Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Silence of the Heart

When I used to go to see Firenze, we would fold our legs in our chairs opposite one another and close our eyes.  She always began her prayer with a thank you and what she talked about was always something on my mind, the reason I had come to see her (though I wondered how she knew the cause for my visit before I even said one word!).  Firenze always ended her prayer with me being the Beloved Child of God, the beautiful beloved child, perfect in God’s eyes.

Those visits long ago always filled me with happiness.  They were a respite from the larger goings on in my life.  I was in trouble and Firenze knew it.  

I had been seeing a married man who swore that he loved me, had loved me ever since we were young, but now that I’d come back into his life he couldn’t just pick up where we left off as kids.  He was married now and couldn’t leave his wife and family.  I was so desperate to be loved I didn’t know how to turn away from him, but the relationship was causing those around me anguish and was ruining my life. 

What could I do?  

I loved him and knew that I could not be “just friends.”  How could I have a relationship with him without betraying myself?  On the other hand, how could I walk away from the source of my happiness?  Everyone I dared consult about my problem, understandably, had a strong opinion or a judgment. My closest friends watched me, sadly, as I blundered along.  Firenze was the one who finally helped me figure out what to do: it was simple.  She said look inside yourself, the answer is there.

That is the message of The Silence of the Heart, a book that Firenze’s god-daughter gave me.  The answer always lies in the silence of your heart.

Look inside, the book prompts, and you will see that the source of your unhappiness is your own self-betrayal.  Reading it, you come to understand that what you were looking for in someone else can only be supplied by you.  Happiness and fulfillment flow from the commitment you make to yourself, and only when you love and honor yourself can you love and honor others without judging or trying to change them. 

But how to honor yourself when you don't know where to begin?  The way the book prescribes is simple and yet profound: 
"Ask for what you want and do not accept what you do not want."  
How many times we thought we were unworthy and accepted less!

Here is a little prayer from the book that helped me through that crisis, deepening my connection to my self and helping me to offer my gifts more authentically:
"I know what feels good to me and what does not.  I will say what I need.  I will speak my truth and I will be firm in my commitment to my own healing.  I will no longer betray or violate myself in any relationship.  I will communicate how I think and feel honestly, with compassion for the other, but without attachment to how he or she receives my communication.  I trust that by telling the truth and honoring myself, I am in communication with the beloved.” 
That last line may have saved my life.

For my picture I chose a vine that I found hanging from a tree that was tangled in a knot.  It was a surprising fact that I happened to notice when I let the rest of our party go on ahead and I lingered there awhile by myself alone in the woods.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I too find secret messages near the water.

Your photograph reminds me of a lake that I got to know very well in Providence, RI. I took my early morning walks there when I was pregnant with Donovan. Thank you for taking me back.