Whether we orient ourselves to climate change and the environment, racial injustice, species degradation, power grabs, hunger, or disease, our global Internet connections bring into awareness the immensity of suffering happening on our planet at this time. It also underscores that we are all in this together, given that we travel around the world, share economic and cultural activities, that we are one human family living with countless other earth-kin, on our precious planet that has its limits.
It can become overwhelming to recognize that there’s nowhere to go to escape our interdependence and interbeing. The fact is that we are bound to one another. As the African word “ubuntu” states, “I am me because we are.” Ubuntu invites us to treat others with respect and to acknowledge that we are irrevocably dependent on one another. Here’s a Ted-x talk that speaks to actions that arise from an awareness of ubuntu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrnhdY0B7Cg
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore the principles of Ubuntu more deeply, in whatever way works for you and within whatever philosophical or spiritual orientation resonates with you. Because ubuntu focuses on humanity, I also invite you to expand your definition and experience of family to include all our earth-kin, all the life that arises from the natural world that is our true home.Read More “832nd Week: We Are All in This Together”
Sitting in Central Park listening to early morning birdsong, surrounded by the gift of lush green and inhaling the fragrance of Locust trees laden with their summer flowers, I find myself soaking it all in with a grateful heart. With so much strife and suffering in the world, these quiet moments with nature represent a powerful gift, a time of restoration and deep nourishment.
As I sit here, my thoughts turn to a conversation I had recently with a group of colleagues. We were talking about practices that enhance a focus on heart intelligence and heart perception, and how different a heart-based orientation is when compared to experiencing the world primarily through a head, or brain-based, orientation. Read More “7l7th Week: Thinking with Your Heart”
Often as I walk through Central Park, I thank workers along the way for the help they offer in keeping the park a wonderful place to spend time. Yesterday I thanked a worker and he said, “We love this park, so we love this work.” This morning I thanked a garbage man for helping to make our city more livable. I always thank the postal carriers at both my office and at home when I see them, along with people from all the various delivery services that bring packages filled with things that make my life work. Without these people, life would be very different.
As I move through New York City, I pay attention to people whose job it is to support the rest of us, people who help make our lives easier to navigate. For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to do the same and, if you are already someone who thanks people along the way, ramp it up a bit and see how that feels. Gratitude brings its gifts not only to those we thank but to us, as well. It has the power to lift our spirits, as well as those who receive gratitude from us.
Our sense of well-being is nourished when we engage in expressing gratitude to the people around us. We are more likely to remember that we are part of a community and that, without the whole community, we wouldn’t be able to live our lives in the ways we do. This awareness of community can also remind us of the underlying interdependence that is fundamental to human existence. We depend on one another for just about every aspect of our lives and taking the time to thank people we don’t know and may never see again helps to reinforce an awareness of just how much we need one another.Read More “744th Week: Expressing Gratitude”
Sitting in Central Park on a quiet Sunday morning, I find myself wondering what to offer for this week’s practice. One of the things most of us need at this point are ways to settle ourselves, reliable ways to re-center in the presence of so many adaptations required in this world of both a pandemic and an essential confrontation with racial and economic inequities that have been accepted as normal for far too long.
As I’ve been doing lately, I’d like to offer some practices that might be of help during stressful times. As a collective, we face necessary demands for fundamental social change even as we adapt to learning to manage a pandemic we don’t yet fully understand, and these inescapable realities are sources of stress for most of us.
Drawing from my hypnosis background as well as Somatic Experiencing and EMDR, here are some practices I’ve found useful over the years:Read More “800th Week: Some Approaches to Ease Stress”
Going through old files from my office, I came across an article from 1972 which described a process created by Yvonne Martine and taught to me by my mother and grandmother when I was a young person. It’s about a process of “breathing color” to create healing, physical and emotional vitality, and other outcomes. When I reread the article, I decided to begin to use the process more regularly as a form of “energy hygiene” for personal use, as well as a form of subtle activism for collective healing.
Reading the article reminded me that various colors relate to healing and nourishing different aspects of the body and psyche. My limited understanding of working with color is that each color represents a particular frequency and I know from my experience that shifting frequencies/qualities can shift a mood, a physical symptom, the quality in a room, and more. My first recent experience with breathing pink, which is the most fundamental of Yvonne’s color breathing exercises, arose recently when I woke up two mornings in a row feeling discouraged and in a funk over our collective situation. It’s very unusual for me to go into a funk, so I was glad to have a practice I could engage that might make a difference. After two days of breathing pink, I awoke on the third day and was back to my usual self. I could only imagine that breathing pink shifted the frequency with which I was resonating and allowed me to return to my more normal way of being.
My experience is that this particular color—rosy pink, specifically—naturally stimulates and orients itself to our heart intelligence and perceptions. As I’ve explored the heart’s perception and intelligence over recent years, it’s become clear to me that the heart sees and interprets experience quite differently than does the head brain. I sense that rosy pink supports cultivating the heart’s perspective and I feel that’s one of the most important things any of us can do at this time. The more I have spent time breathing and imagining rosy pink, the more at ease I have become, even in the presence of challenges. The effect is tangible and noticeable and I can’t shake the feeling that it has to do with having an even more open heart as a result of resonating with the frequency of the rosy pink.Read More “809th Week: Energy Hygiene and Subtle Activism”