Jumbled Heart

Sometimes my heart is a jumble of all sorts of feelings, and I just don’t know why they’re all there. I know they are part of me. I know they may have something to say that I need to hear. But the jumbled sensation is not always a lot of fun.

Tonight I find myself jumbled inside, lots of love and gratitude floating around mixed with some melancholy* and questions. Tonight I am reminded of all the pieces of myself living in this jumbled heart of mine. I’m reminded of the story and journey of the open-hearted-marvel Elizabeth Gilbert as she sat in her deepest, darkest time, sat with herself, and invited all the parts of herself into her heart, blessing them, loving them, assuring them they could rest there in her heart and be at peace. (from Eat, Pray, Love)

So while I am deeply grateful that I am not in a place of great distress but rather just in the midst of a jumbled heart, tonight I try to bless the melancholy and the questions. “It’s okay. I love you. You can rest here. We’ll get through this together,” a variation on EG’s offering to herself.

I also want to recognize the love and gratitude of my jumbled heart, so tonight I am grateful for loved ones who wrap their arms around me with their words and love, grateful for connections with new friends who say “welcome,” grateful for dear friends who share that I am with them in their hearts even when I can’t be in person, grateful for my precious son, his open heart, and his indomitable spirit.

I know the jumble is part of Life. It’s part of having an open heart. I’m glad for that. I just want to become more connected to the peace and the blessings of all parts of the jumble as the confusion swirls around.

Peace

I think this is what my friend Brandon meant when he wished for all “a courageous sense of abiding peace.”

May we find peace in the jumble. May we find peace with the jumble.

* https://dearworldhereismyheart.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/melancholy-and-the-open-heart/

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Hope in My Kitchen.

Dear World,

I’m really sorry. I feel like I messed up a lot today. Sigh. Embarrassed sigh.

I just walked into my kitchen and stared at the walls and my refrigerator. I realized that today I let myself get dragged. Bigtime.

dragged

That lives on my fridge.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

The thing is, I knew I was letting myself get dragged, and I didn’t stop it. I just let the negativity run wild and let myself be ruled.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

So.

It is with genuine humility that I ask, “Could we please start today over?” I know this day is already nearing an end. But this is in my kitchen, too, and for good reason.

never too late

Amen.

P.S. Kairos moment* The numerous times my son’s sweet spirit has been present in the world today and how that sweetness has run straight through to my heart. Amen again.

*https://dearworldhereismyheart.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/gratitude-is-an-action-word/

Brutal Truth

Brutal Truth. That moment when Life holds a mirror up to your face and forces you to take a gritty, raw look at what you see before you. And Brutal Truth cannot be avoided or dismissed. Brutal Truth stays until you look, until you see. To me, Brutal Truth’s other name is Tough Love.

When Brutal Truth appears, I often find Shame shows up, too. The difference between these two, is, however, extreme. Shame is there to try to make us feel like we should slink away into the shadows and never show our faces again. As Brene Brown puts it, in her achingly beautiful and human way:

“Shame is that warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed, and never good enough….Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” (The Gifts of Imperfection)

Brutal Truth is very different, though it often doesn’t feel any different from Shame. Sometimes I cannot tell them apart until I really sit with myself and realize Shame is giving me the excuse to hide. And then I see that Brutal Truth comes in peace and more importantly, comes in love. Do you know J. Ruth Gendler’s The Book of Qualities? Her personification of these pieces of ourselves astonishes me in her accuracy and humanity. Of Truth she writes:

“Truth has been employed as a thief stealing illusions….When Truth’s fingers touch my shoulder, I hear bone touching bone….He lingers in the long pauses between the questions and the answers…Truth is willing to wait for a long time with little attention or visible encouragement. Truth is not willing to live without Love.

And when I can come to that and realize that Brutal Truth is actually genuine love, then I can start working to send Shame on its way. So I find myself back again at this core reality that if we can open our hearts, painful as it will be, we will find truth, honesty, and compassion. In this case, Brutal Truth comes only because of the need to share compassion, care, and concern. But mercy, such truths can hurt like hell and rock your world.

How does Brutal Truth bring genuine Love? As I was reading more just now, I found this. Gendler writes, “Trust is the daughter of Truth….she is the mother of Love.” Yes, there must be Trust for Brutal Truth to bring Love. Otherwise, when there is no trust and no love, THEN there is Shame. So if we can truly trust the one handing us the Brutal Truth, we will know it is offered from a place of Love.

It’s a lot. And it’s more than a lot in the moment when the truth hits. But maybe if we can open our hearts more, we can trust more, we can love more, and we can face those Brutal Truths without letting Shame in.

I’m going to try.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Melancholy and the Open Heart

When the melancholy comes, it creeps in, slowly, quietly, walking with silent footsteps on the forest floor of my heart. I have learned to spot it in my peripheral vision before it is too close, so now I know it’s coming. But I haven’t learned to detect it before it begins its quiet walk, and I haven’t figured out how to stop it.

I’m not sure I’m meant to stop it. It’s part of me. It doesn’t live with me always but rather comes to visit from time to time. It’s not malicious, but it can be scary.

I know with time it will move along, and I will be ok and feel lighter again. But it’s not like a riot in my soul* that leaves me in a new, life-filed place once the dust settles. It’s curious because unlike the soul riots which are much more violent and can shake me up inside, melancholy just comes and sits quietly next to me on the sofa. Or follows me to work. Or stands with me in line at the Post Office. And I start to feel very, very sad and unsure of just about everything. I don’t feel grounded, and I don’t know when it will pass.

I am grateful that when melancholy comes, it doesn’t completely overtake me. In fact, most people would never know what I’m feeling. But I feel it and have to work my way through it until it passes.

About a year and a half ago, I came across 2 passages that I marked with the words “when in trouble,” and more often than not, if it gets to that point with the melancholy, I remember to pull Melody Beattie’s “Journey to the Heart” off my shelf and turn to the marked pages. Tonight I was deeply impacted by a part of the first marked passage – but by some lines I had not underlined, and I could not help but smile. “Living with an open heart means we stay present for ourselves and feel as much as we can, as much as we need to.” As I type this to share here, it hits me even more: melancholy is part of it, part of this Life with an Open Heart adventure. Maybe that’s totally obvious, but it’s never been clear in quite this way to me before.

As I flip again to the second passage to see if I want to write about it here, I re-read, “Go out, and embrace your connection.” Yes. That is why I am here. Compassion, connection, an open heart, and the courage and strength to stay on the journey.

So I am extra grateful for connection and open-heartedness tonight. That’s you. And the Universe. And God. And my friend I reached out to earlier to say my heart was hurting. And the loved one I reached out to earlier to say this is where I am right now. Thank you for being here with me in this moment in time.

I’m feeling myself smile more as I write this. I think I might even share something that I love and that I feel describes me in some ways, but I don’t want it to sound arrogant, and I’m not really cool enough to share it, but I love it. I love it because everything I feel I tend to feel really deeply. And mostly that’s good, but sometimes, boy, I could stand to feel just a little less. But I wouldn’t change it about myself. I choose to believe I inherited it from my dear grandmother, this deep-feeling-heart-laid-bare-heart-on-sleeve-ness. My cousin has it, too. And my sweet son. So here it is, at the risk of sounding silly – but maybe silly is good, especially if it helps lead the way out of melancholy’s forest. Here’s to open hearts, sensitivity, deep feeling, and even dear melancholy.

from SweatpantsAndCoffee.com

from SweatpantsAndCoffee.com*

*https://dearworldhereismyheart.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/a-riot-in-my-soul/

A riot in my soul.

Sometimes I am presented with a situation, something happens to me or even just around me or near me that stirs up such intense feelings that it’s like the wind has been knocked out of me. I’m not just talking about anger. I’m talking about a moment when your world is so rocked that the very core of your being trembles inside.

It can be very unnerving and usually doesn’t feel-good-to-feel. I feel my whole countenance change on the outside and my heart turn upside down on the inside. I feel unsure and unsteady. I start to question everything.

It feels like there’s a riot in my soul.

As hard as it is to sit with, to live through, I know there’s probably a reason it’s happening, and when the earthquake quiets, and I survey the rubble, I’m often surprised to feel that what surrounds me is something quite gentle yet powerful. It feels like I can breathe again, not merely picking up where I left off before the riot, but like I can breathe in more deeply than I could before the quake.

One time years ago in the midst of a particularly difficult time in my life, I remember feeling like after the riot there were just pieces of myself scattered all around, and I did not know how to put them back. Actually, I think I must have still been in the midst of that great riot. It was very scary, and I was deeply sad. I was in midst of grief and despair.

And then one day I realized I only needed to put back the pieces of myself that I wanted to. This riot had, after much core devastation, provided me the chance to create anew the person I wanted to be. And this was marvelous and wonderful to me – and such a relief. There were pieces of the rubble of myself that I could leave behind, and there were pieces of myself I could pick up lovingly and restore to their resting place in my heart. And then there was room for some new pieces I might yet encounter along the way.

I still experience riots. As hard as they are in the moment, I have come to know they are a really good thing, especially if I can find the courage to stay in the fray and be connected to the trembling core. When I come through it and the dust is settling, I breathe again. I breathe a new peace and a new strength. I try to hold onto it as I pick up a new piece of myself from the rubble and put it gently in my heart.