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The Hearth Is Where The Heart Is. Let’s Begin Here.
In ancient days the hearth was the most important part of the home. The fire there gave light. It cooked the food which provided nourishment. It provided warmth creating comfort. It was a place of learning, connection, and celebration. Once a home was created or came to life, the fire was started. I want to light the fire of this hearth with a particular technique which I hope you will join me in.
Can you take a moment?
Can you remember a time [or maybe even just a few minutes], perhaps in your childhood, where you were totally immersed in your experience of being outside? Maybe it was the calm of night enjoying the serenity of your existence in space and time with the sound of crickets chirping, a soft, balmy, breeze pouring over the top of your skin. Was it summer? Fall? Can you remember the how the outdoors smelled in that season? What did the ground feel like beneath your feet? Were there fireflies? How did your clothes feel on your body? What did you hear? How did your breath feel moving in and out of your mouth or nose? Maybe it was day and you were having the best time playing, not a care in the world, grass-stained pants, chest on fire from running wild and out of breath, maybe even laughing. Maybe you downed a whole glass of homemade lemonade, drinking it so hurriedly that the juice spilled outside of the glass, down the corners of your mouth, neck, and shirt before you swiped a dirty paw across your face making your fingers sticky and then running back out the door.
Perhaps it wasn’t until after childhood that you brushed up against this total melding with your environment in a special way. Maybe you were in a city cresting a hill as the golden apricot color of sunset washed over the whole scene before you. There was a three piece jazz band playing somewhere just close enough to become part of the wind. You could identify each instrument and yet hear and feel the timbre they created at the same time. Someone was cooking. It smelled like chicken or eggplant Parmesan. Wafting tomato, garlic, baked home cooked goodness. Your mouth watered. You were overcome with a feeling of gentle contentment. The gift of being filled with the sense of mirth and prosperity which graces you when you tune into relationship with what we call simple pleasures. Simple pleasures alive with the beat, the pulse of life and intricately connected to it all once you let yourself settle in and encounter it.
Whatever your story of choice may be, let it have the same or similar tonality of the examples I expressed above: connection to the natural world, enlivened senses, total immersion in and ultimately surrender to the moment, and total contentment in the moment. The point is to remember each detail so keenly (every aroma, depth of color, textures, sounds, tastes… the feelings… not necessarily emotions… but the feeling state that your story invokes) so freshly, so prominently that you are actually conjuring that state of being. You can put some music on and sway to it, dance to it. You can paint to it. Create to it… or just breath to it. You embody that memory. You become that state right here and right now. It’s a really lovely space to begin in, that quality of connection. Enlivened. The practice of embodiment is a basic, fundamental and equally advanced practice that exists in the realm of what some people refer to as magic.
The quality and tone of connection above that I invite you to invoke, this is the hearth fire of this space. Now you can know it, feel it, and understand it through this kind of journey. This is the heart of Sacra Dea.
I am going to leave you with a poem that speaks to the technique above. Enjoy it. See how it moves you.
why I perch
on a jade green mountain?
but say nothing
like a peach blossom
in the flowing stream
in the depths
in another world
not among men
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