Listen to this post:

Are you living into your name? Have you ever even thought about it? I hadn't much until Sunday's worship when I heard a message about living from the heart, which we then practiced the rest of silent worship.


It was overwhelmingly powerful for me. Mostly because it affirms where I live most of the time – a place I struggle with because it runs so counter to our culture and the direction most people are oriented. The minister spoke of compassion as being the strongest emotion/feeling we experience; that some of us have developed our vagus nerve more fully than others. Science confirms that this nerve wanders from the brain stem through the heart and into the abdomen. It affects the throat, voice box, windpipe, lungs, heart, esophagus, intestinal tract and colon. This nerve connects the heart and brain, letting the heart communicate to the brain and not the reverse. How completely interesting and affirming! By the way, Donne, our minister, says we can best strengthen our vagas by practicing even greater compassion.


So often my heart feels as if it's going to explode out of my chest. There's swirling and energy I can barely contain. It's not a medical issue because I've had that checked. I've wondered if it's stuck energy, untapped creativity or trapped emotion. But after Sunday, I realize  it's that I have to let God's love flow through me, not just into me. I've been hoarding it, rationalizing that it was mine alone.


It's not. So I really focused on letting it pour out of every cell in my being, into those behind and around me, into the entire congregation and beyond.


Donne paraphrased Rumi about compassion opening the heart much like a rose flowers. She had a hard time speaking it without intense emotion. It sparked a similar reaction in me as I heard her words.  I had already been toying in the silence with the fact Catherine means pure. But now I was recognizing how my heart also blooms, much like my maiden name Rose. Catherine Rose: pure rose/heart. Such a gift my parents have given me.


I want to fully live into this awareness. The revelation helps me see more clearly who I am as well as the gifts I really am called to use. Not waste or abuse. Frankly, I have been fighting who I am because I don't seem to fit most places. I mean really fit. As in feeling completely at home in all that I do and am.


Yesterday, I sailed, glowing, through the day fully aware of my gifts and using them. Today, I woke up after a late night, which threw off my entire schedule, and I began to sink into some despair without my morning swim. Then I remembered this new awareness and decided that, yes, I do need a routine, but the harder days and circumstances will not separate me from the path God has presented.

• How often do I live in my heart?

• How do I experience that?

• What was my most recent act of compassion?

• How have my gifts been revealed?

• Where is God currently leading me and am I following willingly?


living contemplatively

much of the time

it's hard to enter the

real world and

not be touched

by need and hurt –

someone else's

it pierces me deeply

and there, in my heart,

I would let that sit

taking up space inside me

building up in my heart

til I thought I'd burst

then the rose opened

within my chest,

dissolving barriers

and shining out

into the world

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