860th Week: Nurturing Your Internal Infrastructure
Recently, I found myself thinking about the complex infrastructure that allows us all to connect on platforms like Zoom, that allow us to have the internet in all its complexity. I also thought about the infrastructure that allows our communities to function with roads, bridges, traffic signals, and everything else that keeps us organized and makes the complexities of living together run more smoothly.
This also got me to thinking about our internal infrastructure. Physically, our skeleton is one form of internal infrastructure. All the other aspects of our physicality are part of the bodily infrastructure that allows us to be here. Then, there’s the internal infrastructure of our nervous system and psyche, the means by which we move through life grounded, regulated, and steady—or, at least we hope we are able to move through life in this way.
Just as we have to attend to the various infrastructures of living in our modern world, we also have to attend to the internal infrastructure that allows us to re-center ourselves when life serves up challenges and experiences we neither anticipated nor were prepared to meet.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to explore even more deeply the ways in which you orient to an internal steadiness, find your internal center of gravity, re-center yourself, and regulate your nervous system. All these practices help to cope with present-day life in which changes and challenges are normal parts of what any of us may encounter on any given day.
Below is a brief outline of how you might structure this practice. As with all these offerings, please make this one your own, adapting and changing it to meet your particular situation and preferences.
- Begin by finding a place where you can sit for a while without being disturbed. I recommend sitting rather than lying down in order to support awareness and focus. If you aren’t able to sit, no problem. Find whatever physical position allows you to be alert and relaxed at the same time.
- Next, follow an out-breath down into your body and notice where you arrive in your natural “landing place” when the out-breath is complete. This is likely to be your internal center of gravity, the place where I believe we each find our “core presence”.
- Often, when settling into your core presence, you may discover that it contains a quality of steadiness that is always present, no matter what may be happening. This core and its steadiness are aspects of your being that cannot be disturbed no matter what’s going on in your life. They represent an internal space where you can rest and renew yourself.
- There may also be a quality of quiet or ease as you rest your awareness in your core presence. Notice whatever qualities may come into your awareness and, if they offer you a positive experience, hang out with them for a little bit. And, if you aren’t able to experience a sense of core presence, ask yourself, “What would I experience if I could sense my core presence?”
- Once you’ve settled into this internal center of gravity, take a few moments to notice your skeleton. It’s your internal scaffolding of support. Then, notice the rest of your body and, also, your largest organ, your skin—that beautiful, living envelope that enfolds and contains your whole body.
- Next, notice the surface supporting you right now and notice how your body receives this support. Pay attention to any places in your body that settle into the support under you and hang out for a bit with the experience of settling. If you find there is tension as well, invite the tension to notice the settling. Simply let things be as they are as the surface under you continues to offer support.
- Coming back to the steadiness that is always in your core presence, take a moment or two to offer acknowledgment and appreciation to your body. It allows you to be in this world, even when the body itself has challenges or difficulties. Acknowledgment and appreciation represent frequencies (energies and qualities) that offer nourishment and support.
- As with all these practices, please leave room for mixed feelings. Because we are beings of wholeness, there is always the possibility to experience mixed feelings and it’s important to make room for them if they are present. If you do run into mixed feelings, after acknowledging take a moment to be with your internal steadiness in whatever way you are able to access or imagine it.
- Finally, before orienting yourself back into the environment around you, bring your awareness to your heartspace. Remember that the heart brain has different perceptions than does the head brain, so take a moment to notice what comes into your awareness when you take time to become aware of resonating with your heartspace for a moment or two.
- Then, when you feel complete, come all the way back by wiggling your fingers and toes, orienting to what’s around you.
As with all these practices, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through on your stream of consciousness without your having to do anything about them.