One morning, after a snowstorm the day before, as I walked across Central Park to my office, a young woman caught my eye and told me to be careful, as I was approaching an area of black ice that wasn’t obvious. As I walked on, Read More “Week 663: Small Acts of Kindness”
A while back (764th Week’s practice), I wrote about choosing frequencies and engaging practices that make that process more fluid. Another helpful approach is to cultivate an awareness of the “foreground/background” dynamic that is present in every moment. Whatever is in the foreground of your awareness, there is likely to be something different in the background.
One way to think about these foreground/background dynamics could be the distinction between moments of upset in the foreground and an awareness of the present-day observer in the background. The observer is the part of us that notices what we experience and is able to make choices about what to do with what we notice. In this case, we’re exploring finding ways to shift from the foreground upset to a background of a more regulated quality, if that’s what you choose to do.
Drawing on an awareness of foreground/background allows more choice about whether you want to continue with the focus of your attention and experience or if you want to shift frequencies to something else that you may find in the background. For example, you may be upset over a news report you just heard, with your body tense, fear in the foreground, and thoughts of what terrible things might unfold. These responses are natural in these times, but you don’t need to live there. Once you notice how distressed you are, it’s possible to become curious about what might be in the background. Perhaps you notice a quality of quiet, or ease, internal steadiness, or reassurance of some kind. This doesn’t mean you are ignoring or denying issues that are realistically upsetting. Instead, it means that you will be able to respond more coherently if you aren’t caught up in the activation related to them.Read More “778th Week: Foreground/Background Dynamics Revisited”
Walking across Central Park one morning, I noticed the tee shirt of a man walking in front of me. The back of it said, “Imagine a world without cancer.” As I looked at it, the words, “Imagine a world without fear” drifted into my mind and stayed with me all the way across the park. I began to imagine Read More “Week 630: Imagine A World Without Fear”
In my work as a trauma specialist, I have touched into many approaches that help to re-center ourselves when we feel activated, as well as to heal unresolved trauma. During this time in our history, when so many people across the planet are frightened, angry, overwhelmed, and feeling stressed in so many ways, working with processes that support re-centering feels more important than ever.
Back in the early ‘80’s, when I went through a year-long training in hypnosis, I began to develop ways to work with “parts of the self” that seemed to help people calm themselves, to work through deep fears and then, ultimately, to resolve trauma and dissociation. Read More “686th Week: Working with Parts to Support Re-centering”
In our world at this time, the Internet allows us to see more vividly the impact and effects of how we aren’t figuring out how to be in a world that thrives on diversity. This is an unfortunate response that encounters disagreements about worldview and beliefs and turns them into a response that views people with whom we disagree as “other”. Because of my belief in, and experience of, a fundamental oneness underlying reality, it isn’t really possible to have anyone or anything be an “other”. Everything and everyone are kin within a context of oneness, or what Thich Nhat Hanh and Charles Eisenstein call “interbeing”.
What I’d like to offer this week is a practice that supports a sense of connection with everything around us. Deepening this sense of connection can have an impact on how we perceive and respond to the world and may serve to support more constructive responses when we are confronted by people or situations with which we disagree.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t many times when we come up against situations that need to be changed. This isn’t a call not to act on our own behalf and that of others. Instead, it’s an invitation to remember that, even when we may vehemently disagree with what someone is doing, or with a situation that is untenable, we still remember that we are all connected within a fabric of life that weaves us together as kin. And, our kin are comprised of every kind of life form we encounter along the way, not just human beings.Read More “774th Week: The Space that Connects”
In a recent article entitled, “Your Brain Has a Delete Button—Here’s How to Use It”, the authors, Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane, talk about research that’s been done on the presence and function of the brain’s “microglial” cells that are the “gardeners of the brain”. These cells prune and remove synapses while we sleep. Most importantly, they remove those synapses we don’t use very much. In fact, the brain marks the unused synapses with a protein that signals the microglial cells to go ahead and prune them.
Because all self-talk is self-hypnosis, and because where we focus our thinking activates the synapses related to these thoughts, it behooves us to be mindful about where we’re spending our internal self-talk time. One example in the article is this:
“If you’re in a fight with someone at work and devote your time to thinking about how to get even with them, and not about that big project, you’re going to wind up a synaptic superstar at revenge plots but a poor innovator.”
They go on to say:
“To take advantage of your brain’s natural gardening system, simply think about the things that are important to you. Your gardeners will strengthen those connections and prune the ones that you care about less. It’s how you help the garden of your brain flower.”Read More “768th Week: More Reasons Why Tracking Your Self-Talk is So Important”