Living from the heart

The essence of the invitation of love is to drop down into seeing and living from the heart.  I haven’t fly-fished for decades, but within an hour of being in the stream, I ended up catching this incredible brown trout. When you fly fish, catching a 12-14″ fish is exciting. This 15 pound, 29 inch beauty was, as our guide who has been fishing trout over 40 years said repeatedly, a ‘life-time’ fish! I lost plenty of fish that day (as well as caught a number) but as I reflect back on how I landed a fish this big on a 5 lb line with a teeny tiny nymph fly–aside from luck!–was that I wasn’t over thinking, I was just soaking it up, having fun and living in the flow.

Living primarily in our head, we are most comfortable when we are in control, when we have things figured out and nailed down. I think this is a temptation that is especially true for those of us who are talented and driven.  From this place of seeing, things are divided into good/bad choices and once we choose a side, everything else takes on a negative hue.  Living this way isn’t so bad as it is very limited and it can become very demanding.  Unless it is put in service to the heart space within us, the headspace can drive us in ways that aren’t life-giving for us or those around us.  This tends to be the place where we ‘know’ what is ‘right,’ and there are a lot of shoulds and oughts along with some fears lurking beneath the surface.  Here, we convince ourselves we know everything (the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil), when we don’t actually know anything about what might be the best thing for ourselves or others, we just think we do!  Here, we are in the driver seat, even if we’re insist God is.

By contrast, we are invited to put on the mind of Christ, seeing as Christ sees and living from that place of wisdom.  Ephesians 1 reminds us that we are all chosen, beloved as children from the foundations. The prayer is for the eyes of your heart to be enlightened, so you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance, and the immeasurable greatness of his power for us. What an incredible promise, right there within the heart of who we are.  When we give up having all the answers and the illusion of control, we move into a place of mystery and possibility, of spaciousness and grace. Here we can see that we are always held in Love’s hand, that what God desires for all of us is to dwell in this fulness that fills all in all, to dwell in hope in all things.  We know what it is like to dwell here as it is the essence of living in the flow.  And I know how hard it is when we don’t feel like we are, and then we thrash all the more in our head, trying to get ourselves ’there’ rather than dropping down into the ‘here’ of our heart that always dwells in Love.  The hardest part is that we have to let go of all that we think we know with our head in order to trust that we’ll have a better view of everything from our heart—which is an incredible risk with an incredible promise.

One way of exploring this that I’m doing right now, is through the muscles in my body.  I’m working with a trainer who over and over again has me doing exercises that I ‘can’t do’.  He just laughs and says I know you can’t, do it anyway!  You see some muscles, particularly in the front of my body, are so strong that I rely on them the most, while the back side of my body becomes weaker and weaker.  Rather than looking down on and dismissing the weaker muscles, I’m practicing an intention to strengthen them (both the physical muscles and the spiritual/mental ones) by using them more—something the stronger parts of me really don’t like that because it’s uncomfortable to not be in my wheelhouse, my strength. But only when I’m willing to be awkward and weak–and therefore not staying in my own strength–am I opening myself up to a much larger Strength.  

I had an experience when I was first exploring a call to the priesthood that holds the key of this for me. I had been surprised by the incredibly powerful sense of call, only to decide it wasn’t meant to be. I determined not only that the call wasn’t possible to follow but that it wasn’t real because, as I mapped out my life, it didn’t seem to fit. So I decided I must have ‘heard wrong’ or that the timing was meant for much later in my life.  I had completely given it up, when my mom’s priest met me and heard the whole story. She just smiled and said, don’t close the door if God hasn’t closed the door.  I remember being stunned into realizing that, in fact, I had been the one to close the door all along.  Once I got out of my own way and opened myself to whatever God was up to in my life, things flowed into being in ways that were bountiful and real, easily birthing that which had been planted in my heart but that I couldn’t ‘make happen’.   That doesn’t mean there weren’t very real challenges/bumps/issues to work through along the way, but once I was open to the flow, all of that was less difficult than living outside of the flow, living through my own effort/control/determination/isolation.  

I’m very much aware of how much I struggle today to drop down into that place of hope, joy and love even (or especially) when I don’t have as much as I used to have that powers me down the head-space highway that has been so powerful in my life. One baby step, one tiny taste of real freedom at a time and I’m learning to catch a waaaay more fun way to live!