On Keeping a Soft Heart

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It is morning, the sun unfolding upon me as I push back the heavy drapes. I explain my plans to replace them to my lover, half-drowsing; I don’t know if he hears, both of us tangled together, lovingly sleepy. It doesn’t matter. Serenity, as our spirits slowly un-entwine; serenity, as we regain our Selves beneath the laughing dance of a single, trickling sunbeam. I push back the drapes all the way to luxuriate fully in the light of the new day. Sacred, my mind whispers to me, and I shiver for the truth of it.

The hardened heart does not know the the love of the sun, the caress of a summer wind, the ache in the heart to dance with the verdant grasses on the highest mountain; it is only a soft heart that can yield and be entirely without defenses that can open and receive the gifts the world has to give.

Hardened hearts are born of pain, and fear of pain. They are born of hardships, and subsequent fear of hardship. This is a dark world, where the sun can be seen, but only as a burning mass millions of years away of little consequence to us, and no longer as hope, as god. Dim, the sun sun seems then – dim, and unimportant. It is fleeting, temporary, because the hardened heart knows that rain will soon come anyway. Far more important to build walls to keep the rain out, than it is to enjoy the sun.

Are all people this sad? They forget easily the joys of the sun, and call those that dwell in it “foolish”, or “naive”.

Soft hearts are born of pain, and love of pain. They are born of a thousand tears wept, and each tear honest and pure. The person with the soft heart weeps and cries and wails, and – oh gods – the wailing is terrible! “It hurts,” weeps the person with the soft heart. “Oh, how it hurts.”

There are no walls that keep the soft heart from the pain. This is a garden that knows sun and rain, and is at the mercy of the weather’s whims. And so it knows every drop of rain. But the sun, the hope – this is not kept out. This god wanders freely, and can teach the heart to say, ”I love myself, my poor, injured self.” And, “I love you as well,” the soft heart can say, “You poor, injured soul that saw no other recourse than to lash out and bite me, when I extended my hand.” And here the sun will shine and rain will fall – the land is green and flowers will grow in shades of compassion, forgiveness, truth and a thousand other things.

I call those that dwell in this “bold”, and “courageous”. “Beautiful.”

Not all flowers are beautiful. My own garden contains seeds of pride, spite, a thousand vicious barbed thorns. But the seeds are there! They have been with me since I was born, and to hack these bushes back too closely will make them angry and all the more fierce. The soft heart allows room in their garden for all to be present. The soft heart can handle the thorns, will wince when it cuts, and knowing the thorn and knowing how best to treat the wound, will tend to it. The soft heart can let the rose and the lily live side by side, the mandrake with the valerian. And let each have their place, their turn, their permission to be.

When we give ourselves permission to “be” ourselves, that is when we can give permission to others to be themselves as well.

And I do look upon hardened hearts trapped within their walls, and I do pray for them. They’re cubes of stone and brick to me that pass through life without windows. They will pass their hours counting the reasons why rain is bad, reminding themselves why they locked themselves away. For the most part I will leave them alone. I give them permission to be themselves in their square, stone boxes.

Myself; I hope I will remain free to run with the wolves and with the sheep; I love the teeth that hurt me and the touch that caresses me. I love the warming sun and the drowning rain; and the burning sun and the quenching rain! I love the heart that is wounded and yet unfolds to embrace as a flower unfolds always to the promise of new light. She does not know whether the sun brings warmth today or if it will burn her; still, she unfolds, and does not let fear of pain prevent her.

I know that I will always have water enough, sun enough, love enough to take care of myself. I know that no pain can shatter me because I feel my pain, fully, terribly, weeping and wracked with it. I am not afraid of dying of it. That I could invite the people in boxes to feel the terrible thunder of their pains! To feel it, to be immersed in it, soaking, drowning, desperate. Because their own logic – that the sun will not last – is true as well of the storm! And if they would only permit themselves to survive one, blinking, staring upward at the beauty of the warm sun and fluffy clouds, they would know they can survive them all. And that the world goes on, relentless & beautiful. Sacred, my mind whispers to me. To Live, to Love, is something sacred.

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