Keeping an open heart

I experience this thing I call the Jukebox in my head. Every so often I wake up with a song in my head, or I might be driving along and hear a song, no radio on. I always pay attention when this happens. I believe I’m receiving hints, or being guided in a small way.

The other morning I woke up to the song “Killing me Softly With His Song” playing in my head. (As sung by Roberta Flack.) I made my morning tea and Googled the song on my phone. As I listened I also remembered Roberta’s gorgeous voice singing another song, “The first time every I saw your face”. I listened to that next. The three verses are succinct and poignant. It’s all there is to say about love. I doubt anyone could listen to that song and not be moved.

As I listened to this beautiful expression of love, I sang along with it even though I’m a terrible singer with a scratchy alto voice. I could barely do the song justice. However something unexpected happened as I sang along. Voicing this love letter opened me in ways I had not foreseen. I experienced a bitter sweet feeling. The ache of an open heart. The feeling reminded me much of the day I decided to leave a long-term relationship. My heart cracked wide open, because I knew I would break my partner’s heart, even though it was clear our time together was at an end.

To have an open heart—born out of compassion—opens you to feel the entire All That Is. You can feel other people’s pain. You understand where they are coming from. But you do it from a place of relative safety and deep knowing. You have a new understanding that goes beyond the self. In experiencing a shattering so absolute, it feels like you will never have a whole heart again. I have discovered through my own experience that this is actually a preferred way to live.

Today I have a much repaired and different heart from the one I started out with. A heart that shows my battle scars but in a gentle, understanding, and loving way. I am now open to understand, to grok, what it is like to feel pain, and still be alive and vibrant. This is not being a martyr. That’s a totally different energy pattern. I’m talking about knowing what it is like to feel energy/vibrations/emotions coming through your heart that move you. You begin to organically understand what others have been through in a totally non-verbal way. This is where compassion is forged, right there in your open heart. Once experienced, there is no going back.

As I felt my heart staying open, but with the sting of passion, I thought to myself, who is it I have these remembered feelings for? I could not name one person, nor could I remember a specific situation I had felt this way. Yet I knew without a doubt I had felt this way many times in my life. So where was this feeling coming from and who was it associated with? The feeling persisted. Somewhere there is a kernel of truth in this, and it is an opportunity for growth. An opportunity I wouldn’t miss for the world.

After some reflection, I came to the realization that love resides in the self, not in the other. I had these feelings of love for every person I had ever been close to. Every pet, every friend, every emotional situation be it joy or sorrow. I stayed open to these feelings all day. It’s a feeling of total vulnerability. This is something most of us hide from. When I am feeling vulnerable and open, I like to take the advice of my favorite Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön. It’s the running away from emotions that makes us feel so uncomfortable. Staying with a feeling without taking action is a great gift to give yourself. I wanted to be fully present for this so I allowed myself the experience instead of shutting down or running away.

When your heart opens you allow yourself to fully feel, to fully live, to fully be. Don’t close down when this happens, let it all flow through you. Now you are a warrior of the heart. This makes you stronger than any force on earth (because it is from Spirit). The wounded warrior is a natural healer born of uncomfortable experiences and heartache. So do you see that even painful experiences are beneficial. They have their purpose.

I hope my open heart never closes, never fully heals. I do not want a perfect, whole heart. I want my experiences to live within me, in a positive way. In an organic way. Let your heart be touched. In this way you will be able to comfort, assist, or simply understand a fellow human being. Or you may simply understand them at a soul level. Keep looking through your heart’s sensitive energy, not just your eyes. You will see and feel much that would otherwise be closed to you. I wouldn’t trade my life’s journey—all the ups and downs—for anything. I love having an open heart. I believe it serves me well.

When does caring turn to interfering?

I have a deeply ingrained urge to help others, to be of assistance when I can. It’s part of being an empath. I feel strongly for others. I have a tendency to take someone under my wing and advise them if they seem needy. There are many people I listen to and never give advice to as they seem wiser than yours truly. But for those who seem like they could use a hand, I advise. I suggest. I hope. I inform. I try and give the information—the benefit of my own experience—to save them trouble. But where is that middle ground between helping and interfering? Between caring and expecting too much? Today I question my own motives in getting involved with others. People have their own path to walk, their own lessons to learn. I want to be able to let people have their own experiences. Will I be able to do this?

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Where the rubber meets the road

I am the kind of person who loves every blade of grass. My home and yard are neat, not out of control, and the wildflowers in summer are riotous! Birds come from all over to eat at the buffet I offer them. I’m tickled they visit. Lizards, centipedes and even snakes are welcome (Snakes usually pass through quickly and should be respected). Spiders are welcome in the house, as long as they are not big enough to pay rent. If they are large, then they either have to pony up the rent, or move out! I keep my place as natural as I can. Nature is critically important to my life.

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‘Tis the season for self care!

A blogger I admire recently spoke about self care. I’d like to add my encouragement for you to practice self care, especially now, as the hectic season of holidays approach.

Start making your personal care come first. Practice early and often. Even a few errands may feel like a mountain of things to accomplish. Don’t beat yourself up when it comes to what you did not accomplish today or this week. Easy does it.

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Making your ‘bad quality’ work for you

A friend had the observation that being stubborn has upsides. True that. I figured every bad quality must have an upside. Doesn’t everything have a good and bad, undesirable quality to it? So, let’s take the human condition and flip some things.

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Surrender Dorothy, and all that implies

Recently I was chatting with a friend. We both felt that we were each experiencing lives of confusion and both of us felt a bit out of control. Our discussion lead us to deduce each of us would best be served by letting go and embracing it all. A phrase ‘stop pushing the river’ comes to mind. It’s not a place you can go to with your thinking brain. You must let go. That takes trust. I feel I have a big ‘something’ coming up. I know I must let go and sink into it to come back to the surface. As I was talking to my friend the phrase “Surrender Dorothy” came to mind from the movie, The Wizard of Oz. It is a perfect reminder to let go when worry starts in. Accomplishing this would have to be at a non-verbal place inside me. It’s hard to explain or wrap my head around, because words don’t seem to adequately express this idea, and that’s okay.

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My secret Super Power! The upside of being sensitive.

My writing process involves actual physical feelings that occur as I work on stories. The paragraphs come alive, I have realizations, a-ha moments, and there is growth as I write. By the time I am done, the entire article has a glow felt in my body. Everything comes together and I feel a glow in my chest and abdomen as I write or proofread. It’s so cool. 🙂 I can tell which paragraphs need work because that physical feeling might be absent, or it does not feel good. When ideas are really popping I have a dozen stories in draft form at any one time. As I scan my list of drafts to decide which one to work on next I get a physical feeling—BOOM—and I have my answer. I chuckle to myself because this is not only fun, it’s awesome! It’s like having a secret super power. Eight months ago this was not true. It’s something that has recently developed. Probably due to my recent low points leaving me super sensitive to all that goes on.

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