When I woke up this morning, I noticed that I was feeling a sense of hopelessness around the edges and this is an unusual response in me. Rather than make up any stories about what it meant—above and beyond the obvious challenges we currently face collectively as well as individually, I found myself turning to my tried and true sources of grounding, practices that help me return to a steady sense of presence.
There are two reasons I stay on top of this. First is my belief in collective consciousness and I don’t want to add extra distress to what is already a powerful experience happening to many people in our human family. The second reason is that I know how easy it is to inadvertently add activation to an already-distressing internal state and I have spent many years learning how not to do that. Adding activation to activation doesn’t help me or anyone and, when it leads to a sense of overwhelm and potential shutdown, can keep many of us from engaging in those actions that really could make a difference.
I’ve written about two practices I use all the time and I think they can’t be described often enough, especially these days. So, I offer them below, as I have a number of times before, and again invite you to experiment with them to find out if there are ways these approaches may also be useful to you.Read More “808th Week: Easing Distress”
As the pandemic has continued, and as someone who has been able to work throughout this time, I’ve been exploring ways to donate money and offer support to people who have lost their jobs. With so many people losing work, facing evictions from their homes and experiencing food scarcity, it seems fundamentally important to share resources in whatever ways we can manage. A psychotherapy colleague recently shared with me a way she is responding to the current crisis for people experiencing food scarcity during the pandemic. She located a food bank that was running out of various food items and arranged with Fresh Direct to make a weekly delivery to the food bank. A ministry colleague celebrated his birthday by asking people to donate money to a food bank in his area.
I was truly inspired to read an article about MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon.com. MacKenzie is worth many billions of dollars. She has pledged to give away the majority of her fortune—and she has been true to her word. Here’s a link to the article about how she is doing this: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-15/mackenzie-scott-gives-away-4-2-billion-within-four-months
This got me to thinking about how important it is to be aware of local needs in each of our communities, along with whatever other financial support those of us who are working can offer to local as well as larger non-profit organizations. For this week’s practice, I invite you to do some investigating as to the needs of your local community, or even your immediate neighborhood, and to see what you might offer by way of sharing resources.Read More “821st week: Finding Ways to Share Resources”
I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to go to Central Park on some days to get exercise and to plop myself down on a bench where I have spent so much time over the years in meditation and contemplation with my tree friends. One of the things that I’ve noticed each time I’m in the park these days is how many people are jogging and walking without wearing masks. This got me to thinking about our participation as members of a community and how we have an ongoing opportunity to take responsibility for our part in supporting everyone around us.
As I pondered the question of why people aren’t wearing masks as they exercise and walk around Central Park, I could only imagine that they haven’t quite registered that we are wearing masks to protect one another. They aren’t really to protect ourselves, since most of us don’t have the kind of mask that will filter out viruses. The reason we are wearing them is because we could unknowingly be carriers of the virus and we are protecting everyone around us.
For this week’s practice, I invite all of us to be aware of our place within our communities. Wherever we live, we are part of a collective and we are responsible for our contributions to our community, however that might be arranged and however small or large those contributions. What I’d like to ask all of us to consider is how are we caring for our community? What practices do we bring to help support and protect those around us? In the building where I live in New York City we have active cases of the Covid virus, so all of us are asked to be sure to wear masks and gloves when interacting with the doormen and concierges in the lobby of this very large building and in the laundry room as a way to protect the people who work here, as well as to protect each other.Read More “784th Week: Being Part of a Community”
Walking through Central Park one morning, my usual, meditative state of mind—which emerges naturally when I walk through areas of trees—focused on a small act of kindness that someone had recently done for me. I touched back into the quality of friendliness the person seemed to radiate and I realized that the actual act of kindness offered was only part of what made the interaction meaningful. The other part was the quality of who this person is in the world, and that felt like the most important aspect of the experience.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with an acquaintance one afternoon in Starbuck’s, where she began to speak apologetically about how she didn’t feel like she ever did anything really important or meaningful in her life… Read More “680th Week: What We Radiate Into the World”