What does it feel like physically when your heart is full? For me it feels expansive in my chest, in the area around my heart and lungs. I want to breathe deeper and deeper, like I want to take in ever more of what feels so good. Sometimes I’ll experience the sharp, warm sensation of the blood vessels in the skin over my heart suddenly expanding and more blood pouring through.
It happened like that recently…
I invoked heart coherence first thing in the morning right after waking. I lay still in my bed, hands over my heart and just breathed, visualizing the breath going in and out of my heart. Inwardly I chanted, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” After a few minutes, even though I woke feeling a bit grumpy, I felt a shift, and a sense of gratitude welled up from within. My breaths got deeper and I felt appreciation for the new day.
Then, I was up and out of bed, tossing on a bathrobe and wandering out to the kitchen to make some cocoa. Because the weather was beautiful, I took my cocoa out to sit on the patio in my back yard. Holding the steaming cup in my hands, sipping frothy, cinnamon topped, cocoa deliciousness, I gazed out over the bright blanket of grass and the multi-hued greens of the surrounding canopy of leafy oaks and cedars. The sky hovered overhead, turquoise blue. The hummingbirds buzzed back and forth at the feeder just to my right. The cardinals and their offspring alighted on the ground beneath the suet feeder, plucking up a seed and flitting off into the branches of the juniper tree, to consume their breakfast. A noisy family of blue jays chased each other around the spreading branches of the oak tree before me, and a single bright yellow gold finch sang a lilting melody.
My heart filled with appreciation almost sharp in sensation, and I felt such gratitude for the perfection of the moment. My heart felt full.
Sometimes it happens like that, a perfect moment. It might be triggered by something as simple as seeing someone you love, or hearing a child’s delighted laughter. Often though, it is something that must be intended, the way you intend to fill your stomach with a nourishing meal.
Our bodies hunger for food and we feel it in our grumbling bellies. Our hearts hunger for nourishment as well. Only what nourishes our hearts is love and all its attendant feelings.
One of the gifts of nourishing your heart by intending appreciation and gratitude, is that the moments that might seem less than perfect can transform and become perfect even in their imperfection.
Children are often our best teachers, and my grandchildren are no exception. I find it is the chaotic moments, the times when I haven’t slept well the night before and my patience level is not what I might wish. The times when the house is a mess, toys scattered everywhere, when the kitchen is filled with the detritus of multiple meals and snacks. The times when the children pick up on my emotional state and the boys play wildly, crashing and throwing toys around. The times when their sister is caught in a loop of worry over something and refuses to be distracted. Those are the times my thoughts may spiral into my own loop of negativity.
Perhaps then, it is with divine intervention or maybe just plain desperation that I will realize that I have a choice. I can take a deep breath, and then another. I can choose to focus on all that I am grateful for, grateful for these beautiful children, doing what kids do. I can invoke a feeling of appreciation as I focus on all that is right in this present moment. There is so much to feel grateful for. Then my heart expands, filling with the love I feel for my precious gran’s. The moment transforms. It is perfect, even in all its chaos.
It seems that chaos is a regular part of all our lives right now. With so much chaos going on, and worry over what the future holds for our country and the world, it is more important than ever to remember to nourish our hearts. Nourish our hearts by focusing our thoughts on all that we appreciate in our daily lives. There is so much to feel grateful for if we will just shift our attention.
We can feed our hearts with nourishing feelings even as we feed our bodies with nourishing foods. You don’t have to wait for that perfect moment to allow your heart to feel full. You can intend it any time you like. Most people eat a good meal once, twice, three or more times a day. Our hearts need daily feeding too. The reward is a heart that’s filled with perfect moments, even those that didn’t start out that way.
The sweet peace is surprised by the loud, hooting call of a Barred Owl, and answering call from the yard next door. It is long past their bedtime. Do you suppose it is an illicit treat for them to call, questioning to each other from their beds like disobedient children? “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” The first caller dares leave its bed and fly on silent wings, off to visit its partner in crime no doubt. They keep quiet now, probably whispering clandestine owl secrets to each other in the morning light.
This is a precious moment, timeless and fleeting. Soon, the day will begin in earnest. There is work to be done after all, appointments to be kept, preparations to make. Life to be pursued with the single-minded devotion that believing in the gravity of our individual lives inspires.
Yet the breeze still carries its message, waving from treetop to treetop, rustling through the branches. “Stay with us,” it whispers, “stay.” Then all is quiet and my thoughts return to my lists and the clock, email and texts. A hummingbird appears, hovering, magic on wings, dipping into the petunias in my planters on the porch steps. Flitting from flower to flower, never landing, never lighting, an iridescent fairy creature in plain sight.
What is this magic that calls me to stay? Persuading me to allow the wonder, convincing me with the touch of a breeze softly brushing my arm. It sways me to listen for the swishing, rustling, chirping, twittering, hooting, seeming quiet of the morning, the ever-changing green surrounding me and the wings that flutter from tree to feeder and back again. It fills me with the sweetness of the rain-washed air, and I stay. For it is love made manifest, magic indeed.
Life is full of spiritual lessons. Some feel good, some not so good. All support us to grow. This blog is about my life lessons. Perhaps you'll find yourself within these stories.