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January 12, 2007
Gaining Release: Healing Hands and Labyrinths


December 8, 2006
Tending to Spirituality's Physical Side: 2 Approaches


December 1, 2006
Rx for Heart Health


November 24, 2006
How Many Ways Can You Open Your Heart? -- Part 4


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Posted: November 10, 2006

Spiritual Caregiving

How Many Ways Can You Open Your Heart? -- Part 3

(Editor’s Note: The heart holds the keys to many aspects of life, not just physical but spiritual, emotional and directional. By listening to our own heart, we can gain the path to happiness, spiritual attainment and some say physical and mental health. This 4-part collection of offerings on the heart from Spirituality & Health readers individualizes the approach. What would you add to this collection?)

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Love the Fear

I have come to know that whether or not I am consciously aware of it, when my heart is closed, I'm terrified. My body is terrified. If I can remember this, I feel the same compassion I would for a tiny baby frozen in fear. And the gentleness that comes from this compassion gradually loosens the knot. Patience, patience, patience. Sometimes it takes time to love the fear.

Betsy Robinson, managing editor

Spirituality & Health

New York City

Seek the Possibilities

I head up the hill at the end of our street toward the sky . . . toward the warmth of the sun, the movement of the clouds, the light of the moon. Vastness and possibilities keep my heart open.

Shelley Forrester, research advisor

Weston, Connecticut

Feel the Earth

Lie down on the earth with your shirt off, preferably in the sun. Focus on your skin touching the skin of the ground, the separation and the union. Think of the earth as your mother, one who gives you your food, your home, your clothes, and every other thing you put in your hand or on your body or into your mouth. Think of her as always there, providing shelter and solace and nourishment and, at every turn, exquisite beauty to enjoy. As you think, feel. Feel the bounty and the love so freely given.

Louise Danielle Palmer. Editor

Spirituality & Health

Be Grateful

I like to remember something that Gangaji said: "Gratefulness is a form of love. It's a form of the heart opening, of attention shifting from 'my wants and needs' to just gratitude."

Crystal Star, image editing

Imagine

I close my eyes and imagine that I am at my special place on the Rogue River here in Oregon. My children are with me, playing in the water, and as I picture the scene in my mind, I breathe deeply, pulling the air into my heart. Within 30 seconds I feel calm and relaxed. The world brightens.

Stephen Kiesling, editor-in-chief

Spirituality & Health

The Symphony of History

My heart tends to open me, more than vice versa, in rushes of gratitude for beings who make each day a revelation. Sure, evil flourishes, and we contribute our share, but we've been blessed with a century of greats, from Martin Luther King to Gloria Steinem. Walt Whitman's wild barbaric yawp only sounded the prelude for Diana Eck's great hymn of pluralism, and Brubeck's sacred jazz calls every foot to stomp out its beat of praise. How can any heart not open to such a New World symphony as soon as we hear it inside us?

T George Harris, editor emeritus

Spirituality & Health

Break Open

At a workshop I attended, someone asked Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg, "How can I open my heart?" And she replied, "It's usually broken open, isn't it?" Ever since then, I have made a practice of exposing myself to information and pictures that will break my heart. They are not hard to find. I start by going to nytimes.com. As the page loads, I say a short prayer, "May my eyes and my heart be open to what I am about to learn." Then I read stories about the latest deaths in Iraq, the latest natural disaster, the latest budget cuts, plant closings, etc. Next I browse over to doctorswithoutborders.org and read about humanitarian and health crises in Darfur, Kashmir, the Sudan, and elsewhere in our suffering world. Then, since I am a volunteer with an animal rescue group, I go to petnder.org and read descriptions of homeless animals in my area. On any given morning, my heart can be broken a hundred times -- but I also find myself more and more motivated to become spiritually active in service, and that, to me, is the mark of an open heart.

Mary Ann Brussat, media editor

New York City

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(Click here to read Part 1 in this series and click here for Part 2. Read next week’s Spiritual Caregiving column for the final installment.)


This article originally appeared in Spirituality & Health magazine, www.SpiritualityHealth.com. For subscriptions call 1-800-876-8202 or see www.SpiritualityHealth.com/subs. Editor Stephen Kiesling and his staff contribute weekly columns, features and articles published every Friday as "Spiritual Caregiving" at www.caregivershome.com. Contact staff directly via email at ASKspirituality@spiritualityhealth.com.

© 2006 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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