Thursday, October 18, 2012

the "upward" path

Yesterday I had a great two-hour coffee with a friend whose life story parallels mine in many ways. Divorce, neglect, feeling crazy in the head still sometimes, a few years out of all of it. We both read loads of books about healing and self-awareness, and just want to be better, in both senses of the phrase.

We were sharing how hard we are on ourselves, how scared we can feel about making mistakes, how we want to fix our broken minds, how we want to grow. I said "I keep wanting to force my heart open more because I know that's what needs to happen for my kids and Nate to be loved better, and for me to be connected to everyone. But I know you can't pry your own heart open."

As I was leaving the coffee shop, I saw this on the board outside and stopped.

I texted her the photo and said "We don't need to worry about fixing our brains, or forcing our hearts open - we just need to fill them up." She texted back that we had just done that with each other.

Today in class, I doodled the heart-with-lines three times in the margins of my notes, thinking Man, that symbol is so helpful for me I could almost get a tattoo of it. I don't have to worry about anything other than filling myself up with the receiving and giving of love!!! This is The Answer - to "How can I heal?," and "What does God want from me?," and "Why are we alive?"

This is the center of all of the theology out there. This is what all of the world's religions are trying to say. This is my response to all of that "spiritual discipline" and striving. Don't worry about praying, don't worry about reading your holy scriptures, don't worry about meditating, don't worry about doing, outside of filling up. (Maybe prayer or reading or meditating does fill you up, but that's the only good impulse for doing any of it. If you're doing it out of obedience, just quit.)

My professor spent the class talking about personalities and spiritual development. At the very end, he spoke about the maturization process. "It's like three lines: underdeveloped, normal, and developed." He drew this as he spoke.

I smiled and went up after class to draw a heart over it.

Filling it up is how we mature, spiritually, in our personalities, in every way. I fill my heart up with the love of my beloved, kisses from my kids, beauty wherever I can see it, nature however I can feel her, the gentle energy of friends who continue to wait for my trust to heal even more. What fills your heart up? That's where God is.