Over the course of the past year, it has disheartened me to see how many people on Facebook and in other social media contexts have become comfortable using language that is attacking rather than curious, inviting, clarifying, or compassionate. Not only are the words being used distressing through their intention to diminish or humiliate other people, but the anger inherent in these posts—anger that doesn’t suggest solutions or options—is decidedly jarring.
In my years of teaching about trauma resolution, I’ve drawn on something one of my dear friends and teachers taught me many years ago… Read More “694th Week: Practicing Mutual Empowerment”
As I read posts on Facebook and listen to newscasts and talk shows, I am constantly surprised at the intensity and harshness of some of the language that people now use as part of a debate or conversation about charged issues. More than once, Read More “Week 658: The Impact of Words”
As I write this practice, current violent events that have caused immense distress and suffering continue to fill the news and Internet. Working through my own responses got me to thinking about what I might offer as this week’s practice that might be both supportive and useful.
Whenever I am in the presence of suffering and challenges that I can’t directly change, I inevitably turn to my heart space for support, comfort, and as a way to actively and mindfully process my sense of outrage, helplessness, or despair that may arise. And, inevitably and thankfully, my heart space is able to process and manage these difficult feelings in a way that always surprises and eases me. It may be because I feel like I’m doing something, or it may be—as the HeartMath Institute’s research has shown—that a coherent heart eases the amygdala and reduces activation.Read More “761st Week: Holding Space for Ourselves and All Our Kin (Which is Everyone)”
There is an excellent documentary on a Tibetan monk, Lobsang Phuntsok, who trained with the Dalai Lama, taught Buddhism and meditation in the West, and now takes in children in the Himalayan foothills of India. The name of his community translates to “the garden of love and compassion” and he and his colleagues/assistants work with kindness and gentle, but consistent, guidance as his way of offering them a safe and secure family experience. Here’s a link to the video:
As I write this, on what is normally a quiet Saturday morning, I am listening to cement mixers and other elements of building construction that are happening across the street from where I live. It all started at about 5am this morning, accompanied by flood lights and a good bit of noise. It has now been about four hours since then and the noise continues unabated, except in those moments of relief when one cement mixer truck leaves and the next one pulls in.
What I’ve noticed as the morning has unfolded is the power and impact of remembering that there is constantly a choice about how to respond to any given set of circumstances. Read More “732nd Week: Choices”
Walking across Central Park one morning, I watched a dog wiggle and waggle in anticipation of chasing a ball. His attention was absolutely fixed on the ball in his human companion’s hand. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else registered as the ball was finally in the air and he ran after it with great enthusiasm. This got me to thinking about how powerfully the focus of our attention affects what we perceive and how we engage the world. Read More “Week 628: Where Do You Place Your Attention?”