“To love someone is to learn the song in their heart and sing it to them when they have forgotten.”
– Arne Garborg
Early Sunday morning, I sent a text to my friend Bryan.
Like most people, I have some resistance to leaning into our web of interconnectedness – to not only accepting support from others but also to asking for it. But I’m learning and trying and when I cried my way through the heart section of a chakra meditation on Sunday morning, I knew that it was a great time to practice.
Bryan and I have yet to hit our one-year friendaversary and yet he is one of very few go-to people for me when I need someone to, as Garborg so beautifully said, sing the song in my heart back to me.
My tears started back up easily as soon as I was seated across the coffee shop table from him less than an hour later. He offered me a warm, soft smile as he watched me blot the first few away, and then he started the song of my heart. He reminded me who I am. He reminded me what I’m here to do. He reminded me to take care of myself so that I don’t get derailed in my work, my tikkun olam, my place in healing the world.
He said, “It’s up to you to suck the poison out and push on.”
I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget.
And yet, we accomplish nothing in isolation. Yes, it’s up to me to suck out the poison and I needed Bryan to remind me of that. I needed his warmth, his song, and his presence to get me reoriented toward healing and rejuvenation.
I needed to laugh with another friend on Friday when we both admitted to a few seconds of panic when we read of Sandra Day O’Conner’s diagnosis as our already-overtaxed limbic systems forgot, momentarily, that she long ago left the Supreme Court.
I needed the cup of tea Theresa made me when I got home from a heart-filling workshop on Saturday, and her offer to hold me after I read about the synagogue shooting, and her loving acceptance when I was too shut down in that moment to accept her embrace.
So, here’s what I know when I’m in my best self, when that part of me isn’t so heartbroken that she’s cloistered away from the world – this is part of what Bryan helped me to remember:
- Each and every one of us has the power to make a positive change in the world.
- The size of the effort is irrelevant. Making eye contact and offering a smile to a stranger is activism in a world where our fear is being stoked – it’s activism that matters.
- Changing the world is the ultimate exercise in attaching our sense of progress and fulfillment to our effort and to every tiny victory because even if we were to live another millennium, we would still not find ourselves in a perfect world.
- The most critical effort in changing the world is tending to our own health – mental, emotional, and physical – ongoingly. In that way, we can be proactive in extracting the poison we ingest and preserve our energy for another day of making our contribution.
What do you know on your best days that you could stash somewhere as reminders for the tough days?
What do you do to tend to your mental, emotional, and physical health? What could you do more of?
Who sings the song of your heart back to you when you’ve forgotten it? How about reaching out to that person right now to send them your gratitude and love?
I have a newish habit of going live on Instagram each Friday, usually around 8am Eastern, to talk a little more about the week’s blog post. This week, I’ll share a wonderful poison-sucking meditation one of my spiritual heroes taught me. I’d love to have you there. (It’ll be in my story until Saturday morning if you can’t be there live!)