Today a new cohort will gather at Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island to begin the Living from the Heart course. I’ll be there too, co-facilitating with Deb, Jeff, and Brent. I expect the participants will be excited and a little nervous, perhaps wondering: Where will this way of living take me? Will I fit in? Some will ask themselves what the heck they were thinking and consider changing their minds. I know, because I’ve heard confessions like this a few days into the course. I also hear, “I’m so glad I stayed.”
What does it mean to “live from the heart”? We know how to live from our heads: obtaining good counsel, thinking things through. But I heard of a study showing that most decisions are not made with our minds but with our emotions. That’s a tricky prospect. And what about our bodies. How many times do we sacrifice our health to meet a deadline? Often our bodies don’t have a say.
In scripture, the “heart” is not synonymous with emotions. The heart is the core of all of who we are. It contains our mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and volitional energies. And right in the middle of that is God who dwells within our hearts (1 Co 3:16).
Imagine the conversation that happens in that place! Imagine God listening with compassion to all that is going on in you–all that has made you who you are, all the mess, all the glory, and all your deepest longings. When we are listened to, understood, and completely loved by our Creator, we are freed to be good and just. We are freed to be ourselves.
We all want that. Of course we do, because God at the core of our being wants that. And that’s why, despite the nervousness of a new beginning, people come to Living From The Heart. That’s why you keep showing up for prayer. That’s why you are reading my blog.
We were made to live from our hearts.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
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I made the collage above at a SoulStream annual gathering a couple of years after I joined this dispersed contemplative Christian community. Praying with the images that I cut out and glued down helped me listen with God to my heart and let go of what I was holding onto out of fear. Living from the Heart is one of the courses offered by SoulStream, and I am so glad I get to participate in the love mischief that happens there.