As I read posts on Facebook and listen to newscasts and talk shows, I am constantly surprised at the intensity and harshness of some of the language that people now use as part of a debate or conversation about charged issues. More than once, Read More “Week 658: The Impact of Words”
In a recent conversation with a colleague, she mentioned reading an article that focused on the fact that what we perceive, where we focus our “seeing”, has a concrete effect in our world. This reminded me of the quantum physics findings around the “observer effect”. The observer effect speaks to the fact that the observer of an experiment seems to have a powerful and important impact on the outcome of the experiment. What the observer expects turns out to be what actually happens.
In the article my colleague mentioned, the author encouraged people to see what is good and right in their world as, in this way, they promote those qualities and outcomes, drawing on the dynamics of the observer effect. This reminded me of something I’ve shared before in a number of experiments on the dynamics of what is called subtle activism. Read More “693rd Week: Orienting to “Seeing What’s Good””
Walking along in Central Park one morning on my way to my office, I found myself seeing things that I haven’t noticed over the nearly 19 years I’ve been making this daily journey. Somehow, a cluster of trees caught my eye and I was astonished to notice Read More “Week638: Deeper Noticing”
Walking to work one morning, I was in an area of Central Park where dogs gather for their morning playtime. As often as possible, I walk off the pathways, so I was in the middle of the doggie play area when a dog went by whom I hadn’t seen before. Both hind legs had been amputated and he had one artificial leg in the back to accompany his two front legs. What struck me was how agile he was and how he enjoyed sniffing the ground, moving around with relative ease. His situation looked so different from the many three-legged dogs I see in the park, and I enjoyed watching him move around, nose to the ground, doing regular “dog things”.
As I watched him, I thought about the power inherent in being adaptive and flexible in the presence of life’s challenges, changing circumstances, and unexpected developments. For many of us, the immediate response to change or an unexpected challenge is to pull in and constrict. When we do this, our brain’s natural ability to generate and notice options often goes off-line, leaving us with little to no flexibility.Read More “750th Week: Generating Flexibility”
Sitting in Central Park among my tree friends, I found myself asking the following question: How do I help people understand that the earth and everything on it isn’t inert, isn’t passive and lacking in consciousness? How to I offer a perspective that holds the awareness that everything is earth-kin and that everything is conscious, alive, and aware in its own ways? Many of us raised in the Western world were taught that our planet was filled with “resources”, available for our use, rather than the more indigenous-oriented position that everything on and of our earth is alive and is valued kin.
Here’s a quotation from an enchanting book, “Becoming Animal”, by David Abram that captures some of what we modern people have lost in our relationship to nature, our earth, and our earth-kin:
“Our chest, rising and falling, knows that the strange verb ‘to be’ means more simply ‘to breathe’; it knows that the maples and the birches are breathing, that the beaver pond inhales and exhales in its own way, as do the stones and the mountains and the pipes coursing water through the ground under the city. The lungs know this secret as well as any can know it: that the inward and the outward depths partake of the same mystery, that as the unseen wind swirls within us, so it also whirls all around us, bending the grasses and lofting the clouds even as it lights our own sensations. The vocal cords, stirred by that breath, vibrate like spiderwebs or telephone wires in the breeze, and the voice itself, laughing and murmuring, joins its song to the water gurgling under the grate.”Read More “805th Week: Everything is Alive, Everything is Earth-Kin”