Walking in Central Park a few days ago, I found myself deeply nourished and uplifted by the return of the green and by the powerful wind that accompanied my walk and workout. Again and again, my eyes were drawn to the green, to the beauty of the trees again filling out their leaves, creating patterns of light and shadow that have been missing over the winter season. And, the wind brought with it a sense of invigoration that was, in its own way, quite delicious.
At some point along the way, I also noticed a trumpet player who competed with a singer who has a weekly gathering of children on Saturday mornings. Fortunately, the sound of the trumpet didn’t overpower the singing and guitar playing of the entertainer and his class of young ones. Then, I also noticed the ever-present helicopters that hover over the park these days as a tourist activity, usually beginning sometime around 9am, taking away the silence that is so precious here in the city.
What struck me most is that these sounds didn’t seem to take away from my deep enjoyment of the return of green and the beauty of the tall trees all around me. This got me to thinking about how important it is to notice where our attention is absorbed, where we focus and what we notice. Even though the sounds were obvious, they weren’t in the foreground of my awareness and I also noticed how my lack of irritation allowed both the trumpet and the helicopters to slip into the background. There have been mornings where these kinds of sounds seem to pierce through my wish to drop into silence or into awareness of the beauty around me and irritation takes the place of pleasure. Today, for whatever reason, it was powerfully clear to me that my focus of attention allowed for the pleasure with no hint of irritation.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay even closer attention to what you focus on, where you place your awareness, and what you choose to notice. I could have shifted into dwelling on the helicopters or the trumpet and that would have created a whole different quality of experience. Just as I couldn’t make those situations go away, notice how it is when you are faced with something you can’t change but where you can shift your focus of attention to something else. It might be noise, a smell you don’t like, disruption of some kind—anything that might normally create irritation or some other reaction in you. Then, notice what happens if you shift your awareness to something that inspires, nourishes, or pleases you in some way.Read More “833rd Week: Where We Place Our Attention”
This year, we’ll focus on frequencies, the energy qualities that we embody and express in every moment. Each month, we’ll draw on a different frequency, exploring identifying, accessing, embodying, and deepening awareness of various frequencies.
If you would prefer to explore this meditation with images of nature, here’s our YouTube version:
I am, without question, a creature of habit. There is a place in Central Park where I sit on weekend mornings and do a lot of the writing that shows up here as weekly practices. Because I’m pretty much a regular during seasons that encourage being outdoors, I have come to know others who are also regulars on weekend mornings. One man who works at the restaurant in the park comes by each weekend morning and we have a bit of a chat. One morning, because it rained the day before, he mentioned that he missed seeing me on his way to work… Read More “703rd Week: Supporting A Sense of Connection”
Over the course of the past year, it has disheartened me to see how many people on Facebook and in other social media contexts have become comfortable using language that is attacking rather than curious, inviting, clarifying, or compassionate. Not only are the words being used distressing through their intention to diminish or humiliate other people, but the anger inherent in these posts—anger that doesn’t suggest solutions or options—is decidedly jarring.
In my years of teaching about trauma resolution, I’ve drawn on something one of my dear friends and teachers taught me many years ago… Read More “694th Week: Practicing Mutual Empowerment”