November 15, 2011

Making space for heartwork when it feels impossible

Fiona writes: The end of the year is rushing towards me.

Christmas presents to buy. Relatives to visit. Projects to finish. 2011 is disappearing like sand through my fingers.

So what about the important things? You know, those things that get pushed out of the way when things get busy. Writing. Spiritual practice. Paying attention. Yoga. Enjoying every sip & every mouthful of life as it rushes past. I’ll call these things ‘heartwork’.

I often say that writing is both the most important thing and the most difficult thing in my life. I resist it with a determination that I rarely show elsewhere in my life. The same is true of my Buddhist practice, and of a more generic ‘space for contemplation’.

Without these structures, my life can become mechanistic and arid. I continue to get things done. I survive, like a plant in a shady corner of the garden. But I don’t flourish.

When I start my day with some walking and chanting, when I am engaged with my work-in-progress, and when I notice the world around me by writing small stones,  my petals can open. Heartwork is my sun, my water, my nutrients. Heartwork keeps my heart alive.

So how do we make this space? How do we honour our heartwork?

We remember all the things I’ve just said. We remember that nothing is REALLY impossible, but it’s understandable if we’d rather believe that (heartwork can be scary). We remember that ten minutes a day (one minute a day) is better than no minutes.

There are no secret answers, no magical solutions. I wish there were. Like the rest of us, you will have to fight your way through your resistances, becoming more aware of your particular patterns of avoidance and getting back to it again and again. But I do have something to offer you.

The next ten minutes.

Turn from your computer. Look at the sky. Take a pen and paper. Make a charcoal sketch. Plan some time into your diary. Call a friend and ask for their help. Get out your yoga mat. Sit and breathe. In. Out. In. Out.

Get to your heartwork.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” ~Theodore Roosevelt


If you’d like to make space for your heartwork and enjoy every last sip of 2011, join our last ecourses of the year – The Art of Paying Attention with Kaspa, and Writing and Spiritual Practice with Fiona. Get in touch.

Photo by Zanastardust (Creative Commons), with thanks.

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