For those who prefer a visual meditation along with the audio, here’s a link to the YouTube version of this month’s guided meditation…
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”
Recently, a colleague posted an article to Facebook that more deeply explores the importance and power of cultivating kindness. The article is by Sharon Salzberg, the esteemed Buddhist teacher, and it offers suggestions about how we might create a deeper and more readily accessible relationship with kindness, even in the presence of cruelty. She also describes how kindness affects our internal quality of life and state of being, something that I have experienced in my own relationship with kindness.
Here’s the link to her article, “How to Be Kind When Confronted with Cruelty”, and I feel it’s worth your time to read it and explore her wise suggestions. Even for those of us who practice kindness regularly, what Sharon offers in this article can nourish and deepen that treasured relationship.Read More “771st Week: Meeting Cruelty with Kindness”
Somewhere in my meanderings through Facebook, reading, and listening to talks, I ran across a statement that captured my attention. I believe it was Jon Stewart who talked about how the human species is fundamentally “tribal” Read More “Week 656: Expanding the Tribe”
I wrote last week about drawing on steadiness as a form of subtle activism. Another quality that is sorely needed within our human family is the expression of kindness. Here in the United States, we’ve had an unfortunate shift toward a lack of civility toward one another, and it seems that there is a lessening of kindness in many places on the planet. This lack of kindness, and an accompanying lack of care, extends to our other-than-human earth-kin and to the planet in general.
Kindness and care are expressions of the heart more than the head. They are heart-centered responses and it’s possible to strengthen the tendency to express kindness and care when we offer ourselves practices that orient to heart perception and intelligence. I’ve written about this a lot and continue to return to it because of its central role in helping us to be with one another in more compassionate ways.
Drawing on a combination of information from HeartMath (www.heartmath.org) and other sources, I’ve spent a good bit of time orienting to my “heart brain” and to checking in with what my heart thinks about various issues. How often the heart perceives things differently from how the head brain understands them and how helpful it can be to have both perspectives available!Read More “841st Week: Revisiting Kindness”
There is no question that we live in stressful times and that the challenges facing humanity and the planet are of global proportions. Those of us who pay attention to science reports and environmental conditions understand the dangers we have helped to generate around environmental degradation. Those of us who pay attention to social sciences and to social movements understand that humanity is currently going through a powerful time of polarization between people who are deeply afraid of, and feel threatened by, certain “others” and people who are comfortable experiencing connection to all members of their global family.
Collectively, we are in a time of intense activation, from a trauma perspective, and one of the key antidotes to this kind of activation is finding out how to re-center, re-ground, and re-stabilize ourselves. When our brain is triggered into a threat response, we perceive through that lens and it can be very challenging to re-center and settle ourselves down. Fortunately, there is help available, as many people currently share ways to help ourselves find that place inside us that is always steady, even when we feel quite unstable.Read More “739th Week: Re-centering, Re-centering, Re-centering”