“My heart is so small it’s almost invisible. How can you place such big sorrows in it? “Look,” he answered, “your eyes are even smaller, yet they behold the world.”
Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.
Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”
It was the above versus that I started all of my classes with last week. The Monday prior I had one of the most difficult days of my life. One of those days where you hear of multiple losses and it breaks your heart. But, I soon came to clearly see how the breaking of my heart was the opening of my heart.
Rumi also writes, “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” I couldn’t make it through that sentence on my Saturday mornings class without tears and the inability to speak. But it was in moments like that, that I came to understand so deeply how joy and love are connected to sorrow and sadness. I realized that the very people and places that I was mourning, we’re also people and places that had brought me some of the greatest joy in my life. To them I am eternally grateful.
Simultaneously, it was Earth week and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It was very easy to tie that in with Rumi’s words around the shaken leaves from the bough of your heart, rotted roots, and the garden of compassion.
Organically and intuitively, I began to invite people to listen to “The garden of their heart”. And to also move in their practices in a way that served both their body equally as much as their soul.
Midway through one class I rediscovered, in a way that felt completely new, how ‘Earth’ and ‘Heart’ share the same exact letters. I also love how Maxine sent me a message saying how Earth without ‘art’ is “eh”! In our Vinyasa classes this week we embodied those very letters inside our flows, forming the shapes of each letter with our bodies. We are all works of art!
To say there were not enough metaphors with this intention would be a lie! Here are a few:
In preschool, Maxwell’s(my son) teachers invited all the children to acknowledge how they write their letters and numbers are their own special versions. I am grateful to his teachers for this thoughtful approach to supporting each child to feel confident in their abilities. Of course they help them to write them how is necessary, but in their own unique way. This gave me the insight when speaking to grief and joy that each of us will have our own unique “version” of how we are with grief. How we will be with sorrow, and how we will be with our joys, it will be our own unique expressions. There is no ‘one way’ to “handle” grief.
“The Garden Keeper”:
In my Saturday afternoon restorative class as we were lying in one of our postures, the story of The Gardener whose garden continue to be eaten came to me. The gardener built a tall fence and closed the gates and went to bed. The next day he awoke and went outside and his garden had still been eaten again. So he dug his fence deeper into the ground, and still the next day his garden had been eaten. As he sat on his porch looking out upon his garden, it finally dawned on him to open the gate. When he opens the gates, and left them open, the next day his garden had not been eaten. The rabbit that had been caught inside had been set free. This is metaphor for the necessity of opening our hearts, and leaving them open always. The rabbit symbolizing negative emotions and energies and thoughts, and if we contain them within ourselves they will eat us from the inside out. But, if we can truly “keep your heart open through everything”, as Rumi stated, then it is possible for our “pain to become our greatest ally”. This was the moment that I realized what I was grieving had brought me such great joy in my life. What I thought I was missing because it no longer existed, had been the source of such great happiness, transformation, and connection in my life, and in fact, still does! What a gift! The joy of remembering and living in my imagination, moments with my friends, and these places, had come from my sorrow of their loss. Inevitably, they were of the same coin. Perhaps this is what Rumi means when he writes, “Whenever sorrow comes, be kind to it. For God has placed a pearl in sorrows hand.” I had written about this garden keeper in a previous blog, read it here!
“The Garden of Your Heart”:
And of course with this, and the garden of one’s heart, you can imagine the multitude of symbolism! I was constantly inviting people to go to the Garden of their heart, and to remember how the heart embraces all things with love. Even those things that cause sadness, grief, unhappiness, uncertainty, and fear. The heart embraces it all. I invited people to imagine all the varieties of flowers, plants, trees, animals, and creatures in the garden of their heart. To imagine the various seasons of their heart, and the season in which we’re all living right now. And how the heart always speaks in truths and in love. How the garden needs everything within it in order to flourish, even the decay and death that inevitably leads to nourishment for new growth and new Life!
Imagine a small dandelion with roots dug into the Earth, a tall green stem strong and steadfast, and full blossom with soft white snowflake-like seeds in a circumference that looks like a snowball.
A young, playful child comes along and plucks it from its source of the Earth. The dandelion, suddenly ripped from its foundation, trembles with fear and uncertainty. The young child blows the wisps of white seeds out into the air. The dandelion seeds float and fly in the breeze, and are forced to surrender to the flow of the Universe. The seeds do not know where their journey is taking them, nor where they will land, but for the moment they try to just let go and take in the journey, one moment at a time. I imagine in this moment that the dandelion learned a lot; not only of surrender, but also from this place floating higher up in the air that they can now see new things that they hadn’t before when they were rooted to the Earth. And, inevitably gravity brings them back to the Earth upon which they land and are held once more in stability. It is here on Earth that they will plant themselves, having come to the end of one journey, only to begin the sprouting of the next journey!
That last metaphorical story, brings me to one of my heartfelt “a-ha!” Moments that I had when courageously diving deeper into my own grief. Grief means “deep sorrow, especially from someone’s death”. In its Latin root words, it holds weight and heaviness. ‘Gravare’, meaning “heavy”, and ‘gravis’, meaning “weight”. This immediately made me think of gravity. And being that I was tying this all in with Earth Day, my heart totally cracked wide open when I realized that Mother Earth is always pulling us lovingly to her! Literally by use of her gravitational pull, but more so metaphorically, by way of her loving embrace that is always gently pulling us into her bosom.
I ended all of my classes with these words that came to me in meditation, may you speak them to your heart:
“Have no fear my heart!
Stay open, even in difficult times.
May I follow you, my dear heart, to guide me back home.
May I remember your Truth.
May I ground in you.”
May you be drawn to the loving pull of your own heart’s gravity, this week and always.
If you would like more meditations, I highly, highly support you in listening to my dearest friends podcast, “Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire”! Dr. Deborah Adamy, or ‘Mama A’, as she is so lovingly called, shares some of her own personal meditations for all of us during this time of the pandemic. It has been a balm to my soul.
She also interviewed me in episode #37, if you want to listen!
It is Deb’s picture from her daily hikes that I share with you here (above)! Thank you, Deb, for being a Light in my life. You are the one who helped me to allow myself to let my heart be “cracked open” in our Sacred Activist trip to Malawi, Africa!
And, finally, here is an article of ideas on how to help Mother Earth:
If you feel called to do more with supporting Mother Earth, climate change, and supporting healing around these subjects for the collective conscious, please visit another dear friend of mine’s website: www.WeHealForAll.com
Liz Moyer is a one-of-a-kind, deeply caring, soulful, empathetic, inclusive, and loving human being. I have had the honor of being a participant in some of her healing circles and can attest to their potency for hightening Ones vibration.
Breathe and Believe.