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”
Walking to an appointment the other day, I passed a man who carried a large manila envelope filled with what looked like x-rays. Whatever they may actually have been, I imagined that he was going to or from a doctor’s appointment. That got me to thinking about how everyone has a story, everyone has experiences and circumstances at some point in their lives that challenge them as I imagined this man might be being challenged in his life right now.
This also got me to thinking about how important it is to remember that everyone—every human and every other living being—has the capacity to suffer and wants to be free from suffering. I found myself thinking about the importance of cultivating and strengthening my capacity for empathy, to nurture a habit of remembering that even people with whom I fervently disagree also want to be free from suffering, just as I do. What I find, again and again, is that insisting on orienting to empathy—which has nothing to do with agreeing with someone—can be very hard at times.Read More “746th Week: Everyone Has A Story”
Sitting in Central Park early in the morning, I notice the gift of being in the presence of the silence of trees. As I look at patterns of light and shadow playing on their trunks and branches, and on the ground around them, something in me settles even more. The silence, steadiness, and stillness of the trees Read More “Week 642: Finding Stillness”