I’ve written a number of times about themes such as gratitude and kindness, qualities that are deeply needed in our personal and collective lives at this time. For this week’s practice, I want to share some thoughts about the practice of blessing as a form of subtle activism.
For many of us, there may be times when we feel overwhelmed by all the negativity, anger, incivility, and harm unfolding all around us, seemingly everywhere on the planet. For some of us, various forms of subtle activism represent something we can do to contribute even as we attend to our everyday responsibilities and activities. Many people turn to prayer as a form of subtle activism, while others come together in groups to practice with healing images offered to individuals, groups, non-human lifeforms, and the planet as a whole.
One of the things I have found very helpful has been to engage in an active practice of offering blessings—usually silently—as I move through my daily activities. For example, I bless my home as I come and go from it, I bless my office when I come in the morning and before I leave in the evening. Along with these blessings, I express gratitude and this has been a habit over many years now.Read More “772nd Week: Practicing the Art of Blessing”
Sitting in Central Park on a Saturday morning, a couple walked by with two adorable small dogs. One was on a leash and the other ran free. One member of the couple needed to walk back to see if she had dropped something and, as she returned, the dog on the leash saw her and began to excitedly wiggle and run toward her. What I noticed were her smile and delight in greeting the dog and it reminded me of the power of appreciation shared with a smile.
There’s a concept called “heightening”, offered by David Spangler, a spiritual teacher and guide. What the word addresses is the natural response of “coming to life” and becoming more energized when we feel seen, acknowledged, appreciated, and celebrated. Watching the dog brought to mind the inflow of life energy that is naturally experienced when we offer and are offered delight in someone or something else.
This brings to mind a practice I’d like to invite you to play with this week. As you move through your regular daily routines, take a moment when appropriate to offer appreciation and a smile to the people you encounter, as well as to the other-than-human lifeforms you engage along the way. Remember to include as much of the world around you as you can and then notice the quality and tone of your inner experience as you do. Not only will you be “heightening” the enlivened experience of everything around you, but expressing appreciation will tend to heighten the enlivened experience within you, as well.Read More “851st Week: Sharing Smiles, Offering Appreciation”
This guided meditation invites you to settle into the core steadiness that is always present, that is never disturbed, and that is a resource you can lean into during challenging times. Using the metaphor of “becoming a mountain”, you have an opportunity to directly experience the qualities of steadiness that can be found in a mountain, experiencing yourself as a mountain. Here’s the YouTube version…
Walking through Central Park on my way to work one morning, I had been pondering the gift of blessings. As I was just about to enter my favorite path amongst a long line of cherry trees, I noticed a cardinal sitting on a branch in a large bush to my right. I stopped and enjoyed taking some time looking at, and talking to, the cardinal. As I wished him a good morning—he was a wonderful bright red—he jumped onto different branches just above me and we basically hung out together for a few minutes. (And, for sure, his hanging out on those branches was no doubt what he intended to do with or without my being there!)
When it was time for me to walk on, I noticed that my heart was full with the few moments of interaction I had with the cardinal, and I wondered about the synchronicity of thinking about the gift of blessings and then running into this beautiful bird. Read More “707th Week: Moments of Inspiration”