Day 14 – Promise

day 14The spot on the globe where I live has long winters. Our summers are never quite long enough either. But we do experience beautiful transitions between the seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter. One of my favourite sights in early spring is the mounds of wild crocuses that pop up out of the dormant, colour bleached winter hills. The blooms burst open in glorious purple splendour, not a gentle white or subtle yellow! They are purple with a brilliant yellow centre.  It always seems too early or too cold for the delicate flowers to appear – but they know it is the RIGHT time.

The heart experiences promise in the same way.  A promise spans a period of time and a season of waiting. It does not always make itself evident but the commitment is present.

Sometimes the snow has not yet disappeared when these blossoms poke out their silvery purple heads. What marvellous miracle whispers to that dormant bulb in the frozen snow covered ground -“now is the time.” What wakes it and spurs it to life?  But when it opens its petals to the radiant warming sun, it shouts, “winter is almost over, spring is upon us!” Every year. Every year it carries the promise that things are about to change.

Our hearts hold on to promises – we cling to them. They are beauty or sometimes pain. They are more than an agreement or a contract, although they can look similar. A promise has a mystical tie to the heart that pulls us to a deeper place of commitment.  Often we wait with our hearts for the fulfilment of a promise.

What promises does your heart hold on to? Are there promises in your life that it is time for you to fulfill?

 

Day 13 – Attentive

day 13

We lead full lives.

I made it my intention this year not to use the word BUSY – I  was not going to speak it or write it.   But, I am going to break my resolution BIG TIME!  I had made the resolution because I was bothered by how often we ( you, ME, us) use that word to make reasons and excuses for why we are tired, overextended, forgetful, not committed, or detached from life. I decided that if I had to choose another word to describe what I need to describe … I would be more honest. I would have to use words that clarified my intentions and established my true priorities. If I am TOO BUSY – what am I too busy FOR?  If you are TOO BUSY – why?

I am serious when I ask this question – why are you TOO BUSY?  Are you in a habit of over scheduling? Are you NOT scheduling and just heaping more on the TO DO list?  Are you over-responsible  OR not being accountable? Perfectionist? Is it a convenient excuse for being overwhelmed with life?  I don’t ask without some “been there-done that” experience!  I owned my own retail  business, my two sons were involved in high level competitive sport, my husband travelled with his job, I burnt out on all those good “helping” and “serving” things that I was supposed to do. ETC ETC. ETC. I understand. I truly do. Life WAS busy. So I am standing on my little soap box and asking you with gentle kindness and a loving heart – why are you too busy?

This question infers that there are things you are unable to do, or not able to do with an attentive heart because of the “too busy” thing. It is time to get honest and truthful with yourself. What is TOO BUSY an excuse for?  If we are “busy” we don’t pay attention to life!  We allow it to fly by. We forget to savour the sweetness of it – relationships, health , and most importantly our hearts. Your heart. My heart. Our hearts speak quietly and gift us with peace and joy and wisdom. God whispers to our hearts. Are you too busy to listen? You must pay attention. You must become attentive to life.

The heart word for today is ATTENTIVE. It is the word attention in a “state of being” form. BE ATTENTIVE to life today. Be attentive to the subtle messages in the world around you. Be attentive to those you love. Most important – be attentive to your heart. Too Busy? Stop saying the word – listen to what your heart says instead. It might change your life.

 

Day 12 – Dream

day 12

I had a bizarre dream last night. I was driving down the highway, chatting animatedly with my brother as is common with us. Suddenly a small baby tiger ran in front of us – and my brilliant brother started telling me the Chinese name and history of this adorable feline (he does speak Chinese, so this wasn’t so strange.) Then we became aware of an increasing number of animals, exotic animals all across the highway. We realized that a zoo vehicle had released its load ahead of us.  It was a curiosity until we saw that an enormous rhino was loose and chasing vehicles. Suddenly everything became frightfully dangerous as I was trying to evade this raging rhino while driving on an icy road in whiteout conditions on a Northern Alberta highway!  Who can explain this to me?

As crazy as my nighttime wanderings seem – sometimes our real life “heart dreams” seem just as bizarre. When was the last time you ruminated on a personal life dream? AND when was the last time you dared to whisper IT to someone?

Our hearts need to dream … at night and during the day.

Dreams fuel our engagement with life. They encourage us to reach for more. Having “a goal” is the language of the head, it is measured and solid. Having “a dream” is heart language.  It is the fertile birthing ground for goals, but a dream is also the sun and the rain.  Our hearts breathe passion, endurance and vitality into our goals, which is not possible without the dream seed taking root.  A dream is an expression of our individual unique giftings and life callings. It is Gods whisper of how you were intended to beautifully give the world the gift of YOU. Listen to your heart – what were you created to do? Dream – dream bigger, be willing to bloom!

PS – Listen to the Bizarre heart dreams too – there is a message in them! It may be your Gods whisper to you.

Day 11 – JOY

day 11

Joy.

We seek joy to distract us from life – when in reality life distracts us from joy.

What do you think about that statement? Feeling joy is a more natural, pure state of being than feeling depressed, distracted or dissociated. So why do we struggle with finding and remaining in joy?

Watch a small child, a toddler for a time. They explore life. Watch their honest, pure emotions as they discover and experiment with the world around them. Sometimes they are met with an unpleasant surprise which will frighten them – and we witness the manifestation of that emotion. They respond to correction or discipline or a NO with honest emotion as they begin to feel the defining of self and self will. It is unbridled – the “bridling” is what they learn. And what about joy? Have you witnessed a toddler experience joy? There is light that radiates from their eyes, sounds of unrestrained laughter and glee, body responses of running, jumping and bouncing. Joy unbridled. When did we learn to bridle our participation in joy?

Indeed, that is what we have done with joy. We have confined it, put rules around it and around our expression of it. We have decide the “grown up” thing to do is to work and plan, … and worry about our work and our plans. We enter into this activity without restraint. Unbridled.

Our hearts become heavy out of our own creation. We fashion a life full of “shoulds”, expectations and rules. Unbridled requirements. Maybe we have it backwards.  Maybe we need to put a bridle (limit, restriction) on our “grown up” commitments. What if we spent more time in delight – in the releasing of the pure emotion of joy, and less time obsessing about our adult activities? Do you remember joy? Have you forgotten how to enter into joy?

It is never too late – rediscover the innocence of joy. Find a way to let life sparkle in your eyes again. Jump, bounce, laugh, play! Release and unbridle YOUR HEART to experience joy!

Day 10 – Willing

Day 10

“The spirit is willing but the body is weak.”

That is how I feel as I struggle to get my body moving this morning! Everyone is familiar with this saying – I didn’t remember that it is a Bible verse. Another translation reads like this –

“There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything (in God). But there is another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Matthew 26:41 The Message (parentheses added)

I laughed when I read that version – summed it up quite nicely for me!  I am in a fitness accountability group this month and I can relate to that “sleeping dog” imagery some mornings.  And actually, sometimes everyday life! I experience an “assortment” of internal voices and motivations that I respond to each and every day.  My fitness plan is a good illustration. I am eager to exercise, my mind makes excuses (even reasonable ones) and at times my body does NOT move without a decided push from somewhere. Are you familiar with that dance? Heart, mind and body, we are complicated – and exquisite beings.

Willing. What does that mean for how I live my life today?  If I was willing, I would move forward in some areas of my life, I would look a things from a different viewpoint. Being willing comes from my open heart.  There are many voices vying for my attention. I have a choice as to which one I respond to. So do you.

If you lived your life today with a thought that your heart was “willing” – what possibilities would open up for you?  Embrace possibility. Have faith. Be passionate. Trust. Hope. Find beauty. Be responsive and courageous. Live from your heart today. Listen. Be willing – explore life with this heart word today and see where it takes you ….

 

 

Day 9 – Courage

Day 9

I learned courage was not the absence of of fear, but the triumph over it.  -Nelson Mandela

I will be honest – I thought penning some words on courage would be easy. It has proved to be one of the most difficult words on which to write. Pages of words flowed, from beautiful quotes by Brene Brown – “Courage is a heart word,” to inspirational thoughts on the roots of this word (heart). The words were true – but too big! I needed to remember that courage is an everyday word.

Courage is taking a deep breath and stepping outside of comfort and familiar and safe.  Being courageous is following a path that has been directed by your heart, while your mind is shouting NO NO NO! It is not foolish or fearless, although other voices would say so. Courage is about doing the right thing when the right thing is risky!

Sometimes courage is demonstrated on a grand scale. But sometimes the greatest feats of courage are enacted by ordinary people in everyday lives who respond to a heart whisper that calls them to ACT.  Courageous people move in a direction that does not guarantee success or even comfort – they move in spite of this. They respond to a heart cry or a God whisper that says “this is the path.” Voices of reason and voices of the crowd will doubt and declare otherwise, but courage is the voice that embraces the fear and willingly steps into the unknown.

Sometimes no one will know how courageous you have been. Sometimes no one will acknowledge how much fear you have fought. Others will not understand what mountains you have faced or the paralyzing terror you have conquered on your journey. Sometimes other voices will be dismissive or belittling of your courageous action because they do not know YOUR HEART.

That is okay. It takes courage to leave behind the fearful and the naysayers. It takes courage to follow the call of your heart and listen to the words God whispers to your precious heart. Be true to THAT call. Follow with courage!

Day 8 – Responsive

Day 8

What would life look like if I lived from my heart?

This was the question that sat before me. I started to write down words that I thought would capture a description of a heart centred life. One of the words on the page was RESPONSIVE.  Hmmmm – that was a surprise word. I had to roll and ponder and consider this thought around for a while.

Responsive as opposed to reactive.  Responsive as in relational and relationship.

How would my responses look different if I responded from an open heart as opposed to a closed, wounded, shut off, protective, defensive position? How would that feel different?

I don’t think responsive involves a quantity, rather I think it reflects a quality.

Does responsive refer to my relationships with people, or can it include other interactions – like with my dog? I suspect it also involves what happens when I witness a brilliant sunrise or inhale a fresh mountain breeze. What is it that happens in me when am lost in  delight of the delicate sweetness of my favourite dessert? My heart is definitely stirred in those moments. Without doubt, I do respond.

So, if RESPONSIVE is a heart word, here is a question for you – how freely do you let your heart RESPOND when life stirs you? I wonder what life would look like if you lived with an open, warm, fully responsive heart?

I wonder … would life look, feel, BE different? What do you think?