Give, sweet mama, give. Give, my man, give.

Give beauty

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. –Pablo Picasso

Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have. –Jim Rohn

We only have what we give. –Isabel Allende

For it is in giving that we receive. –St. Francis of Assisi

The wise ones gently nudge us toward this truth, don’t they? Give, sweet mama, give. Give, my man, give.

Open your closed fist, your worried fist, your fearful fist–and offer some your firstborn wages, your pennies and cents, your precious time, your heartfelt words, your hugs (when we can!), your smiles, your eye-crinkles, your phone calls, your compassion, your steadfast care.

Oh that stranger at the grocery store–can you give precious attention? Or will you stay lost in thought, trying to resolve the mind’s latest crisis or worry-scenario or preoccupation? Can you offer the stories of your heart, or will fear of judgment keep you caged in silence?

How can we break free of inner chains locking us in shut-off corners, where giving dries on the vine without bursting in sweet fruit?

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Dust everywhere. Fuel barrel sold. Emptiness is form.

Form is emptiness

Good morning to all. Sitting here in our messy dust-covered little house in the woods. The hardwood floor sanding and finishing is complete, but we need to wait several more hours before moving the stove and kitchen table and rolltop desk back onto the lovely satiny floor.

Dusting is #1 priority. The windows are covered with a fine sheen of dust. Everything is. Reggie, my blogging friend from South Africa, commiserated. She commented about their experience re-sanding and finishing their floors a few years ago: It was chaotic and disruptive of every single aspect of our daily life. BUT it only lasted a short time, and we loved the result.

Some of you may know that my daughter met Reggie and her husband in New York City when they visited the United States several years ago. Reggie brought her sweet gifts from Capetown. Gifts she still treasures. (This is what can happen when you have blogging friends.)

Yesterday I wrote about feeling empty. Nothin’ to say. No spiritual stories to share. Nothin’ to report. It felt like being an empty barrel.

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The barrel is empty

Not even snow fills this barrel today

** I’ve got nothing for you today, Holy, the barrel is empty.**

–It’s not coming from you, dear child. Trust into Me.–

**I’ve nothing to say on Day 42.**

–Let’s sit in silence together today. Sometimes I have to empty you out to fill you with newness. Don’t be afraid. Lean into this emptiness. I’ll fill your barrels with sweet wild honey, dear humans. Trust in the soul’s journey, all of you.–

Day 42 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

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What does wood floor sanding and finishing have to do with spirituality?

Kitchen in living room

You guys have this figured out by now, right?

Everything has to do with spirituality. Spirituality–in my book–is not separate from the ordinary physical material mundane world. It dances with it. It provides perspective. But there’s no dividing line where we can say something is spiritual and something is not.

So what does today’s wood floor sanding and finishing have to do with spirituality? The worker (whose name is Jim) should be arriving imminently. He’ll cordon off our kitchen with lots of plastic. To better keep massive dust out of our little house in the woods.

I’m heading to the basement to get out of his way and socially distance. Not quite sure how long this little adventure will take so Ms. Computer and Missy iPad are joining in the fun. Barry says I shouldn’t dust the basement until after the sanding, so there’s not much more cleaning to do on our walkout level.

Have you looked at the photos of our house? Almost the entire kitchen has been moved, scooted, relocated to our main living room. The stove sits by the circular staircase. The table overlooks the deck. Our rolltop desk–which Barry crafted for me in college–rests at odd angles near the bedroom and closet doors. Our entire kitchen countertop decorates the desk behind the computer.

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Turkey, brussels sprout salad, hurting hearts, gratitude and thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving all you dear readers with your roasting turkeys, your whipped mashed potatoes, your savory stuffing, your brussels sprout salads, your pumpkin pies. Or perhaps you’re feasting on pizza? Coq au vin? Paella? Butternut squash risotto? Grilled cheese sandwich? Hamburger?

What’s everyone eating today?

We’re roasting an eleven pound bird. Every Christmas Barry’s boss gives us two small turkeys. We eat one on Easter; one come Thanksgiving. She’s been thawing in the basement refrigerator since last Friday. Maybe our frig is too cold, but it always takes longer than expected to thaw her. Sometimes we soak her in the sink to remove the last sheen of ice on the innards.

Barry insists upon turkey-potatoes-stuffing (which is fine but doesn’t light my fire) so I usually pick one additional dish that makes my tummy smile. My daughter is making Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with cherries and apples and sunflower seeds doused in a lovely dijon-maple syrup dressing, so I’ve opted in. Bought the brussels yesterday. Substituting dried cranberries and pecans, minus the parmesan. So looking forward to this!

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Concerned

Feeling heavy-hearted and concerned this morning for a loved one who may have been exposed to the virus.

I can’t share any personal details right now.

Thinking about any of you who may be worried about loved ones in these difficult days.

Along with traditional words of prayer, here is a practice that often brings me peace:

Sitting quietly, call forth an image or memory of the loved one. Feel the dear one in your chest, near the warm beating sturdy heart. Imagine the person in your heart, drinking in the nectar of your care. Breathe softly and gently and lovingly into the spirit of your beloved.

When and if fear arises during the day, return to the practice. Sometimes it helps to cup the hands gently over the heart and even murmur sweet lullabies like “there, there. I love you. Bless, you, hold you, keep you.” Adding whatever words of supplication or comfort that feel right…

That is all for today. My shaky self commits to returning to the Holy Heart again and again. Blessings to you and your precious loved ones. xoxo

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Reflections on daily blogging

My 75 day commitment to connect more deeply to the Holy Heart, Spirit, God, Love…to explore “What the Heart knows” during the waning days of 2020 is halfway over now. We’re counting down toward year’s end. Thirty eight, thirty seven, thirty six…until we hail 2021 and greet her newness with hope for an easier year for us humans.

This journey has proved so interesting thus far. Am I connecting more deeply, as the heart yearns to do? I am not sure. It’s a practice: pivoting again and again toward the Holy. Losing a sense of connection to Spirit over and over again (although it’s really impossible to actually lose our connection to God–it is possible to think we’ve lost our zipline and flounder about before realizing: oh, the zip line’s been here all along!)

I love the idea of turning to the Heart again and again and yes, again. No self-flagellating and beating ourselves up for getting lost in the Halloween mazes of the mind. Just returning to breath, prayer, presence, love–whatever works in our personal bag of tricks. Remembering that we’re unique beings of God’s expression and learning to walk step-by-step like a little baby outside any hallways of fear and into the spacious field of love.

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Smoke alarm drama & the Holy

The only photo I had that seemed to indicate drama

A little drama in our little house in the woods this morning!

And yesterday morning. And the day before.

I crumpled newspaper, laid kindling, carried seven logs into the mouth of our wood stove. Lit the match. Good morning, wood stove. Good morning, fire. Ahhh, sweet warmth on a cold 21 degree morning.

Barry and I chatted on the couch with coffee. When suddenly–BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! YANG! YANG! YANG! BEEP, BEEP, ENDLESS BEEP!

The damn–but appreciated–smoke alarm screamed throughout the house. We searched for smoke like conscientious homeowners. None. Nada. Not a bit.

It ceased its endless caterwauling, just like yesterday and the day before.

We heaved sighs of relief.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

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I found the missing heart in that messy closet

About two weeks ago I wondered: where in the world is that heart?

Did I give it away to someone?

Who would that have been?

The rolodex of the mind clicked through every possible person. Was it you, you or you?

Where is the missing heart?

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“Letting people be who they’re gonna be”

Earlier this week I talked with a very wise young person.

She shared about her spiritual and political beliefs. Laughing a little, she shrugged her shoulders and talked about her brothers with very different outlooks on life. She traveled to visit them earlier this fall and shook her head as she described giving them little bits of advice about how to stay safe during the pandemic–all the time knowing they probably wouldn’t take her guidance.

As she told her story, I could see love shining out her eyes for her precious brothers. I also noticed how they did not think at all alike.

“One thing I ‘ve learned in this last year,” she said, “is that it’s about letting people be who they’re gonna be.”

Immediately my chest filled up with waves of love. My body felt what it would be like to love that fully. How utterly beautiful.

And how far I have to go before reaching that all-inclusive compassionate state where love trumps judgment. (no pun intended 🙂 )

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