About Living from the Heart ~

We live by stories passed on for generations about who we are
and where we should be going. But these stories don't always let us live our best lives, because they aren't our personal legends.

Living from the Heart is about discovering our own stories. Choices with Intention. It is the journey to be true to ourselves and to dare to be all God and the Universe made us to be.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Companionship for a Healthy Heart

"Unconditionally loving yourself means allowing yourself to develop loving relationships where mutual cooperation, not competition or contention, becomes your daily reality." - Owen Waters

There was a pot in the garden with a lotus in it. The lotus wasn't very healthy so it was taken out and the pot drained of all the rotten leaves and roots and sediments. When the pot was pristine, fresh water was poured in. And when the last ripple settled, it was pure peace in that pot. Clean, fresh and still. And the lotus was lovingly returned to the pot. It was happy now. And grew to be very healthy indeed.

All the cleaning was tiring.

All the sediments were rotten and stank.
But the cleaning was eventually done. The dirt was all cleared out and never seen again.
And that was that.

Sometimes, my life is like that pot. I have frustrations, hurts and fears that lay rotting at the bottom of my heart. I seem fine on the surface. I laugh, i smile and i carry on as usual. But the sparkle is gone from my eyes and i start to feel more tired of everything i do, including all that i actually love doing. It is then that i need to clean my pot. But i delay and postpone. I know that i will have to deal with rot and stench, so i procrastinate. Believing even that perhaps someone who loves me enough will do it for me. I even pray for God to do it for me. Yet the pot is my own heart, and no one truly has access to change it's health but me.

But being the only one able to do the job isn't the same as actually doing the job alone. Just because i can't have someone do it FOR me doesn't mean i can't have someone WITH me while i'm doing it. I certainly can gain from the company of someone who can give me relevant gardening tips or just someone to have a good chat with and distract me from focusing on the worst parts of the rot i'm removing. Sometimes, just someone who knows how to mix a refreshing lemonade works magic. I suppose whether i truly need or will accept company depends on whether i feel brave enough to expose the filth i am getting rid off, and the actual severity of the accumulated rot. Who wants to air dirty laundry? But even when we do get brave enough to, lesser still are the people willing to view it.

If you have ever hitch-hiked, you would have learned, like me, that often only the oldest cars and the shabbiest people ever stop. Scary as it may seem to accept offers from such people, it's also that these people are probably the ones who can most empathise with having to make a journey on foot through rough roads. And so in times of heart-cleaning episodes, i find it is the equally wounded or those that recall having been as wounded who are most willing to accompany me. I guess this must be the concept behind support groups for those in need of emotional healing. It's a circle where everyone accepts that we all get dirty through life. So we can just be done with the damaging habit of judging everyone including (and often mostly) ourselves, and get on with the far more rewarding habit of affirming and encouraging each other forward through the muck.

My heart is very much like a pot hosting a lotus plant. And any pristine pot, as long as it hosts a growing organism in it, will eventually need to be cleaned of organic decay. It's nature and i don't need to be embarassed by it. The cleaning process is never truly pleasant, but as awful as the accumulated sediments can get, it all goes away for good the moment i let go. My heart is then refreshed, and i can once again view life with the quiet peace and joy of a lotus in full bloom. And while it's true that i'm the only one who can clean up my heart from it's contaminations; a beloved, a kindred or just a kind soul to accompany me through that process without judgement really does make a difference. And so, in my quest for a healthy heart, i'm building more affirming relationships in my life. Because although i can't have someone create a healthy heart for me, i can certainly create a circle of affirming hearts around me while i'm doing it. And also because i like lemonade and a nice chat.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wisely Carefree

When i was a child, i was naive. That innocence made it possible for me to try dangerous things, live in the moment free of care and dream anything. Almost. I was more self-conscious and afraid than most kids as i was a deeply sensitive child. So my carefreeness was always a tad moderated. But i see in my comrades who were far more carefree than me as kids, an equal struggle and inability to remain childlike as the years have progressed.

Why have i gradually lost the ability to dream and to believe in those dreams enough to make them happen? It's ironic. When i was a kid i was always limited by my size, my understanding, my finances, my relationships. I couldn't wait to grow up and get beyond personal limitations and explore the world's menu. Yet now that i am a grown up, i find myself still limited. But by what?
I think by my own perceptions.

We grow up and learn a mountain is a mountain, label it as a tough climb and then stack up logical reasons why we can't do it after all. So we don't start the climb and shelve even the dream of climbing. Can't do it so why dream about it? But then a kid who doesn't do logistic studies and climbs the mountain with carefree enthusiasm, unprepared for altitude challenges and climate adaptation requirements will also fail to get over that mountain.

Childhood is a time of innocence, but is accompanied by ignorance due to that innocence. Adulthood is a time of knowing, but is accompanied by fear due to that knowing.
And so i begin to see that perhaps it is marrying innocence with knowledge that makes mountains conquerable.

Somewhere in life, after collecting enough years of innocence and enough years of knowing is a fulcrum point of balancing the two and reaching blessed equilibrium. An equilibrium that merges the ability to dream like a child with the ability to skillfully use available resources and knowledge gained from life experiences to overcome our feared obstacles and perceived limitations. Wise Carefreeness is what makes dreaming possible again as adults. And Wise Carefreeness is what makes those same dreams come true.

The next time i feel intimidated by logical reality in my adult mind, or regret not being able to feel impulsive with a child's heart, i am going to take a step back and affirm myself with this truth: i have lived long enough as a child and as an adult to finally be Wisely Carefree which is really the ability to combine the best of both heart and mind.

And since i am no longer a limited kid nor a scared adult, i can at last personally afford whatever the world has to offfer on it's amazingly endless menu of possibilities.