Halfhearted vs. Wholehearted Living
I was sitting on a patio, drinking hot green tea and eating bread with Mozzarella cheese for breakfast. I felt concerned about one of my family member’s recent episodes with high blood pressure. I looked at the grandiose trees in front of me and felt a knot in my chest loosening, as more air found its way into my lungs.
I gazed down at the round metal table to my right. The transparent glasslike top was covered in dust and black stains. The rain from last evening highlighted its neglected state. I remembered that a cover was laying in the corner.
A part of me said:
“May be it was normal to let the wind, rain and sun wear it down with time.
I could always go to HomeDepot and buy another one.”
The other part of me, pointed out that I was seeing this table as a temporary possession, which wasn’t worth caring for. In that moment, I chose to side with the latter. I cleaned up the table and draped it with a cover.
A few days later, as I was doing yoga, this theme continued to unfold and take on a deeper meaning. I listened: Same principle applies to people, places, communities. If we are not fully invested, then we are only half-heartedly allowing ourselves to care…to love.
I imagined all the people in the world who are in relationships where they are partially committed. I imagined all the people in the world who are half-heartedly working in their jobs. I imagined people who are living in places, temporary, partially investing themselves or not investing themselves at all in their neighborhoods and communities.
I got curious. Where is this coming from? Is this connected to a form of protection? Distancing ourselves to feel safe? So, we don’t get hurt? So our hearts won’t be broken? So we don’t get disappointed? Is this a way of not fully landing in our incarnate human experience?
The pattern of temporality has clearly been a pattern in my life. With 9 moves (international and domestic) by the age of 26, I was used to treating everything and everyone in my life as temporary. Friends came and went. Places where I lived, came and went. Furniture came and went. Schools came and went. I often felt like I wasn’t part of anything.
In the last few years, I have been intentionally shifting this pattern. Five years ago, I created and participated in a self-commitment ceremony. Three years ago, I wholeheartedly committed to my coaching practice. Two years ago, I stepped into the Pocket Project community and I fully said “YES” to my calling in life. A few months ago, I committed to writing newsletters to my subscribers twice a month.
It doesn’t mean that I no longer struggle with feelings of rootlessness, with fear of loss, and with ups and downs of intimate connections. It just means, that no matter which way the wind blows, I have anchors in my life that keep me grounded in my commitments, in love, and something much bigger than I am.
Here’s an inspiring conversation between my beloved poet David Whyte and his friend, Br. David, a Catholic monk:
David: “Tell me about exhaustion”
Br. David Steindl-Rast: “You know, David, the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest.”
David Whyte: “The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest. What is the antidote to exhaustion?”
Br. David Steindl-Rast, “The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness. This is the point where you have to take a full step into your métier, into your future vocation, and wholeheartedly risk yourself in that world.”
For full conversation, go HERE.
PRACTICE: As the New Year is approaching, I invite you to take some time to reflect on this:
Where in your life are you giving yourself half-heartedly to projects, to intimate relationships, to career, to your calling, to yourself?
Who are you already deeply committed to?
What are you already doing wholeheartedly?
What feels temporary to you, that so achingly is asking for your release?
What has felt temporary to you that is actually beckoning for your commitment and wholeheartedness?
Special Holiday Offer
If you are searching for a meaningful holiday gift, I invite you to look into a special Holiday Offer I created: “Gift of Relating“