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October 2020

The State of Your Heart

Glimmers October 11, 2020

Dear Friends,   

Officially speaking, my last Glimmer was in September. (If Not Now, Tell me When) Emotionally speaking, what happened? what is it about time? It seems so long ago since we last connected. I hope you are well and safe. I hope you are taking care of your self as best you can.

The pandemic has added to our complicated relationship with time, as has the constant bursts of news and opinions (and resulting reactions) coming throughout the day. As an elder (ha), I claim an additional awareness about time, having lived seven decades. On some days, I fear there is less awareness as I try to narrow my focus on what or who is in front of me. It helps to have moments of purpose in “these times.”

One of the resources in my life, a peer supervision group for spiritual directors, invites me to ask the question, “What is the state of my heart?” I sit quietly with the question, opening myself to the month’s memories, images, feelings and stories. But mostly, I just wait and listen. I breathe into the question and let these elements of my life wash over me. The answer I am seeking is found in a place of prayer.

It is a helpful practice, it so easy to get caught in the details of life. When I ask, “what is the state of my heart,” the details become less demanding and I’m able to hear a little more deeply. Words come to the surface, they guide my conversation with the Holy One and support my path of authenticity. Grateful…anxiously hopeful…sad…all are welcome in my awareness, joining heart and mind together in the present moment.  I offer here, friends, a treasured bit of wisdom from Jallaludin Rumi, “The Guest House,” translated by Coleman Barks  (clip includes Barks reading this poem, 4:35) I suspect that most of us are experiencing “new arrivals” all the time, so let us learn the ways of hosting a Guest House. Let us listen to our hearts… lean into their tenderness, honor their truth, trust their wisdom.

The Guest House.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

With love, Lisa