While on my Diamond Approach all-school retreat in California last year, I had a most profound experience that is arising again during this year’s retreat. One of the teachings was about the magic of being, and while listening I was so deeply moved that I couldn’t stop crying for a long while afterward. What I came to realize is that a place in my heart had been touched and opened, one that I didn’t even know was there. As I sense into it now, it feels down and back at the bottom of my heart center. It looks black and feels like a fertile emptiness. It feels like a deeply relaxed, restful place where I want to hang out. It feels like home.
I realize that growing up I felt loved, but not supported. My parents gave what they had to give to me, and I am grateful for that. However in those early days of developmental understanding, they had a lot of unprocessed emotions and experiences that cluttered their hearts and heads and made it difficult for them to fully express their love in a clear, uncluttered way. No blaming here, just an understanding of how it was.
We always have the potential for clear understanding, including maybe even some disappointment and love all at the same time. We are all capable of such emotional complexity.
My father, who grew up with an alcoholic father, was the oldest of eight children. Having to step in as the male head of household with little healthy modeling, he developed an overactive sense of responsibility that made it difficult for him to relax and just be. His style of parenting my brother and me was to often criticize in order to mold us into responsible adults. My mother had a family history of bi-polar disorder, which often complicated her ability to be fully present as a mother.
What I learned from growing up in this environment is the importance of bringing clarity, understanding and compassion to myself, as well as to my parents. This clears the clutter from my heart and allows my heart to relax and open up to be a clearer channel for the love I feel for my family, friends, myself, everyone else, and life in general.
It is the hero’s inner journey, transforming from caterpillar to chrysalis to emergent colorful, fully expressed butterfly. And that potential is available for all of us, providing we are willing to do the work.
As I sit in this moment in meditation on that deep fertile emptiness in my heart, I long to live from this place. From here, I land below the personality struggles of feelings of deficiency expressed as want and need and into the more essential realms of my being, where there is nothing to do, nowhere to be and where deep nourishment is available, reminding me that all is truly love.
Imagine what life would be like if we all lived from this deep place of love? That’s what is possible.
Diane Ingram, PCC, is a Coach, Coach Trainer, Workshop Facilitator, and Speaker for Personal and Professional Development. She is a regular contributor to Pawling Public Radio and the author of five books. To learn more, visit DianeIngram.com online.