You might ask yourself: “Can I imagine what it would be like, in this moment, to have a heart that is ready for anything?”
If our hearts are ready for anything, we can open to our inevitable losses, and to the depths of our sorrow. We can grieve our lost loves, our lost youth, our lost health, our lost capacities. This is part of our humanness, part of the expression of our love for life. As we bring a courageous presence to the truth of loss, we stay available to the immeasurable ways that love springs forth in our life.
If our hearts are ready for anything, we will spontaneously reach out when others are hurting. Living in an ethical way can attune us to the pain and needs of others, but when our hearts are open and awake, we care instinctively. This caring is unconditional—it extends outward and inward wherever there is fear and suffering.
If our hearts are ready for anything, we are free to be ourselves. There’s room for the wildness of our animal selves, for passion and play. There’s room for our human selves, for intimacy and understanding, creativity and productivity. There’s room for spirit, for the light of awareness to suffuse our moments. The Tibetans describe this confidence to be who we are as “the lion’s roar.”
If our hearts are ready for anything, we are touched by the beauty and poetry and mystery that fill our world.
imagine. embrace. feel. dive. ground. gasp. settle.
inquiry for today~ what is your “lion’s roar” in recent days?
When the space between us is made safe for the soul by truthful speaking and receptive listening, we are able to speak truth in a particularly powerful form- a form that goes deeper than our opinions, ideas, and beliefs. I mean the truth that emerges as we tell the stories of our lives. As the writer Barry Lopez has noted, truth cannot “be reduced to aphorism or formulas. It is something alive and unpronounceable. Story creates an atmosphere in which truth becomes discernible as a pattern.” Storytelling has always been at the heat of being human because it serves some of our most basic needs: passing along our traditions, confessing failings, healing wounds, engendering hope, strengthening our sense of community. Because our stories make us vulnerable to being fixed, exploited, dismissed, or ignored, we have learned to tell them guardedly or not at all. Instead of telling our vulnerable stories, we seek safety in abstractions, speaking to each other about our opinions, ideas, and beliefs rather than about our lives. Telling a story expressively, as an end in itself, can contribute powerfully to our insight, healing, and enlivenment. ~Parker J. Palmer