Over the last four months, I’ve gone through an experience that many people have had—the slow decline of a feline animal companion with acute kidney disease. He made it known when it was time to help him leave his body, which fortunately was able to happen at home.
As the time progressed in this shared experience, I found myself delving more and more deeply into loving acceptance of what was happening, allowing grief to accompany love every step along the way. The challenge of this time was to constantly choose love and to be fully present to what unfolded day by day. Throughout this time, I was keenly aware of the countless other people who have been, or were, in exactly the same process I was, slowly shepherding a beloved animal companion from this life. I was also aware of how many of us have taken whatever action was required to meet the unfolding experience, even when those actions were completely outside of our previous experience—our willingness to do whatever was needed to offer comfort and support to our loved ones.
The practice this brought to mind is the presence and power of choice, moment to moment, day by day. The choice I came back to again and again was to meet this experience with my heart—to let love guide each action, and with a deep commitment to honor the needs and experience of my animal family member. I also made the choice to honor the grief I felt and to allow it to be present during those moments when there was nothing else to do but enfold my sweet feline in my arms and my love.Read More “Practice #916: Change and the Power of Choice”
For those who would prefer a guided meditation with visual images, here’s a link to the youtube version: https://youtu.be/vP9ILva4lh4
Recently, I had a conversation with a colleague that revolved around the subject of cultivating an internal sense of safety. We talked about how external safety isn’t a sure thing and, in these uncertain times, doesn’t ring true as a possibility for many people.
My deepest sense, as we talked, was that the only place I could find a reliable sense of safety, and it’s a relative thing, is inside my own embodied core presence. This is because embodied presence is something we carry within us all the time, even when we’re unaware of it.
I’ve talked many times about the dynamic of “foreground/background”. Depending on what we experience in any given moment, feelings of activation, distress, overwhelm, and/or shutdown may have moved into the foreground of our awareness. When this happens, our internal steadiness and embodied core presence slide into the background and we no longer experience these qualities of our inherent being.Read More “813th Week: Cultivating an Internal Sense of Safety”
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”