Monday, February 8, 2010

A lesson from the Grinch

wonder if your heart can grow. I have this mental image of the Grinch’s heart in a Seussian x-ray machine busting outside the frame.

I seem to have these periods when all I can feel is my heart expanding or shifting or something. Once it drove me to get an EKG and all checked out normal. I figured if I could swim a half mile daily with no problem, probably my heart was ok.

It also coincided with my holding others' spiritual concerns, often centered around my faith community. Or my family or close friends.

Secularly, it would be labeled stress. And when that’s what I recognized it as, I became worse. Now, with the luxury of some experience and perspective, I see it as a change. Maybe a change of heart. Maybe holding someone else's. Could even be an expansion of sorts, like St. Teresa of Avila’s rooms of the Interior Castle. Has something become unlocked in me? It does seem my heart fills more of my chest.

The first time I noticed this was also the scariest and most severe [to get my attention?]. It focused on a spiritual group meeting for discernment and clearness for the larger body. In the initial session, I felt as if something had gripped my heart within my chest and said: “STOP. This is not the way.” I was forced to express that and, while perhaps not totally understood, was heard. The person next to me said she felt it as well ... although less powerfully and, yet, it rankled her, too. I am so grateful she told me. I was wondering if I had lost my marbles.

I had been excited to be in this group of people whom I admired. Then, right off the bat, I was forced to speak up without knowing what really had happened. My ideal mask of being the seasoned, reasonable one went right out the window. To some degree, later, I wondered what people thought. But in the moment, all I knew was what I was feeling and had to express it or I would have burst.

It, definitely, was a being present-in-the-moment experience.

Now that I think about, the interior of my chest has never felt the same. As if that gripping hand re-shaped my insides, stretching them a bit more, leaving room for something that had not been there before.

So, am I filling it correctly? Or merely stuffing things in?

• Has there been a time when a bodily experience has really touched or changed me? How?
• How do I know when I am living in the present?
• What happens when I do?
• Am I transformed by the experience and does it stay with me?
• Or do I continue on as before?

I have often asked
to be opened.
So why, when
it happens,
am I caught
off guard?

It is always so
very different
from what
I expect.

Maybe I need
to change
my prayer:

Spirit –
Open me
help me
may be

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