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January 12, 2007
Gaining Release: Healing Hands and Labyrinths

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

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Rx for Heart Health

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How Many Ways Can You Open Your Heart? -- Part 4

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Posted: October 27, 2006

Spiritual Caregiving

How Many Ways Can You Open Your Heart? - Part 1

(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?)


The Lesson of Confinement

I attend a sweat lodge, and it always amazes me how spiritually open I feel after spending time in such a confined physical space. The sweat lodge helps me to remember that openness comes from within, not from without.

Carrie Ann Harris

Lakewood, Ohio

Listen to the Silence

I sit on the front porch of our cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and "listen" to the complete silence. It's so quiet that when a bird flies past, I can hear the air passing beneath his wings. Gradually, I become one with the silence and my heart opens to the joy of life. During the winter, when we don't live at the cabin, I visualize sitting on that porch as a way to "stop" the hustle and bustle of my day-to-day world.

Judy Barkley

Chelsea, Michigan

Follow Ezekiel

When I know that my heart needs opening, I think of the passage from Ezekiel in which God says to the people, "I will break your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh." To consider the startling contrast between the heart of flesh we're meant to have and the heart of stone that often develops instead is the beginning of opening the heart. I look with attention at where I am, and try to remember that I'm called to stop what I'm doing and open myself to a change of heart, not once, but again and again.

Susan Christerson Brown

Lexington, Kentucky

See the Kids

By my computer, I keep pictures of my wife and me at age seven (we weren't actually married at that time, but it feels that way). The pictures remind me that underneath the adult words and the occasional projectile, we're all just little children longing to be hugged.

Jason Love

Port Hueneme, California

Focus on the Goodness

As a massage therapist and healer, I work with all kinds of people, coming to me with all kinds of pain -- on many levels. To keep my heart open and my judgment in check, at each session before I lay my hands on my client, I close my eyes and repeat this phrase: "My eyes are singled to the good." It keeps me focused on the innate goodness in every being, no matter what they are "bringing to the table."

Anne O'Brien

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Practice Jewish Blessings

Jewish prayer begins and ends with blessing: Baruch atah adonai elohainu, melech ha olam . . . "Blessed be the Lord our God, ruler of the universe." Blessing in the Jewish sense, berach, involves thankfulness, praise, awareness of God as the source of all that is, and humility. In addition to formal prayers, the Talmud commends the practice of "one hundred blessings per day."

Anyone can practice this mindfulness, gratitude, and attitude of praise. Begin with a blessing as soon as you awaken. Throughout the day, offer a blessing to God, in whatever form and by whatever name is comfortable, at every possible moment and for every plausible reason.

Clair McPherson

S&H Contributing Editor

Open the Door

To open my heart, I open the door. At home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I savor the wide blue sky; faithful mountains, comforting brown hills. In such radiant space, I'm reminded of my size in the universe and how blessed I am by the desert's feast.

Pat Mora

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Bless Them, Change Me

When my heart is closed and clogged with judgment or resentment, I say a simple prayer a friend taught me: "O Great Creator, Bless them. Change me." Sooner or later, it does put everything in perspective. I particularly like repeating it as I walk.

Rosemary Cunningham

New York, New York


(Read next week’s Spiritual Caregiving column for the next installment in this series)


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

© 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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