For the Three

Within the last 24 hours there have been memorial services / celebrations of life for 3 people to whom I was tangentially connected, though not closely. I am humbled by that ratio and extra mindful of the great gift of life.

I did not go to but one service, though my heart and thoughts have been with all. But tonight as I watched my friend in deep grief for the loss of his love, my heart ached so for him. At the same time, the celebration for his partner was truly joyful: it was an actual party, according to his wishes!

So I just wanted to pause and honor those gone and those who remain behind and also express gratitude for my life. 

  

Turnsole/soul

I came across a lovely turnsole picture this morning and wanted to include it in this post from earlier this summer. Cheerful sunflowers do my heart good. ūüôā

dearworldhereismyheart

I came across a word today that’s new to me: turnsole.

http://dictionary.reference.com/slideshows/sunny-words#turnsole

A turnsole is a type of plant that turns with the movement of the sun, a sunflower being the most famous example. From Middle Frenchtournesol, the word literally means ‚Äúturns toward the sun,‚ÄĚ and was modeled after the synonymous Greek term heliotrope. As in French, when the word came into English in the 1300s it initially referred to the purple dye that came from a turnsole plant. Soon after, turnsole broadened in meaning to refer to all types of plant that turn with the sun.

I don’t know a lot about gardening or plants. I know very little, actually. I probably knew at some point in my life that that’s what a sunflower is, and I am aware of how plants lean and grow toward the light, but somehow this notion of turning with the movement…

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Stillness Reflection

It is quiet now, and there is a palpable stillness that fills my heart with peace.

I am reminded of a time, a moment ¬†of stillness I will never forget and will keep close in my heart all my life. Years ago, my very dear friend asked if I would be present (along with her husband at the time) for the birth of their second child. I was deeply honored and readily said yes. One night it was time, and off we went to the birthing center in the hospital while their much-loved¬†2 year old stayed home with grandmother. My friend astonished me with her grace and strength in bringing that sweet tiny somebody into the world: my friend always astonishes me with her grace and strength, and this was a new level I hadn’t been able to imagine (my son was still many years away from being born). After her delivery of this amazing little girl, my friend drifted into a greatly earned sleep. Father¬†asked if I would mind staying a bit longer, staying with my friend and their newborn long enough for him to run home and check on their other daughter and the grandmother. Of course I was overjoyed to stay.

So I found myself there in the middle of the night, for it was about midnight, sitting in a rocking chair, high up in a tall hospital building in the midst of crazy, wonderful Manhattan, holding this tiny marvel, this precious child, this gift to the Universe. And everything¬†was so, so still. My friend¬†was gently sleeping right there in the room with us. All was perfectly quiet. And this sweet tiny someone and I shared this moment in time that I will never, ever forget. I try to recall this memory with some regularity so that I never let it go. So that she stays right there in my heart, and so that that moment of utter Grace, of what, after yesterday’s exploration, I now believe was Quick Wonder,* never leaves me. So that I can honor that moment in time, that beloved baby¬†(who is now an extraordinary young woman), and her mother who is one of those friends whom I will love to the end and beyond.

As I write this, I am having what my son and I call “happy tears. ” There is something about stillness. It can be so scary sometimes. It can feel impossible to bear. It can be maddening or give way to melancholy. But ¬†it can also be genuinely awesome. It can open our hearts in a way we’ve never experienced. When we can be still, we can be present to Quick Wonder: we can be fully connected to the wonder of living, of being, of sharing in a moment in time.

I am so grateful for you, sweet tiny somebody.¬†I’m so, so very glad you came into this world.

* https://dearworldhereismyheart.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/quick-wonder/

 

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.

 

 

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.