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”
I just read something on Facebook that brought to mind the terrible power of enactment. I won’t relate it here, as it was a disturbing report in the news about someone being attacked. For me, this kind of event is a reminder of the deep need we all have to teach ourselves to bring awareness to what we do or want to do. Read More “Week 639: Awareness Instead of Enactment”
Walking through Central Park one morning, the sound of the birds, the slow but steady haze of green emerging on the trees, the emerging daffodils and other spring flowers all offered gifts that are part of the park’s waking up to a new season. As I walked, I took in the sounds, smells, and visual delight of this emerging season and the experience got me to thinking about the process of receiving.
Receiving is an active, reciprocal process. It acknowledges that something has been given and recognizes that the act of receiving can be an expression of generosity that can enhance this experience. I often invite people to notice their style of receiving. For example, when they sit down on a chair and receive the support available, do they actively take in the support that is present? Do they engage the reciprocal process of receiving what is offered with awareness? This may apply to any kind of receiving: support, friendship, kindness, much-needed food, clothing, or shelter, a smile—whatever is offered. How would you answer these questions? Read More “711th Week: Receiving Generously”
As I write this practice, I’m at a professional training outside New York City. The trainings are held in a hotel where we have been many times and it recently changed management. What many of us experienced as we arrived for this training was a noticeable difference in the “feel” of the hotel, a noticeable change in how we were met by the front desk, and a noticeable change in the quality of service we have encountered along the way.
At this training, my job is to manage the assisting team, as well as deal with participants who have questions or issues about the team. Each morning, we have a team meeting and take time to connect, settle in, and clear up any problems, questions, or issues that may have arisen during the prior day. One of the things I do as part of our team meeting is to take time for all of us to connect to our individual core presence and internal steadiness and, then, to connect with our collective team presence and steadiness. Our keynote is kindness, and I invite all of us to embody that particular quality as we move through the training days. Our job is to offer supportive containment as well as teaching input.
One of the things I’ve asked the team to keep in mind is to extend that kindness to the hotel building and all its employees. I ask this because we inevitably radiate into our environment the qualities that we carry with us as we move through the world. I can imagine that the employees and building receive a good bit of negative input, given the ways in which the place has changed, and I want to ensure that we don’t add to a collective quality of dissatisfaction, annoyance, and other activating feelings that the changes tend to elicit.Read More “747th Week: Embodying Kindness”
I recently read an article written by a brain scientist, explaining a dynamic that we all would do well to understand more deeply. It has to do with the ways in which our brain resonates with particular words and concepts, strengthening them even when they may be something with which we consciously disagree. Read More “Week 644: Feeding the Outcomes You Seek”