Keeping the Heart Open

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Musings, Wisdom

I went to a writing weekend at Esalen in Big Sur, California back in October 2003. At the final session, all the attendees gathered together and we were all asked to reflect on these questions: What do I do to keep my heart open? How do I stay in touch with the source of compassion inside myself in these difficult times?

Thirty years ago today, American hostages were taken in Iran and I moved with my toddler to Ithaca, New York. Looking back on old journals this morning a part of research for a writing project, I found what I wrote at that Big Sur weekend, back in that year when we started on the debacle in Iraq:

I sleep eight hours, eat slow meals, walk every day. I take a short nap, cook soups from scratch, sit out on my deck in the sun and pet my fifteen-year old Siamese cat. I pick zinnias from my garden, hang laundry out to dry on the line. I read every day but I also take time to sit and do nothing, to simply be. I let the world in but only so much. I listen to music. I breathe. I haul wood for my wood stove, put oiled sunflower seeds in the feeder for the nuthatches and the finches. I write in the morning. I listen to Garrison Keillor read me a poem at 10 a.m. I practice lovingkindness toward people like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. I watch Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I practice gratitude each and every day for my bountiful good fortune. I take deep breaths.


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