Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tangles Untangle

This piece arose during a recent conversation with some dear friends.

When tangles untangle themselves
When pain reveals daily its joys
When enemies are as valued as friends
When knives are tools and guns are toys

What room is there for me to say
I want more structure in my life
More certainty, less ambiguity
Less walking on the edge of the knife

For Grace visits at every bend
Lighting my path with compassion
She asks nothing of me in turn,
Not even faith; I am the One.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Listen to My Heart

I have recently spent several days with a group of friends intent on exploring what it might mean to be more aware in daily life. Especially in the middle of activities that are strongly outcome-oriented and therefore tend to focus (limit?) awareness to a relatively narrow set of concerns.

As is inevitable when such a group is together, there has been considerable discussion of “heart” and “head”. It has been suggested that people might be naturally “heart-oriented” and “head-oriented”. What that might actually mean is a fascinating exploration but I do not want to get into that today. Instead, I want to talk about a small slice of that conversation.

Several times during our conversations, especially when there was a bit of an edge to it, or when we appeared to be unsure of what the key issues were, someone would stand up and say: “listen to your heart”. As I watched this being repeated several times, by different people and at different times, something struck me quite forcefully: while the words were “listen to your heart”, what was being actually said was “listen to my heart”.

This is such a liberator.

You see, I have often felt that someone saying “listen to your heart” to me is a bit of a conversation-stopper. What do you think I have been listening to, I feel like saying, if not my heart? Moreover, if I listen to my heart, and you listen to yours, and they seem to be saying different things (as they always seem to when such an exhortation is made), what is the next step in our interaction? The assumption usually seems to be that talking about it with words is a “head” thing and will not lead to common ground. But listening to my heart seems to be locking us right there, too. Perhaps even more so, because now I am supposed to search inside myself, a lonely island, until I find light. And, quietly unstated but firmly meant, is this: listen until you see the light that I am seeing.

Well, why don’t we say exactly that?

Listen to my heart. Please.

How much changes, immediately!

When I say “listen to my heart’, I invite you to share my deepest intuitions, hopes and fears.

I build a community out of the two of us. I allow you into myself and, in doing that, extend a bridge of trust to you.

When you listen to my heart, what can you do it with but your heart? And how can you do it if you are not listening to yours?

And as my heart moves, so does yours with it, an on-going communion.

As you listen to my heart, you listen to yours. If you listen to yours, you may or may not be listening to mine.

Listen to my heart.