On the eve of the day to give thanks, I am imagining all the people across the country turning their attention to coming together for this holiday, with love and gratitude as well as wounds and divides. Part of me wants to bundle up my heart in protection, part of me wants to find sanctuary with others who are like minded. WholeHeart has been teaching me that love is not easy. Opening one’s heart lets in the joys and the sorrows, the connections and the longings. The wounds and the worries can be loud, but I do believe that love is louder and softer, gentle and fierce.
I often carry a poem with me at times of need. Here is the current poem in my pocket as I seek to keep my heart open:
When the Heart by Michael Leunig
When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken
Do not clutch it
Let the wound lie open
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt
And let it sting
Let a stray dog lick it
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell
And let it ring
Let it go. Let it out.
Let it all unravel.
Let it free and it can be
A path on which to travel.
I am seeking a path on which to travel, to carry my wholeheart – broken, worried, open and loving. It is not a four-lane highway in my experience - no universal travel instructions or published guidebooks. We are all finding our way. But there is a simple song in my heart that I learned to chant during my 30 years of parenting two very adventuresome sons: send love, not worry. While the words might be simple, the practice is not, especially in the middle of the night. Yet it is essential – to turn my attention to what I want to let be, let grow and ring out in the world. Yes, I am afraid. Each moment my fears and my gratitudes are vying for attention. But I stand with wholehearted love.
As I write this, three female cardinals are at my feeder – leaning into the hole and the whole.
May we each find the song in our heart that can sing us forward, together. May our gratitudes be the beacon on which we set our course.
Holly Wilkinson, Executive Director