In the psychological climate of our own times, our emotions are almost always considered to be virtually identical with our personal authenticity, and the more freely they flow, the more we are seen to be honest and “in touch.” A person who gravitates to a mental mode of operation is criticized for being “in his head”; when feeling dominates, we proclaim with approval that such a person is “in his heart.”
In the Wisdom tradition, this would be a serious misuse of the term heart. Far from revealing the heart, Wisdom teaches that the emotions are in fact the primary culprits that obscure and confuse it. The real mark of personal authenticity is not how intensely we can express our feelings but how honestly we can look at where they’re coming from and spot the elements of clinging, manipulation, and personal agendas that make up so much of what we experience as our emotional life today. . . .
~ Cynthia Bourgeault, from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations
Whenever I use a guided meditation and the instruction is to picture yourself in a place outdoors that brings you joy and/or feels safe (real or imagined), I have found myself in a field of wildflowers in Maine. I used to go to Scotland in my head and then it morphed into a redwood forest in California. But lately, it’s in a field of colorful flowers that include hawkweed, red clover, buttercups, daisies, crown vetch, forget-me-nots, and lupines. Always lupines. I used to be wary of naming a favorite flowers because they are all so beautiful in their own way and I didn’t want to insult any of them by picking a favorite. In my heart of hearts, lupines are my favorite flowers.
Lupines, some say, symbolize merriment and joy, and they bring inner strength to help you heal from trauma. Others say they stand for imagination and admiration. Their message is that with a positive outlook, new opportunities will be discovered. They correspond to the third eye chakra. I suppose that makes them a good flower to have in one’s meditation, if you’re into chakras.
Some of you might already recognize the photos as being from our trip to Maine in 2017 although I think two of them never made an appearance on the blog. I have so many photos like that, just sitting in the archives biding their time until I go back and wonder why I haven’t shared them.
My walking shoes were growing quite hole-y. I might have been able to live with the holes on the top and sides a little longer (they were, after all, small holes), but then I noticed that I had not only worn out the tread on the bottom, but that the next layer was wearing out, too. I would have been walking barefoot after a while, something I haven’t done in a long time (I once owned a couple of pairs of Vibrams — the “barefoot” shoes with toes in them. They are ugly shoes, but quite comfortable.)
I don’t know how many miles I’ve put on my purple walking shoes, but it truly was time to retire them. I’ve replaced them with these:
The photo doesn’t do them justice in terms of just how bright and pink they are. I was shocked and pleased when I opened the box. (I ordered them online.) The shoes practically glow. In the dark. I love them. They are very comfortable and fit perfectly. That was rather shocking, too. Buying shoes online can be risky business. Not too risky since most places make it easy to return them. Still, you never know what will arrive. Most of my sneakers over the past decade or two have been New Balance shoes because I know they’ll fit my wide feet (because they have wide sizes). I actually looked at New Balance shoes last year, but the availability in my size, in something I liked, was zero. They must have solved some of their supply chain issues.
I’m still having fun with paint. I put aside the acrylics for a little while to paint with watercolors and work on something they call mark making. I’m not sure I’m a fan of mark making. Maybe that’s because my marks tend to look so random, as if they don’t belong with the rest of the painting or drawing. A lot of mark making looks, to me, like random scribbles. You can use patterns and I seem to be drawn more to that than to the random. Maybe it’s the influence of all the mandalas I’ve created which are so highly structured and patterned.
The Monopalette workshop color for June is Naples Yellow. I’m a bit behind in the lessons. Yesterday I did the color theory exercise which involves using Naples Yellow with white and black to create tones and shades (although technically, there are no shades when it comes to Naples Yellow because the color is a mix and has white in it).
On the day of the summer solstice, I spent a little time with my word of the year. Love. And Heart. In many ways, they are the same thing. I really liked one of Richard Rohr’s meditations this week in which he quotes Cynthia Bourgeault on the spiritual teachings of emotions, love, and heart.
The heart, in the ancient sacred traditions, has a very specific and perhaps surprising meaning. It is not the seat of our personal affective life—or even, ultimately, of our personal identity—but an organ for the perception of divine purpose and beauty. . . .
Finding the way to where our true heart lies is the great journey of spiritual life. . . .
~ Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Way of Knowing
There is talk in yoga about the spiritual heart. Hridaya is the Sanskrit word for it. It’s also called the cave of the heart. It is similar to what Cynthia Bourgeault describes. It is not the heart chakra. It is “the center of the Self, and the Self is the center of centers” (Ramana Maharshi). You can find another definition of it here (that link takes you to Yogapedia).
I’d like to write a little more about what I’ve been learning about love and heart, but the words don’t feel adequate just yet. Maybe they never will.
Thank you for visiting with me today. Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset. We’ve had a lot of clouds and some rain today, but they say it will be clearing up. Sometimes the best sunsets happen after rain and/or storms. Sunset this evening is scheduled for 8:30 PM. It’s a little cooler today and shouldn’t be too bad out there.
Please be safe and be well.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 2,041) Change. I don’t always appreciate it, but I hope I’m becoming more accepting of it. 2,042) Rain. As usual for this time of year, we’ve been going through another dry spell. The gardens always appreciate a good dousing of water that falls from the heavens. 2,043) Naples Yellow. I like it. 2,044) The morning crows who fly by at sunrise to say good morning. 2,045) M, always and forever. Amen.