719th Week: Taking Time to Renew Yourself
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”
2022 December Meditation
This month’s meditation, the last of the year, focuses on connecting with the frequency of inspiration. It invite us to connect with the experience of the frequency, the quality, of inspiration.
Here’s the audio version of the meditation.
Here’s the YouTube version, if you prefer to see nature images as you move through the meditation…
862nd Week: Watering the Seeds of Our Wholeness
I continue to resonate with the passing of Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh and the powerful teachings he brought to the world via his practices of mindfulness, of constantly returning to the present moment, and of his acknowledgment and acceptance of the complexities of our inherent and inescapable wholeness as human beings.
For quite a while now, I’ve focused on wholeness and self-acceptance as being central to a sense of well-being, supporting clients (and myself!) to acknowledge and accept aspects of themselves that aren’t what Buddhists would call “skillful”. I encourage clients (and myself here, as well) to also acknowledge and accept the aspects of themselves that are gifts to their well-being and quality of life. This acknowledgement can sometimes be even more difficult than looking at what we experience as negative in ourselves.
From Thich Nhat Hanh: Your mind is like a piece of land planted with many different kinds of seeds: seeds of joy, peace, mindfulness, understanding, love, and more; seeds of craving, anger, fear, hate, forgetfulness, and more. These wholesome and unwholesome seeds are always there, sleeping in the soil of your mind. The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water. If you plant tomato seeds in your gardens, tomatoes will grow. Just so, if you water a seed of peace in your mind, peace will grow. When the seeds of happiness in you are watered, you will become happy. When the seed of anger in you is watered, you will become angry. The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to notice what seeds of your wholeness you regularly water. Notice which seeds/aspects of your wholeness you feed. Where do you place your attention? What’s your style of expressing yourself with your self-talk and in your relationship to the world around you? Bringing awareness to this kind of practice offers the possibility of choice. If you discover that you water seeds that bring distress, disappointment, or other forms of painful suffering, notice what it’s like to shift your attention to something that is soothing, comforting, beautiful, or in some other way nourishing to you. This doesn’t mean to ignore feelings that need attention and validation. Instead, it’s more about how many of us have developed automatic ways of focusing our attention on watering “seeds” that lead to unhappiness or suffering.Read More “862nd Week: Watering the Seeds of Our Wholeness”
881st Week: Adapting with “Attitude Adjustments”
I just returned from a week away for vacation. I was at an all-inclusive spa-type location, surrounded by the beauty of nature. On the third evening there, a powerful thunderstorm came through, some said bringing it with it a “small tornado”. The storm brought down three transformers in the area, so all the power flicked out in a moment and didn’t return for a bit over 24 hours.
The loss of power ended every imaginable kind of activity and the employees at the resort were really quite creative and focused in coping with the loss of power, especially around how they managed a kitchen that needed to feed three meals a day to a lot of people.
An immediate effect of the power outage was the dwindling power in every kind of gadget. Because of this, many of us searched for the few outlets that were connected to the generators and this led to a group of five of us hanging out in a room that had four connections wired into the floor. Sitting together for several hours, we discovered new friendships we wouldn’t have had time to create had the power not gone out.
All this got me to thinking about the powerful impact of the choices we make when faced with challenging or disappointing circumstances—although, admittedly, this was a challenge of privilege and not a challenge of survival or even of need. I started thinking about the importance of being willing to have an “attitude adjustment” when faced with unexpected developments, and that awareness demonstrated how our attitudes generate the filter through which we experience and interpret our world and our experience.Read More “”