Living Wholeheartedly

I can still recall the words falling from his mouth and echoing in the recesses of my heart, pulling on familiar threads that seemed to remind me, through the gentlest of whispers, to awaken…to love.

“I want to live my life wholeheartedly.” 

He spoke with calm certainty and steadiness of presence, creating an eternal pause between the sound of his words and the visceral response of my body as I took them fully in, observing my soma vacillate between a resounding “YES!” and a perplexed “What the hell does that mean?”

For most of my life I have been on a journey of the heart. Called to follow inner stirrings rather than rational explanations, routes and pathways. Sometimes I have followed it without fail, being led to blessings unimaginable. Other times I have suppressed and denied it’s whispers in order to “play it safe”. Mostly I have searched, explored, and experienced – through landscapes known and unknown, terrain both human and spirited – to learn that living with fullness of heart and awakening to the great love affair with ALL of life is a journey of a lifetime; one that begins and ends in mystery.

Indeed, for me, it is the ineffable mystery that lies at the heart of wholehearted living. It is the mystery that insists I surrender to my own vulnerability - that beckons me to stay open and present and real amidst uncertainty. It is the mystery that invites me to walk straight into life and offer my love, again and again, regardless of the ups, downs, and seeming failures. It is the mystery I move with in my dance as I soften, release expectation and move toward what arises, seeing it ALL as the teacher. I practice again and again in the dance, with my movement, to grow more comfortable with the changing tides, to remain devoted to the unfolding of my heart, to faithfully listen to its call. And slowly, over time, I awaken to the fact that every experience, every seeming obstacle or gift, every joy or sorrow, stretches my heart wider – not in spite of, but because of it all, my heart grows larger, trusts deeper, surrenders more willingly. 

"The act of loving itself, always becomes a path of humble apprenticeship, not only in following its difficult way and discovering its different forms of humility and beautiful abasement but strangely, through its fierce introduction to all its many astonishing and different forms, where we are asked continually and against our will, to give in so many different ways, without knowing exactly, or in what way, when or how, the mysterious gift will be returned." David Whyte

After a week of dancing at OneDanceTribe, I have a new understanding of all of this. Enveloped and enriched by the dance, the natural wonders of Maui, and the pure love of hundreds of kindred spirits gave me space to embrace the wholeness of my experience – not just the beauty and grace, but the imperfections as well. For the first time in quite awhile I was able to embrace brokenness as an integral part of my life.

To be broken open, rather than broken apart into a greater capacity for love.

Both on and off the dance floor I learned about devotion, about altruism, about the vast terrain – both the heights and depths - of my heart. I learned about faith, trust, the act of mutual giving and receiving. I learned A LOT about love and about the subtle stories I wrap around my immediate experience in order to feel safe, understood, entitled even.

Though it may seem obvious, there is a profound difference between feeling the intricacies of the heart and engaging them at a cognitive level – to be with the direct experience, just as it is, rather than generating a storyline. It is beneath the storyline, within the very core of the body, that healing emerges. It is within the field of embodied vulnerability that the tangles of the heart and the body are unwound. The dance invites us into this field again and again. To return and meet what is longing to be met - to note what is ALIVE and move toward it – not into overwhelm, but to a place that can welcome what is yearning to re-emerge into the wholeness that we are.

This is the path I am exploring on this journey of wholehearted living. A path attuned to direct somatic experience. Attuned to the mystery. Attuned to wholeness. Attuned to the heart.

May we all soften into our hearts. May we open and love in ways both unimaginable and profound. May our love inspire. May it serve. May it draw us into our true essence. May we receive this love. May it envelope and enrich us. May we trust it’s potency and power. May we honor its call.

With abundance LOVE, Teresa