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/

Maria

This morning I was in the grocery store before I headed to work and was staring somewhat absently at the dried fruit section. An older but very lively woman came up next to me and said, “It’s hard to decide isn’t it?” What happened next was one of the most other-worldly, powerful experiences I’ve ever had.

This sprightly, fiery, feisty, vivacious, loving, gentle (yes, at the same time as being fiery and feisty), Grace-filled Open Heart of a human being engaged me in a moment in time unlike any I have ever been part of. I came to learn that her name was Maria, that she was in her mid-70’s, that she didn’t marry (“by choice!” she insisted, repeating it several times) until she was 42, that she had married a man in his 70’s, that he knew how responsible and independent she was, that she had worked 3 jobs at the same time and was working them when she met him, that he had told her she would never have to work again if she didn’t want to, that he lived into his 90’s (and she clearly loved and cherished her time with him), that she had re-married, that her second wedding ring (which she showed me) had 5 diamonds in it because her mother had been born on the 5th, that she didn’t care what she looked like (she was nicely but humbly dressed), that she really loved her watch on which you could see the inner workings of the gears from both the front and the back (it was a simple fashion watch, clearly not high value, but made her so happy), that she believed in God, that she didn’t need a bodyguard (anyone to take care of her): she had herself, and she had God.

But that’s not really what she was there to share with me.

She was there to share with me that everything I need I have within me.

As she told me her story, she talked of how she had always stood on her own, how she believed that everything she needed she had within her – and so did I – and to trust myself and that I am so young and have so much time. Her Grace and sweetness and strength were palpable. While I had a few cynical questions float through my mind about whether or not she might be crazy, I realized it didn’t matter. Because even if she was, she was giving of herself to me, she was reaching out, connecting with me so genuinely, from such an incredible place of wanting to help and be kind and share of herself and be strong for me – and I didn’t even know that I needed someone to be strong for me and reassure me, but she literally just appeared, and before I knew it I was in tears, and she hugged me, and blessed me and told me she loved me (and not at all in a creepy way). She talked about how we are so busy we don’t find time for kindness. She talked about how we need to find time for it and stop and just make it happen – like I realized she was doing for me, with me, right there next to the dried fruit.

And she kept telling me her story and assuring me that I could do anything I wanted. I couldn’t even find words. The tears just came, and she kept hugging me and reassuring me of these things I didn’t even know I needed to hear. And I briefly had a moment of worrying that I needed to get to work, and I quickly banished that thought as I knew I was supposed to be right there, right then. With Maria. It was Quick Wonder for sure, as I was very aware that this was a moment of extraordinary wonder that was living and breathing through me and with me.

I have tears again as I write this, as I remember this Open Heart personified. Maria then showed me her cart and the great vegetable deals she’d found and took me to the bag of tomatoes on sale, and I put some in my cart, too. Then we hugged again and she blessed me again, and we finished our shopping separately.

We met up again after we each checked out, and we walked out together and hugged again, and I just kept thanking her. And we decided that if it was meant to be we would meet again sometime.

I just stood there, next to the dried fruit, listening, feeling, weeping, grateful, in awe, moved beyond measure by this open-hearted woman who believed we shouldn’t carry hate around, we should say what’s on our hearts and minds and move on, that the world is big enough for everybody. I just stood there letting her bless me with her love and strength, not having anything to give her except my presence and gratitude and honesty as I didn’t try to hide my tears. I just stood there as she truly did bless me and heal me in some way and gave me new life. And when she told me she loved me, I told her I loved her, too. This was not a time for holding back. This was a time to show up and be open to whatever was happening.

Maria is her name. Maria changed me. Maria showed me what genuine compassion and connection are, what a truly open heart is, what it is to experience Quick Wonder – and what it is to be Quick Wonder. Maria is Quick Wonder. She is a loving whirlwind of Quick Wonder.

And she let me whirl with her for a few minutes right there in the grocery store, next to the dried fruit.

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/

The Open Heart Connection

I find myself, through these writings and with you, exploring what it is to have an open heart, to live with a heart open to the world, open to possibility, open to hurt, open to feeling all manner of things, open to connecting with another person, with a moment in time, with ourselves. And then today I came across this from the marvelous Terri St. Cloud who is Bone Sigh Arts:

My word. I saw that, read that, felt that, and my heart did a little happy dance of gratitude. No, more like a deep bow of gratitude to the Universe and to God. “Strength lies in the opening of the heart…” (Terri St. Cloud)

This resonates so deeply with me, not only because of this journey I’m on but also because it makes so clear that having an open heart isn’t all sunshine and roses and ease and smiles. It can be, of course. The opening of the heart hopefully often will lead to great joy and genuine compassion and connection. But it may be really, really hard before it gets to that point. It takes great strength to open your heart and go to those places. It takes courage. It might mean riots in your soul.

I’ve never been good at confrontation. I don’t like it. I’d gladly go around the block to avoid confrontation. But I am learning that part of having an open heart means staying right there in the Thick of It, whatever It is in that moment, and showing up to my life and to the connection even if the connection is really hard.

I’m not saying that I believe we always have to go into the fray to have an open heart. Indeed, sometimes the path to opening your heart is to step back and let be. Sometimes the path is to just be present for someone else or for yourself, listening to what they need from you, not necessarily what you might want to give. The opening of the heart can take on so many forms, and I find that wonderful. An open heart is an invitation to see where life may lead us.

So. Here we are in this together, and I am so grateful. “Strength lies in the opening of the heart…” Amen, and yes.