The journey to the authentic self and to living full out–a journey that brings with it joy and happiness–begins with your heart’s longings.
Harold Macy wrote, “When we come to know God, we throw open the door to a vast new universe in our consciousness, a cosmos of divine love, presence and joy. This universe reaches beyond our wildest imagination and, even as it overwhelms us, plants us in the conviction that we haven’t yet begun to explore the galaxies of its mysteries.”
Generally, it is when we are in touch with our heart’s longing to be lifted to a higher realm that we “throw open the door to a vast new universe.” Not when we are in a state of worry and despair.
I never interviewed George Harrison, but I’m confident he was in touch with this longing of his heart when he wrote, “My Sweet Lord.” Composing and singing this inter-spiritual song may have helped him take a step in the direction of dwelling in the light (or a step in the direction of heaven to use more traditional language). Some of the lyrics are:
My sweet Lord,
I really want to see you
I really want to be with you.
We need to make ourselves available to our heart’s deepest longings if we want to be fulfilled, content and happy. Our longings can serve as a boat that carry us from where we are to the other side–or they can at least inspire us to get in the boat that takes us to where we long to be.
Listening to songs such as “My Sweet Lord”–or Jennifer Berezan’s song, “She Carries Me,”–can help us get in touch with the longings stirring in our hearts. Singing these songs can do so more viscerally, more potently. What else can we do to train ourselves to sensing our heart’s longings?
Here’s a writing exercise some of my clients have enjoyed:
At the top of the page write, “When it comes to my relationship with the heart.” This exercise is about coming up with four or five different endings to the sentence, “When it comes to my relationship with the heart, my heart is happy when ___.” But if you write, “When it comes to my relationship with the heart” at the top of the page, then you can start each of the four or five sentences with “my heart is happy when ___.”
So under the heading at the top of the page, go ahead and write, “my heart is happy when ___”. And after you complete that sentence, write “my heart is happy when ____” again and complete that sentence again. About four or five times. (You can do this exercise verbally if you prefer.)
You may want to do this a few days over the course of the next week. If you find you are repeating the same sentence endings each day, that’s okay. And go ahead and see if you can come up with a new sentence ending each time so you have a mixture of repeated sentences and new sentences.
Some clients make this more complicated than it really is. For example, someone may write, “My heart is happy when I take her seriously.” And a minute later my client may say, “Wait, I do take my heart seriously.” When you look at the sentences you’ve written, there’s no need to add any meaning to what’s on the page. If you wrote, “My heart is happy when I take her seriously,” there’s no need to think that this implies that you do or you don’t. It simply means, “This is when my heart is happy.