ABCs of the heart.

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Reading level, standardized test scores, college prep–more, better, faster. Repeat.

But what of the heart? There is so much to teach a child about the heart:

  • How it breaks when someone you love doesn’t love you back
  • How it thrills to find a kindred spirit
  • How it is comforted when someone simply sits with you and shares space
  • How it hurts when we don’t treat each other with compassion and kindness
  • How it longs to connect
  • How it knows what the brain often forgets–that we are all family

There is no standardized test for kindness, no flash cards for compassion, no prize for finding the lonely person and keeping them company. But these, too, are where a well-rounded education lies. On these lessons, too, depends our future.

Err on the side of love.

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We tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. What that looks like in practice is forgiving ourselves for a lot of things–selfishness, neglect, mistakes–that we don’t forgive anyone else for when the same harm is done to us.

But what if we flipped that and gave other people the benefit of the doubt and show them the same understanding we give ourselves? What if their statements that seem hurtful are merely ill thought out? What if  what feels like neglect is really just busyness with something else? What if everyone is intending to do their best, but falls short over and over?

Just like we do.

Instead of anger, hurt, and frustration, our relationships would be peppered with compassion and understanding and the ability to grow and blossom.

What’s constant?

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It is so easy to get settled in–to our homes, our lives, our ideas, our expectations, our views of the world. We put down roots, dig in, and clench, holding tight.

But, inevitably, something comes along to upset the apple cart.

And then what?

For those who insist on that one way to do or see things, what comes is a lot of frustration, heartache, and anger. But for those who can bend, open to another point of view, and keep learning–never stop learning– what comes is the next chapter.

What’s shadow?

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How many of our daily fears and worries are consumed by things that may never happen? Or by inferences or assumptions that may not jibe with did happen? Or by reliving in our heads over and over again past trauma?

How much suffering is from the actual event or trauma itself?

Sometimes it’s helpful to breathe deeply and remind ourselves of our connection to the earth, our senses, this place and time. Our worries and fears can run wild if we don’t constantly remind ourselves that they are not solid like a pebble in our hand, but amorphous and changeable depending on our perspective.