745th Week: Expanding Our Sense of “Kin”
One of the primary practices I follow on a daily basis is to move through the world reminding myself that everyone and everything I encounter along the way is, in some way, “kin”. All are part of this planet’s life and nothing I see or engage with in the course of my daily activities is outside this planet’s origins. One of the things I’ve noticed, as a result of this practice of remembering that I am related to everyone and everything around me is that it has nurtured a deepened sense of connection. It doesn’t really matter what I may feel connected to in any given moment. The underlying and overall experience is one of never really being alone.
Indigenous peoples have understood and lived this perspective naturally, and there are other non-indigenous teachers who also hold this perspective. Among them is David Spangler, a mystic and spiritual teacher who was part of the early years of Findhorn, in Scotland. Through an organization, Lorian, David has published a number of books that speak to these kinds of experiences. There is also Daniel Foor, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with ancestors but now also focuses on the theme of animism, an approach to life that says all are kin. The perspective we share is that nothing is outside the collective life of this planet, nothing is without its own inherent value and right to be acknowledged and respected.Read More “745th Week: Expanding Our Sense of “Kin””
Week 637: Celebrating Nature’s Intelligence – Generating Awe
Walking home through Central Park one evening, I found myself thinking about something I had read about a kind of tree whose name I can’t remember. It’s a tree that is from ages past, long past. It came into being during a time when trees required mates in order to reproduce and the powerful, and sad, thing is that there are no more mates for this tree. It is the last one of its kind in the world. Read More “Week 637: Celebrating Nature’s Intelligence – Generating Awe”
780th Week: Returning to the Present Moment
As I write this practice, we are entering a week in the United States where we are being asked to practice a high degree of “social distancing”. For many of us, that means doing our work on-line. For some of us, it means staying home and not interacting with other people for now. The purpose of this need for many of us to not be in contact with people any more than we absolutely have to is to slow down the transmission of the current coronavirus outbreak so that our health-care system isn’t overwhelmed.
Without question, these are activating and stressful times, and I wanted to share a couple of practices that I’m using to steady myself. Our collective field of human consciousness is intensely activated and that affects us all. Whenever any one of us can orient to steadiness and ease our own levels of activation, we immediately and automatically contribute that shift to everyone else.
One of the practices I use daily, which I’ve shared before and which comes from the work of Peter Levine, the founder of Somatic Experiencing®, is to make the sound “voo” each morning before I begin the day. In the way I use this process, I take an easy breath and, as I exhale without effort, I make the sound “voo”. When you do this, allow yourself to make the sound in whatever tone allows you to feel it vibrate throughout your abdomen, all the way down to the bottom. Then, when the breath is complete, I take in the next gentle inhalation and make the sound again. I recommend that you do this three times and notice how you feel. Be sure to track your physical sensations and orient to wherever you may feel more settled.Read More “780th Week: Returning to the Present Moment”
911th Week: Orienting to What’s Good News, Honoring Wholeness
With all the suffering going on around the world, and all the harshness and conflict on every front, it’s more important than ever to have sources of good news. Seeking good news doesn’t mean you want to ignore what’s going on. Rather, it acknowledges wholeness and the fact that even when things appear to be terribly wrong, there is always something right or positive, as well.
For this practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore some of the websites that orient to positive news and find the one, or the ones, that resonate with you. There are probably more than are on the list below, but these are sources of good news that I’ve discovered along the way. One of my favorites is Service Space, where you can find Daily Good emails, KarmaTube videos, and more. That said, all the sites listed below offer their own take on good news. I’ve listed them alphabetically…Read More “911th Week: Orienting to What’s Good News, Honoring Wholeness”
871st Week: Honoring and Invoking Emergence
Sitting in Central Park one morning, I thought about an On Being interview I heard about the importance of hope when looking toward what needs to change in our collective world of human presence and activity. As I listened, I thought about the war in Ukraine and about the powerful polarization that exists in my country, the U.S., and also in other countries around the world.
From a spiritual perspective, I interpret this polarization to involve those who, perhaps because of fear, orient to a stance of individual rights, discomfort with “difference”, and what I would call an orientation to separation. And, on the other hand, there are those who orient to collective well-being, interdependence, and an underlying sense of oneness within our human family and with nature. I’m sure there are many people in the middle, but in our seats of power it seems that the polarization expresses itself in fairly distinct ways.
I’ve written before about a dynamic in Nature, emergence, that has given me hope over the years, even in times like these where our human family seems to orient to short-term goals and tribal kinds of interests. What emergence refers to is the tendency of Nature to generate unexpected and unanticipated solutions, creating new options to meet and shift existing conditions. The example I usually offer is how Nature somehow brought together molecules of air that, when combined, created liquid—when oxygen and hydrogen came together to create water. I don’t think anyone could have imagined that air could create liquid and yet our lives depend on this moment of emergence from so long ago.
I think of emergence, in a sense, as Nature’s creative intelligence grappling with and solving challenging problems and issues that arise in the course of life’s unfolding itself. When I look around the world at this time, I find myself thinking a lot about emergence and wondering how to “call on it” to help us resolve all the various ways in which our human family is harming ourselves and the planet.Read More “871st Week: Honoring and Invoking Emergence”
705th Week: Preparing for Change
As we know, the one thing we can depend on in life is change. What I’ve learned in my years as a psychotherapist who specializes in treating trauma is that it makes a big difference if we have time to prepare for change. When life brings unexpected changes, it’s often much more difficult to meet and adapt to those kinds of change in a relatively comfortable way. In my years of teaching Somatic Experiencing, one of the many important things I have learned is that readiness allows our nervous system to meet and move through change in ways that tend to be less traumatic compared to what we experience when something unexpected jumps into our experience. Read More “705th Week: Preparing for Change”