The willingness to meet whatever is showing up in our lives takes courage. Did you know that the root for the word courage means “of the heart”? It takes an open heart and deep compassion to see all of the conditioned stories in our heads that keep us separate from life. It takes courage to see them, love them and, under that gaze of compassion, allow them to evaporate like the summer fog when it is touched by the morning sun.
I have been experiencing a lot of pain in my back and leg for quite some time now. I had spine surgery several months ago but it did not fully heal the nerve in my spine which makes it painful to walk for more than 10 or 15 minutes. The journey with my spine has brought up feelings inside of me that are longing to be healed. When the pain becomes very intense, what comes up from the depth of me are stories of despair, frustration, anger, overwhelm and fear. But I know they are asking to be met in the spaciousness of my heart. If I resist or indulge them in any way, all it leads to is suffering, while meeting them in my heart brings joy. It brings deep joy to recognize that all lasting healing happens in the heart.
The following quote from Eleanor Roosevelt speaks directly to this:
“Every time you meet a situation, though you think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it, you find that forever after you are freer than you were before.”
There is also a line from one of Rainier Marie Rilke’s poems that says, “Oh, we wasters of sorrow.” Well, I am not wasting this healing opportunity! Sometimes I really don’t like it, but I keep on returning to two little mantras from my first book, Belonging To Life: “What is” and “this too.” “What is” is the invitation to use my mind to be curious about what is happening, rather than reacting to it. And “this too” is the invitation to allow it to be here – for it is! It is also the invitation not to fight it, so what I am experiencing can float in the vast spaciousness of my own heart. How could I not be grateful for this depth of healing!
When the fog of your conditioned self begins to thin from the sunlight of your open heart, you begin to see life again. You truly feel it, touch it, taste it, trust it and know it. This is when the “prodigal son” comes home. This is experienced as a softening of all of that tightness you have carried around your whole life. It is an opening, an allowing life in, with both its joys and it sorrows. It is learning how to not second-guess life so you can show up for it instead. It is recognition of the fleetingness of life – nothing lasts – and thus an honoring of the preciousness of everything. And even deeper than all of that, it is the joy of dancing with life from your heart rather than from your conditioned mind.