Open Heartedness

Letting energy flow through you.

“If your heart is open it can’t be broken.” This statement was given to me by a stranger in passing. This mantra marks a lovely moment of synchronicity in my life. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. I didn’t know this person and after this moment I have never seen or heard from her again. And yet her gentle teaching has stayed with me for years.

Today I was reminded of this lesson as I did a grounding meditation. The purpose of the meditation is to bring life back into focus so we’re not scrambling after every small offense or ruminating on any particular situation too long. Overthinking be gone!

As I did the breath exercises I remembered that part of this lesson has to do with our desire to hold on to our emotions, anger, frustrations, or even joy. We can’t hold onto these things unless we wish for them to go toxic. Much like grains of sand, the tighter we squeeze the faster they slip through our fingers. Therefore, as I did this exercise I released. I let go of trying to control or understand. This released the desire to manage the outcome and by doing so I am no longer ruminating. I am free to enjoy my day, free to savor the present moment, and write freely.

And that’s the word that stands out – free. When we let love, energy, emotion, etc. pass through us, as welcome visitors, we get to enjoy them in the moment. When we attempt to hold on too long we are left clinging to a shadow of that experience. Letting things flow through our lives frees us to embrace the transitory nature of life. Therefore when we are having fun or experience joy, we savor it. Just as when we suffer it too will not last. Remembering the temporary nature of life is frees us to enjoy the good and endure the bad. With open hearts we accept the love poured into us and remain open when love leaves for whatever comes next. 

Trusting ourselves and the universe begins by listening to our own inner voices. When we trust that more will come, we do not need to hang on for dear life. Our open heart knows there will be more joy, more laughter, more friendship. We do not need to cling to what we have and we do not need to own it. There is nothing that we own in life – least of all our emotional state or those we love. Without ownership there is no responsibility to manage or control.

Therefore it is with an open heart I wish you a beautiful day full of love, ease, comfort, laughter, and faith. My hope is that you try allowing everything to flow through you rather than into you. Ride the waves rather than being worn away slowly like a rock. Even the thought is liberating. Those mountains you are carrying you were only meant to climb. Let’s stop carrying undue burdens and weighing ourselves down with obstacles. Let us instead choose to free ourselves and let the universe take care of the rest. As they say in yoga class – Namaste. 

Modern Day Grace

I have felt so benevolently full of grace lately. Full of grace for myself, my family, and the world. I have held this grace honestly and openly, feeling benevolent, patient, generous, and kind. I have walked in euphoria for days on end – blissed out on the beauty of the natural world, the people in it, and how blessed my life has been. And then I took a writing class, insert discordant record scratch here.

The class was good, deliciously good. It was deep and raw and had all of us unearthing trauma and processing it so that we could turn that vulnerability, shame, and fear into gold. Write it out and hopefully find the true essence or nugget of universality in our pain. Mold that darkness into something useful and create art. 

The exercises were effective but now having scratched open our scabs the course is done. We are left bleeding out in the world. The life we return to, the normal every day world, is what we were hoping to protect these pains from – exposure.

We were ready in the class to feel and dive deep but now that the class is over we need closure, a little second skin to cover what we have opened up inside of ourselves. Those dark and crusty things that we fear and feel more deeply than anything daily life has ever handed us. 

This is where we are all dark and dangerous. It is terrifying and as you’d expect painful to be so open to the world. But here’s the trade off, I couldn’t feel the glory of sunshine with the sensation of holiness blessing my very core if I didn’t embrace this vulnerability too. This conflicted feeling of being so wide open and almost unwisely exposed to the elements of relationships and life. Because life is both that shining light of afternoon sun that warms some of our rooms like a sauna and it is the dark and scary loneliness of confronting our deepest and darkest fears. If I don’t look inward and stop staring at my phone to distract myself from these hard and real sensations I won’t feel that sun as brightly. The sun will still shine on my face but I won’t feel it in my soul. It won’t warm my heart to the same depths because my heart will have been walled off, protected from the deep darkness and also the blinding light that just might help my heart to heal. The sheltered pieces of myself might never see that perhaps I need not be so walled off, so sterile, so trapped in solitude. I might learn that perhaps the world is bright and lovely on some days. Other days it’s hard and cold but if I do not open the drapes to let in the sun it is never completely dark and it will never been completely day.

I’m mixing metaphors but you get the idea, to be that grace filled generous soul who sees the hurt in other people and takes the time to reach out and connect I must also be the angry wounded animal that nurses her wounds and occasionally lashes out to protect herself because she hasn’t finished the work she is doing to heal. Oh, being alive is such a dangerous thing. To survive we need only coast on the surface but to live, to really live, we have to feel all the pain, the dark and twisty elements, and then we get to really enjoy the light.

And all of it takes bravery. We get to embrace the beauty only if we embrace the pain and know that it exists to show us where we have work to do, something to heal, tenderly and gently. What a gift to be so alive and feel all of it so brutally and beautifully.

Communicating with Authenticity

One of my resolutions in 2021 was to live with more presence and authenticity, to engage people from where I am and not from a place of insincerity or disingenuousness. 

The first piece is for me to be settled and grounded in who I am and what I am about. This in itself is a challenge as it forces me to slow down, reflect, and honestly consider my personal truth and how I want to show up in the world. I have found that showing up consistently with an open heart is a challenge but it gets easier with practice.

This arrival of myself as my whole self to conversations, meetings, and calls has led to shift in my own perspective. Instead of the performative me showing up, the one that wants to make you laugh, wants you to like me and is willing to compromise right from the beginning in order to make a new friend or please you has faded to the background. Instead when I arrive, I am already full, I know who I am and what I am about and a new question rises to the surface, the question is do I like you? What are you bringing to the table?

Where before I was consumed with how I was perceived I am now stepping into the role of a conscious observer. I am aware of how you are performing and what is being said, the tones and authenticity that others are bringing to our interactions. 

It’s cringe-y when someone does not present their whole self or when I can tell that the person on the other side of the call is being fake or just saying what they want me to hear not what they truly mean. Other times I might not have noticed this but now, now that I am looking at you to see you and not looking at others to see a positive reflection of myself, it comes to my attention. 

I am truly grateful to those with the bravery to show up as themselves with sincerity to conversations. I am disappointed when I am part of a conversation that feels contrived and false but I also can appreciate that not everyone feels comfortable or safe being their authentic selves at work or in the world. I’m grateful that I have taken up this practice. It has already taught me so much and revealed more than I knew I was missing. Like cracking an egg, I’m just now getting to the rich and beautiful insides of connection and communication, what a gift!