Erin: A sense of safety is integral to our ability to regulate ourselves. How do we cultivate a feeling of safety in our experience? Taking inspiration from childhood security blankets and circus safety nets, this meditation will explore places to hold our attention that can shore up our sense of safety and help those hypervigilant nervous systems get some rest!
Caitlin: In the beginning, there is no self-regulation. As infants, we need others to co-regulate. As we grow up, we are taught to regulate on our own – e.g. “go to your room to calm down.” We are then praised for being independent. This is a reminder that you don’t need to go it alone. As adults, we can mix it up. To co-regulate is to intentionally connect with others as a means to soothe and comfort ourselves. If we’ve been hurt by others it can feel vulnerable to enter back into human connection. We might judge co-regulation as needy or ‘co-dependent’ (spoiler alert: it’s not!). It’s actually very human to co-regulate, in the sense that we’re social mammals by nature. In this sit, we’ll explore our social natures and get curious about our edges and opportunities in connecting with others.
Pamela: There’s a bus-full of You and we are going for a drive. According to Oxford Languages, to “regulate” means to “control or maintain the rate or speed of (a machine or process) so that it operates properly.” What is our speed? What is our machine? What is proper? For this sit, we will explore our complexities, and the negotiations we might make to “regulate” ourselves. As usual this is one of few words and more feels.
Freedom from (Self Inquiry), Freedom to (Loving Kindness)
May 29, 2023
‘You may look at a flower and think that it exists in itself independently, but this is not true. Try to think of that flower without the soil from which it grows, without the sunlight that helps it grow and illuminates it, without the very space in which it stands, or without the particular time in which it is there. Suddenly you no longer have a flower at all.’ – Thich Nhat Hahn
Kevin: The Buddhist philosophy of Interconnectedness – Dependent origination, or conditioned co-arising, etc (there are many ways to describe it) suggests that everything that arises – from the phenomenal world to thoughts and emotions – is dependent on conditions (like TNH’s flower) and is therefor empty of any inherent, independent existence of its own. But this ‘emptiness’ isn’t nihilism (that would be projecting inherent ‘somethingness’ onto emptiness), but can actually be experienced as deeply freeing and fulfilling. Tonight’s group practice will explore that possibility. We’ll go looking for Interconnectedness/Emptiness – NOT as a belief or philosophy – but as an experience that might be glimpsed if we get a glimpse of having freedom from the limitations of being stuck in a presumed ‘self’. And from there, we’ll explore how freedom from ‘self’ might catalyze a freedom to cultivate and express love, empathy, compassion, joy to the people and world around us. If this sounds like a lot to chew through, don’t worry; it’ll be fun! I swear.
Jude: It is often said that our minds are problem solving devices; and even if there are no problems, they will create them. Well, there are a lot of problems, so we really don’t need to create any more. But might we sometimes be overly focused on the negatives? Is it really helpful to be spinning all the conflicts and challenges and worries in our minds 24/7? Come get relief from our brain’s unfortunate negativity bias by practicing gratitude. Gratitude not only softens the anxiousness in our mind, but also softens our whole being, opening us up to the good and beauty in ourselves and the world. Come deepen your connection—to yourself, your loved ones, to the natural world—through the practice of gratitude.