For my niece Maggie's fourth birthday last month I wrote her a book called The Book of the Heart, all about how important it is to be connected to your heart, to listen deeply, to know your heart as your friend, to learn its language and to trust what it tells you. It occurred to me once I finished that perhaps I had written it for myself as much as for her. All good life lessons for a four-year-old. But what about for a forty-year-old? Do I know my heart's language? Do I trust what it tells me? Certainly our minds are important but often they think they're in charge. What would the world be like -- what would my world be like -- if I learned, once and for all, to trust my heart?
Those of you who humor me and read my posts know that I talk about meditation often as a doorway into our inner sanctum -- the key to the kingdom so-to-speak. I know this is true, both with my mind and my heart, and yet after years of searching, of "trying" to start a regular meditation practice, I still haven't arrived. And because of it, I can't help but wonder what might be available to me if I learned to show up for myself in that way, dare I say it...EVERY DAY?
Somehow over the course of the past two years I have managed to complete a 10-day-long silent mindfulness meditation retreat and, through my yoga study, a solid 40-days of daily meditation. But in both of those there was some structure, a goal of sorts, to help keep me focused. Through experience, I know that without any container to put it in, my attempts at establishing a regular checking-in-with-myself falls by the wayside.
If I pulled off 40 days, why not 40 weeks??
In doing the math it occurs to me that 40 weeks is the gestation period for a human female to give birth to their young. I never had the opportunity to do that in the traditional sense this time around. Perhaps this is my biological clock's way of getting in on the scene? In looking for a container in which to hold this project, perhaps it helps to view it as my own version of the ultimate creative journey -- giving birth, as it were, to my Self.
What does this mean? Is daily meditation that powerful? Is tuning into your own heart all that I said it was in my advice to my four-year-old niece? Can it really transform lives? I won't know for sure until I give it the chance and see what it will do with mine.
Today, my fortieth birthday, I offer up the blank canvas that is the next nine months of my life to this endeavor. And humbly await who arrives on the other side...//