Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Door of My Heart

By choice I go through life with my heart wide open. Long ago I removed the hinges from the door of my heart and threw them and the door away. It was a strange and risky feeling at first. I argued with God about it, which I have a tendency to do at times. It seems that though I argue I usually do in the end surrender to the guidance I receive. I did in this case as well and actually went through the physical motions of it in a meditation and unscrewed each screw and threw all of it away. It was a powerful and unusual meditation and it changed my life.

I did have a question though, as I got used to the feeling. “It feels like it could just fall right out of my chest. What happens if it does?” The response I received was simple, “Good. Watch where it falls, for there love will grow in abundance.”

There wasn’t much argument I could make in the face of a statement like that. Instead I learned to not just live with it, but to enjoy the feeling of a wide open heart. A wide open heart is more in touch with the wonder of life, it can receive more freely when there is no door to knock on and conversely it can give more freely as well.

It wasn’t an easy thing to get used to though. There are times when the feeling of vulnerability was overwhelming. I had to learn to be really still with that feeling and move forward anyway knowing that I was safe, knowing that my heart was strong and trustworthy. It led to the learning that beneath and supporting my human heart was an unbreakable heart. A heart that was untouched by the things in life that made me feel vulnerable. A heart that knows the truth of who I am. A heart that is the place where the Divine resides with the human within me. I began to learn to live from that unbreakable heart.

There are lots of moments when I really wish I had something there to protect the oh so human heart though, and I certainly still forget to live from the unbreakable heart at times. There are times with that door gone, when it feels like someone or something can walk up and throw a hand grenade right in and blast the place apart. There are plenty of people I meet who don’t believe it’s genuine the way I live. I’ve learned to be still with that and let them get to know me and decide for themselves. I have even had moments of thinking about just replacing that dang door. Whenever I tried to put up a barrier in anyway though, it felt so unnatural and uncomfortable and quite frankly just not who I was anymore.

Despite the hand grenades occasionally chucked in, I wouldn’t live any other way now. And having that door gone is even helpful when the explosions come along – the fragments that get blasted loose don’t get lodged in the heart so easily. They fly free of the heart where I can see them better, where I can pick them up and honor them and release them. Not much fun at times I admit, but worth it at the end of the process (yes, I kid myself that there is an end to the process!).

The best part though is getting to share from my heart with no barriers, loving in a way I had not loved before – and that includes loving myself as well. Coming to know the heart that resides within me has been a great challenge and a great joy – a journey I would walk again in a heartbeat.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Gifts of the Leap

I’m a leaper. Truly, I have been all my life, though as an adult there was a time when leaping seemed more frightening than it does now. I’m just not one to sit on the edge of the nest or the cliff and choose to only look and not leap. Have I always launched into glorious flight? Well I guess technically yes, but some times I was only in flight for a few seconds before I plummeted and other times I took glorious flight to places unknown and had grand adventures. Other times I simply learned to glide gently to the ground so as to avoid that whole plummeting thing.

This morning on my walk I received a reminder about the times when my wings didn’t open in time or when the branch snapped as I leapt. As I was walking along the canal path I heard a loud crack and subsequent splash. I turned to see branches and leaves falling from a tree beside the path and ripples spreading out across the water. I then heard splashing sounds from the water followed by a scrambling sound coming up the bank. A soaking wet squirrel scurried up the bank and back up into the offending tree. I had never seen a squirrel fall before. I have often been amazed that they don’t fall more often given the tiny branches that sway and droop under the weight of their mighty leaps. This was a first. This squirrel was lucky I suppose to have fallen in water rather than upon pavement. Was the squirrel sitting there being grateful for that water that broke his fall? Probably not. Was the squirrel angry at the branch for breaking, for not supporting him? Probably not. Did the squirrel lament his drenched fur in the cool morning air? Probably not.

From the looks of it and the way the squirrel was clinging to the tree he was unharmed and back to the business of being a squirrel. The leap and subsequent fall had not changed much from his perspective. He was not injured. He was damp, but would dry. Clearly he had the power to deal with the consequences of the fall in his ability to swim after he hit the water. I doubt he would be afraid to leap again; after all he is a squirrel. I took a moment to honor him and his fall and apparent well being afterward and wish him well.

As I continued on I thought about how many falls I have lived through physically and emotionally. I have not been as lucky as that squirrel; some did leave physical or emotional marks. Yet, looking back there has always been water of some sort, usually in the form of those I love, to break the fall. I have always been able to make it back to the bank and scramble back up afterward. I admit that I have occasionally held onto anger at the branch for breaking or more often anger toward myself for forgetting how to fly. Of course, that became part of the lesson of leaping; forgiving and eventually gratitude for the fall. I also have to say that often my perspective has indeed changed after a fall, but that is the beauty of the gift of the leap, whether I take flight or fall, always I learn.

Most of all, I’m glad to say that I have always been willing to climb back out on the limb and leap again, knowing that falling and flying are both part of the journey. Thank you friend squirrel for the reminder.