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I was hiding in complete stillness with the occasional droplets reminding me to take a breath. Completely immersed I listened to nothing. I was alone with myself. The commentary could start if I let it, but the door was shut. I wanted to be alone, comforted.

Renewing my breath, I listened again to nothing. Far, far off in the distance, I hear a faint rhythm. It comes and goes as my mind lets go of thoughts. My heart. My heart. The very essence of me that keeps me going. Gratitude fills me for my heart’s willingness to keep going, steady and true. Such a mystery the heart is, yet if I opened an anatomy book, there it is in full color. So much not understood about the heart beyond what appears to be facts. Feels blunt in our understanding. There is so much more.

A heartbeat has no opinion about why I do what I do, the hair on my chin or my choice of clothing. It seems to have no thoughts or judgments, but it reacts when I feel stress, when I feel love, when I feel loss. My heart speaks up when it is provoked by my lack of self-care and disregard and disrespect. There is no punishment enforced, only a reaction to the lack. It reminds me of our dog, dear Buffy, who just accepts us for who we are, loving us unconditionally. She accepted our love and endured our impatience.

When I feel the turbulence of emotions roiling under my skin, I turn to salt baths to help me find peace. A salt bath actually cleanses chakras, refreshes the aura and leaves me feeling more present. It’s refreshing and revitalizing. I visualize the salt cleansing all the stuff out of my energy until I am smooth again. That’s when I know I’m done.

I feel freedom when my thinking is quiet. Steven Harrison wrote a book entitled “Doing Nothing: Coming to the End of the Spiritual Search". His writing encourages us to be more consciously alive.

"Thought constricts or limits. Consciousness is limitless. Thought requires consciousness. Consciousness does not require thought." - Steven Harrison

Granting myself respite helps me have space. Practicing silence grants me space I need to find peace. I am grateful for this daily practice. Silence is an anchor to my well-being and opens the door to my heart.

It only takes a reminder to breathe, a moment to be still, and just like that, something in me settles, softens, makes space for imperfection. The harsh voice of judgment drops to a whisper and I remember again that life isn't a relay race; that we will all cross the finish line; that waking up to life is what we were born for. As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward without even knowing where I'm going, that many times I can make the choice to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk slowly into the mystery.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • What got my attention today was about crossing the finish line. I am so focused on crossing the finish line but real peace comes living life with awareness every step of the journey. I have to be reminded of that sometimes because I am goal-oriented. I wanted to be a teacher since the 4th grade. I was so focused I forgot where I was in the present. I was in Heidelberg, Germany, and a friend said, “You are in Heidelberg!” Enjoy where you are. I’ll never forget that. I was glad to be reminded of that today. Especially, when one gets to be my age and the finish line is death. I’m not anxious to get there.

  • I’m at a memorial service for my friend. His physical heart has been diminishing for four years, but his emotional heart has been loving the whole time. He knew the risks in traveling with his family, but living his life fully with his family was more important, and he treasured those times. I admire that in him.

  • Thank you for the reading. What jumped out for me was the synchronicity of the heart. Last night, a family member brought over a CD with images of my beating heart. A few years ago, when I went through radiation, it was near my heart, and I had to get into this machine three times. They would inject me with something and on the monitor I could see my beating heart as the blood ran through it. I asked for the disc. What came to me in the meditation, was something that happened during one of the sessions. The technician told me it was hard for her to lose patients. She would get to know them and then they’d die. I thought it was extraordinary that she would share that with me. But during the meditation, I realized, the whole room was my heart. My energy was in my heart, my physical heart, and my spiritual center, and she was working within the energy of everyone’s heart. It was right there. I was so thankful that she was able to share that with me. I am feeling so much gratitude for my beating heart.

  • I was deeply moved by the line about the heartbeat. When I heard about this group for the first time, I was completing a query letter because I’ve written a book about the heartbeat, the healing of our country, the wisdom of our heart, the willingness to go within, and understand as we heal the fractures inside of us, we can heal our country. I was moved by that this morning, because of the infinite power and wisdom that we drop into the stillness of the heart.

  • That feeling of compassion and other deep feelings are centered in the heart. One of my cats was literally like a skeleton when I found her. She is now 14 years old. For the past six months, she hasn’t sat on me, but now that it is cold, she’s pretty much snuggled up on my heart and I just love it. I tell her to use me all she wants. I reconnected with an old client I had. His phone number had been lost. He was disabled with a stroke and had been home ever since. He said I was such a sweetheart, and that I was one of the best people he’s ever met. I was feeling the same thing about him; what a blessing he was to me. It was reciprocal.

  • What stuck out for me was a line from the quote about how thinking needs consciousness but consciousness doesn’t need thinking. I have a sense somehow that if I’m not thinking, I’m not doing anything. I surprised myself the other day walking in the woods, the same woods I’m in every day. Everything looked new to me. At first I criticized myself for losing my mind because I’m here every day. And then I thought, no, I wanted it to be new. I am aware and in my body. It’s never looked like this before.

  • I am in a men’s spiritual circle and we are reading The Course on Miracles. And in that context, the ego is the voice that talks to you all the time, the voice in your head. And I realized I’ve been gaslit by my ego for all the years of my life. Not only is it lying to me about who I really am, but it also has me convinced that it’s the truth. This made such an important shift as to how I look at that voice, and I realize I don’t have to listen or argue with it either.

  • In this meditation, I saw how subtle it is to be in the audience. How easy it is to forget to be present and get off the stage and into the audience, get out my list and start nitpicking problems about me. I’ve decided to make an affirmation to remind me to not get back in the audience and critique myself. I am in my own shoes.

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