Kind Readers:I was at a Silent Retreat a few weeks back. It was a sweet, deep, completely nourishing experience. The staff and facilitators cradled us so beautifully that it was like resting in the arms of GRACE herself. The meals served were both moderate and exquisite. Within the quiet tribe at the retreat, I experienced a true communion. The yoga classes were the gentlest I've ever received.
When my heart is broken and I'm acting out of my wounding and then I cannot remember how to be kind to myself, what I most need is my own compassion. That compassion is the direct path to returning to my own open heart. I believe that the broken heart lives within the open heart. A poem popped out at the retreat about mercy.
Mercy” by Patricia Flasch (Oct. 19, 2015)
Sometimes mercy recedes into the background –NO MERCY LIVES HERE!
Something is surely “wrong” with this aging body.
The chronic old belief “Something is wrong with me” REIGNS...
Most every feeling that is anything less than “positive” -
fear, worry, helplessness, neediness or anger
ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!
Then somehow Mercy makes herself known.Perhaps she arises from this desperate call for help.
Maybe she is an answer to a prayer.
Perhaps she was there all along, like the sun behind the clouds.
She says: “Every part of this aging body and
every single emotion is HOLY
A blessing not a curse.
This heartbreaking humanity IS the link that connects us;
It is our intimacy dance.
Aging bodies and vulnerable emotions bring us Home
to MERCY herself!
What I most long for this lifetime is an inner marriage between MERCY (the broken heart) and CONNECTION (the open heart). When that inner marriage is happening, I am wholly present with you, kind reader, with my husband, with my students, my friends and all sentient beings. Perhaps you have also noticed how your own tenderness towards yourself spreads out into your world.
When I look back at the losses that became dark nights of the soul in my own life, every single place of broken-heartedness has been followed by a period of grace and heart. My life, after integrating a loss, opens like a lotus flower. If you'd like, you could make a list of your own losses. In the next column you could write about what you learned from each loss. Then you could write a last column on how that loss opened your heart. As you write, you may discover more about how loss and brokenness lead to learning and opening.
As I've been growing my ideas about who is part of the personal God of my understanding, I've added Quan Yin. In the East, she is one of the most beloved Goddesses. She is the One who sees and hears the cries of the human world.
Bowing towards each of you and Quan Yin, Goddess of Mercy,