Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

800th Week: Some Approaches to Ease Stress

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:

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

790th Week: Working Together—Cultivating A Sense of Connection

The contention around whether to wear masks or not during this pandemic brings into vivid focus what happens when we forget that we are all in this together and that we need to work together to help prevent unnecessary illness and death. So, this week’s practice in conscious living is going to be somewhat shorter and to the point:

  • For the coming week, I invite you to notice what you are doing to contribute to the welfare and well-being of all of us. That might include wearing a mask, which infectious disease scientists have said again and again will reduce the spread of the virus. It might include donating money to a cause you care about, marching in a protest, or doing volunteer work in your community. It might mean checking in on elderly neighbors to make sure that they have what they need, or creating a friend network, if you haven’t done so already, so that everyone has someone to turn to in case of need.
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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

789th Week: Accessing Optimal Futures

An area of interest I’ve had for more than 40 years is the creative possibility inherent in what quantum physics has to say about the world. Thirty-eight years ago, I began to work actively with what I called the optimal future self, for want of a more precise term. This work had to do with inviting people to access the part of themselves that had already resolved whatever they sought to achieve, heal, or develop and depended, as it does to this day, on accessing the body state, the lived-in felt-sense, of the optimal future self

At that time, I used the word “future” to imply something that wasn’t yet on board, even though in quantum terms past, present, and future come together in an ever-present now. It’s as though we can reach into a timeless realm of possibility and extract something that has an impact on our present-day lives. Over all these years, I have been personally affected by this practice in powerful ways and have watched countless others have beneficial outcomes as a result of reaching into “as-yet-to-be-realized” possibilities. 

Because of these experiences, I find myself orienting to optimal futures during this time of deep and necessary demands for change in how we humans live with each other and with our planet. The results of the current pandemic, the devastating impact of the  history of white supremacy in the United States, and the crisis we humans have created with our planetary environment all speak to me about an urgent need to orient to optimal possibilities for our future on the planet.

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

788th Week: Cultivating Steadiness

One of my favorite dynamics when working with clients or managing my own internal process is to notice what’s in the foreground of awareness and what’s in the background. For me, there are certain qualities that are always in the background of my being, whether I’m aware of them or not. 

One of these that is also always present in my body, within the core presence that is always inside me even when I’m not aware of it, is the quality of steadiness. Whenever I work with myself or anyone else, I inevitably invite bringing awareness to this ever-present steadiness before jumping into anything else. Also, related to the reference I made in last week’s practice about tapping into universal archetypes, I hold the belief in, and experience of, what I call the Spirit of Steadiness—what you might think of as the Archetype of Steadiness, the embodying presence that radiates this quality as its primary expression.

For this week’s practice, I’d like to share with you a “foreground/background” practice of bringing the steadiness that is always there in the background into the foreground of awareness as well as your embodied felt-sense. I’ll share it the way I’m used to doing, but I hope you’ll adapt what’s below to match what works best for you:

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

787th Week: Orienting to Solution-Focused Awareness and Helpful Archetypes

A friend of mine has been pretty consistently putting posts on Facebook that ask people to focus on what they are forrather than what they are against. These posts have been very helpful in reminding all of us that what we feed grows and that, when we spend our internal time fighting against something, we actually feed the very thing to which we object. From an energy perspective, it’s as though we’re actually turning up the volume on things we’d rather not hear at all.

One example that comes to mind at this time is the pervasive presence of expressions of lack of empathy for each other. Decisions by some lawmakers, treatment of neighbors by other neighbors, seeming lack of concern for one another’s well-being if we aren’t “part of the tribe” are found on every side these days. Rather than spending time expressing helpless rage at these conditions, I want to invite us to explore some alternatives.

First, there are approaches that convey the message, “What you fight, you feed.” This doesn’t mean not to take action when action is needed to change things or to intervene. Instead, it speaks to the habits of mind and self-talk we carry around with us internally every day, all day. From a Solution-Focused perspective (solution-focused therapy is a more modern branch of psychology), we are invited to look at, and to look for, what’s going right. For our practice here, I would add that we can ask ourselves to pay attention to the qualities we would like to see expressed more generously in ourselves and in the world around us.

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