Rhythm & Respiration

Rhythm & Respiration
Reflecting on nature-based therapy, learning, well-being and value-added life ...

Monday, December 24, 2018

Winter wisdom

      Winter wisdom      

Stars shine brighter on the coldest nights.
As if the harsh wind swollen with ice-shards, sharpens light,
Carving edges and angles until starshine gleams diamond tough.

Hard times rub raw, wearing down fleshy growths.
Daily irritants temper soft living and hone the heart,
Hammering essential character-curves that rise and dip, a roadmap of truth, receiving and reflecting Presence;
Non-essentials chipping away and flowing like sand through the artist’s fingers.
We run from pain, from any semblance of suffering, afraid of the brand it will burn
On our inner selves; we know we will be made different by one deep look at its formidable face.

Perhaps, instead, suffering is a birth of authenticity.
A laser-like burning of dross by a clean, cold scalpel.
Perhaps suffering is a Michelangelo; an eternal eye finding the
Work of art buried within our marble skin, freeing the frank and fearless soul to
Stand and deliver Joy, Love, Presence.

Like three candles bright, the Nativity in my Christmas snow globe houses
Mary, Joseph, and the Child.
Each small statue seems eternally surprised by finding itself straw-deep in a cold stable, eye-fodder for a donkey, a cud-chewing cow, and ruminating sheep.
Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus unified by space and time, each life trajectory merging into utter stillness
(Still, not static; recall that fast-moving spheres appear motionless to our eyes)
The Magnificat yes:
Yes, glory and time joining;
Yes, body and spirit merging;
A still-life surface hiding the workings of proton pathways, elemental orbits, Spirit breath.
Wild joy birthed in a moment: this moment; this eternal movement.

Only in this present moment is joy lived, breathed, gifted.
The past brings only a reflective glow of it; the future only a hope of it;
Joy springs forth in this moment, this breath, this eternal Presence of body, soul, spirit aligned in eternal motion.
To live in each moment—sorrow or not, suffering or not—soul-eyes wide and alert, is riding the eternal current:
Fathomless Presence in a star gleam;
Boundless Love in a Baby;
Unfettered Joy.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Hakalau meditation

Moving from Tiger vision to Horse awareness as a Hakalau meditation  

Ecotherapy grounding exercise

Hakalau meditation is a wonderful way to become present and grounded-in-the-moment. The practice of Hakalau is straightforward: first you choose a fixed point of focus, and then you slowly bring your awareness to your peripheral vision, while continuing to hold your attention on the fixed spot. Finally, you allow your focus to spread out to fully experience peripheral vision, still connecting to the fixed spot, but now within the broadest of visions. Sounds simple, and it is, but Hakalau medication can be powerful and profound.

Animals move between fixed gaze and wide vision throughout their day. Basic survival demands an ability to do this – a predator needs to

be sharply focused on prey … and a prey animal must maintain a soft, broad focus that acts as an environmental scan to pick up any movement of predators. As all animals need both types of vision, they must become expert in moving between these foci, and in using all their body to provide continual feedback. Herd animals—grazers and browsers—have adapted beautiful ways to read their environment; in fact, ‘reading’ is a much more organic process than reading a book! Animal ‘reading’ is much more mutual and connected, not only to herd members, but to the environment itself. For example, horses can pick up increased heart rate and blood pressure from meters away and can pick up vibrations through the sensitive parts of their hooves, too. Their large electro-magnetic cardiac field influences any creature within its wide range. Horses pick up the ‘vibes’ of their herd mates almost instantly.

Chickens and bird flocks function in much the same way. Chickens have focused gaze to see that tiny seed or the movement of a small  bug in the soil in front of them, but respond in milliseconds to a shadow casting over their area—it might just be a predator hawk after a meal. The waft from the wing of one flock mate results in the entire flock scattering. Animals and birds are truly present in their environment.

Being able to move from a narrow focused ‘predator’ gaze to a soft, broad focus of a herd animal is both a necessary skill for life … and a great way to become centered in our environment.

Tiger vision to Horse Awareness

Tiger vision: Pick a fixed spot to look at, preferably above eye level, so that your field of vision seems to bump up against your eyebrows, but the eyes are not so high so as to cut off the field of vision. If you are outside, a spot on a tree trunk is ideal. A bird nest or a knot in a fence post … whatever is in front of you … pick it and focus your tiger eyes …

  1. Tiger eyes …  As you stare at this spot, gently drop all non-essentials from your mind, giving your prefrontal cortex the job to focus all of your attention on the spot
  2. Melting tiger eyes …  Begin to melt your tiger eyes. Envision your vision-focus softening, liquifying, melting out and spreading to your left and to your right. Keep looking at the spot, but become aware of the peripheral vision pooling to your right and to your left
  3. Melting tiger eyes … Continue melting and allowing your vision to spread out right to left … but now allow it to pool down and rise up, so that your peripheral vision has four directions: left and right, and up and down … keep a looking at your spot, but more and more fully expand outward and enjoy the power of the soft vision of your peripheral gaze, broadening … widening … expanding your connection with your environment
  4. Softly disengage your eyes from the spot and enjoy your horse eyes!
This is a great practice to do throughout your day … especially when you are not able to focus, or are feeling very ‘in the box’ focused. Let the horses out …

But, be ready when tiger vision is needed in your day … we need both horse and tiger vision!

Want a pdf of this exercise? go to www.kindlehealth.org or contact me through the website if you are unable to find it.