Heart of Gold

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“I wanna live,
I wanna give
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold.
And I’m getting old.”
~Neil Young, 1971

 

A long time ago, I asked myself, What kind of life do I want to live?
My answers have changed, evolved. Sometimes they have even fallen silent in depression or self-loathing.
But, always, they have come back to a core truth:
I want to live a life of service. I want to be a light in a dark place. I want to be a good friend, a loving person, and a smiling face to a stranger.

Everyday, we walk through a place that is thick with doubt, pain, suffering, and malice. We encounter destruction, abuse, ignorance, and want.
Becoming a tiny flame in the darkness may seem like a monumental task. I find I may struggle with identity, with finding stability, or with my own demons, but there is always in my heart a desire to bring light to those around me. It’s then I understand that it’s not monumental at all. It’s as easy as sharing a smile, hugging a friend, listening, staying open-hearted, and being present.
Also remembering that everyone carries invisible pains that we know nothing about. Treating everyone with respect and dignity allows us to open our hearts wider, and become more understand of those hidden places in someone else.

Last night, I spoke to a friend who was grieving the end of a relationship. We are an ocean apart, and I could not share a physical moment with her. But, instead, I listened, spoke honestly and from my heart, and I was present in her pain. It was as close to a hug as I could get. Later, as we spoke our farewells, she told me I had a heart of gold.
I could think of no higher compliment.

IMG_1741This afternoon, as I sat and prayed quietly by the Peace Pagoda in Grafton, NY,  I reflected on the last time I sat on that very rock. I had been asking for guidance, trying to understand the emptiness I had inside of me.
Today, the answer was as clear as the water reflecting the sky; I had been emptied to allow the dark places to be filled with light. A light to share. I hope to do this everyday with all that I am.

“There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

*Top Photo by Author
*Bottom Photo by Roseanne Amorose
(Please do not copy without permission. Thank you.)

Share the LOVE, kind readers! Tell me your tales of light!

Fear and Courage

Galadriel: Mithrandir, why the Halfling?

Gandalf: I do not know. Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that it is not what I’ve found. I’ve found it is the small things, every act of normal folk that keeps the darkness of at bay — simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.
~The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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We live in a world that conjures up fears and weakens us with the illusions of control. Trying to hold the reins and have command over every aspect of every moment, leaves us bereft and at odds with the places where we lose control.
In the dead of the night, when we turn off the distractions, we feel the fears descend upon us; the fear that we are not in control. And our hearts race, and sleep becomes a place we cannot reach. Our very heartbeat becomes the monster in our heads, and we lose our peace.

It is in these moments that we must learn to reflect on the beauty of our lives. Are we fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads? Do we have a friend or companion on this journey? Did the sun shine warm upon your face for moment today? And was the book you finished a doorway to a world that lit up your soul?

I will share an email I wrote to an estranged friend who reached out to me because she was having panic attacks at night. To her I said,

You have a beautiful life, despite the chaos, aside from the upset. 
At night, list all the things your are grateful for…even if it’s as simple as being happy for the color of the sky during the sunset. And use those things to calm you. If Deva Premal’s songs don’t do it for you, maybe Florence and the Machine will. If chants in Sanskrit don’t work, then recite, ‘Space, the Final Frontier…..”
And in that place of reflection, remember: a solution will always present itself, in it’s time. While you’re waiting, keep working toward it. Keep loving life. Keep on keepin’ on.
Because that’s what banishes the monster. That’s what slays the dragon.
You see, keep your heart open, even as it races. Be brave and loving no matter how small you feel in the face of the unknown. Because those simple acts of kindness and love are what keep you on your path and lead you to the end of your journeys.
“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit
I love all of you. Let’s be each other’s source of courage and hope.
~JL©2015