Photo: Ian Sane www.foter.com
Softening my heart has been an on-going process of change. You might think I’d be finished by now, yet we are never finished because emotional and spiritual growth
evolves with twists and turns, nuances and challenges of many sorts… The spiritual journey is, in a phrase, a move to soften the heart. All of what we feel, think and do comes through this filter. I want mine to be a clear, soft screen…hence my work. As a prize, we learn who we are – a clarity of self and world that is panoramic.
I have written previously, and most of you – my readers – know I believe that we have many lifetimes. This construct implies that we have ample opportunity to heal in our journey. I believe this road is inward, to soften the heart…
Having an open heart allows me to feel deeply. It doesn’t mean that I would knowingly allow my heart to be trampled on by others. A lot of my clients fear they would be too vulnerable, and without protection, and so I reassure: with discernment coupled with compassion for self and other, we make our way, negotiating relationships. Compassion is an everyday experience. People earn my trust when I know they will be kind when they have access to what Chinese medicine calls The Emperor.
Last week, David Bowie made his transition. During his long career I would see glimpses of his work, but I was very busy being married, raising children and studying to be a psychologist. This changed about thirteen years ago. I sat in a local restaurant where Bowie’s 1970 image was projected onto an eight-foot screen. He, a harbinger of gender smoothness was handsome and beautiful, in full make-up – mascara, shadow and lipstick as he sang. In those moments, Bowie came alive for me, and I felt connected to him ever since. His vulnerability spoke (I should say sang) volumes. I didn’t know it then, but what I picked up was his softened heart. He pushed the boundaries of how we love and see ourselves; how we learn to accept others in their strivings to find purpose and meaning. I will miss Bowie’s physical presence and his unique talent. Above all, I will miss his softened heart, the heart that beamed out for the world to feel.
Let me share a quote that I love: The world “…need(s) more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane…” (David Orr, “Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World,” edited by Stone & Barlow, Sierra Club Books, 2005).
Here is a more complete quote of Bowie’s words from Glenn Gamboa’s article “Certain experiences, like spiritual messages, float through your life…I have always followed some of the tenets of Buddhism, especially the one about change. What came from my Buddhist bumblings is that change is our river. I keep coming back to that, and it means an awful lot to me.”
Bowie was a storyteller and lover, a performer of moral courage, an inspiration to many, a father of two children, a husband to Iman. Many of us will miss him terribly…
Speak to you on February 1st.