I’ve developed a practice when I walk across Central Park each morning of taking the time to thank all the various volunteers and employees I may pass along the way—people who give their time and energy to helping keep the park clean and well- tended. One recent morning, after a particularly heavy rain, Read More “Week 629: Expressing Gratitude”
Sitting in Central Park among my tree friends, I found myself asking the following question: How do I help people understand that the earth and everything on it isn’t inert, isn’t passive and lacking in consciousness? How to I offer a perspective that holds the awareness that everything is earth-kin and that everything is conscious, alive, and aware in its own ways? Many of us raised in the Western world were taught that our planet was filled with “resources”, available for our use, rather than the more indigenous-oriented position that everything on and of our earth is alive and is valued kin.
Here’s a quotation from an enchanting book, “Becoming Animal”, by David Abram that captures some of what we modern people have lost in our relationship to nature, our earth, and our earth-kin:
“Our chest, rising and falling, knows that the strange verb ‘to be’ means more simply ‘to breathe’; it knows that the maples and the birches are breathing, that the beaver pond inhales and exhales in its own way, as do the stones and the mountains and the pipes coursing water through the ground under the city. The lungs know this secret as well as any can know it: that the inward and the outward depths partake of the same mystery, that as the unseen wind swirls within us, so it also whirls all around us, bending the grasses and lofting the clouds even as it lights our own sensations. The vocal cords, stirred by that breath, vibrate like spiderwebs or telephone wires in the breeze, and the voice itself, laughing and murmuring, joins its song to the water gurgling under the grate.”Read More “805th Week: Everything is Alive, Everything is Earth-Kin”
Recently, I saw a clip from Fox News that got me to thinking about how many of us now engage conversations not to understand one another but to convince or to show that we are “right”. Read More “Week 665: Rediscovering Curiosity”
One of the things the Internet has given us is more access to connecting and communicating with one another. This is all to the good when the communication promotes the well-being of everyone. It becomes a problem when it allows people to feed their fears. We see this phenomenon around the world in those groups that seek to oppress or eliminate other groups of people who may be different from them or in some way represent a threat.
As a trauma specialist, this got me to thinking about how important it is to be conscious of our fears and to cultivate ways to become even more conscious of, meet, and process this powerful emotion. So much of what creates division and conflict among human beings—be they in a one-on-one relationship, a family, a community, a country—is the presence of underlying, and often unrecognized or disowned, fear.
For this week’s practice, I’d like to offer a practice that can be helpful in recognizing and dealing with the presence of fear. Fear isn’t an emotion we can eliminate because it’s an important survival response that we need throughout life. It’s essential that fear can motivate us to jump out of the way of a bus we hadn’t seen, or remind us not to walk down a dark alley alone in the middle of the night. The problem is that we are often afraid of things that aren’t threatening and, when we act on these kinds of fears, we often generate even more trauma in ourselves and others.Read More “747th Week: The Power of Fear”