The capacity of the heart

dear heart,

what a gift you are,

a portal

into the ecstasy of love.

You’re so sweet

so comforting

so gentle

and kind,

and in your

tender embrace

 I can love her

and him and her.

But I’m not sure

about him.

I can only love so much, right?

There are limits,

don’t you think?

I need to protect my

sweet little heart,

my oasis where I am safe

from the chaos in this world.

~

Oh heart, what’s that you say?

How wide can I open?

Well since you ask, here’s my list:

I love my family and friends,

I love my co-workers,

I help the old lady down the street,

and whenever there is a calamity,

I donate money and things.

So you see how well

you’ve taught me,

to give what I can,

to take care of my close ones,

and of course,

to take care of me,

I mean you.

~

Wait, what are you asking now?

How about loving a thief?

How about loving someone who looks different?

How about love for people who hurt people?

Well of course not, dear heart,

my love has boundaries you know.

They certainly don’t deserve my compassion,

they are choosing their lives,

they are squandering their hearts.

But I,

I  am choosing the right way to love.

They are bad,

I

 am

good.

~

Oh.

Did I just say that?

~

Hello?

No words from you, heart?

~

I feel ashamed.

I feel small

all the way down

to that hidden place

where I fear to go—

for what if I discover that

I am bad,

that I am unlovable?

What then?

What then?

~

Keep feeling,

you say?

But how much can I feel?

It feels scary

to stretch like this,

it feels unknown.

I need to hold on

to something,

I’m alone,

I’m terrified

I might disappear.

And oh my god,

if I disappear,

what’s left?

~

Feel all of it,

you say?

Trust it?

Okay.

Deep breath,

yes it feels less tight,

less bounded,

less restricted,

and somehow held.

~

Oh but

it hurts, and

it feels good,

I’m breaking open

and open

and more open.

There is no end to love,

is there?

No barriers,

no conditions,

no limits at all.

~

And if there

are no walls,

where do I end?

Where do you start?

Where is the separation

of our heart?

~

Beloved one,

I offer you a rose,

 you offer me

the universe.

It’s simple,

you whisper,

be love,

share it

freely.

A conversation with pain

Pain,

long have I pushed you away

long have I bargained

to keep you at bay—

not me,

not this,

not fair,

not now.

~

But you show up

anyway,

embroidering your thread

upon my heart.

Can you blame me then

if I recoil

at the piercing of

each stitch?

~

Please stop,

I say.

Can’t you see

I’m suffering?

Hey!

Are you listening?

But every time

your answer is the same:

~

Pay attention

pay attention

pay attention.

~

No.

I’d rather not.

No.

Some other day.

Help.

I’m not sure.

Can I just push you away?

~

Pay attention.

~

But it hurts too much,

can’t you see you’ve

sewn my heart shut,

now what?

I’m afraid,

I’m afraid,

I’m afraid.

~

Pay attention.

~

Don’t you hear me?

Can’t you see me

in my misery?

I suffer because of you, old pain,

and yet all you offer

 is your ceaseless refrain.

~

pay attention

~

Must I?

Can I?

Will I?

Ah.

Dear pain,

how you’ve

 worn me down,

my arguments are gone,

and all I can do is

breathe

and

listen

and say

yes

yes

yes

 

Dear Mind

Dear mind,

you are so smart and clever and useful.

How you yearn to know

the nature of life,

the breadth of the universe,

the vastness of what is.

And yet, let me say this gently to you dear mind,

for there will be much indignation–

you are simply too small for the task.

And it is now, while you are yammering

about your importance,

when your calculations and ruminations

can turn into fixations,

I release you to do your valuable job:

the bridges need to be built,

the words need to be defined,

the cities need to be designed.

But it is right here,

right in this very motion of welcoming you

and letting you go, dear mind,

that I live in the mysterious

wonder of now.

The gift of the elders

Yesterday I visited my 91 year old mom as I do every few days.  Immediately I could see that it was one of those days when she seemed almost not of this world anymore.  Not in a bad way, but as a gentle reminder that her human life is waning.  I sat with her in her dark living room sometimes reminiscing about so many memories that we have together, sometimes basking in the silence and love.

At one point, I looked at her shelf full of books that were once so dear to her and asked if she wanted me to read something.  She’s almost blind now and even with a magnifying glass, can barely make out print and pictures.  She took her time to answer, and when she finally did, she talked about how she had loved her books because they had opened up such knowledge and so many new worlds for her.

“But now, they aren’t important to me,” she said.  “I can’t see and also my mind doesn’t understand them anymore.  Soon I will be gone, and the world will go on without me. What is most meaningful is love and family and kindness.”

Yes, oh how we know this in our very core.  In our deepest heart.  But with the clamoring of the world and our busy lives, we often forget.  But what if we listened deeper?  What if we lived as if we were at the far edge of this human life staring into our own passing?  What if we listened and felt deeper into what is showing up now? What then becomes truly important?

In this beautiful cycle of life, my mother nurtured me when I was young, and now, she offers me simple wisdom.  In between, as mother and daughter we had many experiences, both difficult and rich, that offered great opportunities for us to grow.  Now our gift to each other is simply to love.  It is the greatest gift of all.

Creativity

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Life moves us to see and express the beauty of the universe, the beauty of ourselves.  As human beings we are like fingers on a hand, individual and unique, but all moved by the life force of one heart.  So although it looks as if we are in separate bodies, we are not isolated from each other.  We all move from the source and substance of all life.  Our minds can’t comprehend this, it is through our unconditioned heart that we allow ourselves complete freedom to create.

When I was young, I loved music, the violin in particular.  So my parents bought me a half size violin and signed me up for lessons.  If you’ve ever tried to play the violin or heard someone start to play, you know the painful sounds that one little person can force out of four strings.  But it’s a funny thing how although I knew there were awkward sounds coming out, I could hear the potential of beautiful music, so I kept at it.  Bless my parents for putting up with the noise and for hearing the potential as well.  At least I think they did!

So as I took more lessons and practiced, I got better.  On occasion a note actually sounded promising.  There was joy in hearing the strings resonate with each other in unique sounds, and I strived to create more.  But somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that playing without mistakes was the most important thing.  So practicing began to take on a quest for note perfection, no mistakes allowed.  When I found myself in a very competitive music school, this drive for perfection intensified to the point that much of my self worth became dependent on how well I performed without making mistakes.

Needless to say, the joy of creating resonant sounds was pushed to the background as unimportant and useless.  The underlying push was that I needed to perfect my playing so that I could get into a good orchestra to make money when I left school.  Of course, there were many times of feeling great love and joy in the midst of all the music that surrounded me.  And for many musicians this type of training was just right to fulfill their passion.   But for me, the constant whisper (and sometimes yells) from teachers, peers, and society was translated by me that I wasn’t good enough.  Whatever that arbitrary good enough was.  Eventually playing violin lost its juice, and I dropped out of the classical music world.

By not fully listening to my heart, I see now how my mind created a standard that I couldn’t possibly reach.  This caused much pain for me by spilling over into perceiving myself to not be good enough for anything.  The truth is, I’m not designed to be a professional classical musician.  That was a lovely idea that was born from my love of music, and it was its own journey that helped me grow in so many ways.  But it took me a long time to hear the rather clear message that by following that one difficult path at all cost, I was squeezing out my own natural creative expression and coming up dry.

Now when I pick up the violin, simple melodies show up, I listen to the resonance of a single note, two notes together, loud, soft, gentle, whatever arises, whatever sounds.  It may not make money, it may not be heard by anyone, it may not be valued by society, but it is authentic.  Its source is the vast unconditioned movement of creativity from the heart. Every one of us has endless creativity ready to be birthed.  May we all fully allow that movement to swallow us in its splendor and to share with each other its expression.

Welcome

 

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Behold the exquisite beauty of nature.

The heart rejoices, and right there in that deep appreciation,

the vastness of the universe is revealed.

This is you, my dear friend.

This is me.

This is the stillness of our beautiful heart.

 

Welcome to this space where we can explore our human nature, our divine nature, the nature of all.  The curiosity of the mind is welcome, but know that our unconditioned heart is already here ceaselessly enjoying itself just as it is.  Our human journey, each of us shining as unique individuals, is a true gift and opportunity to reawaken to the simplicity of our unconditioned nature. I’m so happy to share this journey with you!

We are

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Oh beautiful one,

how did I ever miss seeing you?

And there you were holding me all along.

The golden tree whispered it,

The hummingbird fluttered it,

The pink sky celebrated it.

Oh yes, we are beautiful,

We are,

We.

.