What Do You Carry In Your Heart?

“You will see in the world what you carry in your heart.”
From Project Happiness

11 22 sunrise

(Sunrise November 22, by me)

It’s thanks giving time. The time of year when we give thought to blessings in our lives and find a way to express gratitude.  We have, mostly, as a nation, found a way to still make time in our over important and busy lives to come together as family and friends and celebrate what we cherish.

This Thankgiving I find my heart troubled by a nation of people at odds with each other. There is so much that is good and positive in our nation. There is also anger and violence, poverty, hunger, mental illness, homelessness…… We are not a perfect nation by any means. Somewhere along the way I feel we have lost something…empathy, compassion. Not everyone, but some. The media, in all it’s forms, has discovered it is more profitable and generates greater ratings to drown us in fear and worry, violence and hate.

I want something different for myself, the nation and the world.

There is an organization called Project Happiness that recently posted this quote on Facebook:

“You will see in the world what you carry in your heart.”

This is my personal work for this Thanksgiving. To understand that how I view the world, people, events, experiences, comes from what I carry in my heart.

If I carry worry, fear, distrust, anger, resentment, that is how I see the world. If I carry hope, compassion, empathy, tolerance, understanding, then that becomes the lens through which I see the world. I am committing to the second choice. It means I have to be open, I have to be informed, I have to be honest and truthful, I have to put myself in the other person’s shoes even if I don’t want to. It means I have to think of others, their needs, their pain and hurt and to accept those things as true, as I know my own hurt and pain to be true for me.

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.

That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business.

What we are asked to do is to love,

 and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”

Thomas Merton

I have to honor others and diversity. I have to understand there are many sides to every story, and sometimes the truth does not come easily nor is it easy to accept. I have to work for compromise. I have to forgive and ask to be forgiven. I have to listen, to hear, to understand. I have to say no to anger and violence. I have to say no to injustice and inequity. I have to be loving. I have to practice non-violence.

I choose to see the world as fragile and to be respectful of her and to foster stewardship of her well being.

I choose to walk without fear of other people. I choose to look people in the eye and greet them. I choose to carry hope, compassion, empathy and tolerance as I walk. I choose to be open.

I choose to hold my hand out in support, comfort, sincerity and love.

This Thanksgiving, as you gather with friends and family, I challenge you to be aware of what you are carrying in your heart and what lens it creates for your vision and interpretation of the world, events, people and experiences. “You will see in the world what you carry in your heart.”

“I offer you Peace. I offer you Love. I offer you Friendship. I see your Beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in You. Let’s work together for unity and love.”

~Gandhi

http://projecthappiness.org/about-us/

http://projecthappiness.org/film/

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Be Crumbled

“Very little grows on jagged rock.

Be ground. Be crumbled.

So wild flowers will come up

Where you are.

You have been stony for too many years.

Try something different. Surrender.”

Rumi

blue flower

(photograph by me)

Our solid, rock-like defense system, whether jagged or smooth, helps us be “strong”, “protected”. If we are strong enough, protected enough, we can keep things from getting to us, or breaking us apart. Familiarity is a part of this rock-like defense too. Even when we feel we are hurt, suffering, unhappy, lonely, the pattern of hanging on and just surviving the current emotion/drama is “safer”, for some of us, than trying something different.

Rumi reminds us to try something different. To surrender. To take a risk and allow ourselves to be ground up ( just a little is ok, it only takes a small crack in the surface), to crumble apart just a little. Something new, and beautiful and full of possibilty might begin to grow—a wild flower, or….?

Sure, growing “flowers” might be unfamiliar to us. We might have to learn something new. Face new disappointments. Solve different problems and crises. Different doesn’t mean “bad”, “wrong”, “impossible”, “not worth it”. Different means, or can mean, “possibility”. We might end up with a beautiful “garden”.

I’ve come to a time in my life where I am not only allowing some crumbling to happen, but I am also looking for ways to facilitate it.

Little pieces of me are cracking and crumbling in a good way. Sometimes it is very hard and even scary because now I am also asking other people to look at me and respond to me differently, because I am looking at them and responding to them differently. By making changes in myself, I am making changes in relationships….and that’s a pretty big risk…..what if the other person doesn’t want to change? What if they don’t “like” the way I have changed?

I am finding strength in being fragile, vulnerable. The little pieces of me that were so jagged, barren and unwelcoming, are crumbling and softening. New thoughts, ideas, observations, interpretations, solutions, are growing. Patience, stillness, and listening are the rain and sunlight that allow and support this growth. I’m not always successful but I am working really hard at letting fear, doubt and worry go….trying even to prevent them from getting a footing. I’m working really hard on being aware of the fertile, fictional stories my brain floods me with and insisting those story lines of drama, worry, or unrealistic fantasies fade away so I can instead marvel at the blessings, beauty and wonder of the moment at hand.

I suppose there is a purpose and place for being jagged in life, but right now it is of no interest to me. I’d rather surrender, crumble a bit, and grow a wildflower.

bee and blue flower

(photograph by me)

(This offering is an updated version of a post on my previous blog, Potentiality, called ‘Rumi and Crumbling’)

View To A Meditation

Some people get all squirmy and nervous when you talk about meditation. There’s concern it’s not Christian, it’s cult-ish, it’s hippy, it’s New Age, prayer gone astray, it’s drug related, it’s ….whatever.

So, I thought I’d do a pictorial post on what meditation means to me.

First of all, I am not trained in any specific method of meditation. I have no teacher.

I meditate in order to be present and at peace with this one moment. Not looking backwards or forwards, but being here now. I do this because it quiets my mind from the internal dialogue which makes up crazy stories filled with drama and unreal worries and anxieties. I get tired of thinking ten steps ahead of myself, worrying, planning, anticipating. I get lost in the past, I miss my mother, my father, what if I had done something differently, regretting a choice or decision, feeling disappointment and hurt.

I meditate to become grounded, centered. To focus on what I feel is important and worth pausing to recognize and to give thanks for those things. By expressing gratitude I am warmed and softened. I become open and giving. I am humbled and reminded of how many blessings are in my life. Every single moment.

I do, on occasion go to a retreat center. I do, once a week participate in a meditation group. I do, at night in bed, often listen to a guided meditation. I do, with effort and deep conviction try to bring mindfulness into moments of my day. I do read books from a broad spectrum of authors on meditation, religion and spirituality.

Here’s a sampling.

cushion

 

Sometimes I sit here, in a small bedroom upstairs. It is Evan’s old bedroom and it is full of tender memories of childhood and love. When I sit Bruce is often sitting near me. I close my eyes, breathe in and out to quiet myself. To stop the beginnings of “mind chatter” I silently say, as I breathe in and out, “I am breathing in. I am breathing out.” This leaves no room for those thoughts to have a voice. Sometimes this is all I do. Sometimes I just take in all the sounds and sights….just letting them be. Sometimes I let thoughts bubble up, but place no judgement, value or comment on them.

 

4 2

Yoga as meditation. I do Svaroopa yoga which is a specific style of yoga. No pretzel poses. It helps ground me. Literally. My body becomes one of the focuses of this practice. My mind the other. Rather, the quieting of the mind.

 

community as meditation

The children I work with are often my meditation. Here we are a community being gentle and loving with each other. Learning to be soft and trusting. Learning to give and receive.

 

eating as meditation

Cooking and eating as meditation. Slowing down enough to appreciate and have gratitude for the food we eat. And not just for the food, but for all the people and all the work other people do so that I can buy, prepare and eat the food. Gratitude and respect for the planet Earth which is after all, what allows any of this and us to even be. Gratitude.

 

gratitude as meditation

Meditation as in pausing and looking up, down, around. Being aware and being grateful.

 

meditation is about being present for someone

Meditation as in being fully present for someone else. Looking into their face and eyes and loosing awareness of anything else.

 

meditation is about being still

Meditation is about being still. Unmoving. Silent. Being where you are.

 

meditation seeing beiaty in all things

Meditation is about seeing beauty in all things. A friend commented she had never noticed the heart shape inside a walnut shell.

 

meditation path

Walking as meditation. “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh

 

springwater view meditation

Meditation is sometimes deeper in a place that nurtures your heart and soul.  Springwater provides a place to focus on awareness. Time slows down here. Noise disappears.

 

evan

Meditation is about understanding that you are one small part of something significantly larger than yourself. And finding beauty and peace in that.

 

peace candle

Meditation is about creating a sense of and a commitment to peace and sharing it. Peace candle.

 

evan humor

Meditation is about having a sense of humor and being able to laugh.

 

kb wedding

Meditation is about trusting in love and working to grow love.

For me it is about learning how to never take anything for granted. To be planted in the moment and alive and aware. It is about separating from things, thoughts, fears and worries that are done, over with, or not even real. Meditation is about opening, allowing, inviting, accepting, experiencing. It shines light on life and the moment at hand. It fills me up and warms me deep inside.