Walking across Central Park one morning, I became aware of the returning presence of birdsong throughout the park. It’s always a sure sign of spring and, along with the brightening of the light, touches me with the promise of the season to come. It also reminds me of the inevitability of change and of the gift of having a head’s up that change is coming, no matter how subtle that signal may be.
As a trauma therapist, and someone who works with shock trauma on a pretty consistent basis, I know the price the body and psyche pay when experiences emerge for which there was no warning. As a person who constantly delves into new information about science and processes in nature, I also keep in mind the idea of “emergence”, of the ways in which nature seeks novelty and brings together unlikely elements to create something new. I mentioned this in a prior practice, about how bringing together two air elements—a molecule of oxygen and a molecule of hydrogen—creates an unexpected outcome—a fluid, water. For me, this demonstrates how nature is full of surprises, how life is full of surprises, and that we never really know what will emerge within the context of a new cycle. Read More “709th Week: Noticing Emerging Change”
Walking across Central Park one morning, the air was filled with a fragrance that I meet during the early days of summer each year. A group of trees, Silver Lindens, have blossoms, clusters of small flowers, that release a powerful, heady and, to me, enchanting fragrance that captivates me each morning as I pass them on my way to the office. The blossoms don’t last very long, which makes them even more special, and I—along with many other people—inevitably stop for a moment, bury my nose in them deeply breathing in the sweet fragrance.
One morning as I walked on, I began to think about the powerful effect scents have on our internal experience… Read More “678th Week: Finding Ease”
Listening to the news these days can be an invitation to concern, suffering, compassion, action, and many other responses. I’ve been thinking lately about the power of the moment-to-moment choices we make as we move through our daily lives, whether our choices lead to action or non-action, and how that reflects the quality and nature of those choices. Here’s a quotation from Joanna Macy that speaks to what I’ve been thinking about:
“The obvious choice, then, is to extend our notions of self-interest. For example, it would not occur to me to plead with you, ‘Don’t saw off your leg. That would be an act of violence.’ It wouldn’t occur to me (or to you) because your leg is part of your body. Well, so are the trees in the Amazon rain basin. They are our external lungs. We are beginning to realize that the world is our body.” ~ Joanna Macy, Greening of the Self
I would add to this quotation that this also applies to every one of our brothers and sisters in our global human family, as well as to all our kin of every species within every form of life on this planet.Read More “759th Week: The Choices We Make”
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”