Friday, February 3, 2012

Today's Medicine: Open Heart

I started my morning much like every other morning in my life. I was awakened by a restless dog, who sensed the sunshine behind the blinds, and stumbled downstairs to let both canines out for their morning constitutional. Once inside, I fed them, started my oatmeal, set the tea kettle heating and sat down to read my e-mail and Facebook. I found the link below through a FB friend, and thought to myself, "That looks intriguing." I clicked and waited, not knowing that I was about to experience open heart surgery in a matter of minutes.

Midway I started bawling. After, I sat, tears streaming down my face, even as they are now as I let the emotions evoked from this simple video wash over me. And the most amazing thing for me is how I laugh aloud, even as I cry like a wee babe. It's astonishing how joy can reveal itself.

When I was a child, I would cry like this whenever I saw a clear cut forestland near my home. I couldn't watch documentaries that showed whale's being slaughtered without falling apart from grief. I learned that I would be made fun of if I voiced my tree-hugger attitudes and felt so alone that I let that voice within grow quiet. As I've grown, I've become hardened to the suffering all around me, sometimes more so, sometimes less. It hurt to care too much. And in one moment, that all shifted, and I feel more free than I've felt in ages.

Humans can be so unaware of the life and beauty that is all around. We forget there is value in things that cannot be tamed, ignore that we too are part of the natural world and exploit or ridicule those who have a heart that beats in time with the wild ones, the seen and unseen. We shut away our longing for connection, for understanding, for love and healing. And this was a brutal and gentle reminder that my own heart has been shut away from the things I love about living on this beautiful Mother Earth.

The road back into joy is often not so joyful. But rediscovering my connection to the world around me, to the beauty of the natural world and it's lost human companions, is well worth any pain I feel along the way. My prayer for today? May my heart stay wide open, may my laughter ring with joy and may I remember that, as a wise friend once said, "It's better to be brave than safe."

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