It’s a Sunday morning and, when I have time, I listen to On Being with Krista Tippett. It comes on at 7am on the East Coast and is an inspiring and nourishing way to begin the day. This morning, she interviewed neuroscientist Richard Davidson and they talked about a lot of things that have kept me thinking throughout the day.
One of the themes was neuroplasticity, the ways in which our brains change with new learning. Davidson talked about how our behavior around and with others changes their brains and that got me to thinking, yet again, how important it is to model kindness as we move through our daily lives. The implication from neuroplasticity is that if we are taking actions or speaking in ways that convey kindness, we are literally spreading that around as people’s brains spontaneously respond to our acts of kindness.Read More “743rd Week: Neuroplasticity and Kindness”
A friend sent me this quotation after a particularly violent and challenging week in American life and it touched into an awareness that’s been growing in me over recent years. There is so much suffering within our human family, so many acts of cruelty and violence around the world, and we are aware of so much more of it with the Internet. Because of this, it can be hard to remember wholeness, the wholeness inherent in our human family, when we see so many examples of how we, as a species, are capable of hurting one another.
I was very moved by the quotation from Howard Zinn and wanted to share it as part of this week’s practice. I think that it not only inspires but it also speaks to a powerful and ever-present truth: within wholeness there is more than whatever aspect of it is in the foreground at any given moment in time.
Here’s the quotation: Read More “731st Week: Wholeness”
Each time I teach a Somatic Experiencing® training, I am touched yet again by the impact of people’s experience when they discover the power of the body-mind connection and the importance of grounding ourselves. Having a “home base” to return to in the body is an invaluable resource for re-centering and stabilizing ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis. Read More “Week 624: Finding Home Base”
Even though I’ve given up my office and am now practicing psychotherapy at home on zoom, I still get into Central Park just about every day. On weekends, I go to a bench that’s under a gathering of trees and read and do writing such as this. This particular morning, as I think about our troubled world, I am also aware of the steadiness, presence, and seeming serenity of the large, towering trees around me. When I’m able to clear my mind and simply be with the trees, I find that my bodymind begins to fill with their essence of steady presence. These earth-kin, because of their size and stature, convey to me—whether this is my projection or something actually coming from the trees—a deep settling.
I also notice the boulders and large rock formations that are so much part of the park and can sense into their grounded stability, as well. Somehow, these earth-kin, along with the trees, speak to me this morning about qualities of patience and presence. In addition, the vivid greens of the trees speak to me of healing, health, well-being, and I soak those qualities in, as well.
When I’m not in the park, I can have the same kind of experience with the “trees” that live in my apartment and with all the stone people who also share my home. The three felines who are my animal companions also convey a powerful ability to totally relax and then immediately be available for play or alertness, as the situation may invite or demand.Read More “807th Week: Nurturing Well-Being with Nature”
When I was very young, my grandmother used to talk to me about a schism she saw coming in what she felt would be my future. This was back in the early ’50’s, when she essentially became my first spiritual teacher. Read More “Week 652: Oneness and Separateness”
When I woke up this morning, I noticed that I was feeling a sense of hopelessness around the edges and this is an unusual response in me. Rather than make up any stories about what it meant—above and beyond the obvious challenges we currently face collectively as well as individually, I found myself turning to my tried and true sources of grounding, practices that help me return to a steady sense of presence.
There are two reasons I stay on top of this. First is my belief in collective consciousness and I don’t want to add extra distress to what is already a powerful experience happening to many people in our human family. The second reason is that I know how easy it is to inadvertently add activation to an already-distressing internal state and I have spent many years learning how not to do that. Adding activation to activation doesn’t help me or anyone and, when it leads to a sense of overwhelm and potential shutdown, can keep many of us from engaging in those actions that really could make a difference.
I’ve written about two practices I use all the time and I think they can’t be described often enough, especially these days. So, I offer them below, as I have a number of times before, and again invite you to experiment with them to find out if there are ways these approaches may also be useful to you.Read More “808th Week: Easing Distress”