For those who would prefer a guided meditation with visual images, here’s a link to the youtube version: https://youtu.be/vP9ILva4lh4
I just spent a week teaching at the Cape Cod Institute in Massachusetts and find myself filled with a celebration of green trees and fresh, cool air. As I contemplate returning to New York City on what will be a hot summer’s day in the city, I find myself deeply grateful for the ability we have to carry images and impressions with us wherever we go. I can take the green along with me, and the generous remembered presence of birds, and, at times, deep quiet.
This all gets me to thinking yet again about the importance of where we place our awareness, and with what kinds of memories and impressions we nourish ourselves. Where we focus our awareness matters, and has a direct and noticeable impact on the resilience and health of our body-mind being. Read More “719th Week: Taking Time to Renew Yourself”
As I did some exercise in Central Park the other day, I came to a tree that I wanted to greet, so I put my hand on it and kind of leaned in and thanked the tree for being such an important presence in my life. I also asked the tree to extend my appreciation to all the other trees in the park. Together, they create an environment in which we humans can find a degree of comfort and inspiration. As I talked with the tree, a woman walked by and said, “I do that, too!” As I turned to face her, she said it again and we both commented on how lucky we are to have the park as a living part of our urban lives.
Continuing on, I noticed how many other elements of the park speak to me and offer a sense of belonging to something so much more than my individual human self. I noticed, and have as park friends, some of the large boulders that are found throughout Central Park. I also noted and appreciated, as I always do, the earth under my feet, this precious earth. Then, there are the squirrels, hawks, pigeons, rats, and other wildlife who inhabit the park and who appear here and there as I walk along. No insects to honor at this time of year, but they’ll be back come Spring.Read More “825th Week: Offering Appreciation to Nature”
As I thought about what to write for this week’s practice in conscious living, my mind drifted to the importance of remembering to include our heart’s intelligence and perceptions as we move through daily life and, especially, as we move through challenging times. And, these are challenging times, indeed, all around the planet.
From a spiritual perspective, I experience our current national and world situation to be an expression of our need to mature as a species. On all sides, I see examples of people and countries making choices between recognizing and acting on our inevitable interdependence—our underlying oneness—versus grasping onto individual satisfaction and gain at the expense of others and the environment.
One of the ways I help myself return to an awareness of my relatedness to, and dependence on, all the life around me is to orient to my heart’s intelligence and perception. To support this perspective and direct experience, I regularly tap into sources of inspiration offered by people who live within an awareness of oneness, with the recognition that all life on this planet has the same mother/source, has inherent value, and has a right to be as free from suffering as possible.Read More “748th Week: Coming Back to Heart Intelligence”
For many of us, the idea that we can’t truly love others until we love ourselves is a long-standing piece of advice. Lately, I’ve been hearing more about self-compassion and the research being done on it and its companion, self-kindness. When I heard someone talk about self-kindness, I began to think about how readily we will, at times, treat ourselves in ways we would never imagine treating someone else and that got me to thinking even more deeply about the importance of self-kindness. I also got to thinking about how, when we are accustomed to treating ourselves with compassion and kindness, we are more likely to automatically express these qualities to others.
Without question, most of us walk around with a certain degree of negative self-talk going on, even when we don’t pay much attention to it. Developing a habit of orienting to self-compassion and self-kindness asks us to pay attention to our self-talk and intervene when we discover that we are treating ourselves in unkind ways, replacing critical or negative thoughts with those that reflect active expressions of self-compassion and self-kindness.
One of the things that helps support being kinder to ourselves is something I’ve written about before—the inevitability of our wholeness and the foreground/background dynamic that unfolds in our process from moment to moment. When we can accept that we have a wholeness that contains everything a human is capable of expressing or doing, we can recognize that our ongoing practice can be one of noticing how we move through the world and then learning ways to bring into the foreground of our experience those qualities and states of being that reflect and express compassion and kindness.Read More “901st Week: The Importance of Self-Compassion and Self-Kindness“