891st Week: Settling into Presence

891st Week: Settling into Presence

One of the themes that has woven itself into and through my work for many years now is the importance, and power, of orienting our awareness to the place in us that reveals our core presence. This is a place I’ve written about a number of times. It’s where we discover the ever-present steadiness in us, the place in our wholeness that cannot be disturbed no matter what happens. It’s a reliable and accessible steadiness and is part of our core presence.

The other thing we discover when we settle into our core presence is what I refer to as the “unique energy signature” each and every one of us radiates throughout our body-mind being and out into the world in every moment. It is the “signature” of the presence we bring into the world, and it can be quite helpful to invite ourselves to orient to this aspect of our being. Becoming aware of it offers a way to deepen a sense of grounding and embodied presence, which is a state that stabilizes and supports us no matter what may be happening with, to, or around us.

For this week’s practice in conscious living, I offer the following guided meditation. Please remember that these meditations are offered as a possibility of how you might want to work with this. It’s important that you change whatever doesn’t resonate with you, as we are all “unique energy signatures”, unique expressions of life, and we want to honor our particular way of being in, and moving through, the world.

Read More “891st Week: Settling into Presence”
890th Week: Asking and Receiving

890th Week: Asking and Receiving

 The other day, I puzzled over a dilemma I had with one of the cats who live with me. She needs an asthma inhaler twice a day and for quite a while she has been very cooperative with the process. About a month ago, she began to run away from me and the process became quite arduous. Over many years, I’ve had a habit of asking for help from sources I don’t see but assume are present in this wide world of many dimensions and synchronistic moments. What the sources of help are, I can’t begin to say, but I have found that there are times when helpful responses are available. It may be that they arise from my own intuitive non-conscious awareness, where my questions prompt my own internal knowing that allows answers to pop into the foreground of my awareness.

Whatever the source, one evening, I asked for help around how to invite this particular feline family member more gently into the bathroom in the morning and evening for her inhaler. I woke up the next morning with a new plan around how to engage her without all the running away. It worked that morning and has worked ever since and she now again goes to the bathroom before I do and waits for me. 

Again, I don’t know if the answers I tend to get when I ask for help are my own non-conscious wisdom popping up or if they are inspirations received from sources I can’t perceive. It doesn’t really matter. The key seems to be to ask and then to be open to receive input. I think that being receptive and then responsive, i.e., to act on the information received, supports a “conversation” with a wider source of inspiration, be that our own deep wisdom or some collective or other source.

Read More “890th Week: Asking and Receiving”
889th Week: Embracing Wholeness with Kindness

889th Week: Embracing Wholeness with Kindness

Note: At the bottom of this written practice there is a recording of it, if you would prefer to listen. In the practices that contain a guided meditation, please remember never to listen to these recorded meditations when driving or working with dangerous machinery.

One of the themes I’ve noticed in my work in recent years is an increasing emphasis on inviting clients to notice their wholeness, and on accepting the fact that our human wholeness includes aspects of ourselves that we don’t particularly like. This means acknowledging and accepting these aspects of self, recognizing that we can’t remove or eliminate parts of our human wholeness. 

One metaphor I use for managing wholeness when we’re in touch with things about ourselves that we want to hide or exorcise is a rainbow. We can’t take a color out of the rainbow, even if we don’t like it. Another metaphor is the foreground/background dynamic I’ve written about a number of times, where aspects of our wholeness are sometimes in the foreground of our awareness and behavior and then sometimes in the background. Whatever moves into the foreground can be invited into the background and whatever lives in the background can be invited forward.

In addition to becoming aware of and engaging more consciously the foreground/background dynamic inherent in our wholeness, one of the practices I’ve encouraged people to engage is to imagine that they put a gentle arm around parts of themselves that they don’t like. This would include aspects of themselves that generate shame or discomfort of some other kind, ways of being that they see in themselves that they swore they would never express, responses and behaviors that embarrass them or that they dislike intensely. We can’t escape our wholeness, but we can learn to relate to this fact of being with kindness and gentleness rather than with criticism, aggression, and anger.

And so, for this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore the following guided meditation and notice what works for you and what doesn’t. Please be sure to allow and track mixed feelings, as they are inherent in our wholeness. The key is to bring awareness to them without having to do anything with them right now.

Read More “889th Week: Embracing Wholeness with Kindness”
888th Week: Drawing on Nature’s Presence

888th Week: Drawing on Nature’s Presence

Note: At the bottom of this written practice there is a recording of it, if you would prefer to listen. In the practices that contain a guided meditation, please remember never to listen to these recorded meditations when driving or working with dangerous machinery.

As I sit in Central Park, one of the great gifts of this time is that I can soak in the steady and quiet presence of the large trees that surround me. Above and beyond the beneficial chemicals that the trees naturally emit, and above and beyond the oxygen they offer in the process of their own respiration, there is also the radiating quality of their steady stature and strength. Even though I’m sure that I project onto and into them qualities I imagine or need, I sense that the presence and qualities they exude are not all from my imagination. What I feel in my body is a deep response to the gifts offered by the trees, which include the physical and emotional nourishment I receive from the time spent with them.

This got me to thinking about all the different aspects of nature that we encounter all the time if we are lucky enough to either live in the country or to be able to spend time outdoors in parks, near lakes, the ocean, and more if we live in an urban setting. Because I live in New York City, Central Park has been an important resource for me, a place I can go and soak in the gifts of nature’s qualities. There are other parks, as well, and all of them offer gifts of healthy nourishment and well-being to those of us who are urban dwellers.

For this week’s practice, I invite you to become even more aware of the aspects of nature that support your sense of steadiness, grounding, upliftment, well-being, contentment, and more. For example, there may be boulders or other stone people in your immediate environment, perhaps in your backyard if you have a yard with your home. As you lean on them, or look at them, notice their steady presence, notice what it’s like soak in their solidity, their strength. Or, there may be birds and you find that you can imagine being one of them, flying over the landscape. Notice what you experience in your body as you do this. There may be bodies of water where you can find inspiration and where you may even be able to swim, kayak, or in other ways engage the water directly. You can even connect with clouds or with the wind currents that flow around the planet, imagining that you have that freedom of movement and then noticing what happens in your body.

Read More “888th Week: Drawing on Nature’s Presence”
2022 September Meditation

2022 September Meditation

This year, we focus on frequencies and on the impact of resonating with particular qualities. The focus for September is on affection and the possibility of resonating with the heart intention of “I choose love”.

For those who prefer to have images with their meditation, here’s the link to the YouTube version of the meditation:

887th Week: Orienting to Lovingkindness

Note: At the end of this written practice is a recording of the Lovingkindness meditation. Please remember never to listen to recorded meditations while driving or using dangerous machinery.

The practice at the center of this week’s offering is heart-oriented. I’ve written many times about the importance of accessing and listening to the “heart-brain”, as it has a different take on many things compared to what the “head-brain” perceives and understands.

In our current political climate, characterized by a style of interaction that began 30 to 40 years ago, there is a new habit of thinking about the “other” in deeply negative terms with labels such as “devils”, “traitors”, “enemies”. This style of interaction has moved about as far from heart-centered styles of perception and interaction as possible. In the years before the current style of political conversation started, people understood that there are disagreements about policies, but this didn’t lead to a direct attack on the characteristics and attributes of colleagues. 

All this got me to thinking about the importance of remembering that we are one human family and that we need each other in order to survive. It also orients me to the practice of lovingkindness, where I can remember and affirm that all living beings want the same thing—to be free from suffering and to be happy. It’s sometimes hard to access this awareness when it feels like we have lost the ability to disagree with one another without an attack and alienation as part of that disagreement.

For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to orient to lovingkindness, if you aren’t doing this kind of practice already. This means to remember that anyone and everyone you encounter along the way wants the same thing. It can be helpful to remember that people who tend go attack are often being driven by fear. 

Here’s one version of Lovingkindness practice that I have on my website:

How to use this Meditation Exercise:

It’s been my experience that doing this meditation once or twice a week, when you have time to really sit with it and enter into the spirit of what it touches, can have a powerful healing effect over time. Doing it regularly in this way creates a state of mind that promotes greater self-acceptance, compassion, tolerance, and ease with ourselves and also with others. It also offers a way to experience and honor mixed feelings while continuing to open your heart. (Note: Doing this practice doesn’t preclude feeling outrage or the need to take action on behalf of social and environmental justice…) If you choose to experiment with this meditation, give it several months to have an effect and notice how you feel as you use it over time.