“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
As I held the bowl of my Grandma’s rice pudding out to my friend I noticed a crack in the edge of the spiral pattern. The green-blue glaze over the humble clay reminded me of the water gushing over the log trapped in the wall of our creek bed. The last storm had washed away a new section of the high wall, exposing the red earth and the large, curved roots of a Poplar, now clinging to the edge of the forest floor. As my friend took the bowl and smiled sadly, I thought of the imperfect beauty of just showing up and offering a little comfort after a storm, even when you don’t have the right words. Especially then. I allowed my friend to see the cracked edges of my heart, as hers was broken wide open by the loss of her one-week old baby.
Seeking comfort in community is another way we can show up for each other during tumultuous times. I’ve been facilitating group meditations for more than a year and I notice that each time people come together, it creates a sacred container for healing and connection. Whether our back drop is the windows of the ultra modern, 3-story high, atrium at The Center for Design Innovation, or the soft, moss-green walls of the sanctuary at Unity Church, being with others who are also seeking a few moments of peace naturally creates a softening in your heart-space. One good, deep breath is all that’s needed to begin tuning in to the wisdom of your heart.
A man attending a work retreat I led recently offered this story. He’d been experiencing heart palpitations and high blood pressure. Getting in to his car to drive to work that morning he said he was pretty sure he’d had his first panic attack. As we went around the circle and shared a bit about what we’d just experienced during the guided Loving Kindness Meditation (metta), he looked down for a few moments before speaking. Then he shared that as his shoulders unclench he noticed his heart was beating softly, in perfect rhythm, for the first time in weeks. His eyes smiled at me as he said thank you.
The researched benefits of mindfulness, and especially metta, include:
- Reducing stress and anxiety, inflammation and migraines
- Improving the quality of our sleep
- Lifting our mood and producing positive emotions
- Increasing feelings of hope
- Decreasing physical and emotional pain
- Reducing anger
- Activating empathy
- Improving social connection and compassion
During my personal practice, and in the circles I facilitate, I’ve learned that our hearts know how to take care of us, bringing our mind/body/spirit connection back into balance. Using mindfulness-meditation to learn how to pause, slow down just a little, and then take a few deep breaths in the silence, is one way to step into heart-led healing.
Finding a safe container for our comfort practice by coming together in community, helps many people go deeper into meditation. Don’t wait to show up till you’ve fixed all the imperfections. Let the cracks be there so your light can help illuminate someone else’s path