Last week, to prepare my mind and heart for Thanksgiving, I filled page upon page of my journal with a list of just some of the blessings in my life. My renewed health, loving family, steadfast beau, precious friends, growing clients, and wonderful life are a few things on my list. As I wrote, I was truly humbled by all the goodness and joy in my life. Yet in the midst of all the good, and the light, I am also increasingly aware of the bad, and the darkness, in myself and in this world. The eternal optimist is uncovering the failings, acknowledging the sadness, feeling the pain. Definitely not a comfortable place for me!
Something Julia Butterfly Hill (she is a writer, poet, and activist) said in a recent interview struck me as having a lot of truth to it: “When you live with an open heart, though, you must be open to everything. So that’s why those of us with an open heart feel pain more deeply and feel pain more intensely, but an open heart also gives you a deeper strength. The root word for courage is cour, which means heart. That’s the only place true courage comes from.”
For years, I have prayed for three things: wisdom, integrity, and courage. I am learning (so, so slowly) that courage comes from having an open heart, one which is open to both good and bad, one which lets down its guard, which feels both joy and pain, which loves unconditionally. This has meant more tears, but also more laughter. And, it has brought life into sharper focus, as now I have shadows that further define the light. This holiday season, it is my hope to live, and work, each day with an open heart.
Have a wonderful month, and a joyful holiday season.
Sharon Keys Seal