Depending on what we experience in any given moment, feelings of activation, distress, overwhelm, and/or shutdown may have moved into the foreground of our awareness. When this happens, our internal steadiness and embodied core presence slide into the background and we no longer experience these qualities of our inherent being.Read More “813th Week: Cultivating an Internal Sense of Safety”
One of my favorite dynamics when working with clients or managing my own internal process is to notice what’s in the foreground of awareness and what’s in the background. For me, there are certain qualities that are always in the background of my being, whether I’m aware of them or not.
One of these that is also always present in my body, within the core presence that is always inside me even when I’m not aware of it, is the quality of steadiness. Whenever I work with myself or anyone else, I inevitably invite bringing awareness to this ever-present steadiness before jumping into anything else. Also, related to the reference I made in last week’s practice about tapping into universal archetypes, I hold the belief in, and experience of, what I call the Spirit of Steadiness—what you might think of as the Archetype of Steadiness, the embodying presence that radiates this quality as its primary expression.
For this week’s practice, I’d like to share with you a “foreground/background” practice of bringing the steadiness that is always there in the background into the foreground of awareness as well as your embodied felt-sense. I’ll share it the way I’m used to doing, but I hope you’ll adapt what’s below to match what works best for you:Read More “788th Week: Cultivating Steadiness”
I ended last week’s practice with a suggestion to come back to the present moment and to this current breath as a way to manage some of the stress of this time in our collective lives.
One of the practices that I used to teach in the Somatic Experiencing® trainings was to invite people to notice how they “add fuel to the bonfires of activation”. Many of us have grown up in cultures that don’t focus on tracking how we allow our thinking to drag us hither and yon, an experience that generates enormous amounts of suffering. In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be able to notice when we increase our suffering by allowing our fear-generated thoughts to dominate our attention and experience.
One of the practices that can be difficult but is powerfully important is to hold the intention to come back to the present moment, to the breath you’re taking right now, and to focus awareness on this breath, on this moment. In terms of self-talk, one of the things that’s helpful to say while doing this practice is something along the lines of, “In this moment, right here and right now, I’m okay enough.”Read More “782nd Week: This Breath, This Moment”