One of the gifts I give myself each morning is some time with what I think of as “good news”, with posts on Facebook or emails I receive that bring interesting stories and examples of some of the beautiful things that are happening in the world. The regular news reports offer ample information about the terrible things that are unfolding, about the seemingly unremitting suffering of our human family and of the earth itself. Quite a long while ago, I made a commitment to myself to offer myself a broader picture than is available in the mainstream media so that I can continue to move through the world with an open heart.
Also, choosing to include good news as part of your media diet supports a more accurate view of our human wholeness—of the good in us as well as the dysfunction we express so actively in our interactions with one another, with our planet, and with our wide variety of other-than-human earth-kin.
For this week’s practice, I’d like to offer some resources for good news and also a brief practice for nourishing an open heart. As you play with these resources this week, notice how you feel—does your heart feel more open or does it feel clenched and closed? Notice your body—do you feel softer and more at ease or tense and constricted? Notice your thoughts—do they orient to thoughts of possibility or do you find that you are mired in judgment and/or negative thinking? What we feed ourselves psychologically has a lot to do with how we feel physically and emotionally, as well.
Here’s a link to an organization from which I receive wonderful stories of good news, from their DailyGood emails, KarmaTube videos, KarunaNews (Responding with Compassion), and on their website: https://www.servicespace.org
Here’s another resource I haven’t spent a lot of time with, but it also offers stories that inspire: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org
Here’s a practice to explore this week and to see if it offers a way to support returning to an open heart again and again…
Nourishing an Open Heart
- Begin by settling in so that your body is well supported, so that you are comfortable and alert.
- Follow the next out-breath all the way down into that place inside you that you would call your internal center of gravity.
- Take a few moments to settle in and to notice, in whatever way makes sense to you, the steadiness that is always there, a steadiness that is never disturbed.
- Next, become aware of the radiating tone and quality of your own presence, of the energy and essence of your body-mind being that radiates from within you in every moment.
- Notice that the essence and energy of your presence not only radiates throughout your body-mind being, but also emanates out into the environment around you, touching everything that is there.
- Next, bring your awareness to your heart space, beginning with an awareness of your chest.
- Notice, is your chest relaxed and open or is it tense or closed?
- Take a moment to breathe in and out through your heart, including an awareness of your chest, and notice how that feels.
- Now, as you breathe out, notice what happens if you say to yourself, “I choose love.”
- Just repeat this a few times with each out-breath, “I choose love.”
- Take a few moments to notice the resonating tone of this statement and how it affects the quality of your heart space, and of your chest.
- Spend as much time with this as you would like and, when you are ready to come back, bring your awareness again to your core presence and to the steadiness that is always there.
- Again become aware of the surface supporting you and, when you are ready, wiggle your fingers and toes and come all the way back.
As with all these practices, there’s no right or wrong way to do what this offering presents. The key thing is to make it your own, both in terms of what good news you offer yourself and how, and in terms of how you move through the practice of opening your heart.
And, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything about them. Also, it’s natural when doing practices to notice mixed feelings and it’s important to honor your wholeness by allowing whatever feelings arise to simply be present as part of the complexity of your living, dynamic wholeness as the unique body-mind being you are.