My foolish heart
Why do you weep?
You throw yourself away, again
Now, you cry yourself to sleep
Cry yourself to sleep
My foolish heart
When will you learn?
You are the eyes of the world
And there’s nowhere else to turn
This quote is from a mantra by Krishna Das called My Foolish Heart/Baja Govindam. The intention of the prayer is to provide a wake up call to those who are “wasting” time trying to “learn” the rules of living, rather than simply trusting their inner wisdom, trusting the universe and, ultimately, surrendering to something greater than themselves. (This is, of course, my own interpretation of the mantra. The Hindu explanation of its origins, can be found here: http://srikrishnaradha.com/bhaja-govindam/.
I’ll explain the significance of including this mantra a little later…
This morning, I woke up in a beautiful farmhouse in Singhampton, Ontario which has been offered to me by a generous and open-hearted new friend for the purposes of writing my book. As I write this, I’m quite overcome with emotion for the amount of support I’ve received from pretty much everyone I know. In addition to the unconditional encouragement I’m constantly receiving, I now have two beautiful country retreats available to me… one on weekdays and one on weekends… where I can escape, be with myself and surrender.
On a practical level, the fact that I manifested these two retreats is nothing short of miraculous. It was something that I put out to God/the universe because I knew that I needed a place where there were no distractions. After years of talking about it, the gestation period is finally over and this “baby” is coming, no matter what, and I knew I had to create the space in my life, my schedule and my heart, for it to be born. Just like the labour process takes time in order for the mother’s cervix to open fully, I believe I’ve been in a process of opening my heart in order to be ready to “deliver” this book. It is, without a doubt, a labour of love and is very much a part of me. I know that, once it’s out there in the world, it will no longer be “mine” and, perhaps, surrendering to that truth is part of what scares me.
I also wonder who I will “be” on the other side of this process. Somehow, it feels as if the “me” I know now will be gone… or at least parts of me will be. I’m guessing that’s a good thing but scary, nonetheless.
While writing today, I’ve come across a couple of quotes, which have served to comfort me a little. Here’s the first one:
Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers ~ strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.
Barbara Katz Rothman
I definitely feel that this process will teach me to trust myself more. I think that is why I feel so connected to the Krishna Das mantra today. When we keep “throwing ourselves away”, by not practicing Self-Love, we perpetuate the illusion that we are unworthy and powerless. In fact, if we trust our divinity and remind ourselves of “who we really are”, we will realize that “there is nowhere else to turn”, except inward, to our truth. Yes… this is sometimes painful, but it is liberating, at the same time. Our hearts are “the eyes of the world” and they have the capacity to see and to heal everything, as long as we keep them open.
But having an open heart can also be painful. It puts us in our most vulnerable place… completely unprotected and able to feel everything. As much as I feel the birth of this book is imminent and joyful, I’m also painfully aware of what it’s bringing up for me.
It’s like I’m in the most beautiful, well equipped, birthing room possible. I’m surrounded by everyone I love. Whatever I need is readily available to me… all I have to do is ask for it. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. The baby is full term and ready to come. I’m fully dilated, meaning that my heart is fully open, and I’ve opted for a natural birth… I’m choosing to “feel it all” vs numbing out the pain. I know the baby is healthy. I know it will change my life for the better…
And then come the contractions…
And the pain.
Two weeks ago, I realized that the process of writing a book about Self-Love would take me down. Not down in a destructive way, but… d-o-o-w-n… into the “soup” of who I really am. It would force me to revisit some old wounds. It would bring up some buried emotions. It would challenge me to ensure that I was, in fact, putting everything I have learned in to practice before I embark on telling my Self-Love story. It would show me that now, more than ever, I must be 100% accountable to my own authenticity. It would remind me that, as much as I have the ultimate support, I’m still alone. I’m the one going through it. I’m the one that I must rely on.
Nobody can teach me Self-Love but me.
This process would also teach me to accept that, once this book is written, once the “baby” has been born, there is no turning back. I must be confident in my own strength, competence and stability and I must also be willing to “let it go”.
Which brings me to the second quote – a lifelong favorite:
On Children by Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
In my personal life, recently, I’ve been given a few, very specific, scenarios to learn from. Scenarios which are shining a light on areas where I still have work to do. In the past few months I’ve been paying close attention to what I really want… my “happily ever after”… and, right on cue, my unconscious mind/the universe is revealing old patterns of thought, limiting beliefs and programmed behaviours that are still running interference and creating obstacles between me and where I want to be.
Thankfully, they are no longer charged with “drama” and chaos. My tendency to be attracted to or to create drama in certain situations has vastly diminished. I still feel the pull, in the moment, but I’m now allowing myself “space” to step back, keep my “mark upon the path of the infinite” and check in with my feelings before I react and end up escalating the issue and, ultimately ending up in a place where I don’t want to be.
I’m also getting better at figuring out what buttons are being pushed and, again, letting myself “sit” with the emotions and then release them through my heart centre. More often than not, this practice eliminates the need to “talk” about the issue. In fact, I find that when I do talk about it, other than to share the experience after the fact, I notice that the feelings which I’ve just let go of can be re-generated and the issue feels “alive” again. I believe this has to do with “telling the story”, which, once again, gets the mind involved. When the mind gets going, it will conjure up all of the negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs and put us right back where we started.
Which brings me to the last point I want to make about the importance and significance of “space”.
Not only must we take space for ourselves, in order to feel our way through what is coming up for us before we respond, but we must also learn to sit in the discomfort of allowing others to take the space they need as well. As you have probably experienced, this is not easy to do. In terms of what I’m feeling, regarding writing my book, I realize that I am experiencing the discomfort of that “gap” between one known reality and the next reality, which is, as yet, unknown. The labour pains have started but I am still “me”. The book and I are still “in tact”. I have not “delivered it” or sent it forth into the world.
This is a scary place to be.
Today, however, I pulled a card from the Osho Tarot deck entitled “No-Thingness” and understood better the importance of embracing and even encouraging the “space” between things, people and events.
And so, I’ll leave you here…
Buddha has chosen one of the really very potential words–shunyata. The English word, the English equivalent, “nothingness”, is not such a beautiful word. That’s why I would like to make it “no-thingness”–because the nothing is not just nothing, it is all. It is vibrant with all possibilities. It is potential, absolute potential. It is unmanifest yet, but it contains all. In the beginning is nature, in the end is nature, so why in the middle do you make so much fuss? Why, in the middle, becoming so worried, so anxious, so ambitious–why create such despair? Nothingness to nothingness is the whole journey.
Being “in the gap” can be disorienting and even scary. Nothing to hold on to, no sense of direction, not even a hint of what choices and possibilities might lie ahead. But it was just this state of pure potential that existed before the universe was created. All you can do now is to relax into this no-thingness…fall into this silence between the words…watch this gap between the outgoing and incoming breath. And treasure each empty moment of the experience. Something sacred is about to be born.
Oh, and here is Krishna Das performing My Foolish Heart/Baja Govindam: