I just spent a week teaching at the Cape Cod Institute in Massachusetts and find myself filled with a celebration of green trees and fresh, cool air. As I contemplate returning to New York City on what will be a hot summer’s day in the city, I find myself deeply grateful for the ability we have to carry images and impressions with us wherever we go. I can take the green along with me, and the generous remembered presence of birds, and, at times, deep quiet.
This all gets me to thinking yet again about the importance of where we place our awareness, and with what kinds of memories and impressions we nourish ourselves. Where we focus our awareness matters, and has a direct and noticeable impact on the resilience and health of our body-mind being. Read More “719th Week: Taking Time to Renew Yourself”
As a child, my grandmother was my first spiritual teacher and many of the things she taught me have stayed in my awareness over all these many years. One of the things she taught me I’ve written about before—the raincloud of knowable things. What continues to touch me about this concept is how vividly it reminds me that I’m never alone, that I am always and inevitably part of something much bigger than myself. In this case, it reminds me that I’m part of a vast collective consciousness that contains the wisdom of all humans across all time and that I and everyone else contributes to and draws from this collective all the time. This is an idea that has supported my work as a trauma specialist in psychotherapy and it is an idea that has given me hope even when things may have looked profoundly bleak.
It also touches into an experience that gets stronger for me as I age—that I am in community with a reciprocal environment all the time. I saw an illustration of this the other day as I walked across Central Park. I noticed a gentleman, early in the morning, taking cans and bottles out of the trash bins scattered throughout the park. It was a Monday morning, so the bins had quite a few offerings and I began to think about how this man’s activities support recycling, and that he contributes something meaningful that I usually wouldn’t know anything about. That got me to thinking about all the activities going on in my world that I don’t see and yet add to the quality and support of my life. It reminded me of the fact that, even at subtle levels, we constantly contribute to and draw from our collective environment.Read More “769th Week: The Raincloud of Knowable Things”
Over recent months, I have found myself painfully aware of everything I throw in the trash in the course of my everyday life. Being a long-time recycler, I’ve always been mindful of my use of paper, bottles, cans, and other recyclables. Lately, I’ve been aware of all the plastic that lands in my trashcan, with new additions just about every day. About a year ago, I started shopping with canvas bags and stopped using small plastic bags for produce at the grocery store. While these steps won’t save the planet, they do cut down on the amount of plastic that moves through and from my home.
This deepened awareness of plastic, and all the photos we now see of what plastics are doing to the inhabitants of our oceans and other waterways, got me to thinking about the natural capacity we humans have to generate options when confronted by circumstances that demand change.
Confronted as we are by mounting evidence that our current lifestyle cannot continue unchanged, I got to thinking about the importance of our innate curiosity, flexibility, and ability to generate options when circumstances require change. Drawing on these skills as part of everyday living is like engaging in exercise each day. It builds a kind of “psychological muscle” that allows curiosity, flexibility, and an ability to generate options to become more readily and spontaneously available as part of how we engage the world around us.Read More “752nd Week: Cultivating Flexibility”
I recently saw a brief video about a man in Brazil who, through his focus and efforts over many years, restored a rainforest to an area that had lost its vegetation and water. As I watched the video, it reminded me of something that many people think is only fantasy but that, for me, is an ever-present reality. In my mind, this man was guided by Nature’s Intelligence to plant vegetation in a process that spontaneously returned water to the region where he lives. Here’s a link to his brief, inspiring documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndWyBU9mWlM
The other thing this video brought to mind is how powerful one person’s daily commitment and activities can be. During all the years this man planted vegetation on his land, his neighbors didn’t understand why he was doing so, and yet—through his persistence in heeding the call he felt from the land—he restored an entire ecosystem one small act at a time. For me, this speaks to the ways in which each of us can play an active role in caring for, and restoring, our world. Read More “722nd Week: One Person Can Make A Difference”
I recently listened to a conversation on the BBC about global responses to our new President-elect and what I heard got me to thinking about survival attachment dynamics. We know that children need caregivers who are, among other things, predictable, consistent, and trustworthy in order to develop a sense of secure attachment. When caregivers don’t have these characteristics, children tend to develop a fundamental insecurity at a deep, biological level. Read More “Week 659: Attending to Self-Regulation”