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Wage Peace With Your Heart

I’m remembering today my daughter’s terror living with a terminal illness not knowing what’s going to happen. She was about 10 years old. She was angry and scared. She kicked and screamed in fits of rage. I’d hold her flaying body until she relaxed and gave up. Her psychologist once told me she needs someone in her life strong enough to kick against whom she can trust.

This memory reminds me of my mind’s struggle to trust my heart. It was easier to be with my daughter because she was right in front of me. This being human is hard work – we have independent minds, taught to pursue our goals and live the “American dream.” During this COVID time, we have been cornered, in a sense, to face ourselves, befriend the stranger within and find solace.

Be patient with yourself

In your complexity

Your mind is figuring everything out

And your heart is listening to itself

And the war starts - which one is right

But there is no right or wrong

There is no good and bad

There is only tender love

The mind believes what it sees

Using the filter of its upbringing.

Fear plays a part to keep you small

Harnessed in its walls of safety.

Notice when things go well, it’s like a rubber band

As the mind is standing at the edge

With the cord ready to pull you back

Into its controlling arms of safety

Then the reminders start to remember your place.

Remember who you are as the mind

Hacks down your stateliness to keep you small

And bids you good night in your crib

Satisfied in its control,

But forgetting your heart has a voice as well.

A subtle, gentle voice so patient in its presence

Never giving up on you, never abandoning.

It takes courage to stand up against your mind.

To ignore the reasons why you should be small.

As you water and care for your dreams until

They manifest into what you desire.

Your mind holds the rules of your youth

And the opinions of your elders

And the criticisms of your teachers

And the limits of your fear.

Your heart holds the truth of your core

And the desires of your creativity

And the doorway to your self-worth

And a depth of love that will carry you.

It takes courage to be yourself.

It takes courage to remember you count.

It takes courage to ignore the opinions.

It takes courage to defy your inner bully.

You are humanity rising

Up against the forces of limitation.

With a right to hold your flag high

And pursue what you love.

Keep your eyes on your own feet

Stop comparing yourself to others

It feeds fuel to the mind’s fire

And keeps you small.

Practice your boundaries using

your awareness to set limits on

The havoc your mind creates,

All in the pursuit of smallness.

You have a right to be here now.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you for sharing that innermost journey. How we struggle with all the toxic thoughts in our minds. During the meditation, I did my breathing exercises: I breathed out expectations and breathed in expectancy. I thought of all the opposites. Intolerance and acceptance. Breathing out all those toxic things. Have humility. Center myself. My higher power is my stronghold. I know it’s different for all of us. There is energy out there for me. I get to tap into it.

  • We were brought up to be compliant, pursue our goals, hopefully have love in our lives. Not all thoughts are necessarily toxic. It’s expectations that defy what we are really after. I agree there is toxicity. Sometimes our minds are so controlling that they don’t let hearts be free.

  • The line that resonated with me was “stand up against your mind.” Your mind wants to go other places. The universal love you talked about the other day is so powerful. In the UU, we say we are siding with love. If you can remember that, it’s a good mantra.

  • It’s about training your mind.

  • I meditated on the image of arms around a struggling daughter. The therapist saying sometimes that’s what you need. We need to know something is there holding us. That’s a struggle I go through a lot, which is I know I'm a strong person and I have the ability to put my arms around myself and keep that squirming, struggling child comforted. But sometimes I forget and I let that crazy person run around, and then remember to say “come back, come back.” During the meditation, I did a mantra about “I am strong, I am smart.”

  • For years, I’ve denied that little girl part who is screaming and looking for attention. Fear and not trusting are two things that made me deny that part. I’ve come to see that fear has good intentions. It was trying to protect me. I’ve come to see that it wasn’t a bad thing and I’ve created safe spaces where I can get in touch with her and nurture that part of me. It’s an ongoing process. Boundaries, that part will come up and it depends what I choose if that part feels safe, or it doesn’t feel safe. It goes back to being tender and kind with myself. I do yoga, and I’ve learned that my body responds better to a gentle form in yoga. I resist hard things, I do well with gentleness.

  • You are building tender arms.

  • Thanks for the reminder of the importance of holding others next to us, either virtually or real. It’s important to hold ourselves. For years, I denied my needs. I was taught to be responsible. The child in me that needed the nurturing and closeness was ignored a lot. During the meditation, I thought about how I’ve heard that the heart has similarities to the brain. There are brain cells, a neuron system in the heart. I’m glad I realized that so I’ve asked myself is my heart thinking or my brain? During the meditation, when my monkey mind started coming in, I thought that’s my head brain. And I switched back to my heart brain. It felt good to do that contrast.

  • As I get older, I’m recognizing the crib, all the negative inputs growing up—It’s a push and pull battle. I’m getting better at it. I try to look at accomplishments. The crib hits home. I caught myself comparing the other day, “look at your life, what have you accomplished?” I’m trying to be gentler with myself. Pulling it apart to little things, being kind to animals.

  • That reading was very clear writing, what the mind does versus what the heart does. And the idea of needing to have something to push against, we don’t know who we are until we bump up against somebody. That’s how we learn who we are. We can feel ourselves, learn about ourselves, see who we are. We bump up against something and it isn’t going to bend or collapse or fall away, and then we have something to lean up against and feel ourselves and feel our strength. Very powerful image.

  • We need our mind, we need our heart and the goal is for them to work together. It’s not having a mind in total control.

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