What does make your heart sing? Really sing? Really expand with so much love, joy and connection that tears spring to your eyes?
As with so many of us these days, I feel a heaviness and a sadness about the world. That weight took a pause last week as I was sitting on my deck in the sunshine hand washing my breakfast dishes outside my yurt. With no running water, I jet boil some water, fill up two buckets (one for washing, one for rinsing) and load them on a drying rack.
It was startling, but in my mundane chore, I felt my heart singing. I was listening to a vulnerable and real conversation on race relations between a Haitian born, US educated psychiatrist and my mentor and friend Robert Holden. I was tuning into the hot sudsy water as I gently cleaned the crumbs off each dish, and reflecting on the joy of having breakfast with two of my adult children.
In the midst of so much national and global angst, pain and challenge, my heart woke up to the power and joy of that very moment. Then, a few minutes later, a true miracle of nature occurred. Suddenly, the sky filled with the sounds of hundreds upon hundreds of sandhill cranes congregating high in the sky from the north, east and west.
It was as if families were reuniting with long lost cousins. Groups of 10-15 would meet up with 2 or 3 other groups, all singing and calling to each other their most unique song, making huge circles in the sky above, and inviting each other to fly south together. Within moments, the next groups would meet up and do the same thing. This went on for over an hour. Watching their delight brought tears to my eyes. How did they all know the perfect expression to how I was feeling?
Nature has a magic that can help us identify our joy and shift our sense of self. Washing dishes can be a mindful practice on its own. Bringing the two together felt like magic. It made me wonder, how often do we miss such moments in our speed to get through our chores and move on to the next thing?
It takes listening to our heart in these moments to find our internal song. To build in the time and space to feel that experience; to allow our whole being to just melt into the moment; to slow down our overtaxed nervous system and listen. As we breathe in the power of our senses, we expand time, heighten our awareness and find connections that unite us all.
Hearts don’t sing in darkness. They don’t sing in soundbites or lies. They sing when we are vulnerable; when we are authentic; when we are honest and open – they even have the power to drown out our differences and disagreements.
When we learn to deeply listen and let our hearts sing, perhaps together we can find our way home to loving and to connection. If a thousand sandhill cranes can figure out how to meet, somehow we must also be able to figure it out how too.