Categories
Alignment heart

Heart of Stone/Heart of Flesh

Stone pillar, Isle of Lewis. Taken by myself May 2018

My husband and I were discussing the whole thing of the heart of stone which God changes to a heart of flesh and I got to thinking. We have always either been taught, or picked up, in our churches that a heart of stone is something that is hard, feels negative emotions, etc, but that a heart of flesh is joyous, happy and only feels positive emotions – which sort of takes us back to the good box/bad box idea which I looked at a bit in Two Trees. But I don’t think that’s right. See I don’t think following God should be all happy clappy everything is wonderful. I think if we feel that way than we still have that heart of stone.

A heart of flesh is vulnerable, feels things, notices things, is flexible, is free to experience things not encased in boundaries. It is free to be flexible and go with the flow. A heart of flesh will feel hurt and pain, will feel sorrow and anger. It will of course also feel joy and love, carefreeness and happiness. It will feel all these things to a much deeper level that the heart of stone will. But it does not mean it will be pain free. In fact it is the heart of stone which will be more pain free because it is encased in something solid and safe.

I often wonder when we first get to know God and try to follow Jesus that we get confused when we get angry, get hurt, feel sadness, feel pain. I wonder if we try and fight our way of out it. There is a Bethel song that says “sing a little louder” and of singing in the middle of the storm, etc. But what if the pain is too deep? What is you don’t want to sing? What if you just want to curl up on God’s lap and lie there? What if God just wants us to curl up on their lap? What if God doesn’t want us to sing a little louder but to quietly walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Your heart of flesh is going to let you know what to do and when to do it. I’m not saying it is wrong to sing loudly when things are tough but I think to only do that if your heart of flesh is wanting to. But if it is hardening of heart around what is really going on then that isn’t accepting the heart of flesh God wants you to have.

A dog walking friend was moaning about how at her young niece’s funeral the pastor said that God taken this young girl because he wanted her to live with him. My friend was so hurt that her heart has been hardened away from God. But I do wonder if the pastor was hardened too. If the pastor did not want to weep and bemoan the loss of someone so young. Sometimes it is ok to be angry with God, to shout at them for allowing something one doesn’t like to happen.

Life isn’t all great and plain sailing and with a heart of flesh it will actually be harder. Your heart of stone can protect you whereas your heart of flesh can let you feel. Your heart of flesh can let you full experience what is going on around you, let you be honest and open with yourself and with others, and with God. The heart of stone will keep you safe and closed and maybe not that much help to others.

The heart of flesh will feel the so called negative emotions as much as it feels the so called positive emotions, whereas the heart of stone will keep you safe. The question is – what would you prefer?

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Faux Pas Lord's Prayer

Faux Pas

Desolation and lone footprints. Photographed by Diane Woodrow
Footprints across a deserted beach taken by myself March 2022

Why is it that it is so much easier to remember one’s mistakes and faux pas than one’s triumphs?

Yesterday I was chatting with a fellow writer and something slipped out of my mouth that I did not mean to say. He was a bit irritated by it at the time but I apologised and the conversation resumed. All the way home in the car I was waiting for my friend to say something about the gaff I’d made, but she never did. All she wanted to do was talk about the serendipity of being in the building at the same time as this person she knew through other outlets. And we twittered on about how amazing life can be, etc, etc.

But still when I was out with my dog walking I could feel the embarrassment of it. As I pondered by reaction rather than what I’d said I realised that it was actually my autonomic nervous system [ANS] that had gone into fight/flight/fawn/freeze mode and I needed to calm down my “meerkat” panic.

So as I walked I pulled my ANS back into a calmer, relaxed place via things I’d been taught via QEC – telling my ANS to realign – which is just says “ANS come back into alignment“, repeating “I’m safe, you’re safe, we’re safe” thus convincing my subconscious that there was nothing to worry about, and also being grateful – for the encounter with the fellow writer, for the time with my friend in the car there and back, for the joy of walking my dog. By the time I got home I was calm.

Even as I write this I can feel myself laughing at what I said, because it was daft and out of order, but I do not feel that awful grumpy-dragging-me -down-ness that I have felt in similar situations before. I can see it as a mistake I made and that I have learned from but not an “end of the world” thing.

It has made me wonder how many times I may have not done something, or even done something, because I was in that heightened “meerkat” mode – fearful, hyper-alert, anxious – rather than acknowledging it, taking those breaths, realigning myself and being able to let it go. Because that is very much what I did – let it go.

It also made me think of the lines in the “Lord’s Prayer” – about forgiving and forgiveness. Too often we are ready to forgive others but how often do we forgive ourselves. Or even how often do we say “Lord, forgive me my trespasses” but we are not willing to do it ourselves – thus making us bigger than God???

So as I realigned myself, stepped out of my fight/flight/fawn/freeze mode, I also forgave myself for what I’d said and have been able to get on and do things – which today have involved sending a proposal for some work and entering a writing competition. I have moved on from my faux pas!

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Shrove Tuesday spring St David's Day

1st March – St David’s Day

Today is St David’s Day – the patron saint of Wales. It is also Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day – the start of Lent in the Christian calendar, at least in the West. And it is the start of Spring. I have also decided that I am going to try my hardest and post one blog post every month. I had read in WordPress’ newsletter that there had been a Bloganuary, which I’d missed. But then I have never been good at doing things when other people did. I never do my month of non-alcoholic drinking during SoberOctober but pick another time period. When I was young and my friends were all going to see some film that was raved about I wouldn’t go, just because it was popular!!! So starting yesterday I’m going to attempt daily postings for a month. I do have 12 prompts all ready to go.

So today’s key days – St David, Shrove Tuesday and 1st day of Spring – are a mix of joy and grief days, especially Shrove Tuesday. This was a day when any of the good food stuffs were still in the store cupboard after a long winter would be made into a meal and eaten in preparation for the fasting of Lent. So it was a celebratory day knowing that for the next 40 days [excluding Sundays and Saint’s days] there would be fasting so hearts would be sorted to remember the crucifixion of Jesus.

As I typed that I was wondering how much easier things would be if we could prepare ourselves for a time of grief or conflict. What if we’d knowing just over 2 years ago that there would be this world shattering pandemic? What would we have done in preparation? How would we have sorted out our hearts? With this with the Russian invasion – which some say was coming for a while – how should we have prepared our hearts?

Do we ever think to prepare our hearts or do we just rushing into things reacting? Did people take life slower in some bygone age? With the times of Lent and Advent one does wonder if they did. I know with both Lent and Advent that is a time of remembering rather than and event happening so that is the difference. That at the time when these periods of mourning were set in place much of Europe was tearing itself apart with war after war after war.

Pick any period in history and some country was invading some other country, some people group was fighting some other people group. This that we are enduring is NOT new. It is just that we have been able to ignore it for a long time because, apart from the Balkan war in the 1990s there has been no fighting in European soil since 1945. But if one looks across the rest of the world even during the 22 years of this century someone is fighting someone whether governments or so called rebel forces or whatever. Sadly also today in 1954 the US tested a 15 megatonne bomb – 15 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima – in the Pacific archipelago of Bikini. So may be we should be preparing our hearts more.

But also this is the time to celebrate the legend of St David. He was pretty amazing, pretty fearless and I do wonder if, even though he did not know what would happen next,he had his heart always prepared, facing towards God and the mighty power the being aligned with the Creator of the Universe.

So how do we do that? I’ve got some prompt that I’ll hopefully get to over the next month but I think firstly it is to slow things down, to wait and not react – whether that is to what we read in the news, in personal affairs, in the things we do – so that when we do move we can move wholeheartedly trusting in ourselves and that we are in alignment with the Universe and not – as Putin seems to be doing – working against the good of mankind as a whole.

Categories
Alignment boundaries healing

No More Boundaries

A wall sheltering a shingle beach with rocks and seaweed on it, looking across to Anglesey with t he tide out. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Abergwyngregyn nature reserve taken by myself on 19th January 2022 at 9.15am

During my QEC session we talk a lot about not having boundaries but being in alignment to the world around you and your energy. I’ve been pondering a lot about it because it is counterintuitive to a lot of what one gets taught. How often have we all heard about “having clear boundaries” or even about “having boundaries that are flexible“. I attended a lovely workshop once around looking at boundaries – a fallen down fence, a brick wall and a wall with a gate in it, with the wall with the gate in it being what we should aim for. All sounded really good. Then I get this spanner in the works and because I trust so much else of what I’m doing through QEC I have to work this through.

As you can see from the wall above when a storm comes, or when it isn’t cared for, it falls and the sea rushes in. This is what we’re encouraged not to do – not to let the sea cascade in because …. because we could come to harm. So we spend a lot of energy working on those walls, even making sure the gate is in the right place and is well maintained. But alignment is a totally different thing.

I had gone through a bit of an issue with someone I was working with where I felt out of alignment with them and felt I was not getting the justice I deserved. Whilst pondering around this I was also doing some meditation around focusing on Jesus and the Cross and Healing what came to me was that “healing is once the pain has gone and the wound is clean” But how does that happen?

What I realised was that to get that healing I had been coming at it from a “your will be done” but wanting God’s will to actually match up with mine. So it was much more “my will be done. This has caused me thinking about my boundaries and what I wanted rather than what would being peace in my world.

As I let God/The Universe take over my niggles and need for my justice I felt myself calming, felt myself coming into alignment with God/The Universe’s peace for me. And that is the only word I can use to describe it – “peace“. I would say I got “healed of needing to know the bigger picture”.

So I may not look to the cross every time I feel discombobulated by something but I will learn to relax into alignment with a bigger will than my own. Once I can do that then there is no need for boundaries; no need to know what comes next; no need to even know why. There is peace. There is freedom. There is trust.

I know this will be an on going thing because I have been brought up for too long thinking I’m only safe if I’m behind a boundary but in fact I am safer when I am aligned to God/The Universe’s bigger picture and trusting God has it covered.