Aching Heart of Awe

Life is powerful. I am curious how it breaks open our hearts. My heart has journeyed through many breakings.Tree Heart

If I slow down enough I can be with the tender aching feeling of a broken heart and it feels almost good. It is as if it is trying to grow and the achy-ness is the growing pains.

When I pay attention like this, feeling the ache and allowing for my experience to be fully here, such sweetness arises, even if I am feeling deep sorrow.

Lately, though, I am curious about the heart breaking open through awe.

This has been happening to me. It has come through being challenged and meeting the challenge. Where did I meet it? Inside my own heart. The outer circumstances pointed to my inner response. So I went there.

I took on these challenges because, well… they were in my face. And because recently I have been on a renewed cycle to engage my shadow more directly, looking for what is blocking me, for what I am afraid of, looking at the places and the feelings inside that I have been habitually, perhaps, avoiding.
This is mostly done in my quite time in the morning after meditation. Shadows need quite and slow. If we turn too quickly they duck behind us, staying in…. the shadow.

Here I have been able to address newly found nuggets of rigidity and fear within me, accept them, embrace them and give them time to digest and assimilate. This shadow material is the undigested matter of life. We all have it. It needs our simple, kind attention.

Can I slow down enough to hold this pain, this challenge, to look at it deeply with kindness and openness?

This gift of attention is the remedy for what I’ve been circling. Caught in its gravitational pull, I struggled to cope. I can’t let it get me. Yet it pulls. I resist. I get worn out. Finally I stop. I ask, “What is it?” I look. I name it: “scared, don’t know what to do.”

This is the root of mindfulness: bringing my non-judgemental attention to what is. What ever it is, moment to moment, as best I can. What a relief it is to take the time to stop and address what is actually happening. “Oh. I see. This is hard. I don’t know what to do.”

Mostly we avoid: Wine please. Now internet. Now my favorite show. Now this project. Now bed. Now off to work. Now this party, class, event. Wine please. Now internet, etc.

The outcome of facing and embracing my newly exposed shadow material has been two fold: a deeper trust of myself and deeper sense of being present with Life. When I faced and embraced it, the outer challenge came together in ways I would have never predicted. Why? Who knows. But I do know that I was different in the situation.

We are each a part of the alchemy of life. We each add to what is happening.

Then there is the cascade Rock hearts from Shastaeffect, as there always is. As I change my response to the world, the world changes its response and the opening manifests itself in my connections and in the synchronicity of life.

Overall, I am left with a sense of awe. It is a heart expanding achy awe and is accompanied by a feeling that my jaw has dropped open. It does not feel like my doing.

I am curious how struggle can create opening, how challenge presses me to be more, and in meeting challenge, I change. I grow. My heart gets achy and it can now hold more.

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Lauren Darges

Lauren Darges, RScP, SEP

Spiritual Counselor
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