From the Heart
“I can see clearly now, the rain has gone. Oh yes, I can make it now the pain is gone. All of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for. It’s gonna be a bright, Bright sunshiny day.”
–Jimmy Cliff (lyrics).
Watching a hawk or turkey vulture soar overhead reminds me to ride out life’s currents. These birds can sense air currents not visible to the human eye. There are paths they travel in the sky.
The same is true for us—there are paths we follow not visible to the human eye. We can tell when we’re on the right path and we can tell when we’re off—but it is felt deep inside. Our heart tells us, “Yes, this feels right. This thought, action, word, or choice brings peace, comfort, and healing.” We don’t need friends, family, churches, or neighbors to chart out our course. We need Spirit to guide us. When we die, I believe it is our lives that we will examine—no one else’s actions, words, or deeds will be as important as what we did or did not do while living. Were we kind? Were we compassionate? Did we care for others? Did we learn to love ourselves? Did we learn to extend love to others? Did we learn to forgive ourselves? Did we learn to forgive others?
Your heart will lead you. That is all you need to know.
One of the things I appreciate about Buddhism is that it acknowledges that there is suffering. Our suffering may have brought us compassion, growth, and learning (as difficult as that can be at times). But there are also currents in our lives that bring us sunshine. They may be very subtle and they may be brief—which is why it is important not to miss them when they happen. A joyful current might be as fleeting and tender as a hug from a child or nuzzle from our pet when we are having a rough day. It might be that a stranger offers us a kind word or deed. I remember one time, I was attending a parenting class during my divorce, and my former husband’s new girlfriend came up to me and started talking about my children and “how they looked just like me” and that was how she recognized me. A woman sitting on the other side of me could tell I was suffering. She looked me straight in the eyes and said very softly, “Your children must be very beautiful.” Even though I left the room and went into the hallway to sob–just completely overwhelmed by all that was happening in my life–I will never forget that woman. What she communicated, not only in words but in tone of voice, was: “It will be ok. You will get through this.”
And we do. The currents change. After turbulent times, our lives slowly begin to find new paths to travel. We make better choices. We seek out help and guidance. We learn and grow and become more than we were before. And we love better. We still cry, we still mourn, and we still make many mistakes. But we can see the rainbow when it comes out, and we can say, ‘thank you’ . . . because we no longer take small daily miracles for granted.
In joy and gratitude,