As I write this practice, we are entering a week in the United States where we are being asked to practice a high degree of “social distancing”. For many of us, that means doing our work on-line. For some of us, it means staying home and not interacting with other people for now. The purpose of this need for many of us to not be in contact with people any more than we absolutely have to is to slow down the transmission of the current coronavirus outbreak so that our health-care system isn’t overwhelmed.
Without question, these are activating and stressful times, and I wanted to share a couple of practices that I’m using to steady myself. Our collective field of human consciousness is intensely activated and that affects us all. Whenever any one of us can orient to steadiness and ease our own levels of activation, we immediately and automatically contribute that shift to everyone else.
One of the practices I use daily, which I’ve shared before and which comes from the work of Peter Levine, the founder of Somatic Experiencing®, is to make the sound “voo” each morning before I begin the day. In the way I use this process, I take an easy breath and, as I exhale without effort, I make the sound “voo”. When you do this, allow yourself to make the sound in whatever tone allows you to feel it vibrate throughout your abdomen, all the way down to the bottom. Then, when the breath is complete, I take in the next gentle inhalation and make the sound again. I recommend that you do this three times and notice how you feel. Be sure to track your physical sensations and orient to wherever you may feel more settled.Read More “780th Week: Returning to the Present Moment”
Walking across Central Park one morning, I watched a dog wiggle and waggle in anticipation of chasing a ball. His attention was absolutely fixed on the ball in his human companion’s hand. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else registered as the ball was finally in the air and he ran after it with great enthusiasm. This got me to thinking about how powerfully the focus of our attention affects what we perceive and how we engage the world. Read More “Week 628: Where Do You Place Your Attention?”
One of the great gifts of my life is my relationship with gratitude. As I move through New York City, and most especially in Central Park each morning, I find myself full of gratitude much of the time. Each morning, I fill up with it as I encounter the beautiful trees, birds, and other animals, rock outcroppings, and plants I pass by on the way to my office. Also, when I’m out and about on the busy streets of New York, I find myself feeling gratitude for the fact that such a diverse array of people manages to move through this city with relative grace and I’m always moved to hear so many languages spoken as I walk from here to there.
One of the companions of gratitude has become, for me, another of the great gifts to my life—the ability to offer blessings as I move through the world… Read More “688th Week: The Dynamic Impact of Blessing”
As I write this practice, I’m sitting on a train headed for New York City from Connecticut. I spoke at the Unity Church in Norwalk, CT this morning and some of the things I talked about there I’d like to share as this week’s practice.
There were several themes to my talk this morning. One was the over-arching practice of subtle activism, which may be done through use of prayer, affirmative thoughts and feelings about situations that need support, healing at a distance, and more. The underlying theme that arises when talking about something like subtle activism is that of collective consciousness, and the fact that we are all interconnected whether or not we’re aware of it.
One of the things I asked people to sense into was how it felt to know and experience that all of us in the room were part of one energy organism, with each of us contributing to the radiating quality of presence that was the collective environment we generated together. In past practices, I’ve invited you to pay attention to the focus and quality of your thinking and feeling, knowing that where you resonate becomes magnetic to what you attract. This matters because resonating with a feeling such as gratitude supports an experience of well-being, where resonating with a feeling of anger or resentment supports those states of being. This is because we are part of collective fields of information and presence all the time and, because of this, we are affected by similar feelings and experiences of countless people all around the world.Read More “770th Week: We Cannot *Not* Be Connected”
As I write this practice, it is vigorously snowing outside and I am deeply grateful to be tucked in and warm. As I watch the snow fall, I find myself pondering something that came up recently and that is the relationship between, and differences around, being and doing.
This got me to thinking about the importance of how we be and that our being is so much more important than our doing. That doesn’t mean doing doesn’t play a significant role in how we engage and impact the world, but it seems to me that the bottom line really focuses on the quality and tone of our being.
I’ve said before that our internal self-talk is a form of self-hypnosis and that the quality of our self-talk plays a major role in determining the quality of our internal life, of our felt-sense of who and how we are in the world. There are many practices that invite us to track our self-talk, along with suggestions as to how we might shift from self-critical internal conversations to those that reflect acceptance, support, and gratitude for who and how we are. Some are from cognitive therapy approaches and some are from the ever-expanding influence of mindfulness practices.
For this week’s practice, first, I invite you to become even more aware of the internal conversations you have with yourself and to notice how these moments of self-talk affect you. Do they lift you up and make you feel more able to engage the world, to dive into activities and projects that nourish you, to help you settle into a deeper sense of comfort with yourself? Or, do these moments of self-talk drag you down, generate shame, or make you feel that you want to avoid connecting with your world?Read More “826th Week: Being, Doing, and Self-Talk”