Being with

I recognize that in my showing up in the world, I encounter strong emotion. My sympathetic nervous system becomes activated. It doesn’t take much! The sound of the bedroom door opening as my partner walks into the room when I am relaxed or nearly asleep. The arrival of a text from one of my sisters. A look of disapproval from my father.

Today I entered a space of clarity about that. The history, the content doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is activation in my body. And if I want to live with ease, to be able to step up, as Keb’ Mo’ says…to let my light shine, let my love show, step into my greatness, I need to be with the activation. I need to teach my nervous system to regulate. I can learn to open and be a spacious container for all that is here. I can build the muscle of my parasympathetic nervous system response.


Adapted from Peter Levine Healing Trauma

To help discover your own rhythms and trust your own innate capacity to heal.

Bring something into your space that brings you a sense of comfort, something special to you.

Sitting comfortably. Sensing the support of the back of the chair on your back. Feel it physically.

Sensing how the bottom of the chair supports your body. Letting yourself rest into that support.

Aware of clothing on skin, and muscles beneath.

Eyes open.

Gaze at your object and slowly go back and forth between your body and what you observe with your eyes.

You may be aware of the image or the object, and seeing it with your eyes, with your body experience is in the background.

Then, shift awareness so the image recedes and you become more aware of your body sensations.

Ask yourself: Does this image or object make me feel more at ease, more grounded, more centered? What is the physical sensation that tells me that I am more at ease.

Shift back and forth at your own pace between the object and the sensation in your body. Allow your focus to shift to an inner sense of where the comfort is experienced in your body. Take some time to explore the nuances of these sensations.

For example, as you gaze at the photo or object, what is it that let’s you know that delight is more than just a thought. Where does it begin. Perhaps some tense muscles let go. Or maybe a spaciousness or warmth around your upper back, neck or heart. Perhaps you were feeling anxious initially, and perhaps it has changed in some small way. Anxious feels like what? And follow the change.

Adjust your experience to fit your needs. Vary the rhythm, for example.


I don’t know what to do about this strong emotion. It comes on very strong sometimes. It is why so many of us do not live near our families of origin, either communicating in small doses, or not at all. And this is one of the sad places, where our society’s foundation has become unstable.

Where there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person. Where there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the home. Where there is harmony in the home, there is honor in the nation…

I continue to practice being with. Whatever is here, I welcome it.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Keb’ Mo’: This world is ready and waiting for you to break on through…Your the only one like you. Step on up. Step into your greatness…There’s a place that you will rise up to. No one else can do what you do. Get out the way and let your light shine. Let your love show. ūüé∂

you’ll find the people of this city to be likewise

A stranger walked from the high road toward the gates of a new city.

By the side of the road sat¬†an old, wise woman who hailed the traveler, “Welcome.”

“What kind of people are they who live¬†here?” the traveler asked.

“Well, how did you find them in the home city you left?” asked the¬†wise woman.

“They were gossips, mean spirited, often selfish,” he stated. “Difficult to get along¬†with.”

“You’ll find the people of the city to be likewise,” she said.

A second stranger passed by later, welcomed by the old woman, asking the same question. 

“What kind of people are they who live here?” the traveler asked.

“How did you find them in the¬†home city you left?”

“Oh, they were fine people, industrious, usually helpful, open minded, easy¬†to get along with.”

“You’ll find this city to be likewise.”¬†

From a Tara Brach talk

new year 2021

How to heal. How to hold the immense suffering.

IMCW New Year Retreat 2020 – 2021 Q&A Session, December 30, 2020

“If we think we’re a self holding the world’s suffering, it will be too much.” Tara Brach

Tara goes on to explain that we can open ourselves to be the heart of the universe holding the suffering, that it’s not a separate self holding it.

We can create the openness that has room for the pain.

One of the most powerful practices for this is Tonglen, a Tibetan Buddhist practice for creating an openness that has room for the pain.

Breathing in and letting ourselves be touched by the realness of the pain, our own pain and others.

Breathing out and letting that pain be held by the spaciousness and vastness of this world.

We continue this rhythm, breathing through it. We take care not to hold the pain. If you’re taking in the pain, letting it out and letting it be held by the love in this universe.

And, more and more we might find that our heart space has room for it all.


another learning from Tara from this session:

What to do when overwhelmed and you can’t access your practice, your center or the care of your community. Something to practice everyday…to build resource for challenging times.

Think of someone who has your back, who you really trust. You can feel their love and care. Someone who brings comfort. Actually see their eyes and sense they’re right there with you.

Sense them looking at you with love.

Sense what you most would want to hear from them, what would most comfort you.

Hear the words.

Notice what happens in your body, mind and spirit.

This can be a beautiful bridge to our own awake awareness, when it is difficult to get there.

When we were very young, we really needed that someone else. Sometimes, we still do.