When I sat down to write a blog post today, I was going to write about this encounter I had with a hummingbird last week. I was going to tell you how I had just stepped outside after dealing with some issues with our health insurance policy, issues that made me feel uncomfortable and required a phone call to sort them, and how I was reminded of the bigger picture of what’s truly important by watching a tiny bird flit around the wildflowers that cover the hillside behind my house. I was going to tell you how the hummingbird eventually flew up to where I was standing with my coffee and hovered directly in front of my face, just inches from my nose as we looked each other in the eye, one creature to another. It was going to be an illustration of finding the beauty that hovers even in the midst of dealing with undesirable things, like health insurance.
And as I started to think about what to write, all I could think about was my privilege as a white person in this country. I could have opted to simply describe my encounter with that hummingbird, keep my focus on the beauty of nature around my home, and move through my days giving thanks for what I have. And there’s nothing wrong with doing those things. But that’s the definition of privilege: to opt out of thinking or talking about something because you can. There IS something wrong with not talking about what needs to be talked about. Hummingbirds, nature, and gratitude are important. So are basic human rights, peace, and changing our cultural story.
If you haven’t seen the news lately, white supremacists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, people were hurt, lives were lost, and the continued ugliness of what is still happening in the world in regards to race and equality has been slammed back into focus yet again. Continue reading “Encounters With Hummingbirds”
I have been a wellness coach for almost exactly 10 years. And along the way, I have gotten thoroughly immersed in positive psychology. Which, if you didn’t know, is a fairly new field of study typically said to be pioneered by Dr. Martin Seligman in the late 1990s. It’s all about reaping the benefits that can be had from focusing on the good in life, and where you want to go in the future, rather than on unpacking all the stuff that has happened in the past as more traditional psychology models tend to encourage. I’ve see it work for plenty of individuals over the years – there’s a lot of benefit to placing your focus on what you do well already and the good things that you want to bring into being.
Right now I’m reading a book called America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks. Midway through the book, Dr. James Coyne, in an interview with author Ruth Whippman, shared the name of a lecture he was to be giving the following week. It was “Positive psychology is for rich white people.”
In my work as a coach, I recommend ‘practicing gratitude’ on a regular basis, regularly help people take ownership of their choices, and often encourage calling out the positives in life while staying present in the moments as they unfold. These strategies have made a difference for many of the folks I have worked with, so I know positive psychology has plenty of benefits.
Plenty of benefits IF you were born into privilege. Continue reading “The Dark Side of Positive Psychology”
Five hours west of here, indigenous people from 300 tribes around the world have gathered in prayer and protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Each week more tribes announce their solidarity with the people of Standing Rock, offering up songs of healing and prayers for the protection of the earth’s water. A fellow resident of the St. Croix Valley took her three young daughters to deliver winter supplies to those who have put their regular lives on hold to stand in protection of this essential Missouri River watershed. Others remain committed to oil and the short term promises it makes. Tension builds, and armed police continue to gather in opposition while the main steam media remains quiet.
The wind has been blowing the last few days, ushering in the colder air from the north to let summer know the time for blossoming and long days of outdoor warmth are over. The forecast for tonight calls for a freeze, and I brought in all of the vegetables and fruits that still lingered in the fields. The water from the hose I used to wash the leeks and potatoes felt like ice, and I moved quickly to get the job done. Continue reading “A Hidden Wholeness”