As I write this week’s practice, we’re about a month into “sheltering in place” here in New York City. For all of us, the whole world of human beings, this is a time of challenge beyond what many of us would have imagined possible. The fact that we are able to be connected around the globe is a previously unimagined gift of being able to move through this experience as a connected human family.
I had an experience this week that touched me deeply and I want to share it as the theme of this week’s practice that I’d like to invite you to explore. I got an email through my website and it was from someone who had noticed that I hadn’t posted a practice last week. She hoped that I was okay and wanted to make contact to be sure everything was all right with me.
As I read this unexpected email, my heart filled with gratitude and warmth that this person cared enough to be in touch and to check in with me. It got me to thinking about how powerful it is when we care about and for one another, what a balm it is to the heart, and how such an act can fill someone with a sense of connection, warmth, and gratitude.Read More “783rd Week: The Gift of Caring”
Walking along in Central Park one morning on my way to my office, I found myself seeing things that I haven’t noticed over the nearly 19 years I’ve been making this daily journey. Somehow, a cluster of trees caught my eye and I was astonished to notice Read More “Week638: Deeper Noticing”
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”
During this political season, we have experienced the emergence of an underlying polarization that has had more power and pervasive presence than I suspect many people would have anticipated. For me, above and beyond political considerations, this polarization expresses the fundamental difference in a stance that holds an assumption of oneness and a stance that assumes separateness. Read More “Week 641: Orienting Everyday Activities Toward Oneness and Kindness”
As I write this practice, current violent events that have caused immense distress and suffering continue to fill the news and Internet. Working through my own responses got me to thinking about what I might offer as this week’s practice that might be both supportive and useful.
Whenever I am in the presence of suffering and challenges that I can’t directly change, I inevitably turn to my heart space for support, comfort, and as a way to actively and mindfully process my sense of outrage, helplessness, or despair that may arise. And, inevitably and thankfully, my heart space is able to process and manage these difficult feelings in a way that always surprises and eases me. It may be because I feel like I’m doing something, or it may be—as the HeartMath Institute’s research has shown—that a coherent heart eases the amygdala and reduces activation.Read More “761st Week: Holding Space for Ourselves and All Our Kin (Which is Everyone)”
I recently saw a brief video about a man in Brazil who, through his focus and efforts over many years, restored a rainforest to an area that had lost its vegetation and water. As I watched the video, it reminded me of something that many people think is only fantasy but that, for me, is an ever-present reality. In my mind, this man was guided by Nature’s Intelligence to plant vegetation in a process that spontaneously returned water to the region where he lives. Here’s a link to his brief, inspiring documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndWyBU9mWlM
The other thing this video brought to mind is how powerful one person’s daily commitment and activities can be. During all the years this man planted vegetation on his land, his neighbors didn’t understand why he was doing so, and yet—through his persistence in heeding the call he felt from the land—he restored an entire ecosystem one small act at a time. For me, this speaks to the ways in which each of us can play an active role in caring for, and restoring, our world. Read More “722nd Week: One Person Can Make A Difference”