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.

How flipping things can change your attitude

As I was out changing the water for my goose, I was thinking it was Thursday, giddy at the thought that I had one more day to work before the weekend. For years I had a work schedule that allowed me to work from my home two days a week. Recently that schedule changed so I was working different days from home. At first the new schedule tends to slip me up. On the old schedule ear the end of the week, I’d be working at home, and the next day would be Friday. So in my mind, that day late in the week I am working from home is Thursday. I’ve been doing that schedule for years.

Continue reading

Letting go of waiting

I think I was born to wait on others. Something that has my adult self wondering if I am an inflexible stick-in-the-mud of some sort. See the article My Kryptonite and Expect the Unexpected. I don’t want to be strict about it, and I want to have a very flexible attitude and outlook. But sometimes I really feel tested.

When I was younger, around grade school age or earlier, I waited endless nights for my dad to come home from work. I recall watching headlights go by hour after hour wishing so hard that the next set of lights would turn the corner and into our driveway. Wishing did not make it so. I remember feeling so confused and crushed by this, and as a child, ‘high functioning alcoholic’ was not in my vocabulary.

Continue reading

My dinosaur-sized bone of contention.

Don’t let anyone mess with your head. It can happen easily if you have been in a long-term relationship, or are in love. Being human, we all know everyone has different takes on what happened and what was said. We experience things differently, each one of us. Humans are fallible. If you have ever been on a jury, you will know that even if all twelve jurors hear the same words, there will be twelve interpretations of what was said. I’m here to tell you, do not ever let anyone tell you your version is not the truth, not true for you, or let them tell you your memory or opinion is wrong.

Continue reading

What nature tells us about bullying.

I am not sure I know if bullying is a good thing or a bad thing. For people, yes, it’s not a good thing. Or is it? I have two examples taken from nature and it has made me think about the subject  much more deeply than the knee-jerk “no it’s never okay to be a bully” line of thinking. At least it warrants a deeper look.

Please know, in no way am I making light of anyone who has been a victim of bullying. And I am not condoning the practice. Too many people have been hurt by it. But maybe there is a better way around things? Maybe nature is trying to tell us a few things about it? I always look to nature for examples on how to handle what life throws me.

Continue reading

The elegant and obvious solution to feeling rushed off your feet.

Last night I had errands to run after a full day at work. These days a full day at work is a bit much to take, but I do my best. My meds for my neuralgia make me feel like I’m going through molasses. Some days I work at home and that helps cut the stress. It cuts out 4 hours of commuting per week, and that is really helping. Every bit counts.

I had groceries to unpack after my long commute home, then picked up the pup from the neighbors. As I get in the door I have a lot to take care of right away. Geese need to be put in their pen, check water and feed. Make sure the door is raccoon proofed. Haul in and put groceries away. Put the clean dishes away that are on the kitchen counter, and do another batch. (I can’t stand having dirty dishes.) I make dinner for my three dogs. At my house it’s the rule that animals are fed before humans. I make sure the Senior and favorite soul dog, Mr. Google, gets his meds, and I take his leg brace off for the night. Only then I can make myself dinner, and finally sit down. At this point I’ve been going since 5:00 am. It’s now 7:30pm.

duotone Google.png
Continue reading

Suffering is optional

When you hold your own mind hostage, It’s like being in prison. It’s a lot of self-imposed suffering. I am guilty of this bad habit. It’s a bit like jumping to conclusions but bigger. It takes a while to dump it and change behavior.

Positive Feelings-Goodwill_222499357.jpg

Case in point: A friend of a friend said their friend went to a family gathering thinking the worst; that no one liked them, that they would be shunned, ignored, that they were disliked. Yet the opposite happened and the opposite was true. They were welcomed with open arms. They were able to catch up with a lot of people they had been estranged from and had totally the wrong information for many many years. The person who was responsible for spreading the dark information about them in the past was now out of the picture. How many years did our hero waste in shame and fear, thinking they were unloved by their own family? Way too many! It simply was not true. They were holding themselves hostage and suffering for it.

Continue reading

Why do lessons repeat?

Someone recently asked me why some lessons seem to repeat. The best way for me to explain why lessons keep coming up is to look to my personal experience in the trenches. My years before The Long Exhale were spent in the most demeaning and abusive relationship. It was so bad I thought I’d die, or worse, have to keep living that life. It was a hard knot to untangle. I felt certain lessons come up, so clearly in my face during those 18 years. I could not for the life of me figure out why they kept coming up, until I was out of it. Then it was easy to see why I had been banging my head against the same wall. Perhaps my story might help others.

a2ea9f00b9ed6d859323a7f2cd8c5fd7.jpg
Continue reading

Do you really want to sweep that under the rug?

So you’ve had a blowout with someone in your life. This someone is very important to you, they may be your spouse, your live-in mate, a really good friend, or someone at work. You have been dealt a blow, and you feel very strongly about it. Perhaps trust has been violated. This is a basic foundation for any relationship. Maybe someone does not believe what you did or did not do. I’ve seen these two things happen to people close to me. They both handled it very differently, in their own way.

Some handle it with great emotions and a lot of drama because they feel slighted. Then they moved on feeling differently toward the person that slighted them. Some handle it by sweeping it under the rug, waiting for just the right moment to say something. “Oh, can’t do it today we are having dinner with friends. I can’t do it tomorrow, my spouse has a job interview and they have to be on their best behavior. Best to not rock the boat. The day after that is Saturday and I have worked hard this week, another argument is not what I want. Better put it off till next week. That feels better.”

Continue reading

Eating my problems

For a long time, I have had problems during or shortly after eating. This is definitely in the too much information category so I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say there was a lot of intestinal upset and extreme discomfort to deal with. I spent years trying to figure it out. First with my doctor, then on my own.

eating-healthy241881529.jpg

No, I am not allergic to anything, it was not any particular restaurant, food item, cooking oil, it was not dairy, nothing like that. I relentlessly checked and researched everything it could be. I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I knew there was something worth discovering besides the obvious physical relief.

Continue reading