Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Julia Cameron: Openhearted

Gratitude card of the day: Openhearted

“I am blessed with a hospitable heart. I welcome new souls in my family of souls. I open my heart to new companions…As I welcome new life, my heart blossoms with new flowering.”

I would have to say I think I have an hospitable heart. I have never heard that specific term, but I think it’s pretty appropriate. I have spent lots of time trying to help other people see that your heart is meant to be shared. Love is about what you give away, not about what you guard and protect. The heart is an organ that grows with use. The heart’s capacity to love only gets greater the more it is exercised. Contrary to reason, it doesn’t get used up.

There is another side, though. If I have erred in life, it is sometimes for not protecting my heart enough at times. Once, a friend said to me, “That person is bad news for your heart.” It was very, very effective. I don’t think in those terms on my own. It just expressed something to me in a way that hit me differently. Very rarely am I “bad news” for someone else, but I spend little time considering whether people might be “bad news” for me. Anyhow, I told her she was brilliant and I wouldn’t forget that phrase. People, in and of themselves, are rarely bad, or even bad news. But they may be bad for MY heart. I guess I say that to balance myself. You can’t just rush in and give your heart to anyone and everyone. You have to be responsible with your choices.

Even for someone like me, having a hospitable heart and opening up to new companions can be very scary. I do it, but sometimes I almost panic. The new flowers can’t blossom, new life can’t be born without risk. But let’s face it, it’s still risk.

Anyhow, I think to oversimplify, people generally fall in one of two categories when it comes to this. They will either die erring on the side of not moving enough, not risking enough, playing it safe. Or they will die erring on the side of too much movement, risking too much. Every one of us will make mistakes, it just matters which side you fall on.

For 48 years, I’ve known I’m on the latter side. I won’t have stood still enough, slowed down enough. The last couple of years I wondered if I was jumping to the other side. But so far, looks like I will keep my hospitable heart. When I err, it will most likely be on the side of investing too much, trying too hard, risking…

But you know what? I think I’m okay with that! In fact, I may even be proud of that. “I am blessed with a hospitable heart. I welcome new souls in my family of souls. I open my heart to new companions…As I welcome new life, my heart blossoms with new flowering.”

Warm greetings to all the new folks in my life, in whatever space you come in (personal, professional, students, clients, etc.) I’m keeping my heart open to what you bring- the bitter and the sweet- and I hope you open your heart in return.


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A River of Goodness

Remember when I told you that Summer gave me a pack of gratitude cards to use for blog day? Well, I’m using one today and it was labeled “A River of Goodness.”

It talks about how when you are feeling lonely and overwhelmed, you should remember there is a loving universe. You can listen for any sort of sign that soothes your soul, which then allows you to act wisely.

Hmmmm… I didn’t thumb through the cards, I just took the next one in the pack, trusting it would contain the message I needed. And in turn, I trust that there will be a reader or two that need the message as well. Last week’s blog garnered several comments and texts. Many of you tried the quieting exercises and sent me your results. The “winner” was a brilliant young lady I know who said she had 52 thoughts in two minutes!

Anyhow, back to the card. I am very, very happy to say that I have NOT been feeling lonely lately. I think that is a miraculous statement coming from me, and I think it’s based on a number of factors. First, my acupuncture doc actually said she thinks I’m ready to go down to one treatment a week. She reminded me of the first appointment I had with her and said I couldn’t even smile. Not only am I less depressed, I have actually been off the depression medicine for almost three weeks. HOLY COW!

When I am less depressed, I think I am able to appreciate the people in my life on an emotional level. I always maintain an intellectual gratitude for all the amazing folks in my life, but often times it just doesn’t affect the level of sadness I feel. When I am less depressed, I can appreciate it emotionally as well. I have all my family and friends who have always been there through some of the darkest things I’ve ever had to face in my life. Then there are friends I have discovered in the last four years since Tim’s passing. And now there are new faces in my life just in the last month or two who I am very grateful for. Isn’t that a lovely thing?

Back to the card. So yeah for not feeling so lonely. But the overwhelmed part still stings. My color-coded schedule has been out of control. The responsibilities have been relentless and I have been exhausted as a result. I am working very hard (no surprise there!) to figure out how to shift that. It’s hard because all the things I do are worthwhile and mostly necessary. But going from 7 am to 10 pm every day is a bit ridiculous. One sign from the universe was the announcement that I could go down to once a week with the acupuncturist. I don’t know what the answers are just yet, but I am going to keep chipping away at making my life more manageable. Last night I went to bed by 10:30 pm. My kitchen was a mess, but I valued not feeling like a zombie today more than a clean kitchen. The great thing is, I woke up refreshed and it was no problem to get the kitchen back in order. Priorities!

Overall, I’d say that is good news. I still have my share of critics out there who have voiced how negative my blogs have been. Well, HA! This one is positive 🙂