In this time of so much polarization and conflict, it feels more important than ever to include heart perception and intelligence as part of moving through everyday life. I’ve written many times about how being mindful offers ongoing opportunities for choice and, these days, having access to being able to choose how we want to engage and move through conversations with people with whom we may disagree becomes a very important resource.
One of the other things I know I’ve mentioned a number of times is the powerful quality and orientation of the heart brain’s intelligence and perception. Most of us are quite familiar with our head brain’s ways of perceiving and of our cognitive styles of intelligence and understanding. The heart brain often perceives and understands things quite differently, which becomes immediately apparent when we take the time to tune into it.Read More “741st Week: Cultivating Heart Perception”
An area of interest I’ve had for more than 40 years is the creative possibility inherent in what quantum physics has to say about the world. Thirty-eight years ago, I began to work actively with what I called the optimal future self, for want of a more precise term. This work had to do with inviting people to access the part of themselves that had already resolved whatever they sought to achieve, heal, or develop and depended, as it does to this day, on accessing the body state, the lived-in felt-sense, of the optimal future self.
At that time, I used the word “future” to imply something that wasn’t yet on board, even though in quantum terms past, present, and future come together in an ever-present now. It’s as though we can reach into a timeless realm of possibility and extract something that has an impact on our present-day lives. Over all these years, I have been personally affected by this practice in powerful ways and have watched countless others have beneficial outcomes as a result of reaching into “as-yet-to-be-realized” possibilities.
Because of these experiences, I find myself orienting to optimal futures during this time of deep and necessary demands for change in how we humans live with each other and with our planet. The results of the current pandemic, the devastating impact of the history of white supremacy in the United States, and the crisis we humans have created with our planetary environment all speak to me about an urgent need to orient to optimal possibilities for our future on the planet.Read More “789th Week: Accessing Optimal Futures”
I taught a workshop the other day and was keenly aware of the importance and power of presence as it affects not only ourselves but the space and people around us. This professional workshop focused on helping clients become more grounded and have the ability to re-center after becoming activated. As we all came together for the day, I could feel the qualities of our combined presence and found myself emphasizing the presence of the practitioner as the main element in any healing process.
On a more general note, I’m also always aware of the importance and power of presence as we move through our everyday lives. There isn’t a moment that we aren’t radiating the qualities of our personal and collective presence, and our personal presence inevitably impacts not only our own experience but that of everyone we encounter along the way.
This got me to thinking of the ways in which we can become more mindful of the qualities of our personal presence, and of the importance of being able to notice when we radiate negative or hurtful qualities and need to make available the choice to reorient ourselves and “dial in” a different mood state, quality of consciousness, or focus of our attention.Read More “758th Week: The Importance and Power of Presence”
One of the things that most of us find challenging is to manage uncertainty. It’s a natural response to be uncomfortable with not knowing what’s going to happen next or where we are headed, individually and collectively. For some people, finding conspiracy theories offers an experience of “knowing what’s going on” that calms the discomfort most of us feel around uncertainly. For others, anxiety becomes a constant companion and they have difficulty truly soothing themselves. For yet others, becoming numb and shutting down is their natural response to constant and mounting uncertainty.
Also, I want to affirm that having a response to uncertainty is certainly normal and not necessarily something that needs the kind of process I’ll describe below, so please be gentle with yourself when circumstances elicit discomfort and anxiety about the future.
As I’ve been thinking about how we can expand our capacity to be uncomfortable and find some degree of equanimity, I found myself thinking about a concept I have taught for many years—a process of uncoupling trauma-based associations, called over-couplings in the Somatic Experiencing® world. Let me define these terms as I did when teaching SE.
Trauma over-couplings are associations that become “glued together” during times of overwhelm or distress. These are individual elements of experience or learnings that actually don’t belong together. One common trauma-based, attachment-oriented over-coupling is: If I do what I want, they (whoever “they” might be) won’t love me. Those two things don’t really belong together and especially so in adult life. Another common trauma-based over-coupling is: Unless I know what’s going on, I won’t be safe. The problem with trauma-based over-couplings is that they predict something that may not, or probably won’t, happen. They often arise from childhood experiences where we were not only ill equipped to have options available to us but when we also weren’t mature enough to understand what was happening.
I’d like to offer one way to deal with these trauma-based over-couplings. I called it “therapeutic dissociation” in my book, Getting Through the Day, but it’s actually a form of uncoupling adult awareness and options from those arising from earlier overwhelming experience.Read More “812th Week: Managing Uncertainty”