I used to uphold airport meditation as a measure of accomplishment; a rite of passage so to speak in the quest to “be a good meditator” regardless of outer circumstances. I pursued this goal off and on over a decade or so, sitting with equal vigor in the relative quiet of NW Arkansas’ XNA and the multi-linguistic clamor of New York’s JFK.
It wasn’t until February, 2012, however, that I first experienced a profoundly immersive airport meditation. It happened in Terminal B (I believe) of Dallas Fort Worth’s International Airport (DFW). Arizona-bound to see my father who was in the final days of his life, I settled into the crowded gate area and closed my eyes, seeking not some pre-defined success or self-affirmation but rather Love’s solace and radiant silence. What else can one do when approaching a convergence of vulnerability and the profound need for courage, grace and strength?
I recalled that spontaneous DFW experience last weekend as I wandered through O’Hare International after an embracing weekend with family in Chicago. Surrounded by routine boarding calls and urgent gate change announcements, I was reminded that the primary obstacle to hearing the Heart’s Song rises not so much from outer noise but from the inner clatter of scattering thoughts and emotions and the agendas they agitate.
I still practice airport meditation on occasion, although thankfully no longer compelled by the noisy desire for accomplishment. The simple possibility of once again registering the sweet Note of our Togetherness is more than enough.
Quite awhile back I graduated with a degree in social work and immediately landed a paying position in this serving profession. Years on, the form of my work life has evolved, as has my appreciation for the Essence of Service. An Essence whose extraordinary everydayness transcends societal labels and in its own way is as moving and shaking and rewarding as a respected job title or university diploma.
Living the Essence of Service is a vocation unrivaled in beauty and significance. It is Being in the Heart and Responding from there.
The Heart’s natural work is to hear needs and embrace them. Touched by inspiration, the Heart reaches out. It perceives healing opportunities and Initiates wise actions. Knows interconnection, responsibility, and well-being. Is Tender. Fierce. Unrelenting. Generous. Courageous. Comforting. Depending on the need.
Circumstances that propel us beyond the ordinary and that push personal buttons put our Service staying power to the test. The normal routine of relationships, commitments, and professional binds brings its own challenges.
How then to stay fresh? Serving? In the Heart’s vocation? Each of us, I believe, is charged to find personally resonant ways.
Last week my way brought me to three days of hiking with my Mom in Utah’s stunning Bryce Canyon and captivating Kodachrome Basin State Park. Penetrating sun. Clear air. Exquisite rock formations. On the less traveled paths, away from the selfie picture taking crowds, the high desert drew me in, It played on my senses with compelling affinity, matching beauty for beauty my highest ideal of the Heart’s capacity to listen, touch, see, apply and know. I had expected a nice get-away; this embrace exceeded my imagination.
I returned to my workplace renewed, but most importantly I was restored in the Heart’s vocation. Refreshed. I’m grateful.
Never have I seen acorns so plentiful and plump. Hundreds upon hundreds cover the decks and gardens surrounding my home.
Even as I write, these lushly ripe oak offerings ping onto the earthy-red metal roof. They zip into the worn wooden porch with a pop and a roll, reminding me of successful sounds emanating from a baseball batting cage.
I’m reminded too of the abundant harvest yielded by Life’s challenges. In particular the harvest of Wisdom: that reaping of Knowledge gleaned through seasons of experience and stored in the Heart like so many acorns, ready to nourish and to provide sustenance in the form of counsel, or action or non-action.
On a personal note, it seems fitting to me that I completed the final legal and financial release between myself and the spiritual community of which I was apart for many years, during this season of acorns. The unwinding and rebuilding of the past many months wasn’t something I consciously asked for, but looking back I’m grateful for the struggle, the losses and all that has been gained — the lessons in forgiveness, strength, letting go, embracing, friendship, risking, and healing. We’ll see what wisdom comes.
Summer nights in the Ozark woods vibrate with insistent insect song. On and on and over and over this tune plays. Such playful pluckiness! I liken it to banjo picking accompanied by unrelenting thumble-fingered washboard playing.
Every eco-system projects its sound. Every partnership carries its blended tone. Friendships. Families. Business groups. Lovers. Teams. Pets and caregivers. Whether fleeting or enduring, superficial or deep, groupings to some degree meld qualities direction, rhythm, individual essence and ritual into a distinctive note.
An additional perspective comes from those who say the Soul and Personality fuse and harmonize on the chord of the perfect third. Add in Spirit and the fifth is achieved; then the full chord sounds forth.
In my experience the heart-fully developed note serves as a sustaining and dynamic reservoir. It is at once a refuge to call home and also demonstrates as cooperative creative expression, As a life enjoyed and well-lived. A business evolving and well made. Challenges met together. Inspiring to behold. Magnetic. Appealing. A radiant flower of many petals so to speak.
When I left my intentional community last fall, I left the group note. I severed ties with the united sound that had risen and moved through my heart and actions for years. Even with all the discordance and dysfunction that had infiltrated into the shared song, still it was what I knew. The loss was disorienting. Hard. Perhaps you’ve experienced a similar severing, from a work group or personal relationship or creative collective of some kind.
Perhaps, as I did, you drew into the centering Silence of your true core and re-listened to the Sound of who you are Are, to the Values the Heart truly desires to express, and to the fitness needing to be gained to make it so. Perhaps you released into the embracing song of the Earth. Perhaps you cultivated new connections in the Inner Light and in outer conversation. All in hope of participating in a new deep convergence, a new fused note. Perhaps you found another way; I would love to hear about it.
I’ve sensed in prayer and meditation a new community melody awaiting; one that would be a harmonic fit for my Heart’s commitment to authenticity, kindness with strength, and love in action. I’ve been grateful for a renaissance with my two business partners, as we develop deeper resonance in heart and action. But I have known there was something more.
Last week I found the start of it . Not in the old way of living in an intentional community resounding with ideals. But in the way of life’s shared hardships and joys. I found it synthesized in three encounters spanning just one day. A friend taking refuge in what she described as profound inner peace following a difficult medical report. Another friend hitting her stride in her wellness counseling business/vocation; so much to celebrate! A third friend anticipating the arrival of his life partner, moving from out of state. In their stories, I heard my emerging heart note echoing all the richer back to me, no longer my note but the Note of Embraced Friendships. Authentic. Strong. Real. Committed. As welcome and stirring to me as the insect’s summer night song.