Tag Archives: Heart

Wisdom: Rumi on the Rocks

naked ladies

Coffee?   Toast?  Kisses?  How to transition from slumber’s sweetness to everyday responsibilities, preserving the wisdom and certainties of Self while activating the personality’s readiness and skills?

On inspiration just after the onset of summer I opted for reading aloud each morning from Coleman Barks’ “A Year with Rumi”.   I began in earnest July 1, settling into a chair on the back deck, book in hand.  Absorbing the morning cool, I started to speak into the forest, hoping I could harmonize with or at least not disturb Her morning melodies.

” . . .Dawn comes; blindness drains away.  Each day is eternity.   Do not avoid your suffering. Plunge it into the  Nile . . . .”

My inspiration on transitions must have been mistaken.    After reading such enticements, why would I want to pull on my collared shirt, clean jeans, and work shoes?   I only wanted to sit and reach deeper, to sink into uninterrupted contemplation and heart dreaming.

I encountered the same on July 2 and 3 and 4.   I considered giving up the project entirely.  But somewhere in the week of July 11, a change occurred.  Instead of sitting on the back deck in a chair, I sought the coolness of a stone overlooking the front garden.

On this rock, against the earth, the poetry lifted yet grounded and prepared me.   Sensual symbols accompanied by wise verse called me to remember the Heart’s values, to engage the risk and bliss of small sacrifices for the sake of healing.  Small gifts to give moment by moment in the everyday world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Response: Homegrown Headlines

black bass lakeThis morning, April 23rd, the day after the official Earth Day I unfurled the Arkansas Democrat Gazette to images of the Paris Agreement signing.   (Yes, I work in a technology store, but we still get an old fashioned newspaper for our customers to read while waiting. LOL).

While the Paris accord carries its own significance, what ignites my faith in human beings is creative local responses to the urgent need for more Earth loving.

My Facebook newsfeed overflows with both stark climate news and courageous homegrown, grassroots reactions to ecological threats.   I’ve considered keeping a list of these Heart-Full efforts, as a testament to the human spirit.  So far I’ve settled for remembering this expanding web of Earth-caring in my daily prayers and meditation.

This Earth Day week here in Eureka Springs, as the last of the Ozark redbud blossoms were fading, I was fortunate to encounter in person quite a few folks  who are passionately pursuing an array of climate conscious activities — everything from bee keeping, to free solar power consultations, to lobbying for energy policy changes, to planting native flowers, to organizing a community discussion of Pope Francis’ encyclical.

What about your Earth Day experiences?   What invited your attention, action or appreciation?

Of course, many Earth-honoring moments escape the headlines; being principled decisions initiated in the privacy of the Heart or the home or being actions undertaken in the unnoticed vicissitudes of everyday life or off the interest list of major media outlets.

Publicized or not, each Earth-caring  response matters.  Each in a sense, is its own actualized  “Agreement”.  A vibrant pact between Earth and the Human Heart.  A covenant so intrinsic to our human Being, that when remembered, it eliminates all need to remind ourselves that every day is to be lived as Earth Day.

 

 

 

Service: The Heart’s Vocation

Bryce AutumnQuite 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.

Kodachrome

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.

Mission: Countering Great Destruction with Small Commitments

Carroll Electric EquipmentCarroll Electric rolled into the neighborhood last week.  With mechanically-armed saw blades whirring and spinning, they summarily cleared “their” right-of-ways of offending trees. Leaving the ripe scent and shock of countless destroyed cedars in their wake.  Mission accomplished. Power supply preserved.

Frustration abounds locally at Carroll Electric’s management and operational practices.  I’m none too happy with them. Still for the many of us not yet on solar they do keep the lights on, albeit with a profit-conscious heavy hand.

Carroll Electric Destruction

As I’ve mourned the lost trees and scarred hillsides, I’ve also wondered at my own profession.  I do my best to treat my customers well, as living individuals, not numbers.  But am I any less earth-destructive than Carroll Electric in my years of selling labor and resource-laden I Phones, Galaxies, Turbos, Tablets, Modems, Routers, DVR’s?

I have a friend who once declared that she wasn’t going to take up any job that would harm people, animals or the Earth.  She was unemployed for a very long time.  Indeed today’s economy essentially demands participation in a production/consumption lockstep that damages our planetary home and cuts ever so anonymously and lethally at our biological and spiritual connection with Nature.

I don’t have an answer for this circumstance.  Except to claim and commit daily to a counter mission.  To consume lightly. To place faith in Life’s abundance.  And to direct effort, time, passion, and care each day into something that heals, inspires, and spreads hope.  Something as small as touching the Earth and singing a prayer. Something as real as holding hands with a friend.  As frugal as finding a $4 skirt at the thrift shop. As important as speaking truth that activates change. Something that calls one back into the center of the Heart.  Into Wisdom’s Energy.

Garden Snail Shell

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Creativity: Balancing Curves and Squares

ChicagoI traveled by plane to Chicago recently on my way to a family reunion in Michigan.  The city’s skyline boasts the famous Willis Tower (long known as the Sears Tower) and the John Hancock Center which houses the fastest elevator in the Western Hemisphere. Impressive.

Yet even more striking than the skyscrapers and the stories behind them is the vast grid of city streets from which they rise.  Square after square after square.  Block after block.  A pattern of hard edged metal and concrete  “landscapes” enclosed by predictable, repeatable boundaries, offering a little flourish (such as a speedy elevator) here and there.  A symbol of our rational mindset and creative prowess over the last century.  A testament to our human power to say “yes, we can build this” and to make it happen.

In contrast to our many “squared” human constructions, Nature’s creations flow with curves, pleasing symmetry and complementary shapes. These configurations soften the eyes, stir playfulness, and open the heart, while sparking awe and igniting wholeness in the imagination . .  . feelings and qualities that say “yes, we can build something that heals and inspires.”

circles and squaresSome spiritual texts denote the square as a symbol for the personality, that part of us which navigates life’s literal and metaphoric streets and gets things done.  On the one hand a perfect fit for our modern outwardly demanding, efficiency driven society.  On the other hand, a creative potentiality of mind, passion, vitality, and physical action that can serve the spiraling inspirations of the Heart  A potentiality waiting to be claimed.

I find that communing with Nature and observing Her Creative Ways (even in a small urban garden of which there are many in Chicago’s neighborhoods) serves as an essential counterweight to the omnipresent pull into cut and dried efficiency and established routines.  It balances the valuable assets of the square with the curves of the heart, yielding the best of both:  real-world savvy and embracing quality; effective action and healing, meaningful inspiration.

Food: When the proverbial cupboard is stripped bare, thrive on the Good

Beer Can LitterThis week a dear friend called and told me of enduring public demeaning by an angry spiritual colleague.  She had walked away with her emotional reserves stripped bare; her dreams of cooperation suddenly starved of possibility.

After countless prayers and uttered affirmations to the Heart, it’s a painful irony that spiritual circles can deliver devastating putdowns wrapped in packaging of “intuitive wisdom” justified by “Guidance.” Have you been there?  I have.  It’s a shocking, empty place to suffer.

Like this wasteland, most crises, whether deeply personal or planetary, are burning grounds offering a challenging gift: an abundant opportunity to regenerate and thrive. A key power point exists in choosing what to consume.

Avoid Self-numbing trash.   Revive and thrive on the Good.

I visited my friend the following morning. She is a strong, vivacious woman. She spoke lucidly about what had occurred and what she will do differently if another such circumstance arises. Still her anguished paleness shocked me. But by afternoon, her voice carried a note of heartiness.

“I’m resting at the base of my altar,” she said. “I’m watching the trees and the sunlight. I have talked to another supportive friend.”  She was feeding on the Good.

Do you know what truly nourishes and revives you? What replenishes your vibrancy, strength, and Heart? And what, in contrast, undermines your well-being despite its appetizing appeal?

Meditation is one of my go-to renewing “foods.”. I’m also actively training to choose push-ups or a power nap over even brief facebook carousing.  The latter while appearing relaxing, stretches me into all kinds of de-energizing, extraneous details.

Can you engage your fit choices in an instant?   Practice when your days are easy. Practice when a day is hard.  Seek help when needed.  Next time an interaction or event raids your cupboard of cherished confidence, plans, or friendships, you’ll be better prepared to thrive your way out of the emptiness . . . and, as I’ve been learning in karate, perhaps to avoid the situation in the first place.

One situation we cannot avoid is our planetary circumstance.  Choosing to thrive on Good may seem a tiny bulwark against macro economic, technological and political forces promoting endless consumerism and a rush toward an ecological wasteland. But it is a choice within our power, and thus it is an essential, nourishing, goal-fit choice to make.

Effort: Spiritual Amnesia? Remember the Heart.

Saturday I went to the city, something I haven’t done since the autumn of 2014, a long hiatus even for me. The purpose of my journey was to post advertisements for a locally-sourced theater performance engineered by some friends in the spirit of One Billion Rising and ending violence against women.

The hour drive from my rural Carroll County road to Highway 71 Business and Fayetteville’s well-appointed shops and bustling university offers time to transition from one habitat and rhythm to another. Even so, right off the bat, after parking my dirt-dusted car, I missed a crosswalk signal and a curb and nearly stumbled in front of a turning Subaru.pig 2

Eventually, however, I shifted into the urban cadence. I slipped through crowded doorways into aromatic, narrow coffee shops like Common Ground. I taped and pinned posters with the help of delightfully helpful college students, chuckled at the bounding razorbacks on random street corners, and studied the collective movement of traffic and shoppers while sipping an 8.45 ounce bottle of Pellegrino, a treat that can’t be found in that perfect size at home.

But after a few hours, the noise and bustle began to grate. I was out of posters and out of synch.

Getting out of synch with the Heart happens, too. Some people call it “spiritual amnesia.” It’s easy to stumble into, even easier than stumbling on an unfamiliar street. After all, modern society brims with stressors and rabbit-hole distractions.

I’m definitely not equating my visit to the city or urban-living itself with being out of step with the Heart.   I admire people who can dive into metropolitan life and thrive, spiritually and otherwise. Maybe you’re one of these hearty folks.

Urban or rural, alertness to being out of rhythm with the Heart is essential. So is learning what this dissonance has to offer and knowing when and how to get back home: home to the Heart’s beat – its power, clear aims, creative passion and nurturing love.