This morning, Krista Tippett aired a 2015 interview with Mirabai Bush, a meditation teacher who became a corporate consultant teaching people mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and how to be more aware of how they move through the world. Also this morning, a colleague sent me an article on the impact of kindness and how practicing it enhances our sense of well-being. Both of these practices invite us to orient to the heart, to our sense of connection with ourselves and others, and to a more spontaneous and available tendency to be kind.
I’ve mentioned the importance of cultivating heart intelligence and perception in many of these practices and it seems more important now than ever to do so. All of us, on every side of any political, social, or spiritual/religious spectrum, wants the same thing—to be happy, not to suffer, and to be free from fear. The Buddhist practice of lovingkindness specifically addresses this similarity within and amongst all living beings. Read More “730th Week: Practicing Kindness, Living with An Open Heart”
Early this morning, before the world was really up and going, I awakened to hear fire engine sirens going down Second Avenue here in New York City. As I listened, I found myself filled with gratitude for all the people who have worked to take care of the rest of us during this time of the pandemic. I thought about the firefighters on the trucks I heard outside my window. I thought of the people who collect garbage, all the workers in my apartment building who have traveled back and forth from home to work throughout the pandemic. I thought of police officers (those who serve with care), grocery workers, street cleaners, the amazing health-care workers who have given their all during this time, those people working to offer vaccines to the rest of us—the list goes on and on and on.
Without all these people, life in the city—pretty much life anywhere—would not be possible and I am filled with gratitude overflowing for their service to the rest of us. I have been safe in my apartment, working on zoom throughout the past year, and because of countless people, most of whom I will never meet, I’ve been able to have food, electricity, water, medical care if needed.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay even more attention to expressions of gratitude than you may already be doing. These expressions needn’t be out loud. The important thing is that the contributions of so many people can live in your heart and generate the internal experience of gratitude. That said, I have a tendency to thank people as I see them, which includes those I mentioned above, as well as the people who take care of Central Park so the rest of us can enjoy some time there.Read More “828th Week: Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude”
In my work as a trauma specialist, I have touched into many approaches that help to re-center ourselves when we feel activated, as well as to heal unresolved trauma. During this time in our history, when so many people across the planet are frightened, angry, overwhelmed, and feeling stressed in so many ways, working with processes that support re-centering feels more important than ever.
Back in the early ‘80’s, when I went through a year-long training in hypnosis, I began to develop ways to work with “parts of the self” that seemed to help people calm themselves, to work through deep fears and then, ultimately, to resolve trauma and dissociation. Read More “686th Week: Working with Parts to Support Re-centering”
As we collectively continue to be met with powerful challenges of loss, grief, change, and concerns about the future, having practices available that allow us to ground ourselves, re-center ourselves, and orient to a more heart-centered perception and awareness is more important than ever. One of the practices that I have found comforting during difficult times is to remember that I am part of a much larger context of connection and to orient my awareness toward ways of experiencing that sense of connection.
For this week’s practice, I’d like to share one of the approaches that helps me feel more grounded during times of distress and uncertainty. It relates to something I say all the time, which is, “We’re not in this alone.” As much as we may feel disconnected at times, from an energy perspective, and from the perspective of collective consciousness, it’s impossible for us to be truly alone, impossible not to be connected to our larger collective presence, comprised of each of us and of all our earth-kin.Read More “810th Week: Cultivating A Sense of Connection”
A while back (764th Week’s practice), I wrote about choosing frequencies and engaging practices that make that process more fluid. Another helpful approach is to cultivate an awareness of the “foreground/background” dynamic that is present in every moment. Whatever is in the foreground of your awareness, there is likely to be something different in the background.
One way to think about these foreground/background dynamics could be the distinction between moments of upset in the foreground and an awareness of the present-day observer in the background. The observer is the part of us that notices what we experience and is able to make choices about what to do with what we notice. In this case, we’re exploring finding ways to shift from the foreground upset to a background of a more regulated quality, if that’s what you choose to do.
Drawing on an awareness of foreground/background allows more choice about whether you want to continue with the focus of your attention and experience or if you want to shift frequencies to something else that you may find in the background. For example, you may be upset over a news report you just heard, with your body tense, fear in the foreground, and thoughts of what terrible things might unfold. These responses are natural in these times, but you don’t need to live there. Once you notice how distressed you are, it’s possible to become curious about what might be in the background. Perhaps you notice a quality of quiet, or ease, internal steadiness, or reassurance of some kind. This doesn’t mean you are ignoring or denying issues that are realistically upsetting. Instead, it means that you will be able to respond more coherently if you aren’t caught up in the activation related to them.Read More “778th Week: Foreground/Background Dynamics Revisited”